Question Time: Overrated Travel Experience?

Have you ever been on holiday somewhere and returned home feeing completely underwhelmed, an overrated travel experience?

The bloggersphere, social media, travel magazines etc. never stop bombarding us with ‘must see’ attractions and destinations.

Great Expectationsย 

What a terribly sad and somewhat psycho story that was! ๐Ÿ˜†Hopefully none of us will react that badly to a disappointing travel experience!ย 

It’s almost impossible for our expectations not to be influenced by the marketing we’re surrounded by, including guide books and ‘sensible’ travel articles.

But they don’t always get it right, and that’s because we all experience things differently and no amount of research can control this fact, right?

So, you used all your savvy packing tips, booked your tickets and off you went.

The thing is, when you got there you felt utterly deceived and wished you’d spent you hard earned money elsewhere, sound familiar?

In your opinion, are any destinations or common tourist attractions just a completely overrated travel experience, and worth skipping?

There’s no right or wrong on this, it’s all a matter of opinion so there’s no need to sit on the fence – say what you really think, because that’s far more interesting!

I’m curiousย  to hear your thoughts on this – let me know the places you think are more hype than substance in the comments below:


By the way, I found this fabulous photograph at ‘Free Images Live’ and I love it!!!ย  Not sure whether these cows are underwhelmed or just enjoying the beach lol.

๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ‚๐Ÿน๐Ÿ”† Cows on Plage Saleccia, Desert des Agriates, Corsica

208 thoughts on “Question Time: Overrated Travel Experience?

    1. Cherryl

      I’ve always imagined the Philippines to be very quite and fairly undiscovered….sounds like the tourist crown have broken through! ๐ŸŒด I know a lot of people who didn’t like Malta – they thought it was too hot and dry – but for some reason I’m drawn in by the pretty touristy pictures – I think I will risk it one day and put it to the test lol ๐Ÿ˜œ

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jay – and happy holidays โœˆ๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Š

  1. Sarah

    I personally thought Marrakech was underwhelming. It was like walking into the Moroccan pavillon at Disney World, whole beautiful, there were more tourists than anything. And the environment responded to that. I loved Rabat and Rabatโ€™s Medina so much more, because it was smaller and less overwhelming in terms of shop keepers trying to get you into their shop. Another thing about Marrakech is that you canโ€™t find anything you want to!

  2. Caroline Hunter

    #overrated We went on a tour of Cuba in March this year and it was the most disappointing holiday I’ve ever had ๐Ÿ™
    It is a very poor country and still has rationing of eggs, potatoes etc. There is nothing in the shops, the food is awful, basically rice, beans and horrible meat. If you go to a town or city, there’s not much to see or do. Yes, Havana has the lovely old cars and the beach resorts are good but other than that, I wouldn’t recommend it.

  3. R Moon

    #overrated

    Paradise Island Dominican Republic, we were picked up at 5am, finally got to a harbour and then were taken on a 50 minute trip on very choppy seas in a tiny boat with no lifejackets. We arrived to what I can only describe as a sand bank off the coast of Hati where we were given cheese and ham sandwiches and snorkels. Half the people there received jelly fish stings. The journey back was easier through the mangroves. I was laid up in bed for 3 days after that because the journey there had been like having my back jack hammered. Don’t waste your money visiting there…

  4. kagould17

    I think the mistake many people make is to try to have the same vacation as someone else. They try to go to all the same museums, the same restaurants and the same scenes and then wonder why it did not live up to their expectations. Before I travel, I look at all the things to do in a place. I make a shopping list of them and pick one or two each day depending on what I feel like and what the weather is doing. Sometimes, I deliberately stay away from the most popular and expensive ones and simply go exploring the neighbourhoods. You never know what you will find. Cheers. Allan

  5. jodie w

    #overrated – One of 2 places I can think of where I felt disappointed was Sorrento. In retrospect it was right at the end of the summer season, it was raining. I ended up staying at a camping site in a caravan which leaked right above where my rucksack will all my belongings in. We discovered all the caravans opened with the same key. There were packs of stray dogs that followed me around and I just did not get the ‘romance’ of the place at all.

  6. Hannah Whitling

    #overrated – Sadly I’ve only been to a handful of destinations for my holidays, and I’ve done a lot of research before booking holidays to those places so have been lucky to not feel disappointed or feel somewhere was overrated. I have however visited numerous places for day trips in my life and remember coming away feeling that somewhere was overrated and let down by it. I can’t name any of those places as ill-health for a few years now has meant I haven’t been able to do day trips for a while now so I can’t really remember those places. I would go reading reviews on anywhere I was looking to visit before booking it now though to try and reduce the chance of feeling that way.

    1. Cherryl

      I spend ages ploughing through reviews too – especially for hotels!! Sometimes the same attraction on two different days or different times of the year can feel like two completely different places too. These days, there always seem to be a handful of ‘fashionable’ destinations that are glamorised and hyped up in the media with a healthy bandwagon to jump onto lol. Sorry to hear you haven’t been well, I hope you still have some nice memories from your past travels ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ”†๐Ÿน

  7. Teja

    It’s not often that I find places overrated. Partly it’s because I don’t get carried away by hype in the first place, generally speaking. So, a place has to have near-universal long-running reputation for something, for me to have some kind of expectations. Secondly, more often than not, the way I travel, kind of under the radar, makes it more likely to have personal experiences of the place, and that’s rarely disappointing. HOWEVER, there are a couple of places that come to mind.

    First, was Paris. Maybe as a brown Asian I would experience Paris differently from a Caucasian traveller. But I found Paris to be difficult to connect with. People didn’t seem like they would be open to you, so sure, you could sight-see, but it feels sterile, without depth. Many countries are like this, for sure. If you’re ‘in’, you experience it completely differently than if you’re ‘out’. This isn’t strange or necessarily bad. But for a city that’s supposed to be romantic and associated with love etc. Paris was kinda cold.

    Second, and bear with me on this, was Bali. Again, it may be because I’m Southeast Asian myself, and I wouldn’t experience any peer pressure whatsoever if I was the only one of my friends who hadn’t done Bali on a SE Asia gap year trip. But I found that it is actually extremely crowded, you get sold to a lot, and parts are even seedy. Bali isn’t a bad destination, it’s actually still a very nice choice for a holiday getaway if you avoid some places, great niche offerings – the temples are certainly architecturally unique. But does it live up to its hype? I didn’t feel that the experience was any different from anywhere else in the region, TBH.

    I’m trying to think of what places that *my* cultural background hypes up, since both examples are compared relative to Anglophone hype. Can’t quite think of anything LOL

    1. Cherryl

      Thank you for taking time to share this Teja, and it’s interesting to hear thoughts from a different perspective. I’m finding that a lot of people generally – feel Paris was a let down. Personally (unpopular opinion here), I’ve never looked at photographs/videos of Paris and thought of it as a romantic or inviting place to visit really.

      Bali has been super hyped up for a while now. Someone I know who has travelled there a lot in the past advised me (in case I was thinking of going to Bali), to avoid Bali and head for the Philippines instead (he’s from the Philippines). He says Bali is so touristy now and this has changed it – while the Philippines “is what Bali used to be”. I’m pretty sure I’d like Bali though, it’s hot, tropical and looks absolutely beautiful – all boxes ticked for me lol, we hardly see the sun in the UK ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ”†

  8. Anonymous

    I’ve traveled frequently for more than 30 years and have seen quite a bit of the world. I do extensive research before I go and have pretty realistic expectations. I have not been underwhelmed by any destination. I’ve liked some places better than others and I’ve had a few surprises – like finding out how small the Mona Lisa is. But overall, I have enjoyed visiting new places, meeting new people and learning about their cultures. So I always end up learning more than I expected.

  9. Catherine Thorp

    I was disappointed in Barcelona as a whole, though loved the Sagrada Familia and the Gothic area. The city was very overcrowded and touristy and full of stag parties, It was mid October, and the final straw was having a necklace ripped from my neck in broad daylight in one of the main thoroughfares, And this was my birthday treat โ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆ…

  10. Michelle M

    I think it depends on you. A place can only be what you make of it. Some places take more effort than others to find experiences or the hidden culture. If you want to just go and chill by a pool or on the beach, eat English food and mix with other English tourists then Benidorm etc would probably be perfect. Finding the history and Spanish culture of Benidorm requires going of the beaten to death by tourists path but itโ€™s possible to do. Many places Iโ€™ve been Iโ€™ve no desire to go back to, not so much because they were overrated but more because I didnโ€™t find much to my liking. New York City I crammed as much as I could into my two days there, now I know Iโ€™ve been in Central Park, up the world trade centre (the year before the attacks) and a few othe things. There is nothing that stands out as havenโ€™t done, except maybe a broadway show but I can go to the same shows in London or San Francisco or Las Vegas or lots of other places. I could therefore say New York was underwhelming, it did strike me as just another big city like London but with different weather. However if I was to go again Iโ€™m sure I could and would find plenty to do.

    1. Cherryl

      Fair enough – maybe not everyone has ever felt underwhelmed by a place and that’s fine. I do think that with all the Instagram and other social media images, travel magazines etc and being in an era where ‘travel’ has become an ever growing trend – many places are glamorised and marketed to portray an experience that it may not always live up to – or at least not for everyone, so its interesting to hear what people have felt underwhelmed by and why – thanks for sharing your thoughts – and happy travels! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  11. trekking cottage apartment

    Hi Cherryl, I am always disappointed in high profile tourists destinations, but that’s me. I like natural things and have no interest in “monuments” #overrated or selfie’s. But after coming to Sardegna for a holiday, I returned back to the pollution and sold up. Now I don’t travel or see the sense anymore. I hate city life and would never return. But travel is a personal thing.

  12. gotheglobe

    Honestly? No.

    I think if you go into it with no expectations, youโ€™re always going to be at least a little impressed by a place. However having said that, of course we are going to have expectations (picked up from what others say and also from what info we come across when planning the trip).

    I know my parents felt extremely underwhelmed when we went on a family holiday to Malta years ago, but I remember quite liking it.

    So, personally, Iโ€™ve never been disappointed at all. No idea whether thatโ€™s down to the places Iโ€™ve chosen to go to or my attitude.

    But actually, I do remember Stockholm feeling slightly anti-climactic, although I think that was down to my mood on the two days I was there! As soon as I left, I knew I wanted to go back another time (in a good mood!) to give it another chance to impress me.

    1. Cherryl

      You flung it on the ground – gosh!! I hope that distracted them long enough for you to escape!!! I’ve read bits and pieces about visiting the Masai tribe and it seems like something they warn tourists about, I guess it’s not an exaggeration then. I felt a little bit of this (being targeted) at one point during a Cape Verde excursion – some of the sellers followed me around, pleading for me to buy a baseball cap or necklace, I surrendered just to get some breathing space. Thanks for sharing this ๐Ÿ˜Š

      1. CHRISTINE DENT

        I love to travel to new places and like to make the most our trips, so I rarely feel they are #overrated!
        Having said that, many years ago we stayed in Limassol, Cyprus and although it was an interesting place, it was too busy and not as nice as we had expected. Our solution was to book a 3 day cruise to Egypt from there and then a day trip to Paphos which we loved (still do). Wherever we go, rain or shine, we make the effort to find enjoyment and wonder in the places we visit.

    1. thewinetourist

      I stayed in the Chinese sector of Bangkok at the Grand China Princess. I really enjoyed what Bangkok had to offer we were there at Songkran Nighttime were a little scary as the streets were blocked with drunken crowds but there were so many wonderful places to visit in the daytime, great restaurants and the shopping was fantastic. Loved the tuk-tuk rides. People were extremely helpful and friendly and the city was so multicultural.

  13. thewinetourist

    Las Vegas. I planned a stopover on my way to see the Grand Canyon. I hated Las Vegas I hated the noise, the crowds, the poverty, the fake enthusiasm, the constant snapping of prostitutes business cards under my nose, the high cost of drinks, the long line ups at restaurants, the grunginess of the one restaurant we were able to get into. The constant sell, sell sell. I didn’t want to see the shows. I didn’t want to walk the streets to get to the shows. I couldn’t get out of that hell hole fast enough.

    On the other hand, the Grand Canyon and all the other nearby canyons took my breath away with joy and amazement.

    1. Cherryl

      Pictures of the Grand Canyon really do look amazing ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ”† I haven’t been to Vegas, it’s never really grabbed me. Rightly or wrongly I tend to think of it as a destination more for those who like casinos and not really my cup of tea! It must have been awful to hate the place so much that you couldn’t wait to leave (that’s not how you expect to feel when you’re on holiday) – but what you just described sounds terrible ๐Ÿ˜ฏ I guess it’s like marmite (you either love it or hate it)!!! Thanks for sharing this – it’s really interesting and helpful to hear what people really think about some of these popular destinations.

    1. Michelle

      Go to San Diego, Carlsbad village north of San Diego is lovely. You can do a day trip to LA easily, or to the Disney and universal parks. Thereโ€™s heaps of stuff in San Diego county, nice beaches and it feels a whole lot safer than LA. I wouldnโ€™t dare walk around La alone but I never think twice about being on my own further south, at least not in the day time, Im usually with family who live there if Iโ€™m out evening time.

  14. lapsapchung

    #overrated much as i love Vienna, in fact I’d go so far as to say it’s my favourite city in the world, two of its most famous attractions are, to my mind, overrated.
    First, the Spanish Riding School where we queued in a chaotic little room for over an hour and a half, to pay a lot of money to see a rehearsal which consisted of a few horses walking up and down – no music, no practising of fancy steps, nothing worth seeing at all. And seating was inadequate for the number of people they allowed in.
    Second, the Prater with the historic Riesenrad, the “big wheel” that featured in the Third Man. Maybe a few decades ago it seemed more exciting, and I know a lot of people like to visit film and book related attractions, but as a big wheel it was rather dull and shabby, and the views of the city from the top weren’t as good as we’d been led to expect.
    Oh well, it lures people away from the parts of the city where I love to linger!

    1. Cherryl

      As someone who lives in London I better be careful what I say lol. It does depend what you’re into and I guess if you’re visiting from abroad it probably seems more interesting than to someone who’s seen a lot of it already – it’s definitely expensive, that’s for sure!! ๐Ÿ˜ŠI do think there’s something special about when it’s hot and sunny and everyone seems to be enjoying the city life ๐Ÿ”†

  15. wildthingrunning1

    We found Paris very overrated. When we arrived our car was mobbed by refugees. We drove away unscathed luckily. For the rest of the trip we were on edge. There were large groups of people that would either try to sell you things you didn’t want or surround you. Around all the major tourist attractions there was security, guns and fencing. We weren’t feeling the whole city of love and left fairly disappointed.
    #overrated

    1. Frances Heaton

      We found a day-trip to Blackpool #overrated. The Pleasure Beach was very expensive, and long queues for the rides. Parking difficult, and (again) very expensive. The choice of food seemed to be fish & chips or other fast foods,

      Lots of areas were cluttered in litter and generally neglected, urgently needing investment. Although you don’t expect first class luxury at Blackpool, we felt let down with the prices we paid for quality and level of entertainment available.

      At least, the beach was free to explore, and we enjoyed spending time there.

  16. MK Pixie

    #overrated Hate to say it, but Stonehenge. I remember visiting in the 70’s when you could wander in and around the stones in peace. Now for a family of 4 it’s over ยฃ50 for the ‘Stonehenge experience’ complete with visitor centre and shuttle bus. Not to mention the English Heritage hard sell for annual membership while we were in the queue. Such a shame.

    1. Cherryl

      OMGosh ๐Ÿ™Œ this is top of my list for underrated tourist attractions lol, I was waiting to see if anyone would second me on it. You can’t even get near the stones with all the boundary the’ve put around it, and the ‘palava’ to get tickets and then make your way up there….honestly.

      We walked the scenic route up, and got the bus back down – I think the walk was more enjoyable than seeing the actual stones.

      They came at us for the annual membership too – seemed a bit much when people are already fed up and tired of standing in a long queue.

      Never mind – we can cross that one firmly off the list ๐Ÿ˜Š

  17. travelrat

    #overrated I was expecting good things at the Tiout Oasis in Morocco, because we visited there in 2002, Then, an enthusiastic young man, the grandson of the owner, proudly showed us around. Alas, when we visited again, early this year, it seems to have sunk to being a tacky catch-penny … just a trudge around dusty tracks, led by an apathetic ‘guide’ …. who ASKED for a tip afterwards.

    1. Jacqui Allen

      For me it’s finding the balance, quite a lot of tourist attractions are steeped in history, going places to see the architecture and learn of the history and stories behind them. Equally I love getting off the beaten track and seeing where we end up, some of my fondest memories of adventures are times when we’ve “got lost” and found hidden gems. #overrated

  18. Sunshiny SA, Kavitha

    #delhi
    Over rated.
    Arrived and the hotel they raved about was a disappointment. Bathroom was a poor show, no door. The restaurant pictures was nothing compared to the actual restaurant. Broken glass on floors, dirty cutlery. Food cold inside, hastily warmed. Unable to make international calls. Left eventually. Complained again from SA. Was offered free accommodation. Ugh.
    Ps, the night markets were a pleasure but the truck drivers leery and lewd as we walked past to our touring vehicle. Will never be able to unsee that. When I read of the rapes etc in Delhi, I cringe.

    1. Cherryl

      Crikey!!! You never know what you’re going to get with some of these hotels – that sounds awful – I’m glad you got some sort of compensation (no door on the bathroom – that’s gross) ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      On a separate note, I’m intrigued about India, and have heard quite a few things about tourist women being harassed and attacked there – sounds like you were on an organised tour….do you think tours are the best way to visit India to stay safe? ๐Ÿ”†๐Ÿ˜Š

  19. klmalcolm2014

    During four years of full time travel, I get a lot of questions about what was best, worst, not worth it, live-changing. I always say it depends on what you are looking for. I had a revelatory experience in a Japanese 7-11 and disappointments at iconic locations, like Venice. But that’s me — I look for connections with people and history, for something personal. Others may want to the visuals of a place like Venice and not care about the guy behind the 7-11 counter who does his job like he trained his whole life to do it well. But I do believe the person who is checking the boxes of every site in the tour book or on a structured tour with 20 people who look and think like him/her is going to miss out on what is most important about travel.

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