Amazing attractions and experiences are one of the main reasons people travel. That said, there are many sites recommended by guidebooks that fall short of expectations. So what should you visit with less hope? We asked travel bloggers to share their most overrated attractions (with suggestions for what to do instead).
Lance and Laura Longwell of Travel Addicts: The Spanish Steps in Rome is our top pick for most overrated attraction. It has become the focal point of every tourist scam ever invented. Despite the notoriety, the Spanish Steps are not that historic, having been built in the 1700s. Instead, we urge visitors to exit the historic center and head towards Via Appia Antica, just outside the original Roman city gates. You’ve heard the saying “all roads lead to Rome” and this is one of the original cobblestone roads of the Roman Empire. As a bonus, the Catacombs of San Callisto, which was a burial place for the early Christians, is on the Via Appia Antica.
Anna Kate from the Anna’s Legendary Adventures: I find go to Liberty Island see the Statue of Liberty very boring. Instead of spending your hard-earned cash to join the crowds at the base of the Statue of Liberty, you can see her for free from the Staten Island Ferry. You are also treated to fantastic views of New York. The ferry operates 24 hours a day and offers beautiful night views. I really like going at sunset.
Alyssa Ramos my life is a movie: I hate to admit it, but Machu Picchu was a bit overrated, mainly due to the massive tourist invasion and the theme park-like entrance area. But you can see it before it turns into Machu Disney if you hike the Inca Trail, which I would definitely recommend doing rather than taking a bus like everyone else. You’ll be able to see some incredible ruins and sites with hardly anyone (there’s a maximum of 200 hikers allowed on the Inca Trail at a time), and the huge bonus of seeing Machu Picchu early in the morning before they open gates for tour groups.
Matt Long from LandLopers: I love Belgium and I love Brussels, that’s why I don’t understand the attraction of Manneken-pis. This little statue of a boy peeing in a fountain is one of the most popular tourist attractions in town, for no reason I can say. Instead, do just about anything else. Visit the Grand Place, eat local delicacies like chocolate, fries and mussels… heck even the Atomium is more interesting than this massively overrated statue.
Dave and Deb from ThePlanetD: While the Taj Mahal it’s beautiful to watch, it’s crowded and unsatisfying. Agra is a dirty and chaotic city that surrounds the Taj Mahal and we find it a shame that such an iconic monument is surrounded by dirt and poverty. The Taj Mahal is simply a large empty mausoleum built by Emperor Shah Jahan to pay homage to his wife. It’s a beautiful love story but there are so many other temples in India worth visiting. We preferred the Golden Temple in Amritsar. A visit here is something you will never forget. Located in Punjab, the Golden Temple is the holiest site in Sikhism. Surrounded by water, the temple is gilded with a gold that sparkles in the reflection of the basin. People here will welcome you with open arms and you can even join the 100,000 people who eat at the Golden Temple’s free kitchen every day. It is a spiritual and uplifting experience to visit the Golden Temple and one of the finest monuments we have seen in India.
6. Veronika Hradilikova of travelgeekerie: In Berlin, don’t just go see the tourists Brandenburg Gate and its surroundings. If you walk through Treptower Park you’ll see a beautiful aluminum statue, a swimming pool in a boat on the river, and a cool old factory with exhibits, a flea market, and a funky fast food joint with a tattoo studio and a club — the real Berlin!