What makes someone hate somewhere?
I tend to think, if a traveller’s not into a trip, it’s probably the traveller’s fault. Not that every destination is worth the airfare. But you can normally find something in any city you either like or connect with – that’s why Detroit has Motown music and Comiskey Park. That’s why Athens has cheap souvenirs and juicy olives.
And I’ve been places I either hated (at first) or didn’t get, but I came around when I gave them a chance and a couple more hours. Budapest is one – I went in 2008 and wasn’t convinced, but I’ve been back since and loved it. I went to Madrid in 2009 and I was by myself, and it was one of the more boring, exhausting days of my life. But I went this summer, in 2014, and it’s easily one of the greatest, most leisurely enjoyable cities I’ve seen in Europe.
So there you go. You could even make New York a snoozer if you felt like praying for rain. I’ve heard people who complain about London and Paris, too, which is absolutely insane… these are the greatest cities in the world. Who cares if the weather wasn’t great? Who cares if some local was rude to you? Who cares if you overpaid for a meal, even a hotel?
It’s PARIS, for Christ’s sake. Shut up and enjoy yourself.
Now, that’s not to say you don’t have the right to whine – and certainly, not everywhere is Paris.
In a Reddit thread filled out in late November, commenters listed their least-favourite – most disappointing is probably a more accurate label – travel destinations.
(Business Insider‘s Megan Willet did a service by picking out and quoting for 16 oft-mentioned or most-commented-on places.)
There are 25,791 comments on the post so far, after 19 days.
And there are patterns to what sort of setting made the list…
You’ve got the Wonders of the World-type spots, like the Great Pyramids in Cairo, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and Stonehenge in England.
Here’s user Broes on the Pyramids:
“The city is extremely dirty, garbage everywhere, the smell… Traffic is chaos. The pyramids could be seen from the pizzahut, so close its impossible to imagine them away from the city. At the pyramids themself you are constantly harassed by Egyptians trying to sell you stuff up to the point where you feel the need to start hitting them to get away from you. If you make a picture at the pyramids with an egyptian on it, they directly demand money. Left after just 15-20 minutes, couldn’t stand it any longer.”
Add in the Rock of Gibraltar and the ruins of Pompeii to that category.
Then you’ve got the cities that are sort of dirty, probably still cheap (yay), and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say dangerous – Naples in Italy, Marrakesh in Morocco, and Athens in Greece.
(Athens of course could be in the landmark category, too, because the one sight most people go to see in Greece’s ancient capital is its ancient monuments at the Acropolis. And despite the ongoing construction – it’s been up for, like, thousands of years; Can you blame them? – it’s a really a beautiful site, with a tremendous, knee-knocking panoramic view of the city.)
Then there are the frat boy favourites – cities and locales that are more playground or theme park than they are something authentic or traditional.
Las Vegas was an obvious one. It’s pretty pricey and geared toward gambling and gomorrah, and not everyone’s into that. Also, Sentosa Beaches in Singapore, Daytona Beach (SPRING BREAK!) in Florida, and Jamaica.
“So messed up,” writes user magnora4 on Sentosa Beaches. “It’s all fancy and hyper-developed and connected to one of the largest malls on earth (Vivo Mall), but you get to the beach via monorail and you get to the little sand that’s not built up in to stores… and then you look out to the ocean and all you see is oil tankers and factories spewing smoke on the horizon. It was like some sort of futuristic dystopia.
“It’s really expensive to get there too, and they build it up like it’s some amazing beautiful paradise. But it’s just corporatized bullshit. The rest of Singapore was nice though.”
Jamaica is an impoverished country with an uneven economic situation. The international public’s impression of the place is built on All-Inclusive Resorts + Bob Marley + Ian Fleming’s House, and that’s more than a little inaccurate of what you’ll see when you’re not in a place that caters to that obviously shallow understanding.
As for Daytona Beach…
“Never again will I enter that city of my own free will,” writes danecdote on Reddit. “It looked like a diseased husk of its former tourist trap self.”
But these are just funny comments…
“Tunis in 2010. Fu*king hated that place,” writes drawtaru. “Wasn’t at all surprised when the people revolted like 6 months later. I was like “Shit, I’d revolt too. That place sucked.”
Well, that’s harsh.