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14 Tourist Attractions That Aren’t Worth the Cost

Taylor Bell

Vacation time is precious — many people save money throughout the year to take a trip that will hopefully satisfy their wanderlust and tick some items off the bucket list. So, nothing feels worse than when the reality of your destination is a huge drop-off from your fantasy.

Perhaps you fell for the hype or didn’t do enough research, but after laying down your hard-earned cash to see disappointing tourist attractions, you have every right to feel a little peeved. Save yourself the sour grapes by avoiding the most overrated tourist attractions.

1. Stonehenge — Stonehenge, England

  • Estimated airfare: $358 for flights from JFK to London
  • Estimated lodging: From $282 for five nights at The Swan at Stoford
  • Entrance fee: Private tours start at $198.27 for groups of up to four people

Before deciding on a trip to Stonehenge, you should compare the costs to see other ancient ruins.

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

Stonehenge rocks, but — all puns aside — it’s just a bunch of boulders. Constructed in mystery, these huge rock formations have puzzled visitors for years upon years — but is this tourist trap worth the price tag? Many say “no.”

Unless you arrive very early in the morning and arrange for an expensive private tour, you won’t see much except for the backs of other tourists. These famous rocks are also located in the middle of nowhere, around 90 miles from London.

2. Blarney Stone — County Cork, Ireland

  • Estimated airfare: $1,640 for flights from JFK to Cork
  • Estimated lodging: From $791 for five nights at Blarney Castle Hotel
  • Entrance fee: $18.17 per adult

Does kissing away $2,000 to kiss the Blarney Stone really sound like a good deal?

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

Hanging upside down over the edge of the 15th-century castle and planting a kiss on the Blarney Stone is supposed to impart visitors with the gift of the gab, but the pricey trip might not be worth it.

With so many different people smooching this rock and the fact that you dangle your head over quite a drop, some tourists claim the Blarney Stone is unsafe — for sanitary reasons or otherwise.

3. Empire State Building — New York City

  • Estimated airfare: $257 for flights from LAX to JFK
  • Estimated lodging: From $606 for five nights at the Hudson New York, Central Park
  • Entrance fee: Prices start at $38 for adults

If you’re determined to visit expensive New York, you can save money by visiting the best free tourist attractions.

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

The Empire State Building allows visitors to enjoy a panoramic view of Manhattan from the 86th floor. Alternatively, tourists can splurge and enjoy no wait lines with a guided tour of the 102nd floor.

This tourist attraction isn’t worth it if you take into account all the skyscrapers in New York. Essentially, you’re paying to look at views you could’ve gotten at a hotel or restaurant rooftops for a fraction of the cost.

4. Times Square — New York City

  • Estimated airfare: $257 for flights from LAX to JFK
  • Estimated lodging: From $488.70 for five nights at The Watson Hotel
  • Entrance fee: Free

Visit Times Square and you’ll see lights, buildings and people — lots and lots of people.

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

Another one of New York’s famed tourist attractions hits a low note for many visitors, who describe Times Square as crowded and pricey.

“As a visitor, it is worth seeing but not much fun to hang about,” one reviewer said on TripAdvisor. “It is overcrowded, full of folk offering to sell something. Food is overpriced.”

However, Times Square continues to ensnare millions of tourists every month. More than 355,000 people visit on a daily basis, according to the official website of Times Square.

5. 'Mona Lisa' — Paris

  • Estimated airfare: $400 for flights from JFK to Paris
  • Estimated lodging: From $1,140 for five nights at Madeleine Plaza
  • Entrance fee: $19.31 for advance online tickets

Seeing “Mona Lisa” is a must for many visitors to Paris, particularly those who don’t realize how crowded The Louvre tends to get.

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

The Louvre in Paris houses one of the greatest art collections in the world — including the famous “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci. A trip to this historic museum can certainly be worth it. However, the Louvre is also one of the most visited places in the world and saw 8.1 million tourists in 2017, according to a museum press release. The busy, photo-snapping crowds can make it difficult for you to enjoy the “Mona Lisa” in peace.

“It’s too small, and it’s too crowded to get close to look at the detail,” financial analyst Jeannie Li told The New York Times. “I can see it better in a book or on the internet.”

6. Trevi Fountain — Rome

  • Estimated airfare: $442 for flights from JFK to Rome
  • Estimated lodging: From $590 for five nights at Hotel Esposizione Roma
  • Entrance fee: Free

If you visit Rome, you might think you should visit the Trevi Fountain — that is, if you haven’t done your research.

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

It’s almost impossible to get a good photograph of the Trevi Fountain, which dates back to ancient times, as the site is overrun with tourists. The famous fountain draws 1,200 people every hour, according to TripSavvy. Your photos are more likely to show the heads of holidaymakers than centuries-old Italian architecture.

Private tours might get you closer to the 85-foot fountain, but they will set you back at least $170. Combine that with some of the most expensive hotel rates and restaurants in the country, and you’ve got yourself one of the biggest tourist traps.

7. Pyramids of Giza — Cairo, Egypt

  • Estimated airfare: $751 for flights from JFK to Cairo
  • Estimated lodging: From $550 for five nights at the Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino
  • Entrance fee: Free

Anyone who has taken a history class has thought about what it might be like to see the Pyramids of Giza in person, but the question remains: Do they hold up?

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

Now that the Egyptian pyramids come with views of downtown Cairo — including fast food restaurants in the distance — they’ve lost some of their luster. The pyramids are also swarming with tourists, which makes it tricky to get a good photo. Visitors beware: Often-aggressive peddlers will forcefully offer to take your photo — for a fee, of course.

8. The Alamo — San Antonio

  • Estimated airfare: $252 for flights from JFK to San Antonio
  • Estimated lodging: From $1,179 for five nights at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel
  • Entrance fee: Free

If you’re already in town, taking a trip see The Alamo won’t cost you a dime but is it worth your time?

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

Although getting into the Alamo is free, it’s sometimes regarded by visitors as an overrated tourist spot.

“It was good but not a must-do or life bucket list accomplishment,” said one tourist on TripAdvisor. “It was good but not great. Granted, my visit was short due to it closing, but in the 20 minutes I was there I saw it all.”

The Battle of the Alamo, a Mexican victory in the Texas revolution, is surely worth remembering as an important history lesson, but a visit to the modern-day site might be a letdown. The historic site is suffering from deterioration, with only 20 percent of the original Alamo from 1836 still standing, according to its official website.

9. The Leaning Tower of Pisa — Pisa, Italy

  • Estimated airfare: $951 for flights from JFK to Pisa
  • Estimated lodging: From $280 for five nights at the Grand Hotel Bonanno
  • Entrance fee: $31.80 per person when booked online

You’ve seen friends post photos of themselves seemingly holding up The Leaning Tower of Pisa, but how much is too much for a tourist picture of your own?

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

Pushy vendors trying to sell you tacky miniature towers and hordes of people all taking the same “pushing over the Leaning Tower of Pisa” photo add to the underwhelming nature of this attraction. If you want to know more about the history of the tower — dating back to 1173 — you can take a guided tour, which will set you back over $70. All in all, this site isn’t worth your time or money.

10. Hobbiton — Hamilton, New Zealand

  • Estimated airfare: $2,483 for flights from JFK to Hamilton
  • Estimated lodging: From $513 for five nights at the Camelot On Ulster
  • Entrance fee: $84 for Hobbiton movie set tours

J.R.R. Tolkien fans might have this destination on their bucket list, but they should probably just erase it altogether.

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

At over $4,000 for a couple just in flights, accommodations and entrance fees, the cost to visit the man-made village from “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” movies is astronomical. Those who really want to break the bank could consider booking a private tour for up to four people, which costs a hefty $750.

New Zealand is a beautiful country with many natural wonders and sights worth the long flight, but sadly, Hobbiton is not worth the hype. You can stream the movies or buy the DVDs for a fraction of the cost.

11. Sydney Fish Market — Sydney

  • Estimated airfare: $1,159 from JFK to Sydney, Australia
  • Estimated lodging: From $715 for five nights at Meriton Suites Kent Street
  • Entrance fee: Free

Sydney Fish Market is a popular destination for foodies and tourists alike.

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

In the heart of Sydney’s bustling seafood empire is the Sydney Fish Market, a spot where the local restaurateurs and fishermen converge over the freshest catches. However, some people feel that the market isn’t exactly a spot for tourists — overcrowding and high-priced food make it a miss for many visitors.

“Has (sic) been in Sydney for a while and we decided to finally visit Sydney Fish Market,” a tourist said on TripAdvisor. “It was expensive and [cheap] in presentation. This could be such a nice place but you just get the feeling someone is trying to milk as much money as they can out of you.”

12. Hollywood Walk of Fame — Los Angeles

  • Estimated airfare: $257 for flights from JFK to LAX
  • Estimated lodging: From $906.40 for five nights at the Hotel Angeleno
  • Entrance fee: Free

You’ve seen it in movies and on TV, but the Hollywood Walk of Fame has disappointed many tourists in its time.

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

In the heart of Hollywood, visitors can gaze upon the expansive gilded walkway, paying homage to the greatest names in showbiz both past and present. But in reality — although the cost to see it is free — the Hollywood Walk of Fame is just another sidewalk. There are plenty of other locations in Los Angeles where you can spot celebrities.

The majority of tourists gave the famous sidewalk an average rating on TripAdvisor, with some lauding the homage to Hollywood history and others calling out how “dirty” the area is.

“Just what we were expecting, lots of people, stars with names on the sidewalk, but everything was dirty, really dirty,” one tourist said on TripAdvisor. “We enjoyed walking and discovering but to be honest, is not worth the trip there to see the walk as it is right now.”

13. Cancun — Mexico

  • Estimated airfare: $242 for flights from JFK to Cancun
  • Estimated lodging: From $218 for five nights at the Ibis Cancun Centro
  • Entrance fee: Free

A vacation to Cancun is a dream for many, however, in its current state, it’s not a top recommendation.

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

Even though Cancun boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the cons far outweigh the pros. Cancun might be an overrated tourist trap for quite a few reasons, but the primary reason is crime.

In November 2018, the U.S. Department of State cautioned Americans about traveling to certain parts of Mexico, including areas near Cancun, due to deadly crime that threatened the nation — not the most conducive for that relaxing vacation.

14. Big Ben — London

  • Estimated airfare: $357 for flights from JFK to London
  • Estimated lodging: From $482 for five nights at the Central Park Hotel
  • Entrance fee: Free

If you’re in London, seeing Big Ben seems like an obvious item on your itinerary but maybe you should reconsider.

Why This Attraction Isn’t Worth It

Widely considered one of the most iconic spots in London, Big Ben looms large in the minds of tourists — which is why this is one of the most overrated tourist traps in all of England.

Visitors far and wide crowd the grounds near Big Ben, making the experience congested and busy. Moreover, Big Ben is currently under renovation for the next few years, so you won’t be able to hear its famous chime.

“We were disappointed to see Big Ben under renovation,” one reviewer said on TripAdvisor in early December. “It was completely covered in scaffold and it will probably take a while to restore it to its previous glory.”

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Rachel Farrow contributed to the reporting for this article.

Data was sourced from Google Flights and Booking.com using the dates of Jan. 14-19, 2019. All sourced flights originated from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) unless the destination was New York City, in which case Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was used. Pricing and information are accurate as of Dec. 11, 2018.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 14 Tourist Attractions That Aren’t Worth the Cost