World’s 10 Most Disappointing Tourist Spots

Virgin Travel Insurance recent surveyed 1,000 British tourists and ranked the world’s 10 most disappointing tourist spots based on their reponses. Via

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  1. The Eiffel Tower
  2. The Louvre (Mona Lisa)
  3. Times Square
  4. Las Ramblas, Spain
  5. Statue of Liberty
  6. Spanish Steps, Rome
  7. The White House
  8. The Pyramids, Egypt
  9. The Brandenburg Gate, Germany
  10. The Leaning Tower of Pisa

I can only speak for myself, but I’ve visited Times Square and the Statue of Liberty and I was rather impressed by both.

Have you visited any of the above tourist spots? What were your impressions?

Founding Editor
  1. I’m lucky enough to have been to 6 of them. The Eiffel Tower was very anti-climactic for me. I’d dreamed of seeing it for years, but I was there in winter and it was FREEZING, with long queues. Not so romantic. I loved the Louvre but got lost every time I went, and yes the Mona Lisa is tiny and surrounded by people. Times Square loses its thrill the more often you go, although it’s amazing the first time; Las Ramblas was very pretty, and I thought the Spanish Steps were nice. I used to live in Berlin so the Brandenburg Gate will always be special to me. I find it hard to imagine the pyramids being disappointing, but then I haven’t seen them.

  2. Most people bitch that the pyramids are “too small”. This list shows just how miserable my countrymen can be even when they’re on holiday. What do they expect? The Mona Lisa to be 10 feet high with a laser show?

  3. Add Venice to the list. I can’t believe how saddened I was to see all the graffiti. Also, the only people riding gondolas (through the polluted waterways) are American tourists with huge cameras. So disappointing, even though it’s probably beautiful when tourists aren’t flooding it.

  4. As an airline employee (European), I’ve visited most of these tourist spots while working. With the exception of the statue of liberty, wich is still on my list. I’ve not been disappointed in any of these sights, although the lightshow at the pyramids is a bit tacky. I find that the best way to go to a famous building or place, is not to let your imagination run away with you beforehand. Read about the places you visit, try to set the touristspot in a timeframe (like the period it was build, or why it was build there) and find out more about that era. Don’t try to compare it with other places or buildings. Each has its own merit. And one question I always ask myself. Could I have build this at that time. The answer is always; No!

  5. The Eiffel Tower
    My friends and I made angels in the sand at the bottom. When we were in the lift, a friend said “ooohhh myyy goodddd, this is sooooo f***ing hiighhhhh” and we all laughed.

    The Louvre (Mona Lisa)
    Wandering around, dwarfed by the paintings, getting lost, squinting at the Mona Lisa and skipping past the line of tourists towards the cafe.

    Las Ramblas, Spain
    Purple gorilla chasing me down the street, angels telling him off and laughing, gorgeous earrings, my guy friend saying “ola” and wiggling his eyebrows at all the pretty girls.

    Spanish Steps, Rome
    Resting by the fountain and barely resisting the desire to dive in. Racing people to the top. Basking in the heat and wandering off to find gelato.

    The Leaning Tower of Pisa
    Taking a photo of five people taking that picture where it looks like they’re holding it up. Laughing at how touristey they were being and how funny they all looked out of the context of their photos.

    My point: places are not obligated to be special or amazing – the things that you will remember about them are the things that you brought with you. The world is what you make it.

    I’ve never been disappointed by a place I’ve visited.

  6. Serrin, you put me in each of those places in the few words you wrote!

    You are so right about the visit being what you make it.

  7. Spanish Steps: went around sunset, and they were gorgeous!

    Pisa: I thought it was amazing, but I found the counterweights and cables holding it up more interesting. Also, the other 2 buildings lean, just not as much, and you can go in the church and dome.

    White House: You can’t see most of it, because of security issues. So all the rooms where exciting things happened are restricted areas, which is disappointing. But if you like history, the things you CAN see are interesting, so it really depends on what you go in expecting.

  8. I was just at both the Eiffel Tower and saw the Mona Lisa in the last few days. I really enjoyed the Tower, the Mona Lisa was smaller than expected, but I hope no one goes to the Louvre just for that. With thousands of items on display, there is plenty more to enjoy and get excited about.

  9. thats why we have Disneyland and Las Vegas. People who have outsized expectations of ‘wonders of the world’ and are let down by actual scale, graffiti, or historical veracity and context should spend their vacations in ersatz American fantasyland. Leave the real places for real people.

  10. I’ve been to all ten, not sure what that says about my travel choices…

    First, I’d like to say that I expected the pyramids to be the most amazing thing in the world, and they by far exceeded my expectations. I always hear travelers say they were disappointed by them, maybe it’s a love it or hate it type situation. To me, they are unmatched in aesthetic simplicity, spirituality, shear mass (10x heavier than Burj Khalifa), and immortality. In 4,000 years, when the rest of the these tourists spots are long forgotten, the pyramids will still be there.

    Expectations aside, my least favorite spots from this list:
    The Brandenburg Gate, Germany
    Las Ramblas, Spain
    The Louvre (Mona Lisa)
    The White House

  11. I went to the White House with my eight grade trip and it was very dissapointing! To this day I still remember how disappointed I was! The tour includes only 4-5 rooms of the giant place. The security lines to get in are well over and hour long. So basically you wait a couple hours in line, get sniffed by a big security dog, and then only get to see a couple rooms. I don’t recommend it!

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