TripAdvisor.com recently released the results of a poll which asked 2,376 European travelers to vote on the qualities of some of Europe’s major cities. Categories included cities who offered the best free attractions, the most overrated cities, most underrated, most boring, most romantic, cleanest, dirtiest, and a number of other subjective options. While the poll might not be scientifically rigorous, it does certainly reflect on Europe’s self-view.
The people taking the poll included around 600 Britons, which makes London’s showing on the list quite interesting. According to travelers, London has the best free attractions, but was voted as the most expensive, the worst-dressed, the dirtiest, and as having the worst cuisine in all of Europe. Though, not to kick the great city while it’s down, London was also voted only the second-most overrated city in Europe, right after Paris and slightly above Dublin.
Because of London’s poor performance on the polls, the pride of some dedicated Londoners was only slightly skewered. One blogger says outright that TripAdvisor has it wrong, while others are rolling with the punches and saying, “Well, maybe it’s true.” Of course, this was once the London of Dickens, and it’s understandable if it’s not the most beautiful place in Europe, but Samuel Johnson’s pride of the city echoes through time: “You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
Because the poll was conducted informally and was based on subjective categories, the readers of the poll must take the results with a grain or two of salt. Boring for one is exciting for another, and best for one is worst for another. Plus, with only a little over two-thousand people interviewed out of millions of European citizens, the results aren’t necessarily the final word.
The one category which London did excel in, however, was public parks, where it was rated at the top. And, if you’re a more kitschy traveler, London was also voted as having the most tourist traps – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.