Is there anything worse than a tourist trap? It’s expensive, it’s crowded and in the end, it’s really not worth the hassle. In the hopes of saving you time and money, and sparing you the pains of anger and disappointment, here are 10 of the most overrated tourist destinations.
Times Square, New York, U.S.A.
Everyone who visits New York City wants to see the famed Times Square. With its giant billboards and bright lights, Times Square is a draw for tourists from all over the world. But in reality, Times Square is overblown and true New Yorkers avoid it at all cost. The only places to eat are chain restaurants, and even places like Applebees and McDonalds often require long waits. The crowds are massive and overwhelming, and since they’re mostly tourists, it’s not an accurate representation of one of the best cities in the world.
Grand Canyon Skywalk, Arizona, U.S.A.
The Grand Canyon is a must-see in a person’s lifetime and the majestic natural wonder does not disappoint. The Grand Canyon Skywalk, however, is quite the opposite. A U-shaped cantilever bridge with a glass bottom, the Skywalk is intended to give visitors a thrilling glimpse of the canyon’s impressive depth and vistas. However, with tickets starting at nearly $50 a pop, it’s clear that this tourist destination is overpriced. Furthermore, for safety reasons, pictures are not allowed on the Skywalk, which makes us wonder: if you visit a tourist destination and don’t take a picture, did you really even go?
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
An hour and a half from Florence is the city of Pisa, unremarkable in many ways except for its one tower, which stands on a slant. While the history of the tower is interesting — it was built in 1173 and began to lean a mere five years later — seeing the tower in person is underwhelming. Perhaps if one didn’t have to pay exorbitant fees to wait in a long line, to then take a silly picture in front of the tower, we’d be more intrigued. But with all there is to see in Italy, it’s safe to say, skip this one.
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
We’re not denying that the massive Niagara Falls are impressive. However, to actually get to the waterfalls, one must first deal with the overpriced, tourist trap that surrounds the natural wonder. From expensive hotels to tacky casinos and chain restaurants, Canada’s Niagara Falls has become a sideshow to commerce and merchandising. If you’re looking to see waterfalls in all their natural glory, trust us, and go somewhere else.
Gondola Ride, Venice, Italy
While taking a gondola ride in Venice may seem like a dream come true, you have to take our word for it — it’s not. To see Venice by boat, you will first have to shell out some cash. Depending on the time of day, the base rate for a gondola ride is 80 to 100 euros, and the costs go up from there. While you may pass by some famous buildings, such as the Opera House, much of the ride will be in narrow, unremarkable canals. If you do decide to go, make sure to set your price with the gondolier beforehand, and know that singing may cost extra.
Blarney Stone, Blarney Castle, Ireland
The most famous tourist attraction in Ireland may turn out to be a disappointment. With 400,000 visitors a year, according to Reuters, the Blarney Stone supposedly gives eloquence of speech to any who kisses it. But is the gift of gab really worth waiting in line for hours? Plus, The Lonely Planet slammed the Blarney Stone for ruining a once-quiet corner of Ireland and Irish Central reports that 70% of visitors say it’s not worth the trip.
Ngong Ping 360, Hong Kong, China
The Ngong Ping 360 claims to be a must-see for every Hong Kong tourist — an exciting cable car that takes you high above the city to provide incredible views from every angle. What they don’t tell you about is the hours of waiting in line, the jostling tourists, and the polluted views. And while the giant Buddha statue at the top is impressive, the many cheesy tourist shops are not.
Disneyland, California, U.S.A.
If you visited Disneyland as a child, you probably were enchanted by its magic. With exciting rides, Mickey sightings and junk food galore, Disneyland was “the happiest place on earth.” When you visit as an adult, however, you will realize the magic has worn off. Disneyland is hot, overcrowded and expensive, and sadly, the park retains none of the charms of yesteryear. Plus, if you want to spend a day eating funnel cake and riding roller coasters, Southern California has plenty of other amusement parks whose lines aren’t nearly as long.
Loch Ness, Scotland
The lore of an underwater monster in Loch Ness, Scotland, has titillated scores of tourists for decades. When you chance a visit to the loch (the Scottish word for lake), you will be impressed at the lake’s splendor, set amidst the lonely Scottish Highlands. But then you’ll realize, it’s just a lake, and Scotland has plenty of other lakes that aren’t as overrun or touristy. So unless you’re obsessed with snapping a photo of the elusive Loch Ness Monster, you may be better off going elsewhere.
Rathaus-Glockenspiel, Munich, Germany
Located in the old town square in Munich, the Rathaus-Glockenspiel is a large clock that puts on a show three times a day. Crowds gather in the square for this 12-minute performance, where the clock’s puppets come to life, twirling to the sound of the tolling bells. To see the show, however, you must withstand the crowded square, whilst craning your neck to see the puppets dance far above. After a couple of minutes, you’ll realize it’s not that spectacular. You’re better off grabbing a beer at a beer garden because this is something that can be missed.