Some grumpy reviewers on TripAdvisor have no problem taking the world’s greatest travel attractions down a notch. (Photo: iStock)
They may be some of the most famous, most-visited landmarks on Earth. But not all of the world’s awe-inspiring sites inspire all visitors all the time. Maybe it’s long lines, maybe it’s rude staff, or maybe it’s the underwhelming attraction itself — whatever the reason plenty of places tourists put on their “must-see” lists end up on some travelers’ “wish-I’d-skipped-it” list.
Fortunately, their loss is our gain, in the form of cutting, often hilarious, reviews these disappointed travelers post online. Just for grins, we went through some of TripAdvisor’s one-star reviews of of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. Here are the best bad reviews we found — proof positive that you really can’t please everybody.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Some visitors find San Francisco’s most famous landmark to be a bust:
Guess who’s not getting a job with the San Francisco Tourism Office.
“It’s a bridge. It’s covered in fog. It’s pointless. Buy a postcard you will see more.“
Perhaps they were expecting it to be gold?
“When we got there, my wife… and I [were] unhappy to find the color of the bridge was not exactly as it was in all the photos in all the advertisings.”
Who knew that Debbie Downer vacationed in San Francisco?
“Many visitors and locals don’t know this, but the GG Bridge is the #1 suicide destination in the United States.”
The Great Wall of China
These travelers take issue with the "Great” part:
A site that only bricklayers could love?
“if bricks are your thing you may or may not enjoy this (I didn’t), if bricks and walls are not your thing best to avoid, if you can, too big.”
The Wall inspired this visitor to "Monday morning quarterback” the Mongolians’ military strategy.
“So, it took nearly 2000 years to make, did the Mongol’s not figure out a way around during the process? At what time did the Chinese realize it was a total waste of time!?? SO WHY IS IT SO GREAT? The views are lovely, the wall is a waste of time other than crossing it off your list of things to do.“
Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Some reviews of this art museum are works of art themselves:
Please don’t feed the paintings…
“Yes, the Louvre is a world class warehouse for art. However, the bureaucrats who run it stay up nights trying to figure out how best to make visitors uncomfortable… the place is a really poorly run zoo.”
“I would have enjoyed the Louvre but for those meddling kids…”
“…gaggles and giggles of kids, rushing around with their fingers texting and their gaze fixed on tiny screens have no place among the pinnacles of western art. When they are not bumping into each other or precious art beyond their appreciation, they goof around like drunken buffoons at a frat house party. Pick a time to visit when the kids are in school and the supreme artifacts of human creativity are left in peace.”
That’s one way to reduce the head count…
“I would like to see the French take proper control of the crowds visiting the Louvre, in particular finding a way to prevent them taking photographs inside the museum. (Bring back the guillotine?)“
Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
Some think the end of World War I was the only good thing that happened here:
Another request for the guillotine.
"The last proprietor had his head chopped off for stealing from the people. Time to bring out the guillotine again. 1 quiche, 2 croques monsieurs (cheesey toast), side orders of crisps and mashed potato followed by 3 chocolate eclairs and 2 coffees set us back a staggering 98 €.”
Related: The Most Overrated Destination Proposal Spots
To be fair, it’s not as if French monarchs were known for their subtle tastes.
“Just how much gold glitter can you handle? This ancient chateau is not worth the effort. OK, I can understand the history of the long reign of Louis the XIV (the sun king) but gold gilded rooms with every inch covered with old silk embroidered tapestry and portraits and busts of him all became too much too quickly.”
“Do not go to Versailles. Teach the French a lesson.”
Great Sphinx, Giza, Egypt
To some, the question of why anyone would visit this place is the true “Riddle of the Sphinx”:
Objects may be smaller than they appear.
“How do they make this look so big? Very disappointed films and TV must use wide lenses as this is so small.“
Small landmark, big disappointment.
"The sphinx is tiny covered in litter and next to McDonalds. they must use Photoshop to blow it up as I was well disappointed. Hey if you stand on one angle to take a shot you can make it look really big.”
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
This attraction leaves some visitors pisa-ed off:
An Italian laughing stock.
“It Just Looks Silly: Imagine a magician with just one trick. Or a tv with only one channel. If you find this exciting and worth a trip then go see the poorly built Leaning Tower of Pisa… Shows you what PR can accomplish.“
"It exists just to handle the thousands of day trippers who come in for a hour to see a building that was a disaster. I rarely am underwhelmed by a travel site but the leaning tower is a bit laughable.”
A Mickey Mouse operation.
“Looks like it was put up by Disney 6 weeks ago…clean, clinical and smaller than you think!”
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
Some people aren’t singing this famous opera house’s praises:
It’s like the opera house version of a Monet.
“It’s a pretty awful…concrete building. It’s really nothing special at all. Save yourself the effort and view it from the bridge or harbour - the further away you are the less awful it looks.”
It really lays an egg.
“Silly damned egg carton. Damned waste of money from it’s inception. Too far from the city proper and more often than not, the shows are elitist rubbish.“
Related: Journey to "Meh”…. The World’s Most Overrated Tourist Attractions
At least you guys still have Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman and the Hemsworths…
“Only in Australia could you be ripped off as bad as this!!! Ridiculous prices for a boring building In a boring city!!!! So ashamed to be Australian!”
Mayan Ruins, Tulum, Mexico
You have to wonder what these people were expecting; they are called “ruins,” after all:
Who goes to Mayan ruins expecting a day at the beach? This visitor, that’s who!
“If you like old rocks then this is the place for you. I found it so boring and hot. There was no real beach within the ruins site so you can’t just dip in and cool off. There is a beach on the other side but it’s a long walk away. Yes the views are nice, but I found them just as nice from my beach lounger. Not worth a day trip.“
Wonder what the Mayans would think of Detroit?
"Tulum, Schmulum. Seen better more interesting ruins in Detroit and The Bronx.”
Ever see someone hate on a landmark in triplicate?
“Is it Disneyland? Or mayaland? No archaeological interest no archaeological interest no archaeological interest, commercial commercial commercial, business business business, not friendly not friendly not friendly, money money money, crowded crowded crowded, run away runaway run away.”
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Russell Crowe’s character in Gladiator arguably had a better time in the Colosseum than these visitors:
Are you not entertained?
“Being impressed from a monument that have been used to kill humans in the worst way just to make barbaric entertainment and fun is strange…”
Geez, you’d think it was 1,900-years-old or something…
“shoddily maintained and poorly organized — do not see!!! Apparently Rome has not yet discovered building maintenance. The coloseam was very rundown and did not have any refreshment stands or cleaning crew of anykind.“
Betcha some unsuccessful gladiators wish they’d taken this advice.
"walk around the out side and see the site from the hill top”
Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England
Some visitors are more than happy to throw rocks at this attraction:
Not its finest hour.
“A national embarrasment. I left angry that a definitive part of my national culture was so debased in a sordid money making operation.“
A stone-cold disappointment.
"A lot of made-up hype and mystery over nothing! In Egypt you actually get to touch the pyramids and go inside them. Not here though, where we have a ‘world heritage site’ consisting in some standing and some fallen stones.”
Virgin Stonehenge? We’d line up for that!
“If this is our most visited site outside of London then we must do better. English Heritage run the site but it needs someone like Branson to present this site to the world.”