While just about every city in the world has a must-see tourist attraction, it seems that some of them could do with an update. We’re about to give you the rundown on a few places that are sure to be on your bucket list, and yet, disappointingly, aren’t worthy of the hype surrounding them.
The Mona Lisa
We know, right? How could a piece of art, let alone one that you’ve probably already seen countless times, be a disappointment? Well, precisely because of that. Upon seeing the Mona Lisa in person, you’re probably expecting a goose-bump-raising, magical experience, when in fact, it really is only a portrait painting not much larger than an A4 poster (cordoned off due to the daily throngs of visitors vying to take a peek at and a picture of the subject’s smirking expression).
While this Australian landmark is just as beautiful as it’s made out to be, the appeal is somewhat lost amongst the crowds of tourists that flock to its golden shores every day. The beach and surrounding town have actually been ranked as one of the most overrated Australian destinations, due not only to the overcrowding, but also the traffic congestion and outrageous tourist trap prices that go along with any holiday hotspot.
As one of the epicentres of the ancient world, Rome offers countless breathtaking attractions that rightfully bring flocks of tourists traipsing through its cobbled streets each and every day. One attraction, however, does not seem particularly deserving of the innumerable selfie sticks that continually grace its facade. The Spanish Steps are nothing more than a flight of stairs, leading to nowhere particularly important or interesting, and have recently become known as a site around which pickpockets try their luck on distracted tourists.
Mital del Mundo
The self-titled “Middle of the World” lies in equatorial Ecuador, and the gaudy park (and outrageous entry fees) only goes further downhill upon discovering that its advertised latitude and longitude coordinates of “0-0-0,” in fact point to a spot a few hundred meters away with its own museum. Mital del Mundo is merely false advertising and tourist trappery at it’s finest!
This literal mountain of a monument to four of America’s great presidents is surprisingly underwhelming in its own greatness. The journey alone requires one to specially plan a trip as there are no other tourist must-sees (or much to see at all) in the vicinity, and the novelty of the experience wears off markedly quickly, especially being such a well-known facade. It’s probably much easier and just as effective to grab a brochure from any nearby information desk to have a look at the four austere faces without veering way off a straighter course.
Yes, another famous beach has made it onto the list, but for a different reason. This seaside retreat, described in Barry Manilow’s song as “the hottest spot north of Havana,” has certainly deteriorated since Lola and Tony fell in love on its shores. Today it is filled with tacky hotels, humid, bustling streets, and sewage-contaminated waters – not exactly the prime spot to fall in love.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
If your sole aim in visiting Pisa is to take yet another picture, posing as though you’re holding up the crooked, rickety tower in the background, then by all means visit, but be warned that the main appeal is just about the only appeal. Even finding the perfect picture-taking spot can prove tricky amid the vast crowds of daily visitors, so you may find yourself walking away with only a souvenir and a sunburn.
Although the flashy signs and jostling crowds seem to be the main appeal about Times Square in photographs, the reality is somewhat less glamorous and a lot more infuriating. Locals often avoid the area altogether, and it’s easy to understand why, with vast crowds making walking difficult, shucking off persistent street vendors, and almost nowhere to stop and get a decent picture. We’d recommend this Big Apple “must-see” only for the very brave.
The Pyramids at Giza
When advertising to tourist packages to Egypt, agents are quick to summon imaginings of stepping back in time to one of the most ancient civilisations in the world, but what they fail to mention is that the surroundings of the Giza pyramid complex are not quite as historic as their main attraction. Not only do the pyramids serve as a mere backdrop to the surrounding fast food restaurants, but the mounds of litter are a constant reminder of the inescapable modern world.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Do you have a deep seated love for dirty stretches of sidewalk and handprints? No? Then the Hollywood Walk of Fame is probably not for you. Aside from being not much more than a regular walkway, once you’ve seen the first few stars, you’ve pretty much seen them all, and it doesn’t help that some of the older tiles could do with a facelift. For a much more interesting endeavor, rather grab a drink at one of the nearby restaurants and watch the eclectic crowds that pass by. You may end up seeing a star in the flesh if you raise your eyes from the ones you’re walking on!
Authenticity is truly in the eye of the beholder, but perhaps these insights may help you avoid any frustrations when planning your bucket-list travels. If you decide to risk the crowds, expense and disappointment in the name of adventure, we say onward! Be sure to save at least some of your time, money and security with one of our travel SIM options. Here’s to disappointing tourist attractions becoming great anecdotes, without the disappointment of public WiFi!
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