15 Insanely Popular Tourist Traps in Europe

Part of being a tourist is playing the tourist role to the hilt. Tourists want to eat the local food and do local activities. Unfortunately, this may include visiting tourist traps that may be overrated, according to the locals. But you’re a tourist. If you have to visit the tourist traps, check out those on this list.

1. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

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The tower opened in 1372, and leaned from the start, which attracted visitors. That means it’s been a tourist trap for nearly 700 years. Why fight history? You know you’ve pretended to push up the Tower of Pisa in photos if you visited the Pisa Cathedral. Don’t worry, we’ve done it, too.

2. Checkpoint Charlie, Germany

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This isn’t technically a tourist trap, but it still draws about 4 million visitors every year. Checkpoint Charlie is the most well-known spot along the Berlin Wall that divided East Berlin from West Berlin. You may also recognize it from the Tom Hanks movie Bridge of Spies.

3. The Mona Lisa, France

Mona Lisa, France
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As one of the most famous paintings in the world, the Mona Lisa sees millions of visitors every year. Travelers make a point to visit the Louvre Museum to catch a glimpse of the “lady with the mystic smile.” Visitors do complain that they can’t get that close to the painting, and there’s always a crowd.

4. Blarney Stone, Ireland

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Believe it or not, thousands of tourists visit Blarney Castle in Cork to hang upside down and kiss the Blarney Stone. The stone is steeped in myth and legend, and many believe if you kiss it, you’ll be gifted with eloquence. If you have an issue with germs, though, we suggest passing on this activity.

5. The Hills of Salzburg, Austria

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Julie Andrews sang “The hills are alive!” in The Sound of Music. Fans of the musical can tour locations in Salzburg where the movie was filmed. If you must, you can also re-enact the famous scene with the sweeping, snow-capped Alps in the background for your movie moment.

6. Durres Beach, Albania

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Durres Beach is the most visited beach in Albania. The area is covered in a sea of umbrellas, shading visitors from around the world. So, good luck finding a spot. However, there are other beaches that are less crowded and offer the same abundant sunshine and amenities. All you have to do is look around.

7. Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Dubrovnik was once a quiet village on the coast of Croatia, tucked behind its wall fortress. It’s now flooded with tourists. We can thank Game of Thrones for using it as a filming location for its rise in popularity. The locals probably aren’t as thankful, except for the revenue the tourists bring in.

8. The Little Mermaid Statue, Denmark

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The emphasis is on “little” for this attraction. You’ll be surprised how small the sculpture is in real life — just 4 feet tall. Still, thousands of visitors travel to Copenhagen to take a photo of the statue, inspired by the fairy tale made famous by Hans Christian Andersen — and later by the Disney movie juggernaut.

9. Buckingham Palace, England

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Nothing says British royalty more than Buckingham Palace in London, and what it represents. Built by King George IV in 1707, it’s a historic and cultural touchpoint, plus you can see the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. Just don’t try to make the guards laugh. They take their jobs very seriously.

10. Oktoberfest, Germany

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Each year, 6 million beer enthusiasts visit Munich to enjoy Oktoberfest during late September and early October. The festival has been running, at least informally, since 1810. Eat, drink, and don’t forget to grab a beer stein to take home.

11. Trevi Fountain, Italy

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Who knows why a landmark becomes a tourist trap? One good guess is that it was a movie location. Rome’s Trevi Fountain was the centerpiece of the 1954 film Three Coins in The Fountain, which also spawned a hit pop song. It’s on the bucket list of many visitors who take a trip to Italy. The legend connected with the fountain says if you throw a coin into the fountain, you’ll return someday.

12. Bran Castle, Romania

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Was Dracula real, and did he drink the blood of his enemies? Vlad Tepes was certainly a real person, and he definitely has an unsavory reputation. Bran Castle, in the town of Bran, was built in 1377 and is believed to be the inspiration for Castle Dracula in Bram Stoker’s famous novel. It’s a popular tourist spot that attracted more than 1 million visitors in 2023.

13. The Acropolis, Athens, Greece

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About 3 million tourists flocked to the Acropolis in 2022. The complex features several buildings of architectural and historic significance. Walk around the original foundations of the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena, and the Theatre of Dionysus. It’s a trove of history, culture, and mythology and sees crowds year-round.

14. La Rambla, Spain

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La Rambla is Barcelona’s most well-known street market, with the most foot traffic. The shops along La Rambla cater to visitors looking for souvenirs and food, although they usually pay too much for both. Still, it’s a good place to sit for a while and watch the people go by.

15. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

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No, this isn’t the 1980 Brooke Shields movie. This Blue Lagoon in Grindavik is the most famous and most visited geothermal spa in Europe. It may not be a natural hot spring, but it is the most photogenic. It’s also child-friendly and accessible for those in wheelchairs.


The Fugutive
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


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