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Avid traveller Mark Wolters — who has been to 70 countries to date and counting — shares his adventures and honest travel advice on his popular YouTube channel, Wolters World, to 893K subscribers.
The Illinois-based professor, who is on the road five to six months out of the year, caught up with Travel Courier to share some advice with travel advisors on where clients can go to beat the crowds in Europe.
“With revenge travel still in full effect, even with all of the airport and airline issues, it is hard to find a tourist destination that is not crowded this summer,” says Wolters, who is on team carry on only. “We have spent the entire summer traveling around Europe and there are a few things we have noticed that may help you get a respite from the tourist hordes.”
Tip #1 Consider secondary destinations
“First off, main tourist destinations like Paris, London, and the Amalfi Coast in Europe are completely packed, however the secondary destinations have not been as full,” he shares. “Instead of the Amalfi Coast in Italy, go to Puglia and Southern Italy and explore Bari, Matera, Alberobello, and Polignano a Mare.
“Puglia is a popular summer destination for Italian tourists. In Bari you can see the grandmothers making pasta in the street, visit St. Nicholas’ Basilica, yes that St. Nicholas, and party the night away with the locals. Even though there are still a lot of tourists visiting Puglia in the summer, you will notice significantly more elbow room wandering the UNESCO World Heritage towns of Alberobello with their Trulli homes that look like a colony on Mars and Matera (which is in Basilicata) with their sassi or caves carved out of the rocks, than you will on the Amalfi Coast.”
Tip #2 Think Germany beyond Munich or Berlin
“If you are hoping for some German treats, instead of the tourist hubs of Munich or Berlin, head to the Harz Mountains,” he advises. “The towns of Goslar, Wernigerode, and Quedlinburg are straight out of a Grimm’s fairytale, with half-timbered houses, townhalls that look like something out of a Batman cartoon, and some castles to visit for good measure. You can even take a steam train can to the top of Mt. Brocken with gorgeous views along the way.”
Tip #3 Get off the beaten path
“With the major tourist destinations full, this is a great time to explore some of the lesser visited countries of Europe,” Wolters suggests. “If you have wanted to visit the Baltics or Scandinavia this is a wonderful time to visit. The weather is good, the sun stays out until 10:00 p.m., you have numerous lakes, coastlines, islands, and nature areas to explore. Also, the capitals of Tallinn, Stockholm, Oslo, Riga, Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Vilnius all have tons of cultural options for travellers. I spent time this summer in Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Vilnius, and I felt like I was almost alone in comparison to my time in Rome with all the tourists there.”
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