Seven Places to Visit While You Still Can

Phenomenal tourist destinations always top travellers' bucket lists, but their popularity can have adverse effects too. Rambler.Travel shares seven places, to which trips may soon become more rare

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre national park in Liguria remains one of the most enchanting locations in Italy enticing tourists to it in their droves. Made up of 5 tiny medieval, cliff-top towns scattered along the Mediterranean coastline, it is known for its rustic villas, ancient temples and distinctive lifestyle, which have remained unchanged for centuries.

However, taking in the breathtaking scenery is set to become a more niche experience. Vittorio Alessandro, the park’s president, has decided to limit tourist numbers in order to save the site from ruin. The huge influx of tourists in the summer floods the town, making it difficult for local people to live their lives as they would normally.

Every year, roughly 2.5 million people visit the park. In order to preserve Cinque Terre this number will be cut by 40% in the next few months as a new ticketing scheme is put in place.

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Cinque Terre, Italy

Berlenga Grande Island, Portugal

Berlenga Island, the largest of Berlengas Archipelago, is to become even more isolated. It is renowned for its serene beaches, picturesque sea views of rugged cliffs and caves, and an historic fort, now partially converted into a hotel. The numbers of tourists wishing to see this remote stronghold are increasing year on year.

According to recent data, 500 people arrive on the island every day, disregarding its capacity of 350. “We need to dramatically lower the rate of footfall.” says Maria de Jesus Fernandes, the local director of parks and natural reserves covered by the INCF (Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests). However, Portuguese authorities are yet to make the dates of new restriction clear.

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Berlenga Grande Island, Portugal

Venice, Italy

Everybody knows that Venice is sinking. This lovers' paradise will supposedly vanish by the end of the century. But it's not just flooding which can put a stop to your romantic plans.

According to student research of the University of New Mexico, the city sees 133,800 daily visitors. Of those, 37% are residents, 49% tourists and 14% students and workers from other regions of Italy.

The paper claims that the highest amount of daily visitors that the city can accommodate is 40,000, of which the total number of tourists should ideally not be more than 27,000.

For more than 20 years, Venetian officials have been debating how to best preserve the lagoon from the destructive force of mass tourism. A limit on the number of holidaymakers seems to be the most popular resolution, but civil servants have not ruled out imposing a tourist tax which would drive away some interest.

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Venice, Italy

Solovki, Russia

Arkhangelsk Region's main claim to fame is its remarkable scenery. The region has over 550 lakes of all shapes and shades, quaint meadows, hills and marshland. But its crown jewel is the Russian Orthodox Solovetsky Monastery, one of Russia’s most revered religious sites.

Praying at Sovoltetsky's shrine to Saints Zosima, Savvatiy and Herman, may become more difficult. 30,000 visitors passed through the monastery’s doors last year, which regional authorities reckon is the absolute maximum the sanctuary can welcome. The flow of tourists to the archipelago has maxed out and any subsequent increase could cause irreversible damages.

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Solovki, Russia

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona was the most sought-after city last August, according to the travel booking site JetCost. But the locals are hardly celebrating winning top spot. In what is becoming an increasingly common sight, they pour onto the streets to rally against the swarms of tourists, who they believe are changing the city for the worse.

The residents of neighbourhoods such as Ciutat Vella, Gràcia, Guinardó, Poble and Sant Antoni are particularly disgruntled. They say, “Intense economic activity overloads Barcelona; a mob of onlookers and hubbub have a detrimental effect on the daily lives of our citizens.”

Ada Colau, Barcelona’s mayor, backs the notion of setting tourist quotas. She is alarmed at the prospect that the city could follow in the footsteps of floundering Venice, where unfettered tourism is destroying the city.

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Barcelona, Spain

Taj Mahal, India

One of the Seven Wonders of the World, an ivory-white marble mausoleum in Agra, is on the brink of extinction. Its decline is blamed on the 6 million tourists who visit every year, causing rapid deterioration by trampling on the monument’s white marble.

The government has decided to restrict the number of visitors to 24,000 a day. What’s more, the entrance ticket will remain valid for just two hours, a step back from the previous full-day access.

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Taj Mahal, India

Machu Picchu, Peru

A mysterious citadel of the Incan Empire, erected on the orders of the emperor Pachacuti around 1440, lies at 2,450 meters above sea level in the heart of the Andes. It nestles on the narrow flat between the twin peaks of Huayna Picchu ("young peak") and Machu Picchu (“old peak”).

Yet travellers, despite the difficulty of getting here, are not easily discouraged. On the contrary even, the souring numbers of tourists compelled authorities in the town of Cusco to reduce the number of daily visitors to 2,500. The Huayana Picchu has restricted the quota to a mere 400 from 7am to 10pm.

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Machu Picchu, Peru