Like most things in life, trends come and go, sometimes returning but often becoming nothing but nostalgic memories. Travel and tourism is exactly the same and there always seems to be a new destination on the rise. Cities such as London, New York, Paris and Rome have been able to maintain their popularity for decades, but many others fade and die. Here are seven once-popular destinations that people appear less interested in nowadays.
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Acapulco was a playground for Hollywood elite and anyone with enough cash and swagger to hang out with them. Everyone from Brigitte Bardot to Elvis and the Rat Pack came for the pristine golden beaches, turquoise waters and glitzy nightlife. Motown quartet the Four Tops even had a hit about the resort called Loco in Acapulco and sang "the magic down there is so strong." Things took a downward spiral in the 2000s when gang battles broke out as part of the Mexican Drug War. This has led to the city becoming one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Founded as a seaside resort in the 1850s, by 1874 around half a million tourists were arriving in Atlantic City by rail alone. They came for the sweeping beaches, the neon-lit boardwalk and the vibrant nightlife scene. Popularity grew during the Prohibition, when liquor consumption and gambling was possible in the back rooms of nightclubs. Then came a nightclub heyday between the 1930s and 1960s. Legalized gambling and boxing brought another boom but casino scams, crime and the rise of Las Vegas lead to a decline in tourism. The Boardwalk remains if you want a trip down memory lane.
If you’ve ever traveled to or researched Italy’s interior then you’ll be familiar with its wonderfully atmospheric medieval hill towns. With a history that dates back to the 11th century, Balestrino, in the Liguria region of the northwestern Province of Savona, is a prime example of one of these towns. It flourished as a farming village until the 1950s but was eventually abandoned following earthquakes and landslides. The 400 residents were relocated to a new town by the same name while the castle and churches of the old town stand as relics of the former glory.
Lake Placid, New York
Not once, but twice Lake Placid was chosen as the host venue for the Winter Olympics. At the 1980 games it even hosted the Miracle on Ice, which saw the U.S. hockey team shock the world by beating the Soviet Union and consequently restore some Cold War pride. While the village perhaps hasn’t hit the heights of its sporting fame since, it still offers the chance to go bobsledding, ice skating and skiing on one-time Olympic facilities. For more sporting nostalgia you can visit the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum and stand at the top of the old ski jumps.
There used to be a time when Reno truly lived up to its billing as the Biggest Little City in the World. Home to lavish hotels and exciting casinos, the latter was fueled by gold prospectors looking to earn some cash on the side during downtime. From the 1930s the town also became famous as the U.S. divorce capital and at times unhappy couples camped on the Truckee River while waiting to be granted their quickee-divorce. But in the 1960s a town called Las Vegas started to steal Reno’s custom and the once-popular destination began its slow decline.
Wandering the abandoned streets and coastline of Varosha, a suburb of the Cypriot city of Famagusta, it’s hard to believe that this was once a coastal resort for the wealthy. People billed this Mediterranean resort as the French Riviera of Cyprus and luminaries such as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton holidayed here. That all changed in 1974, when the Turkish invaded the north of the island, residents fled and a still-running political conflict with the Cypriot-governed south was established. Today it is more coastal Wild West than Mediterranean paradise.
Villa Epecuén, Argentina
A 6-hour drive inland from Buenos Aires resides the former lakeside tourist village of Villa Epecuén. Developed in the 1920s, vacationers from the Argentine capital would travel here by train to enjoy the therapeutic waters of Lake Epecuén. Unfortunately, nature brought an end to a place that attracted 25,000 visitors in 1970. In 1985, a seiche caused the lake to break its banks and flood the town, turning it into a swamp with water levels of over 30 feet. When the waters receded in the 2000s, only the ghostly remnants of the town reappeared. There’s a fascinating movie about the town and its last inhabitant.