The places on this list still attract millions of tourists every year, but they’ve long been replaced on savvy tourists’ bucket lists. They’re known for being crowded, noisy, dirty, and overpriced, and experienced travelers know to steer clear. If you wanted to visit any of the 20 attractions on this list, you might think again. There are certainly better alternatives available, so you can take these spots off your bucket list and find something more unique.
SEATTLE’S SPACE NEEDLE ISN’T AN OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD EXPERIENCE
The Space Needle is the most iconic building on Seattle’s skyline, which is probably one of the reasons it’s become such an iconic tourist attraction. That said, you can probably skip this particular tower and pick a better one.
The Space Needle is surprisingly short, at just over 500 feet. For comparison, Toro
2HARAJUKU HAS LOST ITS EDGE
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Tokyo district of Harajuku became all the rage. Nestled within Tokyo, the district became a hotspot for fashion-forward Japanese teens, who gathered after school and on weekends. Distinctive fashion subcultures emerged, such as lolita, visual kei, and ganguro.
While these fashion subcultures still exist, chances are you won’t find them in Harajuku anymore. Over the years, the district has lost its fashion edge, offering up more of the bland mall fashions you can find anywhere else. Pass Harajuku and skip right to Roppongi for nightlife, or Akihabara for a glimpse of a technologically futuristic landscape.
nto’s CN Tower is almost triple that height. Since you’re not getting up very high, the view isn’t as amazing as it could be, and since this is Seattle, there’s a good chance it will be raining. There are long lines, a $30 fee, and, as of right now, ongoing renovations. Skip this one and see something else.
THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE WILL SET YOU BACK
Sydney, Australia, is an amazing city. It’s the world’s largest natural harbor, and the city proudly celebrates its location on the water. The Harbour Bridge is designed to get people from one side of the harbor to the other, but it’s also become a pricey tourist attraction.
For the low, low price of $124, you can spend 1.5 hours climbing up the bridge. The full climb lasts 3.5 hours, and will cost you another $100. If you love climbing bridges, that might be a steal, but most tourists agree the view isn’t even that great. A better way to see Sydney is to grab a harbor tour.
BIG BEN IS A BIG BUST
Need to establish you’re in London, England, quickly? Grab a snap of Big Ben, the iconic Gothic Revival tower. The tower is so iconic, it’s pretty much shorthand for “I’m in London.” There are a few reasons you may want to skip this attraction though.
First and foremost, you can’t actually visit “Big Ben.” That’s actually the name of the bell in the tower, which is more properly known as Elizabeth Tower. Only residents of the UK can actually go on a tour to see the bell itself. Furthermore, the clock tower is actually under renovation for the next little while. In the meantime, consider putting some other iconic London sights on your bucket list.
YOU MIGHT WANT TO SKIP THIS NEW YORK ICON
This is New York’s second entry on the list, so you might be getting the idea that NYC is a little overrated. This isn’t far from the truth, but much of what’s overrated about the Big Apple is its attractions. Times Square is one, and the Statue of Liberty is another.
If you’re a first-time visitor, you probably can’t imagine not making it out to see Lady Liberty on Liberty Island. Once you’ve been, though, you’ll probably wonder what all the fuss was about. The statue is smaller than you might imagine. The crowds and the price will make you question if it was worth your time and money.
VENICE DOESN’T WANT YOU TO VISIT ANYWAY
Venice has been overrun with tourists lately, and the locals are finally speaking out about it. The city is trying to manage the demands of climate change along with mass tourism. Tourism is making social and environmental problems worse, and the iconic city is littered with garbage and pollutants.
The city is actually asking people not to visit, and savvy travelers won’t mind striking this location from their bucket lists. The canals and gondolas are iconic, but they’re not nearly as romantic as you’ve been led to believe. They’re overpriced, and seen as nothing more than tourist schlock by locals.
HOBBITON IS JUST A FILM SET
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies spurred tourism to New Zealand, as both films incorporated stunning shots of the natural landscape. You can visit the mountain that serves as Mount Doom and you can also take a trip to Hobbiton.
Hobbiton is really nothing more than the exterior film set, which has been left for tourists to explore. The interiors are empty, so don’t expect to have tea with Frodo and Bilbo. Only true Tolkien fans will appreciate this trip. The rest of us will want to pick some other New Zealand attractions for our bucket lists.
THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA IS FALLING TO PIECES
There’s no denying the Great Wall of China is indeed great. It’s the longest man-made structure in the world. The fact it was constructed thousands of years ago makes the feat even more impressive.
Unfortunately, actually visiting the wall itself is less impressive. Much of the structure has been badly damaged over the centuries. Despite being an incredibly popular tourist attraction, many sections of the wall remain in disrepair, and much of it crosses through relatively isolated terrain. The crowds diminish the splendor of the structure further. There’s so much else in China to see and explore.
PISA’S LEANING TOWER IS ITS ONLY ATTRACTION
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is probably one of the world’s most overrated tourist attractions. It’s a tower. It leans. That’s about all there is to it. Once you’ve seen the tower and taken the obligatory selfie, you’ll probably start to wonder what all the fuss is about.
If you look for something else to do in Pisa, you might find yourself disappointed on that front as well. Pisa’s tourism industry is focused on the leaning tower. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming years as the tower is actually being straightened out. Seems like all those selfies really are helping!
LOCH NESS IS ONLY GREAT IF YOU’RE INTO CRYPTIDS
Scotland is full of many beautiful and mysterious places. It’s not really any surprise to know one of the world’s most enduring legends, the Loch Ness monster, calls one of the isolated and misty lakes of the Highlands home.
That said, unless you’re a Nessie aficionado, you’re probably not going to enjoy a trip to Loch Ness all that much. There are so many other places to visit in Scotland, and Loch Ness has built its tourism industry on legends of the lake monster. Instead, why not consider visiting one of Scotland’s many beautiful national parks or a city like Edinburgh or Glasgow?
BONDI BEACH IS ANOTHER TOURIST TRAP BEACH
If you mention Australia and beaches in the same sentence, someone is almost bound to bring up Sydney’s infamous Bondi Beach. More than 2 million people visit this strip of coastline each and every year, and many consider it one of the must-see locations in Sydney.
The locals would likely beg to differ, however, as would many travelers who have already been. Much like Kuta Beach, Bondi has become an overcrowded mess, littered with both people and actual litter. Australia has a wealth of beaches, many of them more pristine and isolated, so scratch Bondi off the bucket list and pick something that will actually give you the beach vacation you’re craving.
MOUNT RUSHMORE WON’T GIVE YOU SUCH A RUSH
Mount Rushmore is probably one of the biggest attractions in South Dakota, if not the biggest. That’s the good news. Once you arrive, you’ll realize that this one might have been a sight that you didn’t need to see in real life.
The iconic heads are rather tiny when you look at them from the viewing platform, which is a real letdown. There’s also not much more for miles around. If you’re thinking about a trip to South Dakota, you should probably pick another attraction for your bucket list. In fact, you might even consider picking another destination altogether
TIMES SQUARE IS A LETDOWN
If you go to the Big Apple, chances are you’ll visit one of the most iconic places in the city. Times Square has been built up in the tourism world as one of the must-see sights in New York, but the fact of the matter is you’ll likely leave the experience feeling a bit disappointed.
Unless it’s New Year’s Eve, Times Square isn’t really a rocking place to be. It’s definitely busy and lit up in neon, but it’s also dirty and expensive. You’ll spend most of your time dodging other tourists and trying not to be blinded by the giant advertisements.
SKIP THE TREVI FOUNTAIN IN ROME
Pretty much everything in Rome is overplayed at this point, from the Coliseum to the museums to the other ruins around the city. The Eternal City is still on many bucket lists, but you might want to look for some alternatives to the usual tourist traps littered around the city.
The Trevi Fountain is probably one of the most overrated sites in the city. Most places in Rome are crowded, but the Trevi Fountain is so overrun with tourists that it’s nearly impossible to appreciate just how beautiful it is. Don’t bother fighting the crowds on this one. Cross it off your bucket list and appreciate some of the other piazzas and fountains the city has to offer.
YOU MIGHT WANT TO SKIP THE MONA LISA
f you want to see art, then the first place most people will recommend is the Louvre in Paris, France. The most famous attraction here is the Mona Lisa, the masterpiece by Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci.
The painting is much smaller than you’ve been led to believe, and it’s hard to see because there’s always a crowd around it.The Mona Lisa also isn’t the only thing to see at Louvre, but there are plenty of other museums to check out in Paris, in other parts of France, and even in other parts of Europe. If you love Renaissance paintings, for example, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence might be the right spot for you.
THE ALLURE OF STONEHENGE HAS FADED
Stonehenge has always been something of a mystery. No one quite knows what the site was used for, or even how it was constructed. Many people flock to see this wonder of the ancient world, but lately, the shine has been wearing off.
The rules are quite strict at Stonehenge, which may be one reason people are looking for alternatives. The rules, like staying on the designated walkway, are designed to preserve the monument from the endless crowds. For a supposedly sacred site, Stonehenge can feel pretty rather pedestrian.
There are other monuments around the United Kingdom from the same era, many of which get less love. Take a look at some of them instead.
THE GREAT PYRAMIDS AREN’T THE ONLY PYRAMIDS
The Great Pyramids of Giza are iconic, that’s for sure. But they aren’t the only pyramids in the world. In fact, they’re not even the only pyramids in all of Egypt. It’s little wonder, then, that travelers are trading the overpriced Giza site for the Valley of the Kings and other archeological sites around the country.
Giza has earned a reputation as being overcrowded and full of vendors who are all too eager to pull the wool over unsuspecting tourists’ eyes. The city is also encroaching on the site, marring the view of these majestic world wonders. Our advice? Skip these pyramids and explore elsewhere!
THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME IS LESS GLAMOROUS THAN YOU THINK
Almost everything about Hollywood is a touch overrated, but it doesn’t get much worse than the Walk of Fame. Although some people make a big deal about going to see the star-lined street, the truth of the matter is that looking at a bunch of sidewalk slabs with names on them isn’t all that exciting.
To add to the issue, the street itself often isn’t in a great state. Like neighboring LA, Hollywood’s streets are often dirty and full of litter. If you were expecting something a bit more in keeping with celebrity status, you’d be better off seeking out some of the area’s celebrity hotspots.
KUTA BEACH IS A GARBAGE DUMP
Bali has come to be overly reliant on its tourism industry in the last few years, and it’s starting to show. Some people are discussing ways to limit tourism to the island, as mass tourism is now degrading the environment and the living conditions for locals.
Nowhere is this more evident than Kuta Beach. Once revered by travelers as one of the best beaches in the world, it’s now been overrun with tourists. The overcrowding would be bad enough, but all those people also leave their garbage everywhere. The end result is a beach that’s better to avoid than visit.
THE LITTLE MERMAID STATUTE LIVES UP TO ITS NAME
Hans Christian Andersen’s classic The Little Mermaid has been a staple of fairy tale collections since the 1800s, when the Danish author penned it. The classic Disney adaptation has all but cemented the character in pop culture.
That’s probably why people flock to see The Little Mermaid statue, which is situated on the Langelinie waterfront in Copenhagen. The statue truly is little, and you might have a hard time getting a good picture with it. And once you’ve taken that picture, it’s time to move on. There are probably other things more worth the cost of a ticket to Copenhagen.
References: YouCouldTravel.com, Business Insider, Ranker.com, FashionBeans.com, Insider, Quartz.com, Mashable