It’s no secret that summer is one of the most popular times to visit top destinations throughout Europe.
The crowds in places like Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, and Venice are notorious. And as an added challenge, August is when most Europeans take their vacations too.
For travelers who loathe being herded around like cattle (and who doesn’t?) when visiting some of the continent’s legendary cultural attractions and hot spots, here’s an insider’s tip from City Wonders, a European tour operator: opt for a night tour.
Through its exclusive museum partnerships, City Wonders is able to offer tours that give travelers after-hours access at iconic sites.
From private access to typically locked areas of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice to a VIP wine tasting at Paris’ famed Louvre museum, evening experiences not only allow for ditching the long lines but also provide a different take on legendary attractions.
Here’s a look at some of the night tours available from City Wonders this summer.
Discover the Legends & Ghosts of Florence
The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is home to many tales and areas that are often overlooked by travelers. During City Wonders’ Legends & Ghosts Night Walking Tour, guests will discover Medieval Florence and learn what the city was like during the “dark years.”
From secret tunnels built for a Grand Duke’s mistress to unique buildings designed for defense against invading neighbors, City Wonders gives travelers a rarely seen glimpse of the city leaving no stone unturned.
Wander the Vatican & Sistine Chapel After Hours
Rome’s must-see gems, such as the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, commonly have lines wrapped around the block – especially in the summer.
As part of its Vatican & Sistine Chapel Night Tour, City Wonders’ exclusive Vatican Partnership allows guests to get right in the door after official closing hours. Participants are guided along a carefully crafted route through the world’s largest art collection. The tour ends in the famed Sistine Chapel, giving travelers ample time to admire the intricate frescoes and portraits.
Explore the Louvre with a Wine Tasting
Travelers can contemplate the Louvre’s masterpieces without the crowds on City Wonders’ evening VIP Louvre Highlights Tour. Participants navigate the expansive art collection with an expert guide while learning interesting stories and behind-the-scenes details including the real model behind the iconic ‘Mona Lisa’ and tales of the kings and queens that once lived in the Louvre when it was a royal palace.
The tour ends in typical Parisian fashion with a wine tasting at one of the city’s most celebrated and beautiful venues.
Unlock Venice’s Special Access Areas
Exclusive only to City Wonders, travelers can access St. Mark’s Basilica at night as part of the After-Hours St. Mark’s Basilica & Doge’s Palace Tour.
A custodian will unlock special access areas that Venice’s busy daytime crowds are not able to reach, such as the crypt that is said to hold the bones of St. Mark himself and the dazzling Pala d’Oro, a gem-laden Byzantine altarpiece with over 1,900 precious stones.
Travelers are able to discover more than 100 years of history and art in a different light in one of the most opulent churches in the world.
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