How do you say “no photo” in your language?

It’s hard to imagine a time when every iconic place on Earth wasn’t full of tourists taking pictures. Does it impact the experience? The better question is: how couldn’t it? Transforming an angelic church into a buzzing paparazzi gallery transforms a quintessential experience into a mundane day in any city. But not everywhere. Many of the best destinations on earth say NO to photos, so if you’re in search of tourist sanity – head for one of these.

The Sistine Chapel – Rome, Italy

This is quite literally a religious experience. Leave it between you and the magic inside these walls. Your camera is not accepted, nor is any device with a lens.

Taj Mahal (Inside) – Agra, India

Fortunately, your friends will only recognize the outside, which you can take pictures of, anyway. The inside of the Taj Mahal is manic enough without people whipping selfie sticks around.

The Crown Jewels, Tower of London – London, England

The crown doesn’t stay wealthy by letting people take pictures of their riches. Tower of London, go photo crazy, but inside, you’d better not.

Valley of the Kings – Luxor, Egypt

Would you want someone taking a picture of your tomb? Didn’t think so. Photography inside these magical crypts is strictly prohibited, so you’ll have to stick to the Sphinx.

Musée d’Orsay – Paris, France

Photo – oui? No, merci. The Musée d’Orsay is extremely protective of their (truly) priceless art. Absolutely no photos inside. You’ll be chucked out!

Michelangelo’s David – Florence, Italy

There’s no research to suggest David was a nudist, so we don’t think Michelangelo would appreciate you photographing Davids bits. There are plenty of images on Google, anyway. Update: it appears the policy has been updated to allow select photography. 

Dolmabahçe Palace – Istanbul, Turkey

You can pay to bring your camera in, but even so – you’re not allowed to take any photos with it! You’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine life in the Ottoman empire.

The Alamo – Texas, USA

There’s a solemn beauty to the Alamo. In respect to the dead – there are absolutely no photos allowed. You’ll have to settle for outside shots, though they’re easy to miss!

Sanjūsangen-dō – Kyoto, Japan

Hoards of snap happy tourists is definitely not part of the buddhist mantra. Kannon, the temples goddess of mercy will have absolutely zero for you, if you break the coveted rules.

Westminster Abbey – London, England

If you’re noticing a trend here, we’re glad. Some experiences are sacred. And hey, Price Harry will get married here. No photos inside, they won’t do the magnificent structure any justice, anyway.

Vladimir Lenin’s Mausoleum – Moscow, Russia

If you’d like to pay your respects to the leader of communism, you’ll need to do so the old fashioned way. You can snap outside the red and gold gates, but this is a no go inside.

Abbey Library of Saint Gall – St. Gallen, Switzerland

We’ll be perfectly honest. Just looking at this library is a privilege. These books nearly burned in the 900’s and any photography just wouldn’t feel right. You’ll understand when you arrive.