A tourist trap is defined as an area, place or establishment that has been developed specifically for tourists and to sell them goods and services.
Why is it called a trap then? Surely this should be renamed a ‘tourist hotspot?’ or ‘place of interest?’
Tourist traps have got this name based on negative experiences, but this does not necessarily mean that they must be avoided. Most tourist traps are actually incredible places to visit.
Here we discuss the top 4 tourists ‘traps’ in the world, so you can decide if you still wish to visit them or not.
How has the oldest of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World negatively become called a ‘tourist trap?’ Well, that would be for one main reason...
Visitors flock in their thousands, and rightly so, but this brings opportunities for the locals to sell their goods to the tourists. These sellers are known to be pushy, even putting items in the hands of tourists when they shake them and refuse to take them back, meaning they must be paid for.
To avoid this, you could take a helicopter tour of the area, or a camel ride (which is also pushily sold), but to see the pyramids up close, you do need to be part of the crowd.
We recommend visiting this ‘trap’ as it really is an incredible experienced.
Trap or no trap: No Trap
If you think of Iceland, you probably think about the Blue Lagoon. A stunning, blue, geothermally heated natural pool to bathe in, right? Well, almost.
The original Blue Lagoon was created by hot waste water from the nearby geothermal powerplant, which the locals started bathing in. Over time this was transformed into a public bathing facility which opened in 1992.
Whilst the water is geothermally heated, it is pumped in from the nearby plant. The pool itself is not natural either, it is manmade.
The Blue Lagoon is the most visited attraction in Iceland by tourists, but this doesn’t mean that you will expected to see huge crowds. There is also now a luxury hotel on site with a luxury spa. You can also purchase skincare products made with ‘the mud from the lagoon’ however their effectiveness is still being debated.
Even though the pool is not naturally formed, the setting, experience and atmosphere is unique and something you will never forget, particularly if it is cold and snowy outside!
Trap or no trap: The Lagoon itself, no trap. The products and spa? Possible trap.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
How can a building with such bad architecture attract millions of tourists each year and put an entire Italian town on the map? There is little else to shout about in Pisa, so most tourists are here for one thing.
We have all seen the photos of tourists trying to hold up the tower, and if you have been you may have even tried it out yourself. If you really want to get this photo, expect to be one of hundreds trying to get the perfect shot. A photo of everyone trying it out themselves would be a funny photo on its own.
It is possible to climb to the top of the tower, for a slightly hefty 15Euros we must add.
The tower itself is unique and pretty, and Pisa is also lovely, but like any other town in Italy.
Trap or no trap? A Trap if you do not visit other places in Italy also.
Times Square, New York City
The concrete jungle where dreams are made of! There is so much to do in New York, so much to see, to eat, to wander, so why do millions of people each year visit an intersection surrounded on all sides and up to the sky with advertisements?
Because here you can be in a hundred different movies and TV shows. Even if you really think about what this area has to offer, overpriced fast food joints, LED screens, crowds and traffic, witnessing this area and its loud hum just must be done, but quickly.
Trap or no trap? No trap, unless you do anything but walk in, take some photos, and leave.
In our experience, tourist traps exist for a reason, because there is something interesting to see, people want to see it, and the locals want to benefit from it.
Do you think we should change this description to something more positive? Upon closer inspection, we think so.