There’s nothing quite like exploring a new destination in the early morning! While most people are sleeping and the streets lay quiet, there’s a calm serenity that fills the air. Which is why there are certain activities in Europe that are best experienced at daybreak. This is a peaceful time of day before the bustling feet of office-goers, locals and tourists arrive.
With an early wake-up call, you’ll be guaranteed an intimate experience. This will allow you to soak in the natural beauty of your surroundings – and take some great photos. Of course, we understand that if you’re going to wake up early, it has to be for a good reason!
Here are 5 travel experiences in Europe and why they are worth getting up early for:
There’s no better place to enjoy a magical sunrise than in Paris; the city of romance! See the golden glow of a new day fresh off the horizon. Watch in wonder as the city slowly comes to life.
The best place to watch the sunrise in Paris is at the Place du Trocadero. This is a large open platform that sits in front of the Eiffel Tower, across the Seine River. Since the platform is slightly elevated, you’ll have a gorgeous backdrop and an unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower.
Getting there at sunrise means you’ll be able to enjoy this spectacle without the swarming crowds. This will also be your best chance to take some amazing pictures. After the sun peaks over the horizon, pastel hues slowly fill the sky with fresh light.
Watching the sunrise over the Eiffel Tower is hands-down one of the most memorable and best things to see in Europe!
The Sphinx Observatory is the highest-altitude construction in Europe, giving it the nickname the “Top of Europe”. The views that this attraction offers are simply astounding! The observatory is a popular attraction, so you want to get ahead of the crowds. To have the best chance at an incredible view, make sure to set your alarm extra early.
The Jungfrau Railway will take you to the Sphinx Observatory. The first train leaves at 6:35am. On the ride up, admire the absolutely breathtaking panoramic views of the majestic Swiss Alps. Start your day early enough at the right time of year, when the sun rises a little later, and you’ll be able to watch the sunrise over the Alps.
After seeing the observatory, you’ll be in a prime position to spend the rest of the day hiking in the Swiss Alps or skiing down the slopes. One of the most popular hikes is across the glacier to the Mönchsjoch. This takes about an hour.
Prague Castle in Eastern Europe is one of the world’s largest medieval fortresses. This grand and imposing complex is an architectural masterpiece. Visiting the castle is one of the top things to do in Europe.
As soon as mid-morning hits, you can expect a long queue of visitors that lasts all day. Set your alarm early and arrive before the eager daytime tourists appear. With fewer people around, you’ll feel like you have Prague Castle all to yourself!
Discover the castle during its most quiet time. Explore all the different areas of the complex, from the exhibition halls and St Vitus Cathedral to the castle towers and lush gardens.
The Prague Castle complex opens every day at 6:00am. The historical buildings in the complex open every day at 9:00am. Arrive early and you’ll see this famous attraction from a different perspective.
Early mornings in Venice are the best time to see the city. The streets are calm and a peaceful rest still fills the air. Take in the beauty of Venice’s awe-inspiring architecture and canals without the distraction of daytime tourists. Walk around and truly appreciate the stunning sites and scenery that surrounds you.
Wander over to the Rialto Market and watch the boats unloading their fresh catch of the day. Stand on the Rialto Bridge and see the calm mirror of water, or catch a gondola ride when the waterways before rush hour.
Many cafés open early in Venice, but the tourists only arrive mid-morning. Savour a strong cup of coffee and freshly-baked pastry along a quiet Italian street. Enjoy the rare opportunity to explore St Mark’s Square before it gets busy, and be the first in line to go up the Bell Tower when it opens.
Getting lost in the streets of Venice in the early morning is one of the best things to do in Europe!
London offers some of the most lively and trendy markets in Europe. The small alleyways teem with tourists starting late-morning, and the crowds don’t subside until late at night. Arrive early and you’ll be able to rub shoulders with the locals and grab the freshest produce of the day.
Shop handicraft items, clothes, and antiques. Indulge in more food and drink options than you could even imagine.
Camden Market has more than 100 shops and stalls. The market’s quirky vibe and varied selection of vintage, punk, and one-off keepsakes stalls make it a long-standing, must-see destination in London.
Greenwich Market has a trendy modern vibe. There are around 150 stalls selling mostly locally-made products. Pick up locally made jewellery, pictures, and other unique gifts you won’t find anywhere else.
For food, check out the Borough Market. You’ll be in gourmet paradise among the vast selection of options. Make sure to come hungry! From freshly-baked treats and fresh produce to street food and vegan junk food, you won’t be short on options.
The best part is, you don’t have to wake up that early to beat the crowds. Most markets in London don’t open until 10:00am. Get there as close to opening as possible and you’ll enjoy a bit of quiet time before the daytime tourists arrive.
Setting an early morning alarm isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely worth it for these experiences! The payoff for getting up early to visit these attractions are memories that will last a lifetime. With these 5 early morning travel experiences, you’ll discover the quieter, more tranquil side of Europe, rarely seen by many visitors. This is the prime time to experience otherwise busy attractions. Make sure to add these must-see places in Europe to your travel bucket list. !