Some places you dreamed of seeing turn out to be unfriendly. Here are 10 tourist towns with a disappointing side.
HOLLYWOOD, United States
If you dream of seeing Hollywood, better keep dreaming. The reality is less glamorous and seedy than you expected, and what excitement can you feel with a big white sign and nameplates on a sidewalk?
No wonder the Walk of Fame is often ranked as one of the most underwhelming tourist attractions in the world. Instead, head to LA’s half-dozen top-notch museums and the relaxing beach of Santa Monica. See discoverlosangeles.com
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If you think a leaning tower can provide hours of entertainment, Pisa is definitely for you. Why not join a million other tourists taking unoriginal Instagram photos of yourself in supporting it?
Yay! Sure, the Renaissance architecture in Pisa is beautiful, but no more beautiful than many other Italian cities – like Lucca, just 20 kilometers down the road and a much nicer city in every way. See turismo.pisa.it
PAPEETE, FRENCH POLYNESIA
French Polynesia is beautiful, but its gateway capital is a transportation hub and, given the often late-night flight arrivals, a boring overnight necessity.
It has a lot of tropical lushness but also a lot of concrete and traffic. The food markets are the highlight, but you better hurry to leave the city – or better yet, to other islands – as fast as possible to find this Polynesian beauty. See tahititourisme.com.au
NIAGARA FALLS, CANADA
Niagara Falls, the natural feature is phenomenal, and you should definitely see it. Niagara Falls, the city, however, is a tacky tourist trap of big motels, gift shops and oddly outdated tourist attractions.
Who needs another Justin Bieber waxwork? Stick to the miles of beautiful riverside walks to see the best bits of Niagara Town. As for the American side of the border, forget it. It falls apart. See niagarafallstourism.com
Pattaya is in places an overdeveloped collision of concrete resorts, flashing neon cocktail bars and tacky restaurants serving beer and bland Thai curries. And yes, it’s a fun party town – but not necessarily the kind of parties that give tourists a good name.
Head to North Pattaya for a quieter, more cultural stay and some of the best beaches, such as Naklua and Wong Amat. See amazingthailand.com.au
Nassau estimates that it will receive more than four million cruise passengers in 2023, or 16 times its permanent population. While the Bahamas is delightful, the gritty, overpriced capital really isn’t.
Scrums of beach vendors make sunbathing less than relaxing. Unlicensed taxi drivers are vermin. And who needs so many duty-free shops? Pop over to Harbor Island or the Exumas to experience the best of the Bahamas. See bahamas.com
Okay, you should visit Delhi for its Red Fort, Friday Mosque, layers of history and the colorful chaos of street life. But you’ll have to accept that Delhi’s dilapidated sites come with appalling heat and pollution created by a cocktail of agricultural burning, traffic fumes and dust.
If watery eyes and a dry cough don’t catch you, the incessant beeping of car horns will drive you crazy. See delhitourism.gov.in
Sure, a film festival lends glamor to Cannes, but where’s the substance? The rest of the year, it’s just a few big hotels, the same luxury boutiques and palm trees.
You are forced to use the private beaches, the old town is ordinary and there is not much to do unless you have one of the superyachts moored at the port. Many towns on the Cote d’Azur are much better, such as Antibes up the road. See cannes.com
The beaches are plump and the surrounding Mayan ruins incredible – you should definitely visit the Yucatan region. That said, Cancun is a big resort born in the 1970s, that era of unfortunate architectural aesthetics.
It is also a destination of choice for American students, who intend to misbehave abroad. Not disappointing at all, then, if you’re 22 and think cheap booze is the best reason to travel. See visitmexico.com
This city is increasingly frequented by cruise ships, although it is difficult to understand why. Sihanoukville is half built (or half demolished) and has roads full of potholes.
You want to see something cool, but all you get are concrete buildings and bling-laden casinos. Its plus? Sihanoukville is a hub for independent travelers passing through beautiful neighboring islands. Proof that you can go beyond disappointment and enjoy many happy journeys.