Can we really judge a certain place just by looking at all of the professional photos that pop up in the search bar? The images might show you only happy things about your travel destination but they fail to warn you about the traps you might face in a foreign country.
Nobody likes getting scammed, especially when on a vacation – that’s why it’s extremely important to do your research so you don’t fall victim to anything unpleasant. And who can tell you better about these scams better than local people! Someone on Reddit asked Europeans about tourist traps in their areas, and the answers are an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to travel to Europe in the future. Check out some stories about the worst tourist traps shared by people who actually visited them in the gallery below!
Image source: Sky-is-here
“In Spain, if a restaurant is serving lunch at noon, chances are it’s a tourist trap. Here we eat lunch between 2:30 and 4 pm. As a rule of thumb, look for locals. If no locals are eating there, avoid it.”
Image source: cheeseguy_
“The Mona Lisa in Louvre in Paris. It’s just a small painting hanging quite far away in a really crowded room full of tourists. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful, iconic painting, but it’s not worth visiting the Louvre only for the Mona Lisa. The majority of the other artworks in that museum are more impressive than the Mona Lisa.”
Image source: tgromy
“Poland. Girls with umbrellas. Avoid pretty, young girls with pink umbrellas in many popular tourist destinations in many cities. They will invite you to a strip club, where they will offer you the first drink for free, which will get you intoxicated and then rob you of your cash (credit card money too).”
Image source: skidadle_gayboi
“Greece is filled to the brim with islands, you don’t have to spend a fortune on Santorini and Mykonos, there are literally thousands of islands just as good as those and you’ll pay 1/5th of the price with just a fraction of the tourists.”
Image source: Vorherrebevares
“In Copenhagen I would say Nyhavn. Not so much going to the area, that I always recommend, but eating there. It’s expensive and you can easily find better not that far away. That being said, you of course pay for the privilege of eating at Nyhavn mostly, so if you are willing to do that, fair enough.
Also, the Little Mermaid is basically a joke among Danes by now. Every tourist has to see it, and every tourist will be disappointed. In my hometown Randers, we only really have two tourist places. An indoor rainforest, which is totally worth the money. And an Elvis museum which is build to look like his home in Memphis, which is expensive and not worth the money.”
Image source: gregyoupie
“In Brussels , avoid at all cost a neighborhood around a street named “rue des bouchers/beenhouwersstraat”. All tourists think it’s a maze of cute pedestrian streets, but actually you will find the WORST restaurants of the town there, with all typical red flags (photos on menus in 12 languages and waiters hailing you in a sort of Esperanto).
Typical scam: they advertise on boards “Belgian menu – Belgian beefsteak with a Belgian beer for 15 euro”. Then when you order it, it will always be “aaaah, we’re sorry, we are out of Belgian beefsteak. But you can have maybe the Belgian mussels on the menu, that’s our special too” – and guess what, they are much more expensive, and horrendous.
A couple of years ago, I was invited in last minute by foreign colleagues in a restaurant there, and it was worse than what I had imagined. They did not realize that I was actually a local (we were a fairly large group, and we spoke English), and I called them out when they tried to bullsh*t a colleague on how an (expensive) Belgian beer should be served. The Pikachu face by the waiter was priceless.”
Image source: avlas
“I think that “do not eat in restaurants that are really close to monuments” and “do not eat in restaurants that have a menu in more than 2 languages” is globally sound advice.
Italy specific: (as I was saying a few days ago in another thread) if your trip plan has more than 2 days in Venice and/or more than half a day in Pisa, use that extra time in other cities instead.
Venice in particular: overpriced as F**K. Don’t plan on doing your shopping there, don’t plan on eating out in fancy restaurants. DO NOT order fish or seafood a la carte – there have been a lot of cases of restaurants trying to scam tourists for hundreds of euros because in fine print the menu says the price is per 100g, not per plate.”
Image source: Jay_1327
“Romeo and Juliet’s balcony in Verona. Like, 10,000 people all crammed into this tiny alleyway just to see a balcony that I found out was built after the play was written.”
Image source: DaTrickster
“In Spain, walk away from any restaurants that serve paella for dinner. We only eat paella at lunch, folks, and that is a sign of a tourist trap. And if there are photos of the food out front, that’s a bad sign.”
Image source: Skrew11
“Probably taxi drivers in Bucharest, it’s like they are born to scam you. Instead of 7 euros, they will ask you for 20 euros from the airport if you’re foreign.
Other than that, the Bran (Dracula) Castle is kinda overrated, it’s just a normal castle somewhere near the mountains. At least that’s how I remember it 5 years ago.”
Image source: Vaseline13
“Literally ALL of Monastiraki Market, it’s filled with tacky tourist shops with overpriced poor quality tourist cr*p about the Acropolis and the ancient greek world and poorly pressed T-Shirts with cringy Greek stereotypical one liners which are probably gonna fade after a few times in the washing machine, not to mention the huge amount of pick pockets in the square and the narrow roads.
When visiting Athens, do yourselves a favour and after visiting the Acropolis dont bother with the tourist shops of Monastiraki, if really you want to buy some souvenirs, just enter one they are all exactly the same anyways, then go eat in one of the tavernas in Monastiraki or something, (except Bairaktaris, somehow this is an unpopular opinion with some Greeks, but their food is cr*p, and their restaurant is filthy, dont @ me), and then leave.”
Image source: Herr_Poopypants
“Hallstatt. If you‘ve seen photos of it online (from the same two angles) then you‘ve seen the town. It is pretty, but it is over run by tourists and cheap tourist shops. There are so many more „authentic“ villages by lakes in that region, you don’t need to go to Hallstatt to get the vibe.”
Image source: Ka1ser
“I lived in Berlin for a decade and while it’s not as bad as some other cities, it has its tourists traps.
The biggest one I can come up with is Checkpoint Charlie: the museum is mediocre, the “actors” you can take photos with are incredible expensive and the fake Soviet merch you can find cheaper anywhere else.
Speaking of which: Berlin has a lot of flea markets not all of which are good or cheap. Especially the one at Mauerpark is mostly an expensive tourist trap.
I also really really dislike the area around Friedrichsstraße. I worked around there for a while and while they have good restaurants/bars/cafes around there, most of it is generic and overpriced. I’m especially mad that they replaced one of my favourite Currywurst stalls with some “Bio Currywurst” place that is not only way more expensive, but also the tastes much worse.
Similar and not too far away: Potsdamer Platz and the Sony Centre. Almost all bars and restaurants around there are tourist traps. You go there for the view, but that’s about it.
Berlin, like many other capitals, has loooots of museums. Unfortunately, there are some that are not as great. I found both the Espionage Museum as well as the DDR museum to be well made, but pretty small – and as said before, I wouldn’t recommend the Mauermuseum at Checkpoint Charlie (there are better museums about the same topic). I’d suggest getting the “Museum Pass Berlin” which is a shared ticket for most big museums in the city center. I can recommend all of the included ones.
Not Berlin, but right next to it in Potsdam: Castle Sanssouci. While te castle is neat, it is also really small and doesn’t have that much to show, but it’s expensive nontheless. You can walk around in its famous gardens without paying anything. If you want to visit a castle around there, take the Neues Palais (new palace) which has amazing interior design and a lot of famous art in it. If you want to visit a castle, but stay in Berlin, go to Castle Charlottenburg.”
Image source: lucretiusT
“Pisa. It’s basically just a photo opportunity, which is severely over-crowded by tourists and street vendors. Once you’ve taken the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa picture there’s not much else to do. Sienna, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni and Lucca are all way better places to spend your time in the region.”
Image source: Davidcostellophotograph
“Temple Bar in Dublin is massively overpriced. Thankfully there’s countless other pubs in the city, many of them even within walking distance.”
Image source: JoeAppleby
“The Oktoberfest. Or generally thinking that traveling to Bavaria means having been to Germany. It’s like going to Texas.
Anything Bavarian outside of Bavaria. Seriously the Hofbräuhaus in Berlin is a tourist trap. Sure the beer is good, but it’s hard to get sh*tty beer in Germany anyway. Skip the Hofbräuhaus in Munich as well and travel to one of the smaller cities in Bavaria. From experience I’d suggest going to the Allgäu. There’s a brewery in every village on average. I’m sure Bavarians will chime in.
Avoid Munich is what I’m trying to say (though it does have great museums).
If you must go to Bavaria, be aware that Schloß Neuschwanstein is not an old castle but from the 19th century. It is stupid beautiful though and I wouldn’t fault anyone from going there.
Something closer to home: large flea markets in Berlin, especially the one at the Mauerpark. It’s a hipster, expat, and tourist trap. Oh and most restaurants close to famous sights are also overpriced.”
Image source: metamongoose
“The red light district of central amsterdam. The novelty of gyrating women in windows soon wears off, there’s no comfortable place to chill out, lary groups of men everywhere, it all just feels a bit seedy. Especially at night. Plenty of lovely places to see in the rest of Amsterdam.”
Image source: Oxygen0796
“Do not go to a restaurant near touristic attractions in Paris. You will likely eat frozen food at an absurd high price.”
Image source: aleriant
“In Paris, don’t pay to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. You’ll be shelling out 25€ and waiting when you can get the same view for free from the roof of Printemps Haussmann department store.”
Image source: publius_decius
“In England and Scotland (York, Edinburgh, London are the ones that spring to mind) there are these shops selling Harry Potter memorabilia, the shops are made out to look very oldy worldy but I can completely guarantee you that it is a total facade, unauthentic tourist trap selling overpriced tat.”