Travel Tips

Travel Tips: Don’t Overlook the Tourist Traps

I’m a bit of a budget travel snob. It’s not a particularly flattering aspect of my personality, but admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery, right?

We pride ourselves on finding new, out of the way places even in very touristy cities … and, as a result, we often turn our noses up at the most visited attractions. While this is an elitist reflex, it’s also the result of early travel experiences … waiting in long lines in the hot sun for a lackluster visit to an average site is only okay once or twice. Then, you’re ready to move on to bigger and better things.

But, touristy doesn’t always mean bad. That’s a lesson we had to learn, and it’s the reason we didn’t experience Font Magica in Barcelona’s Montjuïc district until our third visit to Spain.  Descriptions in guidebooks certainly didn’t do the attraction any favors. Water fountains, music and light shows? I’m good, thanks.

But there’s something to this attraction that is absolutely spellbinding. Font Magica makes water dance in time to great classical scores that will give you goosebumps … everything from the theme to the Godfather to Freddy Mercury’s “Barcelona.” And it offers amazing people-watching opportunities. Tourists and locals alike gather to watch — it’s fun to observe all the first dates going on around you. It’s a very romantic scene.

Take the metro to Plaça Espanya … public transportation is cheaper than the perhaps more scenic gondola ride, and the walk up to the fountain gives you time to appreciate the grandness of the display. Also, be aware that the show doesn’t happen every day … right now, there aren’t performances Monday-Wednesday,  but that could change, so check the TI when you arrive.

TIP: Grab a beer or a glass of wine from one of the many well-priced vendors lining the fountains and sneak back to the smaller pond at the back of the display. You can lean against the wall in relative solitude while watching the rest of the city enjoy the show.

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6 thoughts on “Travel Tips: Don’t Overlook the Tourist Traps

  1. My main problem with ‘tourist traps’ is there are usually just too many people there. You spend the whole time standing in queues, or trying to glimpse something over someone’s head, or trying not to overhear some incredibly dull conversation. For really popular places, I think it’s always a good idea to go out of season, or at the quietest time of day (often first thing in the the morning).

    • That’s very true — good point! I know we had trouble with that on the city walls in Dubrovnik … it’s hard to visit at a time when you’re not overwhelmed with day trippers from the cruise ship. I love the advance ticketing option for places like the Coliseum in Rome and the big museums in Naples. Save us so much time! Thanks for commenting 🙂

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