Blessed with a wealth of history, art and architecture, Europe is home to some of the world’s most incredible cultural attractions. But it sucks, too. At least that’s the opinion of some TripAdvisor users, who aren’t at all shy about sharing their criticisms of major European landmarks. Baffling, funny or downright rude, the following 20 reviews offer an alternative take on the continent’s best-loved sights.
20. Big Ben, U.K.
Few landmarks are as iconic as Big Ben, although technically the name refers to the bell, not the tower itself. Overlooking the Palace of Westminster on the River Thames, this famous Gothic revival clock is not only a symbol of London, but of England itself. And it’s instantly recognizable thanks to its repeated portrayal in Hollywood movies. But then again, as foodiesbb points out, a wrist watch works just as well.
19. Arc de Triomphe, France
Built in honor of those who lost their lives during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, the Arc de Triomphe is a monument to the nation of France. Inaugurated in 1836, the neoclassical arch occupies a commanding spot on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. However, according to Ted J, this symbol of a great European state is today overshadowed by “10,000 Frenchmen racing around in a circle.”
18. Stonehenge, U.K.
The mysterious standing stones of Stonehenge are at least 5,000 years old. Located in Wiltshire in England, the monument was constructed over many centuries and probably served as a burial ground and ceremonial site – in other words, a kind of Neolithic temple of the dead. Still, as smoothhound54 pointed out, those stones are looking a bit dated. “Could do with a good clean and some fresh paint,” he wrote.
17. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
The Leaning Tower of Pisa proves that imperfection is beautiful. Finally completed in 1372, it took nearly 200 years, in fact, to construct the achingly romantic monument, which serves as a bell tower for the city’s cathedral. It tilts due to poor foundation work, but the tilt is what makes it special. Nevertheless, Hemang S. appeared to be more interested in accessing the local wi-fi, and not even a sunset could warm his heart to Pisa.
16. Buckingham Palace, U.K.
Who knew that Her Majesty was roughing it? Home to Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace has been the main residence of the British royal family since 1837. And comprising 775 rooms, several wings and a total area of 830,000 square feet, it’s a vast structure. However, Kelli35 was far from awed. “It was a run down building with police outside,” she wrote. “I expected a big grand palace…”
15. Parthenon, Greece
Dedicated to the goddess Athena, the crumbling temple of the Parthenon is a famous symbol of ancient Greece. In fact, it’s considered one of the world’s most important monuments. But though the hilltop ruin is more than two millennia old, GNV_Traveler just couldn’t feel inspired. “If you like broken columns and stones that leave a lot to the imagination, than I guess you would enjoy it,” he wrote.
14. Trevi Fountain, Italy
Replete with ornate sculptures and bas-reliefs, the 18th-century Trevi Fountain is a wonderfully flamboyant landmark and the largest baroque fountain in Rome. And while it is considered a masterpiece of Italian architecture, not everyone is smitten with it. “There’s a water feature on a roundabout in Stoke on Trent which is better than this,” commented LK1500. “Mainly because there are not loads of moronic tourists surrounding it…”
13. Brandenburg Gate, Germany
The 18th-century Brandenburg Gate, which marks the historical entrance to Berlin, is a neoclassical marvel inspired by the ancient Greek Acropolis. And it not only survived the Second World War and the Soviet occupation, but also went on to become an enduring symbol of European solidarity. However, there’s no impressing some people. “It’s a gate,” commented Liad H bluntly. “And a very small one. That’s all there is to it…”
12. Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, Spain
The masterpiece of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is considered unique in the history of art. Construction of the gargantuan cathedral began in 1882 and is scheduled to at last be completed in 2026. However, it’s unlikely that Grace J will ever return. “Nothing special,” she wrote. “Literally an unfinished construction site…”
11. St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
Consecrated in 1626, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is a sublime work of Renaissance architecture and one of the holiest shrines in the Catholic world. But as far as Henry N is concerned, there’s a hustle going on. “It is absolutely ridiculous that if you’re wearing shorts you can’t get in,” he wrote. “And they want you to spend money at the gift shop and buy a pair pants so you can get it…”
10. Charles Bridge, Czech Republic
Built from Bohemian sandstone, the enchanting Charles Bridge spans the Vltava River in Prague. A fine gothic tower marks its entrance, while some 30 sculptures ornament its imposing length. But despite its beauty, Deano1984newman just wasn’t interested. “A bridge!!! An old bridge!” he wrote. “It’s an old bridge with religious and historic statues etc if that’s your thing great… But it’s a bridge!!! Enough said lol…”
9. Budapest Parliament, Hungary
Perched on the banks of the Danube river, the Budapest Parliament building is the seat of Hungary’s national assembly, as well as being a marvel of Gothic revival architecture. However, it seems that Martynhagan’s tour guide didn’t do the place too much justice. “[He] should learn how to slow down and enunciate without a heavy Eastern European accent,” wrote Martyn. “A head set would be better value and quicker.”
8. Casa Batlló, Spain
Sometimes called the House of Bones, the Casa Batlló in Barcelona has a spooky, skeletal quality. Another masterpiece by Antoni Gaudí, the building has almost no straight lines. In addition, it boasts a profusion of intriguing features, including a dragon-like rooftop and a mosaic-covered facade. But for anamhagahh, it was just an empty house – and far too expensive. He’ll never go back. Or, indeed, recommend it to anybody.
7. Tower of London, U.K.
Constructed by William the Conqueror in 1078, the Tower of London has subsequently been utilized by generations of English monarchs and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, one visiting subject was definitely not awed. “The misleadingly named Tower of Blood had not one drop of blood in it,” wrote Plbrahan. “The actually [sic] tour was full of fictitious stories by a man dressed as a hotel attendant… P.S. no kings or queens. Ripoff.”
6. Roman Forum, Italy
Now the site of a host of temple ruins, the Roman Forum was previously the heart of ancient Rome. But today, according to a review by Dean P, what really matters are the ice cream scammers, who hand out single-scoop cones and then charge for a “big” ice cream. “The joke was on us,” he wrote. “We didn’t even want a ‘big’ ice cream…”
5. Louvre Museum, France
The Louvre in Paris, the world’s largest museum, contains more than 30,000 artifacts, some of them priceless. But even so, size isn’t everything and quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality, at least according to one scathing visitor. “Unless you’re exceedingly fond of dense, foul smelling crowds, endless hallways and staircases that go up forever and all things old then you may want to skip this,” wrote Falco7001.
4. Berlin Philharmonic, Germany
In 2008, international music critics rated the Berlin Philharmonic as one of the world’s finest classical orchestras. Nonetheless, one traveler went to the Philharmonic expecting modern club beats. “Well no one told me did they!” wrote David SS. “I was lulled in by a man in the street handing out a flyer. When I asked him if it was damn good industrial rave, he just said ‘Yah yah yah.’”
3. Red Square, Russia
The site of the Kremlin and Lenin’s Mausoleum, Red Square remains the spiritual and geographical heart of Moscow. And it has been a World Heritage Site since 1990, as a result of its centuries-long role in Russian history. Still, one visitor was disappointed to find the square devoid of revolutionary armies or Soviet rallies. “It was just an empty square,” wrote 664can_. “There was literally nothing to see.”
2. Rijksmuseum, Netherlands
Home to one million objects, although only 8,000 are on display, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is the Netherland’s premier museum. Despite its collection including masterworks by Rembrandt and other Dutch Golden Age artists, one TripAdvisor user still had a low opinion of the place. “Macabre circus curated by the mindless,” wrote Diglis. “…a Victorian freak sideshow to entertain the simple minded rather than a credible museum.”
1. Eiffel Tower, France
The Eiffel Tower hardly needs introduction. It is a symbol not only of Paris, but of all France and, indeed, continental Europe itself. Accordingly, it seems sad that one traveler found it so objectionable. “You can’t escape its sight anywhere in the already disgusting city,” wrote Jonathan B, before adding rudely, “I recommend this to pompous saps who think they are somehow cultured when they stare at a pile of metal while eating a croissant.” Ooh la la…