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15 Tourist Traps in Europe That Are Actually Worth Visiting

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Tourism fuels the travel industry. Countries and cities tend to pick a few popular locations to trap naive tourists. They overcharge and underdeliver because they know the tourists will dish out the cash for the “once-in-a-lifetime” experience. This mode of thinking steers locals away from tourist traps. However, there are always exceptions to rules. We want to explore the tourist traps that are worth paying the extra money to see. Places that deserve their hype and attention.

1. The Catacombs, Paris, France

Catacombs Paris
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Underneath the Parisian landscape’s bright lights and bustling foot traffic lay over six million people in their final resting places. Jewish and Christian people abided by the Parisian laws, which disallowed them from burying bodies in the city, and resorted to underground tunnels. These catacombs span over 170 miles, though a small portion remains open to the public. Tourists descend flights of stairs into the frigid underground tunnels displaying skulls and bones.

2. The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

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How can you go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower? The elevator was out of commission when I went, so my friend and I hiked the 327 stairs between the first two levels. You do not need to climb all the stairs, as the second story provides an eye-opening look out over the city and the River Seine. If you wish to remain on the ground, several plots of grass and land border the architectural marvel for fabulous photo ops.

3. The Louvre, Paris, France

The Louvre
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I did not write about Mona Lisa here because I believe that specific painting is an overrated tourist attraction. However, saying that the Louvre is overrated as a museum is offensive to artists everywhere. The museum hosts a plethora of jaw-dropping artwork overshadowed by the Mona Lisa’s status. If in the Louvre, stop to see her, but don’t miss out on other fascinating artwork entries like The Code of Hammurabi, The Great Sphinx of Tanis, The Winged Victory of Samothrace, or the Venus de Milo.

4. The Tower of London, London, England

The Tower of London
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On the north side of the River Thames, a centuries-old brown castle stands strong. Large, jet-black ravens circulate around the castle, which legends say has been inhabited since its construction.

The castle’s rich history spans back as a torture chamber, prison, and home for royalty. Today, the museum welcomes millions of people to explore the UNESCO site and look at the display of the Crown Jewels.

5. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England

View at sunset of Arequipa Cathedral in Peru
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St. Paul’s Cathedral, one of the most famous in the world, exhibits a tri-dome structure. The sturdy, white worship center invites millions to pay respects to those laid to rest in the crypt. While walking into the religious space, gaze at the gorgeous high-topped dome ceilings and stained glass masterpieces. Before departing, climb 528 stairs for a breathtaking view of London from the top of the dome.

6. The London Eye, London, England

The London Eye
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The view from the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral provides one extraordinary skyline outlook, while the London Eye’s view rewards tourists with another spectacular view. Ride the ferris wheel to the peak, where passengers witness a never-before-seen view of London’s famous skyline. Buildings like The Shard, The Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace materialize in front of the rider. The London Eye is a bit spooky for individuals scared of heights, though the views make up for the fear.

7. Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England

Stonehenge, England
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How could gigantic rock formations find their way to the middle of a field in the middle of an English plain? Moreover, how can multiple 25-ton, thirteen-foot rocks land in the middle of this field? Considering the rock doesn’t form around Stonehenge, the mystical landmark attracts millions of people to the ancient burial ground each year. Numerous religious and spiritual ceremonies, such as summer and winter solstice celebrations, take place at this revered English site.

8. The Parthenon, Athens, Greece 

View of Acropolis of Athens.
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Rugged and worn pillars hold thousands of years of history in their foundations. Atop the Acropolis, a hill in Greece perches an ancient temple dedicated to Athena, the goddess of war and wisdom. Over the centuries, the temple shifted from a place of worship to a representation of democracy. Today, visitors witness its strength and stability throughout years of natural disasters and wars. The fact that part of the Parthenon’s original structure persists today makes it a worthwhile visit.

9. Blue Lagoon, Southwestern Iceland

Blue Lagoon, Malta
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The Blue Lagoon sells Iceland’s natural volcanic hot water sources and the water’s healing capabilities in an artificial lagoon, although the experience rivals little else. You can receive a massage in the lagoon. Therapists lay you on a flotation device, cover you in a warm towel, and dip your body in the water every five minutes. Visitors receive a collection of mud masks to sample during their swim, and relaxation is guaranteed while in the lagoon.

10. The Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Colosseum, Rome
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Almost 2000 years ago, a monumental amphitheater opened for rather unethical reasons. The Colosseum hosted gladiator fights, executions, animal deaths, and other violent sports, though back then, those activities served as forms of entertainment. The historical flashpoint continues to operate as a functional amphitheater, the largest in the world. Parts of the building have chipped or broken off. Nonetheless, The Colosseum’s footing keeps up.

11. Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

Sofitel Rome Roman Pooch Package
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When in Rome, one tosses a couple of coins into the Trevi Fountain in exchange for love. The stone and marble fountain is a portrait of three statues: Oceanus, Abundance, and Health, responding to the water’s movements. Turquoise water streams through the rock, pooling in the fountain below the sculptures. The tradition of tossing coinsinto the fountain stems from a US movie, Three Coins in the Fountain. One coin ensures a return to Rome, two promise love, and three promise marriage to the loved one.

12. Vatican City, Italy

Vatican Library in Rome
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Even if you do not practice Christianity or any religion, the architecture and artwork spread throughout this city cement it as a magnificent destination. Of course, we have the Renaissance-styled Sistine Chapel, complete with Michelangelo’s perfect fresco ceiling and Judgment Day piece. We also have the iconic Baroque St. Peter’s Basilica and the famous St. Peter’s Square. According to St. Peter’s Basilica, the Egyptian obelisk in the middle of the square is the last one in Rome.

13. Blarney Stone, County Cork, Ireland

County Meath
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Have you ever wanted to improve your speaking skills? Ireland’s very own Blarney Stone provides the perfect solution for your issue. According to mythology and legends, when one kisses The Blarney Stone, they receive the gift of gab. Blarney Stone kissers must travel 83 feet up the castle to smooch the four-foot stone. Once at the top, guests suspend themselves (with the help of a trusted worker) upside down and flip backward to plant the perfect kiss on the Blarney.

14. The Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

The Anne Frank House
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Peek into the Frank family’s hiding spot during the Holocaust. Anne spent two important teenage years (14 and 15) in the annex, where she journaled in her notebook. Years later, those diary entries became the now-published The Diary of a Young Girl. The museum in Amsterdam preserved the original staircase, the bookcase revealing the hiding spot, some of Anne’s belongings, and the original script of her book.

15. Canal Cruises, Amsterdam

Amsterdam Netherlands MSN
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Throughout this Dutch city, brown water flows, and it is crossed by several footbridges, splitting the city into a grid. Thankfully, locals and explorers have an opportunity to see the water close-up through a canal tour. Boats take passengers along the waterways, and guides point out Amsterdam’s interesting layout, which is paired with the city’s exquisite scenery.

14 Fairytale Towns and Villages in Europe That Should Be on Everyone’s List

Dinant, Belgium
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Europe is bursting at the seams with historic towns and villages that are so magical they belong in a fairytale. Here are 14 of the most enchanting. Scattered across Europe are towns and villages with histories dating back hundreds or even thousands of years. These magical places have hilltop castles, medieval churches, market squares lined with half-timbered homes, and storied stone bridges spanning picturesque waterways. Narrow cobbled streets weave between the attractions, transporting you back in time with every step.

14 Fairytale Towns and Villages in Europe That Should Be on Everyone’s List

Live Like a Local (for Less!): 17 Charming Towns Paying You to Move There

Peniche, Portugal
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Imagine living in a place that welcomes you with open arms and pays you to move there. Countries worldwide roll out programs that offer cash incentives and unmatched support to anyone ready to embark on an exciting new journey.

Live Like a Local (for Less!): 17 Charming Towns Paying You to Move There

16 Hidden Travel Gems That Will Wow Most Travelers

Ksamil, Albania
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Selecting a destination can be hard for anyone planning a vacation. Do you choose a familiar place? One that’s a popular tourist hub? Or do you find a place that’s off the beaten path? You’re not alone if you’re looking for a unique travel experience. An amazing 95% of wanderers want to spend some part of their trip enjoying new adventures. These unique spots may not be the first places to mind when planning a leisure trip, but they’re worth a look.

16 Hidden Travel Gems That Will Wow Most Travelers

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