The locals we meet along our journeys as we explore the different lands of this earth can sometimes make our trip. It doesn’t matter which city or little town we’re in, it sometimes doesn’t even matter if they speak our language or not, but as soon as a local smiles at us as we approach them to ask for directions, or they go out of their way to help us in any way they can, they’ll forever leave a lasting impression on us.
Unfortunately, though, not every city or little town welcomes us with open arms. Some places would much rather not have us there, to begin with. Why? Well, there are many reasons but as you’ll see from the list below, it seems as though there are many spots that are simply just not feeling the whole tourism vibe anymore.
What is interesting to note is that no matter how much some of these places are famous for not liking tourists in their space, thousands and even millions of tourists still head out to these places anyway.
If you’re planning a trip soon and are interesting in knowing where you’ll be treated great and where the locals would rather not have you there, to begin with, scroll down below as we break it down for you.
20 Over Tourists - Barcelona, Spain
We begin our list off with one of the most visited cities in the world – Barcelona. This Spanish city sees millions of visitors annually, making it the 20th most visited city in the world, and according to statistics, this number just keeps on growing. All these visits, seem to have gotten to the locals though. A walk down many of the streets will have you encountering numerous graffiti murals that clearly expresses how the locals do not want tourists anymore. Considering the fact that Barcelona is a culturally rich city with loads of amazing places to explore, this is a bit of a shame.
19 Tolerates Them - Iceland
If you’re fed up with the heat and summer, or you’re not really into beach vacations, then Iceland may just be the perfect spot for you to visit. Besides the fact that it has incredible volcanic landscapes of geysers, uncommon black sand beaches that will puzzle anyone, and hot springs for those days when all we’re in the mood for is to rest and enjoy some scenery, Iceland also treats tourists very well. According to Listaka, “Iceland is considered to be the world’s friendliest country”. This means that if you’re planning to head out there soon, you will be very much welcomed.
18 Over Tourists - New York, USA
New York is an interesting addition to our list. “The City That Never Sleeps” has for a very long time been regarded as not too friendly towards tourists. Why? Well, maybe it’s not all the locals’ fault. New York is busy and filled with people from all walks of life, all trying to make a living for themselves in this concrete jungle. It is therefore understandable that they just don’t have time to stop to help us out with directions or any other questions that tourists may have. A visit to New York is perfect if you’re heading out there with a group of friends so that you guys can keep each other company, and not rely on the hope of connecting with locals because…it’s unlikely to happen.
17 Tolerates Them - Japan
So, with Japan, in particular, it’s not that the locals necessarily “tolerate” tourists, it is that they just can’t help being friendly. It is simply in their culture to be at least polite to anyone they meet, regardless of where they come. Another great aspect of Japan is their service industry is one of the best in the world. Wild About Travel highlights that “Go to Japan and you will never find good customer service anywhere in the world again”. This, of course, is great news, considering all the amazing hot springs, shrines, food, and breathtaking views that are all around the country.
16 Over Tourists - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Most people visit Amsterdam not to necessarily sightsee, but to have a good time. This Dutch city is well-known for having some of the liveliest clubs and exciting festivals in Europe, and of course, tourists want in on the fun. It seems though, that tourists have been a little out of hand while having fun and this has annoyed a lot of the locals. The Guardian interviewed a local who explained some of the frustration. “Every day throngs of tourists pass by my window. The weekend now starts on Thursday afternoon; the screaming and shouting of tourists boozing it up are deafening. And the rubbish they leave behind!”
15 Tolerates Them - Ireland
This European country makes its way onto our list and we must say, we’re very happy that the Irish still tolerate us. People who have made their way there will often comment on how incredible the castles and scenery is out there, not forgetting the Irish pubs that often have traditional Irish music playing and will leave you convinced that you’re “one of them”. We’re therefore glad to see that the Irish are still happy to have us visit them. Travel and Leisure also highlights that the country’s infrastructure is tourist friendly. “Ireland’s tourism infrastructure is ranked 15th globally. In individual rankings, the country ranked 27th for quality of tourism infrastructure”.
14 Over Tourists - Cinque Terre, Italy
Italy is loved by people from all walks of life – It is the land that brought us pizza and pasta, it is the land that brought us amazing monuments and architecture, and that amazing language that so few people in the world speak but sounds incredible, nonetheless. It is, therefore, a little heartbreaking to learn that there is a little part of this beloved country that is over us visiting it.
Cinque Terre consists of colorful houses which are on the country’s coastline. Unfortunately, though, too many people have been flocking here and it seems that the towns can’t handle it. An article from Tourissimo Travel highlights the real problem, “the five villages are very tiny. The local train and the boats docking on the minuscule harbors can create enormous problems when there is not enough physical space for everyone”.
13 Tolerates Them - New Zealand
There are many tourist attractions in New Zealand. It is a country that Mother Nature has simply been kind to and has gifted it with some of the most incredible landscapes that are simply breathtaking. If you’re into sailing or yachting, then heading to the Bay of Islands will be the perfect spot for you. Queenstown is also perfect if you’re the adventurous type as you can go bungee jumping, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, to name a few. All these are just some of the reasons why we are drawn to New Zealand and we’re of course happy, that the locals still tolerate us. Trips to Discover explains just how welcoming they really are. “Kiwis are renowned for their generous, often exuberant nature and positive attitude toward life…and everyone you meet is especially welcoming”.
12 Over Tourists - Santorini, Greece
Santorini is a little painful to write about. This is the land that has brought us some of the most incredible sunsets and sunrises. And those white houses along the coast, overlooking the crystal blue waters is something that not only tourists, but locals just can’t get over. Well, it now seems that the people of Santorini have simply had enough with sharing their beautiful land with us. The high influx of tourists seems to be the main reason behind this. Santorini was regularly getting around 10,000 tourists per day (Yeah, we’re not kidding) and now the number has been capped to 8,000 tourists per day.
11 Tolerates Them - Canada
Ah yes, of course, we had to have this North American country added as a place that tolerates tourists. In fact, just like the previously mentioned Japan, Canadian’s are more “friendly” towards tourists, than simply just “tolerating them”. People who have extensively traveled the world will often comment on how friendly Canadians are compared to many of the popular tourist destinations out there. It seems though, that Canadian’s don’t even know how “nice” they are. Global News writes, “I know Canadians will bristle and say ‘We’re really just passive-aggressive,’ and I don’t think that’s the case. There is an element of positivity, I think, in the Canadian character…”
10 Over Tourists - Oxford, England
Many tourists head out to England and make it a point to add a stop by Oxford onto their Itinerary. The old Oxford Castle is one of the biggest attractions as this part-ruined castle offers extensive tours. The Oxford University Museum of Natural History is also another big drawing card to this old, and once quiet place. It seems though, that the locals want their town back. The tourists who have been heading to Oxford seem to have been causing a lot of noise and commotion that the locals simply do not like. Mary Clarkson, the city’s Lord Mayor and Labor Councillor, tweeted in 2017 that tourism has caused the city to become a “tourist hell”.
9 Tolerates Them - Thailand
The Thai culture is generally very polite and informal so there is certainly no surprise that it has made it onto our list as being part of the places around the world that still tolerate tourists. As one of the most visited places not only in Asia but in the rest of the world, we are definitely happy to know that we are still welcomed to this majestic land. Besides the incredible food that one will undoubtedly find at every corner of this country, the breathtaking islands that offer serene beaches and beauty are one of the reasons why we will just keep returning to this place.
8 Over Tourists - Bhutan
Bhutan’s tourism industry hasn’t even been in existence for long so it is certainly a surprise that the locals are already over us. Bhutan opened its tourism gates to the world in 1974 and they seem to be regretting that decision. The main reason why they no longer want a lot of tourists is that they would like to preserve their landscape and culture and feel that too much tourism will ultimately jeopardize it. The government has, therefore, put laws in place that include wanting tourists to pay a little extra to see the place and also having large fees for visas and all other travel related items.
7 Tolerates Them - Australia
The Australian community is very friendly and quite open-minded, which is probably why they are so open to having visitors from all around the world. Unlike many of the already-mentioned nations on this list, Australians seem to not mind that we return year after year to their land. We certainly love many of the sightseeing opportunities that we are offered in the country, but one thing we definitely love most about the country is its people and their attitudes towards pretty much anyone they come into contact with. Culture Trip highlights that “the population of Australia is so friendly that the phrase ‘G’day, mate’, might as well be etched on the national coat of arms.”
6 Over Tourists - Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands being over tourists is probably one of the most painful ones on this list. Why? Well, have you seen the animals that you can find out there? Have you seen those giant tortoises and those incredible black iguanas? Taking a trip to the islands is an animal lover's dream. It seems though, that this dream is costing the wildlife of the area. UNESCO has added the islands onto their “in danger” list. It has been reported that the sizable growth in tourism is having a negative impact on the ecosystem, which is why the islands have decided to restrict the number of tourists allowed to visit. As painful as it is that we can’t all go as much as we would like, we certainly understand.
5 Tolerates Them - Mexico
This North American country, just like many of the already-mentioned nations on this list, is one of the most visited countries in the world. This surge in tourism, however, seems to not have put off the locals as they are still very much welcoming tourists. This certainly puts a smile on our faces because Mexico is one of those culturally-rich and colorful countries that you just have to include onto your travel bucket list. We love that Mexico offers tourists the busy city life experience as well as the breathtaking beaches that one finds along its coastal areas…And the food. Ah yes, we love the food.
4 Over Tourists - Lisbon, Portugal
This Portuguese city has been attracting tourists for many years and it seems though, that the locals have had enough of it. In a The Seattle Times article, it is highlighted that “resident groups across the city are asking for more regulation to limit the impact of the tourist inflow. Neighborhood officials are advocating that Lisbon join European cities such as Barcelona, which froze hotel openings”. This, in turn, will help to regulate the number of tourists that are heading Lisbon’s way. Many histories and art fanatics out there will certainly be heartbroken about this as Lisbon is filled with amazing monuments, castles and architecture that people just can’t get over.
3 Tolerates Them - Germany
Germany is certainly one country that still tolerates a whole lot of tourists visiting it year after year and for that, we are certainly thankful. The stunning resorts along the coastline is just one of many reasons why we can’t get over Germany. The Telegraph explains that “The country has hundreds of miles of coastline in the north and a string of resorts such as Kuhlungsborn and Heiligendamm”. We also appreciate Germany for their incredible contribution to the motor industry – Audi, Mercedes, BMW, and Volkswagens. The interesting museums and Munich’s Oktoberfest are just some of the reasons why the Germans will be sharing their country with us for many years to come.
2 Over Tourists - Venice, Italy
We have yet another Italian place on our list with locals who are simply over sharing their place with the rest of the world. With Venice in particular, it seems like the main problem seems to be that their city is simply not big enough for the massive tourism it attracts every day. Culture Trip highlights that “the overwhelming number of visitors coming into the narrow streets and waterbuses can create real traffic problems, especially in the summertime and around Carnival season. Just a simple trip to the grocery store in August can leave you trapped in a crowd of slow-moving tourists”.
1 Tolerates Them - Dominican Republic
Having this developing country part of the places around the world that still tolerates tourists definitely puts a smile on our face. Why? Well, simply put – a vacation in the Dominican Republican is great for many reasons – it’s affordable, it’s easy on the eyes because of the amazing beaches out there, and yes, we also love the weather that almost never disappoints us. The friendly nature of the locals is the reason why many tourists always feel welcomed when they head out there.
And there you have it – our list of spots around the world that still tolerate tourists and those that would rather not see us in their beautiful towns and cities.