A few days ago, the otherwise friendly and sunny city of Barcelona turned into that one friend in the group who is fed up with all the jokes on him. Lashing out against the tourists that flock into the city to experience its beaches, culture and architecture, Barcelona was just the latest in a series of European destinations that have had it with all the tourists. And their actions make sense; even if you consider yourself an off-beat traveler rather than a regular tourist, you are probably part of the problem. Whether you are heading to the usual tourist traps or planning to explore relatively untouched parts of Europe, you are part of a growing tourist influx that is breaking Barcelona and has also filled up Rome and Milan. So if you plan on going on a Euro trip any time soon, here are a few places to avoid, for your sake and theirs. CHECK OUT: Best Time to Visit Europe: Details About Visiting Europe in Summer, Autumn and Winter
Let’s start the list with Barcelona; the latest destination where locals have been pushed past the tipping point by growing tourists. Arran, an anti-tourist group, has been blamed for recent vandalism like breaking windows of five-star establishments and slashing the tires of tourist cars. A demonstration in Barcelona in January had banners saying that Barcelona is not for sale. More recently, locals stormed the La Barceloneta beach, and San Sebastian, Mallorca and Palma have seen similar scenes. With so much happening, do a favor for the locals and head elsewhere for your Spanish getaway. Valencia is a good alternative within the country, and so are Rabat in Morocco and Prague in Czech Republic.
Venice is pretty much past its breaking point; around 20 million excited tourists are expected to visit the city of love and canals this year, bringing with them cruise ships and pollution. Meanwhile, the local populace is shrinking and so are the facilities open to them; just two cinema theatres exist in the city, and only a few shops cater to non-tourists. While we know you would like to reenact your favorite Bollywood song in Venice, you could head to other charming Italian locales like Pompeii, Procida and Lake Iseo. And if you really want a Venice-like experience, there is a reason why Alleppey in Kerala is called the Venice of the East.
Set way up north of the European mainland, Iceland is geographically a world of its own, with surreal landscapes that cannot be found anywhere else. The rare landscapes, along with the availability of low-cost air fare, have driven the growth of Iceland’s tourism market, so much so that Iceland is no longer a predominantly fishing-driven economy. In fact, tourism played a big role in helping Iceland recover from the 2008 financial crisis. But a Skift report highlights problems in Iceland because of overtourism, like hotel infrastructure, too many tourists unaware of how they are affecting Iceland’s fragile ecosystem, a lack of trained tourism professionals, and more.
Trevi Fountain, Rome
Rome’s mayor recently issued a decree that will fine tourists found picnicking on the pedestals of or paddling in the fountains of the city’s famous Trevi Fountain. The decree followed public outcry over how tourists are behaving at and around Rome’s most famous landmarks, many of which are priceless, beautiful relics of the majestic Roman Empire. Italy’s cultural minister has also suggested limiting crowds to the 51 World Heritage Sites of the country, many of which make up entire historic centers in Rome. If you plan on visiting this city, do ensure that you follow local rules and show the utmost care towards these precious heritage sites and monuments. The problems plaguing Rome are similar to the ones that Milan is also facing. ALSO READ: Milan Bans Selfie Sticks, Joins the Italian Cities of Florence and Rome
Amsterdam has plenty of things going for it. The city is a cosmopolitan paradise, designed so well that you can explore most of the city by foot or by cycle. Air connectivity is excellent and the city is famous liberal in its rules and regulations, if you get what we mean. But all of this is also causing problems for Amsterdam. Tourists cram for space along its narrow streets, and getting around town is not as easy as it used to be. There were 17 million visitors in 2015, and visitor days rose twofold since 2011 to 139 million. There are talks of tackling the growing tourist population here, so exercise caution if you really want to explore Amsterdam, and keep your visit as short as possible.