COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020. In the days following the announcement, countries around the world closed off their borders and recommended the stop of all non-essential travel.
With travel being non-existent at the moment, some of the world’s most popular tourist attractions and cities are empty. There’s something eerie and beautiful about seeing these spots empty for what is the first time in decades.
Times Square & NYC
People come from all around the world to experience what is the madness of Times Square. Typically, 380,000 people pass through Times Square per day. It’s usually so busy with tourists that local New York natives go out of their way to avoid it at all costs. Seeing the streets this empty feels like a scene out of a post-apocalyptic movie.
Venice is the most visited city in Italy, with between 26-30 million visitors annually. While the city depends on, tourists, it’s a love-hate relationship. Many locals complain about the crowds of tourists. And, some restaurants have two menus for when you sit down: one with lower prices for locals and one with inflated prices for tourists. As much as the locals felt frustrated with tourists, no one could have predicted an entirely empty Venice for Spring 2020.
Trevi Fountain, Rome
The Trevi Fountain is a popular tourist attraction where visitors often toss in a coin for a wish. On average, the fountain sees 1,200 visitors per hour. It is usually impossible to get a picture at the fountain without being surrounded by crowds of visitors, even in the evening. To see it completely empty is shocking.
Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, South Korea
The Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of the top shrines to visit in South Korea, seeing more than 2.9 million foreign visitors annually. Most visitors are told to purchase tickets in advance as the site is usually so crowded. Visitors can take a guided tour that tells the history of the Palace while exploring the grounds. Due to COVID-19, all tours have been temporarily suspended, leaving the Palace looking deserted.
Charles Bridge, Prague
The Charles Bridge is a historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. The Czech Republic has been seeing increasing rates of tourists in the last decade, and Prague is the most popular destination spot. Prague had 7.9 million visitors in 2018. Currently, the country is on lockdown due to COVID-19, leaving the streets and tourist spots utterly void of people!
Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, Canada, and is a popular destination spot for travelers visiting the West Coast. People take a short ferry ride from the mainland to come to this tiny city with its heritage buildings that pay tribute to its British colonial past. This small island sees almost four million visitors annually. Usually, on a sunny day, the waterfront is filled with locals and visitors enjoying the views.
National Portrait Gallery, London
The National Portrait Gallery may not be on every visitor’s itinerary when traveling to London, but it’s a popular destination for art enthusiasts. The gallery displays a variety of portraits of famous and historically significant British people throughout time. In 2018, the gallery reported a visitor count of 1.58 million, which is an average of slightly over 4,300 per day. Even if people don’t go inside, the front of the gallery is a hot spot for crowds.
Las Vegas Strip
The Vegas Strip is arguably one of the world’s most renown party centers. New York may be the city that never sleeps, but it feels like Vegas may have a close shot at that title too. Las Vegas sees an average of 36.7 million visitors per year. The last time in history the Vegas strip closed was after the JFK assassination.
Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is full of entertainers, food, and beach-goers. With the beautiful California sun shining all year long, the pier is almost always packed. Approximately six million people visit the pier per year. The pier has closed over concerns about COVID-19, leaving the area looking like an abandoned ghost town.
The Red Square, Moscow
The Red Square in Moscow is considered by many to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This destination sees more than 20 million visitors annually. Visitors come in sun or snow to see the beautiful, detailed architecture of the area. However, in recent weeks, the area has remained completely empty as Russian citizens are being encouraged to stay home at much as possible.
Eiffel Tower, Paris
The Eiffel Tower is the symbolic image that comes to mind whenever mentioning Paris. Since it’s opening, the Eiffel Tower has seen more than 300 million visitors. In an average year, the tower has seven million visitors. People will go out of their way to go incredibly early or late to visit the tower, just to avoid the never-ending crowds in the area. But right now, the Eiffel Tower stands completely surrounded.
When COVID-19 passes, the crowds will return, and all of these spots will be full once more. But, it’s nice to see pictures of these beautiful places, empty, for once.