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Falling into the tourist trap

  • Story Highlights
  • Some of most iconic global tourist attractions are most disappointing to visit
  • The Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and the Pyramids on the list
  • The Treasury in the ancient city of Petra in Jordan voted the best place to visit
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A visit to the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and the Pyramids is on the itinerary of most jet-setting travelers.

Visiting the Eiffel Tower was voted the most overrated experience by tourists.

But some of the most famous and iconic tourist attractions in the world are the most disappointing to actually visit, according to a survey of British tourists.

And those questioned didn't think too highly of their own country's best-known landmarks either, with Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain also turning people cold.

Travel expert Felice Hardy explained why many tourists, often after spending inflated amounts on reaching and then viewing the most famous places, are left with a feeling of anti-climax.

"It's easy to be swayed by brochures that opt for the mainstream and focus on clichéd tourist sights around the world," she said. "But many of them are overcrowded and disappointing.

"Pick carefully and don't always go for the obvious. Natural phenomena are usually more exciting than the man-made, and can be wonderfully free of tourists."

The Eiffel Tower -- described by Hardy as "frustratingly overcrowded and overpriced" -- was dubbed the most disappointing international sight.

Britain's biggest letdown was Stonehenge, a sacred Druid sight in the rural south of England, which was dismissed as "an isolated pile of rocks in a usually muddy field" by Hardy.

The Diana fountain resembled "a colorless wet skateboard park" while as far as Big Ben was concerned: "Once you've seen it, you'll know what time it is -- time to go somewhere else."

Three of America's most famous sights -- New York's Times Square and Statue of Liberty plus The White House in Washington also made the list of shame.

But the 1,267 adults questioned by Virgin Travel Insurance also nominated the best places to visit in the world, with the Treasury in the ancient city of Petra in Jordan topping the list.

Other unmissables included the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya and Australia's Sydney Harbor Bridge. Alnwick Castle in Northumberland was voted Britain's top tourist sight.


1. The Eiffel Tower, Paris; 2. The Louvre, Paris; 3. Times Square, New York; 4. Las Ramblas, Barcelona; 5. Statue of Liberty, New York; 6. Spanish Steps, Rome; 7. The White House, Washington DC; 8. The Pyramids, Egypt; 9. The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin; 10.The Leaning Tower of Pisa.


1. Stonehenge; 2. Angel of the North. Gateshead; 3. Blackpool Tower; 4. Land's End, Cornwall; 5. Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, London; 6. The London Eye; 7. Brighton Pier; 8. Buckingham Palace; 9. White Cliffs of Dover; 10. Big Ben.


1. The Treasury at Petra, Jordan; 2. The Grand Canal, Venice; 3. The Masai Mara, Kenya; 4. Sydney Harbour Bridge; 5. Taroko Gorge, Taiwan; 6. Kings Canyon, Northern Territory, Australia; 7. Cappadoccia caves, Turkey; 8. Lake Titicaca, Peru and Bolivia; 9. Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia; 10. Jungfraujoch railway, Switzerland.


1. Alnwick Castle, Northumberland; 2. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim; 3. The Royal Crescent, Bath; 4. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Southwark, south London; 5. The Backs, Cambridge; 6. Holkham Bay, Norfolk; 7. Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast, Devon and Dorset; 8. Tate St Ives gallery, Cornwall; 9. Isle of Skye, Scotland; 10. The Eden Project, Cornwall E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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