Some of the most famous locations in the world require a lot of time-consuming planning and expensive travel to get there. So when you arrive, you want to be sure that they are as good as you’ve heard. Unfortunately, there are quite a few overrated places out there, meaning your visit might not turn out to be the vacation of a lifetime. You might want to use your precious savings for something else…
15. Stonehenge, UK
If you don’t mind mingling with the bustling crowds around Stonehenge, then you might just enjoy this mysterious circle of stones. However, it is far less impressive than you have been led to believe – these sacred stones don’t exactly tower above you and most of the time you are not allowed to walk among them.
14. The Eiffel Tower, France
The Eiffel Tower does have its good points. It is an iconic landmark and is very attractive when viewed from far away, but to get up close you will need to wait for hours and pay a pretty hefty admission fee. Why bother when you can get a much better view from the top of Montmartre?
13. Cancún, Mexico
Packed with college students on their spring break or heaving with crowds of US tourists, Cancún does not offer a pleasant experience, let alone a truly Mexican one. The food offered in the tourist restaurants is so pricey and low in quality that you may as well not bother. To sample authentic Mexican flavors and culture, head for Oaxaca instead.
12. Venice, Italy
Long renowned for its atmosphere of romance and mystery, Venice is often the location of choice for couples on their honeymoon, who are particularly drawn to its canals with their picturesque gondolas. While some of that romantic atmosphere still lingers, so do the smells that rise from the canal waters, which are polluted and filled with trash. Any couple looking for beautiful surroundings to complement their love might well be disappointed. Venice is also plagued by over-tourism, and you would be part of the problem too if you choose to visit.
11. Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
Nestled amongst the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx is one of the most iconic statues in the world. Sadly, it is far less appealing in real life than its reputation would suggest. Not only is it teeming with sellers trying to persuade you to buy their latest trinkets, but also the complete absence of shade means visitors are fully exposed to the relentless sun. Once you add the fact that it is much smaller than you think it is as well as the wear and tear it has received over its 4,500 years, you might want to give it a miss.
10. Niagara Falls, Canada
This iconic set of waterfalls sits right on the border between the US and Canada and tourists come from all over to view them from the observation tower, take a boat ride up close, or hike the trails that surround the falls. At the end of the day, though, it’s just a busy waterfall and there are plenty of other places nearby that are more worthy of your time. Try the ice caves in Ontario for some stunning photo opportunities.
9. The Louvre, France
Almost everyone visiting The Louvre is going there to see one thing only: The Mona Lisa. This means that you will have to elbow your way through dense crowds before you even get a glimpse of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, which incidentally is much, much smaller and less impressive than you think it is. Even if you are one of the few who actually want to spend time enjoying everything else the museum has to offer, the heaving crowds make this a less than pleasant experience. If you still really want to go, arrive before the opening and be among the first visitors.
8. Santorini, Greece
The rise of social media means that every influencer is compelled to come to the island of Santorini for Insta-worthy photo shoots. This means that the place is now so crowded that you won’t be the only one in the picture. It’s gotten so bad that the locals have begun putting up signs telling visitors to not take pictures of their children while they’re playing. It’s also hugely overpriced, with businesses popping up all over the island catering to the influx of rich tourists.
7. Times Square, New York
Times Square in New York is a magnet for tourists, meaning it is absolutely heaving with crowds of people who seem to think it’s okay to litter. Don’t expect to be able to move around much among these thousands of other visitors. Considering a trip to celebrate New Year’s Eve here? Think again. The freezing temperatures mean that this is not the best place to ring in the New Year. Better spend your time and energy elsewhere.
6. Copacabana Beach, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro’s most famous beaches are Ipanema and Copacabana, which is probably why they are packed with sun-seeking visitors on any given day. And so, as you’d expect, there are plenty of crowds and you need to keep a close eye on your belongings because pickpockets abound. Trade these now notorious beaches for the island of Fernando de Noronha. Its Baía do Sancho beach was selected for the 2017 Best Beach in the World award by TripAdvisor.
5. The Leaning Tower Of Pisa
Italy has a number of beautiful locations that are incredibly rich in ancient sites and ruins such as the Colosseum in Rome, Pompei near Naples, and the many museums in Florence, so it’s a shame that many tourists head straight for Pisa because it has a tower that happens to be a bit crooked. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is much smaller than you have been led to believe and it’s pretty much all there is to do in Pisa, so consider skipping it. It’s definitely not worth the time investment.
4. Las Vegas, Nevada
Despite its bright lights and luscious hotels, don’t expect Las Vegas to give you a pleasant and relaxing experience. The pace of life here is non-stop and the whole city is geared towards relieving you of your hard-earned cash, so you’re likely to head home penniless and with more exhaustion than memories.
3. Hollywood Walk of Fame, LA
Did you know that any accepted nominee can pay around $30,000 for the honor of having a star on LA’s Hollywood Walk of Fame? Now you do, and if it makes you think that makes it less of an honor, you’re probably not alone. Despite that, there are always plenty of visitors loitering on this famous sidewalk as if they might actually get to see a celebrity in action.
2. Loch Ness, Scotland
Did you know that there are more than 31,000 lochs in Scotland? Yet most visitors only focus on one – Loch Ness – because they hope to catch a glimpse of Nessie. Ancient monsters aside, Loch Ness has little else to recommend it and it is miles from anywhere. Sure, the views are stunning, but the same could be said for any of the many other lochs – all a lot more interesting.
1. The Great Wall of China
Visible from space and the longest structure built by humans, the Great Wall of China is impressive, there is no doubt about that. However, actually visiting the wall up close can be underwhelming as it is far smaller than most expect. It is also beginning to show its immense age and has suffered significant damage due to nature, local activities, and the large amounts of tourists trampling across it.