Travelers Are Sharing The "Touristy" Destinations In The US And Abroad That Were Actually So Worth Visiting, And I Want To See Them All

·10 min read

Traveling is tricky business. There are some tourist sites that are hyped up for a reason, and others that turn out to be seriously disappointing. So redditor u/OyeYouDer asked, "What famous tourist spot DOES live up to the hype?" Here are some of the responses — both international and right here in the US — plus a few of my own.

1.Machu Picchu, Peru

Macchu Pichu at sunset.

"If you are able, hike the Inca Trail to get to Machu Picchu instead of taking the train and bus. It makes the experience even more rewarding."


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2.Tsukiji Market, Tokyo

Octopus on sticks in Tsukiji Market.

"Tsukiji was once home to Tokyo's largest wholesale fish market and famous tuna auctions. Today, the market has moved, but Tsukiji Market is still a food lover's paradise. The chaotic streets are lined with vendors selling everything from freshly caught fish and sushi to wagyu beef skewers and steaming hot bowls of ramen. I'm usually wary of popular tourist sites, but Tsukiji Market was absolutely fascinating and so very delicious."

—Hannah Loewentheil

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3.The Vasa Museum, Stockholm

The Vasa Museum exterior in Stockholm.

"For those that haven't heard of it, the Vasa Museum houses a ship that sank in 1628, which was recovered and preserved. Pictures don't do it justice. It's massive and legitimately the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life. The museum around it is incredible too."


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4.Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

Arthur's Seat hike with an amazing view of Edinburgh.

"I accidentally took the radical road, which goes straight up, instead of the mostly flat tourist trail to the top. It took about an hour and a half, but we were met with an incredible view of the city."


"Edinburgh is spectacular, especially during the Christmas season. It was magical."


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5.The Alhambra, Granada

A courtyard framed with carvings in the Alhambra.

"I've visited this palace and ancient fortress four times, but still it never gets boring. It is so beautiful."


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6.Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Sunset over Angor Wat.

"Despite the crowds of tourists, the scale and beauty of this enormous temple complex are undeniable."


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7.Glacier National Park, Montana

A mountain surrounded by wildflowers in Glacier National Park.

"I've been to Glacier National Park twice now, and it's amazing. The trails are all so beautiful and yet so different from one another. And the drive up Going-to-the-Sun Road is absolutely beautiful yet terrifying. Glacier also has the benefit of being less crowded than many other national parks because it's harder to access."


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8.Sintra, Portugal

The town of Sintra, Portugal.

"This historic summer town for Lisbon's wealthy, Sintra boasts opulent palaces, manors, and estates. It's like walking around in a fairy-tale world. Plus it's situated in the hills near the coast, which gives Sintra an interesting microclimate with lots of moss, ferns, and fog."


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9.The Canadian Rocky Mountains, British Columbia

Moraine Lake with Colorful Canoes Banff National Park Canada.

"I loved the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia and Alberta. I spent two months there living out the back of my van, stopping at whatever waterfall, hiking trail, or mountain base I passed, and I can't recommend this area enough. It's more beautiful than any place I've ever been."


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10.Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

The inside of Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.

"This church, which was designed by Gaudí and is still being completed, is probably the most beautiful building I have ever stepped foot in."


"Maybe it's because I'm an architect, but when I set foot inside and looked around, it truly took my breath away. I'd never experienced this sensation of awe before."


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11.The Duomo, Florence

The Duomo in Florence.

"The Duomo and all of the surrounding Piazza del Duomo in Florence is spectacular. The sheer size of the cathedral and the fact that construction started in 1296 are absolutely breathtaking."


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12.The Sahara Desert, Morocco

Sand dunes with camels in the Moroccan Sahara desert.

"Getting to the Sahara Desert was no easy feat. After about an eight-hour drive from Marrakesh and an ATV ride, I finally arrived at the desert camp in Merzouga, where I would be spending the night. I was skeptical that the experience would be worth the very long journey, but after spending a night under the brightest stars I've ever seen surrounded by giant sand dunes in the middle of nowhere — totally undisturbed by sounds, lights, or pollution — I would make the trek 10 times over."

—Hannah Loewentheil

Hannah Loewentheil

13.Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

Summer sunset at Seljalandsfoss.

"This famous waterfall on Iceland's southern coast was just as amazing as every picture I've ever seen of it. I sat behind the waterfall and watched the sun go down at 11 p.m."


"Iceland boasts so many different landscapes: volcanos, glaciers, waterfalls, caves, mountains, and rivers. You can even see the aurora borealis. If you spend a single week in Iceland, you'll feel as if you've been to three different countries. There's just so much to see."


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14.Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wadi Rum, Jordan

"Wadi Rum is a desert preserve in the South of Jordan. It's beautiful. My wife and I visited this summer, and we spent the night in Wadi Rum with a Bedouin guide. It was a fantastic experience, and I highly recommend it. Never in my life have I seen so many stars or such a beautiful sunset."


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15.Milford Sound, New Zealand

Mulford Sound in New Zealand.

"Milford and Doubtful sounds on the South Island of New Zealand are incredible. I grew up next to Yellowstone, so my standards for natural beauty are reasonably cultivated. But, wow, this place is beautiful."


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16.The Taj Mahal, Agra

The Taj Mahal on a sunny day.

"People complain that it's too crowded and touristy, but almost every urban part of India is busy. The fact that you need a ticket for entry actually makes it less packed than a lot of other sites and areas. The architecture totally lives up to the hype, and the history behind it is amazing."


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17.Fushimi Inari, Kyoto

Torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto

"You've probably seen photos of the path lined with red torii gates in Kyoto. There are thousands of these little shrines, lots of hidden alleyways, and secret spots, you can easily get lost in it. It's crowded at the bottom, but if you hike about an hour you can find yourself completely alone."


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18.Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio.

"On a nice, sunny day, this iconic statue will likely be one of the most beautiful things you've ever seen. The statue is beautiful, and the view once you get there is equally as impressive."


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19.Mount Batur, Bali

The sun rising over Mount Batur and the clouds.

"When I told my husband we were going to be waking up at 2 a.m. on our honeymoon to hike up Mount Batur to catch the sunrise, he was less than thrilled. At the base of the volcano, we saw dozens of other tourists taking the same hike (which, by the way, was pitch black and much more intense than we had prepared for). We reached the top of Mount Batur right before the sun started to rise, and it truly was one of the most beautiful and special moments I've witnessed. I've never seen anything else quite like it."

—Hannah Loewentheil

Hannah Loewentheil

20.Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona

Colorful juices at a stand in the Boqueria.

"The Boqueria is Barcelona's most famous market, set just off of busy Las Ramblas. Every guide book and travel blog will tell you it's a must-visit spot, and I'd 100% agree. While parts can be touristy (and you should be aware of your belongings because pickpockets are an issue), it's also filled with local people doing their daily grocery shopping, and it offers a great glimpse into Catalan culture. Not to mention it's a feast for both the eyes and the stomach. Thanks to the stalls filled with colorful produce, prepared tapas, cheeses, meats, seafood, and so much more, it's almost impossible to visit this bustling market and not get hungry."

—Hannah Loewentheil

Hannah Loewentheil

21.Table Mountain, Cape Town

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway in Cape Town

"The view from the top of Table Mountain was like a vision of eternity. No photograph could possibly prepare you for how beautiful that view is when you see it for yourself."


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22.The Colosseum, Rome

The Colosseum in Rome.

"I love Rome in general, but I still can't get over the sense of awe I felt seeing the Colosseum for the first time. The food all around Rome is amazing, and everywhere you turn, there's an incredible piece of history."


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23.The National Mall/Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC

The Capitol building in Washington DC.

"All of the monuments and memorials are beautiful, and there are tons of incredible, free museums, which never get old."


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24.Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Fall foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

"Driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of those moments where you 'find yourself,' as you look out over rolling mountains that stretch to the horizon."


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25.Muir Woods National Monument, California

Muir Woods forest in California.

"I remember visiting Muir Woods, filled redwood trees, for the first time in the early, foggy morning. It felt like stepping back in time."


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26.The Grand Canyon, Arizona

Sunset over the Grand Canyon.

"Nothing prepares you for just how immense and enormous the Grand Canyon is. You see it on TV and think you can comprehend it, but then you arrive at the South Rim, and you're dumbstruck."


"Pictures simply don't do it justice. It's breathtaking how beautiful it is. Hiking down into the canyon at 6 a.m. to watch the sun come up was an experience I will never forget."


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27.The Na'Pali Coast, Kauai

Aerial view of Na Pali Coast, Kauai.

"Kauai in general is a small island with amazing sights and relatively few tourists compared to the other islands. I drove to Waimea Canyon thinking it would be a disappointment, but I almost keeled over in amazement. I took a helicopter tour of the entire island, and words could never do the Na'pali Coast justice. It was absolutely amazing."


"I originally thought Hawaii might be too cliché for a honeymoon destination, but we settled on Kauai. Wow. It was not overly commercialized at all. The Na'pali coast, Waimea Canyon, hiking, waterfalls, and nearly empty beaches were perfect."


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28.Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Michigan

A view of Lake Michigan from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park.

"It's awe inspiring and amazingly beautiful. Looking out over Lake Michigan from a big mountain of sand that is constantly moving really puts things in perspective. I've visited in the summer, fall, and winter, and each season is a totally different experience."


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29.The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Fog surrounding the Golden Gate Bridge.

"Every time I visit San Francisco and drive across the Golden Gate, it's always breathtaking. It's a true engineering marvel. Coupled with the view of the city and the usual fog, it's just an iconic image of America."


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30.Yosemite National Park, California

A beautiful view of Yosemite National Park.

"Everything in Yosemite was super sized and beautiful. Hiking in any other park, even a spectacular one with mountains and waterfalls, just feels small to me now after Yosemite."


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31.Top of the Rock, New York City

A skyline of Midtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building

"People say to visit the Empire State Building, but honestly the view from 'Top of the Rock’ was way better. From there, you even get a view of the Empire State Building and amazing views of Central Park."

—Veggie Nat, Facebook

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32.Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Geyser with American Bison in Yellowstone

"I drove an RV around the West Coast for four weeks, and Yellowstone blew my mind. It's a beautiful place with incredible wildlife and a massive range of scenery. Between the colors of Grand Prismatic Spring, the power of Old Faithful, the grassy buffalo habitats, and the rocks and mountain goats, it was all breathtaking."


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Have you visited a popular tourist destination or attraction that you thought was totally worth all the hype? Tell us in the comments!