The London Eye
….and other ‘cliché’ tourist attractions
When planning your next trip, will you be sure to carve out some time for the local iconic tourist attractions? Or do you desire a more “off the beaten path” itinerary?
Ultimately, I think a mix of the two is perfect. Icons are icons for a reason. They are….well…iconic.
Skipping the Eiffel tower because “everyone does it” just means you won’t see a truly astonishing structure.
Passing up the leaning tower of Pisa just means you miss out.
Skip or See?
You *could* skip the cliched photo…or not!
This is your trip, don’t let anyone else tell you how to plan it. Prior to my first time in London, I mentioned my desire to go on the London Eye to my sister-in-law. She promptly talked me out of it saying it was “such a cliché” and there were “so many better things to see”. To be fair, she was likely correct on both points, but at the same time, all that happened was I missed out on seeing something I wanted to see.
If you want to visit every location your favourite show was filmed, do it. If you want to recreate every cliched photo, do that, too. Plan the trip that will make you happy, we all have precious little travel time, don’t let someone else’s idea of what’s fun or not ruin yours 😊. Many of these iconic destinations only ever need to be seen once. I have been to NYC maybe 10 times, and only once did I go to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty. Super glad I did, likely won’t do it again. On the other hand, every time I go to Paris I do rush down to the Eiffel Tower – it’s just so awe-inspiring.
Here is a list of some of the cliched tourist attractions travel spots that I would recommend:
- Eiffel Tower: The famed Parisian landmark that been the backdrop to many romantic movies, marriage proposals, and travel photographs – This symbol of Paris never fails to impress.
- Arc de Triomphe: is a stunning piece of architecture is worth the effort to get there and a great area to walk around
- Big Ben: One of London’s most iconic landmarks. Visit the giant clock tower at The House of Parliament, and while you are there – go see the London Eye so you can tell me about it :).
- Guinness Tour – This is a bit cheesy and a bit shockingly expensive, but I am still glad we went. It was a lot of fun and a good start to our Ireland trip, very well laid out.
- The Colosseum in Rome – it is truly like nothing I have ever seen before, breath-taking. I spent a few hours there and would happily go back and spend more time.
- Canal Grande in Venice – If you are in Venice, you won’t miss it. The Grand Canal is SUPER cool – though also, fairly smelly.
- Milan Cathedral – called Duomo di Milano in Italian, is a vast Gothic-style cathedral, located in the heart of Milan. Hands down the most beautiful building I have ever seen
- Basilica of the Sagrada Family in Barcelona is an (unfinished) architectural masterpiece designed by famed artist Antoni Gaudi. The lines are long to get in, but it is absolutely worth seeing. If you are visitng Barcelona, be sure to add this to your plans. It can easily be included in a 48 hour Itinerary.
- Chichen Itza – In the Yucatán Peninsula there is a complex of Mayan ruins including the massive Step Pyramid which dominates the ancient city. It is 100% worth the effort to get there and spend a day.
- Lincoln Memorial – This was built in honour of the 16th President of the United States.If you have a dream of visiting Washington, DC – make sure The Lincoln Memorial is on your list of tourist attractions to see while you are there.
- Golden Gate Bridge, I didn’t go to see it the first few times I was there. No idea why not. It is super cool and a totally iconic structure, and a marvel of engineering.
- Alcatraz – The island prison that was home to many of the most notorious criminals of the 20th Century, including Al Capone, Whitey Bulger, and the “Birdman of Alcatraz”. DO IT!. It is so cool, worth the time and Money. You can get there from the Pier 33 at Fisherman’s Wharf – another of the great San Francisco tourist attractions.
- Grand Canyon – The immense size and scope of this canyon makes it absolutely awe-inspiring. A beautiful landscape carved by millions of years of erosion. Again, this is a place that is worth the time and money to get there.
New York City:
- Times Square – Sure it is dirty, smelly, and stuffed with people, but yet it is also invigorating and exciting. The heart of Manhattan, the centre of everything, you will love your visit to Times Square when you visit NYC.
- Statue of Liberty – Lady Liberty stands tall in the harbour. She has been a beacon of hope for many coming to the USA, and a symbol of friendship, freedom, and patriotism. For those iconic photos – take the Staten Island Ferry.
- Empire State Building – go to the top, even if you likely never would a second time. It is super worth the time, and those views of the city are spectacular.
- Las Vegas Strip – When you visit Las Vegas – the “strip” is a little hard to miss. It is definitely worth it to do it once, for the pageantry and spectacle. I am personally not a fan and avoid it now if I have to go to Vegas. It can be overwhelming, over stimulating, and too ostentatious, but for first-time visitors – it is a must-see.
- Freedom Trail – despite my overall disinterest in American history, This is still very interesting, and also just a nice walk 🙂
So, the next time you plan a trip – if you want to see those iconic tourist attractions – do it!. Just know that some of them are harder to get to than you expect, some are not quite as big as you think, others are less impressive in person than you may be led to believe. But are they worth the effort? If you want to see them, then YES they are. Your travel adventures are your own – and what you want to see and do is up to you.
Because they are popular and iconic tourist attractions, they also are very busy with other tourists – so getting that perfect photo may not be as easy as you think. Which tourist attractions have been your favourites to visit?