Off-Season Visit During
With crowds and queues lining up in Paris and London, and even smaller hamlets like Avignon and Verona, Europe can be a mess during the peak travel season. If you would prefer not to stand in long lines and crowds to see the Mona Lisa or the Sistine Chapel, avoid the months of June, July , and August.
Plus, summer time is when Europeans themselves go on vacation elsewhere, so my suggestion is to get a real sense of what locals are like in your destination, visit cusp-season-early spring or fall!
Family Businesses store
To check out the smaller companies, the family-run patisserie or the mom-and – pop gelato place on the corner, head off the beaten track of the Eiffel Towers and Galeries Lafayettes.
You’re here to meet and mingle with locals, so you could also support local businesses, and you can even try a ‘Bonjour’ or ‘Ciao’ with them while you’re at it. Restaurants and stores tend to be cheaper off the main roads anyway.
Local language learning
Before you arrive, practise a few phrases and use them with locals if you feel comfortable. They’ll appreciate a tourist trying to speak the local tongue in most cases.
Try listening to a few podcasts to get the correct pronunciation, or spending some time leading up to your trip with a language programs like Rosetta Stone.
Greetings and gratitude can go a long way and don’t forget to learn the “toilet” word!
Stay in One Place longer
Staying in one place for a week or two rather than city-hopping every few days always feels more rewarding. Not only does that mean less packing and unpacking, but by sticking it out in one place, you also have the chance to get to know a neighbourhood, find a favourite cafe, and even make some friendships.
For a week, rent an Airbnb, or find a home in a favourite corner of the city for a couple of weeks!
Do As The Locals Do
You don’t want to be that tourist with bad manners or loud exclamations, standing out from the crowd, so observe what the locals do and follow suit.
For instance, in conservative Orthodox churches, do not wear tank tops or lower your tone, as most Europeans speak in a softer tone than Americans. Just be aware of your surroundings, and if you’re not sure what to expect, research local etiquette for your destination.
Be conscious of closures for the afternoon
A quick tip: Europeans value their lunch breaks, and hours are often spent on midday meals. So, from noon until 2 pm, you can find a ticket office or post office closed.
When you schedule your daily itinerary, take the late lunch into account. And guess what … it’s a perfect opportunity to indulge yourself in a long lunch. In Rome when!
Stray From the Path Beaten
See the Eiffel Tower by all means and ride a gondola in Venice. The beaten path can sometimes be a fun experience of its own.
But you can see and do so much more, for the most part, if you stay away from it. Ask residents at the bar for their suggestions on where to eat and drink, or read them online. The best place to have a picnic, the best view of gargoyles, the best place to capture the underground music scene are locals who really know their city.
Stay in the centre and walk all over
Spending the night in a cheap hotel in the suburbs may seem logical, but trust me, it’s not always worth it. Sleeping far from downtown can be a real pain when you take into account the transportation to and from the city, or the hassle of trying to find a restaurant in a residential area.
Instead, splurge a little and book a moderate location in or near the centre of the city. You will be able to reach the main attractions and find cafes and restaurants without any problems. Plus, if you’re walking around rather than taking the metro or a bus, you’ll see more of the city.
Stay in the City Smaller
On the other hand- large cities like Rome, Paris , London, Amsterdam can all be overrun with tourists — making it difficult to blend in and meet and speak with locals.
Choose a smaller town with a city center of its own, and one that doesn’t get as many visitors, but is only a short train ride away from the main hubs: Girona near Barcelona, Bologna near Florence.
These cities are usually quieter and run at a slower pace, allowing you to have less pressure to enjoy yourself. You will also find more accommodation available farther from the city centre in the form of apartment rentals and homestays!
Use Airlines for Budget
For the mindful traveller, budget airlines are destiny ‘s gift. Europe has dozens of cheap airlines that fly at a minimal cost from town to town.