How To Avoid Crowds and Lines While Traveling to Europe

How To Avoid Crowds and Lines While Traveling to Europe

Europe is one of our favorite destinations. What’s not to love? Good food, great wine, rich in culture, and…long lines. C’est la vie, unfortunately, but just because there are crowds at popular tourist attractions, doesn’t mean you necessarily have to wait in them.

For those of you who love culture but don’t want to wait around, there are a few steps you can take to reduce the amount of time you spend in line. In some cases, you can even eliminate the wait all together!


Get up early…

Getting up and out between 6 and 9 am is ideal for sightseeing. Earlier times mean less wait and more experience with actual locals, giving you a calmer impression of the city or location you’re visiting. There will also likely be less kids around, which can sometimes be a disruptive element in places like museums or art galleries.   

Get Up Early


…and stay out late

Check to see if any of your destination’s attractions have a late night option! There’s typically a night of the week where museums are open later than average, allowing you to experience an attraction with less of a crowd.


This is especially true for very popular destinations

Avoid bus tour groups. Big name destinations get crowded with tour groups, so getting to a site right as it opens (or even a little before) can mean the difference between waiting for five minutes and waiting an hour, or more.


Use those self-service kiosks whenever possible

We’re always surprised by how few people seem to take advantage of the self-serve ticket kiosks. This is likely due to the fact that it’s a fairly new addition to most venues and they are often located in strange, out-of-the way places, however you can usually reduce your wait time by using a self-serve system. It pays to do a little research ahead of time as to whether or not your destination has one of these helpful digital ticket dispensers.



Skip the front door

This is another example of a little research coming in handy. If you’re going to a tourist destination, see if there’s a side entrance that can save you some time. The Louvre is a great example. While that famous glass pyramid is pretty, there’s actually a side entrance called the Portes des Lions which is far quicker than the main one.


Ignore elevators

Elevators can reduce some leg work, but taking the stairs instead of waiting for elevators, shuttles, or trams can actually be much faster. The line for the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tour is famously long, but if you take the stairs you’ll reach the top much quicker, even if slightly more out of breath.

Taking the stairs


Book a skip-the-line tour

If you’re experiencing a city with a tour guide, they can often do the leg work for you. Small group tours that work with specific locations move much quicker due to the guide’s advance planning, plus you can skip the lines and have an expert there to tell you all about it. This is much preferable to standing around waiting to buy a ticket.



Houseboat Haven: Floating Your Way to a Holiday

Houseboat Haven: Floating Your Way to a Holiday

What allows you to settle into just one place for your holiday, but at the same time visit multiple destinations?

A houseboat, of course!

From hotel riverboats to barges, to yachts, to houseboats small and large, luxury to basic, and everything in between, a floating holiday might just be the right thing for you!

It’s one of the best kept secrets of European vacations – for those who are already in the know. With a quick lesson and no special license required, the options are endless. You can rent your own houseboat and begin your adventure on the vast water landscape.

“Living on the water took away the boundaries created by land and custom and introversion. Without fences and driveways, the water provided a constant thread of connection and dependency.”

Lily Graham, The Cornish Escape

So, what are your options?

In the following parts of Europe, Canalboats are available: Belgium, England, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain & the UK. (This is not an exhaustive list.)

You can choose every style and size from fully catered luxury, to small group tours, to do it yourself- all depending on your preferences.

You’ll be surprised at how many choices there are. How about chartering your own cruise or joining a tour – small groups of people on a floating hotel, with everything built in for you to enjoy!

Renting your own houseboat is one option and one that gives you endless possibilities in terms of what you can do. This includes stopping at local villages, markets, shops, bakeries and patisseries. What better way to get a taste of a culture than to immerse yourself in these daily go-to places? For those interested in taking a bike ride through these towns, bikes are typically available to rent – just take them with you on the boat! Bikes are also a great way to visit local sites and vineyards.


Let us know in the comments: Have you ever been on a houseboat?

Marvel as you travel slowly along waterways that have served for hundreds of years to transport people and goods – so clearly the roads of a bygone era.

Are you looking for a more luxurious experience on the water? How about a full staff – running both the boat and the kitchen on your behalf? Personal chef, anyone? Local fare and delicious wines for dinner?

If all of this sounds like a dream, it isn’t! The good news is that we’re here to tell you it’s easier than ever and very affordable. It wins on so many counts, as the best way to see some countryside with views that only a canal or other waterway can show you. A vantage point that is truly unique.

Are you ready for how great this is?

Do you want to just relax, enjoy spectacular views, and create memories of a lifetime?

With just a few tips, you’ll be ready to navigate the canals, river-ways and locks. Then, it’s time to just admire the view, enjoy the most delectable local foods and wines, and visit some of the great sites along the way. No car or bus, no unpacking and repacking – just settle in for the duration of a magical life-enhancing experience.

Follow us as we bring you different suggestions for tours and itineraries for 2018. We will work with a selection of operators and owners to bring you some really great ideas, so stay tuned!

Pedestrian Urban Centers – Seeing A City On Foot

Pedestrian Urban Centers – Seeing A City On Foot

Walking is one of the best ways to get to know a city because you get to experience the on-the-ground and in-person side of a city center. Faced and interacting with real people, you find places you never would have seen in a bus or car. As a traveler, it’s also far easier to get around cities with good pedestrian areas where you don’t have to rent a car for this.

Let’s take a look at some fantastic, walkable cities you can experience on foot!


Venice is one of the most walkable pedestrian cities in the world due to its enormous network of pedestrian streets that are totally free of cars. Most of Venice is car-free, and you have to either walk or take a water taxi to get around. Despite its dense infrastructure and the abundance of canals and bridges, the city is beautiful and flat, making for excellent walking.


Denmark’s capital city has a medieval street grid and plenty to see, and its main street was converted into a pedestrian walkway. As a result, you can get most places in the city without a car, from Rosenberg Castle to the tidy markets in the city center. It’s a beautiful place to experience urban life on the water, and you can always take a water taxi if your feet need a break!


America’s Pacific northwest metropolis is a model of North American walkability due to the local government’s regulations on parking spaces and pedestrian infrastructure. The iconic Pike Place Market is a great example of this type of active urban planning, and you can see and do most things on foot or by renting readily available bicycles.


One of the most famously anti-car cities in the world is the unassuming Dutch town of Houten. The entire inner urban area of Houten is for bikes and pedestrians only, and the city’s cars are served by an external ring road only. Inside the ring is a network of 80 miles of paths for cyclists and foot traffic. 66% of traffic in Houten is pedestrians and cyclists.


Southwest France’s UNESCO World Heritage site is a magnificent 18th-century city with one of the best pedestrian walking areas in the world. Pedestrian streets offer clear views of local restaurants and shops on either side of the walkway, and you can get to most places in the city by foot. The Rue Sainte-Catherine is said to be the longest pedestrian street in Europe and at all times of day these pedestrian hubs are teeming with life and energy.


Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Marrakech is a labyrinth of vendors selling woven goods, spices, and their famous babouches. You can walk from street markets to the historic Koutoubia Mosque and see the ruins of the 16th century El Badi Palace. Marrakech is unique and stunning in its variety and history.

Which ones of these and others, have you visited? Let us know in the comments.

These cities are truly modern wonders for their accessibility and ecologicallysound infrastructure, and we recommend adding them to your short-list of trip destinations if you like to travel where your feet can take you!