50 Most Overrated Tourist Attractions in the World
Before you see any of these hot spots, read tips from world travelers on what to avoid—and how to make your experience better.
Taj Mahal, India
Why It’s Overrated: While Natalia from My Trip Hack says the architecture of the Taj Mahal—with its ancient white marble is awe-worthy—the long queues are not. No matter what time of year you visit, she says you’ll find a swarm of tourists crowding the area. She also notes how difficult it is to ignore the wealth disparity, too: “It’s hard not to notice a drying and polluted river, people living on the streets, scammers capitalizing on the tourists just a few meters outside of this majestic monument,” she shares.
What to Do Instead: For a view of the palace without paying the high ticket price, go to Mehtab Bagh Gardens that lies across the Yamuna river, and provides a vanishing perspective as you walk through. Looking for more off-the-beaten-path destinations? Check out 13 of the world’s most bizarre tourist destinations.
Statue of Liberty, New York
Why It’s Overrated: While, sure, everyone wants to witness Lady Liberty and all of her glory once in their lifetime, traveler blogger Tessa Juliette says it isn’t worth it to go up in this monument. Thanks to long lines and a lackluster view, you might find yourself disappointed.
What to Do Instead: You’ll love seeing this iconic American structure, but Juliette recommends witnessing it from a boat. Even better? It’s free when you take the Staten Island Ferry. “You will also get gorgeous views of lower Manhattan, Governor’s Island, and Brooklyn Heights. For the best view of the Statue of Liberty stand on the starboard side when heading to Staten Island and on the port side when traveling back to Manhattan,” she says. Pray you don’t run into the world’s worst tourists.
Rainbow Mountain, Peru
Why It’s Overrated: You can blame Instagram for the uptick in tourism to this Peruvian destination, where up to 1,000 people trek this short journey to the mountain overlook. In addition to trail traffic, many folks show up ill-prepared to hike this high altitude journey, especially on a path that wasn’t intended for thousands, according to Brian Bultema from Dargui Tours. And though the colors seem beautiful online, it’s likely enhanced: “When there are clouds overhead, the colors of the Rainbow Mountain can be quite mute and undramatic—a big disappointment for those expecting neon colors plastered all over Instagram,” he explains.
What to Do Instead: If you’re in South America, go see the Bolivian Salt Flats for a remarkable earthy experience. Since they’re prepped for tourism—and you’ll always be blown away by their beauty—it’s worth your excursion. Here are 14 other natural wonders you’ve never heard of.
Skywalk Over the Grand Canyon, Arizona
Why It’s Overrated: While travel blogger at The Travel Tart, Anthony says it’s the Grand Canyon is worth seeing in person—the skywalk can be skipped. This horseshoe-shaped bridge features a glass walkway, but is often filled with tourists walking side-by-side.
What to Do Instead: If you can afford it, Anthony says there’s no better way to experience this American legend than with a helicopter to take in its beauty and massive size.
Empire State Building, New York
Why It’s Overrated: Alicia Keys sings about it—as does nearly everyone who sees it in person—but should you go up the Empire State Building? While Michelle from the House of Travel says the views can’t be denied, the high ticket price and the plethora of visitors make it difficult to enjoy. For safety reasons, the Empire State also has fencing that prevents super-pretty selfies.
What to Do Instead: Truth be told, you want to see the Empire State in your photos, right? You can’t do that if you’re in it! Instead, consider going to Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center or One World Trade downtown. Both of these are taller and offer sprawling views, even if, sure, you’ll still have to fight crowds. For a free-ish experience, grab a cocktail on the rooftop of 230 Fifth and see the Empire up-close-and-personal.
The Santa Monica Pier, California
Why It’s Overrated: From far away, Michelle from The House of Travel says this spot in California is gorgeous. But when you look closer? She says it is “run down, the amount of people that are there makes it very hard to actually walk around, and everything is extremely overpriced.”
What to Do Instead: Grab a beach chair and settle in for the day. As you relax and sunbathe, you can still enjoy the pier, without wasting your vacation browsing through the shops. These are 14 of the best beach boardwalks in the United States.
The London Eye
Why It’s Overrated: There’s so much to do in The Big Smoke—from seeing Big Ben to sipping tea and attempting to see royalty. But Joe, a travel blogger at JKGO.co says not to worry about checking off The London Eye from your list. In addition to waiting in line twice—for the ticket and for the ride—he also adds the view isn’t anything to write home about.
Where to Go Instead: Have a fancy cocktail to celebrate your trip by visiting The Shard. While expensive, Joe says it’s a better view and far less stressful.
The Colosseum in Rome
Why It’s Overrated: It’s worth the hype to see this historical, fascinating masterpiece, but you’ll be touring around with an estimated 11,000 visitors per day, on average. This can make for an exhausting experience, especially in those prime days of summer heat, according to Italy travel expert Sean Finelli. While you’ll definitely witness the wonder, you might waste a whole day to do it.
What to Do Instead: For a different experience that’s a tad more expensive and limited, Finelli suggests booking the 5th Tier. Recently opened, only 350 travelers can tour each day, so make sure to find a tour company who can help you book in advance. These are the secret enchantments of Rome you need to see.
The Trevi Fountain
Why It’s Overrated: What you don’t see from those Trevi Fountain photos is that massive swarm of people surrounding every inch, and the tourist shops within a coin’s throw. “If you are visiting during peak months in the summer you will find yourself smashed in a hoard of people, desperately trying to push through people to get a coveted spot in front of the fountain. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour,” explain travel author and blogger Leigh Ann. On top of this chaos, you also need to be hyper-aware pickpockets and those who offer to take your photo—to run off with your smartphone.
What to Do Instead: If you’re determined to see this monument in the heart of Rome, Leigh Ann says to get there between 6 and 7 a.m. It’s early, but ideal: “You can enjoy the true beauty of this landmark without all the stress. Just be sure to check what time the sun rises so you can time arrive once the sun is up for a picture absolutely worth waking up early for,” she says.
The Hollywood Sign
Why It’s Overrated: Yep, everyone wants a photo with one of the most famous pieces of signage ever—but travel author and blogger Leigh Ann says that’s the issue. After battling two to four hours of traffic, you’ll have to hike from a park and due to restrictions, the closest you can get is a half-mile away. And sure, an afternoon trek might sound nice in the middle of your vacay, Leigh Ann begs to differ: “The hike itself is rather unspectacular with desert bushes on either side of you and the Los Angeles pollution rising over the clouds. By the time you find yourself in a position to take a decent photo with the sign, you’ll probably be dripping in sweat, red in the face, and on the verge of a heat stroke.”
What to Do Instead: Enjoy this landmark from afar by visiting The Griffith Observatory where you can witness an Instagram-worthy view. Leigh Ann says to get there an hour before sunset and enjoy the city lit up afterward.
Times Square, New York
Why It’s Overrated: Even though traveler Justin Hussong grew up in the area, he says Times Square isn’t exactly a fun experience. “There’s not much reason to go there unless you’re going to a play on Broadway. It’s full of tourists standing in the middle of the road and gridlock traffic,” he explains. Apart from early, early morning—when everything is closed—there isn’t a time you can visit this Big Apple hotspot without pushing your way through hordes of people.
What to Do Instead: If you absolutely have to see Times Square—go at night. It’s much more awe-inspiring when you see all of the signs lit up from the famous red steps on 49th street. (Most Broadway shows start at 8 p.m., so head out at 8:01 to avoid the crush.) Then? See more of the local experience by visiting Bushwick, Williamsburg, the East Village and Chelsea, for bars, art, and music.
Why It’s Overrated: Unless you grew up a die-hard Disney fan, Hussong says Disneyland isn’t a fun option for your wallet or vacation. Not only will you spend all day waiting in line, but in comparison to Disney World, it might feel lackluster.
What to Do Instead: See more of this spot in the country! Hussong recommends Six Flags, Knott’s Berry Farm, and if you’re up for the drive, San Diego Sea World or the San Diego Zoo. Find out more about the differences between Disneyland and Disney World.
Three Sisters monument in Blue Mountains National Park, Australia
Why It’s Overrated: If you’re going to the land down under, many make the trek to the iconic “Three Sisters” monument in Blue Mountain National Park outside of Sydney. Though travel blogger Priyadarshini Rajendran planned a trip there when she visited, she doesn’t recommend it to others. All the fanfare makes for crowds and in person, she says it’s not as impressive as it appears online.
What to Do Instead: Since you’re in the area, see more jaw-dropping sights like the Scenic World Gondol or the Katoomba Coal Mine, Rajendran recommends. Or head to any one of these most popular sites in Australia.
Why It’s Overrated: When you’re in Los Angeles, you probably want to try your hand—literally—at Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. With more than 2,500 handprints, you can spend quite the afternoon seeing which palms match your own, but Rajendran says it gets old, fast. Tons of foot—er, hand?—traffic makes for adult temper tantrums under the California heat.
What to Do Instead: Stop by, for sure, Rajendran says but just for a few blocks. Then get your Hollywood fix by taking a Universal Studios tour instead.
Melbourne Star, Australia
Why It’s Overrated: How much would you pay to see factory outlets? Around $36 if you’re riding the Ferris wheel in the center of Melbourne, Australia. Even though travel blogger Carlita is from this country, she doesn’t recommend wasting your time—or money—taking a single rotation on this attraction.
What to Do Instead: For a better view of the city—and far more fun!—spend an afternoon or evening at Curtin House Rooftop Bar, where a cocktail equals entry.
Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City
Why It’s Overrated: Travel blogger and author Kelly Hayes-Raitt says though this landmark is a fascinating maze that was used by the Viet Cong during Vietnam’s various wars for independence, the tourist experiences feels like a gimmicky Disneyland. “The tunnels themselves in this area have been widened to accommodate larger westerners. The guides have been given carefully worded scripts that praise the “cunning” of the Viet Cong and condemn the South Vietnamese. And a shooting range has been created to allow tourists to shoot rifles,” she shares. All of this makes the whole bit feel disingenuous.
What to Do Instead: Do your research and pick a guide who was a former soldier. If you keep the group small, Hayes-Raitt says you might actually hear the true stories from this era. And when you’re there, make sure to visit the War Remnants Museum for an authentic look.
Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin
Why It’s Overrated: Though this used to be an intense military checkpoint between east and west Berlin, Hayes-Raitt says now it’s not quite as exciting. It’s staffed by what she calls “a couple of bored-looking” actors who pose with tourists and don’t reveal much of a history behind this stretch of land.
What to Do Instead: For history buffs, Hayes-Raitt says a must-see is the Stasi Prison at Berlin-Hohenschoenhausen, which was established by the Soviets. Get this: some tours are even conducted by former prisoners.
South Beach, Florida
Why It’s Overrated: For bachelorette parties and weekend getaways, the glitz of this strip of coast in Florida is enticing. But no matter when you tour, the year-round pretty weather makes for overpriced-everything and bum-to-bum beaches. It’s fun, sure, but travel blogger Lindsay Cale says there’s much more beautiful and unique experiences to be found in this state.
What to Do Instead: Cale recommends staying in the Wynwood neighborhood in downtown Miami where streets are lined with vibrant street art, boutiques, and gelato stands. Its location is great too: “You can easily catch an Uber to soak up the sun on the beach, but spending time in Wynwood will quickly turn Miami into one of your favorite cities,” she says.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Why It’s Overrated: This Mayan ruins on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula features a large pyramid and graphic stone carvings, serving as one of the most sought-after spots in the country. But thanks to its popularity, you can expect long lines and crowds as you attempt to take a photo, according to Cale.
What to Do Instead: Just as impressive, Uxmal is well-maintained and beautiful, but with a fraction of the chaos, Cale says. “You can also climb some of the ruins for incredible panoramic views. For a truly unique experience head to Uxmal at night to take in the light show,” she says. Learn more about the most popular travel destinations in Mexico.
La Tomatina, Spain
Why It’s Overrated: A massive food fight in the middle of the streets of Spain? Sounds fun, right? Traveler Kelly Kresin says while seemingly once-in-a-lifetime in theory, the experience isn’t as exciting. “You are squished so tightly into a narrow street that you can’t move, tomatoes are flying from all angles hitting you so hard you bruise, and 30 minutes in, you start feeling the burn of the tomato juice in every crevice, even ones you didn’t know you had,” she explains.
What to Do Instead: The port city of Valencia is a fraction of the cost of other Spanish towns, making munching tapas and sipping vino tinto much more enjoyable than a tomato fight.
Why It’s Overrated: Two hours from London, this wonder of the world attracts flocks of travelers from around the globe, but traveler Samvida Patel says it’s underwhelming once you arrive. Because you can’t get close to it, the tour goes by super-fast, and you’re left wanting more. Tons of tourist also add friction to this English gem.
What to Do Instead: If you gotta see it, we get it—but after you snap your photo, drive another hour to Bath, United Kingdom. Here, as the name suggests, you can enjoy thermal Roman baths to destress from the attraction. Find out more of the most underrated travel destinations across the globe.
Hyde Park, London
Why It’s Overrated: This massive park in the center of London is the largest of the Royal Parks of the city that form a chain from the entrance of Kensington Palace. Though the most famous, Patel says Hyde Park isn’t the most beautiful or enjoyable for locals or tourists.
What to Do Instead: Pack a picnic and a spot of tea and settle in at Regents Park or Hollands Park for a British-approved afternoon of lounging on the lawn, Patel suggests.
Why It’s Overrated: The Instagram photos might make this Greek island renowned for its sunsets over pristine white buildings seem picturesque and relaxing, Nate from the Travel Lemming says the reality is much crazier. Because everyone is in search of the perfect shot, Nate witnessed plenty of shoving and rude behavior at this tropical oasis.
What to Do Instead: Though Santorini is arguably the most popular, Nate says other Greek islands offer just as much charm—sans the ridiculousness. He suggests Naxos as a prettier—and kinder—alternative. Don’t miss our list of European islands you never thought to visit—but totally should.
Riding elephants in Thailand
Why It’s Overrated: Unlike other attractions, the reason for skipping this common activity is tied to animal cruelty. Though many people desire the experience of riding on the backs of elephants, these massive and gentle creatures are gravely abused to make this possible, according to traveler and activist Nora Livingstone. “Elephants have to be broken as babies before they are able to have people ride them. This is years of torture and pain so people can get a short ride and photo op,” she explains.
What to Do Instead: You don’t have to sit atop an elephant to experience their wonder. As Livingstone explains, plenty of sanctuaries offer the ability to bathe, feed, and walk with elephants through the jungle—making for an even more immersive afternoon. A top recommended charity to consider is the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai.
Palace of Versailles, France
Why It’s Overrated: Though it used to be Marie Antoinette’s infamous stomping grounds, travel writer Nina Thomas says it’s no party anymore. “I had imagined seeing this beautiful Hall of Mirrors, but instead was being shuffled through a crowd where we were all basically touching arms and I was being elbowed in the face by people taking pictures,” she explains.
What to Do Instead: If you still want to make the trek, take advantage of the French countryside by spending more money to tour the gardens and Antoinette’s private playground. Thomas says these experiences make for a better afternoon, complete with pretty blooms and views of the exterior palace.
Capilano Bridge, Vancouver
Why It’s Overrated: Decades ago, this bridge was busy. But now that Instagram made it fame-worthy? Travel blogger Imma Gregorio says it’s even more jam-packed. With back-to-back congestion, you might forget you’re experiencing this landmark because you’re overwhelmed.
What to Do Instead: Nearby and much calmer is Lynn Canyon Park which Gregorio says has a similar suspension bridge, surrounded by picturesque nature.
Niagara Falls, Canada
Why It’s Overrated: Stunning in person, these falls are some of the greatest on the planet and worth the visit. However, Gregorio warns you might feel like nature is far away. “Niagara on the Lake could be compared to a tiny Las Vegas in Canada. Teens cross the border to drink and casinos never end,” she explains.
What to Do Instead: Since they are rather spectacular, you’ll definitely want to visit. But, make sure to spend the extra money for a more luxury experience. This helps set the tone of a better vacation—sans the tipsy teens.
The Space Needle, Seattle
Why It’s Overrated: Traveler Ryan O’Connor grew up watching Frasier and couldn’t wait to visit this iconic Washington landmark in person. While its design makes for an interesting far-away glance, once you’re there, O’Connor says you’re in the middle of a tourist trap. As you’re shuttled to the top, you’re constantly being sold trinkets and encouraged to buy more and more.
What to Do Instead: If you want to head to the top when you’re in Seattle, do it. But instead of paying the ticket price, have dinner or lunch there, which includes admission. This way you can sit down, take your time, and savor the view.
Giants Causeway, Ireland
Why It’s Overrated: If you’ve ever seen an image of this attraction, it probably stunned you. “Often shrouded in mist, it looks like a commanding mountain in a formation you’ve never seen jutting out into the sea with a mythical bridge between Ireland and Scotland,” O’Connor shares. But once you’re there, he says it’s rather small and underwhelming, making for disappointed jetsetters.
What to Do Instead: Though a busy spot in this country, O’Connor says the Cliffs of Moher are worth the adventure to soak up the view.
Venice Gondolas, Italy
Why It’s Overrated: In nearly every romantic image of Italy you have in your mind, a gondola strolling through Venice is probably the top. Travel blogger Suzanne Wolko explains it isn’t exactly the rose-colored experience you’ve imagined—since you’ll need to wait in line with tourists as if it’s a Disney ride. Doesn’t make for a stolen kiss at sunset, does it?
What to Do Instead: Wolko says to get out of the main hub to a spot like the Jewish Quarter to have a more intimate experience away from St. Mark’s. Though the price is the same, there are fewer boats and congestion. Or another option? Learn to row a boat in the canals and set sail on your own!
Loch Ness, Scotland
Why It’s Overrated: This lake in Scotland is an all-day, 12-hour bus tour from Edinburgh, all with the hopes to see a mythical creature. Is it worth the exhaustion? Wolko says “nope.” Because you spend all of your time on a bus, only to return, it can be a tiring day with little wonder.
What to Do Instead: If your budget and schedule allows, stay a bit longer and go to Loch Lomond. Here, Wolko says you can visit Stirling Castle, take a boat ride, and enjoy better, less tiring views of the countryside.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Why It’s Overrated: It’s not that Machu Picchu is overrated—considering it’s one of the most beautiful wonders of the world—but traveler Katherine Conway says the single-day hype leaves much to the imagination. If you take the bus winding up the mountain in the early morning, bum around the ruins, and call it a day, you might feel disappointed.
What to Do Instead: If you’re in shape and up for the challenge, Conway says doing the 4-day Salkantay Trek on the Inca Trail is worth your effort. “The experience of hiking and camping for three days before we got to Aguas Calientes, waking up at 3 a.m. to enter the gate when it opened at 5 a.m. and hike up those old Incan steps as the sky began to lighten, watching the rays of sun climb down the archaeological site, hiking up Huayna Picchu to overlook Machu Picchu—that was amazing,” she shares.
Dead Sea, Israel
Why It’s Overrated: Though plenty of folks make their way to the Dead Sea to experience the sensation of floating, travel photographer Gary Arndt says it’s less than stellar when you get there. And sometimes? Painful, even. “You can’t swim in the Dead Sea because it is too salty and a person would be too buoyant. The best you can hope for is to awkwardly float. If you have the slightest nick, scratch, or cut anywhere on your skin, you will be in tremendous pain,” he explains.
What to Do Instead: For one of those views that’ll stick in your mind for decades, make the journey to Ein Gedi, or “the spring of the kid (young goat)” for an afternoon.
The Bean, Chicago
Why It’s Overrated: As you comb through #Chicago tagged photos, you’ll probably be met with countless mirror selfies from The Bean. This sculpture is often overrun with tourists and doesn’t offer much history to the Windy City, according to Van Studson. You might want to snag a photo of your own—but that’s about all you’ll reap from the experience.
What to Do Instead: If weather permits, grab lunch to go and lounge in the beautiful Millennium Park to savor the sun and talk about your trip, sans crazy crowds.
Beaches in Bali, Indonesia
Why It’s Overrated: Travel blogger Elizabeth Blasi says while plenty of people think the beaches of Bali are sprawling with pretty waters and colorful sunsets, it’s actually a rather different story once you land. Most public spots are dirty, featuring washed-up plastic and rainy days.
What to Do Instead: If you still want to experience Bali, head to the rice fields of Ubud where you can speak with a Balinese healer and taste unique coffee beans. Or for a beach vacation? Blasi says nothing beats the nearby islands of Thailand.
Petronas Towers, Malaysia
Why It’s Overrated: When you’re channeling your inner A-lister the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur seem like a good idea. However, once you’re there? It’s not quite worth it to go up, since you can’t see the towers when you’re in them, according to Blasi.
What to Do Instead: For under $100 a night, you can stay at the Face Hotel Suites and swim in their infinity pool featuring an uninterrupted view of the towers themselves. Here are more of the world’s most gorgeous infinity swimming pools.
Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore
Why It’s Overrated: You already know Singapore is expensive, but to stay in one of the iconic hotels, your jaw might drop to the ground. A night at Marina Bay Sands Hotel will cost you big bucks. While a bucket list item, it’s pretty outlandish for most travelers.
What to Do Instead: You don’t have to stay on the property to experience the view! Blasi says the non-guest observation deck doesn’t come with a pool, you can still get the photo you’re after. Or, for a different take, try the Singapore Flyer, Singapore’s Ferris wheel.
Mall Of America, Minnesota
Why It’s Overrated: It’s the largest mall in the country, meaning every shopper comes here until they drop. Blasi explains there are plenty of touristy attractions, including rides and food courts, and of course, lots and lots of people. This means every store will likely be packed, making trying on clothes and enjoying your time a tall order.
What to Do Instead: If you want to experience an impressive shopping center, Blais suggest visiting the 10th largest mall—Sawgrass Mills in South Florida. “It is home to one of the largest concentrations of outlets in the country, meaning you’ll always get the best deal,” she says.
The First Starbucks, Seattle
Why It’s Overrated: If the most committed relationship you’ve ever been in is with your beloved morning brew from Starbucks, you probably want to visit your lover’s hometown and see where it all began. Traveler and Seattle native Jessica Tatham encourages everyone to skip the madness. How come? Not only will you wait in line for 45 minutes for the same drink you can get anywhere, but the small space makes it hot and uncomfortable.
What to Do Instead: Tatham says to snap a photo outside of the original and then head across the street, down the block, or to the next street over, since Starbucks are everywhere here. Find out the 13 things Starbucks employees won’t tell you.
The Great Wall of China
Why It’s Overrated: Though Tatham says the Great Wall can’t be missed if you find yourself in this region of the world, she also warns jetsetters to prepare themselves for craziness. As a tourist trap unlike any other, you can expect massive lines, expensive prices, and plenty of gimmicky experiences.
What to Do Instead: For a better, more relaxed venture to this iconic landmark, Tatham says to find a place outside of Beijing. The further away you are, the fewer folks you’ll have to fight for a photo.
Why It’s Overrated: It’s one of the most expensive department stores in the world—and one of the most iconic. Filled with all sorts of goods, many people flock here to bring a little something home. But even if it’s small, it’s pricey, according to Blasi. You can expect to shell out nothing shy of at least $20 to $25 here, even for some chocolate.
What to Do Instead: Venture to Notting Hill, where you can browse through antiques, scour boutiques and find something more original for a keepsake.
Sydney Opera House, Australia
Why It’s Overrated: Well, because unless you’re seeing an opera or other show, there’s no reason to go in. As Tatham explains, this theater is still a working one, making it less than fascinating if that’s not your style.
What to Do Instead: You’ll still want to see this iconic Australia landmark, so take a ferry! For less than $10, you can sail from the port of Sydney to Manly Beach for a day of beers, surfing, and tanning—and get your shot of the opera house on the way.
Blue Cave, Croatia
Why It’s Overrated: Depending on when you visit—and the weather when you land—it might be impossible to see this renowned cave in person. But even when you get there, Blasi says you might feel unenthused. To get into the cave, you’re ushered on a very small boat, requiring you to duck (tall people, consider yourself warned!). Once inside, you’re only there for a minute before leaving—and the experience costs around $15.
What to Do Instead: Seeing the islands are a must, but venture to Hvar where you can have a cocktail at their beach club and watch the sunset over a small, quaint port.
Washington Monument, Washington D.C.
Why It’s Overrated: After waiting in a long, slow-moving line, you take a 70-second elevator ride to the top where you jockey for a view out of one of eight windows. “The joke around town is that no true Washingtonian has ever been to the top of the Washington Monument,” shares D.C. native Grace Spencer. The Monument is closed until spring 2019 while the elevator is being upgraded.
What to Do Instead: If learning more about America’s first president is your motivating factor, head to nearby Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home in Virginia. Or for stellar views of the Mall, including the Washington Monument, try the POV rooftop bar at the W Washington D.C. Hotel. Read on for 15 facts you never knew about the Washington Monument.
Blarney Stone, Ireland
Why It’s Overrated: It’s not that it isn’t an interesting landmark to see, but for Paul McGrady—who is from Ireland—it’s not an authentic experience. Though plenty of tours will make sure you stop by this shiny rock that is said to “give you the gifts of the gods”—McGrady says he doesn’t know a single local who has visited the stone.
What to Do Instead: Instead, visit Kerry—or take the route of the Ring of Kerry—to see genuine Irish towns firsthand, complete with plenty of beers.
Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco
Why It’s Overrated: This city by the bay has plenty of sights, foods, and experiences, but one that traveler Jordan Malcolm says to skip is Fisherman’s Wharf. While, sure, you can see sea lions lounging around in the sun, everything else feels like a tourist trap. With chain stores, overpriced lunches and plenty of folks trying to sell you something, Malcolm says it wasn’t worth the hassle.
What to Do Instead: To see the wharf from afar without the lackluster shopping and food, rent bikes and go across the Golden Gate Bridge. Or, if you want to see Fisherman’s Wharf briefly, head there to catch a ferry to Alcatraz, which Malcolm named the highlight of his trip.
Arashiyama Bamboo Gardens, Kyoto, Japan
Why It’s Overrated: Google “Kyoto” and you’ll likely be overwhelmed by the number of temples and picture-perfect gardens in this region of Japan. One of the most popular is Arashiyama Bamboos Gardens, where tourists flock to see the sun shining through the bamboo groves—and of course, to feed the native monkeys. Travel photographer Emily Mitnick says while pretty, the vast amount of tourists makes it impossible to enjoy the serenity without being smacked with a selfie stick.
What To Do Instead: If you want to see the bamboo gardens, Mitnick says to head in the wee hours of the morning, pre-sunrise to beat the traffic. Or, for another experience that’s just as pretty and less crowded, consider Kodai-ji Temple as an alternative. Or visit these 10 under-the-radar gems you can only see in Japan.
Renaissance Island, Aruba
Why It’s Overrated: Though the option of getting a selfie with a flamingo sounds Insta-worthy, traveler Chanel Stoyle says you might leave feeling less than dazzled. Pretty in person, but sad to witness, Stoyle explains many of the flamingos have clipped wings, making it impossible for them to leave or fly.
What to Do Instead: Equally as beautiful—and free of cruelty—is Eagle Beach, according to Stoyle.
J Peak Resort, Vermont
Why It’s Overrated: While traveler Gabrielle Rousseau says both the mountain and the resort are beautiful, the high cost of this resort doesn’t equate to a better experience. Once you’re there, nearly everything is an add-on price, making your snowy vacation that much more pricey.
What to Do Instead: Rousseau says Stowe Mountain is less expensive and in the heart of a quaint, cute village, making for a more enjoyable getaway.
Why It’s Overrated: As one of those countries that so many work hard to see, Cuba is a prime spot for Canadians. But if you’re venturing here, Rousseau says to skip Varadero. Not only does she say the food is less than imaginative, she explains it’s also full of tourist and gimmicky-shops, none of which give you a glimpse into this unique culture.
What to Do Instead: If you’re making the journey, Havana is a must, according to Rousseau. Here, she says you can interact with locals, sample the coffee and cigars, and actually get to know this spot on the map. Ready for more? Start with these 11 amazing beaches that are bucket-list worthy.