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Where not to go

Oh no, that’s actually what I wanted to imply @Cruzeroqueen1, sorry if that did not come across clear! Just because we opt for touristy destinations does not mean we are lesser travellers, so I don’t think there needs to be a distinction between the two. “Travellers” need not be snobby.

Actually, @ubrus I think (to generalise!) it’s the ‘travellers’ who usually make that distinction,
with the implication that ‘tourists’ are lesser mortals. Not on this Forum, of course!

And I totally agree with you, and the others, and wouldn’t dream of telling anyone where
not to go – everyone’s experience is different and not ‘one size fits all’ so to each his own.

Albox, Costa Almeria, Spain

You are still a traveller even if you opt for ‘touristy’ destinations. Making the distinction the two feels like there is a more authentic or more adventurous way of experiencing a place even if we’ve already established on here that travel can be very personal. What an adventure means can be different for us too. Sorry, just had to butt in about that.

There are places I prefer more than others, and places where we’ve practised more caution, but none that I would tell not to go to. Just advise to be more careful if the experience wasn’t all great

I think, if you look for it, almost every place has something to recommend itself. Like Alan, @Fossil
I consider myself a tourist rather than a traveller, as I have limited capabilities of mobility, but I can
honestly say I have always found something of interest. And that’s from a ‘database’ of 132 different
countries/islands (albeit many of which have been a ‘day trip’ by cruise ship).

Albox, Costa Almeria, Spain

I have followed this thread with interest but have with held from commenting until now.
Your original post @WASATCH is a good one but I would appreciate your reasoning on why to avoid Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, a colourful spectacle that goes back to 1837 and prior to that at previous Royal Residences since 1689.
I travel extensively and personally look upon myself as a tourist, i.e someone who travels for pleasure. As pointed out by several members, it comes down to individual choice, for me I never tire of visiting Egypt, certainly not a place to avoid.

London

Thank you to everyone contributing their views to this thread, I’m finding this really interesting.

@GBG wrote:

Dubai

Yes same here, quite a fascinating place when you think that most of what they’ve achieved there has been done in about 40 years. We did manage to find some older & less touristy places to see, up by the old port end of Dubai Creek & around the wholesale district but it takes quite a bit of wandering to find it. Interestingly the amounts of “natives” you meet are relatively small, with the majority of the working population (that tourists would normally encounter) being immigrants.

@WASATCH wrote:

Every day you spend visiting any place is a day you are not visiting an infinitely large number of other places.

That is very true & actually its another interesting aspect of travelling & personal preference. Whilst some are happy to visit a place for a day off a cruise ship, charge around the top 10 spots & tick that one off their bucket list, others see it differently. I’ve spoken to people who visit the same country again & again, each time sampling a new aspect of that culture & gradually peeling back the layers of the onion (so to speak). So there’s a choice to be had with the finite time we have, see many places in brief, see fewer places in depth. any many points in between those two ends of the spectrum.

Essex UK

Its more than a case of each to his own. Every day you spend visiting any place is a day you are not visiting an infinitely large number of other places. Time is short and there are too many places to see, so every travel day you pick and choose, even if you don’t realize it. Guide books and travel forums can help you pick and choose. Guide books ignore far more places than they recommend, and they recommend more places than you will ever live to see, so it serves you well to be advised that some recommended places don’t deserve the hoopla they get.

Its understandable that people get led astray by the circumstances in which they find themselves when traveling. Example: We took a Rhone River cruise that started in Lyon (another place best avoided) and then went to some little town so obscure that I had to turn to Michelin’s 1:200,000 map to locate it. Its touristic obscurity is well deserved, and yet, being stuck there for a day by the thoughtless planners of Uniworld River Cruises (come to think of it, we have never traveled with them since), we had a good time. Did we have a good time? Yes. Would we have had a better time almost anywhere else? 1,000 times yes.

When life serves you a lemon, make lemonade, but don’t tell me lemonade is better than wine.

There’s an interesting debate to be had here about what “tourists” really want. I consider myself more of a traveller and adventurer so, whilst I enjoy experiencing the must-see sites, be they historic, more modern, or part of the natural world, I also love going off the beaten track walking miles in expectation of uncovering hidden gems like the little-known Rose Gardens on the steps just below the bustling Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence, which provides a peaceful haven with far reaching views across Florence and its own fascinating outdoor collection of modern sculptures.

I recently spent a superb morning in Cologne, wandering through the art gallery next to the magnificent Gothic Cathedral almost completely alone. I felt so lucky to be standing gazing at huge works by Dali and Hockney without being jostled by selfie-taking tourists. I also explored pretty squares and narrow alleyways in the Old Town, and listened to an Oompah band whilst relaxing in the sun with a cool beer. Sadly I didn’t have time to visit the Chocolate Museum. I’d gladly return.

As for Berlin – one of my sons lives there and prefers it to London where has also lived. I love visiting the city precisely for all the powerful reminders of our more recent past. Standing at the top of the TV tower looking over the city and imagining the terrifying scenes that unfolded in the streets and squares below is quite something. Discovering the vast Soviet War memorial hidden away in a park, walking past the iconic murals on the Berlin Wall East Side Gallery, standing where 20 year-old Chris Gueffroy was the final person to be shot (in 1989) for trying to cross the wall into the West. I also enjoy visiting the magificent palaces, including the Cecilienhof, scene of the famous Potsdam conference; waiting outside the quirky smoky bars in the city and on the pretty canal and river banks (knock on the door and you might be allowed in if the bartender likes the cut of your jib). And as for the Museums – there is literally one for every day of the year. And as for the Michelin starred restaurants…

If I were advising people where not to go I’d say do your research and know which parts of any city or country are “no-go” areas for visitors in terms of personal safety. Check port timetables for cruise ship arrivals so you can avoid visiting tourist hot spots like Dubrovnik on the same day that 5 large vessels are disgorging thousands of day-trippers. Other than that, it very much depends upon individual interest, as coolonespa wrote:

We are all so different & what seems like a nightmare experience for one, would be the ideal trip for another.

Places to visit are so personal. I avoid large cities where ever possible. I am put off by their size and crowds. It must be nearly 40 years since I last visited London to see the sights. Mind you I did grow up on the edge of London so did do many of them in my teens…

I also confess I am a bit of a heathen when it comes to culture and art galleries. Most oil paintings (and particularly portraits) do little for me, although I do enjoy watercolour scenes.

I’m not ‘into’ shopping either…

But as for cathedrals…. now you are talking. I am fascinated by the architecture and always find something to enjoy. I prefer Norman to Gothic but this is a personal preference. I also love visiting churches. You never know what to expect when you push open the door and I’ve always found something to catch my interest, even in the simplest church. They are very much the forgotten part of our heritage.

I do try and be honest and give my reasons as well as suggesting alternatives that may not have occurred to the person. It’s interesting on sites like Trip Advisor how quickly a previously ignored site can start to appear on tourist itineraries once a people start to recommend it regularly.

Last Edited by ESW at 11 May 11:45
ESW
Lincolnshire

@coolonespa I totally agree with you about Berlin. We found it fascinating. Its modern history and what has survived is a message to us all and I felt quite emotional looking at the remains of the Berlin Wall. Our daughter had a pen pal in East Germany and I remember well news reports of people being shot as they tried to cross from East to West. I can still picture the news reports as East and West Germany became one and the wall came down. Whilst everyone has there own idea of a good place to visit, it is good to challenge our preconceptions. I thought that I would not like Dubai. After all it is just a modern city. However it is of its time and the glitz and glamour, along with the sheer scale of the modern buildings are something to marvel at. There are very few places in the world that have nothing to offer. You just have to look beneath the surface, explore its history ( even if it is recent history), look at its geography and geology and engage in the culture of the place. If you do, you will see the hidden beauty of anywhere in the world.

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