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The Most Disappointing Tourist Attractions In The World

by joeheg

While everyone is sitting at home, we’re all dreaming of all the places we want to visit. You might be reconsidering your travel goals and maybe you’re thinking about visiting some sites you’ve never been to. This could be someplace nearby or somewhere on the other side of the world.

We’ve been to some of those places and we have news for you. If you’re thinking about visiting any of the places on this list, don’t waste your time.  🙂

(This post is written with a hefty dose of sarcasm. We understand that some of these locations have huge importance to some people. Others just seem to be tourist traps. No matter; to us, they were totally a waste of time.)

Here they are. Ten of the most disappointing places we’ve visited on our travels, in no specific order.

Stonehenge

I know these aren’t the best images but they’re from 1996 and back then you couldn’t tell how your pictures looked until you went to get them developed.

Stonehenge is located 145km west of London in the English countryside. We took a train for 90 minutes and then had to board a bus to the location. We got to walk around and take pictures of the rocks. That’s all. Rocks in a field.

Plymouth Rock

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Speaking of unimpressive rocks, here’s one that’s a symbol of nothing. Sure, the legend is that the pilgrims first landed in America on Plymouth Rock, but that’s not true. They probably didn’t even land in Boston, getting to Cape Cod first. But that doesn’t stop this rock from being a tourist attraction. I went there when I was three years old. That’s when this shot was taken. I feel no need to go back.

Buckingham Fountain

Sure, if you’ve seen the opening of Married With Children, you’ve seen this fountain. It’s an iconic landmark of Chicago. Unfortunately, it’s not as impressive if the water is turned off when you visit.

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Tulum

It took us the better part of a day to get to the Tulum ruins from our cruise ship in Cozumel.

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Maybe it was because after a boat ride and the bus ride, we had less than an hour to explore. Our tour guide said we could stay with him and get some of the history OR we could look around on our own. There looked to be beautiful beaches and plenty to explore but we didn’t see any of it. Before we knew it, we were back on the bus to take us back to the boat to get to the cruise ship. So much for our day in Mexico.

Japanese Tea Ceremony

On our first trip to Japan (together, in 2005. Sharon will always remind me that she went to Japan about a decade before then), we took a bus tour of Tokyo. Part of the day was taking part in an “authentic tea ceremony.”

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We sat in a tea house and a very nice Japanese woman explained to us all of the symbolism of the tea ceremony. Then we got to try some tea and then we left. That’s over an hour of our lives we’ll never get back.

The Alamo

If you’re from Texas, I understand that The Alamo is a big deal. Like Buc-ees and barbecue, they’re part of your DNA.

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We’ve been twice and tried, like really tried, to get the importance. In the end, it’s a rather small building sitting in the middle of San Antonio, with a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not right across the street. It’s not even the same as it was during the time of Davy Crockett, as the building was changed over the years when it became an Army depot.

Dry Tortugas National Park

This one is a point of disagreement in the household.

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For me, it was another National Park to check off the list and I found it fascinating they built this vast fort on an island at the very end of the Florida Keys.

Sharon, on the other hand, felt that we spent most of the day going to an old brick building in the middle of the ocean.

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Blarney Stone

When we visited Ireland with Adventures By Disney, one of the side trips we took was to Blarney Castle. The castle grounds were impressive and exactly what you’d expect from Ireland.

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Of course, one of the things to do once there is to kiss the Blarney Stone. If you have the chance, don’t.

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You get to wait on a long line on top of the castle and eventually lie on a mat and “kiss” a stone. Even before worrying about hygiene, it wasn’t appealing.

Uluru

If you’re visiting Australia, you might want to visit Uluru. First of all, understand it’s located in the middle of the desert. Like, really remote. You’ll need to fly there and once you arrive, there’s not anything else there but this huge rock. Sure, it’s impressive and has a huge meaning to the indigenous people but that’s all there is.

While you might get a beautiful picture or two, the rest of the time you’re going to be swatting flies away from your face. Good thing they sell fly netting at every gift shop.

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Hollywood Sign

The last thing on our list is the Hollywood Sign. Sure, it’s a metaphor for the dream of making it big in movies, but seeing it in person isn’t that impressive.

Even if you go to the “Best Spot” to view the sign at Hollywood and Highland, you’re stuck at a huge shopping mall with a bunch of tourists. It’s also a horrible place to get a selfie 🙂

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We’ve been to more places that did not live up to expectations. These were just some of the big ones on the list.

(Note from Sharon: WHAT?!?!?! Joe, how could you miss our visit to Hoover Dam? I mean, I spent all that time on the blog post and everything!)

What are some of the places you’ve visited that didn’t live up to the hype?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

25 comments

Jacob May 7, 2020 - 6:53 pm

Prague Castle: Yes, the grounds were large, but it is really just a cluster of government buildings clumped together and called a “castle”. I’ve seen a lot of castles in Europe and when I visited Prague Castle I kept thinking: How can they call this a castle? It’s just a bunch of separate buildings near each other. I didn’t see any impressive fortifications that a castle typically has. If they called it a palace it would be more appropriate.

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Jimmy May 8, 2020 - 12:26 am

So… you don’t like rocks. But Tulum can be a great time, just go wherever the crowds aren’t.

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joeheg May 8, 2020 - 12:29 am

When we were going as a day trip from a cruise in Cozumel, this was our only choice. If you’re going there and staying, it might be great but I was just saying that the way we went wasn’t worth it.

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Cristina May 13, 2020 - 11:39 am

The drop of the ball at nNew Year on Time Square in NY. Huge crowds, you freeze to death for hours trying to get there and you see, if you’re lucky, a teeny tiny thing going down. You’re left: “was that IT???”

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joeheg May 13, 2020 - 1:02 pm

We grew up in the NYC area and one thing we’ve never wanted to do was go to Times Square on NYE.

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Blujkts⭐⭐⭐ (@cbjblujkts) May 7, 2020 - 6:56 pm

That thing at the point of Key West. So boring I forget its name

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Avery May 7, 2020 - 9:31 pm

Some of your assessments are strange, especially with the “don’t waste your time” guidance.

Stonehenge is amazing if you’re into archeology. It’s not just the primary site – the region is riddled with Neolithic monuments.

(ps. If you’re an archeology buff, I particularly recommend Göbekli Tepe in Sanliurfa, Turkey. It’s 9000 years old and in remarkable condition.)

Tulum is awe-inspiring. It seems a disservice to claim that it’s a dissappointing site when it was your tour that was bad.

The travel industry needs to stick together right now and preserve the desire to visit.

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Danny Lee May 7, 2020 - 9:39 pm

How about the little mermaid statue at Copenhagen?

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Bee Gee May 13, 2020 - 6:16 pm

Absolutely. Total downer.

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George May 8, 2020 - 8:02 am

#1 by far: Angkor Wat.
Good lord, what a boring, miserable place packed with tourists looking at old rocks.
Three of us left after 30 minutes of wondering around wondering ‘why the heck would anyone come here?’

#2 would be Mannequin Pis in Brussels

#3 Angkor Wat.

#4 Angkor Wat….

#5 Angkor Wat again.

#6 Angkor Wat!

#7 Angkor Wat!!

#8 Angkor Wat, again.

#9 Angkor Wat again.

#10 Angkor Wat again.

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Beth May 8, 2020 - 4:11 pm

So Angkor Wat is hundreds of acres with tons of temples. If you go only to the main one, it’s terrible b/c of tourists. If you hire a good guide, you can see the really cool temples of equal and better grandeur.

Mannequin Pis is just weird, but at leats the history behind it makes sense.

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Snorklez May 8, 2020 - 8:08 am

You know locals urinate on the Blarney Stone, right?

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Adam Guillette May 8, 2020 - 8:26 am

“They probably didn’t even land in Boston, getting to Cape Cod first.”

Literally no one alleges they landed in Boston and Plymouth Rock is nearly an hour away from Boston. This was easily the dumbest, laziest post I’ve seen on this site.

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Scot tilley May 13, 2020 - 9:38 am

Come on! The world is beautiful! Wake up, Go see it! What is the matter with you? Sure one won’t like this or that, so be thankful you can afford to go see these treasures! Enjoy your life and be thankful you could take such trips! Go pray and thank the Lord you can travel!

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joeheg May 13, 2020 - 11:31 am

The world is beautiful. We’ve written a ton of posts about our favorite places. We have many more places to visit. Not all places are amazing for everyone and these were just some that made our list.

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Dave Parta May 13, 2020 - 9:43 am

Uluru is amazing and fantastic! Apparently you missed the sunset outdoor dinner with amazing night sky and the daybreak breakfast also outdoors. We would go all the way back from Chicago to see this again…..

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Ron V May 13, 2020 - 9:43 am

Little mermaid—little indeed

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David J Umansky May 13, 2020 - 1:05 pm

Fort Sumter – probably because it’s in the heart of the Confederacy, there is little to remind you why it is important. A huge WW1 addition further ruins the experience. Boat ride is the best part of the trip, followed by the gift shop.
.
The Little Mermaid is greatly disappointing, but if you don’t see it, you’ll feel bad.

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huey judy May 13, 2020 - 5:05 pm

So many “things” are a disappointment, but there are so many variables involved it’s no use worrying about it. Another famous boring sight is the Great Wall of China from the ground. Looks like a big wall, a long big wall. It’s windy and cold up there. Look at it from the air (or probably from the top of a big hill) it’s spectacular. The GW tour took most of the day and we could have been much better entertained by something else. I’ve learned to research these things before the trip so I avoid famous sights like the Little Mermaid in Denmark.

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kingcarp49 May 13, 2020 - 9:09 pm

Chocolate hills in Philippines. Driving all day to go look at some hills and its hot outside what a waste of a day

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Greg Uhland May 14, 2020 - 10:44 pm

The Floral clock in Niagra Falls. My parents dragged me there 57 years ago and I still have nightmares about it.

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joeheg May 14, 2020 - 10:55 pm

You could have just said Niagara Falls. The falls themselves are great to look at but the surrounding area??? Tourist trap central.

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Mr W May 15, 2020 - 2:58 pm

Grand Canyon – too sunny most of the time, too hot or too cold, and the drive is too long
Great Wall – too many tourists at the popular spots
Machu Picchu – didn’t like high altitude one endures traveling there
Pyramids at Giza – too much traffic
Taj Mahal – too many touts and too far from major cities
Valley of the Kings – too hot
Petra – hassle to walk and I don’t want to ride donkeys
Halong Bay – traffic and then crusty old boats weren’t comfortable
Maldives – took too long to get there
African safari – too many animals
Diving with Great Whites – water was cold
Great Barrier Reef – not good infrastructure and too many fish

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joeheg May 15, 2020 - 10:43 pm Reply
Amy Aajee June 19, 2020 - 12:58 pm

Yes, some destinations just leave you cold, and it’s not always clear why. I couldn’t get excited at the Lincoln memorial. “Yep, that’s what it looked like in the pictures.” Then we went to the Vietnam War memorial nearby which I didn’t think I was into, and I was trying not to bawl like a baby the whole time we were there.

For the Hollywood sign, we visited the Griffith Observatory which is interesting on its own and has a decent vantage point for some Hollywood sign pics.

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