You’ve been looking forward for months to this holiday, but once you get there, you find yourself asking the dreaded question: is this all there is to it?
I’m sure many of you are familiar with that sinking disappointment.
That was what I felt when visiting the places on this list, and while I was left disappointed, they are by no means overrated or not worth a visit. In fact, this is a list of attractions that, while having their own pull factors, get far more credit than they probably deserve.
Read on to help manage your expectations before planning a visit (hopefully not to all of them).
1. Little Mermaid – Copenhagen, Denmark
It’s really interesting how something so small could have gotten such big hype. While Copenhagen’s a lovely city, nobody should plan to visit with the purpose of seeing the Little Mermaid statue.
The Little Mermaid isn’t located in a convenient part of the city, but that’s not really the main issue. As the name suggests, what eventually greets you is a tiny statue that, while beautiful, isn’t at all impressive.
2. Stonehenge – Amesbury, UK
It really pains me to admit that Stonehenge was pretty disappointing. For years, the history buff in me would dream of visiting the fascinating and mysterious cluster of stones. And it was somewhat anti-climatic when my long-awaited trip there materialised.
No doubt, the huge stones were impressive, but it was certainly more exciting in the history books and stories.
Maybe the weather (raining) played a part in the experience, and maybe it was also the fact that I had to travel for more than two hours to get there from London, and that the ambience of the site was a little lacking, given that it was located right next to the road.
3. The Great Pyramids – Cairo, Egypt
Check out that cool Sphinx, know what it’s looking at? Pizza Hut. Yes, pizza-friggin-hut.
The pyramids and the sphinx are incredible structures, but just being there and you’ll realise it’s both disappointing and disgusting how such a great historic site has become this large tourist sink hole.
4. Circus Maximus – Rome
At the site of what was once a Roman chariot racing stadium stands a patch of empty land, comprising a dirt track flanked by grassy slopes. Nothing more.
That’s all there is to the site of the legendary Circus Maximus – maybe only worth a visit if you’re along the same street.
5. Leaning Tower of Pisa – Pisa, Italy
It’s unfortunate how the main attraction in Pisa is its leaning tower – the subject of some pretty lame shots by tourists. The Duomo di Pisa, or Cathedral of Pisa, and the baptistry next to the tower are much more beautiful and meaningful visits. And after all, the tower was initially built as the side show – a bell tower accompanying the Cathedral.
6. Mona Lisa – Paris
Though not far from being a bad painting, the Mona Lisa’s legendary status gives the impression of an imposing portrait.
It couldn’t be more different.
Let’s just say the hype granted to this Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece is inversely proportional to its size. The large crowd pushing and shoving just to get a view of the painting certainly doesn’t help.
7. Kuta Beach – Bali, Indonesia
Bali’s most popular beach is probably also the dirtiest and most crowded. A victim of its popularity, perhaps? My advice is to spend a few minutes to have a look, then be on your way. Visit everywhere else in Bali instead.
8. Madam Tussauds – Anywhere in the world
The museums are just terrible overall. Maybe it’s the thrill of being as close as they’ll ever be to their favourite stars that draws tourists to these wax museums. I don’t know.
Not only do the characters look exactly like what they are – wax sculptures – it’s also a little creepy walking in a museum filled with people who are not real. Furthermore, there are just so many better things to do in the cities where you’d find a Madame Tussaud’s, such as London, Amsterdam, New York, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Sydney etc. etc.
9. Spanish Steps – Rome, Italy
It’s just a crowded flight of steps. Move along now.
Which disappointing travel attractions have you experienced? Share them with us and the readers in the comments below.