Kelsey is a freelance writer based in Southern Virginia. She enjoys traveling with her family to destinations from national parks to amusement parks and loves sharing tips and stories from along the way.
As all experienced travelers know, there’s something totally different about seeing a location in person rather than in pictures. While some sought-after spots turn out to be a disappointment, some are even more incredible than photos can portray.
On an internet forum, someone recently asked, “What are some places you’ve traveled where the photos can’t do it justice?” Here are some of the top answers.
Scuba Diving in Jamaica
Photos and videos of the rich and vibrant life underwater in tropical destinations like Jamaica paint an incredible picture, but it’s nothing compared to experiencing this location in person.
“When I look at [the pictures],” one person says, “all I see is that the GoPro couldn’t get all the beauty that you see IRL.” All the more reason to take a trip!
When it comes to this island state, many people agree that Hawaii must be seen to be believed. “Hawaii was just shockingly beautiful,” says one traveler. “That’s definitely a place where you can obviously tell it’s an amazing place from pictures, but you can’t fully grasp it until you see it in person. We went to Oahu, and I was constantly in awe.”
Another person agrees, adding, “My husband and I went to Maui recently, and I kept saying how beautiful it was every ten minutes. I knew it would be nice, but I didn’t really buy into the hype of Hawaii before I went there.”
“I was blown away when I got up close to the Egyptian pyramids and was able to touch them,” one person said. “It was surreal.” Other travelers agreed that this iconic landmark is awe-inspiring when seen in person.
“I’ve seen loads of Egyptian documentaries and built up this huge expectation in my head,” another traveler says. “I had already been to 45 countries by the time I went. I was still BLOWN AWAY by how beautiful, how massive, and how intact some of them still are.”
It’s not a typical travel destination, but one person shares that their experience traveling to Antarctica blew them away and ruined them for other destinations.
“Anything in Antarctica is better than in pictures,” they say. “Nothing prepares you to see the 200,000+ penguins.” 200,000 penguins? Count me in!
The Taj Mahal
Photos of the Taj Mahal show the overall beauty of the structure, but visitors claim that it’s even more majestic in person. “There’s a feeling you get while you’re there,” says one person. “Pictures can’t capture the energy.”
Others expanded upon why the Taj Mahal is more impressive in person than in photos, saying, “The marble is incredibly white, so it reflects… some times of the day you feel the need of sunglasses to look at it. Also, in person, the whole white base platform makes it look like it is floating.”
Sometimes it’s not the visual impact of a location that makes the biggest impression but rather the feeling you get just being there. One person explains, “With most of the slot canyons in Utah and Arizona, the pics are more visually stunning than what you actually see in person.
But the feeling of being in a canyon and reaching out and touching both red sandstone walls with just a sliver of twisty blue sky visible a hundred feet above you – no picture can capture that magic.”
The Eiffel Tower
This one is a hot take because many consider the Eiffel Tower an overrated tourist destination. However, not every traveler feels that way! Some find this iconic building to be worth the hype.
“[T]he Eiffel Tower is impressive and way bigger than I imagined,” says one person. “We took the elevator to the top, which is one very touristy thing that is well worth doing.” Another person agrees, saying, “I live in Paris, [I] moved there two years ago. Still blown away every time I see it.”
The Grand Canyon
Most people in America and many abroad have heard of the Grand Canyon and seen photos, but rest assured, this natural wonder is worth an in-person visit!
“The Grand Canyon is so insane that pictures don’t do it justice,” one user shares. “Even the horseshoe canyon that [is] at the entrance looks like an over-touristy place (and it is to a point), but the scale of what is seen is really hard to translate in pictures.”
“I was in awe at Mt Fuji,” one traveler shares, “but my photos make it look so small. I explain to people that it’s the same as trying to take a pic of a rising moon with your phone camera: you can’t tell from photos how it swallows the whole sky.”
Other travelers agree. “Climbing Fuji was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” says one, “Even when I was a tiny 7-year-old.” When planning a trip to Japan, don’t miss this incredible destination!
“Honestly,” says one traveler, “Iguazu Falls is the most impressive thing I’ve seen in my life.” These waterfalls, located on the borders between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, are a famous filming site for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Still, even cinematic magic can’t capture how gorgeous these falls are in person.
“Pictures look beautiful, but it’s even more impressive in person,” says one person. Another agrees, “So many places in South America were hard to capture fully in photos.”
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