8 Tourist Traps That Tourists Will Actually Enjoy

If you’ve fallen for a lavishly written travel brochure only to arrive at an overpriced, overcrowded disappointment, you’re likely jaded on tourist traps. Actually, many of the most “popular” destinations turn out to be a real let down. Here are the top “tourist traps” actually worth your time and money, as well as the ones better bypassed for an alternative destination.

Tourist Traps You’ll Actually Enjoy

Here is a list of popular destinations actually worth your time.

1. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Image via Flickr by Francisco Antunes

Attracting more than 400,000 annually, you may pass up this opportunity due to the crowds. However, this geothermal spa is so peaceful and relaxing you actually don’t even notice the other people. Instead of making it your vacation, plan an extended layover here on your way home to relieve your jet lag and travel stress.

2. Palace of Versailles, France

Palace of Versailles, France
Image via Flickr by robertpaulyoung

This historic wonder is actually worth the wait in line. Don’t miss the Hall of Mirrors, Grand Canal, fountains and gardens if you get the chance. The best way to enjoy it is to schedule an entire day here, so you aren’t in a hurry.

3. Roman Colosseum, Italy

Roman Colosseum, Italy
Image via Flickr by jac o p o

Built almost 2,000 years ago, modern visitors were restricted from the gladiator tunnels below until recently. In 2010, this area became accessible to the public, making it worth the trip. Now that we can fully experience this fascinating spectacle, it’s definitely a to-do on your next European vacation.

4. Demilitarized Zone, Korea

Demilitarized Zone, Korea
Image via Flickr by Jirka Matousek

Sure, there a few vendors selling T-shirts, but the War Zone between North and South Korea is one of the only living monuments of the Cold War. It’s thrilling to see the opposing forces face off every day, especially in light of new tensions between the countries. It’s an easy trip from the airport if you’re flying Korean Air.

Alternatives to Lackluster Tourist Traps

These sites are sure to disappoint, but there are excellent alternatives to consider.

5. Stonehenge, England

Stonehenge, England
Image via Flickr by nyaa_birdies_perch

Stonehenge is crammed between two busy highways, and tourists are kept a safe distance to prevent further damage to the ancient relic. Instead, venture to the town of Avebury, just 25 miles away. The whole town is surrounded by a stone circle, and there are fewer tourists to contend with.

6. The Pyramids at Giza Necropolis, Egypt

The Pyramids at Giza Necropolis, Egypt

Image via Flickr by neiljs

What the travel brochures don’t show you are the littered landscapes surrounding the pyramids. Fast food restaurants and general eyesores ruin the view. Instead, try the lesser-travelled pyramids in nearby Dashur.

7. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
Image via Flickr by ecomakademie

This venue is so crowded it’s impossible to get a good photograph here without accidentally getting into the shots of 100 other tourists. Pass on the tower and make a short trip to Duomo di Pisa, a Roman cathedral filled with masterpieces of art.

8. Times Square, New York

Times Square, New York
Image via Flickr by Emily Stanchfield

If you don’t enjoy commercialism, you’re not likely to have fun in the outrageous ad spectacle masquerading as Times Square. Take a stroll down 5th Avenue and visit the New York Museum Mile in lieu of the Square. There are eight fabulous museums here to enjoy.

Now you’ll know which tourist traps are worth your while, and which are better kept in the travel brochure basement.


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