Tourist Trap Alert! Don’t Climb Those Towers In Europe

Photo of Tourist Trap Alert! Don’t Climb Those Towers In Europe by Parampara Patil Hashmi

Traveling across Europe means visiting a lot of cathedrals, bridges, towers, and palaces. And the beauty can never cease to amaze you! Eventually, it becomes all about fishing for the best spots to get some incredible views of the city. This very quest takes us across some high, tedious, and even expensive routes to reach the perfect spot.

All that effort and money, is that worth it?

On our recent trip across Europe, every second day we stumbled upon the opportunity to ‘get a breathtaking panoramic view of the city' for which we had to climb anywhere between 300-700 odd stairs after paying a fee starting EUR 5.

We missed some, we went ahead with some and we deliberately skipped many.

Here's sharing our experience in detail.

Berlin TV Towers- Fernsehturm, Berlin

We began our trip from the German capital, Berlin. It was our first trip to Berlin and we were pretty impressed with the architecture. The Berlin Ferhenstrum is one of the key attraction of modern-day Berlin and we went for it twice, to avoid crowds and finally get to the top.

We paid EUR 13 per ticket to get to the top. We were obviously aware that this was going to be a closed structure but expected more than just the view.

When we took the lift and reached the top, we were stumped to find a circular walkway, a bar and the view of Berlin through the glass windows.

To begin with, the windows were extremely dirty, hence the view was hazy. There was information on the various train stations in Berlin, but it was too much to take in.

With all that crowd, even the drink was pointless.

Basically, there was no value added for the ticket price.

Brugges Belfry, Brugges

Photo of Belfry of Bruges, Markt, Bruges, Belgium by Parampara Patil Hashmi

Bruges was our first day trip from Brussels. With the town being as little, we were keen on covering as much possible to witness the beauty of Bruges. Despite a windy day, we spent Eur 12 to climb the Belfry and took on the tedious task of climbing over 300 odd steep steps.

It was exhausting and totally disappointing to see the roofed town through a grilled barrier.

St. Stephen Cathedral, Vienna

Photo of St. Stephen's Cathedral, Stephansplatz, Vienna, Austria by Parampara Patil Hashmi

We fell for another trap in Vienna when we visited the St. Stephen's Cathedral. We were lured into to going on top to get a panoramic view of Vienna.

Eur 5 and 433 steps later, we were in a closed tower room with glass windows on 3 sides to watch over the city.

We were at a loss of breath and words together.

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Tuscany

Photo of Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy by Parampara Patil Hashmi

When we visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, we had never planned to get on top. We didn't know we could.

But you don't really feel like you've covered an attraction until you've seen it thoroughly.

Eur 25 for a combination ticket had us thinking that maybe, there truly was something worth the shot.

When we went in, it was all as raw on the inside as glossy and glorious on the outside. To put it literally, there was nothing on the inner side of the Leaning Tower of Pisa or from the experience of going on top as the tower does not have the height. We went up, looked own and came back looking like fools.

Eiffel Tower, Paris

Photo of Eiffel Tower, Avenue Anatole France, Paris, France by Parampara Patil Hashmi

Finally, coming to the most popular European tower, Parichay and I visited the Eiffel Tower on our short trip to Paris a couple of years ago. The tower sure had its charm on the outside and we thought it would be pretty cool to tick this off our couple travel bucket list on our first trip together.

Without complaining we stood for our tickets and then waited for our lift to the very top.

What was that like? We could witness the pretty lit up, City of Lights that Paris is. But was it romantic? Did we have a champagne there? Hell, no!

It was too crowded to even stand and get a good viewing spot, let alone have a quiet romantic moment.

The next time we visited Paris, we simply chose to walk around the city up to the tower to watch the tower twinkle every hour. Those long walks and conversations were certainly much more interesting!

In between, there were many instances where we had the opportunity to climb a tower, take a lift and witness the view. Initially, it was exciting, but our budgets, energy, and tolerance of cold kept us away. But with each experience, we got more warry of what was in store! No, the money, the efforts and the time certainly weren't worth the returns of the offering. Many lists and websites state a visit to such points is essential. But you can take my word for it, it isn't it.

Eventually, you'll grow tired of a similar view.

But it wasn't always like that!

I've had 2 extremely fond memories of visiting towers.

Galata Tower, Istanbul

Photo of Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Tower, Galata Kulesi Sok, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey by Parampara Patil Hashmi

The first being that of the Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey. Galata tower is one of the top tourist attractions in Istanbul. And rightly so! The tower has a restaurant on the top and an open view of the city. When I visited her, I could look upon Istanbul on all four sides by walking around this circular tower. The skyline, Bosphorus bridge, mosques and the local life was easily visible from here making me fall in love with the city!

Cesky Krumlov Tower, Česky Krumlov

Photo of Český Krumlov Castle, Český Krumlov, Czechia by Parampara Patil Hashmi

A river flowing, the extension of a castle complex, a church, mountains, bridge and tourists below was the kind of view offered from the Česky Krumlov Towers. It was simply fascinating walking around this tower and viewing this medieval town from the top, after having walked around it all day through the lanes and the riverside. This too was an open tower without grills or barrier, just the beauty of the town to soak in.


The purpose of travel is definitely to see more and more of new cities and destinations. But let's invest where it matters instead of what is hyped. Many such towers are spread across most European cities and towns, in castles, in churches, in various historical sites. Before visiting, do a thorough research to see if the visit will truly make a difference or add to your perspective about the city? Because otherwise, it truly may not be suitable to invest your resources in.

This post was first published on Awara Diaries

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