Some people actively avoid touristy places when they travel. We get it. Still, there are some touristy spots worth visiting, regardless of how many people will be there when you arrive. Here are eight of them.
The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
France’s most iconic landmark attracts some 7 million people annually. Since its inauguration in 1889, it’s said that roughly 300 million people have come to see the famous tower. While it’s certainly a “touristy” place to go in Paris, it’s a total must-see.
Get creative with how you view the tower. There are plenty of alternative viewing platforms that don’t require a ticket purchase. The Place du Trocadero or some of the nearby bridges offer incredible views. There are also Seine River cruises for an added dash of romanticism.
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Cambodia’s biggest tourist attraction and the UNESCO World Heritage Site that put Siem Reap on the map hosted around 2.5 million visitors in 2017. Ticket prices to the 12th-century Hindu-turned-Buddhist temple complex also experienced a 72% price spike. A day pass is now $37 for foreigners (up from $20 in 2016). Some folks at the Cambodian National Tourism Alliance feared the price increase would deter visitors, but people are still showing up in droves. Despite the price and the sea of people, we’d still highly recommend checking out Angkor Wat. Dominating roughly 400 acres, it is one of the largest religious monuments in the world and a stunning sight to behold.
Halong Bay, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam
Hauntingly beautiful albeit overrun with tourists, Halong Bay is the jewel of northern Vietnam. Take a cruise along the emerald seascape, kayak through an endless maze of limestone karsts and swim in temperate waters. You’ll instantly understand why nearly 3 million tourists flocked to this breathtaking UNESCO Site in 2016.
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
The Colosseum is one of the first places that come to mind when you think of Italy, making it an early stop for many visitors to Rome. Honestly, how could you go to Rome and not see the Colosseum? It just isn’t right. The largest amphitheater built during the Roman Empire is visited by 6 million people every year. So yes, there will be crowds. But no, you won’t regret going once you step inside and look up at the structure around you.
Ephesus, Selcuk, Turkey
The expansive grounds of Ephesus welcome a parade of tour buses every day, and it’s easy to see why. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the world. It boasts stunning samples from the Roman imperial period like the Grand Theater and the mesmerizing Library of Celsus. At least half a day is needed to fully explore the sprawling area, but it's worth it for such a vivid step back in time.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
Nobody's architectural style was more unique than Antoni Gaudi's. The famous Spanish architect has many claims to fame, but perhaps the most well-known and most-visited is the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
The famous cathedral is best compared to a humongous drip castle fit for Dracula, spruced up with some abstract stained glass paneling. And after 127 years, it still isn’t complete. While it’s pretty much impossible to get a shot of the building without some construction equipment bombing your photo, it still prevails as a top attraction in Barcelona.
Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand
On any given day, you’ll find hordes of sweaty people braving the insane, mid-day Southeast Asian heat to wander the grounds of the Royal Palace. From the outside, you may shake your head — why would you torture yourself? But once inside, you’ll find it's well worth the fight.
The elaborate carvings and teak woodwork are beyond impressive and the vibrant colors are nothing short of inspiring. The palace grounds also hold some special little extras like Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the revered Emerald Buddha.
The Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
The pyramids are surrounded on three sides by the bustling city of Gizo. There's also a Pizza Hut just a few hundred meters away. But don't let that stop you from going. As one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, these pyramids continue to mystify scientists in terms of how they were constructed. The Great Pyramid reaches almost 500 feet high and is composed of stones weighing up to 60 tons.