We’re all going on a summer holiday. And it sometimes it does feel like it’s all of us. At this time of year, there are lots of popular destinations where it gets so crowded that it can feel like the entirety of Europe has decided to take their annual leave at exactly the same time as you have. There are lots of benefits of summer travel, as it can be easier to get holiday days at this time of year, and the weather is normally at its warmest and sunniest.
But, if you’re not careful and you’re not a big fan of crowds, then the scourge of overtourism can really put a dampener on things.
Don’t worry though. We’re definitely not suggesting you just stay at home this summer whilst everyone else is off enjoying the sunshine.
The best quiet holidays during summer merely require you to consider some of the best non-touristy holiday destinations or unique holiday destinations. If you’ve got your heart set on somewhere specific, you just need to be a little bit tactical about planning your days, so that you don’t coincide with the worst of the crowds.
It’s important to think about how to avoid overtourism both for your own sake and
Read on for some of our tips for how to avoid the crowds when travelling this summer.
1. For quieter summer travel, go outside peak school holidays
Okay, so this one won’t be an option for all of you, as if you have little ones in tow then you’re generally tied to the school year and school holidays.
But, if that doesn’t apply to you, then it’s best to avoid August if at all possible. It’s not the best month to travel anywhere, as practically all the schools in Europe shut during this month of the year, meaning that everyone’s taking their yearly holiday all at the same time.
June and the beginning of July are generally significantly quieter, and September is also a fantastic opportunity for late summer travel.
2. Book tickets in advance during holiday high season
The sad fact is that most of the biggest tourist attractions in the world attract huge crowds during most of the year, not just at the height of summer.
But, if you’re desperate to see the Louvre in Paris, visit the Colosseum in Rome, get into the Doge’s Palace in Venice, explore the Acropolis in Greece or see the mythical Alhambra in Granada for yourself, then you can book tickets online in advance and save joining a long queue.
It’s always best to book for either first thing in the morning before anyone’s up or last thing in the afternoon when everyone’s been and gone to make sure the place you’re visiting is as quiet as possible.
3. When visiting overcrowded tourist destinations, be sure to get up early
When it comes to summer travel, the early bird most definitely catches the worm. They can enjoy the worm all to themselves, if they’re lucky, and avoid the worst of the heat of the day whilst they’re at it.
The idea of setting an alarm for the crack of dawn can be a painful one when you’re on holiday, but it’s more than worth it. You can then enjoy a leisurely afternoon nap when the sun is at its zenith.
4. During high tourist season, be sure to ask locals for tips
If you’ve found yourself somewhere busy during peak tourist season, then the best thing you can do is to pick the brains of the locals. The concierge at your hotel, your taxi driver, your waiter or even fellow travellers could all be mines of information.
Be friendly and open to having conversations with the people you come across and ask them where they would go themselves. You never know, they might be able to point you in the direction of secret destinations and hidden gems like a rarely visited fishing village or a quiet cove.
5. If you can’t visit quiet holiday destinations, then be sure to go during the week
Wherever you go on holiday, the top attractions are always going to be busier at weekends. So, if you can, make sure you visit the spots that you know are going to be busiest on weekdays, and the crowds should be significantly reduced.
Free tickets to famous landmarks on Sundays might be tempting, but the pay-off is seeing them in the company of thousands of other people.
6. During high travel season, avoid the Instagram hotspots
Since the dawn of Instagram, there are certain places that have become hugely popular amongst travellers who’re just “doing it for the ‘gram’”. Whilst it might look like they’re all alone in their cleverly shot photo, there was probably a big crowd of people jostling to get exactly the same image. Don’t fall into that trap.
Summer travel, or travel at any time of year, for that matter, should be about living in the moment and immersing yourself in your destination, making incredible memories, whether you’re travelling alone or with people you love.
7. Think responsibly when travelling during peak holiday season
Overtourism is a big problem. It can cause beautiful places to be destroyed and can be a nightmare for anyone trying to go about their daily lives when massive tour groups are blocking their way to the local market. So, whatever you do and wherever you go on your summer holidays, try and think responsibly.
Do some research into responsible tourism before you go away, and sticking to those rules will not only help the locals, but probably also mean you have a more relaxing, rewarding experience.