Thanks to Instagram-perfect pictures and exaggerated travel blogs, sometimes the most popular tourist spots turn out to be pretty overrated (and overcrowded) when you see them for yourself.
But some really do live up to the hype. Travellers of Reddit have shared their favourite spots that are in the guide books for a reason, and we’ve split them up into some handy sections for you.
If nature is where your heart lies, many Reddit users say the Alps are where you should head. Samura1_I3 says: “I went there once and I still dream about those mountain peaks. There’s no way to describe how awe inspiring they are. The way they’re formed with diagonal strata layers makes them so visceral and raw. It looks like the earth ruptured, scarred over, and nature still found a way to thrive.”
While sparky662 describes the views over the Alps as: “One of the few moments I have genuinely had my breath taken away.”
If you’re not so keen on the cold, try heading to Redwood National Park in California, where you can gaze at the majestic redwood and sequoia trees. Zaise_chsa says: “As someone who lives in the Redwoods in California, I count my lucky stars every morning I wake up to its beauty.” Whatsername_duh describes it as “like stepping back into another time”.
For churches and temples
When visiting almost any city, some kind of religious building is likely to be high on your must-see list. This makes sense as so many churches and temples are the most incredible structures, but which ones are actually worth fighting the crowds for?
For Europe, one church that people on Reddit really love is not even finished – La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, designed by Antoni Gaudi. Sticky_chicken says: “It’s probably the most beautiful building I have ever been in.”
For many others, it’s the largest religious complex in the world that tops their list – Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Krelian1212 says: “Even amid crowds of tourists, the scale and beauty of the place is undeniable.” Reddit user stumpdumb waxes lyrical about the temple complex too, posting: “Watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat was incredible. Seeing the scope of the huge complex from the balloon was incredible. Wandering through Ta Prohm, where the gigantic trees are slowly swallowing the temple, was incredible. Angkor Wat is truly one of the greatest tourist destinations in the world.”
You might assume that somewhere as famous as the Taj Mahal could be a little overrated. You might decide to give the crowds a miss – but you would be foolish to do so.
IAmNotScottBakula says: “People complain that it is crowded and touristy, but almost every urban part of India is crowded, and the fact that you need a ticket for entry actually makes it less crowded than a lot of other areas. The architecture totally lives up to the hype, and the history behind it is amazing.”
If you’re looking for something a bit closer to home, you could head to the remains of Italy’s volcano-stricken Roman city Pompeii to soak up some history . PatheticPathologist says: “It gave me such a strong sense of how life must’ve been back then, walking the same streets, looking at the same buildings.”
Reddit user DMod highly recommends Herculaneum, a nearby town that was also ruined by the volcano and is arguably better preserved than Pompeii. They say: “It’s amazing how much of the buildings were preserved there, and they are still uncovering a lot.”
For palaces and castles
Palaces and castles feature in every guidebook, but some turn out to be fusty and a bit dull. However, that’s not the case for Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany.
MaximusMike says: “Neuschwanstein is quite incredible, and the views from the castle are breathtaking too.” It was used as the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, so you can be sure it’s a knockout.
Reddit user kirin_ichiban couldn’t agree more, saying: “It was magical, I could have stayed there for days.”
The Alhambra in Granada also proves a hit on Reddit. Jaimeh77 says: “Been there four times and it never gets boring. It is so beautiful.”
If you’re convinced by the pictures and glowing praise of this Arabic fortress and palace, Reddit user snotnboss has some advice for you: “Many people drag themselves up the hill only to find there are no tickets and/or the queues are very, very, very long. Get your tickets before you go.”