So much has been written about over-tourism in Europe this summer.
Americans are visiting Europe in record numbers, and Europeans are also taking their own vacations. The result is huge crowds in the most popular tourist hot spots.
This high level of tourism may be good for economic growth, but it is generally bad for the environment and not popular with local residents either.
In a bid to reduce the number of tourists visiting their main attractions, many European countries have decided that now is the time to take action.
These 5 European tourist hot spots are limiting visitor numbers to their main attractions. This means if you’re planning your own European adventure to any of these destinations, then you should plan and book ahead of time:
The Greek government has announced that from early September they will introduce a new system that puts hourly visitor limits on the number of people that can visit the Acropolis.
The Acropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Athens. According to the experts at UNESCO it is “the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world.”
The Acropolis is currently visited by up to 23,000 people a day which can make it feel uncomfortably crowded and unpleasant during the most popular hours of the day.
But from September the site will admit no more than 20,000 people a day. And tickets will be distributed evenly throughout the day to avoid overcrowding.
For example, 3,000 people will be allowed to buy access tickets from 8 to 9 am, 2,000 tickets will be available for the next hour from 9 am-10 am and so on.
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From April of next year, this scheme will be rolled out to other ticketed archaeological sites across Greece. This means that 90-95% of visits to Greek sites will have number restrictions in place by the next busy summer season.
Visitors are advised to book in advance so that they’re not disappointed if the time and date they want to visit aren’t available.
Amsterdam is the European capital with the highest number of tourists per resident. This means that during peak periods it can feel uncomfortably crowded.
Known as the ‘Venice of the North’ tourists are attracted by its museums and canals, as well as its reputation for cannabis cafés and sex tourism.
In a bid to limit visitor numbers in the city as well as curb pollution, local authorities have banned cruise ships from docking in its central cruise terminal.
This cruise terminal is incredibly popular thanks to its location on the River IJ and proximity to Amsterdam’s main train station. More than 100 cruise ships moor in this port every year.
Cruisers hoping to visit Amsterdam as part of a wider European tour will now have to look at other options instead.
You may not have heard of Villa del Balbianello but you will have almost certainly seen it.
Set on the shores of Lake Como, this lake-side villa has been used to film scenes for movies such as Star Wars and James Bond.
But it has been a victim of its own success, and now Italy’s National Trust is drastically limiting tourist numbers to the area.
The number of tourists who can visit the villa each day has been cut from 2,000 to 1,200 this month. With 40% of visitors missing out, that means you are advised to book tickets in advance if you want to visit Villa de Balbianello during your stay in Italy.
In May of this year the small Italian region of Trentino Alto Adige also introduced visitor caps, limiting the number of overnight guests.
The region is home to the Dolomites and areas of outstanding natural beauty, such as the glacial Lago di Braies, which attracted 34 million visitors in 2022. But now visitor numbers are capped at 2019 levels and no more guest houses, hotels, or Airbnbs are allowed to open in the area.
Access to the Alpe di Suisi Alpine meadow has been restricted and travelers can only visit the glacial Lago di Braies if they pre-register in advance.
With Italy being one of the biggest European victims of over-tourism, we can expect to see more attractions in the country choosing to limit their visitor numbers in this way going forward.
Dubrovnik in Croatia is another destination that is a victim of its own success. Thanks to its role as a co-star in Game of Thrones more people than ever are visiting its walled city.
To protect residents and prevent any damage to some of the city’s oldest buildings, Dubrovnik has introduced visitor caps. Security cameras have been set up at the walled city’s five entrances have been installed.
If these cameras pick up more than 6,000 people entering the city, then crowd-slowing measures will be put in place. This means that there will be longer wait times to access the Old Town.
If you’re visiting during a particularly popular time of year or are short on time then you might want to consider buying a Dubrovnik City Card. This gives you priority access to the city during your stay.
France is one of the most popular countries for tourists in the world, and Paris is the most popular city.
French tourism minister Olivia Gregoire recognizes that while this is good news for the French economy, it is bad news for “the environment, the quality of life for locals, and the experiences for visitors.”
In June, she unveiled new plans to regulate visitor flows in the country and to prevent over-tourism.
Some of the measures introduced include capping the number of visitors who can take a day trip to the Brittany island of Brehat at 4,700 people. The Calanques national park will also now only allow 400 people per day to enter.
In Paris, sites such as the Louvre have also introduced daily visitor caps. Just 30,000 can access the gallery per day.
These tickets often sell quickly, so if you’re visiting during a peak period you are advised to buy your tickets in advance.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com