So bad, they're good: Europe's ten lamest attractions

Europe may be home to some of the world's greatest sites – the Louvre! The Tower of London! The Colosseum! – but it's also home to some attractions that are more than a little cheesy. But just because it's kinda lame, that doesn't mean it's not worth stumping up for. Sometimes the naff isn't all chaff…

DASA Arbeitswelt Ausstellung, Dortmund, Germany

It should be the most tedious museum on earth – this hulking great thing is basically all about occupational health and safety. But somehow, this slice of suburban German weirdness manages to be pretty engrossing, with mocked-up power station control rooms, air traffic control simulators, lots of stuff on medical advances and some rather cool gadgetry. See dasa-dortmund.de.

Mini Europe, Brussels, Belgium

A shameless celebration of the European Union, Mini Europe collects painstakingly-detailed models of famous buildings from around the continent, and sets miniature trains, planes and boats running around them. At each country you can press a button to play the national anthem, and read some facts about the population and its main claims to fame. It's kitsch as hell, but strangely endearing. See minieurope.com

Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, Germany

Continuing the mini, but weirdly impressive, theme is Hamburg's Miniatur Wunderland. Proudly boasting of being the biggest model railway in the world, it's one of several niche museums crammed into the former warehouses of the Speicherstadt. The scale and detail are what will win you over. It took 500,000 working hours to complete, and comes with cityscapes and airports, as well as labyrinthine overlapping railway lines. See miniatur-wunderland.com

Sound of Music tours, Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg is not at all ashamed to go cheesy, and the bus tours that head around filming locations from classic musical The Sound Of Music make no attempt to take themselves seriously. The soundtrack blares on the bus, and almost inevitably people start singing along. There's no point cringing – you may as well join them. See panoramatours.com

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

The tower wouldn't be cheesy if it wasn't for the busloads of tourists coming to take one picture then toddling off. It's, in it's own right, a fairly cool looking tower. But the fabulous cathedral and nipple-shaped baptistry next to it are well worth the visit once you've fought through all the gurners pretending to hold the tower up.

The Jorvik Viking Centre, York, England

The Jorvik Viking Centre has some serious bits, displaying finds from archaeological digs. But its main way of showing off York's Viking heritage is a slightly daft fairground-esque ride through mocked-up street scenes with models and animal noises. The thing is, it works – and encourages you to think well beyond the marauding men with beards Viking stereotypes. See jorvikvikingcentre.co.uk

Memento Park, Budapest, Hungary

There's something richly, pompously awful about Soviet era statues, and putting them all together in the same park hovers on that borderline between genius and insanity. Nevertheless, that's what Memento Park in Budapest has done, and there's nowhere better to see massive busts of Marx and Lenin plus dozens of earnest stone depictions of soldiers and honest-toiling workers. See mementopark.hu

World of Discoveries, Porto, Portugal

The stories of the Age of Discovery, where Portuguese explorers sailed the globe discovering and conquering new territories, are almost universally interesting. World of Discoveries tells them, but in the tackiest possible manner – on a boat going through mocked-up rainforests, African villages and Asian trading ports. A more serious study would perhaps be better, but until then, this'll do nicely. See worldofdiscoveries.com.

Advertisement

The Icelandic Phallological Museum, Reykjavik

What aim could be nobler that to collect the penis of every animal that lives in Iceland or Icelandic waters? Not many – and it's the sense of dedication that makes this absurd schlong selection worth something more than a smutty giggle or two. As is the surprisingly touching story of the quest to get the first human specimen. See phallus.is

The Hofbräuhaus, Munich, Germany

Every Bavarian will tell you that the Hofbräuhaus in Munich is the theme park of beer halls, and that you'll get a much better atmosphere and beer elsewhere. But the cavernous distillation of good-natured rowdiness and oompah bands is nothing if not a spectacle, and it's fun to throw yourself into – even if everyone else there is a tourist. See hofbraeuhaus.de

See also: Do you look forward to flying - the 14 signs you're a plane nerd

See also: From Rocky Mountain oysters to Marmite, the world's ten most divisive foods

Comments