By Robert McGarvey

These are the places everybody talks about -- "you have to go!" -- and when you get there, maybe only silently inside, you find yourself grumbling: Why did I bother?

It's almost like the Yogi Berra line: Nobody goes there anymore -- it's too crowded. Except what you are thinking is: Nobody should go there. Overpriced. Rude and self-impressed. Nothing to do. Those are key reasons that make a destination overrated. Understand two realities about this list of overrated destinations.
  • Places like Bakersfield, California, and Camden, New Jersey, aren't on this list, because they aren't overrated. Ignored places definitionally can't be overrated.
  • This topic breeds disputes. You may think that Berlin is overrated -- overcrowded with tourists and mediocre and overpriced restaurants. I on the other hand adore Berlin (although acknowledging the food is blah, the only people there are out-of-towners, and the ghoul factor indeed is high). But just walking along the preposterously grand Karl Marx Allee makes me want to break into song. De gustibus non est disputandum. There is no disputing taste.
The aim here is to highlight destinations with very few lovers and an awful lot of haters.

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My customers seem to love Key West and call me year after year after year for 20 years now. Perhaps both of these travel writers had the wrong guide to their visit to Key West.

July 25 2014 at 11:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've been to #2 thru #6, no real dissappointments in any. Did Cancun in the 80's, not the mega mess it is now. Prague was very interesting, Bali was fantastic, Aspen many years ago, Key West lots of fun. Don't think they're really that overrated, what you see is what you get. So where's the list of underrated tourist destinations?

July 25 2014 at 1:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I think it was Mark Twain who said.....

When you are travelling, all you can think about it getting back home, and when you are at home, all you can think about is travelling.

I think the human soul was designed to migrate with a tribe to follow the herds of whatever animals they hunted as the seasons changed.

July 24 2014 at 8:20 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I never did like beaches.... The sand gets everywhere, there is no shade and everything is hot. All the dead fish make it smell like a rank old prostitute. You have to walk forever through what feels like a toxic desert just to get to the water. There is dirt/mud mixed with the water due to the waves churning everything up. I would take a sunset in the Arizona desert over any beach..

I am quite thankful everyone else on the planet loves the beach though... It keeps them out of the places I enjoy.

July 24 2014 at 8:15 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

There's something seriously wrong here. With the exception of Dubai, these are some of the greatest places to visit on vacation. If you can't manage to have a good time in Key West or Cancun, you don't understand how to enjoy yourself. For one thing, if you don't like the tourist places (and btw, you ARE a tourist), then just start turning corners and finding the less touristy people and places. I've visited most of these spots, and find this rule true whether you're in Key West or Cancun (or, for that matter, Orlando). As gardnerst8 said, enjoy the beaches and the Mexican city part of Cancun (yes, it exists, even if it was created), go to some good restaurants and clubs, and then use Cancun as a base to see the surrounding area.

In Key West, enjoy the kookiness of the Conch Republic, have some good seafood, go to the beach, then go diving or snorkeling on some of the world's best reefs. And if you can't enjoy the beauty of the drive down from Miami, wow! Great scenery. Maybe don't try so hard to make it in three hours. Slow down and take your time.

Bali?? As Scotilla said, stop booking your room in Kuta or Legian or the other wild areas. Rent a quiet room in Ubud or even Jimbaran Bay. Surf, snorkle, dive, swim, get a massage. Eat at both good restaurants and little local ones. Talk to the friendly, generous Balinese people. Learn about the culture. Bali is one of the world's loveliest places, which is why it's so popular.

Aspen may not be the best choice for those on a budget, but even those of us who don't run hedge funds can still enjoy the fabulous mountain vistas and the skiing in winter and hiking in summer. I might agree that nearby resorts towns are a better value.

And Prague. Just go off-season (the best time to see any of Europe) and turn those corners I mentioned. Prague is enchanting.

Vacations or travel are what YOU make of them. Don't miss five of the greatest places on Earth because of what this guy says about them. Okay, even Dubai is worth seeing once.

Have fun!

July 24 2014 at 5:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Charlie Jackson

Dubai? --- You can witness death by stoning but those sky scrappers can't give you the peace of joy

July 24 2014 at 4:35 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

While there are a great many things to see, places to visit, in the Hew Hess Hay, there are a
great many others around the world: Cancun can be just a hotel rental car base to visit Tulum, a
tiny ruin compared to Chichen Itza, and others that you can easily reach (how is the security
down there?), Peru has Machu Picchu, and S. America has Iguassu Falls, and many other
countries and cultures. I have been to Paris several times but never to the Louvre or that
palace (crowds) but have explored back roads and the castles of the Loire and the Dordogne,
Chambord and Chenenceau, Berlin? After you've seen a bombed out church, again get in
a rental car and take the Romantische Strasse to Rothenburg o.d.T. and south to Mad King
Ludwig's castles...Stay in Zimmer Frei. Take a cruise into the fjords of Norway and a ride
on the Flambann. Oslo has the Vigeland sculptures and Viking museums, Bergen has
scenery. I prefer scenery to cities, and back roads to boulevards.

July 24 2014 at 3:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Have to disagree about Bali. Sure, if you stay in Kuta and Nusa Dua it's just a touristy resort, but travel around the island. Fo every shop in Kuta, there is a town elsewhere on the island where you can see all the crafts, dances, art forms, monkeys that you see one of in Kuta. I rode my bicycle around the southern half of the island. One town had unbelieveably beautiful wood crafts, another weaving, another silver crafts, and in another they did a dance (though only in the morning. I had to settle for a tour of the costume area). And I got to se the monkeys, who ignore you if you don't give them bananas.
I'd love to go back and see the rest of the island, each town with its own art form.

July 24 2014 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think you mean Aspen is filled with schlock, not schtick. Schtick is actions. Schlock is things.

July 24 2014 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Key West is wonderful - great places to eat, drink and be merry. Enjoy some Key Lime Pie at every place you dine. Each one has a bit of a different take on this delicious dessert (even good on a stick).

July 24 2014 at 10:33 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply