The Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, Machu Picchu. These legendary sites are probably on your bucket list. However, you’re not alone: when you finally make it to one of these fabulous places you’ll find that you’re surrounded by hundreds of other keen tourists. This not only makes it hard for you to take great shots for your memories, you may find yourself queuing for hours for entry, if you can get a ticket at all!
However, don’t be discouraged, you can still have your miraculous moment on top of the Eiffel Tower. Simply check out our top tips for visiting the world’s most famous attractions.
Go in Off Season
One of the best ways to be able to see famous sites at their best is to visit during the off-season. Virtually everywhere in the world has their own peak season: the time of year when most people visit. Throughout Europe, for example, peak season runs during the summer months of June to August. During this time, famous sights are saturated with visitors and some sights may even be sold out.
Visit during the colder months of winter, or even shoulder seasons of Autumn and Spring, and the crowds are much thinner. However, if you don’t have the option to visit off peak, you can get your Alhambra ticket even when they are officially sold out by hunting around online.
Get Up Early
This may not be good news for night-owls, however one of the best ways to beat the crowds and have famous attractions mostly to yourself is to get up with the sun. Getting up early and being at the gates as soon as they open means you’ll already see the amazing sights while most tourists are still enjoying their croissant and coffee.
If you can’t manage to get yourself out of bed that early, you can also head to the major attractions at lunchtime. Most tourists take a break from sight seeing over lunch, especially the big tour buses. So beat the rush by heading to the sights while most are enjoying their lunch.
Do Some Research
This may sound boring, but doing a little research before you visit somewhere can make a big difference. Reading a little about the history or background of an attraction beforehand will give you a deeper understanding of the place you are visiting and you will appreciate the details of what you see. This could be as simple as reading a few pages of a guide book or looking up a blog post online, but can make a lot of difference.
Look Around for Restaurant Options
After you’ve spent hours visiting a major attraction, you’ll naturally be a little peckish. You may be tempted to grab a bite to eat nearby, but you’ll be much better finding something a little further afield. Close to tourism attractions are restaurants and eateries that are geared to the tourist trade, and you’ll pay a surcharge to eat here.
It is much better to head outside the area, even if it is just a few blocks, to find the restaurants that are geared to local people. You’ll be surprised in the price difference, and the food will be better and more authentic, too!
Pay Attention to Local Regulations and Customs
When you arrive at an amazing place you’ve wanted to visit all your life, it’s understandable that in your excitement, you want to rush in and start exploring. However, take the time to read the notices at the entrance or speak to the local authorities in charge.
Many sights have strict rules for the conduct of guests. Some of these are fairly obvious (don’t touch or take anything) but others may be things you don’t expect. For example, sacred places like churches and temples often ask both men and women to cover their shoulders and their knees, so those shorts you’re wearing could be disrespectful. Respect the sight and the country your visiting by following the rules.
Take Things Slow
One of the best ways you can make sure you really enjoy the biggest sights and attractions is to take your time. It may sound fun to visit six countries in six weeks on a whirlwind tour, however travelling at this kind of pace really doesn’t allow you to see these amazing places. Sure, you can visit Machu Picchu or the Great Wall of China in a couple of hours, but how much will you really see?
The best way to really get a feeling and a deep understanding of a place is to take your time. You might not see as much, but you’ll get a true appreciation for what you do see. Not to mention avoiding exhaustion and travel fatigue!