On our friends' social media, or in glossy travel magazines, or in practically every Conde Nast magazine, the photos of the destination spots we plan on visiting look outstanding and beautiful. But it turns out that photos can lie, and that there are certain tourist attractions that will leave you disappointed. The Statue of Liberty, Manneken Pis and the Little Mermaid, for example, are all smaller in real life. Manneken Pis is so small that you can pass by it on the street and never realize it's there.
So sometimes the reality doesn’t live up to the hype surrounding it and many iconic places are just not as satisfying in reality for tourists and visitors.
The crowds are the main reason why tourist attractions disappoint us. To go up the Eiffel Tower means waiting in very long lines, to see the Mona Lisa you have to jockey for space to even see a spec of the image because of all the people surrounding it.
Other landmarks disappoint because of their location. We didn't know that the Hollywood Walk of Fame stretches so far that it needs to continue to rough parts of towns, where the homeless people sleep in boxes. We couldn't wait to see the Great Pyramids of Giza, and we envisioned a place of solitude, lots of sand and some camels we could perhaps ride on. In reality, it's in the middle of Cairo and to take the best pics you have to go to the local Pizza Hut and snapshots through the windows. We're not kidding!
Want to know more about what famous landmarks are not worth traveling to? Don't look at that heavily-curated Instagram feed! Take it from us. We've gathered 25 pics that show just how disappointing travel can be.
25 Great Wall of China - so crowded!
The Great Wall of China, which was constructed to protect Chinese empires and states from enemies, is one of those attractions that you want to visit because it seems so peaceful. As it so happens, now that the Great Wall is only used as a tourist attraction, you're not going to find serenity here. Many visitors flock here no matter what the season, which means that it's packed all the time. A staggering 10 million people visit the Great Wall every year, according to Chinese Traveller.
24 The Mona Lisa, Paris - good luck getting a picture without someone else's head
A lot of travelers who go to Paris to visit the world's most famous and iconic museum, the Louvre, primarily to see the Mona Lisa. Created by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century, it's disheartening when we get front and center before the painting and find that it is surrounded by a throng of crowds, all of whom are taking pictures of it. That's the disappointing part. But there are at least a few times when it's not so bad. Discover Walks suggests going to the museum when it opens up at 9am. If you choose night, come on Wednesday and Friday, the only two days the museum stays open until 9:45 pm.
23 The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen -so very small
The Little Mermaid was originally written by the classic children's writer Hans Christian Andersen but is more famous for being adapted, co-opted and mass merchandised to heck by Disney, whose animated movie made the Little Mermaid a household name for kids. Tourists all over the world visit Copenhagen, Denmark to see the Little Mermaid. It receives more than a million visitors each year and is the most photographed statue in Denmark, according to Visit Denmark. But then you get to the site and find out the statue is, well, little! All pictures of her make her look large. That's disappointing to us!
22 Christ The Redeemer, Rio De Janeiro - Even Kanye and Kim K had other people in their photo
Christ the Redeemer, an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, is 125 feet tall. If you want to get at least a good pic of Christ the Redeemer, there's a viewing platform, but be warned, it's full of crowds. The best way to gaze at this iconic statute is from afar, and you'll get a better pic of it, according to Mental Floss. We stay away from visiting because we can't handle the tourists who stand on the platform with their arms spread, mimicking the stance of the sculpture. Even Kim Kardashian does it. WHY??!!
21 The Magic Kingdom, Disney World, Florida - good luck getting on a ride
Contrary to popular belief, The Magic Kingdom, Disney World, in Florida is not magical at all. It's beset by thousands of tourists and standing on line for each ride is interminable. If you think we're spoiling the fun, here's an expert comment from the Trip Advisor: "The Magic Kingdom. . . is completely overcrowded so that no one can have any fun unless they are determined to ignore reality at all costs. . . Ridiculous wait times on all rides, fast passes gone in the first hour of the day, strollers everywhere, you can spend a whole day there and manage to get on maybe three rides."
20 The Pyramids Of Giza - need the best photo? go to the local pizza hut!
When you think of the Great Pyramids of Giza, you visualize it as being in the desert, in the middle of nowhere. You may even visualize camels and sand. And you probably think this marvel is secluded. But you'll be disappointed when you pay a visit. The fact is, there's no mystery behind the pyramids and certainly nothing mystical. In reality, the pyramids are actually located literally in the middle of Cairo, and that your best bet to take a picture of them is through the windows of the local Pizza Hut restaurant, as the New York Times pointed out. At least now you'll know what to expect! And yes, I'd like sausage on my pie.
19 Niagara Falls, New York State - soaking wet
Niagara Falls is situated along the border between the United States and Canada. It's the most famous waterfall in the world, and each year it's deluged by tourists on both sides of the border. You have to get on the viewing platform to see the falls, and Smarter Travel suggests wearing informal clothing, raingear or water resistant jackets because you will get some spray from the falls, if not totally soaked. But there's nothing magical about this destination spot. Unless you want to spend the day among crowds all wearing the blue ponchos that the site gives you to keep, and you trying to find a decent spot to stand in.
18 The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy - cliche photos
Yep, we all know that the Leaning Tower of Pisa wasn't built to lean. The tilt is a result of being built on unstable ground that couldn't hold the tower's weight. As such, it began to lean to one side while being constructed. Traveling to this site will be disappointing, too. Trust us. You won't escape the crowds of tourists who find it hard to resist to have someone take their picture near the structure in that obligatory "I'm holding it up" pose, as The New York Times pointed out. Everyone is holding the Leaning Tower up. Everyone, including your mother.
17 The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City - crowded and can't take pictures
The Sistine Chapel is just begging to be studied in awed silence. You may avoid it if you are now sick of tourists snapping pictures of the greatest artistic masterpiece ever created. Lucky for you, you can bring cameras and video cameras into the museum and you can take photos of everything. Except for one thing: The Sistine Chapel, according to Art of Extraordinary Travel. So why is it yet another disappointment when no one is taking selfies? Because it's a literal mosh pit and the area is so tight you can imagine people falling into the crowds backward and being carried by them as if you're at Lollapalooza.
16 The Eiffel Tower, Paris - difficult to get to the top
Paris is the most romantic city in the world. And the Eiffel Tower is the most iconic architectural monument in the world as well. But you will be disappointed when you visit the Eiffel Tower because you'll be met by a very long line of tourists who are waiting to buy tickets to get to the top of it. According to The Local France, around 25,000 people a day ascend the tower. If you want to avoid the crowd, here are two tips: get there when the Eiffel opens; or make a lunch booking at Restaurant 58 to cut the line.
15 Manneken Pis, Brussels - tiny little guy
Manneken Pis is a bronze sculpture in the centre of Brussels, Belgium. It depicts a naked little boy urinating into a fountain basin. We don't like disappointing attractions, but this really is one, as the statue is very tiny and is easy to miss because it's located on the corner of a busy pedestrian street. Even Far & Wide named the statue as one of the worlds "overhyped, overrated tourist traps to avoid at all costs." The site added, ""Let’s be honest: If you go to Brussels, you’ll probably go to see him. But at least you won’t expect much. It’s a little boy. Peeing. That’s it."
14 The Château de Versailles, France - a big fancy castle, filled with tourists
The Château de Versailles is one of the most famous places in the world. Dripping with gilt and marble, the huge palace was envisioned by Louis XIV. The painted ceilings, crystal chandeliers, the Sevres porcelain and much more make the palace beautiful. Versailles won't disappoint us as other attractions do. According to CNN Travel, you can skip the crowds and buy your tickets online in advance. Avoid weekends, as this is a time when an endless number of tourists come here. Lastly, avoid Tuesdays because that's when the Louvre is closed, which could mean that more people would come to Versailles.
13 Las Vegas Strip - not as impressive in the daylight
At night, with all the hotels lit up, Las Vegas looks massive yet beautiful. Of course, many come here for the casinos and the extravagant hotels. And they insist on staying in a hotel on the strip because that's where all the action is. That's exactly why our trip disappoints us. According to Trip Savvy, hotels along the strip are more expensive than those that are on less famous streets, but we want to be in the middle of the action too, despite not having the money. But you know what? Forget it. The LV strip in the daytime looks less like a strip and more like a strip mall. Now that's disappointing as well.
12 The Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona - it's a costly road trip
When driving by car while visiting the Las Vegas Strip, you won't get far along before you see signs about how close the Grand Canyon is, and that you should visit it. Many actually cave in because they don't know if they'll ever be so close to the Grand Canyon. But sadly, even the Grand Canyon looks better in pictures. And the reason why it disappoints is that a drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and back from Las Vegas involves a round-trip of nearly 600 miles, according to Trip Savvy. You'll have wasted time, spent a lot on gas, and spent a lot more time on the road than admiring the canyon landscape.
11 Empire State Building, New York - the waiting room is quite dreary
The Empire State Building in the heart of New York City, is a 102-story skyscraper and is, according to Conde Nast Traveler, the most photographed building in the world. It's an architectural marvel, as well as a romantic date spot. On a clear day devoid of clouds, you can see as many as five different states, which are New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. But the Empire disappoints because of the inside, the waiting place to get outside to be on the observation deck is miserable looking. It's dark and looks like a convention center as Business Insider said.
10 The Parthenon, Greece - A Greek tragedy
The Parthenon was built nearly 2,500 years ago, and was intended to be a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. If you come to visit now, you'll truly be disappointed, as the Greek government is restoring the Parthenon and currently looks like a construction site. The Parthenon is encased by many scaffolds, and has seen better days. Many of its best sculptures are at the British Museum in London, according The Active Times, so you won't be missing anything. If you want to see it in its full glory, wait until reconstruction is completed.
9 Times Square, New York - there are better squares out there, with fewer New Yorkers
Tourists always head to Times Square when they visit New York City. We don't exactly know why. Yep, Times Square is full of bright lights, and it looks great at night. However, tourists will be disappointed, as Times Square resembles an outdoor mall. It's full of tourist stores that sell the ubiquitous "I love New York" T-shirts and hats, as well as mall-friendly stores like Sephora. All the large signages are for theater shows. And your food choices are mostly limited to fast food restaurants like McDonald's and chain restaurants like Red Lobster.
8 Madame Tussauds’ Wax Museums - the likeness is far off
Madame Tussaud's Wax Museums can be found all over the world, but the most visited one is in New York City. It's also a disappointment when you get there. That's because all the waxed figures of celebrities look great in pictures. They must have been Photoshopped, as The Active Times suggested, because when you see the figures in real life, they actually look spooky and may freak you out. And they look very much like waxed figurines or even zombies, so what's the point? Aren't they supposed to look realistic? For all you tourists: pass it.
7 The Hollywood Walk Of Fame - it stretches a lot further than we thought
The Hollywood Walk of Fame, also known as a sidewalk with some stars in a rough part of town, should definitely be skipped unless you like to be constantly bombarded by street beggars and the homeless asking for money. The 18-block stretch is studded with famous stars on the sidewalks. The surroundings are dirty and, according to The Washington Post, the sidewalk features are "uncouth collections of Iron Man impersonators, bong shops, tattoo parlors and strip clubs that clog the Hollywood Walk of Fame."
6 The Statue of Liberty - shorter than expected
Many who visit the Statue of Liberty will be surprised because she's not as tall in height as expected (she stands at 305 feet). Pictures never help, as they make her look larger. We suggest you skip the visit and skip the long lines for both the ferry to Liberty Island and the statue itself. But if you do visit, you have to plan on spending most of the day exploring the landmark. Why so long?! Well, that's due in part to crowds, according to New York Sightseeing. And what about food? You're sure to get hungry during long tours, so you have to bring your own lunch, which is a pain. There is a concession stand, but of course the lines are long there too. And what to do when you want to go to the bathroom? There are none inside the statue, so you have to hold it in until you return to the ferry or are back on the island.
5 The Trevi Fountain, Italy - it's not in a square, it's surrounded by buildings
It's illegal to dip your hands into the Trevi fountain in Rome to fish out coins. That's why this site disappoints us, because it takes away our fun. But the recent law at this 18th century Baroque masterpiece is just too much. According to The Telegraph UK, it bans tourists from swimming in the water, an homage to the 1960 movie La Dolce Vita. Now, tourists can only pass along a one-way route on one side of the fountain, while volunteers protect the rest of the area. Why so severe? Travellers are just having a good time and nobody's getting hurt.
4 Stonehenge, England - just some large stones and a ton of people
Stonehenge is Britain's most famous ancient site that people all over the world visit. The mystery is still alive, how and why these large stones were erected hundreds of years ago. However, many visitors leave disappointed. That's because, according to Smarter Travel, they thought they could get close to the stones, walk around them and even touch them. That used to be the case and it is to this day but only at certain times of the year. And the real diss is that these "certain" times are when the stones get high traffic. At other times, all that visitors can do is walk around the stones at a large distance and along a roped-in-path that circles the stones.
3 Harrods, London - it's just an overpriced shopping center
Harrods in Knightsbridge near Hyde Park has never lost its cache as the most important luxury department store in the world since its opening in 1849. When you travel to London for vacay, you can't miss visiting this iconic store, according to The Active Times. The store is famous for selling mainly luxury goods (like Gucci, Chanel and Hermes) and, in total, there are 330 stores. Many English people hold Harrods in high regard, but this department store also disappoints due to the extremely large crowds, so much so that the main doors often have to close due to maximum capacity signs and people have to wait in line outside, often in the cold, to get inside.
2 Venice, Italy - it smells
Like Paris, Venice in Italy, is one of the most romantic places in the world. Al fresco dining, indulgent food and watching the gondolas pass you by through the canals all help create the most exquisite ambience. But unfortunately, due to its widespread popularity through the years, this beautiful setting has become a tourist trap. Nowadays gondolas don't glide in the water. They jockey for space with water taxis and other boats and vessels. As one traveler put it to Ice Pop, “the famed canals are horribly polluted and filled with garbage” and the overall consensus is that the city has become “a gigantic tourist trap.”
1 Mall of America, Minnesota - not the largest mall in North America
This Minneapolis destination touts itself as the largest shopping mall in the United States, but if you go there you won't be impressed, as its stores are all ones that you can find at malls near you. Not even the few kiddy rides (sponsored by Nickelodeon) can make up the fact that the mall looks like a giant airport. And besides, Canada's West Edmonton Mall is larger than the MOA, despite the fact that both are owned by the same company (!) according to The Thrillest. Skip MOA and go to the Edmonton Mall, which is more impressive because it has its own ice hockey rink, a water park, a floating ship and many more attractions.
Sources: The New York Times, Business Insider, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, The Thrillest, Smarter Travel, Trip Savvy, CNN Travel, Trip Advisor