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Most overrated tourist attractions in the world
I was having a debate with a few well travelled friends a couple of days ago about which tourist sites we had visited had turned out to be the biggest disappointment. I therefore thought I would ask the question here to see what FTers think and why. Apologies if there is already a thread on this but I couldn't find one.
I'm not talking about which cities or countries we really disliked or thought were overrated, but which famous tourist attractions you have visited for the first time and were so underwhelmed that you think "oh, is that it?" because you expected so much more.
Many well known tourist attractions have a justified reputation - the Grand Canyon really is awesome, the Pyramids really are huge and the Taj Mahal really is staggeringly beautiful - but others seem to be inexplicably famous as the reality doesn't live up to the hype. These are the ones I am talking about - the ones that really make you question why you bothered making the effort to go and see it.
I'll start with a couple:
1. The Astronomical Clock in Prague - I'm not denying that the clock itself is a true work of art but all the locals told us we must go and see the 'spectacle' of it chiming on the hour. So we duly queued up with hundreds of other tourists to see....... a couple of tiny figures high up move around in a jerky fashion. And that was it - a spectacle it isn't.
2. The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen - It is really tiny, miles from anywhere and set against the backdrop of rusting naval ships and factories. There are so many more worthwhile things to see in CPH but bizarrely that still remains the one thing everyone wants to see.
3. The Semmering Railway in Austria - I was so looking forward to my train journey along this UNESCO world heritage stretch of railway but was quickly disappointed. The view is just rolling hills and the odd building. The really impressive parts such the viaducts and bridges are hidden from view from within the train. You'd need to be on a helicopter to really appreciate it.
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I found Wall Drug a helluva lot more entertaining than Mount Rushmore, which I would put down as a genuinely overrated attraction. At least there's free ice water and cheap buffalo burgers at Wall Drug.
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Stonehenge! I even paid a little extra to walk among the stones at sunrise, and in retrospect I should have opted for the couple extra hours of sleep. Stonehenge isn't remotely in the league of nearby Avebury for archaeological significance nor nearby Salisbury Cathedral for impressively stacked large rocks. You can take pictures of it from the motorway; that should be good enough.
Waikiki Beach, after decades of mismanagement, is so eroded that a good amount of the famous white sand is actually imported from Papuhaku Beach on Molokai. There are nice hotels and shops, but I don't go all the way to Hawaii to spend the day in a hotel or a shopping mall. I'd say limit your visit to a half an hour.
The Sears Tower (Willis Tower) observation deck, among observation decks which I admittedly find overrated in general, bears special mention for its costliness. There is a restaurant atop the John Hancock Tower which affords at least as good a view (for instance, you can see the Sears Tower) in nicer surroundings with better refreshments with no admission fee.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles is a heap of postmodern wretchedness barely distinguishable from any of the concert halls in the neighborhood. St. Vincent de Paul in Mid-City may be smaller, but "feels" much more like a house of God.
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Originally Posted by Gamecock
The statue of the little boy urinating in Brussels
The Manneken Pis is my selection, too,.. maybe I was on such a chocolate high that I couldn't fully appreciate the famous statue.
Perhaps I would have been more impressed if I'd seen him on a day when he was dressed up in one of his 600 costumes.
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Manneken Pis in Brussels, what a waste of time
The mermaid in Copenhagen
Merlion statues in Singapore
I'm slightly tempted to say the Great Wall if you go to Badaling on a busy day. A spectacular sight is ruined by far too many tourists and crass commercialism. If you go to Simitai or Mutianyu it is an entirely different story though