15 famous tourist attractions that are surprisingly small in real life

Famous attractions, buildings, and monuments can sometimes appear smaller than one might think. Given their acclaim, their reputations loom larger than the actual structures themselves.

Here are 15 tourist attractions whose reputations seem bigger than their stature.


Mona Lisa — Musée du Louvre, Paris, France

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Paris, France.
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Leandro Neumann Ciuffo/Flickr

As one of the most recognizable pieces of artwork in the world, tourists might expect the Mona Lisa to be large and imposing. But the painting is only two feet and six inches long by one foot and nine inches wide.


Mount Rushmore — Keystone, South Dakota

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Keystone, South Dakota.
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Bernell T./Yelp

Despite the heads being around 60 feet tall, Mount Rushmore looks bigger and more stately in photos than it does in person. The sculpture doesn’t loom as large from the observation deck at an elevation of 5,725 feet.


Salvation Mountain — Niland, California.

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Niland, California.
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Chris M. Morris/Flickr/Attribution License

Salvation Mountain took around 100,000 gallons of paint to create, but the site is only 150 feet wide by 50 feet tall.


The Liberty Bell — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Liberty Bell weighs 2,080 pounds, but it’s only around three feet tall. While its symbolism for abolitionists and suffragists looms large in American history, it’s really not that big in person.


The Fountain of Youth — St. Augustine, Florida

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St. Augustine, Florida.
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Jim Moore/Flickr

One might imagine that the mythical Fountain of Youth “discovered” by 16th century Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon would be a large, overflowing spring. In fact, it’s more like a small hole in the ground.


Plymouth Rock — Plymouth, Massachusetts

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Plymouth, Massachusetts.
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Michael Gordon/Shutterstock

Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Massachusetts marks the spot where pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. The park draws 1 million visitors every year even though the main attraction is just a small rock like any other. It is believed that the rock once weighed up to 200 tons, but now only weighs around 10 tons thanks to souvenir seekers chipping off pieces over the years.


The White House — Washington, DC

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Washington, DC.
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David Evison/Shutterstock

The White House has 132 rooms, including 16 family and guest rooms, three kitchens, and 35 bathrooms. But many people are surprised by its modest size when they see it IRL for the first time.


Manneken Pis — Brussels, Belgium

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Brussels, Belgium.
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Stanislava Karagyozova/Shutterstock

At a mere 55 inches tall, Manneken Pis dates back to the mid-15th century and has become a symbol of Brussels, if not a very large one.


The Great Sphinx — Giza, Egypt

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Giza, Egypt.
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Lyn Gateley/Flickr/Attribution License

The Great Sphinx, dating back to the rule of King Khafre circa 2575 to 2465 BCE, is 240 feet long and 66 feet tall. Next to the towering pyramids of Giza, though, it looks miniscule.


The Little Mermaid — Copenhagen, Denmark

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Copenhagen, Denmark.
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Alex Marakhovets/Shutterstock

The Little Mermaid statue inspired by Hans Christian Andersen is just that – little. The bronze figure measures in at four feet tall.


Taj Mahal — Agra, India

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Agra, India.
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travelview/Shutterstock

The outside of the Taj Mahal is a dazzling white marble architectural masterpiece. The inside of the Taj Mahal features gorgeous, intricate detailing, but the mausoleum’s main room is surprisingly small.


Hogwarts Castle at Universal Orlando Resort — Orlando, Florida

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Orlando, Florida.
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Solarisys/Shutterstock

The Hogwarts castle at Universal Orando’s “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” towers over much of the amusement park at 15 stories tall. Upon taking a closer look, however, the castle’s details appear to have been built smaller to look like they’re higher up than they are.

Read more: Disappointing photos show what the ‘Harry Potter’ theme park looks like in real life


Blue Lagoon — Grindavík, Iceland

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Grindavík, Iceland.
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Edwin Verin/Shutterstock

The Blue Lagoon is arguably Iceland’s most iconic tourist site. While some photo angles can make it seem like a vast, empty pool of vibrant water, it actually gets pretty crowded.

Read more: Disappointing photos show what Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon looks like in real life


Leaning Tower of Pisa — Pisa, Italy

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Pisa, Italy
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Flickr / John Fowler

The Leaning Tower of Pisa stands at 186 feet tall. It would be 10 feet taller if it wasn’t leaning at an angle.


The Statue of Liberty —New York, New York

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New York, New York.
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DjordyD/Shutterstock

At 305 feet tall, the Statue of Liberty isn’t exactly small. But the closer you get to Liberty Island, the less gigantic it looks compared to its renderings in film, TV, and photos.