#1 5-4-2014 8:59 AM

cocoa
Colleen
Detroit, Michigan
Award: Vox Populi II
Wanderer
Posts: 279

How to get away from tourist spots?

I am planning the trip of my life, I say that because I have been saving and dreaming about it my entire life. I want to experience things in the world that you don't get to do everyday. I am worried my trip backpacking through Europe will be filled with crowded tourist spots, however don't get me wrong I do want to see the Eiffel Tower and Parliament etc. but I want to get away and really experience the countries and have a lasting wonderful memory, more than just "oh yea saw that, took a pic, bought a t-shirt."

I am inquiring from you because I am traveling alone. I want to step outside the tourist lines but do so safely and without fear that I might be following my wanderlust into something that could be dangerous. And also I don't have much money so taking a cooking class or anything of the sort may be out of my price range.

 

#2 5-4-2014 11:09 AM

sarahelaine
Sarah Elaine
Manchester, England
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IVAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIIAward: Vox Populi VAward: Spambuster IIIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Globetrotter
Posts: 5943

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

You can get a lot of help googling "[destination] off the beaten track" for each place.

As a set of general thoughts:
-university districts are often good sources of quirky bars and chatty locals who want to practice English and they're usually safe.
- ask locals and recent visitors from the city on this site for tips. I'vefound some great places that way.
- lots of cities have free papers or things to do websites in English and they can be great on off the wall recommendations, especially if they're aimed at expats or locals who have tried a lot of the obvious things
- quality varies city to city, but the lonely planet can be quite good on up and going areas. There are sometimes interesting leaflets in hotels and hostels, too, called things like "city guide autumn winter 2014!" And as they come out frequently they'll have things like interviews with local designers about what they did at the weekend. Believe it or not, budget airline inflight magazines can have tips sometimes too.
- check advice for each city, but in most of Europe, you'd have to walk quite a way to get from a tourist area to a dangerous one. Obviously, you need a bit of situational awareness, but you'll rarely get in trouble just letting yourself get mildly lost two or three streets from the middle
-look up. Many European city centres look familiar at ground level- h&m, Douglas pharmacy, esprit, McDonald's. But above the first floor will be cool carvings, original architecture, clues what the building used to be, and public art. There are features even on the main trails most people simply won't see.

And also, leave time to leave the big cities and see smaller towns and countryside. I could type thousands of words about which ones, but it's easier to say that if you tell us which cities you might have extra time in.

Last edited by sarahelaine (5-4-2014 11:11 AM)

 

#3 5-4-2014 1:36 PM

cocoa
Colleen
Detroit, Michigan
Award: Vox Populi II
Wanderer
Posts: 279

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

Thank you for your response. I am planning to quit my job and go backpacking in Europe once I've saved enough money, which is looking like spring of next year.

I'm planning on spending some good time in Ireland, London, Paris and Italy (Rome, Venice and Verona.)

I want to do things like horseback riding in Ireland and someday swim with elephants when I go to Thailand, things like that. I'm looking for suggestions on what are some really cool, inexpensive activities to do in these locations.


sarahelaine wrote:

You can get a lot of help googling "[destination] off the beaten track" for each place.

As a set of general thoughts:
-university districts are often good sources of quirky bars and chatty locals who want to practice English and they're usually safe.
- ask locals and recent visitors from the city on this site for tips. I'vefound some great places that way.
- lots of cities have free papers or things to do websites in English and they can be great on off the wall recommendations, especially if they're aimed at expats or locals who have tried a lot of the obvious things
- quality varies city to city, but the lonely planet can be quite good on up and going areas. There are sometimes interesting leaflets in hotels and hostels, too, called things like "city guide autumn winter 2014!" And as they come out frequently they'll have things like interviews with local designers about what they did at the weekend. Believe it or not, budget airline inflight magazines can have tips sometimes too.
- check advice for each city, but in most of Europe, you'd have to walk quite a way to get from a tourist area to a dangerous one. Obviously, you need a bit of situational awareness, but you'll rarely get in trouble just letting yourself get mildly lost two or three streets from the middle
-look up. Many European city centres look familiar at ground level- h&m, Douglas pharmacy, esprit, McDonald's. But above the first floor will be cool carvings, original architecture, clues what the building used to be, and public art. There are features even on the main trails most people simply won't see.

And also, leave time to leave the big cities and see smaller towns and countryside. I could type thousands of words about which ones, but it's easier to say that if you tell us which cities you might have extra time in.

 

#4 5-4-2014 1:49 PM

sarahelaine
Sarah Elaine
Manchester, England
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IVAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIIAward: Vox Populi VAward: Spambuster IIIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Globetrotter
Posts: 5943

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

Well, of those places I've been to Paris twice but stayed on the mainstream, but I've got to know London reasonably well.  London is much more walkable than people let on - http://www.travbuddy.com/Walking-in-London-v449087 - and you would have to work hard to get into a bad area.  Actually just wandering around is one of my favourite things. Almost every street that's one or two streets away from the main roads is interesting.

The London Parks are hardly off the beaten track, but they are lovely and they're free.  All the major museums are free, apart from the Royal Palaces like the tower of London.  London will have specific attractions for almost anything you could be interested in.  Personally, I'm fond of the markets, especially Spittalfield market on the edge of the East End http://www.spitalfields.co.uk and Borough - again, Borough Market is very well known, but there's a lot of nice things to eat there so I'd recommend it anyway http://boroughmarket.org.uk

London is known for its theatre.  Obviously, the west end shows are very mainstream, very well known and very expensive, but there are other theatres like the Almeida in Islington and the Tricycle in Kilburn if you like theatre.  All summer, there will be free arts performances and music along the South Bank of the Thames, and in early summer there is comedy - which you do need to pay for - in the giant upside down purple cow on the south bank - https://www.underbelly.co.uk - until it packs up and moves to Edinburgh for August.

What do you enjoy doing?

 

#5 5-4-2014 2:06 PM

Aaron101
Aaron
Maidenhead, England
Award: Vox Populi II
Wanderer
Posts: 327

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

would have thought someone from Detroit would be able to handle the odd Europest here and there cool 

I wouldn't worry too much about personal safety if I was you (unless you end up in some really dodgy part of London), and suggest basing plans on what you want to see and do rather than whether it's considered a beaten path or not. It would all be new to you anyway, and convenience counts for a lot too.

 

#6 5-4-2014 2:32 PM

cocoa
Colleen
Detroit, Michigan
Award: Vox Populi II
Wanderer
Posts: 279

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

I may be from Detroit...the suburbs really...but I am also 5'0" and not even 100lbs! HAHA!



Aaron101 wrote:

would have thought someone from Detroit would be able to handle the odd Europest here and there cool 

I wouldn't worry too much about personal safety if I was you (unless you end up in some really dodgy part of London), and suggest basing plans on what you want to see and do rather than whether it's considered a beaten path or not. It would all be new to you anyway, and convenience counts for a lot too.

 

#7 5-4-2014 4:58 PM

kvom
Kirk
Cumming, Georgia
Award: Photographer IAward: Writer IAward: Vox Populi IV
Explorer
Posts: 3287

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

Tourists spots are that just because they're worth visiting.  So unless you're an insider and get special tours outside of opening hours, you'll have to go with the rest of us hoi polloi.  However, the crowding can be minimized in some ways.  Going in the off-season is the best of course.  You can also decide to visit smaller and less popular museums, of which there are many all over Europe.  As an example, I love visiting the Wallace Collection in London, which is rarely crowded.  You can also line up for entry early in the morning before opening.  Once inside the Louvre or the Orsay or the British Museum, there's lots of room.

There's no need to ascend the Eiffel Tower.  Just get your photos and hurry over to the Arc de Triomphe, climb up to the top for a good panoramic view.  It will be much less busy.

 

#8 5-4-2014 5:33 PM

nolan
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IIAward: Critic IIIAward: Writer IIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: AmbassadorAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIAward: Vox Populi IVAward: Spambuster IIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Explorer
Posts: 3768

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

The often quoted "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" by St. Ambrose has a lot of meaning to it.

For one, most locals won't be doing what most tourists are up to. So if you like mingling with locals (best way to understand a country), that is one way of avoiding the tourists (just avoid the shady locals who prey on the tourists). People watching in itself is an interesting activity - here you will see how locals interact among themselves and with you, being a traveler from another place. And in many cases, they will interact with you out of genuine concern and not necessarily because they are interested in your tourist dollars.

On the other hand, TravBuddies are locals who become tourists/travelers at many points in their life. Not in the definition of mass market tourist, but rather as people who come to appreciate the beauty, culture and history of the place they visit. Not necessarily holiday makers. But rather, the best of both worlds and with a great amount of flexibility.

My recommendation is - while you think you may be alone traveling, you can choose not to be such at many points in your journey. Find TravBuddies to meet up with, not just the local ones but also those who are transiting the place you are visiting. Meet up at a certain place, find out if you want to explore certain areas you both had in mind, and then see how it goes. At some point in time these TravBuddies will become lifelong friends, and suddenly you're not traveling alone anymore. And then your appreciation for the rest of this world becomes more interesting, you might even have a different attitude when you move on to your next job.

 

#9 5-4-2014 7:44 PM

trippin_jen
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IIIAward: Critic IIIAward: Writer IIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: Bedbug IIAward: Vox Populi IVAward: Spambuster IAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Explorer
Posts: 1069

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

For me, I always try to meet up with a local and tell them to "show me a day in your life".  That always work for me. That is if you're really interested to see around neighbourhood and eat if small coffee shops as such. And I also like to check out their convenience stores and supermarkets to see what kind of groceries they sell. Maybe w bit weird, but, just for the fun of it. Surprisingly I am never interested in shopping malls.

Last edited by trippin_jen (5-4-2014 7:46 PM)

 

#10 5-4-2014 10:53 PM

pealausanne
Pe
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Couch Potato
Posts: 40

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

It is a difficult question.
Most of the capitals are touristic! And if you know something in a city you have not been too, it is probably a touristic place.

For example: Being in Paris and avoiding the touristic places will make you miss: tour eiffel, notre dame de paris, louvre, montmartre and the sacre coeur, pantheon, invalides...

If you want to visit a country and avoid the most touristic places, have a look on the UNESCO worl list heritage and go to the places you never heard about which are not in the capitals. Like this, you might avoid the most crowded places.

 

#11 5-5-2014 12:48 AM

fransglobal
Francis
Moderator
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IAward: Critic IIIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: Bedbug IIIAward: Vox Populi VAward: Spambuster IIIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Globetrotter
Posts: 17586

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

As for safety, it is in my view the big cities that are the problem areas though even there, pickpockets are the main problem. You'd be very unlucky to encounter anything worse.

If you look at my blogs, you will find some ideas for Ireland. If you have any questions, just ask. For horse riding, just Google horseruding in Ireland and the Discover Ireland website has some info:


www.discoverireland.ie/Things-To-Do/Ide … rse-riding

On my profile, there is also a blog about my favourite spots in Europe, some of which are off beaten track.

If you don't travel in July-August  or other peak times such as Easter and avoid weekends in tourist hotspots such as Amsterdam, Florence, Prague etc it is often quite easy to avoid the tourist conveyor belt feeling.

Last edited by fransglobal (5-5-2014 12:52 AM)

 

#12 5-5-2014 6:52 AM

anywherebuthere1
Siraj
Melbourne, Australia
Award: Happy Happy HappyAward: Vox Populi II
Wanderer
Posts: 282

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

Lauryl I need you! big_smile

 

#13 5-5-2014 10:00 AM

WalterC
Walter
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IIIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: AmbassadorAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIAward: Vox Populi IIIAward: Spambuster IIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Nomad
Posts: 555

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

I remember seeing a signature on the Thorn Tree message boards, which said something like... so you want go local? Does that mean, you will work a 9 to 5 job, pay my bills, and take my kids to school? big_smile

I don't remember the exact words. But it just reminded me of the days when I would travel to see friends in other cities. In some cases, we would agree to sightsee together, but only if they run a few errands before that. I would go along with that person, which always seem to take a long time and at the last minute, more errands to run, wasting away time. Not to mention, boring, as this just reminded me of my life back home.

 

#14 5-5-2014 6:27 PM

trippin_jen
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IIIAward: Critic IIIAward: Writer IIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: Bedbug IIAward: Vox Populi IVAward: Spambuster IAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Explorer
Posts: 1069

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

WalterC wrote:

I remember seeing a signature on the Thorn Tree message boards, which said something like... so you want go local? Does that mean, you will work a 9 to 5 job, pay my bills, and take my kids to school? big_smile

I don't remember the exact words. But it just reminded me of the days when I would travel to see friends in other cities. In some cases, we would agree to sightsee together, but only if they run a few errands before that. I would go along with that person, which always seem to take a long time and at the last minute, more errands to run, wasting away time. Not to mention, boring, as this just reminded me of my life back home.

HAHHA! That's also right.. hahahaha!

 

#15 5-9-2014 9:25 AM

cocoa
Colleen
Detroit, Michigan
Award: Vox Populi II
Wanderer
Posts: 279

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

I found an interesting thread on TB about interesting of fun things to do in Paris and Italy.

Can anyone else tell me fun things/activities that they did around Europe? The thread mentioned a cheese tasting tour and olive oil factory tour and wine tasting in Paris and Italy. That is the kind of stuff that I want to do that I find more interesting then seeing every pretty church.

 

#16 5-11-2014 8:56 AM

cocoa
Colleen
Detroit, Michigan
Award: Vox Populi II
Wanderer
Posts: 279

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

Thank you so much to everyone who posted a response. I cannot wait to explore these cities. I posted this thread because I was concerned that, and I know not entirely, but that I would be walking into these cities and it would feel to modern and too much like if I visited a different state in the US and not the drastic change I was hoping for. If that makes sense...

 

#17 5-11-2014 9:29 AM

sarahelaine
Sarah Elaine
Manchester, England
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IVAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIIAward: Vox Populi VAward: Spambuster IIIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Globetrotter
Posts: 5943

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

cocoa wrote:

Thank you so much to everyone who posted a response. I cannot wait to explore these cities. I posted this thread because I was concerned that, and I know not entirely, but that I would be walking into these cities and it would feel to modern and too much like if I visited a different state in the US and not the drastic change I was hoping for. If that makes sense...

I wouldn't worry about that.  This blog was taken when I went to Paris with my mom - we were very firmly ON the tourist trail for that trip and it's nothing like anywhere I've been in the USA!  http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/88999/

 

#18 5-11-2014 9:45 AM

MNMark
Mark
Cambridge, Minnesota
Award: Vox Populi II
Wanderer
Posts: 254

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

The best thing to do to avoid tourists is travel during off season. I don't know how to avoid touristy spots as most spots worth visiting are generally known to many and become touristy eventually.

What I've been doing while planning my trip to Japan is just opening Google earth to look at the train routes and spending time on Google looking up the towns along the tracks. Search for 'things to do in <insert town>'. Most towns will have a website that is ran by their chamber of commerce or city council (or some other local entity) that lists places of interest and events.

Something else that has helped me find 'lesser known' or harder to find things to do is go by image results on search engines and just pick out something that looks nice. A lot of times it ends up being something that would not have been found with regular searches.

I'm new to the whole couchsurfing thing, but that looks like a great way too. See if there are any CS events during your stay in Europe in one of the cities you plan to visit. If not for the event itself then for the amount of locals that will be able to tell you everything you want to know.

Good luck


cocoa wrote:

I found an interesting thread on TB about interesting of fun things to do in Paris and Italy.

Can anyone else tell me fun things/activities that they did around Europe? The thread mentioned a cheese tasting tour and olive oil factory tour and wine tasting in Paris and Italy. That is the kind of stuff that I want to do that I find more interesting then seeing every pretty church.

 

#19 5-12-2014 12:36 AM

andrejav
Andreja
Miami, Florida
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: AmbassadorAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IVAward: Vox Populi IVAward: Spambuster IIIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Explorer
Posts: 1026

Re: How to get away from tourist spots?

Give place a chance. You do not need to take tours but you should inform yourself what kind of tours are available and if you can get to the interesting places without help. If you have doubts about place, stay couple days and leave if the feeling continues. Have some basic idea about where your trip is ending and approximation of time you can spend. Do not follow your plans if you find a good place to stay.

 
This post has had no activity for 90 days and has been closed to new replies.

Board footer

Powered by PunBB
© Copyright 2002–2008 PunBB