What places have you visited that you thought was overrated?

Travel Forums General Talk What places have you visited that you thought was overrated?

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21. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 712 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

That is to say . . . crowds.

22. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 1130 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

Thanks, Beausoleil, I do indeed mostly mean crushing crowds. Mostly Let's take Grandma's swimming idea, for instance.

One long weekend in December when I lived in Chile I decided to go to Vinas Del Mar. I went walking the boardwalk, and there was a beach. I had never seen a beach situation like it. It was all towels, side by side, from one end of the beach to the other. There were people with their sand pails and towels lined up waiting for someone to give up a spot so they could squeeze themselves in . The ocean at the foot of the beach was loaded with people. All one could do was bob straight up and down as there was no place to go. No, it's not always true that one could go swimming or snorkeling and be happy with a throng of people around. All of those people were city folks. I guess they were used to it. Not me, though I stood on the boardwalk for an hour watching how this could function. That is just not for me.

However, Venice reminds me of a once secret great restaurant. In the beginning, it was a Mom and Pop joint and the Pop would come out of the back with a towel over his shoulder and joke with the diner. The Mom would sing to old records while doing the cash. You'd sit there for an hour after eating just to dig the atmosphere. Then some idiot tells the local paper to do a story about the joint. Now EVERYBODY goes there. Mom and Pop are still there. But there are two kids from the neighbourhood serving. Pop never comes out of the kitchen, Mom is too busy concentrating to sing to the records. And you gotta eat up and get the fuck out because other people are waiting. All the same elements are there, but the experience is ruined. Great if you were in it for a selfie to say you were there, not so great if you were hoping for some ambiance.

There is a reason they gave those students the exercise to alleviate tourist bottlenecks. It's all bottlenecks. Is it egotistical to note that the tourists ruin the experience? Perhaps, if they look at themselves with their Rick Steves pack and brand new Tilley hat and somehow think they are different from the other folks around them. I recognize I'm but another tourist. But one would have to be pretty obtuse not to notice that the visitors there outnumber the people who live there, and that changes the nature of the city, and I say this ruins the experience. I guess if you went to take a picture of those verdammt gondolas, and another of St. Mark's Basilica with the fresco lit by the sun, then you'd still be good. As we all seem to say over and over again: Everybody travels diff'rent.

23. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1057 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Beausoleil

There are plenty of beaches you can have to yourself if you search them out. They are not in wildly popular tourist areas though. It also depends on what time of year you visit the beach.

There are loads of beaches here in New Zealand that would be teeming if they were in a more populated country. Northland has easily one hundred great sandy beaches and bays where you'll be lucky to find ten people on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of a summer heatwave. If anyone visits the first capital of New Zealand, Russell, Oke Bay is a forty minute drive away through Rawhiti - quite possibly the best beach in the world. :):):)

24. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 772 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Piecar

Thanks, Beausoleil, I do indeed mostly mean crushing crowds. Mostly Let's take Grandma's swimming idea, for instance.

One long weekend in December when I lived in Chile I decided to go to Vinas Del Mar. I went walking the boardwalk, and there was a beach. I had never seen a beach situation like it. It was all towels, side by side, from one end of the beach to the other. There were people with their sand pails and towels lined up waiting for someone to give up a spot so they could squeeze themselves in . The ocean at the foot of the beach was loaded with people. All one could do was bob straight up and down as there was no place to go. No, it's not always true that one could go swimming or snorkeling and be happy with a throng of people around. All of those people were city folks. I guess they were used to it. Not me, though I stood on the boardwalk for an hour watching how this could function. That is just not for me.

I think that is a relatively rare occurrence. I would think that there must be other beaches in that area which were not so packed with people. Most of the time there are people on the beach and some swimming, but most of the people aren't swimming. (Unless it is a mass start for the swimming part of an iron man or something) There's always a limiting parameter. In that case it was space. Sometimes it is available parking. In some places it is unsafe to swim because of undertow.

I agree that I would stay away from a place with crushing crowds. I don't know that I've been anywhere like that and I've traveled quite a bit. I think there is usually a way. The closest I've come is the Cheese Market in Alkmaar. There were great crowds watching the action in the square and I could not see at all because I was on a scooter. If we had been smarter, we would have come earlier and gotten a good place. As it was, I got a good place to watch because I had a photo of the cheese men taken in 1950 which I gave to the Cheese Father, and he got me a place to sit where I could see everything. (I have since sent the Cheese Museum the movies that my dad took of the cheese market in 1950 Alkmaar 1950 https://youtu.be/aFPUVSoOI3Q

[ Edit: Edited on 06-Mar-2018, at 20:38 by greatgrandmaR ]

25. Posted by slumberparty (Budding Member 3 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

Definitely the Great Wall of China, especially the more tourist-heavy areas.

Apparently the best way to experience it is to venture off to the less maintained parts of it and camp overnight close to the wall. Anyone here done it before?

26. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 772 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

My mother and my daughter visited the Great Wall of China and their main problem was not the crowds, but that it was Very Very COLD (this was in October 1979, so only seven years after Nixon opened trade with China.) My mother was a white haired old lady with a Polaroid and candy, and my daughter was a tiny blue eyed blond. Both of them attracted crowds - but not of tourists. And the crowds were polite as a rule. The children wanted to touch my daughter's hair.

[ Edit: Edited on 07-Mar-2018, at 09:47 by greatgrandmaR ]

27. Posted by woinparis (Inactive 145 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

It's not such a hot take that one would like Paris, whose name is WoInParis, really.

Working close to Paris (northern suburb), living close to Waterloo, close to a place called Ohain too. So WoinParis. So I could dislike it actually.

Again I disagree about tourist 'infected' areas (my own term) : Wall of China was pretty crowded about 143 meters from the point where all tourists are disgorged. Quite acceptable 546 meters from there. Nobody but me after walking one km. So ... tourists flock but stay all huddled at the same place. If you just outsmart them by being less lazy, the place is yours. Same goes for Venice, that I visited at night or during april, same goes for Brugge, that was so crowded when we went in summer and totally empty on february evenings (and boring too, 'cos all cafés were closed).

I don't know about Colin Farrell doing damage to Brugge, didn't see the movie, didn"t know he did one - his playacting orr lack of in Alexander the Great is not enticing me to see his movies...

28. Posted by king_golo (Respected Member 103 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

Again I disagree about tourist 'infected' areas (my own term) : Wall of China was pretty crowded about 143 meters from the point where all tourists are disgorged. Quite acceptable 546 meters from there. Nobody but me after walking one km. So ... tourists flock but stay all huddled at the same place. If you just outsmart them by being less lazy, the place is yours. Same goes for Venice, that I visited at night or during april, same goes for Brugge, that was so crowded when we went in summer and totally empty on february evenings (and boring too, 'cos all cafés were closed).

This is the trick: Keep going when other stop, search for places just around the corner from the must-see sight - and more often than not you'll have them for yourself. Take Land's End in Cornwall for example. It's crowded, you have to pay 5 GBP just to park your car and they've built an eyesore of a theme park just on top of the cape. Walk away from this complex for 100m, though, and the place is yours. Walk away for 1km, and you will hardly meet another soul except for the odd hiker on the South West Coast Path. I'm sure it's trickier in big cities, but in London it works perfectly well, too. Just take the back streets running parallel to Oxford Street, and you won't come across any tourists.

Still, there are overrated places, too. To me, Cologne and Berlin are two of them - Cologne is incredibly ugly and scares me away with its drunk carnival festivities while Berlin is ugly, too, full of tourists and without any really enticing sights. I can't understand why half the world seems to want to move to Berlin. Try Leipzig or Dresden for some big and beautiful cities in Germany, or places like Stralsund, Greifswald, Esslingen, Tübingen, Weimar and many other for smaller and still interesting cities.

29. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 671 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

Again, I'm going to disagree about Berlin. I find the history fascinating and admire the way the city has preserved reminders of a past it may be less than proud of but from which we can all learn, like the Stolpersteine, Topographie des Terrors and Holocaust Denkmal and museum. Some of its quarters have a great vibe, like the Prenzlauer Berg and Scheunenviertal, and there is loads to see if you look for it :)

But I do agree about walking away from the crowds. I've been writing here about Japan recently and Nikko is a good example. The Toshogo is packed with day-trippers from Tokyo (but is still a must-see imho) but visit nearby Futarasan and you'll share it with just a handful of others, in our experience.

30. Posted by RachelB17 (Budding Member 37 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

Not yet thank god.

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