Barcelona, Rome, and Amsterdam are among the three most visited cities in Europe. These three cities have been welcoming tourists for decades. Known for friendly and welcoming locals, who believed in providing true hospitality and plenty of local experiences to equally grateful visitors.
However, this symbiotic relationship between tourists and locals is now under tremendous strain! Barcelona, Rome, and Amsterdam are among an increasing number of European cities that are facing “Tourismphobia“. Overcrowding, mass-tourism, high cost of living, high property rents, mass commercialization is driving the locals angry, who are now blaming the tourists for their problems. This summer (the peak tourist season!), we would advise you to avoid some of these overcrowded, angry and protesting cities in Europe!
7 angry European cities to avoid in the summer of 2019!
Imagine a city of 55,000 residents has to cope up with the ever increasing pressure of hosting around 20 million visitors a year! Protests erupted in Venice eventually last year. Locals are now denouncing and despising tourists because of the severe environmental impact on the city. Exorbitant property prices and rentals, city choked with tourist buses and boats clogging the canals are among the key issues that have led to tourismphobia among Venice’s citizens. The once hospitable locals nowadays complain that Venice is turning into a theme park for tourists.
The world’s fashion capital, Milan is also not free from troubles. The Italian city is struggling to curb the anti-social behaviour of unruly tourists. The Milan city council has already put a ban on selfie sticks, food trucks, and littering. There is also a ban on glass bottles and fireworks. However, this is just the beginning of Milan’s love-hate relationships with tourism. Locals are also demanding a curb on Airbnb activities.
The Italian capital of Rome is also tackling over tourism-related issues just like Milan. The local council of Rome has already placed a ban on a number of items and actions. There are stricter regulations on drinking on the streets of Rome at night. Tourists are now discouraged to use selfie sticks, paddling on public fountains, littering, bathing in public fountains, illegal street food sales, etc.
One of the most loved cities in Europe, Barcelona is not free from the troubles of over tourism. The Catalan capital is witnessing several waves of anti-tourist protests. Some of it has even turned into worrying cases of vandalism when tyres of tourist buses were slashed and windows spray-painted with anti-tourism messages. Troubled and angry locals are now putting up banners with slogans – ‘tourists, go home’ and ‘tourism kills’. Most of these issues are related to rising rent costs, listings of Airbnb properties and some neighbourhoods having more tourists than local residents.
Dubrovnik has achieved a lot of fame in recent times because of the HBO blockbuster TV show – Game of Thrones. However, with increasing reputation, it is also facing issues with over tourism. In order to placate the angry locals, the city council of Dubrovnik have made plans to regulate the number of tourists in the Old Town of Dubrovnik. The city council has also restricted the number of cruise ships entering the port from five a day to just two a day.
The Dutch capital of Amsterdam is known for its beautiful art museums, windmills, historic canals, and tulip gardens. One of the top 10 cities in terms of tourist footfall, Amsterdam is now wilting under the pressure of mass tourism. A surge in rental prices and overcrowding in certain areas of Amsterdam are a major cause of concerns for the locals. Anti-tourist graffiti and banners with slogans against tourism are now a common sight in the city of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Vermeer.
Even the far-flung European city of Reykjavik is not free from over tourism related troubles. Tourists defecating in the open air, stealing road signs, and stealing lambs for barbeque, these are the exact sort of issues that are angering the locals of Iceland. Tourism in Iceland boomed after the 2008 financial crisis but the socio-cultural and environmental impacts of over-tourism is a real cause of concern for this small and beautiful country.
Overcrowding and mass tourism is causing a genuine case of Tourismphobia in all over Europe. Locals’ way of life, customs and traditions are in danger in places like Reykjavik and Venice, while the once-proud locals of Barcelona and Milan are now finding house rentals beyond their reach. The need of the hour is responsible and sustainable tourism! We don’t want to discourage you from visiting these beautiful cities, but do remember to behave like a true global citizen and bring your best behaviour when you plan a holiday to such places!