There are a few places and tourist attractions that are on everybody’s travel buckle lists. Even though you’ve read about them and seen thousands of Instagram photos, they are still magic. We’re talking about things like the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, and the Taj Mahal. Conversely, there are popular tourist attractions that are… underwhelming.
When you’re traveling, you’re on very limited time. What’s more, you probably have a limited budget and want to spend money on things that are worth it. When you’re traveling internationally, the latter is even more of a consideration thanks to eye-watering conversion rates. So, nothing ruins a vacation like waiting in line for hours to go to an over-hyped tourist attraction.
If you want some honest traveling advice, check out the list of 18 international tourist attractions that soooo aren’t worth it. Then go spend your hard-earned money on something that will actually wow you.
18. Juliet’s Balcony at the Casa di Giulietta, Verona
Pretty much everyone studied “Romeo & Juliet” in school — and a lot were bored to tears reading it. (No offence to William Shakespeare.) Yet, suddenly everyone is interested in the idea of going to see Juliet’s balcony at Casa di Giulietta. Too bad there was no actual Juliet and therefore the balcony isn’t hers. Some say the building inspired Shakespeare, because the family who once lived their had the surname Cappelletti, which sounded sort of like Juliet Capulet. If the capitalization of such a thing isn’t enough to turn you off, elbowing your way into a crowded square of people putting
graffiti their names on the walls for love and grabbing a Juliet statue’s right boob for good luck pretty much kills most of the romance. Dude, the statue has been touched so many times the metal has worn down.
17. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Anywhere
If you love kitsch, crazy stuff and kids running around everywhere, you will enjoy Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. If not, you will wonder why you paid the overpriced admission. Even if you get a mild kick out of seeing some of the totally random stuff, you will probably leave wondering why you decided to waste hours in a “museum” that’s likely in your hometown that has nothing to do with the place you’re visiting.
16. Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands
If you’re into myths and want to trek a few hours into the Scottish highlands on what will likely be a rainy, gray and cloudy day to talk about a “monster,” step right up. You could be lured by the idea that today might be the day that the myth of Nessie will be proven to be true and you will be the one to see it. After staring into the black waters and freezing your legs off, you will ponder what possessed you to take the journey. You will wonder why you didn’t just skim a book about it instead of standing in the cold with other crazy people listening to “possible” sightings. And hearing someone pretend to see the monster will get old really fast.
15. Leicester Square, London
There are lots pretty squares in London that never get written about. Leicester Square is written about, but it’s not exactly the prettiest — unless you consider movie theaters, M&M; World (see below), and hordes of tourists queuing up to get McDonald’s pretty. Piccadilly Circus is a hop, skip away and much more intriguing. But, Leicester Square? It’s not going to be the thing you will remember from your trip to London.
14. The Champs-Élysées, Paris
Everybody dreams about shopping in Paris and the Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world. It’s a reasonably nice walk going from the Arc de Triomphe to the Jardins de Champs-Élysées, but the start and end points are really the most exciting bits. In the middle are basically just mammoth versions of the stores you already shop at with countless tourists and ones that are probably a bit out of your budget. And the rue lost its Parisian exclusivity a long time ago when Abercrombie & Fitch and the like started moving in. If you want true Paris shopping, bid the crowded rode with poseurs adieu and follow the locals to less touristy arrondissements and markets.
13. The Manneken Pis, Brussels
The novelty of seeing a small boy statue “peeing” into a basin might bring a smile to your face. But, it is worth trekking around Belgium to find it in a random corner? Nah. The statue is teeny tiny and up high. Oh, and if you do happen to find the little guy, it’s not even the original designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder. After the statue was stolen and vandalized multiple times, a copy was put up. If you still really wanted to see the real one, it’s at the Museum of the City of Brussels.
12. Trevi Fountain, Rome
Rome is filled with statues and fantastic works of art. It’s also teaming with people. If you’re hoping to get a clear shot of the Trevi Fountain or make a romantic wish with bae, good luck with that. Even when off season, it’s unlikely. You’re better off Photoshopping yourselves into a photo and making a wish on birthday candles. Sorry, no Lizzie McGuire Movie moment for you. If you’re prepared to elbow tourists, selfie sticks, and sun-shielding umbrellas, you might get close enough to whip your coin from a few feet away.
11. The Leaning Tower Of Pisa, Pisa
If you’re going to Pisa, you’re probably just going for the tower alone, which is pretty much setting yourself up for disappointment. Normally when people get there, they find themselves hoping for more of a dramatic lean. You will likely be peeved that they “fixed” the tower to make it lean less so it wouldn’t topple over and people could still go up it. If you are interested, you’ll probably be bored after you take the obligatory “pushing the tower back up” or “knocking it over” photos. After that, you’ll probably be more interested in getting an espresso and a gelato and going to a bigger city.
10. Little Mermaid Statue, Copenhagen
If you love the Disney version of The Little Mermaid and are hoping to see Ariel in Copenhagen, boy are you going to be disappointed. The Little Mermaid statue by Edvard Eriksen does not have Ariel’s flowing red hair or purple seashell bra. It’s based on the OG Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. As a piece by itself, it’s tiny and some say it’s a bit too human-like in terms of the legs/fins. It’s also not in the water. If you want a photo, hope that it hasn’t been vandalized or there isn’t someone crawling on it.
9. M&M; World, Anywhere
Even if you love M&M;’s as your movie snack, you will find M&M; World to be a nauseating place, especially if you’re over the age of 12. First, you will likely get a headache from the overpowering smell of the candy coating that seems to linger for blocks. Second, instead of candy, it’s mostly merchandise with M&M; logos slapped onto it. The biggest crime of them all could be the lack of sampling stations. Sure, you could try and take a few from the bulk M&M; dispensers, but you know you’re going to get caught.
8. Wax Museum, Anywhere
If you’ve been to one wax museum you’ve been to them all. One trip is funny to pose with your “favorite celebrities” and laugh at the less-than-convincing wax figures. But think about it this way: Do you really want to go to a wax museum on the off chance you will see a wax figure of a celebrity in a different outfit when you could be exploring all of the new, unique parts of a city?
7. Disneyland, Paris
This is another tourist attraction to consider wisely. If you’ve been to Walt Disney World in Florida, or Disneyland in California, are you prepared to give up all of the unique parts of Paris so you can go to the “French” version of what’s almost as American as it gets? Spoiler alert: You’re not going to find it that different. You’re also going to have to travel outside of Paris to get to Marne-la-Vallée. You could be spending that traveling time going to Versailles.
6. The CN Tower, Toronto
The CN Tower is the world’s ninth tallest free-standing structure, and anything less than the top spot is a bit anti-climactic. You’re promised incredible views of Toronto, but you better hope it’s a clear day. After shelling out considerable dough, waiting in lines, and being squished in an elevator with other tourists you might wonder what all the hype is about. When you get high enough, all city views start to look the same after a while. Plus, you’ll realize too late you could have gotten the view somewhere else for much cheaper.
5. Blarney Stone, County Cork
If you’re looking to practice your yoga skills and potentially pull your neck out, seeing the Blarney Stone should be on your travel bucket list. If the idea of bending over backward to “kiss” a dirty stone that thousands of dirty lips and tongues have been on doesn’t tickle your fancy, you’ll probably find the tourist attraction to be waaaaay overhyped. And there’s no guarantee that if you smooch it, you’ll get “the gift of the gab.” Blarney Castle as itself is interesting, but it’s not the quickest trek, even if you’re going from Cork — which you probably won’t be.
4. Atlantis Resort, Bahamas
The story of Atlantis is an interesting one. But, a resort that is cashing in on the idea of a submerged fictional island? Meh. The brochure photos might look tempting — along with the idea of 120 foot “power tower” slides — but people often say that the brochure is actually better than what you get in real life. The inside is often a letdown. And the service can take things down another notch.
3. Moulin Rouge, Paris
The Moulin Rouge is a staple in many tourist pamphlets, but when you see it in person, you might be expecting more razzle-dazzle. Sure, there’s a red windmill, but it’s not very big. Plus, it’s squashed on a street among all the other buildings. Inside, some might find the decor to be dusty rather than Belle Époque. If you’re looking for a “true” Paris experience, you won’t find it at one of the priciest shows when you’re rubbing elbows with all the other guidebook-carrying tourists.
2. Széchenyi Bath, Budapest
If you haven’t heard of the Szechenyi Bath in Budapest, it’s known for being “the largest medicinal bath in Europe” complete with two springs and a must-see while in Hungary. In reality, it’s *literally* a glorified community pool. If you’ve had even one experience in a busy public swimming pool, you will understand why the situation is best avoided.
1. The Mona Lisa in the Louvre, Paris
You’ve seen so many reproductions, memes and twists on the “Mona Lisa” that you could probably paint it from memory… if you had the skills of Leonardo da Vinci, that is. Seeing it on bath mats and mugs does kind of kill the allure. If you’re an art history buff, you might get excited by the idea of seeing every brush stroke and staring into those mysterious eyes — but good luck getting close enough to the painting to do that. You’ll have to battle a room full of people trying to take selfies with it. And we guarantee that half of them probably don’t even know who the actual painter of the famous artwork is. They just want the cred. Oh, and it’s a lot smaller than you think.