You can travel to Rome and skip the pizza place your friend told you about but you have to visit the Colosseum. Some travel destinations are simply a must-see. But that doesn't mean you'll like them.
To learn more about these questionable places, Reddit user u/superlemondaze made a post on the platform, asking: "What's a tourist attraction you've been to that was 100% not worth the hype?" And people responded.
As of today, the question has 23.6K upvotes and 17.2K comments, many of which describe why some of the most popular spots can feel overcrowded, overpriced, and simply overrated.
The glass bridge over the grand canyon.
Total rip-off tourist trap.
It takes HOURS to get there from Vegas
They charge you $20 to park in an empty desert
They charge you $30 per person to take the bus from the parking to the attraction (it's like walking from parking into a mall - no distance at all!)
Then they charge you $30 per person if you actually want to walk on the bridge
You cannot take pictures or bring a camera onto the bridge, but they will sell them to you, of course.
There is one overpriced place to eat where they sell you canned food heated up in a microwave for big money... or you could drive 5 hours back to Vegas...
Go there to get scalped.
Travel blogger and speaker A Lady in London has been to 112 countries and she's only visited a few attractions that she thought were over-hyped. It was primarily because she isn't really drawn to such places to begin with.
"Most of them were attractions that heavily marketed themselves or got lots of coverage on social media," A Lady in London told Bored Panda. "I went because I was curious after seeing them advertised or talked about online so much, and not because I was truly interested in them."
While the traveler acknowledges that some companies and individuals might prey on tourists, she doesn't think that makes the whole industry corrupt or dishonest. "I think most are genuinely trying to offer something that appeals to a certain demographic. If I'm not in their demographic, I'm probably not going to enjoy their attraction. But someone who is in their demographic might love it," she explained. "Like most things in life, the degree of enjoyment of tourist attractions tends to be relative to one's interests."
Don't worry. Everyone can find something they're into. "There are lots of ways people can discover cool, less popular sights when they're traveling," A Lady in London, who also documents her trips on Instagram, said. "As a professional travel blogger, I obviously recommend following blogs and social media accounts that share about under-the-radar places. Local knowledge is key, so if you can find influencers who specialize in a specific destination, you'll often discover great places through their content."
The Dead Sea. You're in Israel. In the desert. It's blazing hot, like 115°F. You think you'll go take a dip in the Dead Sea to cool off, right? Wrong. First, you have to pay to go through a spa to use their towels, pools, etc. Then you take the wagon/shuttle that drives you from the spa down to the shore. The wagon/shuttle goes about 5 miles per hour in the scortching sun. No breeze. Next, you get to the shore of the Dead Sea. You the proceed to run over the sand that's so hot you're sure your feet will burn off. You tentatively step into the water....and it's like the hottest bath you've ever taken in your life. The water is maybe 1° away from boiling. But you figure you've made it this far, might as well get the full experience. So you submerge. It's a mistake. Every pore on your body is burning from the salt. If you have shaved any part of your body within the last three years, you will feel the salt seep into the little micro cuts and burn you from the inside out. You find cuts on your body you didn't even know you had. Even your asshole is burning because you have pooped and wiped within the last week, so your skin is raw there. And the worst part is, when you decide you have had enough of this boiling body of water, you practically have to crawl out because you're too bouyant to stand. And in the process of crawling out, you scrape your knees on the bottom where the salt rocks have crystalized which sets off a whole new round of pain. So now you're hot, sticky from the salt, and every inch of your body burns.
Dubai. It's the most soulless, cultureless, and artificial city I've been to. The shameless and obscene display of bling-bling only adds to this vibe, and the supertall skyscrapers and mega malls get old sooner or later.
To top it off, all of this is built overnight on what is essentially slave labor.
Cory and G Varga, the wife and husband duo behind the blog You Could Travel, have also been to a few tourist attractions they could've probably passed on. "The most disappointing was by far the Manneken Pis in Brussels," they told Bored Panda. "Then we have La Rambla and Mercado de La Boqueria in Barcelona: overcrowded and overpriced. The famed Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin is a bit of a tourist trap and Camargue in the South of France because of factories and pollution."
The couple is warier of the industry than A Lady in London and said that at the end of the day, people are here to make money. "Naturally, travel industry players invest heavily in marketing and as we know, marketing can sometimes be deceiving. Travel agents operate on commission so their goal is to sell you a dream: more expensive hotel, upgrades on flights, more experiences to visit. Luckily, travelers are also savvier and can see right through the ads."
"Modern travelers rely mostly on recommendations of friends and relatives, online recommendations, social media, and travel blogs. Commercial information is not so relevant to them anymore. We do appeal to all industry key players to change some of their practices ... and adopt a more ethical stance."
Cory and G Varga think the best way to learn about unbeaten paths is by simply exploring. "Ditch the hop-on-hop-off options and grab a city map (or just use digital maps on your phone) and go on an adventure. It's perfectly okay to want to see popular attractions but travel between them on foot if possible. It's the curious sights in-between that are so much more interesting and unusual. A cute family-run bistro, an obscure century-old shop, a friendly local with a story to tell," the wife and husband explained.
The Taj Mahal (Agra). It's surrounded by 10-meter-high walls, and the entrance fee is ludicrously expensive compared to any other attraction in India. If you're in Agra and want to see the Taj Mahal, go across the river. There are some gardens almost directly across from it, and there's a great spot by the river with a brilliant view of the Taj Mahal, particularly at sunset. This experience is totally free, and you won't have to deal with crowds.
While the Louvre is wonderful, the Mona Lisa was a huge disappointment.
The painting itself is tiny and there are always hordes of people around it.
There are a million better things to see at the Louvre.
In 2020, global international tourism arrivals fell by 73%, according to the World Tourism Organization, and recovery hopes for 2021 have been dented by waves of new infections. But as vaccination programs advance around the world, opportunities are arising for restrictions to be gradually eased.
Destination and tourism businesses are trying to rebound while also being sufficiently nimble to manage the abrupt tightening of restrictions that could be imposed in response to future infection waves and the emergence of new variants of the virus. Let's hope this brings more transparency to the industry and more chances to travelers!
If you go to the Great Wall of China, I'd suggest not going to the section right there in Beijing. Very rebuilt and touristy.
Take a van ride a ways out of the city, to the Simitai section. Now there's some uncrowded, old-school Great Wall.
Disney Parks. Want to eat? Be ready to Shell out $50 a person per day. Oh, you came for the rides? Enjoy the four or five you make it on unless it's a busy day, those days enjoy the two or three.
Machu Picchu. I respect the Incas for building it, the real issue I have with it is the current management. It’s flooded with people (they let in over 3x the cap sto make money) being annoying and it’s very expensive, they bus people up a huge hill all day and we are required to have a tour guide and only spend 3 mins at certain areas. It’s misrepresenting the history of the Incas to people with selfie sticks. Not my fave
You are WAY better off seeing the Inca capitol, Cusco because it’s where they actually lived and thrived. See Sasqsyhuaman and the Qoricancha sun temple. Go on a backpacking trip and you will find Inca and pre Inca stuff Everywhere. With no idiotic tourists families. I highly recommend it.
Sydney Opera House. The tours are expensive and the inside is kind of underwhelming. The outside is free and is also the best part. ALTERNATIVE: Just walk around Sydney harbor. It's free and gorgeous.
The Liberty Bell. Wait in a long line to look at... a bell. That looks exactly like it does in all the Philly souvenirs. They don't even let you lick it.
Every Hard Rock Cafe. Seriously, the pricing is similar to a nice chain restaurant, but the food is right on par with Applebee’s.
Madame Tussauds in London. You're in a city filled to the brim with history and culture and free museums, but you'd rather wait in line for hours and pay a fortune to go see a mannequin of Justin Bieber?
The London Eye
What you expect
Whisked into your futuristic pod by smiling flight attendants, you gently rise above the ancient city of London. The crowds fall away as the panorama of the city is laid out before you - truly an experience for the ages
A snotty customer services assistant rips your d**k out through your wallet as you are shuffled into a stiflingly hot glass pod with dozens of other people. Sweaty tourists barge you out of the way to get to the windows before you have even left the ground. There are children, and they are screaming. The ride is 45 minutes long.
Times Square and Piccadilly Circus, same damn chain restaurants and tourist traps
Mount Rushmore. It looks exactly like any picture you've ever seen. It's not easy to get up close to it. If you're in that area, I recommend prioritizing Devil's Tower. It's well worth it.
Waikiki Beach. It's a horrible, crowded concrete beach surrounded by traffic and overpriced stores.
Go to literally any other beach in Oahu. But the coolest thing to do is drive up to north shore, and pick a spot on any one of the many relatively isolated beaches there and enjoy the scenery.
Pyramids of Giza; might be being too harsh, but the swarm of aggressive market vendors surrounding them makes the place a bit of a nightmare. One woman from our group asked a guard to take her photo standing next to the pyramids, and the guard refused to give it back without recieving payment (I cant recall the amount but being extorted by a man with an AK-47 isn't an ideal situation). Inside the tombs themselves it reeked of piss and was a claustrophobes complete nightmare. A ~ 5 foot tall, very steep ramp with f**k all to prevent a fall wide enough to fit 1.5 men at best with a steady stream of people coming up from the opposite direction. Being literally yelled at to buy headscarves and assorted plastic s*** by the truly horrible merchants outside completely ruined my experience of the place, which I'm so, so sad about because I spent months looking forward to the trip.
Branson. The Simpsons weren't really joking when they described it as Las Vegas ran by Ned Flanders.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa - five minutes, that photo, and you're done.
Bourbon Street, New Orleans
Now don’t get me wrong, the food is smash so I’d recommend hitting it anyways (Pat O’Brien’s and NOLA Poboys were my favorites). But the whole street itself is dirty, smells like sewage, and is overloaded with mostly ear rapingly loud rap music and maybe a couple jazz bands.
Put bluntly, this attraction is massively lame, no one even knows if this is the right rock or even if there was a rock.
Hitlers typewriter. It's a typewriter, I'm not sure what I expected.
Roswell, New Mexico. You’d think it would be a hotspot for conventions and space geeks, but it was an incredibly tiny town with dozens of alien shops and barely any people. It was creepy as hell.
Oktoberfest. Way too crowded for my liking. I had a much better time at fests in the smaller villages.
Romeo and Juliet's balcony in Verona. Like, 10,000 people all crammed into this tiny alleyway just to see a balcony that I found out was built after the play was written.
I understand Romeo and Juliet is a work of fiction, but the story of the balcony is it inspired the play. I now know that isn't true but as someone knowing very little about Shakespeare, I thought it was true when I went to the wonderful city of Verona.
M&M World in London. Every single tourist has a bag from there, they don't even sell the unusual flavours of M&M, just the usual UK packets of peanut and solid chocolate. I just don't understand it...
Any instagram gimmick where you need to spend money on tickets and wait in line for a photo op
Specifically thinking of Museum of Ice Cream
Takeshita Street in Harajuku (Tokyo). I couldn't move my elbows an inch without bumping into someone, and pretty much every shop had a 30-minute line. I went to see the Harajuku-style fashion associated Takeshita Street, but hardly saw any of that. So essentially I was packed like a sardine for hours while waiting in long lines to shop for overpriced clothes. I love Tokyo, but I definitely won't be going back to Harajuku anytime soon.