Iconic destinations that will remain off-limits to travelers this year


Paris’ Center Pompidou, Disney’s Splash Mountain and other landmarks make the list

New York City Phantom of the Opera (left), Elephant Trunk Rock, Taiwan (center), and Star Wars: Galactic Cruiser, Disney World(R). -AFP/LA Times/CNN

In the wake of pandemic-induced restrictions, 2023 saw a surge in “revenge trips,” with tourists returning to previously inaccessible destinations.

However, the evolving landscape has led to closures and transformations, leaving us with a list of places that will remain prohibited for travel in 2024.

Pompidou Center, Paris:

Paris’ iconic Pompidou Centre, known for its modern architecture, will be inaccessible by 2024 as it undergoes a €260 million modernization program following the Summer Olympics. Expecting visitors until 2030, art enthusiasts can explore alternatives such as the Tokyo Palace and the Quai Branly Museum.

Splash Mountain, Orlando, Florida and Anaheim, California:

Disney’s Splash Mountain says goodbye in 2023, undergoing modifications due to its controversial inspiration. Reopening as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and offering a renewed experience. Disney enthusiasts can explore the parks in Asia or Disneyland Hong Kong, which features the World of Frozen.

Noma, Copenhagen:

René Redzepi’s renowned Noma, credited with popularizing New Nordic cuisine, will close its doors in 2024. However, it will re-emerge in 2025 as a cutting-edge food innovation test kitchen. Meanwhile, foodies can enjoy Central, Lima’s best restaurant, celebrating Peru’s rich culinary heritage.

Phantom of the Opera, New York:

After 35 years and more than 14,000 performances, the iconic “Phantom of the Opera” takes its final bow in 2023. Broadway remains vibrant, offering alternatives like “Spamalot” and “Kimberly Akimbo,” which are easily accessible with apps like TodayTix.

Pergamon Museum, Berlin:

Berlin’s Pergamon Museum, home to the famous Ishtar Gate, will be closed until 2027 for a comprehensive renovation. During the renovations, visitors can explore Das Panorama and other attractions on Museum Island.

Elephant Trunk Rock, Taiwan:

A beloved photo spot, Elephant Trunk Rock in Taiwan, which resembles an elephant’s trunk, collapsed in 2023. Travelers can explore alternatives like the Cuifeng Lake Loop Trail or enjoy scenic tours of the Southern Cross-Island Highway.

Park Hyatt, Tokyo:

The Park Hyatt Tokyo, famous for its appearance in “Lost in Translation,” which will close for a “property-wide renovation” in May 2024, plans to reopen in 2025. Exploring other accommodations in rural Japan, such as Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan or Treeful’s Okinawan tree houses offer unique experiences.

Notre Dame, Paris:

Notre Dame de Paris, recovering from the 2019 fire, will reopen its doors in December 2024. Meanwhile, France has numerous architectural gems such as Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseille and Strasbourg Cathedral.

Smithsonian Castle, Washington, DC:

The Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC, closed for repairs until 2028. Travelers can explore reopened museums like the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s vineyard, Milan:

Purchased by billionaire Bernard Arnault, Da Vinci’s vineyard in Milan is now privately owned. While their future accessibility remains uncertain, art enthusiasts can view Da Vinci’s masterpieces in several Italian galleries.

Star Wars: Galactic Cruise, Disney World:

Disney World’s Star Wars-themed Galactic Cruise closed in 2023. Fans can embark on a real-life Star Wars adventure by visiting filming locations like the Sidi Driss Hotel in Tunisia or Reynisfjara, Iceland.

As the travel landscape evolves, these closures encourage the exploration of alternative destinations, ensuring the spirit of discovery remains vibrant in the face of change.

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