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Europe Without Crowds?


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It is likely that the first cruises are going to be going to places without the usual crowds. Where would you live to revisit without the crowds? 

I would love to go back to Rome and especially the Vatican City with much emptier streets and exhibits. I have never been, but I think it would also be a great time to see Venice.

London was another location that I would like to tour without a million other people.  

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The problem is that millions of other people want to go too and are hoping that there will be no crowds.  Reality is that any travel, anywhere, is a risk until a reliable vaccine and effective treatments for Covid-19 are widely available. 

 

Heck even going to the local to get wings and a beer, or buy groceries still is a risk.

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If it was safe, we'd be happy to explore Galicia, Spain.

I doubt anything will not be crowded though.  Europe is opening up gradually to the EU citizens and I suspect they will be happy to get out and about. JMO.

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The Greek Isles. Some of those islands are simply not designed to handle the large influx of tourists that they currently receive. It will be nice to explore without hordes of cruise passengers.

 

Even without Covid, we were able to avoid most crowds by cruising in late November/early December a few years back and would most likely do it again the  same way. We experienced many points of interest with little to zero crowds. We had places like La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and the streets of Vittoriosa, Cospicua, and Senglea in Malta all to ourselves. Even The Vatican was fairly uncrowded (except for the line to go inside St. Peter’s Basilica for which we purchased skip the line tickets). 
 

In addition to few crowds, sailing during low season meant dirt cheap cruise fares as well as heavenly cool temperatures which made sightseeing super easy. Only drawback about sailing during that time of year was that sunset was around 4:30pm.

 

 

Edited by Tapi
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After the restrictions, most of Europe is starting to breath fresh air again as a reward for our common discipline. We saved thousands of lives by adhering to the quarantine regulations in coöperation with the WHO. 
We are not out of the woods yet, nobody is, but with proper precautions, I hope to be able to welcome International travellers again within the next 2 months.

 

I am now in NY, and Manhattan is truly looking surreal. Tomorrow I am doing a Flight that will take me exactly over the Geographical North Pole ( the Magnetic North Pole is wandering every year towards Russia by the way) on my way to Hong Kong, where life is more or  less as usual once again. Hope that NY will be able to do the same soon. New Yorkers are fighters. They will get through this no doubt.

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I remember visiting Paris for the first time in the early 1970's with my wife of one year, she's french but from the carribean island of Guadeloupe, there was no queue for the Eiffel tower and no crowds on any of the decks, magic memories, The next visit was in the mid 80's with our two children, we had to queue for about 15 minutes and the decks were crowded and there was much pushing and shoving not a nice experience. The last time we were in Paris  was in the early 2000's for a nieces wedding,  the queue for the Eiffel was literally right around the tower, wait time was apparently 2-3 hours, we gave it a miss and decided the memories from our  first visit were sufficient.

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We have been in Rome numerous times-usually in October.  Our travel habit since retiring has been to spend Sept. and Oct. in southern Euroope.

 

The very best time was five days in mid November.  Substantially less tourists.  Weather was perfect.  Lighting was incredible.  The best  day was leaving our hotel in the morning with no agenda and simply walking around all day until stopping for dinner in in the evening.   We were fortunate enough to do the same in Paris in late October.  Far fewer crowds, a sprinkling of rain on our last day. 

Edited by iancal
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All 3 European river cruises I've done have been in late October/early November - perfect on several levels.  Students are in school and those aren't big holiday months for Europeans.  Weather is cool to cold an perfect for touring, IMO.  I would go back in a minute if I could.  Amsterdam is calling.

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It would be nice to be in an uncrowded Europe. It would be nice to actually be able to get near the most famous art in the Louvre in Paris. The last time we were in Amsterdam, we gave up on the line at the Van Gogh Museum. (We had been there on a previous visit.)

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We were in Rome in February for a week. (Prior to getting on the NCL Spirit... but that's ANOTHER story)  News of COVID was "just" beginning to surface, and between that and the time of year, the city was as empty as I have ever seen it.  NO crowds at the Colosseum, St Peters Square, or the Vatican.  (When was the last time you could simply walk into the Museum?)   We  also did Pompeii (Also empty) Simply put, it was a perfect way for my wife to see Italy for the first time.  

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32 minutes ago, FredT said:

We were in Rome in February for a week. (Prior to getting on the NCL Spirit... but that's ANOTHER story)  News of COVID was "just" beginning to surface, and between that and the time of year, the city was as empty as I have ever seen it.  NO crowds at the Colosseum, St Peters Square, or the Vatican.  (When was the last time you could simply walk into the Museum?)   We  also did Pompeii (Also empty) Simply put, it was a perfect way for my wife to see Italy for the first time.  

That would have been awesome. We will have to look at visiting Rome in January or February. 

Good point made earlier, it might already be too late to miss the crowds. Europe is opening quickly. I was astounded to see how many people are already in Las Vegas last weekend. Lots of pent up demand. 

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16 minutes ago, JeffElizabeth said:

That would have been awesome. We will have to look at visiting Rome in January or February. 

Good point made earlier, it might already be too late to miss the crowds. Europe is opening quickly. I was astounded to see how many people are already in Las Vegas last weekend. Lots of pent up demand. 

If you go in February it "may" be cooler and rainy,  but I would take THAT over 100 degrees and humid in July ANY day.  We had 4 nice days and 3 rainy or misty, but a simple thin raincoat made things very comfortable. 

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There are all sorts of strategies for visiting most everywhere without hitting crowds.  Just requires some research and flexibility.  Most every place still has a "shoulder season" when tourist numbers are lighter.  Many of the popular destinations also have tours you can take.  Did that for the Vatican two years ago, and we were leaving by the time the long lines standing outside were just being let in.  Almost any cruise port is going to be more or less dead when ships are not there.  You can often sit in an empty St Mark's Square at 8pm once the day tourists have fled back to wherever else they're staying.  Instead of going somewhere at Christmas, go earlier in December or wait until January.

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I wondered when this discussion would get 'round to Europe in the off seasons.

 

I've traveled to Europe about  25 times over the years and almost never in summer. Enjoyed Christmas in Berlin, Easter service in Notre Dame and London or Ireland in spring, early fall or Christmas....all without any crowds.

 

One exception was the Edinburgh Tattoo in August. Edinburgh was full of interesting and fun people and the fringe festival made being in the crowd great fun.

 

......off season is less expensive as well.

 

 

Edited by DFD1
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30 minutes ago, DFD1 said:

One exception was the Edinburgh Tattoo in August. Edinburgh was full of interesting and fun people and the fringe festival made being in the crowd great fun.

 

YES!!!   While we hate crowds, This is an experience no one should ever miss!   We are "hoping" to take relatives there for the Tatoo/Fringe in 2021...   But time will tell.

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When we are in Rome we are often able to walk right in to St. Peters....through the security of course. When...usually about 3 in the afternoon.  Late Sept/Oct/Nov.  When staying nearby we passed huge line ups when walking by.  Hardly any when we returned to our lodgings in the late afternoon.  Every time we go we seem to see something that we had overlooked on a prior visit.  Same for lots of other similar venues.

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I've been traveling to Italy in the off-season for years, but more and more people have discovered this 'secret' of travel. While late September used to be 'off season', now one has to go in late November/early December to find fewer crowds. I almost think the crowds NEVER die down in Venice, although I've heard that January -- after Christmas and before Carnivale -- is a pretty good opportunity.

 

Of course, weather can be iffy. In Rome, I've had the most glorious deep blue skies and sunshine on the monuments in November, and I've also hit a solid week of rain in November where the only thing one could do was visit a lot of museums and eat long lunches and dinners (neither of which is a real hardship for me....)

 

I've also had glorious weather twice in Rome and twice in Naples in February. I was in Naples this February -- spent a week at a hotel just across the entrance from Pompeii -- and it was nice enough to dine al fresco most evenings. And there were streets in Pompeii (maybe not the main ones) that had not another living soul....  

 

 

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6 hours ago, FredT said:

YES!!!   While we hate crowds, This is an experience no one should ever miss!   We are "hoping" to take relatives there for the Tatoo/Fringe in 2021...   But time will tell.

The combination of the Fringe Festival and the Scottish Military Tattoo is just an awesome experience!

 

Good luck with 2021. I feel bad for anyone whose plans included this in 2020.

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