How to Steer Clear of Tourist Traps in European Destinations
To help you make the most of your European travels, we asked travel experts and industry professionals for their best advice on avoiding tourist traps. From avoiding all-inclusive hotel packages to exploring beyond tourist areas, here are the top five tips shared by CEOs, founders, and travel bloggers on how to have a more authentic European experience.
- Avoid All-Inclusive Hotel Packages
- Seek Nature and Hidden Gems
- Ask Locals for Recommendations
- Travel During Shoulder Months
- Explore Beyond Tourist Areas
Avoid All-Inclusive Hotel Packages
"Many hotels, particularly those in resort areas, provide an allegedly "all-inclusive" service. The plan is to serve meals at the hotel for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This scenario is perfect for families with children.
Just consider the amount of effort it will take to gather your large family and search for a restaurant. But seasoned travelers will avoid all-inclusive packages. Most hotel cuisine is unhealthy, bland, and rarely varies across several days. It is the worst idea if you come to learn about the culture and sample the cuisine."
Seek Nature and Hidden Gems
"Finding authenticity can be difficult. Avoiding the crowds and unexpected expenses can be a lot of work. But by doing some homework and looking for nature where you are going, you can plan an experience that is uniquely available only to those that look.
Here are examples. In Provence, every spot an artist painted or had a drink can appear to be a trap. However, a hike to see the Roman Aqueducts reveals the history and unexpected natural beauty.
In England, the entire city of Brighton is great—but it can seem like one tourist trap after another. However, a quick bus ride to the Seven Sisters and you can see beautiful white cliffs for free.
You can visit the Amalfi coast and wonder if anyone is left in LA, but take a hike along the Walk of the Gods, you will see the incredible beauty of the place, and eat some fantastic food in peace.
In the Netherlands, a quick train ride and a bike rental reveal a completely different country. Look for nature—it won't overcharge."
Ask Locals for Recommendations
"The best map is drawn on a napkin late at night at the bar... simply: ask the locals for recommendations. They usually tell you about places that you don't easily find in travel guides. And if they tell you to take a local bus, do it! It will get you to places that aren't usually frequented by tourists."
Travel During Shoulder Months
"Travel during shoulder months like April, May, September, and October, instead of during the peak summer season between June and August.
Mediterranean destinations are still warm (and sometimes even hot) during these months, and the weather can be pleasant in Northern Europe as well. Plus, besides beating crowds, you'll likely enjoy lower prices on flights and hotels. Win-win-win!"
Explore Beyond Tourist Areas
"Escape the clutches of tourist traps and embark on an authentic European adventure! Instead of falling into the overpriced snares near popular landmarks or crowded tourist hubs, dare to wander off the beaten path. Venture into the enchanting side streets, where hidden culinary gems await your discovery.
Unveil the true flavors of Europe by seeking local eateries tucked away from the touristy chaos. These hidden gems, untouched by the tourist stampede, offer a genuine taste of the region's culinary delights. Allow your senses to be tantalized by the aromas wafting from unassuming restaurants, where locals flock for a reason.
Step away from the Eiffel Tower's shadow or the crowds of St. Mark's Square in Venice, and let curiosity guide your culinary expedition. Engage with the locals, ask for recommendations, and immerse yourself in the authentic flavors of Europe. By venturing beyond the tourist traps, you'll discover unforgettable dining experiences."
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