12 Once Popular Places That No One Wants To Visit Anymore

These once-popular sites have fallen out of favor for a variety of reasons.

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Updated June 11, 2024
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While many experts warn against visiting popular tourist destinations, people flock to these sought-after sites for a reason. Be it a significant monument, museum, or cultural scene, there's often an explanation for a so-called “tourist trap’s” fame.

What you need to be wary of, though, is the opposite — once-bustling travel destinations that are waning in popularity. This can be for many reasons: price gouging, natural disasters, safety concerns, or a nearby destination simply being more trendy.

Here are previously popular sites you can avoid wasting money on visiting.

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Paris, France

Ekaterina Belov/Adobe skyline of paris with eiffel tower

Many consider Paris the pinnacle of French culture — a glamorous and romantic destination with a vibrant food scene.

Many visitors are severely disillusioned upon arriving in Paris, though — so much so that a term has been coined to explain this phenomenon — “Paris syndrome.” 

Most visitors are often caught off guard by the state of the city, from dirty streets to crowded tourist traps to a severe concentration of pickpockets and thieves.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Mary Ellen Tysinger/Wirestock/Adobe view across the bay

Cabo San Lucas has historically been a popular tourist destination for those seeking a vacation in Mexico. However, some have criticized the site for being overrun by tourists and being unsafe.

Whether true or not, some travelers favor other Mexican destinations over Cabo. In terms of safety, opinions vary. While the U.S. Department of State notes exercising caution when visiting Mexico, Cabo isn’t on any lists of dangerous or no-travel cities.

Magaluf, Spain

juanjo/Adobe playa de palma nova beach

Many people travel for party and nightlife scenes, either as opposed to or in conjecture with cultural enrichment, and Magaluf, Spain, has often been a favorite amongst partyiers.

However, things have spun out of control a bit, leading to Magaluf’s reduction in popularity. Specifically, partying became dangerous, with fights, overdrinking, and passing out alone in the streets. 

Efforts have been made to restore Magaluf’s public opinion, but people still favor other destinations.

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Machu Picchu, Peru

SCStock/Adobe green landscape of machu picchu

Machu Picchu is one of the most striking feats of architectural ingenuity and has historically drawn tourists in droves. However, the ancient citadel is just that — ancient. 

While many visitors have good intentions, unfettered access to the site can lead to ill-willed guests damaging the grounds. It’s now mandatory to have a tour guide to enter, which has driven away some tourists — somewhat by design.

Egypt

AlexAnton/Adobe pyramids of giza and sphynx

Egypt, traditionally a major tourist spot, offers no shortage of gorgeous sites.

As a result, though, tourists are often followed and harassed, as well as overcharged for basic services, food, and items. Some women also have reported feeling uncomfortable when traveling alone.

Villa Epecuén, Argentina

Pablo Marchessi/Adobe villa la angostura argentina

Natural disasters can have devastating long-term impacts. Such is the case for Villa Epecuén in Argentina.

The town used to be such a popular travel spot that a train station was built especially for tourists, as many as 20,000 each season. However, a lake flooded and kept rising for eight years straight, up to 10 meters in height, causing the town to be abandoned.

Chacaltaya Ski Resort, Bolivia

Britta/Adobe house in the chacaltaya ski

The Chacaltaya Glacier in Bolivia was a popular place to see the massive chunk of floating ice. It was also home to a popular ski resort—the highest in the world.

However, climate change has caused the glacier to melt at an alarmingly accelerated rate, and in 2009, it melted entirely. The resort is now considered a ghost town.

Reno, Nevada

John/Adobe reno nevada skyline

When people think of popular travel spots in Nevada, the first thing that comes to mind is Las Vegas. However, that wasn’t always the case.

Once upon a time, Reno was the place to be. Not only were there bustling casinos, but there was a vibrant nightlife, food scene, and plenty of shopping opportunities. It’s not nearly as popular now, with people favoring the nearby Las Vegas.

Plymouth, Montserrat

ClickAlps/Adobe colorful houses of a village

Another once-popular destination decimated by natural disasters is the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean. The capital, Plymouth, was visited by celebrities and average travelers alike.

However, in 1997, a volcano erupted, causing over 60% of the island to be off-limits and submerged in volcanic ash.

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Bodrum, Turkey

Hakan Tanak/Adobe view of bodrum beach

Turkey is a fantastic travel spot for people wanting gorgeous weather coupled with an enriching cultural experience. One of the most beautiful spots is Bodrum, but it’s fallen out of favor with most tourists.

This is due to travelers preferring Istanbul, which many think has more places to visit and things to do. However, Bodrum is located along the coast, making for a wonderful and now quiet getaway.

Maya Bay Beach, Thailand

day2505/Adobe maya bay with boat

Thailand is another wonderful destination for travelers seeking gorgeous tropical beaches. One beach in particular, Maya Bay, has been a favorite since it was the setting of the 2000 film "The Beach."

However, in 2020, Thailand’s government closed the beach for two years due to overtourism. When it reopened in 2022, it did so with a heap of new regulations. 

For example, visitors aren’t allowed to walk along the beach, to protect recovering coral reef habitats. The beach will close again for a couple of months this year, starting in August.

Vietnam

huythoai/Adobe beautiful landscape halong bay

Travelers who prefer backpacking, hiking, and more naturalistic forms of adventure have historically chosen Vietnam as the place to do it.

Recently, though, this influx of tourists has led to popular regions becoming more traveler-oriented and, as a result, less down-to-earth than travelers have come to expect. 

Instead, people are opting for Laos or Cambodia, which have yet to be as severely inundated by tourist culture.

Bottom line

Yakobchuk Olena/Adobe  man carrying luggage adobe

Changing cultural climates, tourism, natural disasters, and shifts in trends are all to blame for the lack of interest in many once-popular travel destinations. 

However, if a previously bustling travel site has fallen out of favor due to a trend minor issue, step up your travel game and visit anyway. 

You’ll get to experience all the charm that drew crowds in the first place without bothersome tourists ruining your experience.

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Lucy Clark

Lucy Clark has considerable experience writing about real estate, as well as homes and gardens, home value, and more. She is savvy and resourceful, and she aims to ensure others can be, as well.