Skip To Content
  • Calling All Travel Lovers badge

30 Tourist Attractions In Popular Destinations Around The World That Are Actually So Worth Your Time

"I almost don't want to tell people about this place because I had it to myself, even though it's so close to a lot of popular tourist spots."

When you're traveling, it can be hard to determine which attractions are over-hyped tourist traps and which are actually worth a visit.

So members of the BuzzFeed Community and users from the subreddit r/Travel shared some of the popular sites around the world that were totally worth the visit. (Oh, and I decided to add a few of my own responses, too!)

1. Iceland: "Brúarfoss Waterfall is somewhat hard to find, but it's amazing. I almost don't want to mention it because I had it to myself, even though it's so close to a lot of the Golden Circle attractions and the more popular Gulfoss Falls."

Brúarfoss waterfall in Iceland.

2. Agra: "The Taj Mahal is absolutely stunning in person. The detailed stone work is mind-boggling and the way sounds echo inside the main building is fascinating. Since you aren't allowed to take photos inside, it's really somewhere you have to see with your own eyes. Sure, it's crowded, but it's still incredible to visit."

The Taj Mahal from inside the Mihan Khana.

3. United Kingdom: "Instead of visiting Stonehenge, I highly recommend Avebury Henge. Avebury is a village that was built within a much larger stone circle about 40 minutes away from Stonehenge. You can hike around the Neolithic monument and get right up close to the stones. It is still a bit 'touristy,' but much less so than Stonehenge."

Avebury Henge at sunrise.

4. Bali: "Tirta Empul Temple. I traveled around Bali for the day with a local guide, and when he first took me to Tirta Empul, one of the largest and busiest Hindu temples, I was skeptical. It was so crowded with people I expected a giant tourist trap. But by the time I got to the holy springs and followed the ritual of cleansing myself in the water, I understood the hype and exactly why Bali is known as such a spiritual and peaceful place."

People bathing in the sacred spring at Tirta Empul in Bali.

5. Istanbul: "The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is so worth it. It took me a while to get through the line, but when I finally got inside the bright morning rays of sunlight were shining through the windows and it was absolutely breathtaking. It's one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever visited."

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul at sunset.

6. Ireland: "The Cliffs of Moher are completely stunning, and photos do not do them justice. The entire country of Ireland is beautiful, but spending a few hours soaking in the views and the sunset from the Cliffs of Moher was a highlight of my trip."

Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

7. Peru: "I visited Machu Picchu and took an early hike up before sunrise with a lantern helmet. I watched the sun come up with a small group of travelers from all over the world. It was absolutely stunning and a highlight of my life thus far."

Machu Picchu surrounded by clouds.

8. New Zealand: "Milford Sound on the South Island. For me, it's tied with the Grand Canyon as the most amazing scenery on earth."

Milford Sound in New Zealand.

9. Alberta: "Banff National Park is home to tons of beautiful mountains, lakes, and glaciers. Unlike many popular tourist attractions, everything here actually looks just as gorgeous as it does in the photos."

Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.

10. Scotland: "The Scottish Highlands are absolutely incredible. Between the landscapes and the abandoned castles scattered all over, it's incredible just to drive around and take in the views."

An old abandoned castle in the Scottish Highlands.

11. Barcelona: "La Sagrada Familia is amazing. It's such a disorientating experience. Logically you know you’re in a church, but it sort of feels like you’re on a forest floor staring up at huge trees, but also under the sea and looking up at the water’s surface."

An aerial view of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

12. Beijing: "The Great Wall Of China. Find a quiet spot that isn't flanked by tourists. They do exist! Or try visiting the wall at sunset. It’s remarkable."

Clouds and fog over the Great Wall of China.

13. Florence: "The Duomo really is breathtaking between the colored marble, the sheer size, and the intricate carvings. It’s incredible to see with your own eyes because pictures really don’t do it justice."

View on cityscape and the dome of the Cathedral of Florence..

14. Marrakesh: "The main square in Marrakesh's medina is called Jemaa el-Fnaa, and it's a dizzying experience for all of the senses. There are snake charmers and story tellers, restaurant stands serving and ladles of snail soup and piping hot tagine, and market stalls displaying giant piles of Moroccan spices, dried fruits, and pastries. If you visit around sunset it's overwhelming and crowded, but it's also enchanting, mystical, and unlike anywhere else I've ever seen."

Djemaa el Fna at night.

15. Granada: The Alhambra is incredible. I didn't buy tickets ahead of time and had to wake up very early in the morning in order to visit, but seeing this gorgeous palace was 100% worth it."

The gardens of Alhambra in Granada.

16. Paris: "Notre Dame Cathedral. Some might tell you to skip this popular site, but I say it's well worth a visit. It's so beautiful and iconic. It's also located on Île de la Cité, a short walk from Sainte-Chapelle, so you can easily visit both."

Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

17. Cambodia: "Angkor Wat. There's so much more to it than just the one very famous temple. If you take the time to explore beyond the Angkor complex there are some amazing sights. It definitely lives up to any hype."

Monks at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

18. Paris: "The Louvre. I've been twice and I still haven't come close to seeing everything I want to see. If you go to Paris, it's a must visit."

Louvre Glass Pyramid entrance and reflecting pond at sunset.

19. Croatia: "Plitvice Lakes National Park. I went expecting a tourist-filled nightmare, but it was so worth it. Sure, there were other travelers and it was busy in some places, but there were also areas where you couldn't spot a single other person. The color of the water was unreal, and the views over the lakes were stunning. Definitely make the trip here if you're in Croatia."

Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.

20. Hong Kong: "Victoria Peak. It's the highest point on Hong Kong Island. It's one of the most visited places by tourists, and it's easy to see why. The tram that takes you to the peak is easily accessible, and it takes you to scenic forests and picturesque walks. It's become a bit of a circus, but there's still plenty of magic to be found here."

Lugard Road viewpoint on Victoria Peak in Hong Kong.

21. Cape Town: "Table Mountain. It's about a three-hour hike, but if you're not a hiker, you can take the cable car up. It's the best place to take in the spectacular views of the Cape Peninsula, especially around sunset."

Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

22. Copenhagen: "Visiting Nyhavn is a must. It's the iconic image of Copenhagen where most postcard photos are taken. The best way to see it is by boat tour. You'll explore the canals of Copenhagen, pass by the famous Little Mermaid statue, and get a bit of history."

Colorful vibrant houses at Nyhavn harbor in Copenhagen.

23. Sydney: "The Sydney Opera House. It's stunning from the outside, functional as a theatre, and a diamond in the Sydney Harbour. It has the Harbour Bridge as the backdrop on one side and beautiful beaches on the other. It's magical to visit."

The Sydney Opera house and city center with skyscrapers.

24. Kyoto: "Fushimi Inari shinto shrine, aka the thousand torii gates. It was so beautiful, and such a fun little challenge to walk up. It can get busy, but if you arrive early it’s wonderful and empty. Most tourists stop after they get a few photos, so it's well worth the hour-long hike to the top."

Torii road in Fushimi Inari Temple.

25. Virginia: "The Blue Ridge Parkway. I visit Asheville a lot and always make a few trips out to the BRP while I'm there. I'd recommend getting up early to see the sunrise or going late at night when there's a meteor shower in the forecast. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. I actually got engaged on an overlook there."

Fall colors along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

26. New York: "Central Park. If you're planning a trip to New York City, a visit to Central Park makes every single list...and for good reason. This leafy and serene urban oasis changes with every season, but it's always beautiful. And it's so large, there's always a new section of the park to explore. Even as a New Yorker, I find myself walking about Central Park all the time, and it never ceases to amaze me."

Central park in NYC.

27. California: "I recently visited Redwood National Park and it was much more amazing than I expected. You can't fathom how tall the trees are until you actually see them for yourself. It's awe-inspiring."

Massive old growth Redwood Trees in Redwood National Park.

28. Washington D.C: "The National Mall. IMO, it was so impactful and moving. It's one place every Americans should visit once."

Sunset reflected on the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial.

29. Michigan: "Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. I live close by and I spend nearly every weekend somewhere on the lakeshore. There are beaches galore plus over one hundred miles of trails for hiking, biking, and just appreciating nature. The views are stunning and the water is so beautiful — it's Lake Michigan but looks more like the ocean. It's truly a little slice of heaven on Earth."

The sandy dunes of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan.

30. New Mexico: "Carlsbad Caverns National Park is amazing. It's definitely known by tourists, but it's still off-the-beaten-path enough that it probably won't be overly crowded."

Stalactites in a cave at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

31. California: "Yosemite. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. If you go, make sure to see the panoramic view from Glacier Point. It literally looks like a painting. The Mist trail past Vernal Falls, to the top of Nevada falls, and finally down the John Muir trail leads you past two large waterfalls and spectacular views. Finally, picnic anywhere in the meadow of Yosemite Valley. If you can visit during the middle of the week when it isn’t so busy, it's an incredibly relaxing and beautiful experience."

El Capitan rock formation at sunset in Yosemite National Park.

32. Maine: Acadia National Park is a true gem. Catch the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain — it's unforgettable. And make sure to enjoy to taste some lobster chowder while you're in coastal Maine."

An autumn view from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park in Maine.

33. New York: "If you're in NYC, take a ferry ride to Staten Island. It's not really a touristy activity, but it should be. The ferry takes you past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, plus you get great views of the Hudson River and NYC skyline. There's a fun little snack bar to get ice cream and popcorn. Oh, and best of all, it's free!"

The Staten Island Ferry leaving downtown Manhattan.

34. Pennsylvania: "Reading Terminal Market. It can get busy on weekends, but if you go on a weekdays before 11am or after 4pm, it's like a private market you get all to yourself. Living within a mile of this place is a highlight of my life in Philly."

Vendors and customers in Reading Terminal Market.

35. New Orleans: "The French Quarter is definitely worth visiting, but I would avoid Bourbon Street unless you're a party person. The nightlife in the French Quater is awesome and civilized, there's plenty of talented local musicians, great places to eat, and nice hotels to make your home base."

Pirate Alley in the French Quarter, New Orleans.

Have you visited a popular tourist attraction that was 100% worth the hype? Tell us in the comments below.