Awesome Alternatives to Tourist Traps

Long queues, wailing kids, hawking street pedlars and overpriced tickets – these are the realities that await the eager but naive traveller sucked into an overrated, anticlimactic tourist trap. The problem with these great attractions is that every single inhabitant of the planet now wants to see them! So why not avoid the crowds with these five alternatives which promise to give a far superior travel experience.

Don’t Visit: The Mona Lisa in the Louvre, Paris, France

Mona Lisa, Louvre
Image via Vu Bui

Do Visit: The Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France

Musee d'Orsay
Image via Dimitry B

The Louvre in Paris has some fantastic works of art. The Mona Lisa has to be one of the most disappointing of those works though. Not only is the painting pretty dull to look at, in reality it’s tiny. Crowds amass around the 30 x 21-inch painting, bypassing thousands of stunning works in the process. Much less crowded and more rewarding is the Musée d’Orsay, which features some of Monet’s finest paintings.

Don’t Visit: The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Do Visit: The Leaning Tower of Suurhusen, Germany

The Leaning Tower of Suuhusen
Image via homo_sapiens

The Leaning Tower of Pisa hasn’t been leaning for years. British engineers sorted out the subsidence problem in 2001, and since then Pisa has just had an overrated bent tower. The medieval church in Suurhusen, Germany however is leaning properly. The steeple leans at an angle 5 times greater than Pisa.

Don’t Visit: The Giza Pyramids, Egypt

Giza Pyramids
Image via lyng883

Do Visit: The Valley of the Kings, Egypt

Valley of the Kings
Image via Eugene Regis

Egypt holidays are all too easily ruined by visiting the Pyramids of Giza near Cairo. Tourists are mobbed by street sellers, pushing tacky souvenirs into your hands and then demanding exorbitant sums for the dodgy merchandise. If you are taking a holiday to Egypt, skip Cairo and travel out to Luxor to visit the Valley of the Kings. The expanse of cultural and historical heritage there is immense and you can avoid the crowds far more easily.

Don’t Visit: Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat
Image via tylerdurden1

Do Visit: Borobudur, Indonesia

Image via Stuck in Customs

Cambodia’s stunning temple of Angkor Wat is still an amazing experience, but the site is affected by the taint of mass tourism, with the loss of the quiet solitude deserved by the great religious buildings. Alternatives exist at Borobudur, Indonesia, or other Buddhist monuments in the much less crowded Vietnam, which has some amazing temples to explore.

Don’t Visit: The London Eye, United Kingdom

London Eye
Image via tim caynes

Do Visit: Singapore Flyer, Singapore

Singapore Flyer
Image via Eustaquio Santimano

A 30-minute ride trapped in a glass bubble slowly revolving around a Ferris wheel to see London’s skyline is not the best way to spend £17.88 per adult. The London Eye is overpriced, overly crowded, and provides decent views of London only on exceptionally clear days. If you insist on doing the glorified Ferris wheel thing, at least do it in Singapore. The Singapore Flyer is bigger, lasts longer, and offers better views than even the London Eye can.

Top image via Jonathan Ziapour