How to Avoid the Crowds in Europe

Are you planning a trip to Europe? Don’t we almost always research the top photo spots! While not all of us might admit it, everyone would love to come away from their European adventure with that perfect picture for instagram. You, alone, at a major world attraction. Unfortunately 90% of the time this won’t be the case, as these places are packed out!

Europe is at the top of everyone’s travel list, and thousands of people visit every year. But here’s a few pointers to not only get great travel photos, but not have to fight against the crowds for a spot in front of the Trevi Fountain, Notre Dame, or {insert insta-worthy attraction here)…

How to Avoid the Crowds in Europe. Travel better! | Dossier Blog

 

How to Avoid the Crowds in Europe – Tips for the Best Travel Photos

Don’t go on a group tour

My number one tip for avoiding crowds in Europe is to not go on a tour! If you are on a tour, you will be nearly always be amongst a large group of tourists, fighting for first place or a clear photo shot. When we were in Cinque Terre, the most busy times were when a ferry load or tour group would flood the tiny village, making it hard to enjoy the area as you were always watching where you were walking, waiting in line or trying to get a clear photo (among the other hundred who were trying to do the same!) We learned an invaluable lesson – we never wanted to be part of a group tour. Tour groups may have some benefits, but staying away from crowds definitely isn’t one of them.

Wait a few extra minutes at a busy attraction

If you arrive at a place and find it is packed out, it could just be because a large tour group has just arrived. If you take you time and hang back for a few minutes, generally the rush will start to clear and it will give you a better photo shot and experience. Especially in small areas, it can seem like you need to be at the front of the pack to get the best photos possible. If you wait, generally people lose interest quickly and you’ll be left with the attraction all to yourself!

Get up early and break mid day

The European culture generally starts their days late and finish even later. So if you get up early to visit a place before 10am, it will definitely be a lot quieter. Not to mention the lighting is generally better at the start and the end of the day! If you arrive before an attraction opens, you can always take a few snaps and then be first in line to experience it. If you’re like me, and need a break during your sightseeing, head back to your hotel around early-mid afternoon. That way you can get refreshed and head back out late in the afternoon when everyone else is heading home. Then you’ll also be able to catch the infamous golden hour of light for photography.

Travel outside of peak periods

This one might seem obvious but it really makes a difference! Try to travel in shoulder or quiet seasons instead of the peak summer period. It’s a lot more comfortable to walk around in 20-degree-Celcius temperatures, as opposed to above the 30s! There are also less queues, less people and more authentic experiences. Spend some time at the main sights but also make time for places that aren’t top of the cliché tourist list – like the Le Marais neighbourhood in Paris.

Book ahead (for attractions)

If you know there are main attractions you definitely want to visit, often you can book tickets online. This can save a huge amount of time where you would normally be waiting in line to buy tickets. Instead you can skip the line and go straight in. It’s also a good idea to visit main attractions at the start of the day, and then have the rest of the day to do whatever else you want.

Find the smaller and lesser-known locations

Not only will staying at a less popular destination be a lot quieter, it will generally be more authentic. When we visited the south of France we stayed in Nice. It was lovely, but as we were leaving on the train, we noticed all of the tiny seaside towns that were absolutely stunning! We instantly decided that if we returned, we would look into staying at a place nearby Nice instead of in the centre.

How cute are these mini ice creams in Santorini! Tips for avoiding tourist crowds when traveling Europe | Dossier Blog

 

I know I’ll definitely be taking these tips for travel photography into account on my next European adventure, and I hope they have helped you in planning your travels! If you found this post helpful, I’d love it if you would share it or pin it.

Top tips on avoiding the tourist crowds in Europe to get the best photos! | Dossier Blog

 

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