10 Worst Tourist Traps in Europe. Don’t Get Stuck!

You’ve just landed in Europe, passport in hand, and eagerly approach the stern customs workers, desperate to receive your stamp. The excitement of your European vacation washes over you. Still, you lean into your nervousness because there are so many attractions you wish to see and so little time. Don’t worry. Not all tourist traps are bad, but this list will help you avoid the overcrowded tourist traps on the continent.

1. Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos, Greece.
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Who doesn’t want to live out their Mamma Mia dreams in Greece? I know I do. I also know how overrated people who’ve visited claim it is. The beautiful island is a giant tourist trap that capitalizes on tourism and continually raises prices due to the influx of people. Instead, visit Corfu, Milos, Crete, or Symi for an uninterrupted gorgeous glimpse into Grecian culture.

2. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

A wonderful vacation at Blue Lagoon in Iceland with Northern Lights.
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If you aren’t aware, the Blue Lagoon and all the other natural hot springs reek of sulfur or rotten eggs. While the idea of soaking for hours in a hot water source while frigid winds ravish the outdoors, the Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s most expensive (and the most packed) hot spring. The country offers many other springs for free or half the price of the crowded body of water.

3. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
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For an underwhelming photo opportunity mixed with scrambling, sweaty tourists, head to Pisa. Locals suggest visiting other Italian cities or admire the tower outside the entrance gates for free.

4. Champ-Elysees, France

Arch of Triumph and Champs Elysees in Paris at night, France
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This infamous street in Paris boasts the highest brand name stores in the world. Still, tourists swarm the area, and pickpocketing is prevalent. Instead, head to a sidestreet for fabulous local goods and exquisite cuisine.

5. Las Ramblas, Spain

Barcelona, Spain - 11 April, 2022: La Rambla busy street photo with many walking people. La Rambla is the most popular pedestrian street in Barcelona city.
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Here’s another European street that takes advantage of naive tourists. Las Ramblas tends to serve overpriced food for hungry tourists who don’t know any better, and they increase the price of goods, knowing tourists will overpay and over-purchase. You’re probably stuck in a tourist trap if you don’t see any locals.

6. Top of Eiffel Tower, France

Eiffel Tower
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I think everyone who goes to Paris should visit the Eiffel Tower. However, the higher you ascend, the more money you dish out. When I visited the Eiffel Tower in the middle of June, the elevator rides sold out, and we couldn’t find a fan. As sweat poured over our bodies, we bought water for five times the price at a local store and a croissant for way more than they were worth. According to a traveler, the top of the Eiffel Tower and the roof of the Printemps Haussmann department store offer the same view.

7. Beer Gardens, Munich

MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 26, 2013: Beer Garden at the Viktualien markt. The viktualien markt is situated in the center of the city and houses a big beer garden.
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My mom visited a beer garden in Munich where she says tourists packed in the venue. No locals were there, and they did not care to celebrate or learn about the culture but instead indulged in alcohol. She says to experience the flair of the country and sit with locals, go to a smaller venue that is more affordable.

8. Spanish Steps, Rome

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Although this tourist trap in Rome is free, you do not get what you expect. Tour guides hype up the longest and widest steps as an exciting monument full of insightful culture and history. But they are just steps people sit near to eat lunch and snap photos of. Vendors pop up around the stairs and sell expensive merchandise to tourists.

9. Mona Lisa, France

PARIS, FRANCE - October 11, 2016: Visitors take photo of Leonardo DaVinci's "Mona Lisa" at the Louvre Museum
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Here we have a famous tourist trap, Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic portrait Mona Lisa, a woman who may or may not be smiling. The infamous painting hangs in the Louvre museum on a 30 by 21-inch frame, disappointing visitors. After frowning back at the painting, explore the other art pieces in the Louvre.

10. Bridge Between Continents, Iceland

A Bridge Between Two Continents, Miðlína - Iceland - March 2017
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How cool is it that a footbridge crosses between two continents, and you can stand on the wooden plank as you travel between them without a passport? Excellent in theory but not very exciting in execution. The footbridge is 50 feet long and planted on two tectonic plates, making an incredible story to tell friends but a lousy pit stop.

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