Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in London
Buckingham Palace is really just a very big house with a lot of men in funny hats standing around in front of it.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / oversnap

Don't Waste Your Time on These 12 Tourist Traps in Europe

Go For More Authentic Experiences

Europe is the Promised Land of alps and rivieras, elegant cities and picturesque villages, fairy-tale castles and gladiators’ coliseums. A patchwork of wildly diverse countries, Europe is culture concentrate. Just add a sense of adventure and the perfect itinerary, and you have the trip of a lifetime.

Amid all of the timeless, classic destinations, are those things that make seasoned travelers groan: overpriced, overcrowded, overrated tourist traps.

Europe is full of them, and at some point on your European jaunt you will probably be pressured, coerced or fooled into visiting a few of them, making your itinerary a little less than perfect. Knowing what not to do can save you from a lot of eye-rolling, lining up and disappointment on your Euro trip.

So in the interest of the aforementioned perfect itinerary, here is a list of the worst tourist attractions in Europe that you should be sure to leave out of your travel plans.

Buckingham Palace, London

One of the biggest misnomers in the history of tourism, the “Palace” bears no resemblance to any building Cinderella ever lived in. What is really just a very big house with a lot of men in funny hats standing around in front of it still draws impressive crowds, however.

For some reason these crowds seem to be endlessly fascinated with the men in funny hats, which is fascinating in itself as they literally do nothing. The dense crowds of people in front of the royal palace do bring some people a lot of joy though — pickpockets have a field day.

Saint Mark's Square, VeniceKeeping your cool as you try to navigate the sea of tourists in Saint Mark's Square is an almost impossible exercise.Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / vesilvio

Saint Mark’s Square, Venice

Venice itself is one big honey trap for tourists. The sweet lure of romantic canals, gondolas and golden sunsets quickly lose their charm in the sticky mess created by swarms of visitors.

Much of the city can be forgiven, though, due to the overwhelming beauty of it and the occasional moments of true peace amid the canals. If contemplation of the history and wonder of Venice is what you are after though, Saint Mark’s Square is best left to the selfie-stick-wielding-masses.

Keeping your cool as you try to navigate the sea of tourists there is an almost impossible exercise.

You May Also Like:
Hall in Musee d'Orsay

3 Intriguing Museums in Paris That Aren't the Louvre

While not as well-known as the Louvre, these are still some of the best museums in Paris. Check out everything from medieval baths to art to dinosaur bones!

The glass pyramid and fountains outside The LouvreIf you manage to politely shove your way to the front of the crowd you will be disappointed to find you still can’t get within 20 feet of the Mona Lisa.Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / dennisvdw

Mona Lisa, Paris

The “Mona Lisa” may be one of the most disappointing tourist attractions in Europe. Never in the history of human travel have people traveled so far, and lined up for so long to see something so small.

This isn’t to insult Leonardo’s work; the man was undoubtedly a genius — anyone who can make hordes of people cluster around a decidedly modest painting centuries after its creation has to be.

If you do manage to elbow and politely shove your way to the front of the crowd in order to actually glimpse the painting, you will be disappointed to find that you can’t get within 20 feet of the actual artwork, and that photos are prohibited.

Comments +