There’s nothing quite like traveling. You get to see the world, experience different cultures and taste all the interesting cuisines that these different cultures have to offer. From African Safaris to the art in Europe, the islands, and cultures of Asia…We don’t have to say much to convince you of how there’s pretty much nothing that compares to traveling the world.
And the best part of it all? Well, many may argue that the best part of spending hours on flights and dealing with unfamiliar cuisines and terrains is – the people. There is nothing like interacting with people from all walks of life. Unfortunately though, some of these people might not be crazy about having you there. Yep. It’s true. It seems that quite a number of neighborhoods around the world would much rather have their beautiful towns and cities to themselves and not share it with the rest of the world.
Why? Well, to put it bluntly, they are just over tourists. They are over being asked for directions. They are over having people stop right in front of them to take selfies. They are over having to deal with the noise that unfortunately happens when tour groups get around a city. They are over it all and have made it very clear that they don’t want us to visit anymore.
Scroll down and see all these popular destinations that aren’t crazy about having you there. This article isn’t written to advise you to change your vacation plans. We just thought it would be helpful to tell you this so that if you happen to be heading to these destinations, you understand why everyone won’t be smiling from ear to ear at your sight.
20 Amsterdam, Netherlands
We love Amsterdam because it’s one of the most liberal cities in Europe, and possibly the world. Every year, tourists from across the globe head to this city to experience a good time. If you thought it was all fun and games, you were wrong…well, at least not for the locals. It seems like the locals are tired of us visiting and would much rather have us stay far away. This was communicated by Frans van der Avert, Amsterdam’s marketing Chief executive, at the world tourism forum. “Cities are dying from tourism. No one will be living in the historic centers anymore. A lot of smaller historic cities in Europe are getting destroyed by visitors”.
19 Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are exciting for any nature and wildlife enthusiast. Giant tortoises and black iguanas are just some of the amazing creatures that one will come across when on the islands. It seems though, that the reason the locals aren’t crazy about us spending time there anymore is because of the need for them to preserve the islands. As reported in the New York Times, UNESCO has now added the Galapagos Island to the “in danger” list and they specifically cited “the fragile ecosystem and the negative effects of a sizable growth in tourism” as the result. Because of this, the Islands are now restricting the number of tourists each year.
18 Santorini, Greece
We’re pretty sure that many people are not going to be happy to see Santorini on this list and we totally understand why. With its picture-perfect sunrises and sunsets, this Island in Greece is on many people’s travel bucket lists. Notice how we said “many”. Yeah, a lot of people are heading out to this European spot and it seems like the locals are trying to control the influx in any way they can. The Independent reported that “The popular island of Santorini was getting overwhelmed by upwards of 10,000 tourists arriving simultaneously each day on cruises – that number is now capped at 8,000”.
17 Barcelona, Spain
Spain is often regarded as a fun, culture-filled adventure for tourists and to have it here on this list is a little unfortunate. The streets of Barcelona are filled with graffiti murals that clearly state how much the locals are not happy to have you there. A Spanish writer from Barcelona clearly explains the huge influx of tourists in his article for The Independent, “Barcelona is the twentieth most visited city in the world, and it keeps breaking its record number of visitors each year, going from 27 million tourists in 2012 to more than 34 million in 2016”. We guess this growing number has certainly gotten the locals over it all.
16 Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu attracts people from all over the world and there is no wonder why. The picturesque landscape of this Peruvian sanctuary have made it a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983 and this has therefore resulted in a whole lot of tourists booking flights to the place. This tourism magnet has made it difficult for the locals and guards to monitor the site. The Chicago Tribune explains that “The tourism impact is very grave. As there are a large number of tourists, you can’t control them. Many tourists do things they shouldn’t do. For example, some people climb the structures, some take the stones, some mark up the floor, do things they shouldn’t”. In this instance, we certainly can't blame the locals for being over tourists.
A visit to any South American country can be filled with lots of adventure for any tourist. Bolivia, in particular, offers tourists lots to explore such as; Salar de Uyuni which is a big salt island, Tiwanaku is great for exploring and discovering the Akapana Pyramid and Kalasasaya Temple and of course, Laguna Colorada offers amazing photo ops with its red lake and rare flamingos. These are just some of the reasons why Bolivia is naturally attracting a lot of tourists. It seems though, that the locals are unhappy about their country being loved by people from all walks of life. According to the World Economic Forum, Bolivia was ranked the number 1 least friendly country in the world.
14 Okinoshima, Japan
This one on the list is perhaps the most interesting addition. Okinoshima Island in Japan is not particularly fond of one group of people – Women. This sacred Japanese Island is a place where women are banned. Yep, you read right. If you’re a woman, you’re not welcomed. It is, of course, shocking to find out that there are still places out there in these times that discriminate based on gender. If you’re a man and think that it would be easy to get onto the island, think again. The Independent UK revealed that “the 200 men who are allowed to visit annually, take off their clothes and perform a cleansing ritual before they set foot on the land”.
13 Arlington Texas, USA
Just around the corner, in North America, we have Arlington Texas. Arlington has many points of interests that draw not only people from outside the US but people from different states, as well. There is the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park which is great for when you’re traveling with kids. There are waterparks and there is also the River Legacy parks, which is a great science center. It is sad though, that the locals won’t be happy to have you there if you’re thinking about grabbing a flight to one of these places. In 2015, this Dallas suburb was named the number 1 tourist-hating city in America.
12 Cinque Terre, Italy
Italy is one of the most visited countries in Europe. Besides the gorgeous people, we just can’t get over the amazing art and architecture, the history, and the food. Ah, yes. We love the land that brought us pasta and pizza. It seems though, that this land is a little over us at the moment. Cinque Terre can be found on the Italian coastline and it consists of towns with colorful houses and vineyards which are centuries old. Millions of people are naturally drawn to these towns and this is why since February 2016, they have decided to cap the number of tourists. Tourissimo Travel explains that “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”.
11 Lisbon, Portugal
As the largest city of Portugal, Lisbon will naturally attract many visitors. Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of this busy city is the amazing monuments and architecture that you will see as soon as you land there. You can spend the whole day just marveling at all the castles and stunning monuments that the city has to offer. At night time, well, let’s just say that Lisbon doesn’t disappoint when it comes to providing an epic night out. The Seattle Times explains 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 one on the list may be a little sad to some of our readers. Russia is probably one of the best places to visit on this entire article because it is a big country with so much culture and history that you can spend weeks there, exploring different places each day and not get bored. From the famous monumental architectural complex of Moscow Kremlin to the art and culture museum of Hermitage Museum to the perfect spot for hiking and local wildlife at Lake Baikal, you’ll be spoilt for choice as to the things you can get up to while visiting the country. It is, however, very sad that the locals won’t be crazy about having you there. In fact, Russia has made it on many lists of countries that are just not crazy about locals. One of the biggest factors is that the Russians don’t believe in smiling to strangers. Imagine trying to tour and enjoy a place where you can’t even smile at anyone.
9 Frankfurt, Germany
Berlin is not the only popular spot in Germany. Frankfurt is popular with many visitors from across the globe. If you’re into the arts and historical pieces, Frankfurt might be on your list of top 10 places to see around the world. There is the Stadel Museum, which has European art from the 14th century and Romerberg, which has stunning colorful houses on town square. Travel and Leisure, however, discovered that Frankfurt was voted as one of the most unfriendly cities in the world, and it seems that their airport is to blame. Many tourists have reported that the airport staff is simply unfriendly and don’t have the time and energy for tourists.
8 Nice, France
Don’t be fooled by the name of the place. When one thinks of visiting France, there are multiple places and things to do that spring to your mind. This European country has really done an excellent job of attracting people from all over the world but it seems like they are now regretting the amazing job they did because the locals are over tourists. Just like with a couple of the places already mentioned on this list, the people of Nice, are not “nice”. In fact, in many popular polls, they have been voted as being very unfriendly to tourists. Considering the fact that France sees millions of tourists in and out of their shores annually, one can’t help but understand their point of view.
7 Oxford, England
Oxford naturally draws a lot of visitors from around the world. This English city is home to a prestigious University that was built all the way back in the 12th century and it has also the incredible Pitt Rivers Museum of natural history and artifact. One can also go out to the Sheldonian Theatre, the Oxford Castle, and perhaps more exciting – explore the famous film and TV locations as Harry Potter and Alice and Wonderland were birthed there. This is all exciting for tourists but it seems the city’s Lord Mayor and Labour Councillor, Mary Clarkson, is a local who is over tourism. She tweeted in 2017 that the city has become a “tourist hell”.
6 New York City, USA
Ah, yes. This should come as no surprise to our many readers. The city of New York has long been regarded as an unfriendly place and it seems though, that tourists just “deal with it” because that has certainly not deterred them from visiting this mega city. The truth is, there are many attractions here that keep people returning for: From Central Park, to Times Square, to the Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art, your New York itinerary will be filled with loads of places to see and explore so maybe if you just keep busy, you too wont be bothered by the locals who simply don’t have the time for tourists.
Bhutan is a very interesting addition to our list of places that are not crazy about tourists. It is particularly interesting because it only actually opened its tourism doors to the world not so long ago. Tourism in the area only really started in 1974 and it seems like the locals, as well as the government, may be regretting it. Why? They want to preserve their landscape and unique culture. This “Kingdom on The Edge of The Himalayas” restricts the number of visitors and those who do come, have to dig deep into their pockets for visas and all other fees related to seeing the place. Basically, if you’re traveling on a budget, Bhutan is not the spot for you.
4 Venice, Italy
This is probably a painful one to see on the list if you’re planning your honeymoon and were thinking about heading out to one of the most romantic cities in the world. It seems though, like many of the popular tourist destinations discussed on this article, that the main problem is space and the locals are over having more tourists than they can handle, which is why metal barriers we put in place in order to segregate the tourists and locals. Express explains that “the barriers were not intended to restrict the movement of locals but to limit the mass flow of tourists through the busy streets”.
3 Onsen In Japan
Ah, Japan. This Asian country falls on many people’s travel bucket list and there is no wondering why. Just like with a few of the already mentioned countries on this list, Japan has a plethora of unique cultures, cuisines, fashion and lifestyle that draws people from all walks of life to it, time and time again. It seems though, that in Onsen areas, the Japanese traditionalists aren’t crazy about tourists with tattoos. "Onsen" are Japanese hot springs and people go to them to bathe in the pools that are believed to have amazing rejuvenating qualities. You do, however, need to cover up your tattoos while there so this can be frustrating for many people out there who have some ink. So this one of the list is not about tourists in general but it does significantly restrict a number of people since there are so many people who have a tattoo or two nowadays.
2 Koh Khai Island, Thailand
This is probably the most painful one to make it onto our list. People from all walks of life love Thailand and this Asian country has been a popular vacation spot for many people, especially in recent years. Thailand has the perfect combination of culture, cuisine and picturesque views that has us coming back for more. Well, it seems like Koh Khai Island has had enough of our visits. These islands have been strictly prohibited since May 2016. Why? Well, it was all for environmental reasons. The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources in the Koh Khai Islands announced that up to 80% of the reefs on the islands had been degraded due to a large influx of tourism.
1 Beijing, China
Now, we’re pretty sure that this addition to our list will break a few hearts. China is one country that falls on many people’s travel bucket list. We reiterate – “many people”. As in – millions head there annually. Now, consider the fact that there are over 22 million residents in Beijing so it is already a densely populated city. You can then begin to understand why the Beijing people are simply “over” us. Travel and Leisure readers voted Beijing as the 11th unfriendliest city in the world.
And there’s our list of places that are so over tourists. Some locals don’t want us to visit their cities or towns because they aren’t too big on sharing, and others are just concerned about the impact that tourism has on their environment. Next time you book a flight and arrive at a place with unfriendly local faces, you’ll know why.