The World's Most Overrated Travel Attractions

Not everything lives up to the hype. For this list, we're looking at destinations or attractions that appear on the bucket lists of many travelers, but which often leave people disappointed once they actually get there. Our countdown includes Hobbiton Movie Set, Mount Rushmore, Loch Ness, and more!

The World’s Most Overrated Travel Destinations

Not everything lives up to the hype. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for The World’s Most Overrated Travel Destinations.

For this list, we’re looking at destinations or attractions that appear on the bucket lists of many travelers, but which often leave people disappointed once they actually get there. So come along as we explore a selection of both general locations and specific attractions that fail to live up to expectations. For the record, we’re not saying that any of these places don’t have any charms or need to be avoided. We’re just here to help you manage your expectations.

The French Quarter

New Orleans, Louisiana

When people think of this admittedly beautiful area of New Orleans, they think of jazz music, a sense of theatricality, people coming together to revel in the streets and, of course, Mardi Gras! Sadly, the popularity of the French Quarter has largely robbed this iconic destination of both its charms and its authenticity. Wandering the French Quarter you’re unlikely to encounter any locals unless they’re serving you at a bar. Instead, you’re greeted by droves of sloppy drunks. It’s like spring break but decidedly more middle-aged, and in uncomfortable cramped quarters. It’s hard to find a good meal that isn’t ridiculously overpriced, and if you’re there for music, you’re better off venturing into one of the neighboring areas, like Marigny where you can actually find up-and-coming acts at watering hotels still frequented by locals. The architecture, thankfully, remains just as beautiful as advertised.

Hobbiton Movie Set

Matamata, New Zealand

There are few fantasy worlds that have been brought to life on film quite as spectacularly as Peter Jackson managed to do for Middle Earth with his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of The Rings”. Thankfully, the Hobbiton set has been preserved (and improved upon) so that people can make that fantasy a reality and actually walk through Hobbiton. Sadly, like so many fantasies, this one is undermined by real-world limitations. The overall design is undeniably fantastic, so visitors who know how to manage their expectations will likely have a great time. That being said, paying $80 to $90 for a one-hour tour is steep. And unfortunately, there’s no real opportunity for exploration, as the tours are guided and move very quickly. Not to mention, New Zealand is a major trek for most visitors. And for many, passing through Hobbiton at a hurried pace makes for a rather painful tease. But who are we kidding, for superfans, it likely still remains a must-visit.


Paris, France

Ahhhh… les Champs-Élysées! It’s the stuff of songs and many a romantic fantasy. The avenue appears on the checklist of must-visit areas of Paris for pretty much every first time visitor to the city of romance. If you took basic French in high school, you know that the word “champ” means field, but while Paris is a city famous for its green space, you won’t find much of it along this world-famous shopping street. Don’t get us wrong, the tree-lined avenue makes for a beautiful photograph, especially with the Arc de Triomphe serving as a colossal focal point at one end. But walk up and down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and you’ll find little else but major retailers like Banana Republic, The Gap and Lacoste, while the sidewalk itself is crowded with souvenir vendors hawking overpriced plastic Eiffel towers. Meh.

The Blarney Stone

Blarney, Ireland

Are you in search of the gift of gab? Well… you’re probably better off downloading a language learning app or signing up for a public speaking course. Something tells us that kissing this rock, isn’t going to suddenly make you eloquent, clever, or the world’s greatest flatterer. In fact, back in 2011, a Lonely Planet survey found it to be pretty much the most overrated tourist attraction in Europe, with a staggering 73% of 13,000 respondents recommending that people skip it. Regardless, this world famous stone, which is set into the battlements of its namesake castle, continues to draw people from around the world as it has for ages. Concerns of sanitation aside, the biggest gripe that visitors have with the experience is that well… you’re just kissing a rock. That’s it. The castle itself is perfectly nice (and might provide added appeal to architecture enthusiasts), but there’s just not a whole lot going on here.

Rainbow Mountain

Cusco, Peru

Duped by Instagram yet again! With the right lighting conditions, some editing and some handy filters, the Montaña de Siete Colores (or “Vinicunca”) lives up to its name. And to be fair, even in person, most visitors will agree that the lines of color that decorate this Peruvian mountain make for a unique sight. The issue is that, unless you happen to visit at the perfect time of day, in August, and when there hasn’t been any recent precipitation, the colors are unlikely to come anywhere close to the vibrant hues that you’ve been obsessing over online. But that’s fine right? Surely such a distinctive geological occurrence is reason enough to justify the trip. The thing is… it’s not a very easy trip. Visiting Vinicunca involves a 2 hour drive followed by a three mile hike over rough terrain if you’re coming from Cusco, or a three and a half hour drive through Pitumarca followed by an alternative trek. Either way, it’s a whole lot of time and energy. And if bad weather rolls in? Tough luck. Even under good conditions, many visitors voice disappointment with the sight that greets them.

Mount Rushmore

South Dakota, United States

When you gaze upon Mount Rushmore, you’re immediately struck by what an impressive feat it is to have carved the likeness Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln into the side of a mountain. And to think, this work was completed back in the early 20th century, between 1927 and 1941 using the relatively limited technology of the time. But once the initial impact wears off, one can’t help but be somewhat underwhelmed by the actual size of the sculptures. Don’t get us wrong, a 60-foot tall head is impressive, but Mount Rushmore is hurt by its own reputation. Photos of Mount Rushmore provide very little by which to judge the scale of the heads, and unfortunately, most visitors don’t realize just how much they’ve exaggerated the size of these presidents in their minds until they see the sculpture for themselves.

Loch Ness

The Highlands, Scotland

Spoiler: you’re not going to randomly have an encounter with the legendary Loch Ness monster. And once you accept that reality, what you’re left with is an admittedly pretty lake, but one whose local legend has resulted in inflated prices of pretty much every service in the area and a whole lot of tourist-centric merchandising and theming, which, unless you’re a serious Nessie fan, is likely to leave you feeling let down. You’re unlikely to make a trip to Scotland just to visit Loch Ness, and once you get there, and realize that the lake is actually pretty far out of your way, and that you’ve forfeited a day of your trip that could’ve been better spent elsewhere in this culturally-rich nation . . . no amount of cheap souvenirs will make up for that time!

The Mona Lisa

Paris, France

To call the Louvre overrated would be, well, just wrong. Sure, the lines are absurdly long (sometimes taking upwards of 2 hours just to get inside), but once you make it in, you get to see some of the world’s most famous and stirring works of art. Sadly, though, one of the most iconic pieces in the collection has become a frequent source of disappointment, due to its modest size. Despite its colossal artistic reputation, the Mona Lisa measures only about 30 by 21 inches, which actually occupies relatively little wall space. Size isn’t everything, but the massive crowd perpetually gathered around it makes the painting feel even smaller, and perhaps not worth fighting through to see. In 2019, one survey of British travelers reported that, according to respondents, the Mona Lisa was “the world’s most disappointing tourist attraction”. Ouch, mate.
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