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Culture vultures

Culture without the crowds - enjoy landmarks and skip the queues

Clive Wedderburn July 19, 2019

There are times when you want the world’s greatest landmarks all to yourself. It's only natural. No one travels thousands of miles to experience a long held wish list only to be placed in a queue. Here, our experts share their tips to explore the world's iconic wonders far from the crowds.

Taj Mahal, India

“The best time to see the Taj Mahal is early in the morning. By 1pm the site is crowded and those wistful photographs of majestic white domes will be so much easier to attain without like-minded tourists nosing into shot.”
Jasdeep, Destination Specialist

Halong Bay, Vietnam

“If you want to see Halong Bay without the crowds, I suggest avoiding the boat cruise tours that leave around midday and hire your own boat privately, allowing you to sail whenever and wherever you please.”
Christie, Far East Destination Executive

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, USA

“Four million people visit Yellowstone every year, so go during September when the colours of autumn begin to appear and the crowds diminish. Old Faithful erupts every 35 to 120 minutes, but I suggest you see the geyser when park visitors retreat to their motorhomes and lodges for dinner at 7pm.”
Jess, USA Destination Manager

Machu Picchu, Peru

“The best way to see Machu Picchu without the crowds is to trek on foot from Aguas Calientes, just two hours from the citadel. Plan to get there for lunch time, if you’re not fussed about catching the sunrise. At 3pm many people board their buses, leaving you with most of the mountain to yourself.”
Luke, Video Content Manager

Petra, Jordan

“Either visit Petra in the early season (March) or late season (October–November) when it’s still warm, but not as busy. Stay at the Mövenpick Resort Petra, next to the entrance to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and wake early to be one of the first to enter.”
Beth, Middle East & North Africa Destination Executive

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

“Firstly, avoid the busy dry season (November–March). Then arrive when the park opens at 5am, or visit closer to when the complex shuts at 6pm. Angkor Wat is vast and it’s easy to suddenly find yourself alone, the only faces you see are those carved into stone 900 years ago.”
Isla, Far East Destination Executive

Christ the Redeemer, Brazil

“Avoid weekends and be sure to get there early, around 8.30am, to avoid the busy crowds and get yourself a picture without strangers sharing your shot. Also, if you go after 4pm, there are fewer people and clearer skies for greater visibility.”
Katie, Destination Specialist

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

“You’ll mostly find the Burj Khalifa busy, no matter when you visit, however the crowds descend in the evening to watch the stunning water fountain display. Get fast-tracked to the 148th floor viewing floor, avoiding the 124th which is busier, or book in to the Atmosphere Lounge for a table with a view. I enjoyed afternoon tea at a window table, where fantastic views combined with delicious food and impeccable service.”
Ben, Destination Manager

For more inspiration browse these pages and start planning your worldwide trip to visit iconic landmarks.

The Taj Mahal, Agra, with reflective pool

Indian Subcontinent


Aerial view of The Palm

United Arab Emirates


Machu Picchu

South America