Iconic locations that for many tick off a treasured item on their bucket list aren’t good enough for some travellers, and TripAdvisor provides the forum for them to make their feelings known. The Eiffel Tower in Paris is ‘the awful tower’ according to one reviewer while the pizza for sale at Peru’s historic Machu Picchu [...]

Sunday Times 2

The Eiffel tower is ‘awful’ and the Grand Canyon ‘should have been closer’

Meet the fussy TripAdvisor reviewers who give even the world's top attractions one star

Iconic locations that for many tick off a treasured item on their bucket list aren’t good enough for some travellers, and TripAdvisor provides the forum for them to make their feelings known.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris is ‘the awful tower’ according to one reviewer while the pizza for sale at Peru’s historic Machu Picchu ruins is apparently unacceptable to another on the review site.

The Taj Mahal

While plenty of tourists love such places – more than 26,000 reviewers rate the Eiffel Tower ‘excellent’, for example – the boom in online reviews, led by the hugely popular TripAdvisor, has brought with it a rise in criticism of ‘must see’ destinations.

‘Go if you must, but you won’t enjoy it,’ is the advice of one TripAdvisor reviewer to prospective Eiffel Tower visitors

Or perhaps places such as the Statue of Liberty – ‘It’s just a statue. I don’t get it,’ says one – are finally being exposed as money-spinning shams?
The Great Wall of China, India’s Taj Mahal and the Grand Canyon all come in for criticism in one-star (‘terrible’) appraisals – some for more legitimate reasons than others – despite being considered wonders of the world.

One Sydney visitor was totally unimpressed by the city’s landmark Opera House, describing its globally recognisable sail-like appearance as a ‘silly damned egg carton’.

The Grand Canyon, among nature’s more remarkable sights, sights, was not worth the nine hour drive it took to get there … it’s only worth a two-hour drive apparently.

On the unofficial ‘How long is it worth to drive to’ scale, the Grand Canyon comes in at two hours and not the nine a reviewer drove
The crowds at the Louvre are not in any way worth the effort to see the Mona Lisa, but if you’re a fan of grocery shopping it does apparently resemble ‘a supermarket on a Saturday afternoon.’ Some reviewers didn’t even go in before giving their scathing appraisal.

All of these places have been around since before TV, films and the internet, and many of the complainers suggest modern technology has enhanced them to the point that visiting is no longer necessary.

Hawkers selling souvenirs, crowds, expectations not being met and in the case of the Taj Mahal substandard toilets are other reviewer issues.
Here’s what TripAdvisor’s less happy travellers think of 10 of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

The Grand Canyon: Pictures are prettier

‘I drove nine hours one-way to see it, but it felt like it was only worth a two-hour drive. So if you happen to be within two hours, it’s worth considering.

The Eiffel Tower

‘Seeing the canyon in person is about as good as seeing pictures of the canyon. It’s possible the pictures might be better since the photographer only releases the most interesting views of the park.’

‘Went there from Vegas for a few hours… Nothing special.’

The Eiffel Tower – Awful tower

‘Huge crowds, the fountains are covered with ugly brown paint. You’re being assaulted by junk sellers in huge groups. The surrounding park no longer smells of roses. Go if you must, but you won’t enjoy it.’

‘More like the Awful Tower.’

‘The view is OK – if you like views.’

‘Over all I found the French to be rude and horrid. I have been around the world and this is one place I have to say the people are a disgrace. The police are just the same.’

Niagara Falls – Lame and boring

‘Bucket list? More like bucket of s***!’

‘We were underwhelmed. It looked nothing like the photos. The falls were full of litter and in every direction there were neon lights and overpriced burgers.’

‘Lame and boring. The place was packed with foreigners who always walked into our pictures in the middle of taking them.’
The Statue of Liberty – I don’t get statues

Sydney Opera House

‘Don’t go. It takes hours to go from Manhattan to the top of the statue, and the view isn’t very good either.’

‘It’s just a statue – I don’t get it.’

‘Worst experience ever. Took my grandson to New York. One thing on his list was to see the Statue of Liberty. Stood in a horrendous line to go through security and it was like a third world country … Wasted a whole afternoon. Just go to the dock and throw your money in the water.’
Believe it or not, the Statue of Liberty is a statue. One reviewer also described visiting the New York icon as the ‘worst experience ever’
The Taj Mahal – Better online

‘The moment you come close to it, 50 guides will surround you. There is no control over these scoundrels. A pathetic place to visit.’
‘The only bathrooms available incurred a charge and were the most disgusting we visited in a month long tour of India – worse than most gas stations. I would not go back – A joke.’

‘Empty bottles lying inside the monument, Spit stains, People sleeping, trying to write things on the marble. Do not visit – you are better off watching it on the net.’

Paying to use the loos was a big issue for one reviewer while another didn’t appreciate the guides offering their services
Sydney Opera House – Not eggcellent

‘Silly damned egg carton.’

‘Nothing special, looks better on TV.’

‘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.’
The Louvre, Paris – Didn’t go in

‘Didn’t get to see the Louvre. Plane delays caused late arrival. But I was struck by how grimy and black most of the buildings and monuments were.’

‘After over 30 years of thinking, I finally decided to give it a try. Not very interesting at all.’

‘The museum looks like a supermarket on a Saturday afternoon’

‘A very unpleasant museum experience. They should take the top ten attentions, line them up along a wall, and put a people mover in front of it. The tourists can see all 10 in 15 minutes, take their selfies, and check the box. The rest of us can enjoy the art.’
Machu Picchu – Horrible llama cheese pizza

‘Given the energy time and effort to get here one wonders if it was worth the effort.’

‘As with a dentist appointment, a visit to Machu Picchu is a necessary but not particularly pleasant experience.’

‘The people who lived in the lost city Machu Picchu would turn in their grave at the people who run this attraction. The food here absolutely sucks. The so called Italian pizza has horrible tasting llama cheese on it. No matter what they tell you that’s what it is.’
The Great Wall of China – Haven’t

the foggiest

‘It was awful. I couldn’t enjoy the scenery because I was too busy trying not to be trampled. Besides that, it was great. Ha ha, just kidding. I hated it.’

‘Not worth the 1.5 hour trip if it is foggy and raining. Could only see about 20 meters ahead of us. I am sure the views would be breathtaking if you could see beyond the wall!

‘It’s not the Great Wall … When you get off the cable car, a very stinky smell will hit your nose.’

© Daily Mail, London

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