Answering your Qs about avoiding queues...
Why Go – The Louvre is home to over 35,000 objects including one of the most exquisite Egyptian collections, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo and, of course, the world famous Mona Lisa. This museum holds one of the most elaborate collections of art in the world in the former palace of the French kings prior to Louis XIV.
Hack It – The Louvre has about 9.5 million visitors every year, so it’s no surprise that the lines at the main entrance of I.M. Pei’s pyramids can be super long. For a quicker way into the Louvre we recommend using the underground entrance. Take a stroll across the road from the entrance to the Louvre, and you’ll find that sitting beside the Arc De Triomphe du Carrousel are steps that will take you underground to the Metro entrance of the museum. This route is lesser known as it is not highlighted on any map, meaning a much shorter line to get inside.
If you are REALLY short on time you can do the “Louvre Run” to the Winged Victory, Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa; as all are located on different levels but in the same wing of the Louvre.
Statue of David, Florence
Why Go – Although there are so many imitations floating around the city of Florence, none compares to the original David created by Michelangelo, located inside the Academia.
Hack It – With a line that can stretch down the street, it can sometimes take up to an hour to get inside and see the lovely David. If you know ahead of time when you’ll be visiting Florence and there are a few of you, we suggest pre-purchasing group tickets before you arrive. You’ll be able to select a time to go, meaning you only need to arrive about 10 minutes before your scheduled time slot and you’ll be let straight in. Super easy!
Vatican City, Rome
Why Go – Visiting the home of Christianity as well as the smallest country in the world is a must for anyone visiting Rome for the first time. From seeing the amazing artwork the religion has collected over the centuries, to the famous Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica (the largest Catholic church in the world) it is all mind blowingly magnificent and well worth a visit.
Hack It – With lines that can stretch the entire length of this small country many people wait for up to 3 hours to gain entry into the Vatican Museum, only to have to line up again for entry into St. Peter’s Basilica. The quickest and most time efficient way to enter the Vatican is by guided tours. With a designated entry time, groups meet 15 minutes before and then enter within minutes of their group time. Not only do you get to learn about the amazing artwork and history of this country, group entry also has its own exclusive entry into St. Peter’s, as well as entry directly from the Sistine Chapel – meaning no lining up a second time.
Extra Hack – Avoid bringing backpacks as they need to be checked in at the entrance, meaning you have to go back and collect this again at the end of the tour.
Colosseum and Roman Forum, Rome
Why Go – Visiting one of the 7 wonders of the world is on most people’s to do list, so when in Europe a trip to the Colosseum is a no-brainer. As you explore the ruins of the Romans, you stand in awe of the technology that was used centuries ago to create this ancient beauty.
Hack It – What many people don’t realize is that your ticket into the Colosseum also gives you access into the Roman Forum across the road and vice versa. Lining up at the Colosseum can be extremely time-consuming, so a much quicker option is to purchase your ticket at the Roman Forum, go through the Roman Forum first and then use that ticket to jump the line into the Colosseum – meaning no more line ups!
The Real Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh
Why Go – This is one of the lesser known tourist attractions in Edinburgh, and runs underneath the Golden Mile. Dating back to the 16th century, streets and homes of the poor were hidden in tunnels under the city, which are now open to visitors. This is a great insight into the history of the city prior to its expansion outside of the old quarter.
Hack It – You can’t visit the tunnels without a guide, and there are also limited spaces available each day. To ensure you don’t miss out we suggest going early in the morning to book your time for later in the day. This allows you to visit the other city sites such as Edinburgh Castle and simply return at your group time to explore the tunnels. If you are little more organized you can pre-purchase your ticket online as another option!
St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice
Why Go – Venice is sinking, and if you want to see it for yourself there is no better place to do so than Saint Mark’s Basilica in the center of Venice. The tiled floor clearly shows the sinking of the city, and you can also see the final resting place of St. Mark as well as the Triumphal Quadriga of horses that Napoleon famously stole to adorn the Arc de Triomphe.
Hack It – To cut down your queue time, simply bring a backpack! Since backpacks are not allowed inside, you will need to take yours around the corner to drop it off in storage. When you do this you will be given a ticket for your bag, which will allow you direct entry when shown to staff at the basilica entrance, as they “assume” you’ve lined up before being directed to the bag storage.