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Travel Tuesday question of the week – what’s the most overrated destination?

Venice - too touristy, crowded, and boring

Whenever we travel, there are some places we like more than others. For some destinations, there are places we really look forward to and they exceed all expectations about how great that place is. For others, they aren’t bad places to visit but they definitely don’t meet the expectations we had. To say a place is ‘overrated’ doesn’t mean it is bad. However, it does mean that it didn’t quite live up to the expectations we had. What’s the most overrated destination for you?

For me, the answer to this question is Venice. I thought it would be beautiful, romantic, and inspiring. Instead it was a bit dirty and boring. It’s not to say Venice is a bad place but it’s a city that thrives on tourism and doesn’t offer much in terms of attractions. Piazza San Marcos has a lot to do and I had a great time wandering the city and discovering paths that ended at the canal. However, Venice offered nothing to do at night, gondola rides were expensive, and I found it to be touristy and crowded. While Venice was once the center of beauty and elegance in Italy, it’s only a shadow of it’s former self now and tries to hold on to that image.

There are many who enjoy Venice but it just doesn’t appeal to me. Other cities like Amsterdam and Bruges with canals that are more livable, beautiful, and lively. Do you agree? What place do you consider overrated?

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  1. Kieron says:

    I would definitely say Patong, Phuket. Similar to Venice, it probably was very beautiful a while ago, but now it’s overcrowded, expensive and there are more tourists around than locals.

  2. In one word: Orlando!

  3. Kristian says:

    Prague for me. I think I maybe went at the wrong time, but it was far too crowded, three of my companions fell victim to pickpockets, and generally it was not the amazing place people had made it out to be. There are many better places to see in Eastern Europe I feel.

  4. Janine says:

    For me it’s Marrakech, Morocco. Tripping over tourists, touristy stuff in restaurants (man, serve me decent food, please!), from not quite tasty food to bad entertainment (do it well or don’t do it at all, no more pretty women who can’t belly dance). Touristy stuff in shops that used to be the local market, overrated, badly produced… a shame, a shame.
    Want to go to Morocco and have a taste of life there? Go to Fes :)

  5. Connie says:

    Phuket was underwhelming for me as well, though I did find Old Phuket Town an absolute charmer and hardly any tourists there. I guess they were all on Patong Beach!

  6. I would have to say Athens. I found it hot, dirty,smelly, dusty and full of unsavoury people (we did however stay in the wrong area) . The first time I arrived late at night and got up the next morning to go straight to the islands- i just didn’t like it. The next time I decided I should visit the Acropolis – so I did that and left ASAP. My opinion of it still did not change much.
    Should I try for a third time?

  7. eurapart says:

    The most underrated travel destination can be anywhere.
    If you hear lots of glowing reports about that place via the media and friends, then you build up a perfect picture of that place in your imagination, then you will likely as not be disappointed.

  8. Definitely Vegas! It’s just filled with tat in my opinion.

  9. Ayngelina says:

    Mmm Venice is an interesting one. I find a lot of people not from North America want to go to Los Angeles, which I cannot understand because it’s so polluted and gross.

    • I agree about L.A. I grew up in the area and, while there are some beautiful places along the coast and fun things to do nearby, I’m always surprised by the number of people who want to go to Los Angeles itself. I think people from outside North America expect it to be like other major American cities – New York, Seattle – and don’t realize that there really isn’t much going on in the city proper.

      I was a bit disappointed by Vienna, culture-wise. I loved the historical aspects (the Oberes Belvedere, Mozarthaus, some of the performing arts venues and staring longingly through the Steinway & Sons storefront), but a large number of the locals went to Starbucks for coffee, shopped at H&M, etc. It’s one of the few places I’ve been where I wasn’t able to find something cultural that seemed genuinely native (Austrian/Viennese, in this case).

      • Pola says:

        Great points about L.A.! I love California, but definitely more the San Francisco area.

        It always amazing me why people in coffee capitals of the world, such as Vienna or Paris, would go to international chain coffee shops, having the most amazing coffee everywhere else. But maybe it’s the novelty factor and trying something different.

  10. For me it was Mancora in Peru – i’d heard rave reviews that it was the best beach destination ever but when i arrived found it dirty and swarming with cockroaches. I left the next day…

  11. Norbert says:

    I think Phuket is a bit overrated. It has been taken over by a “careless breed” of party travelers looking for paradise. Plus, it is very expensive compared to other equally impressive and less beaten islands. But still, you can have an amazing experience there.

  12. Ryan says:

    Laos as a whole, and Bali! People rave about Kuta… it’s horrible! LOL. Head to Ubud, Amed, or Sanur instead.

  13. Shannon OD says:

    Cancun get’s my vote. It is party-tastic for sure, but they bring in the white sand to better the beaches and it’s built up kinda gross looking! There are other much more lovely beaches, so this town must truly only be about the partying.

    And I have to give some love to LA, which was just disparaged, it is polluted and trafficky, but it’s the center of the entertainment industry, and that does give it cool points if you like to tour the studios!

  14. Adam says:

    We seem to be the only people on the planet who think so, but we just did not dig Laos. Yes, it was a gorgeous country, and yes, the debauchery of tubing in Vang Vieng was fun (despite the town itself being pretty wretched and a template for what NOT to do to bring tourists in), and Luang Prabang was a beautiful city, but we just didn’t feel it. It could have been where we were at emotionally in our trip at the time, but we just found everywhere we went to be wholly overrated. The people, while nice, were simply too laid back for us (and I am about as laid back as they come, except for Laotians I suppose), and we just found the country kind of boring and a little too sleepy for our liking. I tend to keep this opinion to myself because I have gotten yelled at many times for voicing it. I just never get a good answer when asking why people love it so much.

  15. Cam says:

    I loved Venice, but agree that travel exeriences are very circumstantial. I think all cities have charm if your open to exploring it. That said, there are always those that are ‘over-hyped’. For me, I’d say Cairo, Mumbai and Hanoi. Wasn’t impressed with either

  16. Pola says:

    Venice is very unique and worth seeing, but I prefer other cities in Italy. Although I have to say that I would usually get to Venice very early in the morning and see bakeries and coffee shops as they were opening… In no time, I’d forget about their less-than-crystal-clear canals and focus on the breakfast delicacies. :)

    As for an overrated destination, probably Amsterdam. Not a whole lot impressive, unless you’re only interested in the type of thrills not legally available elsewhere.

  17. Disney World!!! Ok I can see the ‘rents taking the kids but just don’t get the whole honeymoon thing ??!!??

  18. Andrew says:

    Paris.. Definitely Paris. Although Athens runs a decent race for second.

    I’m not so into the spread out shopping city thing. Give me something walkable and interesting at every turn. Venice feels historically-dirty to me, while Paris feels icky-dirty to me. It may also be that I can’t get over my first view of Paris full of strikes so no museums and no garbage pickup. Not to mention the classic inability to eat due to language.

    Give me Vienna or London any day.

  19. Pam Stucky says:

    Anything with “Disney” in its name!

  20. Thanks for all of the comments on the Travel Tuesday question! Seems like the winner today is Venice as the most overrated with Disney up there as well! Appreciate all the feedback on this today. Stay tuned for next weeks’ question! Any guess what that one will be? :)

  21. Runaway Brit says:

    I’ve just found a link to this article and even though the rest of the comments seem to be a while ago I thought I’d comment.

    I agree with you about Venice. I loved it, I thought that it was an interesting city to look around by day – it is certainly unique – but at night there is nothing to do. We were staying across the lagoon at a camp site and, thankfully there was a bit of life there but I would have been pretty bored staying on the mainland.

    My biggest disappointment has been Thailand. The beaches are beautiful but they are full of inreasingly younger backpackers puking, urinating and making out. And it all feels so sleazy. I much prefer Cambodia and Vietnam.

    • Jeremy Branham says:

      Thanks for the comments. I found Venice to be really boring and not authentic at all. It’s like it just exists for tourists these days and once they all leave, it becomes a dead city. For me, my desire was to experience Italy and that just wasn’t going to happen in Venice.

      As for Thailand, I have a different take on that as well – at least, Bangkok. I haven’t been but my wife has. However, I completely understand your thoughts and agree with Cambodia and Vietnam can give you a better experience!

      Here’s why I don’t like Bangkok – even though I’ve never been there.


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