From illusion to reality: 10 world cities that disappointed tourists

Dispelled tourist illusions: 10 cities that are clearly overrated

Anyone who wants to do travel, making a list of desirable places, is almost one hundred percent likely to put there the most famous tourist spots on the map of the planet: the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the streets of London. And most of us can not imagine a trip abroad for a new experience without visiting these legendary places. But experienced travelers quickly cool down the ardor of romantically inclined beginners: most famous cities in reality do not meet obviously inflated expectations, and often even leave a residue of disappointment after a trip there.

Paris, France

“See Paris and die,” wrote Ernest Hemingway inspirationally. And many aspiring tourists, booking tickets there, look forward to being in the legendary city of love. The beauties of Montmartre, the world famous Louvre exhibits and of course the Eiffel Tower. The rich history, unique architecture and historical and cultural monuments undoubtedly attracts crowds of tourists. That’s just in reality all is not so fabulous, because with the architectural beauty and spectacular scenery in sharp contrast to not the most benevolent attitude of the local population. Parisians often show blatant ignorance to tourists, and to questions are very reluctant to answer, especially if you do not have the best French, or you do not speak it at all. In such conditions the romantic aura of the city is quickly replaced by alienation and a feeling of loneliness, and the overall impression of the visit will be spoiled.

Interesting fact: in the worst of the disappointment of the real Paris face Japanese tourists. The language barrier, a different mentality and discrepancy between the real city and the ideal picture painted in their imagination, often causes the so-called “Paris syndrome” in them. In fact, this definition describes the type of mental disorder that causes those who have caught it to seek help from specialists in order to restore their emotional equilibrium. It is fair to say that the policies of globalization and openness have had a positive effect on Asians – in recent years, cases of Paris syndrome have been rare.

Rome, Italy

The Italian capital has a well-deserved title of “eternal city”, because it has been in existence for thousands of years. For tourists it is a titbit primarily because of the unique architecture which has survived on its territory: Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and even another country – Vatican – what you can not find on the streets of Rome. For many centuries the majestic Colosseum has rightly remained the pearl of the city. In fact, the capital of Italy can be rightly considered a full-fledged open-air museum, where the samples of architecture and historical monuments of considerable length of time are collected.

5 reasons to take children to Iceland in 2022

However, not everything is as unambiguously positive in Rome as it may seem at first sight. The fact is that the Roman authorities, as practice shows, are so strongly focused on the preservation of antiquities that they have practically abandoned the solution to urgent problems. The communal component, the transport situation, the deficiencies of infrastructure – despite the considerable budgets which tourists bring, does not protect the latter, as well as the local population, from the sight of obtrusive advertising at every step, the shortcomings of public transport and even the banal piles of garbage in the streets, which are not taken out in time. All this has a very negative impact on the overall impression of the “eternal city”, which is reflected in statistics: for example, according to, although Rome annually receives millions of tourists, the percentage of secondary visits it has one of the lowest in Europe.

Sydney, Australia

Australia is a far away and unusual country for most people. The main attractions of this state are kangaroos, the Great Barrier Reef and the legendary Opera House, located in Sydney. It is to this city, and not to the capital of the state – Canberra, goes most tourists in the first place. Moreover, Sydney is the largest populated city in Australia. However, in reality, there are not many tourist attractions within one state. The same is true of Sydney. In fact, except for this very opera house of unique appearance, there is nothing else to look at. And the main attraction is not so great: the roof in the form of sails did not add quality to the acoustics of the hall, which for a structure of such a destination is simply vital. And professional opera singers also do not complain much about the Sydney theater: an experienced eye quickly finds there a number of other flaws that seriously affect the sound.

London, UK

The capital of Foggy Albion, which has been around for more than a thousand years, also likes to lure aspiring tourists. Those, in turn, seek the atmosphere of the prim traditional United Kingdom, formerly the British Empire, with its Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, the Tower and the museum with the royal regalia. All of this strikingly combines with the modern architecture of the City, the famous Ferris wheel, and the legendary red double-decker trains. After all, London is not in vain considered a city of contrasts – legendary fog mixed with smog from exhaust gases, the historical buildings, referring to the Victorian era, is much less than the business centers, which today can not surprise any resident of the metropolis. And the local population unwilling to come into contact with tourists a little like Parisians. Illogical layout of the streets, constant dynamics of people rushing to work long ago does not correspond to the aura of measured life of conservative Englishmen of the century before last, which attracts tourists to the capital of Foggy Albion.

Hilo is the main city on the Big Island of Hawaii

New York, USA

The legendary “Big Apple” – New York City – although not the capital of the United States, is rightfully considered one of the main centers of dynamism of American society. The Empire State Building, Wall Street, the Statue of Liberty, and many other world-renowned landmarks draw hundreds of thousands of tourists to the city every year. Many migrants seek to move here as well. But in real life, the Big Apple is much harsher and less welcoming than it first appears. The city’s frenzied pace of urbanization played a cruel joke – there’s a huge number of people rushing through the streets in droves, constant traffic jams that drive locals and tourists crazy, and skyscrapers crushing you from above, with almost no trees anywhere but parks. New York is perhaps the most striking embodiment of the expression “stone jungle,” where not everyone will like to be. Besides, those who come there to live, the city does not pity either – many of them are forced to huddle in tiny apartments for a huge fee and spend most of their time not to enjoy the urban scenery during walks, but to work to pay for their own living in the famous city.

Shanghai, China

In recent years, the trend toward everything Asian, from clothing to food, has not subsided. So it is not surprising that millions of tourists annually seek to see this not always understandable world with their own eyes, coming to Chinese or Japanese cities. One of the popular places in this respect is Shanghai, which has long been, along with Beijing, the center of economic, social and cultural life in China. However, those tourists or travelers who go to this city in pursuit of impressions of traditional Asian culture remain disappointed after encountering an unsightly reality. The fact is that Shanghai has long ago become too much like Western metropolises. There it is easier to find modern skyscrapers, business centers, new-fangled architectural frills than ancient buildings or more ancient structures. In fairness, it should be noted that they still exist, but their number compared to the newer buildings is simply incommensurable.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The first association that arises when mentioning Brazil is its famous carnivals. And their main place is its former capital – Rio de Janeiro. That’s why travelers go there head over heels to get a vivid impression, to see the riot of colors among the old streets and modern high-rise buildings, stunning nature in the form of mountain landscapes and warm beaches by the blue ocean, and, of course, the majestic statue of Christ the Savior, looking down on all this beauty.

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney, Australia

In real life, Rio de Janeiro is not as fabulous as most tourists imagine it to be. The buildings can suddenly seem monotonous with sparse bright spots, and the infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. But the biggest problem is the high crime rate, which has remained unchanged for a decade. Because of this, many tourists prefer not to go far from the city center and not even close to the favelas – buildings on the outskirts, which, in fact, are a kind of slums of the Brazilian style. The standard of living in such areas is quite low, and the contingent gathers accordingly. And representatives of national minorities in other cases in general can not guarantee complete safety.


Spain is not without its tourist gem. Barcelona is not in vain considered a tourist Mecca of this state, because according to, it regularly ranks among the most visited cities in the world. When tourists come there, they hope to immerse themselves and feel the traditional Spanish spirit and vivid emotions that the temperamental country brings. However, in reality, things are not as great as they would like them to be. The thing is that Barcelona is one of the most densely populated areas of the country. So aside from architectural gems and famous resorts, visitors inevitably encounter another “attraction” of the city – the huge crowds of people in the streets. Because of this, tourists think more not about the impressions after visiting famous places, but about how to get to their destination quickly and not to be swept away by the huge masses of people on the streets. And the locals themselves are not very pleased with the influx of travelers, considering them the cause of the gradual destruction of Barcelona itself.


The Greek city of Athens is considered a true center of ancient heritage. It seems that you can find everything there, from complete streets paved thousands of years ago to the legendary Parthenon, a unique monument of ancient sacred architecture. And many tourists hope to feel as if they were transported thirty centuries back to the time of the Athenian polis. Except that on closer inspection, Athens is not as attractive as it was originally thought. Tourists trying to get to the famous antique attractions, are forced at first to overcome a considerable path through the polluted streets. The architectural monuments themselves are also a source of disappointment: many of them have already been seriously damaged by time and natural phenomena and resemble abandoned slums rather than majestic buildings. Even Parthenon up close is a huge construction site: the unique object has been continuously restored for years to save it from total destruction, so travelers simply do not get a good look at the famous temple.

Travelling in Greece, Attica


Amsterdam is one of the popular cities for tourists to visit. And each of us is well aware that they are attracted not only by the memorable architecture, but also by the opportunity to legally obtain a number of services, which in most countries are restricted or prohibited by law. Coffee shops with the service of using stimulants, the famous red light district – all this provides a huge popularity of Amsterdam and records for attendance. But in fact, on these questionable sights and attractions of Amsterdam, in fact, and ends. The original architecture, on closer inspection, turns out to be simple and monotonous. In addition, the high attendance figures do not provide tourists with comfortable accommodation and travel around the city. In particular, this applies to the local cuisine: it is easier to call it limited and unpretentious than to try to find something memorable there.

False Expectations: 10 Most Disappointing Sights from Around the World

Receive one of our most-read articles in your inbox once a day. Join us on Facebook and VKontakte.

The most popular attractions can disappoint tourists.

Among the huge number of interesting places and attractions in the world there are those that every self-respecting tourist should visit at least once in his life. On closer inspection, sometimes it turns out that the dream does not live up to expectations. Among the most disappointing sights are just the most popular.

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps in Rome. / Photo:

This attraction is so well-publicized that many people, once they get to Rome, immediately go to see the famous staircase. But to see it empty is not possible even at night. And the unusual architecture is overshadowed by the surrounding majestic buildings.

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower at night. / Photo:

When visiting the Eiffel Tower, a lot of people are very disappointed. And even Parisians find this construction completely unaesthetic and does not fit the style of the most romantic city. It is beautiful only at night, when the lights are on and the tower shimmers in the lights. There’s nothing surprising about this disappointment, however, since the tower was originally conceived as an archway that adorned the entrance to the World’s Fair in 1889 and was only supposed to stand during the fair. The only thing that can reconcile the visitor with reality is the incredibly beautiful view from the observation deck of the structure.


Stonehenge. / Photo:

The British have long failed to understand why this monument attracts so many tourists. There is nothing mystical about this place. It is simply not interesting to look at the stones from afar, and to get up close and touch them is possible only on certain days. Although there are people who believe that Stonehenge is a place of power, because there is a lot of evidence that the structure was used for rituals.

Chile - ancient land of frozen volcanoes

Pissing Boy

Peeing boy. / Photo:

One of the most famous symbols of Brussels turns out to be a small sculpture, which height is only 61 centimeters. To be photographed with the statue you have to stand in a huge line and then try to get such a shot that many strangers are not in the picture.

The White House

White House. / Photo:

It is not known what expectations make travelers seek out the White House, but they leave disappointed. In fact, it is an ordinary administrative building, which is open to tourists. The architecture of the White House is not of great interest, but for Americans themselves, the residence of the president of the country is a symbol of stability and prosperity.

Egyptian pyramids

Egyptian pyramids. / Photo:

Many tourists expecting to see a majestic structure in the middle of the eternal sands are not prepared for the reigning turmoil. The Pyramid of Cheops, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is still stunningly monumental, but the crowds make it difficult to fully enjoy it.

Times Square

Times Square. / Photo:

At first glance, the symbol of American life is a banal square in the center of New York City. It’s full of people, billboards, and shimmering lights. It is certainly worth a visit, but it is better not to expect anything outstanding from a visit so as not to be upset later.

Mona Lisa

At the portrait of Mona Lisa in the Louvre. / Photo:

The famous Gioconda by Leonardo da Vinci smiles less mysteriously upon closer inspection. That said, the portrait of Lisa del Giocondo always gathers around both connoisseurs of painting and ordinary viewers. Those who see the painting for the first time may simply be in too much of a hurry to view it in great detail.

Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate. / Photo:

Today, this gate, which has become the symbol of German unification, fits so well into the architecture of Berlin that it doesn’t seem like something grand. The Peace Gate disappoints tourists with its ordinariness.

The Tower of Pisa

The Tower of Pisa. / Photo:

The Italian symbol was also on the list of popular but not overly impressive sights. Outwardly, the leaning bell tower is known from photos, but inside there is nothing special. Moreover, it is not so easy to make a classic photo, in which a tourist supports the leaning structure: there are about two hundred people who want to take exactly the same photo. Because of this, the picture is not very pretty, but the disappointment is substantial.

In addition to the most popular tourist attractions in the world there are at least 25 other picturesque places to visit, which certainly will not disappoint.

( No ratings yet )
Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: