Parla, who splits her time between Rome and Venice and leads tours in all the Italian hot spots, says they’re all “absolutely inundated.”
Travel analyst Henry Harteveldt, president of the Atmosphere Research Group, said travelers should expect long waits and large crowds at pretty much every stage of their European vacation.
“Be prepared for long lines at airports both in the US and in Europe,” he said. “Be prepared for lines to clear border control, airport security, crowds at railroad stations, busy hotels, crowded museums, crowded restaurants, crowded points of interest.”
“They are not full and not charging the rates the big ones are,” Weinacht said.
“It’s just been a kind of out-of-control high season like nothing we’ve seen before.”
— Katie Parla, a cookbook author and tour guide based in Italy
Travel writer Anne Roderique-Jones has been enjoying just that in the tiny Italian town of Ospedaletti, just east of Nice. She and her husband Nate planned their visit for the very beginning of its tourist season (which peaks in late July and August), finding cooler temperatures, zero crowds and plentiful dining with no reservations — a stark contrast to what travelers are seeing in other marquee destinations.
In some big cities, like Paris and Milan, the crowds aren’t as noticeable. Beyond standing at Notre Dame, the Sacré-Coeur, the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower, Paris feels pretty normal, Zimbeck said.
“A lot of what people do in Paris is walk around charming, cobblestone streets that are dispersed all over the city,” she added. “So you don’t really feel the crush in the way that I did, for example, in Rome.”