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7 Destinations That Do Not Want Travelers To Visit This Summer (And Where To Go Instead)  

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Overtourism is a real problem that has blighted many of the world’s most popular cities.  

As a result, many destinations are asking tourists to stay away. But that hasn’t stopped our desire to travel the world.  

The city of Leiden in the Netherlands

So where should you go? 

Here are 7 destinations that don’t want travelers to visit this summer, as well as our recommendations for where you could go instead: 

Amsterdam  

Hooglandse Kerk in Leiden, Netherlands

Amsterdam has consistently introduced schemes to deter tourists in a post-COVID world. 

The most recent of these measures was announced this week. Amsterdam wants to cut the number of river cruise ships allowed to enter the city by at least half to just 1,150 ships a year.  

A bill to ban cruise ships from the center of the city was introduced last year, and in the summer of 2023 the city also introduced a “Stay Away” campaign to deter large groups of young people from visiting the city.  

So where should you go instead? We recommend Leiden.  

Leiden is a beautiful and culturally rich Dutch city with a similar canal system. You’ll find 28 kilometres of canals and 88 bridges to explore.  

This pretty city is also home to the oldest university in the Netherlands and well as a collection of13 fascinating museums.  

The Canary Islands 

Young Couple Gazing At Some Rock Formations In Cape Verde, Africa

There are huge protests taking place in the Canary Islands right now because of the impact that overtourism on the islands is having on the lives of local residents.  

Tens of thousands of local people have joined these protests amid calls for the tourism industry on the islands to be curbed.  

So where should you visit instead? Why not try Cape Verde?  

Like the Canary Islands, Cape Verde is an island chain that sits off the coast of Africa, and it was once a Portuguese colony.  

Cape Verde boasts beautiful white sand beaches and a year-round warm tropical climate. Like the Canary Islands it has a volcanic landscape and is a great place for hiking and other outdoor adventures.

  

Lake Como 

Beautiful Varena village on Lake Como riviera in Lombardy, Italy

The huge popularity of Italian summers means that many Italian regions have introduced restrictions or tourism taxes to limit their visitor numbers.  

Lake Como is the latest Italian destination hoping to combat overtourism by introducing a day tripper fee. The fee would apply to daily visitors to the city of Como and would be similar to the daily tripper fee introduced in Venice.  

But there are other beautiful Italian lakes you can explore without the crowds. Why not try Lake Maggiore, which is mostly in Italy but also stretches into Switzerland?  

This is a beautiful lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. At its heart, you’ll find the Borromeo Islands where you can explore palaces and gorgeous Italian-style gardens.  

Athens 

huge crowd of tourists waiting to enter acropolis in athens greece

Athens was considered one of 2023’s worst destinations for overtourism. Crowds at the Acropolis became so unmanageable that a visitor cap was introduced, limiting numbers to 20,000 people per day.  

Crowd levels in Athens can be unbearable, particularly during the summer months. This isn’t helped by the huge number of international flights that land in Athens every day with the city serving as a center point for tourists traveling to other Greek destinations.  

Why not skip Athens altogether and visit one of the smaller Greek islands instead? Packed full of culture and historic architecture, you’ll also find beautiful beaches and warm and welcoming people.  

Try Folegandros or Milos. These have all the charm of Santorini but without the cruise visitors or the crowds.  

Barcelona  

Valencia Spain

From banning cruise ships to introducing a tourist tax, Barcelona has worked hard to curb overtourism. On April 1 2024 Barcelona increased its tourist tax for the 3rd time in 2 years.  

Although this fee is just €3.25 per person per night (so no real financial deterrent) it serves as a reminder that tourism can be very problematic in the Catalan capital.  

So where should you go instead?  

Well, overtourism is a problem in much of Spain during the summer months. But Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and has much of the same charm as Barcelona but without the same crowd levels, and a more laid-back attitude during the summer months.  

Bhutan  

View of mountains in Nepal

The people of Bhutan enjoyed life without tourism during the pandemic, and the authorities in the country agreed.  

Tourists are charged a Sustainable Development Fee to enter the country, and this was doubled to $200 per day when borders to the country reopened, making spending a week in the country on vacation very pricey!  

However, the fee was recently reduced to $100 per day.

So where can you get an identical travel experience without the eyewatering anti-tourism charge? Try Nepal.  

It is a breathtakingly beautiful country with a similar tourism experience, and tourists are welcomed in the country with open arms.  

Tokyo 

Tochoji, a Shingon temple in Hakata, Fukuoka, Japan.

Tokyo has seen a huge surge of tourists since the borders reopened post-COVID and has broken all previous tourism records so far this year, too.  

Local authorities have strengthened transport systems and introduced visitor number restrictions in certain tourist attractions to control overtourism in the capital. But crowd levels in the city can still be overwhelming.  

Why not visit some of Japan’s lesser-known cities instead? We recommend Fukuoka, Japan’s 8th largest city. It has the same modern feel but on a slightly smaller scale.  

It also has a bustling portside, and it’s easy to take a ferry ride from here to South Korea if you’d like to enjoy a 2-center trip.  

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