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Travelers are heading to Europe in record numbers this summer, with one concern on their minds: overcrowding.
Everybody wants to be really able to enjoy the city you are visiting, right?
Large crowds at your destination’s top attractions prevent you from seeing what you came to see.
De-stressing from your summer trip to Europe can mean getting to the busiest attractions early, or even avoiding them altogether.
travel site The thinking traveler analyzed overcrowding keywords across thousands of TripAdvisor reviews of attractions in Europe this summer to help you plan around crowds.
Here are the ten most crowded tourist attractions in Europe this summer:
1. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
This list is dominated by UK attractions, but Scotland’s iconic Edinburgh Castle takes the gold.
Last year, 3.2 million international visitors traveled to Edinburgh and 1.3 million tourists specifically visited Edinburgh Castle.
Edinburgh is one of the top 5 most popular summer destinations in 2023, according to Hopper, so castle visits likely won’t slow down any time soon.
However, overcrowding is not a new problem for this historic site.
In 2018, 10,000 tourists a day overwhelmed castle staff and threatened to close the attraction. At the time, Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site alarm bells raised that the city was “suffering the same fate as Venice” and on its way to becoming a “hollow museum shell” due to unsustainably high numbers of tourists.
To escape the crowds and explore a castle near the city of Edinburgh, visitors can try Lauriston Castle or Craigmillar Castle.
2. Buckingham Palace, London, England
More than a third of the 16 million tourists who visit London each year list Buckingham Palace as one of their top preferences.
While just 121,000 visitors paid a ticket to tour the royal household last year, many others, estimated at more than 5 million, came to see it for free from outside the palace gates.
california tourist becky m described his disappointment when he arrived at Buckingham Palace half an hour before the changing of the guard, only to realize that tourists had to get there at least 2 hours early to see the tips of the guards’ hats.
He couldn’t get close enough to the gate to see the iconic event he came to London for. “You can’t get any pictures,” she said. « And you won’t really understand what the hell is going on. »
Tourists can avoid the crowds this summer with alternative royal destinations like Kensington Palace and the Household Cavalry Museum.
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3. Siam Park, Tenerife, Spain
Siam Park is the most visited amusement park in Spain, and has been named the best water park in the world by TripAdvisor for almost a decade.
Once inaugurated by the Princess of Thailand, Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the park features a Southeast Asian theme.
With summer temperatures in Spain sometimes reaching highs of 47°C (117°F), it’s easy to see why nearly 2 million visitors flock to Siam Park to cool off.
Vacationers can try hidden Spanish beaches like Playa el Puertito, or head to these lesser-known Mediterranean islands to beat the heat and crowds with a nice swim.
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4. Canal Grande, Venice, Italy
Nearly 9 million tourists visited the small canal city of Venice last year.
With more than 100,000 tourists a day during peak season, Veneto’s narrow cobblestone lanes and tiny water taxis can get too crowded to function.
This summer, tourists outnumber locals by more than 2 to 1.
While the city has introduced an entrance fee to try to tackle overtourism, visitors to the city’s beautiful Grand Canal can still expect to be packed like sardines on crowded bridges. And we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but chances are you won’t get the iconic photo shoot either.
Tourists can aim for the off-season or visit these four lesser-known destinations with picturesque waterways.
5. The Roman Baths, Bath, England
These Roman baths have been receiving visitors for almost 2,000 years.
no wonder more than 6 million tourists come see this iconic attraction every year. However, the narrow streets of the city and the tight spaces of the attraction make a visit to the Roman baths in England especially chaotic.
The tour buses in front of The Roman Baths in particular create problems with « noise, air quality and visual intrusion, … unofficial parking, … and public safety, » according to Bath Tourist Board.
If untouched Roman history is all you’re looking for in an England holiday, you still have plenty of tranquil options. Try the lesser known Fishbourne Roman Palace, Caerwent or Wroxeter.
6. Tower of London, England
More than 3 million visitors each year come to see the crown jewels and the spectacular views from the Tower of London.
But the 1-2 hour waits, crowded stairwells, and short time limits in the jewelry halls have many tourists wondering if it’s worth the crowd.
Visitor Hannah went to the tower this June and found that the crowds spoiled your experience. “Amazing place,” he wrote in his review, “but the crowds had a huge impact on my day.
“You’re herded like cattle through all the attractions and you’re really too busy to enjoy it properly. The queue for the Crown Jewels lasted over an hour. I went on Monday morning. At over £30 per person ($40)… it would be nice to see limits on the number of guests per day. »
Instead of the Tower of London, London tourists can view the jewelry collection at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum for free with fewer crowds and no time limits. Queen Victoria’s stunning sapphire and diamond crown is on permanent public display there.
If it’s Tower views you’re after, try the free observation deck at Tate Modern.
7. Louvre Museum, Paris, France
A whopping 8 million people visited the Louvre Museum in Paris, France last year.
Travelers hoping to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa either Venus de Milo might be disappointed after the elbow fight with the roughly 30,000 daily visitors for a partial view from afar.
But don’t worry, there are less crowded places to get a little culture in the City of Lights. For something historical, try Musée Carnavalet. For a more modern twist, try the Fondation Louis Vuitton.
8. Acropolis, Athens, Greece
More than 6 million tourists visit the Greek capital every year.
Every day, more than 16,000 tourists flock to the Acropolis, creating overcrowding so severe that Greece is introducing new crowd control measures this summer for the first time.
The situation is exacerbated by the bottleneck at the ancient Propylaia, or gateway, where these thousands of tourists have to crowd to get inside.
It is also partly powered by large cruise ships that dock in the Greek capital.
Lysandros Tsilidis from the main tourism association in Greece recently said the observer that these the cruises have « the size of a small state on board, and at least 30% of all those passengers will have pre-purchased tickets to visit the Acropolis. »
For a dose of ancient Athens history without the crazy crowds, visitors can head to Plaka or Mount Lycabettus.
9. British Museum, London, England
The British Museum receives a staggering 6.5 million visitors a year. While the world’s oldest public museum is quite spacious, tourists still feel the effects of huge crowds.
Tourist SJ visited the museum this month and had this to say: “The museum itself is huge and yet it seemed like every room or hallway was full of people.so it was difficult to see many of the artifacts properly or look at them long enough. »
For a bit of under-the-radar culture, travelers to London can enjoy Guildhall Art Gallery, The Queen’s House, or Leighton House Museum with fewer tourists.
10. Orsay Museum, Paris, France
Like the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay is as iconic as it is packed.
This museum hosts more than 3 million visitors a yearwith crowds of almost 7,000 per day in the off-season and even more in the peak summer months.
If your heart is set on the Musée d’Orsay, try an early Wednesday morning visit to see the smaller crowds average.
Better yet, head over to the lesser known Museum of Romantic Life to see works from similar time periods without hordes of tourists.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com