How to Avoid Lines and Crowds
The most popular sights in Europe – the Eiffel Tower, the Westminster Abbey, and the Sistine Chapel, to name a few – are famous for no ordinary reasons. It should not come as a surprise why millions of tourists want to see it and be the first one to do it – hence, the very long lines. Making reservations to these top tourist destinations is smart and time-efficient.
Waiting in line for hours not only kills the sightseeing buzz and euphoria but also takes away precious moments when you’re supposed to have immersed to all its beauty and grandeur, and then move on to the next destination – or maybe just relax on that queen-sized mattress inside your hotel while clutching your pillows dressed in Egyptian cotton cover
If you plan ahead, then you can avoid lines and crowds while checking off those must-see destinations from your travel bucket list. So, if you don’t want to queue, we’ll let you in with simple tricks:
1. You’ve got to have proper timing.
Just because you have planned to tour around Versailles on Tuesdays doesn’t mean you cannot be flexible about your scheduled itineraries especially you have enochlophobia (fear of crowd) – which you cannot avoid in Versailles on a typical Tuesday. But also, don’t choose to put major sights within your day trip on any weekend, if you can help it.
Another thing is that most major tourist destinations tend to be closed for the public on the same day of the week – and it’s not necessarily on a weekend so you have to take note of those factors that would affect your travel.
2. Take advantage of ‘free days’ – or not.
Yes, you can explore the museum for free on this particular day the management has set for the tourists and locals alike but it would be unwise to schedule a trip on that day, not if you want to go cheek to cheek with other holidaymakers. For example, the Sistine Chapel is free for everyone every last Sunday of the month. But it feels more like the Sardine Chapel, which takes away that charm and serenity you were associating it with all your life. So don’t burst your bubble and take any other day, even if it would mean you have to pay the full fare.
3. Go early or go late.
At popular sights teeming with big-bus tour groups and cruise excursions, it might help that you arrive earlier than the scheduled opening or right at the very end when the door is about to be closed. This way, you don’t have to make your way through humungous crowd. While the former works best any time, the latter might be tricky especially if no tickets are available anymore.
4. Look out for late night showings.
Sometimes, tourist destinations extend their opening hours like London’s Tate Modern. Every Friday and Saturday evenings, you can admire Dali and Matisse for as long as you like, in near solitude. This works best for nocturnal individuals.
5. Watch out for shortcuts.
Sometimes, you can find a clever way to avoid lines and crowds. Maybe a side entrance is open and there’s a shorter queue there. Watch out for last-minute reservations from guided tours so you don’t have to endure the sun (or the freezing cold) for hours. For example, you can finally fulfil your dream of entering the Louvre at last if you choose the underground entrance. And here’s a peculiar scenario at St. Mark’s Basilica: Check a bag inside a nearby church and armed with your bag-claim tag, head on in to the front of this Venetian pride. Go figure… But then again, who cares as long as you enter in first?
6. Get advanced tickets.
Certain sights are not built to accommodate the demands of throngs and throngs of holidaymakers so all you can do is make advanced reservations, if you really want to see it. If you do so, you can just show up at your reserved entry time. You’d earn a lot of envious eyes as you breeze right in, that’s for sure. For example, skip the long line at the Tower of London by purchasing a fast Trak ticket at a souvenir stand.
7. Grab the citywide sightseeing pass.
These tourist cards are worth your time, money and energy. They may even include free or discounted entrance fee as well as free use of public transit. If you factor in the money you can save by using individual passes, it wold still be not worth the time, especially if your European travel holiday is just for a few days. For example if you want to see the Louvre, Versailles, Notre-Dame, and Orsay all in one day, then just get the Paris’ Museum Pass. It would help you avoid the long ticket-buying lines. If you go to Spain during peak season, buy the Madrid Card even it is a little higher than the ordinary passes so you won’t wait in queue at the Royal Palace and the Prado.
All in all, your European holiday getaway doesn’t have to involve gruelling lines and crowds. Remember these tips and enjoy your sights right away.