20 of the most overrated travel destinations around the world
- Some popular attractions around the world are overrated because of costs, crowds, or pollution.
- Skip Tokyo Disneyland and check out the history and culture in Tokyo or Osaka instead.
- London, England, has plenty of great sights to see - but expect rain for half of every month.
- The Leaning Tower of Pisa is smaller than photos would have you believe.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
There are plenty of travel destinations around the world that are worth a long plane ride or a splurge. But then there are also the perennial traveler favourites that simply don't deserve their accolades.
From attractions to cities, we rounded up 20 spots that are overrated either because of cost, crowds, pollution, or otherwise.
Keep scrolling to see the places that maybe shouldn't be so high up on your bucket list.
Contrary to popular belief, if you're looking to spot a celebrity, you probably won't have much luck in Hollywood. Paramount Pictures is the only major studio that's actually located in the area.
Otherwise, there's the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which has long been known as a tourist trap, and unoriginal attractions like a wax museum and Ripley's Believe it Or Not Museum.
Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo, Japan
Given that there are so many places to see in Japan that are full of history and culture - Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka - it seems almost silly to go to a theme park that you can visit in your home country. In fact, some visitors will even tell you that Japan's version isn't as good as the original Disneyland or Disney World.
The crowds can also be an issue. One TripAdvisor reviewer cited two-hour waits to get onto rides, and said that it was nearly impossible to walk down Main Street.
Yes, London has plenty of worthwhile attractions, but good luck catching it on a nice day. The city sees 11 to 15 days of rain every month, as well as stifling heat waves in the summer. Plus, locals and tourists alike commonly bemoan the exorbitant prices of everyday things like coffee, sandwiches, and public transportation.
Daytona Beach, Florida
Unless you're a college student planning a wild spring break trip or a NASCAR fan looking to attend the Daytona 500, you might want to skip Daytona Beach. These groups tend to get rowdy, so you'll be hard-pressed to find a quiet hotel. Cars are allowed on the beach, meaning that the sand might not be all that peaceful either.
Fortunately, Florida has no shortage of beach destinations. Try the Keys, Clearwater Beach, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Beach, or Pensacola Beach instead.
Tourism in Egypt has been steadily declining for several years now thanks to safety concerns, but it turns out that there are a number of other reasons why visitors aren't all that keen on visiting some of the country's most well-known cities, like Cairo.
Because the country's tourism industry has been hurting, tour guides, shop owners, taxi drivers, and others who rely on visitors for their income have been known to get fairly aggressive with tourists, trying to drive a sale. The US Embassy even issued a warning back in the summer of 2013, after some vendors' actions started bordering on criminal conduct.
Plus, the city is known to be very congested with traffic, so getting places can be difficult, as well as dangerous as a pedestrian.
The Red Light District, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Ever since the Dutch legalised prostitution in 2000, sex tourism in the country has risen, giving way to concerns about human trafficking and sex workers' safety. Organised crime such as trafficking women, drugs, and killings, has been an issue in the Red Light District (otherwise known as De Wallen) for years. Although the mayor is trying to revamp the neighbourhood, it's not quite there yet.
Phuket is Thailand's largest island - and its tourism numbers show it. Around 8.4 million visitors passed through the island's airport in 2017. Planning a vacation there during high season (November to March) means you'll be sharing the beach with tons of other tourists, and while this may improve if you go during low season, you'll most likely be dealing with more rain at that time of year.
Plus, according to a survey conducted by the Prince of Songkla University during the months of October 2016 to September 2017, trash and water quality is a problem for Phuket's beaches, meaning that they might not be the paradise you were hoping for.
Stonehenge, Salisbury, England
Declared one of the most overrated tourist attractions in the world based on TripAdvisor reviews, Stonehenge underwhelms many a visitor. The $23 (about R335) you'll pay to get in will get you a view that's only fractionally better than if you had just stayed in your car and driven past the attraction. Plus, you'll be joined by hordes of tour buses.
Long known as a spring break hotspot, Cancún has experienced a significant uptick in violence in the past year. The Mexican state where the resort town is located, Quintana Roo, saw a 118% increase in homicide rates in 2017, Business Insider reported.
Despite this, crowds at the resort can be stifling. A study conducted by travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance found Orlando and Cancún to be the top two domestic and international spring break travel destinations in 2018.
Most people go to Pisa to see one thing: The Leaning Tower of Pisa. Unfortunately, the tower is rather disappointing. It's smaller than photos would have you believe, and once you get the cheesy photo that everyone else gets, you'll find yourself wondering why you came all that way in the first place.
Italy is home to a vast number of historical sites and ancient ruins that are much more worth your time, like Pompei, the Colosseum, and the Florence Cathedral.
Las Vegas, Nevada
There are a couple occasions in life that call for a trip to Las Vegas: a bachelor or bachelorette party and a milestone birthday. But if you're looking to plan a trip for the sake of traveling, you're best off skipping this flashy, kitschy spot. Everything from the strip to the casinos to the mega hotels and high-end restaurants caters to tourists, resulting in a lack of authenticity and culture.
Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia
Chances are you won't find a bridge that's more expensive to walk across than the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The 1.5-hour climb will set you back $174 (about R2,500), whereas the full 3.5-hour climb will cost you $268 (about R3,900). That's a pretty steep price for a view that many people say isn't all that spectacular. Consider taking a ride on the ferry for a view that includes the Harbour Bridge and won't break the bank.
Hong Kong, China
There's a reason that apartments in Hong Kong are so incredibly tiny - the city is overcrowded. With a population of 7.4 million people, it's one of the most densely populated cities in the world. All of these people make walking in Hong Kong a particularly unenjoyable experience.
Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas
If you're looking for a true Caribbean experience, you won't find it at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. What you will find is an overwhelming number of things to do, from waterparks to cooking classes to gambling to an entire marine habitat. The beach - arguably the Caribbean's biggest draw - takes a back seat to all of this.
Many guests also say that unless you're willing to pay a premium, the accommodations and food at the resort is mediocre at best.
Blarney Stone, Ireland
Legend has it that kissing this slab of limestone will give you the "gift of gab" - eloquence, in other words. Maybe that's true, but what's also true is that the stone is covered in other people's germs and spit, and you'll probably wait a long time, and pay around $18 (about R262), to get your smooch in.
Rick Steves named the attraction among his top 10 tourist traps in Europe, and TripAdvisor reviewers say the castle views and gardens are as unimpressive as the stone itself.
Little Italy, New York City, New York
New York City is a mecca for foodies. You can find almost every type of cuisine in the city, and many times you'll be surprised at just how authentic it is. There are some notable exceptions, though, and many of the restaurants you'll find in Little Italy fall under that category. The small neighbourhood caters mostly to tourists and is full of souvenir shops and fairly average Italian food.
Talk to any local, and they'll tell that if you're looking for real Italian-American food in the Big Apple, you should head to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.
Moulin Rouge, Paris, France
The Moulin Rouge dates back all the way to late 19th century, when the opening of the venue changed cabaret's image forever. Since then, the Moulin Rouge has seen many an elite guest, and the red windmill has become synonymous with Paris.
Sadly, though, the venue isn't quite what it used to be. Tourists complain that visitors are packed into the theater, making it hard for the staff to serve food and drinks. And many say that the show itself is completely overrated. One TripAdvisor reviewer referred to it as "more of a second rate high school variety show than the fabulous dance spectacular one would expect."
Venice sees so many tourists per year - around 30 million - that the city's population has dropped to 55,000 in recent years because of it. Ask anyone who's been there and they'll tell you that the historic city is full of tourist traps that first-timers will assume are worthwhile experiences, like an overpriced gondola ride.
Loch Ness, Highland, Scotland
Sadly, you won't run into the infamous Loch Ness monster here, but what you will find is an ordinary lake with a museum that TripAdvisor reviewers say is in desperate need of an update due to "dated presentations." If you really want to experience the beauty of a Scottish loch, try Loch Awe or Loch Maree instead.
Tourists have been flocking to the country in staggering numbers. In 2017, the country welcomed more than 27 million tourists, many of them heading to the tantalising islands of Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini, whose white-washed buildings have been drawing visitors for years.
Sadly, the islands are starting to feel the effects of these heavy numbers. Mykonos in particular, which has come to be known for its party-hard reputation, is plagued by poor transportation, pickpockets, narrow alleys swarming with tourists, and over-the-top hotel rates. And visitor numbers are only rising.
That's not to say that the other islands aren't worth a visit, though. For a less crowded and more authentic experience, try Iraklia, Kastellorizo, or Folegandros.
Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.
Also from Business Insider South Africa:
- WhatsApp is (partially) down in South Africa and elsewhere: here's what we know
- Princess Diana's niece Lady Kitty Spencer is engaged to a South African, and her diamond ring could be worth up to R2.3 million
- There's a loophole for sending free WhatsApps on MTN – if you are really, really desperate
- Will your SAA Voyager miles be worth anything if South African Airways goes under? Don't bank on it.
- Windy Cape Town is holding back undersea internet cable repairs – as some SA users lose Twitter access
- Unexpectedly, Capetonians are just as likely to intervene in street fights as Europeans, a new study says