12 overrated tourist attractions you can definitely do without


Let’s face it, we know attractions like the Colosseum and the Louvre attract swarms of tourists. On top of that, there’s the obstacle course mission to dodge souvenir vendors and line up for tickets.

While things like crowds and queues do impact visitor experiences, many of the sites we quickly call “tourist traps” can be worth it.

That said, the world has its share of overrated tourist attractions. Over the years, these destinations have gained international fame and have become hyper-popular icons of their homelands, despite a tendency towards disappointment.

So which global attractions are the biggest culprits of not being worth the hype?

1. Manneken Pis, Belgium

For those of you who are not fluent in Dutch, Manneken-pis means “pee boy”. Unsurprisingly, this Belgian monument is a small bronze sculpture of a naked boy urinating in a fountain basin. The statue’s mysterious origins and the fact that it has been stolen and retrieved multiple times have added to its fame, but is it really that attractive? In the end, it’s a 24-inch tall statue of a boy peeing.

2. Little Mermaid, Denmark

One of Denmark’s top attractions is Edvard Eriksen’s bronze sculpture. Perched on a rock along the Langelinie promenade, it represents a mermaid transforming into a human. Although twice the size of Manneken-pis, the four-foot mermaid isn’t exactly impressive.

3. The Mona Lisa, France

On the subject of surprisingly small things, let’s talk about the Mona Lisa. There is no doubt that Da Vinci’s masterpiece is both mysterious and fascinating. What’s disappointing is the wrap-around line, thick protective glass, and even thicker crowds that challenge your unobstructed view. Good luck testing if her gaze really follows you across the room. You would think that after two centuries, the Louvre would have thought of a better system now …

At least that’s not the museum’s only treasure, which is the size of a city block and displays over 35,000 works at one time.

4. Blarney Stone, Ireland

About 300,000 people visit Blarney Stone each year, according to the Irish Examiner. While climbing the tower of Blarney Castle and kissing the legendary stone may endow you with a great eloquence known as the ‘gift from the gab’, do you really want to rub against a boulder with the seeds of 30,000 tourists? There are even rumors that local teens might make their own “manneken pis” for him.

5. Loch Ness, Scotland

the BBC reports that 2017 was a banner year for ‘official’ sightings of the Loch Ness Monster. Should we reserve a crossing of the pond for a chance encounter? Probably not. The only things you’re guaranteed to see in Loch Ness are tacky souvenir shops and a great blue abyss otherwise known as the lake. If you’re a fan of monster hunting, consider the Okanagan Ogopogo instead.

6. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

While this architectural madness is fun, there are countless other Italian treasures to be admired. And do you really need one of these photos? They don’t exactly shout ‘slide right’.

7. Bangkok floating markets, Thailand

A floating market may seem like a rather enchanting way to take in the colorful sights of Bangkok. You’ll certainly find the bustle of the market, wooden boats, and tons of produce, but also be prepared for an overload of tourists and cheap trinkets.

Visitors should keep in mind that there are several floating markets in Bangkok and that some (including Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa) have become more of a tourist attraction than a window into local culture.

8. Hobbiton, New Zealand

We would also like to visit Middle-earth, but keep in mind that a trip to Hobbiton involves a guided tour of the film set which takes around two hours and costs NZ $ 84. While there are plenty of exterior details to consider, all interior shots were filmed in a Wellington studio, leaving all of the hobbit holes unfurnished. Unless you’re a die-hard fan or looking for a behind-the-scenes glimpse, our advice is to explore the massive New Zealand film set instead.

9. Mital Del Mundo, Ecuador

Straddling the equator at the Mital Del Mundo monument would be pretty cool if it was actually on the equator. Unfortunately, GPS readings have since proven that the original magnetic measurements from 1736 were slightly wrong.

We just wanted to point this out so that you don’t go all the way to Mital Del Mundo without setting foot on the true equatorial line, located closer to the Intiñan Solar Museum about 250 meters.

10. Hollywood Walk of Fame, California

Unless you don’t feel like making your way through a dense crowd of people gawking at the footprints in the ground, don’t go out of your way to see Hollywood. The Walk of Fame is in a sticky and somewhat dodgy part of Los Angeles that locals and celebrities generally avoid. To get a real feel for the city, check out what others LA neighborhoods have to offer instead.

11. Observation decks, everywhere

Whether you are on top of the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, or the Statue of Liberty, you are sure to experience the same enigma on the observation deck – without seeing the incredible architectural feat on which you are currently on.

Avoid those expensive observation decks and find an alternate vantage point instead. In Paris, skip a bottle of wine on the Champ de Mars. In New York, see Lady Liberty aboard the Staten Island Ferry. Soak up the Manhattan skyline on foot or atop one of the many rooftop bars with all of New York’s landmarks in sight.

12. Big Ben, England

This one makes the list because it’s still wrapped in scaffolding. The renovations are expected to continue until 2021, just in time for the new ETIAS authorization until the project is complete, you may want to look to other attractions in London or do with Gastown’s Little Steam Clock rather.

On second thought, maybe skip the steam clock …


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