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10 Overrated Travel Destinations (and 10 Underrated Ones)

By John Misachi January 24 2020

Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful exotic tourist destinations in Asia.
Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful exotic tourist destinations in Asia.

There are thousands of travel destinations around the world that are worth sacrificing every penny for. However, some of the iconic and most hyped destinations do not deserve the accolade. As a traveler, you look forward to visiting some of these popular destinations only to be disappointed when you get there because the excitement on paper is really not there. However, you may be surprised that some of the overlooked travel destinations are the real deal. Here are ten overrated and ten underrated travel destinations around the world.

20. Underrated: the Bahamas

Although the Caribbean islands are isolated, they are some of the perfect travel destinations. The Bahamas, comprising of about 700 islands, is a Caribbean cation spot. The island has some of the gorgeous sandy beaches, historical sites, luxury hotels, and museums. Some of the popular attractions are the Atlantis Resort, Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, pink sand at Harbor Island, and the Nassau straw market among other attractions. The Bahamas is the place to go if you want to escape to a secluded place for a holiday

19. Overrated: Mexico

Mexicans always praise their country as an authentic holiday destination for reasons such as cool weather, sandy beaches, and plenty of food. For many travelers, Mexico is a dream destination, but is the country worth the hype? Although places such as Cancun can be really cheap to visit, some little costs here and there makes the overall cost of visiting these places even more expensive. Some of the beaches are untidy with piles of trashes scattered all over and smelling excessively bad. Locals can sometimes be aggressive to tourists. 

18. Overrated: France

Although France is on nearly everyone’s travel bucket list, it is one of the most overhyped travel destinations in Europe. The French cities are cities of limited appeals with very little to offer other than sights. The country has witnessed sustained riots in most parts, especially Paris, where the transport system and other services have been brought to a halt. Some of the tourist attractions in the country are overrated and you may be forced to fight through the crowd to access them.

17. Underrated: Portugal

Due to its location on the western tip of Europe, Portugal does receive as many visitors as other European countries. However, this underrated country is rich in culture and history. From breathtaking landscape to food, architecture, music, and people, the country has a lot to offer. The beaches are amazing and the food is outstanding. The people there are friends and willing to show you around the country. If you enjoy wine, you may want to sample Portuguese wine.

16. Overrated: London

London has plenty of attractions including London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, and Westminster among other attractions. However, visiting these places is costly and most often locks out tourists on a budget. Restaurants and public transport also charge exorbitant prices for their services. Apart from the cost, London’s weather does not favor most of the outdoor enthusiasts. The city experiences 11-15 days of rain every month as well as occasional heatwaves, especially during summer.

15. Underrated: Bucharest

Bucharest is one of Europe’s freshest party hub with a lot on offer, especially for nightlife lovers. Many people refer to it as “Paris of Eastern Europe” because parts of the city are modeled after Paris, France. The city is beautiful and cheap and the people there are sweet and friendly. The culture is vibrant and recovering from past political activities. Attractions in Bucharest include the Old City Center, Palace of Parliament (second-largest administrative building in the world), and Therme.

14. Overrated: Japan

Japan may be one of the top travel destinations in the world but it is also one of the overrated places. Most of the attraction sites, especially in big cities such as Osaka and Japan are overcrowded that it makes it almost impossible for you to enjoy what is on offer. Although some of the sites are nice, they offer very little attraction. Some of the overrated sites include the Golden Temple in Kyoto, Tokyo Sky Tree, and Tokyo’s Imperial Palace. You will spend an upward of 500 yens and two hours waiting time to access some of these places.

13. Underrated: Korea

South Korea is an underrated travel destination for many people for various reasons compared to nearby countries such as China and Japan. However, Korea is special and unique for those who venture further than the promoted sites. The charisma, food, and action of the country stand out in East Asia. Seoul is the most visited country in Korea, rightfully so because of the vibrant life and wide range of attractions such as Changdeok-gung Palace and COEX Mall. While in Korea, you can also take a ride to DMZ to understand the North Korean-South Korean relations.

12. Overrated: Bali

Bali is a dream paradise for many travelers who plan to visit it. It is rich in stunning nature, rice paddies, and waterfalls. With all the hype surrounding Bali, many people go there expecting big things from the island only to realize that it is just one of the overrated destinations. First, Bali is a tourist-populated island. The small island is bursting with people, some of who camp there for weeks. Secondly, prices for highly inflated for basics such as taxis, food, and accommodation. Finally, because of the high number of tourists, traffic is horrendous as the roads cannot withstand the population boom.

11. Underrated: Philippines

Apart from Manila, you may not know any other thing about the Philippines. However, this island country comprising of more than 7,000 islands is a hidden treasure with plenty to offer its visitors. The Philippines has a scenic countryside that will make you want to live there forever. The rivers are gorgeous with hidden underwater caves and cliffs on the side. Other amazing features include the Chocolate Hills in Bohol which are lush green in monsoon season and turn brown in the dry season. The pristine beaches are well preserved and clean.

10. Overrated: Iceland

Anyone who has ever been to Iceland will agree that the country is overrated. During peak seasons, tourists outnumber the locals, meaning that the quality of services is likely to be low. Some of the iconic sites are not exactly what they seem. For instance, the geyser is just a pool and water and while the Blue Lagoon contains not so clean water. Most of the sites and services are also overpriced and far from nothing special.

9. Underrated: Denmark

Denmark is not just about Copenhagen and Aarhus, the two most beautiful cities in the country. However, the country has so many other places and sites that often offer an insight into the Scandinavian culture. The small city of Ærøskøbing will take you down through history. This city has a stunning landscape with 17th-century buildings. Part of Denmark’s history and culture can also be discovered in the city of Sorø. Another human-made wonder in Demark that with certainly impress you is the world map created by stone in Klejtrup Lake.

8. Overrated: Thailand

If you are thinking of visiting Thailand, it will be better if you researched well before committing your money. Thailand is a beautiful country with gentle slopes and tropical sandy beaches. But like most countries, the experience may not be good for some travelers. Some places are not worth your money. For instance, Pattaya is more of a damping site for the city’s garbage while Phuket is just an ordinary island with mediocre beaches. Some of the islands such as Koh Phi Phi are not suitable for children because of what goes on there.

7. Underrated: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is another unexpected gem in Asia. It is located in the Indian Ocean and geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by Palk Strait and the Gulf of Myanmar. The country has some of the glittering shores, warm weather all year round, breathtaking mountain view, and serene waterfall. The crystal clear Indian Ocean offers a perfect spot for surfers and bathers. One of the things you will surely enjoy in Sri Lanka is the delectable cuisine of all variety. The locals are friendly and generous with their history and culture.

6. Overrated: Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the best cities in Europe, with a host of joints and tourist attractions around it. However, the Redlight District has been a hotbed of criminal activities in the past. Criminals have been attacking and sometimes killing both locals and visitors. Apart from security, Amsterdam is pretty small and feels like a town rather than a city and can be done in just one weekend. Anne Frank's house is incredibly overhyped and has very little content to offer. Amsterdam has little to offer when it comes to food. The cuisine mainly consists of meat and starchy vegetables.

5. Underrated: Bruges

Belgium is one of the most underrated travel destinations in Europe. The small city of Bruges is even overshadowed by Brussels, the country’s capital. Bruges is a World Heritage Site and one of the world’s best-preserved Renaissance cities in the world. Most of the buildings across the city date back to the 12th century. With its location at the center of Europe, museums, canals, and architecture, Bruges is a haven for tourists. Madonna of Bruges is an artistic treasure with top collections of the artwork of top artists such as Michelangelo.

4. Overrated: Niagara Falls

The famous Niagara Falls is located on the US-Canada border and known the world over for its beauty. It also falls with the highest flow rate in the world. However, apart from the waterfalls, it really has nothing else to offer visitors. There are no decent accommodations round. The town is ghastly with fast food joints and souvenir shops. Visitors looking for good food and accommodation are forced to drive for another half an hour to hotels in Niagara-on-the-Lake

3. Underrated: Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls are one of the true wonders of nature in Africa. The falls are the fulcrum of Zimbabwe’s tourism industry. Victoria Fall is more than double the height of the Niagara Fall. It is formed by the waters of the cascading waters of the Zambezi River. Some of the activities at the falls include ziplining, bungee jumping, rafting, taking a dip in the Devil’s Pool, and gorge swinging. Excellent wild animals are also available at the Victoria Falls such as elephants and lion.

2. Overrated: Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a popular destination because of the vibrant nightlife, endless parties, and gambling. It is a particularly popular destination for the young-rich who are looking to spend their money. However, if you are looking to plan a trip for the sake of traveling, you are better off avoiding this flashy spot. Les Vegas lacks authenticity and culture of its own. From casinos to high-end restaurants to nightlife, everything there is greatly influenced by the tourists who visit the city.

1. Underrated: New Orleans

New Orleans is one of the most underrated cities in the US. However, you will not go wrong if you choose to visit New Orleans. The city offers some of the most beautiful architecture in the country and great seafood. The Big Easy always has a festival happening such as the Jazz and Heritage Festival and French Quarter Festival. The locals are friendly and ready to help in any way possible. While in New Orleans, you may want to listen and learn the NOLA accent. The city is also diverse with several languages spoken around.

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