Inspiration Destinations Europe How To Beat the Euro Summer Crowds

How To Beat the Euro Summer Crowds

July 2, 2024
The sun-drenched cliffs and pastel-coloured houses of Manarola in the Cinque Terre, one of Europe's most popular summer destinations.

Experience the European summer of your dreams with our top tips for beating the crowds during peak season.

Summer in Europe is a magical time. Whether your dream escape is sunbathing on the golden sands of Greece, museum hopping through France or eating your way through Italy, summer is arguably the best time to do it. From May to September, the continent transforms into a living postcard, beckoning travellers from across the world to soak up every ray of sunshine, cultural treasure and delicious morsel.

But for all its perks, the sun-kissed European summer comes with a downside: peak season visitors. Read on to discover our top tips for beating the Euro summer crowds, thanks to PassportCard.

Explore less visited sites and museums

Instead of vying for that iconic Eiffel Tower selfie or battling for space at the Trevi Fountain this summer, spend your time discovering a side to Europe many visitors ignore. Skip the long lines and explore the lesser-known corners of popular cities like Paris, Rome and Amsterdam or venture off the beaten path entirely to discover destinations you'll wonder why you haven't visited sooner.

For French Riviera vibes with fewer people, travel to the seaside village of Himarë in southern Albania or trade the bustle of Mykonos for a stay on the Greek isle of Folegandros. If you’re determined to visit the hotspots, consider tweaking what sightseeing you do where possible. For example, you might swap a tour of the Vatican Museums with a visit to Gallerie dell’ Accademia in Venice or visit Château de Chantilly instead of the Palace of Versailles.

Cover yourself by opting for travel insurance with instant payouts

Things go wrong on holiday – it’s part of travelling. But crowded airports, banks and hospitals can turn an inconvenient situation into an overwhelming experience very quickly. To avoid unnecessary stress, a comprehensive travel insurance policy with instant payouts is essential. This will provide complete peace of mind and ensures you’re never out of pocket, whether you’re paying medical bills, your bags have been delayed or replacing stolen cash.

PassportCard offers travel insurance that covers you in all these situations, with a zero-dollar excess. They give you a physical card to take on your trip so when trouble arises, you call the team and they load money straight onto the PassportCard within minutes. So, if your luggage is delayed for instance, you can withdraw money from the airport ATM to buy toiletries and clothes to tide you over until your luggage arrives. Think of it as travel insurance on tap! Find out more here.

Book experiences in advance

If Europe’s most popular sights are still on your bucket list, consider booking in advance to maximise your itinerary time. By booking ahead, you’ll guarantee your spot and avoid the disappointment of missing out. Plus, many attractions offer skip-the-line access for pre-booked tickets, saving you hours of precious time waiting in lines.

Some of Europe's most iconic attractions also offer exclusive experiences available to book in advance, where you can visit historic monuments, galleries and museums in private or small group tours. Enjoy guaranteed access to the likes of the Eiffel Tower or Rome’s Catacombs without worrying about the crowds or embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience like this exclusive two-hour tour through the Vatican.

Get up early, stay out later

Maximise every minute of your European escape by rising before the sun. Not only will you enjoy secluded streets, calm cafes and quieter attractions, you’ll catch incredible sunrises, making special memories to take home. Consider visiting a scenic viewpoint to watch the sun soar above the horizon or visit popular attractions before the crowds arrive to truly maximise your early start.

Similarly, staying out later can be a great way to avoid the crowds. While families are returning to their hotels and couples are heading out for romantic dinners, make the most of extended opening hours and explore historical landmarks, iconic museums and world-class galleries with fewer people around.

Try cruising

From sun-kissed Mediterranean journeys to iconic river voyages, a cruise is one of the best ways to tick off multiple sites within a short time frame. Explore various destinations without having to drag your luggage between cities as you check in and out every few days. The comfort of a cruise extends to gourmet dining options, world-class entertainment and consistent company – many people find the friends they make on a cruise last a lifetime.

To avoid crowds, many cruise lines offer pre-booked shore excursions that see you visit popular attractions outside peak tourist hours or with exclusive access. For example, you might take an early morning tour of Dubrovnik in Croatia or enjoy skip-the-line access to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. And because the unplanned can happen even when you're cruising, PassportCard offers optional Cover While Cruising that can be added to your policy. This optional cover may cover medical treatment, cabin confinement, cancellation of pre-paid shore excursions and more. Find out more here.

Travel during shoulder season if possible

If your travel dates are flexible, visiting Europe during the shoulder season is highly recommended. Depending on your destination, the months of April, May, September and October generally offer all the perks of a European summer – longer days, balmy weather and extended opening hours – with fewer crowds.

While shorter lines and quieter streets are reason enough to travel in shoulder season, hotel rates are can be cheaper during this time too. Plus, you’re more likely to secure bucket-list restaurant bookings (think Disfrutar and Osteria Francescana) and avoid any scorching summer days, allowing you to make the most of every second of your trip.

PassportCard provides travel insurance on tap - Luxury Escapes.

This article is produced in partnership with PassportCard. Find out more about Australia’s only travel insurance with instant payouts for common claims using the PassportCard.

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out Where to Go if You Still Need a Holiday This Year.

Feature image: Unsplash.

About Ashleigh Whitehill
Ash is a travel and food writer, who has always dreamed of saying that! When she's not crafting compelling copy, Ash can be found travelling through south east Asia, with a coffee in one hand and a book in the other.

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