Don’t Miss These! 15 Tourist Traps That Are Worth the Visit

Tourist traps are pretty self-explanatory. They’re places that attract many visitors where prices are often unreasonably high. The transformation of an attraction from “off the beaten path” to a “tourist trap” is also interesting.

Some sites have become so commercialized the experience feels tainted. However, there are still those that retain their original charm. If they weren’t remarkable, they wouldn’t be so popular.

1. Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

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Nowhere else does nature like Costa Rica. It’s the first country in the world to reverse deforestation. Hence, Manuel Antonio may be a tourist trap, but there are plenty of measures to keep visitors in check. Several of the trails also lead away from the crowds. Whether your time is limited or you’re desperate to see some tropical wildlife, give this National Park a chance.

2. Cinque Terre, Italy

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Thanks to its striking coastal position, Cinque Terre attracts swarms of bus and boat tours. But it’s still possible to enjoy these centuries-old villages. The best way to savor the authentic seaside vibe is to stay overnight. This way, you can experience the rugged towns before and after the day trippers arrive.

3. Machu Picchu, Peru

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This world wonder is at the top of many bucket lists, but is it worth it? It was to me. I recommend doing the Inca Trail during your visit, after which you end up at this glorious, ancient site.

4. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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Almost all backpackers traveling through Cambodia head to Angkor Wat. It’s a Buddhist temple complex and the largest religious structure on the planet, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

5. Golden Circle, Iceland

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The Golden Circle consists of Iceland’s three most popular natural wonders: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir, and Gullfoss Waterfall. Each attraction is breathtaking, and you can rent a car to visit them to avoid the crowded tours.

6. The Grand Canyon, USA

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The Grand Canyon is in northern Arizona and boasts a width of 18 miles. Certain viewpoints that are good for photo ops get crowded with tourists, but you can start your adventure earlier to avoid this or turn your focus to other points around the canyon.

7. La Sagrada Familia, Spain

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This cathedral in Barcelona is one of Spain’s most iconic treasures, an architectural masterpiece, and Antonio Gaudi’s brainchild. It does get busy, especially in the summer, with most tourists flocking to the cathedral. However, given the landmark’s history, unique shape, and ongoing construction, can you blame them?

8. The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

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You can’t go to Egypt and not see the pyramids. It can be really busy, and beware of the opportunists trying to scam you left, right, and center. But these remarkable stone formations still manage to steal the show.

9. Wadi Rum, Jordan

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If you go to Wadi Rum, you’ll probably be there with busloads of tourists, but that certainly doesn’t have to take away from its charm. Indeed, this lunar-like landscape will leave you breathless. The scenery is otherworldly and an absolute dream.

10. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

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Neuschwanstein Castle near Schwangau sits proudly atop a peak along the foothills of the German Alps. It’s a 19th-century palace that is said to be the inspiration behind many iconic Disney castles. The vistas that encircle it are also pretty grand.

11. The Colosseum in Rome

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The Colosseum is Rome’s most popular attraction. It’s an ancient amphitheater and the largest in the world. In its prime, almost 2,000 years old, this is where blood sports like gladiator combat took place. Understandably, it attracts a crowd, so try to avoid the peak summer season. I went in November, and the experience was divine.

12. The Acropolis of Athens

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I went to Athens in January. The Acropolis was still busy but not crammed with people. This hilltop citadel was once the heart of Ancient Greece. It took some patience, but we were able to get photos without anyone in the background. Even tourist traps can feel intimate if you time your trip well.


13. Dubrovnik Old Town, Croatia

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You don’t have to be a Game of Thrones fan to appreciate Dubrovnik, though there’s a good reason why it became King’s Landing. The Old Town is simply marvelous. It’s a cluster of limestone pathways huddled between towering city walls.

We first visited in May, when the crowds were still somewhat manageable. The second time, during the pandemic, was in 2020. Although it was interesting to witness the contrast, the difference in the vibe was rather eerie. I’d take the hustle and bustle any day.

14. Kotor Old City, Montenegro

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When we visited Kotor, there were still pandemic restrictions, and many cafes and restaurants were closed. As a result, the Old Town was pretty empty. It was an interesting experience, but I missed the atmosphere of the town in full swing.

15. St Michael’s Mount, UK

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Perched along England’s southwest coast, St Michael’s Mount is a tidal island. The causeway connecting the mount to the mainland is submerged underwater throughout the day. You now have to purchase a ticket to enter, which is a shame, but it’s still an epic land feature from a geographic point of view.

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