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Tourist treasures or tourist traps?

Many of the world’s most famous tourist sites are becoming victims of their own popularity. Ancient ruins have been vandalized, pristine natural beauty has been trampled and historic icons have been commercialized. Is it possible to look beyond the crowds and crass consumerism to get something meaningful out of your visit?

In a new photo gallery on Bing Travel, we’ve compiled a dozen tourist attractions that are in danger of becoming tourist traps. For example, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is a symbol of freedom and unity, but chain restaurants and shops have been opening all around it, making for an ironic juxtaposition of emerging new-world capitalism with the reminder of old-world communism. Meanwhile, Seattle’s Pike Place Market is a gastronome’s delight, but those in the know never buy what fishmongers are throwing back and forth all day over tourists’ heads (in fact, those fish aren’t even for sale). 

Which sites have you visited that you think are in danger of becoming tourist traps? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.


  • Thank you for good information


  • hahahahahhahhahahha

  • doubt

  • The mayan riviera

  • Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain. Is extremely over crowded in the summer months...with all the tourist from all over. With the tourism comes the pick pockets, purse snachers, and street entertainment, such as the living statues. They extend the whole strip, you have to pay to take a picture with them.

    Las Ramblas offers an array of overpriced spanish traditional foods and delicacies, and some food you can get just about anywhere now like Burger King. Even though many of the stores, museums, and shops you cant find anywhere. You can miss out on the beauty of the area and its structures by the overwhelming amount of people...

  • fact, that entire region of Arizona (becoming? probably has been for years). Pay to park on the side of the road (for more than 15 minutes)? I think not. The same old tourist-trap gift shops selling the same old tourist trap crap. I have to admit...89A is a helluva bike road.

  • Come on...animals get "trapped".  We tourist should be smarter than that (although I have traveled with some tourist resembling animals, but I digress).  Define "tourist trap"...a landmark (either natural or man made) that has historic value and you have to "PAY" to see.  The only exception...the Vatican's worth the money...believe me...and the historic value is off the charts.  Pisa you have to pay to climb...hence...tourist trap.  I don't think you can qualify Disney as having any "historic" value, therefore is just a vacation.  My thoughts anyway....enjoy traveling.

  • Disney is a big trap - the most affordable park in Florida would be the Animal Kingdom.  Otherwise - a very affordable park is Gatorland located down the strip and is the best half-day attraction in the region -- and you can afford to feed a family of 4 for less than $20 - compared to $30-50 at the other parks in the area.

  • They are all far to commercial and far too crowded.  But you have to admit, what they are is magnificnet, amongst thousands of other things that are magnificent in this world.  I don't regret for one minute, seeing the lovely town of Pisa, St. Mark's square in Venice, the collosseum, and many other 'touristie' places.  It's too bad they are crushed by commercialism.  

  • The Almalfi Coast.  Some of the rudest locals I have had the unfortunate displeasure to meet.  Public Transportation is by far the worst in Italy with very discourteous drivers.  The bus system could take a lesson from Romes which is much easier to follow.  I met a British x patriot now living in Almalfi.  He explained to me that since the area has become so popular, out of greed, the locals no longer care or need to care how they treat tourists. He said" for every person who leaves swearing never to return, 10 new suckers are willing to line up and take thier place".  The one redeeming item is the Basilica and tomb probably one of the finest.

  • The so called Mayan Riviera is most definitly a "Tourist Trap".  I was going there when you could get a hotel room on the beach for $70/night and you could do the entire weekend for $400-including food and souveneers.  Now it cost upwards of $150/night and you can't even rent a jeep any more to go touring yourself.  This was Cozumel-mot Cancun and now it is completely ruined and overcommercialized. The beginning of the end was the arrival of the cruise industry.  The water is now so churned up that you cannot even see the continental shelf any more and that means you cannot see the Coral reef anymore either. I used to go to Cozumel for the water and it is ruined.

  • Times Square

  • The Taj Mahal has been for many years and is being destroyed

  • The Crazy Horse monument in the Black Hills, South Dakota is a ridiculous tourist trap.  Thirty years between visits, and I still couldn't see that any progress had been made in the carving.

  • Isla Mujeres in Mexico... Used to be a paradise, today they have a monster-hotel sitting right in front of the sun which covers most of the views. The vendors from the hotel awaits for you right when you land in the isla, trying to make you move to their hotel or buy a vacation packet, they simply won't leave you alone. Throughout the entire time I was there, all I could see was the hotel in front of me and the vendors everywhere I went. What a shame...

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