8 Most Overrated Tourist Attractions in Europe

If you enjoyed our complete guide on backpacking through Europe, as well as our selection of unmissable European attractions, we are sure you’ll love our list of tourist traps to avoid while heading to the beautiful old continent. As always, we provide information based on European destinations reviews, as well as on editors’ personal rating.

Not only that we will indicate the most overrated tourist attractions in Europe, but we will also give you the best alternatives to the following overcrowded, underwhelming, or just super-boring locations.

Red Light District

Red Light District - a Tourist Trap - European Destinations Reviews

Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

We are sure Amsterdam is on the bucket list of all travelers around the world. Far from stating that the capital of the Netherlands is not a legitimate tourist destination, we just want to point to the undesirable aspects of visiting the Red Light District.

First, it is not suitable for a family trip. Second, it is disturbing to see junkies or beggars wandering around. Third, it is a targeted area for pickpockets.

Still, if you want to get acquainted with the grungy side of Amsterdam, you should give it a try.

Suggested Alternative: For all art connoisseurs out there, Amsterdam has quite a few hot spots: the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and the Stedelijk museum of modern art. I wouldn’t miss spending a peaceful afternoon in one of its pleasant cafes, enjoying a glass of wine.

Little Mermaid

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Yes, we know this is the iconic bronze statue of the capital of Denmark. Honestly, though, it is so unimposing that a visit to the Langelinie promenade wouldn’t result in any benefits.

Suggested Alternative: Copenhagen is such an impressive touristic destination. Instead of strolling by the side of the Langelinie promenade, you can rent a bike and go for a city tour on two wheels, just like Copenhageners do.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

wieliczka salt mine krakow - European Destinations Reviews

Location: Krakow, Poland

Although the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a very popular destination, it is fairly boring and quite an expensive fare. What is more, you are kept in the mines until the 2-hour guided tour ends.

Suggested Alternative: If you are in Krakow, you’d better visit the Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory. The truth is that the museum is not centrally located, as it may take a 20-25 minute walk from the Old Town Square. However, it is worth a visit for its interactive exhibitions, and the enriching historical journey it offers.

Buckingham Palace

Location: London, UK

This might sound like blasphemy for our British readers, but the royal palace in London is not that charming. If you are not there to watch the ceremony of Changing the Guard (which is a spectacle in itself), then you are wasting your time in the middle of a crowd of people looking at a huge ornate fence.

Suggested Alternative: The city of London offers many enchanting alternatives to the Buckingham Palace.  To drop just a few must-see locations, we have no choice but to mention Madame Tussauds Museum, Tower Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the Natural History Museum.

Kiasma – Museum of Contemporary Art

Kiasma Museum - European Destinations Reviews

Location: Helsinki, Finland

We are art-museum goers, but the Kiasma museum in Helsinki just fails to impress the visitor once he or she gets inside. While it is quite spectacular on the outside, it does not offer an unforgettable cultural experience.  Naturally, tastes differ. Unless you are a contemporary art-lover, take this European touristic attraction with a pinch of salt.

Suggested Alternative: Situated in the heart of Helsinki, the Esplanade Park is the ideal place to rest your feet and relax after wandering around the many shops in the city center. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a music or dance performance. Keep calm and enjoy the Helsinkian urban experience.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Location: Pisa, Italy

In our post on tourist traps to watch out for in the USA, we’ve mentioned the Leaning Tower of Niles. The sad reality is that the real iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa is a disappointing tourists attraction too. What makes it one of the most overrated tourist attractions in Europe? The answer is simple: everything. However, the experience can turn into something hilariously fun if you look at all the people posing like they are pushing the tower.

Suggested Alternative: Looking for something more exciting to experiment while in Pisa? Take a day trip from the city to the picturesque Cinque Terre towns. Enjoy the scenery over the charming Italian villages, and, why not, a glass of the region’s famous wines.

Mona Lisa, the Louvre Museum

Seeing Mona Lisa - a Tourist Trap

Location: Paris, France

While Louvre is worth visiting at least once in a lifetime, going there just to see Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece is a waste of time and money. First, it is not that impressive as you imagine. Second, your view is obstructed by too many tourists. Third, you are not allowed to take pictures. Not that a picture taken with Mona Lisa is worth the effort.

Suggested Alternative: Visit the Eiffel Tower at night for a beautiful view over the city. Go for a relaxing boat tour along the Seine. Explore the historical sights of Paris. Enjoy a croissant and a nice cup of ‘cafe au lait’ at one of the Paris’s famous cafes. And the list can go on and on.

Birds Market

Location: Antwerp, Belgium

The “Vogelenmarkt”, Antwerp’s Birds Market, is quite an exotic destination one might say. Italian deli, French cheese, Belgian chocolate are all traded along with rabbits, Guinea pigs, fish, ducks, and anything you can think of. There is an appealing mix of cultures there, but it surely isn’t for all kinds of tourists.

Suggested Alternative: Antwerp is a multi-cultural port city in Belgium. What we suggest is to explore the city by bike, enjoy a Belgian beer in a nice café, and mingle with the locals for a day. Antwerp has a long history and fascinating stories to tell.

Are there any other important tourist traps in Europe we’ve missed? Is there a destination mentioned above you’d love to visit anyway? Feel free to comment and make suggestions for our list of most overrated tourist attractions in Europe. We always welcome feedback. Happy traveling!

Photo Credits: TripAdvisor.com, SeeKrakow.com, Kiasma.fi, Holeinthedonut.com.