Most people want to go to big cities and do what most people do there. However, this article is made especially for those traveling on a budget. Some of the things that you want to do, some of the staple places you want to visit, and even some of the food you want to eat, cost way more than what they're worth. Here are the five biggest tourist traps in the five most popular European tourist destinations.
1. Prague: Trdlo/Trdelnik Desserts
Trdlo is a very delicious dessert sold on the streets in the heart of the city. It's a spiraled puffy cinnamon sugar dough that is sometimes filled with Nutella and soft serve vanilla ice cream. It's delicious and relatively cheap (up to $6) for a middle-class tourist.
Here's the problem: It's not even native to the Czech Republic. And it's heavily overpriced.
The thing about Prague is that everything is super cheap. The difference in currency between Czech Koronas (CZK) and Euros/USD is drastic (around 25 CZK per Euro). A local all-you-can-eat Czech buffet costs less than half as much as this dessert.
Also, the word "trdlo" means "dumb person" in English, yet Google somehow translates trdlo into "boob." So, you're basically being called a dumb boob when you buy this.
2. London: "Authentic" Pubs
Lots of people hit up the pubs in London for an authentic experience. They usually order a couple of brews and the staple, the fish and chips combo. Luckily, I had friends living in London to give me good recommendations on where to shop, eat, and visit. I was advised to not eat at the pubs that advertise fish and chips on their signs because the quality of the food there is not that good. The price just makes it worse.
3. Paris: Restaurants
This city is known for its museums, cathedrals, arts, and the architecture, like the Eiffel Tower. There is also a stereotype about locals tending to be hostile towards non-French speaking tourists. From personal experience, there definitely are rude French people.
Unfortunately, this stereotype is discretely justified in the restaurants' menus. Whenever a tourist asks for a menu in English, some Parisian restaurants will post more expensive prices on the English menu than on the French menu.
4. Amsterdam: Marijuana
Other than their notorious Red Light District, Amsterdam is known for its coffee shops, where they sell weed. They've been selling weed in coffee shops for decades now. 20 million people visit Amsterdam per year.
However, the coffee shops are all too mainstream as they are being franchised in multiple locations in the city. There are multiple Bulldogs and Greenhouses all within walking distance from each other. As expected, the prices are higher than premium, since they're all in the heart of the city. Most items on their menus are just spliffs, which contain mostly tobacco. They're not advertised as spliffs and cost just as much, if not more, than what tourists are really trying to order.
5. EVERYWHERE: Eurostar ATMs
If you're an American visiting any city in Europe, you'll find these ATM's almost everywhere. And if you have a regular American debit card, these are your worst enemy. Basically, these ATM's will charge the highest fees to any foreign debit card. Literally, just use any other bank's ATM.
Also, always shake the card reader to make sure no one glued a card skimmer on to it. This is unfortunately common in Europe. I actually removed a card skimmer in Spain because I did this. If you have learned anything from this article, remember this tip.