(Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Local Guddy website. It’s reposted here with the permission of the author.)
By Emre Semercioğlu
During my trips, I’ve seen many tourist traps all across Europe. And I wanted to list some of the tourist traps that I came across so – hopefully – it can help you to avoid making such mistakes.
Here are my top tourist traps:
1- AVOID SCAMS IN GRAND BAZAAR (ISTANBUL)
The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. It offers a unique shopping experience with more than 4,000 shops. If you are visiting the bazaar without a local (Turkish speaker) be careful because some sellers can try to defraud you.
They will always say a higher price than the normal price to you if realize you are a foreigner. Don’t forget to bargain and say the magical words: “BEN ÖĞRENCİYİM, BENDE PARA YOK.” It means “I am a student, I don’t have money.” See this local shopping tour in Istanbul.
2- NEVER EAT PAELLA FROM PAELLADOR (BARCELONA)
When you say to your friends you are going to visit Barcelona, they will most probably advise you to eat paella. Paellador is a brand of frozen paella, and most of the restaurants in the touristic areas serve Paellador.
If you see the sign of Paellador outside of the restaurant, don’t ruin your first paella experience there, please.
3- NEVER TAKE A CITY BUS TOUR
As well as wasting your money, you kill all your desire for exploring the city by joining a city bus tour. You will try to see all the city in one hour.
It is like reading a summary of a book. Would you read the book again after knowing how it ends? 🙂
Instead, you can find unique local experiences here and explore the city like a local.
4- DON’T HAVE AN ESPRESSO BY THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA
The area around the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a huge tourist trap, really. Having a drink or food around a famous attraction means you will be paying 3-to-5 times higher prices than normal.
Instead, take a walk and have a drink or food anywhere else on another street. If there is an English menu in a non-English speaking country, you should understand the prices will again be much higher.
5- DON’T PAY FOR MUSEUMS; VISIT THEM ON FREE DAYS
It is really not necessary to pay for the entrance of the museums when you have many to-do options in the city. Almost all museums in Europe have a couple of specific days for free entrance.
Before you plan your trip, don’t forget to check the free entrance days to museums online.
6- DON’T TAKE A TAXI; RENT A BIKE
In Europe, most of the city centers are small and they have bicycle paths. You can rent a bike for a low cost (really cheap) and you can go everywhere with a bike. This way, you can save money and explore the city freely without any traffic jams.
7- DON’T TRY TO FIND A UNIQUE LOCAL PLACE VIA APPS
You might be using Foursquare, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and any other apps, and they are all good if you are searching for the most visited, highest rated places by people. But if you are looking for something unique — a local, not a well-known beauty — don’t try to find it on those apps.
If it is featured on those apps and rated by people many times, that means it is not a hidden beauty. You should find it on your own by getting lost in the city and keep it for yourself.
You can also find a local here to show you the hidden beauties of the city.
So, are you planning to travel to Europe? If you would like to explore Europe with locals and see the hidden parts of the city through locals’ eyes, click the link below:
About the author:
Emre Semercioğlu is a young entrepreneur (23 years old) who formerly worked in different business sectors.
Recently, he and his friends founded Local Guddy. Local Guddy is a travel marketplace connecting travelers and locals through unique local experiences.
Writing blogs and preparing to-do list for travelers are kind of a hobby for him.