Recent weeks have seen a wave of anti-tourist protests erupting across Europe, from Spain to Croatia and beyond. As local residents voice their anger at rising housing costs, overcrowded streets and a sense that the tourist boom benefits some more than others, here are some of the places you may want to steer clear of this summer if you want to avoid confrontation.
Protests kicked off back in July in the Italian city of Venice, where some 20 million visitors a year are added to the 55,000 residents who live here all year round. The protests saw around 2,000 locals take to the streets to denounce, among other things, the environmental impact of tourism on the city, with tourist buses and boats swamping the city in peak season, as well as the rising cost of renting property in the city.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
While there have not so far been any official protests against tourism in Milan this summer, the local council has had to deal with growing discontent on the subject from local residents. As a result, the council has introduced a ban on selfie sticks, food trucks and littering, in an attempt to curb what it describes as ‘antisocial behaviour’. Glass bottles and fireworks are some other banned items, as they are seen as adding to the litter problem.
Tackling similar issues to those described in Milan, Rome‘s local council has introduced a ban on a number of items and actions that it believes are affecting the quality of life of local residents. Stricter regulations have been imposed for drinking on the streets of Rome at night, as well as a ban on paddling in public fountains. Tourists have been asked to stop littering by throwing leftover food and wrappers on the ground, and to be more considerate of street cleanliness.
The Catalan capital has seen waves of anti-tourist protests, with graffiti saying ‘tourists go home’ and ‘tourism kills’ popping up across the city. Worse cases of vandalism have involved a tourist bus that had its tyres slashed and its windows spray-painted, and tourist bikes being targeted. Local residents are angry at rising rent costs, with certain neighbourhoods, such as the Gothic Quarter, having more beds available for tourists than for permanent residents.
Palma de Mallorca
The island of Mallorca has seen anti-tourist demonstrations and graffiti across the city of Palma de Mallorca, as well as smoke flares being set off in front of diners in a popular tourist area. Residents fear that tourism is turning the town into a theme park, where locals can no longer afford to live. Last August saw a record two million visitors in one day across the Balearic Islands, nearly doubling the normal population size.
The northern Spanish city of Bilbao is another place where locals have voiced anger at the impact of tourism in their area. Activists spray-painted the Basque Country tourist board in Bilbao earlier in August, as locals voiced their frustration at the changing face of the city. Attractions such as the Guggenheim Bilbao museum and the Old Town of Bilbao make Bilbao one of the biggest tourist sites in the Basque Country.
Mostly known for its world-famous gastronomic scene, San Sebastian made the headlines recently for a number of anti-tourism protests. The next large protest is set for August 17, during the height of the Semana Grande (‘Big Week’) public celebrations – a popular attraction for visitors to the Basque Country.
The Croatian city of Dubrovnik has been one of the latest tourist destinations to introduce measures to appease angry local residents. Plans have been introduced to regulate the number of tourists in the Old Town of Dubrovnik, as well as to restrict the number of cruise ships entering the port from five a day to two. Up to 5,000 cruise-ship guests enter the city each day, with 10.5% more tourists visiting the city in July 2016 compared to the same month last year.
In recent years Hvar has become famous for being one of the biggest party islands in Europe, rivalling the likes of Ibiza. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by local residents, who have voiced their discontent at the antisocial behaviour of the party-goers. The local council has introduced huge fines for drinking in public (€700), wearing swimsuits in the historic town centre (€600) and not wearing a top in the town (€500).
The Netherlands saw their own anti-tourist protests this summer, with activists squatting the apartment building of the CEO of holiday-booking website Booking.com in Amsterdam. Locals have seen a surge in rental prices and dangerous overcrowding in certain areas. There has also been a rise in anti-tourist graffiti, with slogans such as ‘stop mass tourism’ popping up on walls of what are believed to be illegal rental properties.
Defecating in the open air, stealing road signs and even stealing a young lamb to be cooked on a barbecue are just some of the actions of tourists that have angered locals in Iceland. Tourism here has boomed since the 2008 financial crisis practically destroyed the local economy, yet recently, local residents in cities such as Reykjavik have struggled to cope with the social and environmental impact of the industry.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.