Every European Country's Worst Tourist Trap
All 44 countries that comprise Europe have amazing things to offer visitors. But they also all have destinations and experiences that can easily be categorized as tourist traps.
OK, maybe not all of them — Moldova, for example, isn’t a place with many tourist traps because it isn’t a place with many tourists. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, is full of foreign visitors and things designed to get their money while offering minimal actual value.
We’ve searched for some of the kitschiest experiences in every European country that we’d advise you to skip while offering up alternative sojourns that are far superior. Yes, Europe is filled with places you should visit. But it’s also home to plenty of places you should avoid at all costs.
Albania — Durres Beach
This tiny Balkan country has a gorgeous stretch of coast on both the Adriatic and Ionian seas. The most popular place to catch some rays and cool off is Durres Beach outside the capital city of Tirana. But good luck finding even a grain of sand among the throngs of thonged tourists. This is where folks go for bubble parties and sickly sweet cocktails.
Instead, check out Gjipe Beach. It’s lightly traveled, farther south on the Ionian Sea and well worth the effort.
What Visitors Have to Say About Durres Beach
"Well ... this place is typical Dhermi place that rips off every tourist they reach ... soulless." —Livia A., Tripadvisor
Andorra — Ski Resorts
Stuck between Spain and France is the mountainous paradise of Andorra. Naturally, most folks come for the winter sports, booking stays at local ski resorts. The problem? During peak season, this can make overcrowding a serious problem. Plus, these resorts are often pricey.
Savvy visitors are better off ditching their snow gear and warming up in the Caldea thermal spa instead. It’s Europe’s largest thermal spa and worth every relaxing penny.
What Visitors Have to Say About Andorra Ski Resorts
"Just wasted a week of my daughter's life at the snow garden where the children were hoarded in and sat down for an hour and a half with no activities. They then went outside to just stand there in a line for two hours, getting around three turns to ski about two meters. Absolute rubbish." —Sarika B., Tripadvisor
Austria — Mozart and Strauss Concerts
Vienna is a classical music lover’s dream. Many of the greatest composers hailed from the Austrian capital — but that was many, many years ago. Nowadays, most tourists remember the greats at Mozart & Strauss concerts at the Kursalon, showcasing songs by the two musical legends.
Geared toward tourists, these shows are numerous, expensive and frankly not high-quality enough to justify the cost, especially when they're packaged with overpriced dinners.
Instead of spending your money on one of these kitschy performances, see a live show at the uber-famous Musikverein, where all the greats performed in their day.
What Visitors Have to Say About Mozart and Strauss Concerts
"Music OK. Room hot, stuffy, crowded. Selfish people obstructing view." —Anonymous
Belarus — Old Town Minsk
Avoid the “Old Town” that’s not really very old in Minsk — many of the original 17th and 18th century houses here were recreated in the 1980s — and go literally anywhere else in the capital city, such as the Palace of Art.
Note: Visa-free tourism has been allowed in Belarus only since 2017, so there aren’t exactly traditional tourist traps around the country.
What Visitors Have to Say About Old Town Minsk
"The historic center of Minsk is minuscule, but it contains quite a few churches, some squares and a handful of old houses. It's so well maintained that it could be in Disneyland, so it's not very authentic. Good for a stroll." —Cinbkk, Tripadvisor
Belgium — Mini-Europe and Atomium
Brussels is home to not one, but two ho-hum tourist attractions. Mini-Europe is a cheesy amusement park featuring replicas of European Union monuments that frankly aren’t all that impressive. (The scale is 1:25.)
The park sits at the foot of Atomium, a bizarre structure made of stainless steel spheres that was constructed for the 1958 Brussels World Expo. Today, it’s a museum that mostly seems dedicated to getting you to buy stuff at the gift shop.
The names of these places are cool, but that’s about it.
Instead, go to the Grand Place in Brussels, especially if you’re visiting in August when the entire square is covered in a blanket of flowers.
What Visitors Have to Say About Mini-Europe and Atomium
"Very expensive, no real reduced prices for kids. The magic of such an attraction is in the automatic scenes, but here most of them are out of service, there are sunken boats, broken models ... not a soul fixing anything, makes you wonder what you are paying for." —Carmeron_vdb, Tripadvisor
Bosnia and Herzegovina — Stari Most
Stari Most, the famous bridge in Mostar that dates back to the 16th century, is actually quite impressive and high, measuring 79 feet.
Just don’t fall for the diving scam here, in which handlers take bets on whether or not a young man will jump. These hucksters only want your money, and if you stand around you’ll almost certainly see the same diving action for free.
What Visitors Have to Say About Stari Most
"The bridge isn't original. It was bombed in the '90s. It's also overrun with tourists and tacky tourist shops." —Jenn L., Tripadvisor
Bulgaria — Sunny Beach
Sunny Beach is full of tourists ready to party hard. If you’re between the ages of approximately 18 and 22, and enjoy getting wasted on cheap booze while throngs of people act like idiots around you, be our guest.
Everyone else should head to another beach town on Bulgaria’s Black Sea Riviera, like Ahtopol or Irakli. Both are clothing-optional and offer plenty of excitement, sans the hordes of intoxicated carousers.
What Visitors Have to Say About Sunny Beach
"This funfair was awful. We have never been to such a miserable place before. The staff was like 'we do not care.' We bought tickets for the happy hour from 17 to 20, and it turns out that we can't use them whenever we wanted." —Joanne Rick, Tripadvisor
Croatia — Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is quite a stunning walled fortress, but it’s absolutely mobbed with tourists from every corner of the world. For that, we can largely “thank” “Game of Thrones,” which used the location as a stand-in for King’s Landing and turned the destination into an over-touristed mess. (On that note, avoid the tourist-trap GoT tours here, too!)
Instead, check out one or two of Croatia’s thousand-plus islands or Dalmatian Coast towns like Zadar and Split. All offer scenic beauty with a modicum of breathing room.
What Visitors Have to Say About Dubrovnik
"Dubrovnik is just too expensive. Prices for parking tickets can't be real. 1 hour 50 kuna? What can you see for 1 hour? Daily ticket is 600 kuna? Insane! Food and drinks?? Horrible ... Don't waste your money here." —_almicaaa_, Tripadvisor
Czech Republic — Expensive Beer in Prague
Yes, this sounds weird as a tourist trap, but when you’re in the famous city and want to enjoy some of the world’s best suds, make sure you’re not paying more than 50 CZK (a little less than 2 euros) for the common brands. Some craft beers will go for more than that, but it’s a baseline you should always be aware of.
Otherwise, you could find yourself getting ripped off, as far too many tourists are.
What Visitors Have to Say About Expensive Beer in Prague
"This is obviously targeted at tourists who do not know the normal price of beer. I went there with some friends, ordered a round of beers and after being told the price we drunk the beer and left. 57 czk [Czech koruna] for Pilsner is quite a lot. The same price for Rychtá? is ridiculous. 73 czk for Lobkowicz? Seriously?" —Martin Melka, Google
Denmark — Little Mermaid Statue
The diminutive Little Mermaid statue is one of Copenhagen’s top tourist attractions, which is exactly why you should avoid it. At a mere 4 feet tall, you’ll be lucky to catch a glimpse of it through the dense crowd.
Instead, check out Gefion Fountain. Much more artistic, it depicts the Norse goddess Gefjon driving a group of animals.
What Visitors Have to Say About the Little Mermaid Statue
"Copenhagen's most overrated attraction. There are much more beautiful and fascinating statues nearby (for example, the Zinkglobal)." —Lorenzo Casadei, Google
Estonia — Tallinn
Tallinn, the capital city, is impressive and filled with interesting history. But it’s also where basically all the tourists to Estonia go, which means plenty of overpriced attractions and not a lot of elbow room.
Instead, check out the neo-classical vibes of Tartu, a college town south of the capital. Or for a true Estonian experience, head to the resort city of Parnu on the Gulf of Riga and relax in a smoke sauna.
What Visitors Have to Say About Tallinn
"There is nothing special to say. Just for a walk around it is OK. But recommend not to eat or drink there. Restaurants and bars are unreasonably expensive. If you want to eat or drink, you better do it outside of old town. There are plenty of places even in the city center to eat and drink. Restaurants and bars in old town are a complete rip-off." —Rainis_Enely, Tripadvisor
Finland — Rovaniemi
If you’ve come this far, you probably wanted to truly get away from it all. So there’s no reason to go to the mega-touristy Santa’s village of Rovaniemi, where it’s Christmas 365 days a year (sounds like a Tim Burton movie from hell).
If you’re way up in Lapland, you’re in one of the peak positions to view the incredible natural phenomenon called Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights. This is a way better use of your precious time.
What Visitors Have to Say About Rovaniemi
"It's like a shopping mall, but expensive. You have to pay for nearly everything, even if you want to see reindeers. Wouldn't recommend." —Christian W., Tripadvisor
France — Eiffel Tower
We would never tell anyone to avoid the Eiffel Tower. Except that’s exactly what we’re doing.
The world’s most iconic radio tower is also the world’s most visited paid monument. Get close enough to take some photos, but avoid those crazy lines by heading to Paris’ second-tallest skyscraper, Montparnasse Tower, for equally if not more awesome panoramic views of the city.
What Visitors Have to Say About the Eiffel Tower
"This tower attracts a huge crowd, but it is not maintained at all. View is not worth it in daytime, but I am not sure about night." —Muhammad Tayyab, Tripadvisor
Germany — Oktoberfest
We love boots of beer as much as anyone, but we also value streets free of sots and their watery discharges. Oktoberfest is for most attendees a drunken blur. That’s why Munich has so many medics on site and police, albeit friendly police, to try to keep order and peace.
If you’d like to sample Germany’s incredible beer, do so anytime of year anywhere in the country except late September and early October in Munich.
What Visitors Have to Say About Oktoberfest
"It's just not my kind of fun. That being said, there are reasons why I don't like Oktoberfest.
- The crowd and the squeezing
- Tourists, infinite amount of tourists. Vomiting tourists, tourists sleeping on the sidewalk, tourists occupying haupt bahnhof and therefore annoying homeless people, tourists trying to hook up.
- Terrible terrible music
- (So many) people who cannot handle their drinks
- Cold! It's cold." —thisisntsummer, Tripadvisor
Greece — Acropolis
If selfie sticks, glossy rocks and massive crowds are your jam, then by all means make the pilgrimage to the Acropolis, Athens’ ancient citadel and home of the Parthenon temple. But the city, and all of Greece for that matter, is filled with other archaeological sites that contain a fraction of the tourists.
Many are located around the base of the Acropolis, so while you’re enjoying Hadrian’s Library or the Ancient Agora, you can snap a few photos of the Parthenon without traversing the slippery slopes or having to dodge tourists from all directions.
What Visitors Have to Say About Acropolis
"Huge queue, entry intervals from two hours. Very hard to take pictures from outside, so you are forced to pay and wait." —Iaroslav-Andrei Hapenciuc, Google
Holy See — Basically All of It
Also known as Vatican City, this microstate and headquarters of the Catholic Church is essentially one big tourist trap. Visitors to the Sistine Chapel, for example, are herded through like donkeys and given only fleeting glimpses of the incredible frescoes.
There’s only one way to actually enjoy this destination, and that’s by booking in advance a 7:15 a.m. breakfast at Vatican Museum on a weekday, to enjoy one of the most extensive art collections in the world while most people are still in bed.
What Visitors Have to Say About Vatican City
"Don't bother. So busy with the groups. The groups are the issues because there were hundreds of them so you basically see nothing. We ran past every group we saw. We couldn't wait to leave. The audio guide is really hard to use as well." —Sun_Love2003, Tripadvisor
Hungary — Budapest
It’s easy to think of Budapest and only Budapest when visiting Hungary. The city rightfully earned the title of “Paris of the East” thanks to its incredible architecture and Danube River that cuts it in two. It’s full of castles and terrific food, but also hordes of tourists. To only spend time there would be a mistake.
Hungary is full of spectacular little towns and cities, such as Sopron on the Austrian border. The concentration of protected buildings and official monuments here — 240 in total — make for a Baroque and medieval architecture wonderland.
What Visitors Have to Say About Budapest
Regarding one of Budapest's main attractions, the Hungarian Parliament Building:
"It is amazing from outside especially at night. But about inside? No, you need to wait in queue, pay for a ticket and then you will have a tour of about 15 mins of a building with less than 150 years history. I do not recommend visiting inside." —Samira1358, Tripadvisor
Iceland — Blue Lagoon
This little island nation is one of the least-visited countries in Europe, so it doesn’t exactly have what one might consider traditional tourist traps. However, where there are tourists and a few bucks to be made, there will be less than ideal adventures and attractions.
So instead of paying $94 for the most basic experience at the Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater spa (it can get as expensive as $622 for the complete package), check out the Secret Lagoon for less than $25.
What Visitors Have to Say About the Blue Lagoon
"Subpar experience, well below expectations! We went at 5 p.m. in December. It was dark already and overcrowded. The experience from start to finish was that of a factory production line.
There are multiple tour groups which didn’t help with the experience either.
Ninety seven euros for a factory production line was too much. Secret lagoon was much better." —Alex Thomas, Google
Ireland — Oliver St. John Gogarty Pub
For a relatively small country, Ireland packs in a ton of attractions and attracts a ton of tourists. That makes it especially important to wade through the fluff to find truly unique experiences.
The Oliver St. John Gogarty pub and restaurant in Dublin’s Temple Bar neighborhood should be avoided at all costs. It was designed specifically for tourists who think Ireland is all about potatoes and Guinness — and you will pay a premium for that stout.
Instead, try something like Mary's Bar and Hardware Shop, which is a throwback to Ireland’s old village pub scene, when a bar was tucked inside a grocery or DIY shop.
What Visitors Have to Say About Oliver St. John Gogarty Pub
"Don't bother coming here, worst service ever seen, overpriced menu, food tasted like cr*p. Please take my advice, don't come here." —Kenard T., Yelp
Italy — Piazza Navona
Public squares, or piazzas, are big in these parts, especially Rome. The most famous is easily Piazza Navona, which is beautiful but full of tourist traps like bland restaurants, cheesy street performers and folks hawking cheap souvenirs. It’s also wildly crowded with camera-wielding visitors.
So after you get a whiff of Navona, keep walking a bit and find Campo de Fiori. This public square is a hopping outdoor marketplace by day and a restaurant and nightlife destination by night.
What Visitors Have to Say About Piazza Navona
"Piazza Navona is located perfectly for a tourist visit to Rome. Just don’t go to the piazza. It’s filled with vendors trying to sell you all kinds of junk and surrounded by restaurants with staff outside trying to pull you in. Best advice - Skip it. Walk straight through." —BMB65, Tripadvisor
Latvia — Jurmala
When it heats up in summertime, everyone heads to the seaside resort city of Jurmala outside the capital of Riga. The crowds can be overwhelming at these beaches, so it makes more sense to check out another town on the Gulf of Riga like Saulkrasti, or even to opt for a lake experience at the family-friendly Kisezers.
Visitors will find the same warm sun and cool waters, but none of the 80-year-old men in thongs.
What Visitors Have to Say About Jurmala
"The toll on the bridge to Jurmala is a state-organized tourist trap! If you dont understand the Latvian-only toll warning signs and miss the exit to the ticket machines, you will be pulled over by the police (hand picked for your foreign license plate) and definitely fined for 20-40 lats." —Partel L., Tripadvisor
Liechtenstein — Winter in the Alps
Liechtenstein is small — its capital city, Vaduz, has only about 5,000 residents — but the mountainous country is full of wonders, all of which can be experienced in a relatively short trip thanks to the country’s compact size.
Tourists come here for winter sports in the Alps and lakeside lounging in warmer months, both of which can be had in a million other locales. Visitors would be wise to instead trek through the castles and museums of Vaduz and the Roman ruins of Schaan, which is actually more populated than the capital city.
What Visitors Have to Say About Winter in the Alps
"We stopped there as part of a day tour and really was not worth it. It was just one of those awful tourist traps that have tatty overpriced souvenir shops everywhere. The lovely views on the way in and out are the only thing of great worth in coming to that area." —Oldgrumblebum, Tripadvisor
Lithuania — Hill of Crosses
Unless you’re on a Christian pilgrimage, there’s no reason to make the trek all the way to the Hill of Crosses, which is exactly what you’re picturing in your head. And “hill” is being generous; it’s more like the Mound of Crosses.
Instead of driving three hours north of the capital Vilnius, just stay right there in the city. Its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the city as a whole was the center of Europe’s largest medieval state, famous for its Baroque, Gothic and neo-classical architecture.
What Visitors Have to Say About the Hill of Crosses
"I do not understand this place, mountain of crosses and everything. What is there to look at. Tourists come for 10 minutes maximum. Parking fee, honestly sorry for the money spent for parking, as there is nothing interesting here." —Jevgeni SM, Google
Luxembourg — Grand Ducal Palace
This landlocked microstate is famous for its dozens of castles — 130 by some estimates — meaning that if you make your way to Luxembourg you’re probably going to visit plenty of these historic structures.
That makes it doubly important to avoid the most boring castle of all: Grand Ducal Palace. This is where the Grand Duke of Luxembourg lives and conducts his business, and it has virtually nothing interesting going on. Your time will be better spent checking out the castles of Vianden, Beaufort, Bourscheid, Larochette or Clervaux.
What Visitors Have to Say About Grand Ducal Palace
"Couldn't get in even though we queued at the entrance for ages. When we got to the top, we were told go elsewhere for tickets. No directions given. No signage. Then when we got to ticket office, no tickets. Disappointing." —Christine Casey, Google
North Macedonia — Fortress Kale
This small Balkan nation, not to be confused with the northern Greece region, is full of historic ruins and extremely wild wildlands. Most start their journeys in the capital city of Skopje, where all would be wise to avoid the Byzantine-era Fortress Kale. It lacks basic signage and upkeep is nonexistent.
For a dose of North Macedonian history, visit the Archaeological Museum of Macedonia.
What Visitors Have to Say About Fortress Kale
"The only good thing is the landscape. Garbage and waste everywhere, nothing you can really visit, entrance hard to find, probably when tourists come close signs fade due to embarrassment for the shameful state of the fortress. Keep away." —Andrea Mondello, Google
Malta — Comino
Malta is comprised of three islands just south of Sicily, which means it’s a popular Mediterranean destination for sun and surf. Most beaches are fairly crowded, naturally, but some are more insane than others. Comino, the smallest of the three islands, should be avoided at all costs, unless you dig swimming with thousands of strangers and sunbathing next to even more.
Check out the hidden gems — that require a bit of effort to reach — in Imgiebah Bay, Qarraba Bay and St Peter’s Pool for actual R&R.
What Visitors Have to Say About Comino
"Horrific!! Stay away. It is a pit of drunk kids - techno beats and kebab smell. Way WAY to many people on to small space. Trash everywhere and close to impossible to have a dip in the sea." —Oslo-TJ, Tripadvisor
Moldova — Nothing!
It’s hard to pinpoint any tourist traps in the third least-visited country in Europe, where just 121,000 international tourists go each year.
So instead of avoiding places in Moldova, travelers should just go there, period. Why? It has interesting museums, cultural attractions like monasteries, archaeological ruins (including three UNESCO sites) and plenty of big-city charm in the capital of Chisinau, with zero real tourist traps to speak of.
What Visitors Have to Say About Moldova
"Had a great day visiting the two most famous wineries with our guide Veaceslav Gorita. Very smooth organization and an all-round excellent trip. Our guide was great to chat with (in excellent English) about the trip and Moldova and its history more widely. He recommended a really nice, inexpensive place for lunch out in the suburbs of Chisinau we would never had considered otherwise. Both wineries are excellent, though the atmospheres are very different." —Alex C., Tripadvisor
Monaco — Monte Carlo District
The land of millionaires is among Europe’s least-visited countries and one of its smallest with about 40,000 residents. Still, its casino, auto race and Mediterannean seaside attract well-heeled visitors and those who want to gawk at yachts and cars that cost as much as a studio apartment in San Francisco.
Most visitors will head for the Monte Carlo district, where the people-watching is prime but the meals are way overpriced and most people lose their shirts at the casino. For a more alternative and affordable experience, check out the flora and incredible views of the Mediterranean from the Jardin Exotique garden.
What Visitors Have to Say About the Monte Carlo District
"What a letdown this place was. In fact, the whole of Monaco itself. Ugly buildings with the odd nice one, full of massive tour groups off cruiseliners, construction everywhere and little greenery...don’t bother!" —intervallo, Tripadvisor
Montenegro — Old Town Kotor
Often overlooked in favor of its more popular neighbors of Croatia, Italy and Greece, Montenegro is a beautiful and dynamic little country on the Adriatic Sea. Its capital, Kotor, is one of the oldest cities in the Balkans and boasts plenty of charms.
But while its walled Old Town is a throwback to medieval times, it’s also the most touristy part of the city and can make you feel like the locals are grabbing at your pockets every minute.
A better option? Find your way to the Adriatic jewel that is Sveti Stefan on the Budva Riviera.
What Visitors Have to Say About Old Town Kotor
"Gridlocked pollution-filled tourist trap. One day is more than enough. The traffic is at standstill because of the sheer volume and creates dirty fume clouds that choke you when you walk. The beautiful bay is hidden by numerous obscenely sized cruise ships that totally spoil the view and bring thousands of tourists to clog the streets." —RJW121, Tripadvisor
Netherlands — Heineken Experience
Looking for a nice pint or several of Dutch beer? Then avoid the Heineken Experience at all costs.
What used to cost 1 euro for a full brewery tour and all the beers you could drink has become an 18-euro advertisement for a global alcohol brand with kitschy “experiences” like creating your own Heineken label. And all you get to drink is two half-pints of awful beer.
Instead of imbibing propaganda, check out the Netherlands’ incredible craft-beer scene, found in cities from Haarlem to Amsterdam to The Hague.
What Visitors Have to Say About the Heineken Experience
"I only had a few hours in town, and thought this would be a great tour. I was extremely disappointed. You know the short animation that a movie theater shows you before the movie starts? It’s like that, merged with a commercial Disney ride. It was by far the strangest tour I'm have ever been on." —Dan Vennard, Google
Norway — Pulpit Rock
Most visitors come to this Scandinavian paradise for the natural beauty — snowy mountains and deep-cut fjords — and the dearth of other people.
But though Norway is huge and lightly populated, in recent years tourists have been making it much more crowded. If you want to enjoy anything resembling solitude, avoid places like Pulpit Rock, a 1,900-foot cliff overlooking a fjord that can only be enjoyed after waiting in a long line. The Trolltunga rock formation and port town of Ålesund have also suffered from over-tourism.
Look for guided tours of Norway’s true wildlands or opt for off-the-beaten-path destinations like Rjukan, Åna-Sira or Folldal to discover the peace and beauty that made this country so popular to begin with.
What Visitors Have to Say About Pulpit Rock
"This hike attracts a massive number of non-hiker types who will do anything to get that selfie at the top. It was not a pleasant experience. Heavy hiker traffic in both directions over steep, slippery rocks. Aggressive, inconsiderate hikers trying to push through and overtake at all times. Not a safe situation. Trash on the sides of the trail." —Runyogagirl, Tripadvisor
Poland — Upside Down House
There are numerous mountain resort towns in Poland that offer memorable experiences in all seasons, and one of the best is Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains. But whether you’re there for wintertime skiing or summertime hiking, there is one major tourist trap to cross off the list: the Upside Down House.
It’s meant to symbolize the decades of the Polish People's Republic in the Eastern Bloc and how twisted, or upside down, the country was during this time. We’re down with that kind of rebellion, but not so much with the huge crowds. The house is also really small, making a tour of the inside a waste of time and money.
Save a few euros by snapping a quick photo from the outside, then spend the rest of your day exploring the rest of this cool little mountain town.
What Visitors Have to Say About the Upside Down House
"This is a total rip-off, tourist trap. Overpriced and really showing nothing of value. Better rent a kayak or explore neighboring lakes. Waste of your time." —TheKrizizzy, Tripadvisor
Portugal — Sintra
Tourists have only recently discovered the wonders of Portugal, so it’s pretty easy to avoid the crowds and have a truly authentic experience. Many visitors will start their journey in Lisbon, the capital city, and take day trips or short excursions in all directions. One of the first towns people flock to is Sintra, and for good reason — it’s a gorgeous slice of UNESCO-protected history.
But it’s also super-crowded and filled with people looking to make a quick buck off hapless tourists. The dining is overpriced and tours of places like the Sintra Palace cost way more than they should (up to 27 euros per person!).
Just as gorgeous, and far less touristy, is Viana do Castelo in the north of the country. Rent a car and take a four-hour road trip you will not soon forget.
What Visitors Have to Say About Sintra
"I'm not sure what there is to see here. It's the western most tip of the Eurasian landmass, tick." —hollaab, Tripadvisor
Romania — Casa Vlad Dracul
If you’ve made it all the way to Romania, congratulations. It’s well worth a visit and none of your friends have ever been there or can even locate it on a map (it’s in southeastern Europe).
Once there, you will likely want to visit the beautiful forests and mountains of Transylvania in the north. And you might even have designs on cozying up with the world’s most famous vampire, Vlad the Impaler (Dracula). He was a ruler of old Wallachia and is still revered in the country.
Vlad was born in Sighisoara, a romantic little town and UNESCO site. By all means visit Sighisoara — just avoid Dracula kitsch like Casa Vlad Dracul. It’s reputedly the home where Vlad was born, but it's been completely rebuilt since he was there. The onsite restaurant is mediocre, and a tour amounts to walking into a tiny room and getting jump-scared by a guy dressed in a cheap Count Dracula costume.
Simply enjoying the town on foot is a far better way to go.
What Visitors Have to Say About Casa Vlad Dracul
"Not worth the admission fee, just an overrated 'haunted house' with no haunting. A couple of Halloween decorations and a silly jump scare. No effort put into it at all and the place has a weird smell." —Anca P., Tripadvisor
Russia — Lenin's Mausoleum
Say what you will about Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, aka Vladimir Lenin, but the father of the Soviet Union still attracts huge crowds. That’s because his corpse has been lying in state since his death in 1924. See it for yourself in Moscow if you must, but know that there are much better ways to spend your time in the Russian capital.
The queue for Lenin will take forever, and all you’ll get is a glimpse of the body before being shuffled along. If it’s Soviet-era relics you desire, there are numerous tours and attractions offering exactly that and more.
What Visitors Have to Say About Lenin's Mausoleum
"The organization of the line is a huge disaster. There's no organization at all! Don't go past 11:00 a.m. or you can end up waiting 1 hour and 45 minutes just to see how they close the fence in front of hundreds of people and your waiting time will be for nothing." —Iñigo Cámara, Google
San Marino — Shopping
One could make a case that this microstate with millions of visitors a year is one big (er, small) tourist trap. Its tax-free status has made it a haven for shoppers looking to buy generic stuff for much less money. As they say, when in (somewhat nearby) Rome…
In all seriousness, if you’re looking for a break from the beaches of Rimini, you could do a lot worse than a San Marino day trip. Located in the Apennine Mountains, the views are stunning and the history is fascinating (it’s the world’s oldest republic). Go for the sightseeing and avoid the shopping crowds.
What Visitors Have to Say About Shopping in San Marino
"In the hope of doing some good tax-free shopping, this was a huge disappointment. Only a few shops. Fifth floor closed. Very boring." —Eddyvdbr, Tripadvisor
Serbia — Ski Resorts of Zlatibor
It’s difficult to fault the popular destinations of Belgrade, which is one of Europe’s cooler if grittier cities. So how about the ski resorts of Zlatibor? Why would anyone come to Serbia for skiing?
The country spent a lot of time and money trying to make these resorts destination-worthy, and sadly, those efforts did not pay off. The resorts are small and the slopes offer little in the way of exciting runs.
Instead of coming here for snow sports, check out the country’s amazing wildlands when the ice melts. There’s Djavolja Varoš (Devil’s Town), where the legend goes that petrified wedding guests make up the eroded rock formations. Then there’s Mokra Gora village, Uvac Canyon or Derdap Gorge — all breathtaking and one of a kind.
What Visitors Have to Say About the Ski Resorts of Zlatibor
"The new trail they brag about is a mild horror, for two days it was a mixture of ice and mud, not to mention the holes. It takes them two days to 'fix' it. We haven't even seen the black trail because it hasn't worked for five days. When you call, they tell you that the ski resort is open, but you have to ask if the trails are open. All the worst." —Mona Simic, Google
Slovakia — UFO Observation Deck
There are thousands of visitors to the UFO Observation Deck, but none of them are extraterrestrials. The attraction’s name, disappointingly, refers to its spaceship-like shape.
Still, if you’re keen on being 300 feet above the capital of Bratislava and eating expensive “authentic” food, this is your spot. Just don’t show up if you use a wheelchair, as it’s inaccessible.
For better views and some actual Slovakian history, head to the Bratislava Castle above Old Town. The site dates to the Stone Age and contains a museum and restaurant serving traditional Slovak food.
What Visitors Have to Say About the UFO Observation Deck
"Not worth it. Go to the castle. Grounds are free, and the view is nice. (And the elevator smells a bit ... off-putting.)" —Joie Finley, Google
Slovenia — Lake Bled
Many visitors to this former Yugoslavian state will no doubt check out Lake Bled. It’s often considered the country’s biggest tourist trap, although not necessarily in the avoid-at-all-costs kind of way. Visitors should, however, know a few things before they set out for the lake.
Most things you will want to do are anything but free of charge, including parking. Taking a boat to the little island with the medieval castle can cost 10 to 15 euros per person, and there’s a charge for seeing Savica Falls as well. It’s only a few euros, but most hikers don’t expect to pay anything after trekking for hours to get there.
Oh, and parking tickets are common around the lake, so look out for signs or pay 20 euros for a pass.
What Visitors Have to Say About Lake Bled
"If you are type of people who likes pure nature, this is not the place for you. Everything here is paid (e.g., swimming in the lake) and so many tourists!" —Adriana Valkova, Tripadvisor
Spain — La Rambla
La Rambla might be Barcelona’s most iconic street, but these days it doesn’t live up to the hype.
Years ago, it was a fascinating place to see oddball street performers and even weirder items for sale, like exotic plants and pet birds. However, all that charm has been replaced with tourist tat. Also gone are the tapas bars and traditional Catalan food, replaced by overpriced restaurants with bland menus catering to international travelers.
Instead, head to Rambla del Poblenou for its culture, food, people-watching and shops, famously connecting the sea to the mountains.
What Visitors Have to Say About La Rambla
"Absolutely swarming with prey, I mean tourists, it's a haven for scams and theft, while offering nothing in return for the risk. Guess I don't get it. The food is terrible and overpriced, people are constantly trying to sell you drugs, toy helicopters, beer, or those unbelievably annoying, squeaky mouth things." —Nick A., Yelp
Sweden — Gamla Stan Restaurants
When in Stockholm, be sure to visit the old town called Gamla Stan. It’s full of incredible sights such as the Nobel Museum, and the architecture is stunning. Peruse the streets and enjoy the ambiance.
Just don’t dine here.
With so many tourists, the restaurants are overpriced and the quality is low compared to the rest of the capital city. Instead, go to the Östermalm neighborhood for its array of interesting eateries. The area is slightly sleepy overall, but the dining scene is on fire.
What Visitors Have to Say About Gamla Stan Restaurants
"Terrible! Looked as if they dropped the fish on the floor, and picked it up again. Waiting too long. Only one poor waiter, running! Absolutely not recommended." —857kirstenn, Tripadvisor
Switzerland — Matterhorn
Tourists will likely seek out the Matterhorn area of the Alps when in the land of skiing and chocolate, but that will come with some downsides. Yes, the mountain is spectacular, but the crowds are not.
There have also been recent concerns over the mountain’s safety. At least six people have died while trying to climb it this year.
Luckily there are tons of alternatives, such as Gemmipass. There you will find some of the country’s best hiking and plenty of family-friendly activities, plus much smaller crowds.
What Visitors Have to Say About the Matterhorn
"The Swiss government or the tourism industry must be praised for their clever marketing as they have been able to sell off a boring mountain to the tourists and rip them off.
This is one of the most boring mountains I have seen and not much to do if you're not a winter sports lover." —Tyronne W., Tripadvisor
Ukraine — Chernobyl
We’re pretty certain that if you’re visiting this former Soviet republic you can do a lot better than touring the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
Before the war with Russia, Chernobyl tourism was increasing as, apparently, more and more folks just are throwing caution to the wind for a chance at some voyeuristic experience. (A 2019 HBO hit show made matters even worse.) Even if they tell you the radiation levels are too low to be harmful, we can’t think of a single reason to visit the area.
There is an entire country surrounding Chernobyl that is far more worthy of your time. Check out Kyiv for big-city life, Odessa for a seaside jaunt or the Carpathian Mountains for rural adventures.
What Visitors Have to Say About Chernobyl
"I want to say first everything you read about Chernobyl is true - it is a really fascinating place.
However, the guides we had for this tour are some of the worst I have ever had." —Carkyshark, Tripadvisor
United Kingdom — London Eye
London is easily one of the world’s most interesting cities, so what exactly compels someone to spend upward of £40 ($53) to wait in line for an hour to ride a Ferris wheel?
Apparently, nearly 4 million people queue up for the 440-foot London Eye every year, which means you should not. Want an incredible view of the city? Try climbing up Primrose Hill. OxoTower has an observation deck as well, and the Sky Garden is free.
What Visitors Have to Say About London Eye
"Not worth it. Not at all. Take the boat cruise, that is sooo worth it." —Tracy Rider, Google