If you’ve done any traveling at all then chances are you’re familiar with some of the heavily advertised, overpriced, and ridiculously crowded tourist traps on this list. Although some of these spots are worse than others, and a few of them are certainly worth seeing in spite of the downsides (just consider yourself warned), these are still widely considered to be the 25 worst tourist traps in the world.
Pyramids of Giza, Cairo
Every day about 5,000 people flock out into the desert to see the Pyramids. Although it is possible to get away from the crowd by opting to take a camel ride or even an aerial tour via helicopter, to get close look your only choice is to join the crowd. Your second best option is to make your way farther south to Saqqara and check out the Step Pyramid there which is a little bit more off the beaten path.
Some of the nicest beaches in the world suffocated by some of the most extreme tourist infrastructure you’ve ever seen, you have numerous options that are all much better than Cancun two of which would be Isla Holbox and Celestun.
It’s no secret, India is crowded and if you think the Taj Mahal is any exception then you should really consider tempering your optimism. If you’re the adventurous type you can try crossing to the other side of the Yamuna River to get the big picture through your camera lens. Of course, the smell of rotting sewage may not be very appetizing but we can at least assure you of the solitude.
Sydney Fish Market, Australia
Although it markets itself as a tourist attraction, there isn’t much to see or do here apart from buying some overpriced fish. The view of the harbor isn’t that great either as it’s blocked by several large cement factories.
Old Town, Prague
As one of the most popular tourist destination in Europe Prague’s cobblestone streets are jam packed with tourists flocking to see medieval Old Town. To break free of the crowd consider crossing the Vltava River to one of the many parks on the opposite shore. You’ll get a much better view of the skyline as well as an appreciation for why it’s come to be known as the City of a Thousand Spires.
Although for centuries it had been closed to outsiders, the Emperor of China’s Palace consists of over 1,000 buildings and has made its way to the top of the “most popular tourist destinations list”. Heck even Starbucks has set up shop within its walls. The key to avoiding lines here is to arrive about 30 minutes before it opens and try to hit the big sites first.
Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong
Constructed in 2004, this tourist trap was built with visitors from the Chinese mainland in mind. Lined with souvenir shops the highlight here is a statue of Bruce Lee in action. If you can get past all the crowds and find a good spot though, the harbor front view itself is amazing.
Notre Dame, Paris
This is one cathedral within whose walls you will be hard pressed to find peace or quiet. They say your best bet is probably to go during one of the services.
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
While it certainly is nothing short of miraculous that such poor architecture could last for so long, unless you are willing to part with 15 euros for a chance to wait in a long line leading to the top of the tower there isn’t much more to do here.
Supposedly a prime snorkeling location, don’t let the brochures fool you. The water is a lot more murky and fishless than advertised. Moreover, you’re going to spend a lot of your time dodging crowds.
The cheapest tour of Elvis’s former home is going to cost you about $30, which is already pushing the envelope.
Willis Tower, Chicago
Formerly known as the Sears Tower, lines to reach the top of this Windy City attraction can be brutally long and once you reach the top you’re going to have to make good use of those elbows to make some picture room.
Walt Disney World, Orlando
Unless you are absolutely in love with Disney and you have never before in your life been to an amusement park you may leave Disney World feeling a little cheated. Apart from the crowds, the price can be a bit overwhelming as well, especially when it comes to buying snacks and food.
If you ever plan on making the trip out here, remember to bring your binoculars. As a result of being overrun by zealous tourists it’s no longer possible to as close (with regular admission) but if you’re a history buff it may just be worth it at any distance.
Once considered to be a romantic getaway, the commercialization and rapid growth of touristy infrastructure, particularly on the Canadian side, has led many to question how badly they really want to see the falls. Also consider that things like parking and waiting in line at customs can be quite a hassle these days.
David is the editor-in-chief of List25. He has a Masters degree in International Business from University of Florida. He loves to break dance, do flips, play guitar, and everything else that is fun. Follow him on Twitter @iamdpegg