Worst Tourist Traps
Many places are actually fun to visit just to watch the miserable tourists who don't know there's a less congested, crowded, over-priced, and polluted alternative. Help us avoid the worst of Europe's tourist traps with your hard-earned experience.
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Unless the weather is crystal-clear, skip the Neuschastein Castle. Only two or three rooms are furnished and the huge volume of tourists make the tour difficult. Very difficult uphill walk to castle. If skies are clear the views are gorgeous, but if not, stay downhill.
Springfield, MO USA 06/11/2013
Skip Edinburgh Castle and visit Hollyrood Palace instead. Skip Balmoral and visit Crathes Castle instead-the gardens will overwhelm you.
Atlanta, GA USA 06/10/2013
Segovia is NOT the place to eat roast suckling pig
The Roast Suckling Pig restaurants in Segovia - forget them! Total rip-off, every one of them. Eat something else. This is a big scam.
Sarasota, FL USA 06/08/2013
Duomo in Siena
Siena Duomo....I broke my rule not to pay to enter a church and regretted it immensely. There was zero crowd - management and traffic control, which lead to loud, disrespectful hoards of people with little respect for the church itself or the art held inside. The art was minimal and difficult to view and not worth the high emission fee. Save your money for the museum's.
Denver, CO USA 05/12/2013
Brugge at Christmas. The town itself was so charming - the restaurant prices were intended to rip people off. 17.50 Euro for lunch, 29.50 for dinner was standard and it seemed like they all charged the same thing so shopping around was useless. We did stay at Rick's choice hotel and found it was an ancient firetrap. The rest of the town was a total tourist trap but the worst was the Historium. Museums, churches, and architecture were incredible. Bring a lot of food or risk paying $150 for dinner for three.
Chicago, IL USA 01/16/2013
Regarding J Wright's post 06/25/2012 - My wife & I were in London and wanted to see the museum at Greenwich and then decided to climb to the top of the hill. When we saw they wanted us to pay to straddle an imaginary line we turned around and left. As we were looking at the large clock outside the observatory gate we decided to follow a path around the front and discovered a line in the ground that was an extension of the zero degree longitude line inside...the same line at no charge! When others saw us taking a picture while straddling the line they came over to take their turn. It felt like a small victory!
Melrose, MA USA 09/03/2012
Paris Soft Drink Scam
Be careful of restaurants that don't post soft drink prices on their menu. If not clear, ask. Had reasonably priced lunch (12 to 15eu) at place called Cafe Iolanda, near Eiffel Tower. Recieved a bill for over 40euro for our 2 adult and 2 kids water and soft drinks.
Mpls, MN USA 08/14/2012
Regarding the Vatican tour problems mentioned by J Carroll--We followed Rick's advice and booked the tickets online in advance and were able to bypass an incredible line. We were accosted by many tour guides but flashed our RS guidebook, to which they recoiled like vampires to garlic.
Regarding the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps mentioned by Elle--we thought the carnival atmosphere was part of the charm. We just kept our hands on our valuables (not that we had many) in the huge, happy, polyglot crowd.
Washington, DC USA 07/31/2012
Greenwich Prime Meridian fee
Greenwich Prime Meridian fees: Just an update to all travelers headed to London this summer. Previously there was no fee, just a queue, to check out the prime meridian. After climbing the hill we were unpleasantly surprised that this attraction now costs 7 pounds for each adult. This was supposed to include the Royal Observatory but this part was closed. We considered the price of $44 just for our family of four to stand on the line a tourist trap. Make sure the Royal Observatory is open or the price is definitely not worth it.
Oxford, OH USA 06/25/2012
Roman Odyssey Tour Vatican
Waited for over 30 minutes for tour guide to show up. Blames traffic in Rome for his tardiness, then we have to walk across the street and wait in ticket line! The whole purpose of this tour was to skip the lines! This "Roman Odyssey" tour was a waste of time and money!
Hudson, FL USA 06/23/2012
Rick warned us about the Vienna concerts, but we couldn't get a symphony concert, and we don't enjoy opera so much. So we booked a Strauss & Mozart Konzerte through the tourist office in Vienna. Our seats were supposed to be in the front section of the hall and cost 59 euros each. When we arrived the regular seating area was taken over by bus loads of tourists, who undoubtedly did not pay what we paid. Our seats were on the floor to the side of the stage with wonderful views of orchestra chair legs, performers' legs; and the whole shebang was really a total disappointment. The male dancer was not so good, although the female dancer was better. Singers were so-so. So don't book these concerts, no matter how desperate you are.
Mountain View, CA USA 06/05/2012
We love Mc Donald's more so out of the states than in. They are dependable, clean, reasonably priced, and their menus do reflect local cuisine. They also have free Internet. We loved then in Tokyo, in Paris, in London, in Toronto.... We look forward to visiting them in Germany and Dublin this Summer... We also love, love, love 7-11!
Kansas city, Ks USA 05/26/2012
Please try to avoid the Trevi Fountain during the afternoon. Either go really, really early or very late. The circus atmosphere took away so much from the beauty of the place. (Same goes for Spanish Steps).
SF, CA USA 05/23/2012
Rail Station at Hamburg
We traveled by train from Copenhagen to Hamburg and really needed the restroom upon arriving. Oops, we needed Euros and had only Danish Krona. We looked for a money changer and the only one was more interested in talking with people than helping us (it was lunchtime). The Mcdonalds was supposed to have a restroom but I couldn't find it. So, we wound up going across the street to a very nice restaurant which had facilities. Also, when asking some workers about which line to get in later as we were going on to Hannover, they were very rude and wouldn't answer me. All in all, I wasn't too impressed with the Hamburg Rail Station. However, that was the only downside of Germany for us.
Ventura, CA USA 03/07/2012
McDonald's In Europe
The only McDonald's I have ever tried is the one nearest the train station in Florence. Our hotel had recommended a coffee shop down the street but we found the price to be too high. On our second day in Florence we decided to try the McDonald's and it was great! It seemed to be a typical Italian coffee shop attached to a McDonald's. We had a cappaccino, juice and a pastry for a reasonable price plus trendy table and chairs to sit at. The espresso bar was the typical Italian bar and we didn't feel like we were in an American McDonald's.
Louisville, KY USA 02/20/2012
Melt-down in Venice
I think if you had done your research and read Rick's Venice book you would have no problem finding the shop to check your back-pack. We had no problem finding the spot and getting early entry into St. Marks.
Louisville, KY USA 02/20/2012
Parking and Entry Fees
A traveler posted complaining about the cost of parking at the Pont du Gard in France. Yes it is 15€ to park and enter the area. But please remember that much of the proceeds of these and other entry fees we pay support the maintenance of these historic facilities. The upkeep of this patrimony does not come cheap. Please smile when you pay these entry fees and think how much the last bad movie and popcorn cost you.
Wellington, FL USA 02/14/2012
Hotel telephone charges
In Paris a hotel which I had used three times before had a charge on its telephone of 1.1 euros for any outside line access plus there was a per-minute charge added on for the remainder of the call. This occurred even while I was using an international phone card which I had bought at a tabac. I had a whopper of a bill at checkout ($177) for the hotel's phone line access charges during my week stay. This charge was not displayed anywhere near the phone. I will be sure to ask at the front desk about such a thing next time. I had believed that an international phone card would have solved the problem but evidently did not.
Sonoma, CA USA 01/15/2012