Think Twice Before Taking A Selfie In These Destinations

Taking a travel selfie can turn from a sweet way to remember a trip to a catastrophe in a moment. From the United States to China, there are dangerous selfie locations and attractions hiding in every corner of the world. Many of these places have even claimed the lives of travelers trying to capture a photo of themselves.


Death by selfie is a lot more common than you may think. One study published by the Journal of Travel Medicine found that globally 379 people died while trying to take a selfie between 2008 and 2021. That's almost 30 selfie deaths every year, and that number is only getting higher. During the same period, more people died from selfies than from shark attacks (via Euronews).

With those statistics in mind, you may be trying to figure out how to lower your odds of succumbing to the trend. Most people don't think that reaching their arm out for that perfect shot will be the last thing they ever do, but it's a very real possibility in certain places. You will want to think twice before taking a selfie if you head to any of the following locations.


Grand Canyon - U.S.A.

The Grand Canyon may not ring alarm bells for you, but it's actually one of the world's most dangerous parks. The 277 miles of canyon have intense heat, high cliff faces, and very little shade or water. "On average, there are 12 fatalities within the canyon every year," NPS search and rescue agent Ken Phillips told The Post in 2023. Visitors who push the limits for the perfect selfie have a higher chance of running into problems.


In 2020, a woman named Maria Salgado Lopez visited the south rim of the Grand Canyon with her family. She was enthralled by the gorgeous location and snapped photos of herself off the designated trail without really paying attention when she stepped right off the edge. She didn't survive the fall. Maria was the second person to die in the Grand Canyon in just a few weeks, as reported by ABC News. Anyone spending time in the Grand Canyon should take this iconic natural attraction seriously and make sure they always pay attention when snapping a photo.

Kilauea Volcano - Hawaii, U.S.A.

Running toward an active volcano for a selfie wouldn't seem like the first instinct, but apparently, in the age of social media, it's an appropriate reaction to witnessing a natural disaster. At least, that's what people visiting the area around Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii seem to think. The volcano erupted continuously for 35 years, and it created lots of bright, red, burning hot lava, and it has since become one of Hawaii's most dangerous attractions. Suddenly, taking a photo with this deadly substance became the height of internet clout, but it's not hard to understand why that's extremely unsafe.


"It's one of the big attractions, actually, the number one attraction in the Hawaiian islands is to go up to the volcanoes and be able to see the lava and craters. We have several million people a year come for that but that's been shut down because of the danger. There's a lot of unpredictability," Alan Richmond, a spokesperson for the Hawaii Police Department, explained to People. The department had to officially beg people to stop trying to get near an active volcano to snag a selfie. This is one Hawaii tourist trap you should skip.

Pamplona Bull Run - Spain

The Pamplona Bull Run in Spain is a yearly event that already comes with high danger levels off the bat, as it basically entails 12 bulls chasing participants through the town's cobblestone streets. The situation has grown even more hazardous since cell phones and selfies entered the picture. Imagine running through the streets trying to narrowly avoid getting trampled by a bull, only to collide with a photographer instead.


In 2019, an American man visiting the country for the event almost died while trying to commemorate the experience by taking a selfie with one of the Pamplona bulls. Unfortunately, instead of getting a good photo, he was trampled and mauled. He was stabbed in the neck by the bull's horn and broke his cheek, but somehow managed to pull through. A doctor said that it was "beyond miraculous" that he sustained a neck injury like that without getting nicked in a major artery (via The Independent).

While this man managed to walk away from the encounter with his life, it could have easily gone the other way. It's probably best not to take any chances and put the phone down if you attend a high-stakes event like the Pamplona Bull Run. At the very least, avoid getting close to the agitated animals for a photo. Save the selfies for the holidays in Madrid.


Mount Huashan - China

‌The Huashan Mountain in China is a breathtaking wonder. Like many spectacular natural phenomena, it can also be very dangerous for visitors. The highest peak of Huashan is a dizzying 7,070 feet up in the sky, and a trail called the Plank Walk is often dubbed the most dangerous hike in the world.


This is not the place you want to play games in a risky attempt to get an epic selfie. From narrow and extremely steep hiking paths to windy conditions and limited cell phone service to call for help, there are many good reasons why visitors need to be cautious and abide by the rules at Huashan Mountain. Unfortunately, not everyone gets behind that line of thinking, and this has led to tragedy on more than one occasion.

One unnamed college student came face-to-face with the dangers of tempting Mount Huashan with a selfie in 2019. She was known to be hiking around the area and posting photos along the way, but suddenly, it all stopped. Her family reported her missing, and it was later discovered that she had fallen to her death after ignoring safety warnings and the guardrail.


Trolltunga Rock - Norway

Norway is famed for its fjords. In a nutshell, these are very steep cliff faces with a pool of freezing water waiting at the bottom. These natural features attract tons of visitors to the country every year for their humbling beauty, but places like this can turn a vacation into a catastrophe if you try to take a risky selfie at one of the rock formations around Norway's fjords.


The Trolltunga Rock is the perfect example of a dangerous geological feature in Norway that's claimed lives mid-selfie. The stone, whose name translates to "Troll's Tongue" in English, juts out to a point over the fjords and provides a tiny, sketchy platform where hikers love to take photos of themselves. "It's a one-of-a-kind thing, this rock literally sticking out like a tongue," a Norwegian journalist described it to AAP (via Yahoo). While it's undoubtedly cool, things can go wrong quickly when taking a selfie at this spot.

A little under a decade ago, an exchange student in the country from Melbourne named Kristi Kafcaloudis visited the popular viewpoint with her friends. They all got together to pose for a group photo when the 24-year-old suddenly lost her footing on the end of Trolltunga and fell from the rock. She died as a result.


Tour de France - Mainly France

The Tour de France is the largest bike race in the world. While the route changes annually, it usually takes almost a full month for the 22 teams with 200 bikers to complete the 2,000-mile ride. The entire operation requires a great deal of structure and organization, but despite all this planning, things can go wrong in the blink of an eye once selfie-takers get involved.


Phone users on the sidelines trying to snap photos have become a real concern for Tour de France, and a meme even went semi-viral of a cyclist hitting a phone out of someone's hand. After the event, one cyclist named Tejay van Garderen took to X (formerly Twitter) to express his frustrations with the whole thing by saying, "Standing I the middle of the road with you back turned while 200 cyclists come at you, just to take a selfie. #think."

Things have only gotten worse since then with the selfies at Tour De France. In 2023, it really got out of control when a man taking a selfie caused a big accident by colliding with one of the bikers. There was a full-blown biker pile-up and minor injuries, all due to someone getting in the way of the race for a photo.


Cabo Da Roca - Portugal

The Cabo Da Roca viewpoint is the westernmost point of mainland Europe, and it has become a symbol of Portugal's coastal splendor. It is a must-see for anyone visiting Portugal and a beloved photo spot on the continent's West Coast. However, travelers should be very wary as they inch near the coastline from Cabo Da Roca and never, ever cross over the safety fencing to get a closer shot.


Even though it may seem harmless in the moment, ignoring these safety guidelines can turn into a disaster in about half a second flat. That's exactly what happened in 2014 when a Polish couple visited Cabo Da Roca with their children. The parents were taking photos of themselves but decided they wanted to get a closer shot of the coastline. So, they made a decision that would change everything and may have climbed over the barrier for a better shot. While taking the selfie, the pair stumbled and toppled over the edge to their deaths. Their kids, aged 5 and 6 at the time, saw the whole thing.

Mumbai, India

While most of the spots on this list are a particular attraction or type of place, the entire city of Mumbai, India, is considered hazardous for selfie-taking. India as a whole has one of the highest rates of selfie-related deaths, accounting for more than 40% of the world's total (per CNN). Social media is very popular there, and since there are so many well-known tourist attractions in the country, such as the Taj Mahal, it's the perfect storm for selfie incidents, and Mumbai is a hotbed for them.


However, the city is just being laissez-faire about the whole thing. It has taken the situation so seriously that it designated 16 official no-selfie zones across Mumbai. Many of these areas are rocky coastlines and potentially dangerous beaches. The new regulations were implemented in 2016 after an 18-year-old girl drowned while attempting to take a photo of herself in the ocean.

Train tracks

Taking selfies on train tracks is an oddly common activity for teenagers, and it's also extraordinarily life-threatening. People die trying to capture a photo of themselves on train tracks all over the world. It happens all the time and the rates of train track deaths are only getting higher every single year.


In 2011, three teenage girls in Utah got caught between two oncoming trains as they were taking a group selfie on the tracks, and they were all struck. Two of them died at the scene and the third was later taken off life support. The last photo they took managed to capture all the girls in the frame; you can see the train lights nearing in the distance.

Five years later, on-lookers watched as a teenage girl in China was struck by a train and killed while taking a selfie. While there is nothing seemingly that special about these spots, people continue to risk their lives with photos there. The moral of the story is that you should stay as far away from train tracks as possible and definitely never stop there for a photo.


Plitvice Lake National Park - Croatia

Plitvice Lake National Park is a dreamy place in Croatia that looks like something out of a fantasy world, but letting the jaw-dropping nature distract you while visiting could cost you your life. Unfortunately, many travelers get so caught up in this national park's beauty that they decide to wander off the designated safe path to get a good selfie away from the crowds. This is a bad idea.


It has happened so often that the Croatian Mountain Service Rescue had to put out an announcement urging visitors to "stop making stupid and dangerous selfies." This message was sent out on X after a Canadian tourist fell 246 feet from a favorite viewpoint in the national park after pushing the limits too far while attempting to get a nice selfie. The man had a close brush with death, but he was saved by a tree branch that helped to cushion his fall.

Yosemite National Park - U.S.A.

Yosemite National Park is the sixth most-visited national park in the United States and receives 3.8 million guests every year (via Smithsonian Magazine). Even though it's a popular place to visit in the U.S., it shouldn't be underestimated. With the combination of potentially vicious animals, high peaks, and difficult conditions, Yosemite is no joke.‌ Many of the trails around this national park should only be attempted by experienced hikers.


With all these elements, Yosemite can be a treacherous location to try and nab a selfie if you're not being responsible. An example of this is Tomer Frankfurter. In 2017, the Israeli 18-year-old was spending two months getting to know the United States, including Yosemite. When he got to a section called Nevada Fall, he decided to take a photo that he would never forget and climbed over the edge of the rock to get a shot of his dangling body.

It seemed okay at first, but then he yelled that he needed help and started slipping. Despite the attempts of other people in his tour group to pull him back over, Frankfurter fell over the edge of the 600-foot cliff onto a bed of rocks to his death. Just a month later, another couple died in Yosemite trying to take a selfie at the park.


Mount Everest - Tibet

Everyone knows that climbing Mount Everest is just about the most brutal, potentially deadly travel activity you can take on. Despite this fact, it's only grown more widely attempted every year, and now it is completely overcrowded with people trying to finish the hike of a lifetime. The thing is that many of these people are also trying to get the selfie of a lifetime on the same trip — two birds with one stone and all. Everest climbers will do practically anything to get that essential shot of themselves standing proud at the top of the iconic snow-covered mountain.


Climbers have started to wait in massive lines on top of the frozen mountain for hours at a time to get the selfie of their dreams on the highest peak in the world. Once they finally get up there, it's not much safer than the narrow, windy waiting area either. Since the terrain of Everest is such an unforgiving location as it is, this type of behavior only makes the endeavor to climb the mountain even more deadly than it already was. In 2019, 11 people died over the span of just 10 days trying to reach the highest point of Everest (via CNN).

Victoria Falls - Zambia/Zimbabwe

Victoria's Gorge is kind of like Africa's version of Niagara Falls, but it is even bigger. Located right between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the gorge truly shows the raw power of planet Earth, and that sight brings in around a million visitors annually to witness it with their own eyes. While it is a spectacle, it's important to respect the merciless nature of a place like Victoria's Gorge when taking photos there. One misstep can mean the difference between life and death.‌


In 2009, a tour guide was presumed dead after falling into Victoria's Gorge while attempting to rescue a member of his group who had slipped and was hanging on a rock. That shows just how unsafe this area can be; even an experienced guide can fall and never be seen again. So, it's even more dangerous for tourists trying to get a selfie with the waterfall. In 2021, a visitor named Roy George Tinashe Dikinya tumbled 328 feet into the gorge after trying to get a photo on the cliff's edge and disappeared below the roaring water.