It’s always the same: top locations, big views and huge queues – that is unless you have the inside track. Wanderlust's travel-mad readers share their tips for beating the crowds...
"I always travel in the shoulder season. I entered Park Güell in Barcelona at 7am and I had the whole place for myself for an hour."
— Kate Hipkins
"Take advantage of your jet lag! Instead of trying to sleep, go on morning hikes and enjoy sunrises without tourists blocking your view."
— Helena Lamers
"We always get up extra early to arrive before crowds start to gather and take breakfast with us to eat in case we have to queue."
— Kellie Stanness-Witcher
"Early birds catch the worm and not the crowds - try to arrive as early as possible. If you need to buy tickets, do so prior to the day of visit."
— Deborah Mead
"The shrine Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto is beautiful. If you arrive when it’s busy, keep walking uphill and under the torii gates – most people give up after a while, so you can get some great photos."
— Sue Stones
"The further from Beijing you get, the fewer crowds at the Great Wall, so try to visit a section of wild wall as it’s hardest to hike these parts."
— Louise Clarkson
"Choose a day when there are lots of other events at another tourist attraction and your place will be empty. I also go really early or really late."
– Adam Gleave
"I visited Petra during a World Cup football match and it was less crowded since everyone was watching the games."
— Helga Boom
"Ask around. A local told me to go to sulphur springs in Saint Lucia as they closed, when they let locals in for free and there’s fewer people."
— Reggie Williams
Find yourself a guide, someone who was brought up locally rather than a tourism operator. You can usually find one through recommendations on TripAdvisor, and they will know the perfect time to avoid crowds. Had one in Venice and he was irreplaceable!
— Louise Frances
"Utilise the knowledge of a local (acquaintance, friend or guide). Once gained entrance to the Colosseum in Rome via the builders' entrance, skipped all the massive lines of other tourists waiting outside."
— John Mulligan
"Hike in the back way, via Little Petra. You arrive at the Monastery, then clamber down the 800 steps to the city – the views are amazing."
— Claire Gray
"Use your angles. The outlying buildings and the mosque have amazing views without being overcrowded. Also, try to resist ‘sheep syndrome’ – hanging around places where a lot of other people are. Just because everyone is there doesn’t mean it’s any better than that which you can find yourself."
— Melanie Marti
"If visiting the Grand Canyon head for the North Rim rather than the south (only open late May to early October). It gets only 10% of the visitors that the south receives, and the views are if anything more awesome because you are higher."
— Sarah Wilkie
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