It’s a feeling almost any traveler has experienced. When you’re planning your trip, you enthusiastically draw a circle in your travel guide around a landmark you’ve wanted to visit for a long time. But when you finally see it in real life, your first reaction is “THAT’s it?!?”.
We asked just over 1,300 travelers to share their most disappointing travel experience. The result is a list with ten sights that are often praised by local tour guides, but turn out to be real tourist traps that you’d be better of avoiding completely.
1 Manneken Pis, Brussels (Belgium)
Why is it disappointing? “Busloads of tourists and pickpockets gathering around a small statue of a peeing boy? No, thanks.”
2. Eiffel Tower, Paris (France)
Why is it disappointing? “You can see the iconic building from almost anywhere in the city, but when once you get closer, the magic almost completely disappears. And the huge waiting line, which often seems to be as long as the Eiffel Tower is tall, doesn’t help either.”
3. The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen (Denmark)
Why is it disappointing? “H.C. Andersen, who wrote the fairytale of the Little Mermaid, was often praised for his humor and fantasy. He would probably turn around in his grave if he saw the grey, industrial view that his Little Mermaid (who is, in fact, really little in real life) has to witness every day.”
4. Hollywood Sign & Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles (USA)
Why is it disappointing? “Getting harassed by “super heroes” while you’re staring at a few names on the pavement? That doesn’t sound like something worth spending time on…”
5. Piccadilly Circus, London (United Kingdom)
Why is it disappointing? “Piccadilly Circus basically is the ultra-light version of Times Square, and I didn’t even like that.”
6. Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin (Germany)
Why is it disappointing? “The name is world famous, but unfortunately nowadays is not more than a small box with a few soldiers actor in the middle of a busy street, surrounded by photographing tourists. There are many other sights in Berlin that let us remember the Second World War that are much more interesting and impressive.”
7. The Mona Lisa, Paris (France)
Why is it disappointing? “I had to wait half an hour to get in to the Louvre and spent another half hour slowly shuffling towards what’s supposed to be the world’s most beautiful painting. Due to the huge amount of tourists it was near impossible to enjoy the 75x53cm painting, which turned out to be prettier on picture than in real life. Disappointment was an understatement.”
8. Madame Tussauds, Sydney and 16 other cities around the world
Why is it disappointing? “The local tour guide recommended a visit to Madame Tussauds Wax Museums, but they still owe me an hour of my life that I had to spend strolling through rooms of waxworks that vaguely look like famous people.”
9. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa (Italy)
Why is it disappointing? “Pisa is the place where even making photos of people making photos of them ‘pushing’ the landmark became tacky. Don’t get me wrong – the tower, Duomo and Piazza dei Miracoli are stunning. But the tourists and salesmen near the tower are simply capable of ruining even the best travel experience.”
10. Stonehenge, Amesbury (United Kingdom)
Why is it disappointing? “The impressive British boulders can be viewed from a distance, unfortunately, which spoils the magic quite a bit. Apart from that, it is also quite expensive, very touristy and quite remote. Despite the historical value, I’d only recommended visiting Stonehenge if you happen to be within a radius of 5 miles from Amesbury.
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