Your Top Tourist Mob Scenes in Europe?

Oct 13th, 2014, 01:47 PM
  #21  
 
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Meant to add anywhere when cruise ships dock.m The ships pollute the waters. They people pollute the towns big time. Last year it was iStanbul in the fall. As long as you walked around before and after the horrendous cruise ships left it was fine, but between about 11 and 3-4, the streets were clogged with the mammoth buses transporting the cruise people. Totally ruined Sultanhamet...it's a shame.
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Oct 13th, 2014, 01:48 PM
  #22  
 
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I'll be in Venice in less than two weeks. I'll actually be there on Halloween! Will San Marco be mobbed during the day? I suspect it will be crowded and usually I tell people to wait until at least dusk when "all the others have left" but this year I wonder.

Hopefully I'll see some ghosts and goblins in that famous "drawing room."
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Oct 13th, 2014, 01:51 PM
  #23  
 
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Yestravel, I assume you are aware that certain locations actually PAY cruise lines to stop. (Shopping) money talks. All those OTHER people who are in a place when those cruise ships pour out hundreds of additional people are just as much responsible for that "people pollution" you are citing above.
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Oct 13th, 2014, 01:57 PM
  #24  
 
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Yup, I understand all that, doesn't make me change my mind. Dumping 1,000's of people into a small space to me is awful. It's not the small ships that bother me, but the floating cities. Have had many conversations with the locals on the dilemma they face regarding the income it brings them versus what it does to their hoe lands.
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Oct 13th, 2014, 01:58 PM
  #25  
 
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Florence near El Duomo, Bruge any street during daylight hours, Topkapi any time besides the first 15 minutes after it opens and as noted above Louvre plus the Prado and Rijksmusuem.
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Oct 13th, 2014, 02:03 PM
  #26  
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One of the biggest tourist flash mob scenes (or so it seems) is Amsterdam the week before New Years and after Christmas - tourist office folks told me it was the busiest season of the year and when I went that was obviously so - New Year's Even is like a war zone - loud fireworks going off everywhere - even have to watch when walking lest someone be throwing some bomb-like fireworks on the street ahead of you.
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Oct 13th, 2014, 02:59 PM
  #27  
 
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Since I work an academic schedule, most of my travels are in the peak season (July). While I 'sort' of agree with the idea that some places are so crowded as to make them less enjoyable, there are usually ways 'around' the crowd problem. If someone is only able to travel in summer I would say they should still go, rather than miss some of these places. I would agree that if you are able to go at various times of year, then avoiding some of these in peak season makes sense.

PORTOFINO - was there in July 2013, was not crowded at all

BELLAGIO (on Lake Como) - was there in July several years ago, also not crowded

SIRMIONE (on Lake Garda) - was there in July 2012, got crowded around noon, before that it was fine.

THE CINQUE TERRE - the center of the towns was crowded mid day, but walking anywhere other than the main street/piazza was fine, not deserted, but not crowded.

VENICE - been there in three separate Julys - crowds are pretty much regulated to the stretch between the Rialto and Piazza San Marco (which is indeed a 'tourist crowd disaster'), and after 10 or 11 in the morning. Tons of side canals and small squares to explore all day with no crowds, and early morning even the main areas were delightfully empty(ish).

COTE D'AZURE - Been there two Julys and a November. Clearly less crowded in November, but the hill towns near Nice were great even in July (except St Paul)

MONTMARTRE - yup, horrid in summer, but pretty bad in March and November as well, at least after mid morning

FLORENCE - in July - same as with Venice, really crowded around the Duomo and Pont Vechio, but wonderful elsewhere

VATICAN Museums - even in November the line was over 2 hours long, even in the afternoon. Never even tried it in July

BRUGES - July 2012, crowded but not to the point of making it not worthwhile

SANTORINI- totally agree, sunset (July) it is packed, but not really in a bad way, it was like being at a party (in fact one evening a guy proposed to his girlfriend and everyone was cheering for them, it was quite nice)

DUBROVNIK - OK, this is the one of all the places mentioned that I really felt the crowds were a problem. In July, it was just soooooo crowded. Better early morning/evening but still.

I would not go back to Dubrovnik in July - but all the others I would
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Oct 13th, 2014, 03:04 PM
  #28  
 
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The Louvre is schizophrenic. The main entrance line is impossibly long, but there are other entrances that are just about walk-ins. Poor Mona is mobbed, Miss de Milo is forever mobbed, but the Easter Island stone man is all alone. My two favorite pictures from the Louvre are a view of Mona totally obscured by a mob, and a shot from the back of Venus de M with a backdrop of a crush of tourists all taking pictures (The Paparazzi de Milo).

Our last trip to Versailles we did not go into the Chateau. We walked the grounds, did both of the Trianons plus the Hammau and watched them testing out the fountains. Did 5 miles by my pedometer and no crowds or lines.
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Oct 13th, 2014, 03:12 PM
  #29  
 
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yes I agree about the lesser-known Louvre galleries being much better. Same thing goes for Versailles... once you get out of the palace the gardens and the outlying buildings are great. Every time I've been to the Louvre, 3 times, I have been showing someone new to Paris a with so had to fight through the mob with them. Next year I'm going by myself so I'm looking forward to going in the evening hours and going to see galleries that don't have the stereotypical famous paintings.
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Oct 13th, 2014, 03:14 PM
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Maybe I missed something with Nice but some years ago I was there in late May and I don't remember crowds at all.
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Oct 13th, 2014, 04:14 PM
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The only place that I have been where the crowds were really unpleasantly large was Mt St Michel - and this was in early Oct. We got there fairly early in the day and it wasn't bad on the way up - but on the way down around lunch time it was just very unpleasant. Not as bad as Macy's at Christmas - but not far off.

Caveat: As New Yorkers we may not notice crowds as much as people from areas with much smaller populations.
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Oct 13th, 2014, 04:24 PM
  #32  
 
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Lucerne, Switzerland-Chapel Bridge and Schwanenplatz--last week. Absolutely overrun with Asian tourists in the evening, posing for photos and expecting pedestrians to halt. Shopping frenetically in the ueber-expensive jewelry stores at almost 8 pm, while their tour buses idled nearby. Sorry if not PC, but true.
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Oct 13th, 2014, 04:53 PM
  #33  
 
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A mob scene????? Major department stores in the US on so-called "Black Friday."
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Oct 13th, 2014, 05:39 PM
  #34  
 
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I was in Paris and Rome this July and was able to escape most crowds most places, but that may have been easier for me as a repeat visitor to both cities. I found Paris during Christmas-New Year's week more of a mob scene than in the summer. Weird.

The San Marco-Rialto route in Venice is always jam-packed.

The Charles Bridge in Prague, and the area right south (?) of it, from the Astronomical Clock.

I find it not too difficult to escape crowds; maybe, like nytraveler, I am somewhat accustomed to/expecting them, so I don't get that bothered by them. I just try to find alternate routes.
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Oct 13th, 2014, 06:41 PM
  #35  
 
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I know it is not Europe but the streets in and around Times Square and Rockefeller Center during Christmas week literally become impassable.
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Oct 13th, 2014, 08:50 PM
  #36  
 
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That's odd, because I was there in late September at spent the day in the Marais and the only people around seemed to be Parisian or just French people as I heard not a single word of English from anyone else besides us. Only crowd was on Champs Elysees and even then it wasn't horribly congested and at the Galleries Lafayette and Printemps filled with Chinese tourists. Aside from the Mona Lisa and other famous statues at the Louvre, it felt practically empty in about 80% of it really. We even got in quickly in under 5 minutes even though the line appeared to be long.

Maybe it's just in contrast to the annoying American crowds I experienced at Venice and Cinque Terre, the other places felt free of tourists.
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Oct 14th, 2014, 12:08 AM
  #37  
 
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It would make for great people watching, except everybody dresses so badly (loose, slovenly T-shirts; dopey hats; tennis shoes straight out of superheroes comics). And behave like zombies.

But seriously, folks, it has not reached the popular press / modern consciousness how awful it has gotten in the major tourist centers. The meme still is all about the glamour of Rome, Paris, Florence, etc. when in fact it feels - - more and more - - more Disney than Disney itself.

Our friend RS wrote in his blog a while back that "2nd cities" were becoming worth a visit - - he offered up Antwerp instead of Brussels. My last visit to Antwerp I thought was just as bad, and instead was relieved to split from there and enjoy the peace and beauty of Mechelen and Leuven. Smaller cities now actually have the atmosphere, charm, and often the architectural beauty that newbies expect when they dream of Rome etc., only to find themselves swept along by the hordes past shops and restaurants where the local denizens are long past jaded, and see every tourist as "just one more" (or one thousand more).
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Oct 14th, 2014, 02:03 AM
  #38  
 
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Fodor's ran one of those lists that results in head scratching called something like 2nd cities you should visit. I always wondered what was the first city and Palenq mentions in his OP some places that could be 14th.

This is like when people ask for places to visit off the beaten path when they haven't visited places on the beaten path.

In Spain what is the second city Madrid or Barcelona? Fodor's recommended Valencia.

In the US, the biggest tourist town is now Orlando followed by NYC. What was called Second City, (except for the improve group) is now third city and will be the 4th city in less than 10 years.
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Oct 14th, 2014, 03:12 AM
  #39  
 
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Great photos. Doug you have a photo of a gelateria that takes the prize for the longest name - Gelateria Artigianale Dei Neri Di Vivoli Maurizio. You would be mobbed by vowels not tourists at this place
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Oct 14th, 2014, 05:13 AM
  #40  
 
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Paris in August is pretty empty except for the main tourist draws which are still mobbed. Perhaps this is the best month to visit if you have already seen the main sights. My experience is that ALL the Louvre galleries are busy and unpleasant in August, even the 19th century French sculpture collection which is totally unremarkable.
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