These photos of me were taken in Ireland, on the same day, in two different places. The photo on the left was taken at one of the most touristy places in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher. The photo on the right was taken at a place called Loop Head, which was pretty empty when I was there. Why?
Basically, from what I can tell, the Cliffs of Moher were discovered by foreigners earlier, and they’ve become famous. They really are as beautiful as people say they are. My little friends Loki and Tofu San agreed.
Unfortunately, the Cliffs of Moher has been very built up, so there are lots of walls, stairs, and even stores. I’m sure people in wheelchairs appreciate the ramps, but it sort of takes away from the natural beauty.
The designers clearly tried to make it seem “natural…”
The cliffs stretch for 5 miles, so once you walk past the warning signs, the views are pretty remarkable.
And there’s no guard rail!
I was glad to see the Cliffs of Moher, but in many ways, I preferred Loop Head, which looks very similar, but there aren’t mobs of tour buses stopping there every day. This undiscovered gem is a truly stunning place. And no guard rails anywhere! See for yourself:
I know the guard rails are there to keep people safe, and I do appreciate that. In fact, there was a whole campaign at the Cliffs of Moher to keep people from committing suicide by jumping off the cliffs! There were a lot of signs for hotlines to call if you need help, and even a meditation space to sit next to a peaceful fountain.
My verdict? I think it’s worth going to places that tourists have discovered, but I also think it’s important to go to places that are a little off the beaten track. For my next trip, I decided to plan for a mix! I’ll be taking a 3 week trip this July with my friend Erica. Some of the places we’ll be visiting are extremely well known around the world. Others you might never have heard of.
Do you recognize any of the cities pictured above? We’ll be visiting all of these places, and more! I’m pretty sure that the number of tourists in each location will not determine how much we like our experience there. But I’ll keep you posted…
For now, see if you can use these clues to figure out our itinerary!
Categories: Global Citizenship, Ireland
The travel writer Rick Steves has written a lot about Europe “through the back door”. But the irony is that once he has written about some out of the way gem, all of his readers flock there and it becomes touristy. But I do like his honesty about which sites are worthwhile and which ones are tourist rip-offs, so I do find his guidebooks very worthwhile. I do combine his advice with other guide books and online sources.
Here is his take on what to do in Venice depending on how long you are there. We did visit the major sites early or late in the day. St. Mark’s square and the Rialto bridge areas are mobbed when the cruise ships come in. https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/read/articles/planning-your-time-in-venice
And his show on Venice : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxhKZGcPxkc
I’m guessing Greece, Germany and Switzerland or Austria for the others?
We did a trip that combined Italy and Germany and it was good to see the contrasts. Italy was beautiful and wonderful but chaotic, inefficient and unpredictable for a traveler, while Germany was so EASY to visit.
I’m sure you will have an awesome time!
Thanks, Sarah. That gives me something to consider as I plan my trip this summer.
This is an eye-opening post! It’s very true that some of the least visited places are the most beautiful. I’ll keep that in mind for future reference.
As for the pictures… are you going to Venice, Italy over the summer?