When planning your next vacation, there are bound to be a few of the traditional travel destinations buzzing through your mind's eye. These may include the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, Stonehenge in England, the Great Wall of China, and countless other highly promoted, traditional buildings and artworks you are expected to check-off on your trip itineraries.
However, if you have ever felt severely underwhelmed when standing in front of a set of ruins or yawning your way through an hour-long tour of a gallery, you will know to be wary of unthinkingly planning your trips around the more cliched tourist traps.
Tips when Traveling and Picking your Next Travel Destinations
Below, we will be looking at the most overrated vacation destinations in the world and detailing some interesting and unexpected places you could choose to visit instead.
The Most Overrated Tourist Destinations
1. The Mona Lisa at the Louvre
Visit the Louvre any day of the week and the painting you are unlikely to be able to get anywhere near is DaVinci's Mona Lisa. The artwork is surprisingly small in real life and, unless you arrive as soon as the gallery opens, you are likely to be reduced to hopping on your tiptoes as you struggle to see the little picture over massive crowds.
For a more enjoyable and rewarding art experience, you should turn to the wealth of other astounding artworks and sculptures the huge museum has to offer. Unless of course, you find the Mona Lisa particularly stunning and interesting and worth the wait to get to the front of the crowd. But do you?
For archaeologists and history buffs, Stonehenge stands as a remarkable testament to the culture and ingenuity of stone-age tribes in England. For the underwhelmed tourist, however, it's a pile of big rocks placed in a windy field next to a busy freeway. As with most of the vacation destinations on this list, whether Stonehenge is worth the trip to Salisbury will depend on your level of genuine interest in the topic. If you have no historical context for the landmark and have no real interest in learning about it, you may not find the trip particularly rewarding.
3. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa has featured in literally thousands of social media pictures with tourists of all ages grimacing as they position themselves to look like they are pushing the slanting building back up. But once you've had your picture taken, what else are you planning to do? Research Pisa and check whether the tower is enough of an attraction for you to devote the time travelling to this area of Italy. You should ask yourself if there are other parts of the country with more to offer you than this architectural curiosity.
4. The Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles
As with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Hollywood Sign is primarily known as a classic place to take tourist snaps rather than an enjoyable vacation experience in and of itself. Many visitors find the large sign pretty underwhelming in person and the sparse, rocky location doesn't rank highest in terms of the best places to hike in the city. So perhaps leave the sign as an interesting sight to spot here and there as you travel through Los Angeles on the way to more interesting destinations.
5. The Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud
When tourists make their way to the Sacred Monkey Forest, they are probably imagining oh-so-cute encounters with cartoon-like animals who will be friendly, funny and ready to pose for a photo or two. However, an encounter with the aggressive inhabitants of the forest may see you running the other way or even fending off a physical attack as they make persistent demands for food. There are plenty of other places where you can encounter monkeys on the island of Bali in much more natural settings where the animals aren't affected by this zoo-like environment.
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Where Should You Go Instead? Tips when traveling and planning your trips.
As the world opens up increasingly, new generations are discovering magical, untouched destinations far off the dusty, old trails of tradition. If you do your research, you will discover an incredible number of travel gems in the world where you can create memories which will last a lifetime.
Top 5 Most Underrated Travel Destinations
Below you will find a list of more out-of-the-way, undiscovered sites and travel destinations which have yet to fall into the category of tourist traps. For authentic, once-in-a-lifetime trips to places where you will be able to experience a true change of culture and lifestyle, you should consider the following:
1. Anguilla – the underrated gem of the Caribbean.
Anguilla is an overseas British territory that is becoming renowned for having the best beaches of all the Caribbean islands. There is an embargo against high-rise hotels and casinos, meaning that this stunning idyllic island is protected from becoming just another tourist trap and keeps its own identity and culture. This is a stunning island to visit with beautiful, untouched coral and unmarked pathways down to remarkable beaches.
2. Lake Bohinj, Slovenia – An idyll for those seeking nature and the outdoors
The remote and stunning Lake Bohinj is the largest glacial lake in Slovenia and is an absolute paradise for those who love the outdoors and nature. This gorgeous lake in the Julian Alps is a relaxed, quiet and untouched locale with plenty of places to explore, go hiking, biking and kayaking in while you enjoy incredible vistas and views everywhere you turn.
3. Faroe Islands, Denmark – A Truly Unique Island
The Faroe Islands are a Danish archipelago lying halfway between Iceland and Scotland. This picturesque area is peppered with delightful, tiny colourful houses with grass roofs and a uniquely Danish way of life. There are 18 volcanic islands that are rich in wonderful cliff scenery, mountains and waterfalls. The remote location has resulted in an island life which is fiercely individualistic and influenced by generations of isolated living in a harsh but beautiful landscape.
4. Puglia, Italy – A hidden coastal gem
Trips to Italy tend to focus on cities such as Rome, and Milan or more traditional vacation spots such as Tuscany. However, for a unique and locally authentic taste of Italy, you should head to Puglia with its absolutely stunning beaches, cliffsides and truly individual identity. In between sampling delicious local delicacies and locally produced wines, you can visit some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy.
5. Lichtenstein – One of the smallest and most stunning countries in Europe
Sitting in between Austria and Switzerland, Liechtenstein is a fantastic place to visit for its majestic scenery, fairy tale castles and ancient buildings. You can also easily make your way onto the Alps for hiking and skiing by travelling across the beautiful Rhätikon Mountains. A trip to this picturesque and extremely wealthy principality will feel like a step into the world of the forests, castles and medieval buildings of the brothers Grimm.
Summary – The Most Overrated Tourists Destinations (and Where to Go Instead)
As the world opens back up again after the pandemic, all of us are aching to begin exploring the globe again. But perhaps because of that lost time, it is important to make sure you don't waste any of your precious travelling hours at destinations you are not really interested in visiting, just because it is expected that you see them.
Take the time to do your research, think about what you genuinely want to spend your vacation time doing and pick a place off the beaten track. There are an endless array of fascinating locations and venues to visit across the world and many of them won't be found in areas which have been overly geared towards tourism for hundreds of years.
We hope you have found our list of the most overrated and underrated travel destinations helpful and that your next trip abroad is one of wonder and exploration with no disappointing sights and underwhelming locations. Make sure to check back with us for more tips when travelling.