Regardless of your destination, there are always certain attractions you look forward to when you travel. Whether you seek out restaurants, parks, or museums, there’s always a type of attraction you travel for.
History buffs might travel to walk among the ruins of ancient cities, foodies seek out exotic tastes and flavors, and nature enthusiasts travel for foreign landscapes and time in the great outdoors.
There’s nothing unusual about any of that – all of the above is pretty standard. But what if I told you people dream of spending their holiday in the sewer? Or pay to be locked up behind bars?
The following are 5 places you never would have guessed would be popular tourist attractions.
5 Places You Never Would Have Guessed Would Be Popular Tourist Attractions
Believe it or not, toilet tourism is actually a thing! From open-air outhouses in the middle of the Himalayas, to porcelain thrones with a control panel in Japan, clean, creative, and quirky public toilets are making a splash, and in many destinations have become legitimate tourist attractions.
While travelers to countries like China will have to learn how to squat, countries like Japan offer super-facilities you would expect from an exotic spa; a seat with a control panel that offers a three-speed bidet hose, a warm seat in winter and water with temperature to match!
And then there are loos with a view; huts and outhouses that have been placed throughout tropical islands and stunning mountain ranges, strategically positioned to take advantage of the powerful panorama.
Photo credit: Joseph
Australia’s Cliffhanger Loo with a View
One of the most famous bathrooms on the toilet tourism trail is Australia’s Cliffhanger Loo with a View. Overlooking the stunning Cobourg Peninsula in Garig Gunak Barlu National Park northeast of Darwin, the toilet is on a cliff overlooking a pristine beach and lagoon, where crocodiles bask on the sand and reef sharks hunt for prey.
The toilet is waterless, odourless and converts fresh waste into organic humus. And it toilet has become one of the chief attractions of the national park. A guest described it as watching a National Geographic documentary play out while sitting on the loo.
Casino tourism is booming, and while it’s no surprise that people holiday to gamble in destinations like Las Vegas and Macau, Mega-casino complexes have become major tourist attractions in many cities around the world. In fact, most attract more tourism than iconic locations.
For instance, Crown Casino Melbourne pulls more visitors to Australia each year than the iconic Sydney Opera House. With an annual 10.9 million visitors compared to the 8.2 million who check in at the Opera House, well known tourist attractions don’t even come close to seeing the type of tourism numbers that Australian casinos do.
After-all, most Casinos double as Entertainment Complexes, and have a range of trendy restaurants, nightclubs and bars, well as theaters and resort amenities like water parks and swimming pools onsite.
Casinos date back to the 1600’s (the first gaming house was the Ridotto, established in Venice in 1638), and gambling has been popular since the day it started.
It has of course evolved throughout ages, and traveling to gamble is just as popular today as it is among those who play in online virtual casinos.
Melbourne’s Crown Casino pulls more visitors annually than the iconic Sydney Opera House
You might wonder why you would want to spend your holiday visiting a cemetery, but tombstone tourism is on the rise, and in many countries has become quite the trend.
Cemeteries are moving, beautiful, and creepy. They are full of history, culture, and art, and each culture has different burial methods and rituals, so many tombstone tourists ‘enjoy walking around and getting a feel for the customs by simply looking at the gravestones.’ – Sherry Ott.
Travelers visit graveyards around the world to for many reasons; to “reflect on their lives, seek out the grave of a famous person, or travel to learn more about their family by finding the final resting place of loved ones.” – Tonya Prater.
Some of the most beautiful overseas cemeteries include Waverley Cemetery, in Sydney, Cemetiere du Pere Lachaise in Paris, Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, and Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires.
Each of these are now tourist attractions in their own right, proving that graveyards are as much for the living as for the dead.
Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires.
Prison tourism may sound dark, but visiting old jails is on the rise, and many historic prisons around the world are now recognized as World Heritage Sites.
Many countries convert their old prisons into museums or recreational sites catering to tourists. They tell the stories of the criminals who languished, rioted, plotted revenge and met their maker. Some old prisons have even seen new life as hotels and “haunted houses.”
During the time they were operational, notorious prisons like Alcatraz in San Francisco, the Tower of London (where they cut off Anne Boleyn’s head), and Port Arthur Tasmania struck the fear of God into law abiding men. But now people are paying to get in.
Off the coast of Cape Town, Robben Island is one of the most visited prisons in the world, having found infamy as the place where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated during South Africa’s apartheid. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, guided tours from the mainland are led by former political prisoners.
Port Arthur Tasmania
The above four categories were perhaps strange, but understandable. But a city sewer? I sure you can think of 100 better ways to spend your holiday!
But tourists all around the world are hitting the sewers, exploring the tunnels, drains and other wastewater structures underneath the city from ancient Rome to present-day New York.
The first sewer system to offer tours was the city of Paris in 1867, and it remains a worthy Paris attraction to this day. At Le Musée des Égouts (the sewer museum) visitors can learn about the history of the system and see parts of it up close.
Other destinations with popular sewer tours include Vienna, Sydney, New York and Rome. Rome in particular makes for an interesting tour. Built in the sixth century B.C.E., the sewers not only evacuated waste from the city, they also evacuated people.
“There’s a very longstanding tradition in the history of Rome where unwanted elements of society—so criminals, deposed tyrants even Christian martyrs—would be cast down here, symbolically to be flushed out of the city,” Professor Mark Bradley told the BBC.
THESE BOOKS WILL INSPIRE YOU TO TRAVEL! ↓
INSPIRED?! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓