How To Get Tickets To The Sistine Chapel And The Vatican Museums And Skip The Line

How To Get Tickets To The Sistine Chapel And The Vatican Museums And Skip The Line

You can get tickets to the Sistine Chapel and manage to skip the lines at the Vatican. In this post, I’ll explain how.

One of the most common sights in Rome is that of tourists in line to get tickets to the Sistine Chapel. I have joined those lines myself a few times, without giving it much thought – Rome is an easy trip for me and I go at least a couple of time per year, so I get to spend plenty of time in the city.

However, I can only imagine how disheartening it may be for a tourist to have to spend hours in line to get tickets to the Vatican for the chance to admire the work of Michelangelo. For as easy as it may be for me to travel to Rome, to them this may well be a once in a lifetime opportunity – they may have only a few days in the city, and if they spend hours in line at the Vatican, they may end up having to skip another attraction, like the Colosseum.

Check out my smart guides on how to skip the line to St. Peter’s Basilica, how to visit St. Peter’s Basilica Dome and how to get tickets to the Colosseum.

In this post, I will explain how you can get tickets to the Sistine Chapel and make the most of your time there. Before I do so, however, let me explain what’s so special about the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican and why you should not miss them on your trip to Rome.

tickets to the Sistine Chapel

A real work of art!

Why You Have To Visit The Sistine Chapel During Your Trip To Rome

If you are wondering where is the Sistine Chapel, let me clarify that the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums are actually not in Rome, but in Vatican City. However, as Vatican City is at the center of Rome, you can easily visit during your trip to the Italian capital.

Together with St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel is the most famous site in Vatican City. This is where Michelangelo painted his masterpiece, The Last Judgement, more than 500 years ago. Right next to the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums display the enormous collection of art accumulated by the various popes throughout the centuries.

If you enjoy fine arts, there is no way you want to skip the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. If you are an unsuccessful backpacker like I am, chances are you may end up in line for hours to get in. But worry not! Continue reading and I will explain how you can get your tickets to the Sistine Chapel and avoid the lines.

Looking for more things to do in Rome? Check out my post “30 Unmissable, Fun And Cheap Things To Do In Rome.”

Visiting The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is located in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope. Originally known as Cappella Magna, it takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who initiated restoration works in 1477 and used it for both religious purposes and for his functions as pope. Nowadays, the Sistine Chapel is the site of the Papal Conclave, the process through which a new pope is elected.

What makes the Sistine Chapel such a popular place to visit is the many incredible frescoes that adorn it. These include works of Botticelli, Pinturicchio and Ghirlandaio. Yet, it’s The Last Judgement, painted on the ceiling of the Chapel by Michelangelo between 1535 and 1541 upon request of Pope Clement VII and Paul III, that attracts thousands of visitors every day.

TIP: Unless you are an art historian, I strongly advise you to get tickets of the Sistine Chapel that include a guided tour. For as nice as it is to just raise your head and appreciate the beauty of all the frescoes, it’s great to have someone that helps you put everything in context and get a better understanding of the historical, cultural and artistic value of what you are seeing.

The Vatican Museums

Located right next to the Sistine Chapel and usually visited right after, the Vatican Museums have a formidable collection of religious and art works – from Roman sculptured to masterpieces of Renaissance art.

The Museums were founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century, have a whopping 54 galleries and not only they are among the largest museums in the world, but they also are one of the most visited.

Tickets to the Sistine Chapel usually include entry to the Vatican Museums.

tickets to the Sistine Chapel

It’s not that hard to skip the line at the Vatican

Six Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Sistine Chapel And The Vatican Museums And Skip The Line

More than 25000 people visit the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums every day. It’s one of the most famous places to visit in the world, but unfortunately also one of the world’s 10 worst tourist attractions for lines, with a waiting time that can go up to four hours.

Yes, that’s how long it may take to get your €17 tickets to the Sistine Chapel. I have seen those lines myself a few times when I visited Rome in the last few years – they go all the way around the walls of Vatican City, with people waiting patiently in the sun and even under the rain.

TIP: The Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums are even more packed than usual when passengers of cruise ships are in town. If you want to avoid them, try to go between 12:00 and 2:00 pm, when most of the group tours are having lunch.

I am hardly a fan of lines myself, and I’d do anything to avoid them – as long as it is respectful to other tourists, obviously. The good news is that there are tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums that will allow you to skip the lines, and they even include a guide.

These are the most popular tours and tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums:

TIP: No matter the kind of tickets to the Sistine Chapel you get, you’re bound to stand in line for the security checks. Beware of companies that suggest you may avoid these lines.

Continue reading to find the best ways to get tickets to the Sistine Chapel and skip the line.

tickets to the Sistine Chapel

The Vatican is no doubt a must see

Way n. 1: Go on a guided tour

Buying a guided tour with tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums is the best way to skip the line (though remember, you’ll always have to line up for the security checks). The prices of tours vary, depending on whether you pick a group or a private tour.

Guided group tours

Guided group tours are a great way to visit a place, especially one where you’re likely to need a lot of information to put everything in context and better appreciate what you are seeing. A guided tour to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums also has the great advantage that you can skip the line to get the ticket.

TIP: Even with skip the line tickets, you’ll have to go through a line, though this is significantly shorter than the one to get tickets at the venue.

Guided group tours of the Sistine Chapel and The Vatican Museum start at €27 and get more pricey depending on the various add ons.

These are the best guided group tours with skip the line tickets to the Sistine Chapel:

Guided private tours

A guided private tour has the great advantage that you still get a guide, but you can go at your own pace. These tours are definitely more expensive than the group options, with prices starting at €75 per person, but worth the price if you like the idea of having a guide at your disposal.

These are the best guided private tours with skip the line tickets to the Sistine Chapel:

tickets to the Sistine Chapel

An early morning tour with tickets to the Sistine Chapel is ideal

Way n. 2: Get tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums with an audio guide

If you like the idea of doing your own thing, you may want to opt for tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums that include an audio guide. This gives you the great advantage to go at your own pace, skip the parts that you are not interested in, and linger a bit longer on those that catch your attention.

Prices for tickets to the Sistine Chapel with audio guides start at €34. You can buy them here.

Way n. 3: Go very early with a guide

Believe it or not, but the good old trick of having an early start actually works. You can get in the Sistine Chapel as early as 7:30 am. However, in order to have the privilege of getting early access, you have to buy your tickets to the Sistine Chapel through a tour operator, and you will have to go with a guide. Indeed, apparently tour operators pay large sums of money to be able to use the back exit which goes directly to Saint Peter’s Basilica – which individuals can’t use.

Prices of early morning Vatican tours start at €50.

TIP: Early Wednesday mornings are good to visit the Sistine Chapel: crowds will start arriving after 11:00 am, once the Papal audience has ended.

These are the best early access tours with tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums:

Way n. 4: Go at night

This is one of the most exclusive ways of visiting the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums, and it is only possible on Fridays, between the end of April and the end of October, when the Vatican Museums stay open until 11:00 pm and allow access as late as 9:30 pm. It’s definitely a bit more expensive than a regular tour, but great option if you like the idea of having the Museums and the Chapel almost completely to yourself.

Prices for night tours of the Vatican start at €36 and they include tickets to the Sistine Chapel.

TIP: If you are like the idea of visiting the Vatican at night, make sure to plan your trip around it, getting to Rome on a Thursday and leaving no earlier than a Saturday.

These are the best night time tours with tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums:

tickets to the Sistine Chapel

Tickets to the Sistine Chapel include entry to the Vatican Museums and at times even a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica

Way n. 5: Get the Rome City Pass or the Vatican Pass

The Rome City Pass and the Vatican Pass are excellent options if you want to skip the line at the Vatican Museums and get access to other attractions in Rome. There are various passes that offer considerable savings both in terms of time and money.

  • Carta Turistica di Roma – prices start at €67.50 and in this case tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum are add ons. It includes access to the Colosseum.
  • Vatican and Rome card – it only costs €55 and it includes tickets to the Sistine Chapel and entry to 2 archeological sites or museums of your choice. It’s the best option as it also gives you a 20% discount to other sites. The only disadvantage is that the site is in Italian only.
  • 72 hours Rome pass – the cheapest option, as it only costs €38.50. The audio guide to the Vatican Museum is an add on.
  • Vatican and Rome city pass – costing €113, it includes skip the line tickets to the Sistine Chapel and to the Colosseum, as well as a hop on hop off bus pass.
  • Vatican, Colosseum, Pantheon and Castel Sant’Angelo pass – the most inclusive of all the options, it costs €125.

Make sure to read my post The Best Roma Pass Options And How To Make The Most Of It.”

Way n. 6: Get the official tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums online

This is the official website to get tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. Online tickets cost €17 and there is a €4 reservation fee (total of €21). You can only buy these tickets up to 60 days in advance and for a maximum of 10 persons. Reduced tickets for children between 6 and 18 years of age are €8 but you’ll need a document to prove your child’s age at the venue. You will be sent a confirmation email with a PDF which you either print or show on your smartphone. These tickets are basic and do not include a guide or an audio guide.

tickets to the Sistine Chapel

There are many ways of getting tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums

Other Practical information for people visiting the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums

Opening times

The Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums are open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (latest access is at 4:00 pm) from Mondays to Saturdays. They are also open every last Sunday of the month.

They remain close on 1 January, 11 February, 19 March, 22 April, 1 May, 29 June, 14 and 15 August, 1 November, 25 and 26 December.

Night Openings

From the end of April to the end of October, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are open until 11:00 pm (latest access is at 9:30 pm) on Friday nights.

Official tickets

Official tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums cost €17. Reduced tickets for children between the ages of 6 and 18 cost €8. This it the price of tickets bought at the counter.

These are not skip the line tickets. Skip the line tickets have an additional €4 handling fee – which is honestly worth investing in unless you want to experience the pleasure (*sigh*) of being stuck in the line for hours.

Children below the age of 6 can get in for free.

Free entrance to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums are free to visit the last Sunday of every month, and on World Tourism Day (27 September).

The museum is free to visit for people which have a certified invalidity of more than 74%. For non self-sufficient visitors, the free entry is extended also to the person accompanying them.

Keep in mind that the free tickets for disabled visitors can’t be booked online. You will have to get your ticket at the Special Permits or Reception desk in the entrance hall of the museum, but to get that you will need to show a certificate of invalidity. These tickets are skip the line.

Dress code

Make sure to dress modestly for your visit to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. Visitors are regularly turned down for not being dressed appropriately.

Security checks

No matter what kind of ticket you have, you’ll have to go through a metal detector. To speed up the security checks, avoid bringing objects such as large umbrellas, sticks (unless walking sticks), selfie sticks and tripods – you’ll have to leave them at the cloakroom anyways.

Photography and drawing

Photos are not allowed in the Sistine Chapel. Photos of the Vatican Museum are allowed only for personal use. The use of flash is not allowed, as well as that of tripods and selfie sticks.

Drawings are allowed only after having obtained a special permission by the Directorate of the Vatican Museums, or for students enrolled at the Rome Academy of Fine Arts.

Personal belongings

You have to leave bags, backpacks or trolleys at the cloakroom. This is free of charge.

Further readings about Rome

Make sure to check out my itineraries and other posts about Rome’s best attractions:

Have you ever seen the Sistine Chapel? Do you have any tips to add to get tickets to the Sistine Chapel?

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Discover where to get tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums and skip the lines - via @clautavani

Nine Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Louvre And Skip The Line

Nine Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Louvre And Skip The Line

Getting tickets to the Louvre before your visit is a must. As of 2019, this is a requirement for all visitors as Louvre tickets aren’t actually sold at the door.

You are in Paris, a city famous for its many fabulous attractions. You can’t wait to climb the Eiffel Tower and to admire the incredible pieces of art at the Louvre Museum. You have the pictures of the glass pyramid in mind, and you are savoring the moment when you’ll finally be able to admire the Mona Lisa and other famous paintings of Italy’s most prominent Renaissance artists.

The bad news is that the Louvre Museum is one of the world’s most visited museums and it receives so many visitors every day that admissions without pre-booked tickets is often not guaranteed. This means that unless you get tickets to the Louvre beforehand, you won’t be able to get in.

The good news is that getting Louvre tickets is actually very easy and if you buy them in advance you’ll be able to skip the line, swiftly get in and enjoy every minute of your time at this incredible museum.

In this post, I will highlight the best ways to get tickets to the Louvre and share some information that will help you make the most of your visit. But first, let me share some interesting facts about the Louvre Museum.

tickets to the Louvre

With pieces such as the Coronation of Napoleon, it’s easy to see why the Louvre is a must when in Paris

Why You Must Visit Louvre Museum When In Paris

Paris is an incredible city. I recently visited for the first time (I know, shame on me for not having been sooner), I fell in love with it the minute I arrived and I can foresee going again and again for more. It’s a huge city, there are so many interesting places to go and whether you like architecture, art, food, wine or even just shopping, you will be in for a treat.

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, which means that the city is crowded – some attractions truly feel packed beyond the limits. The lines to get on the Eiffel Tower are long, but they are truly nothing compared to those to get inside Versailles Palace (at least from what I have seen).

The Louvre Museum is another place that gets thousands of visitors every day. After all, this is a fantastic museum – though many seems to prefer Musee d’Orsay as it is smaller and focused on art only, I much prefer the Louvre.

At the Louvre, you’ll get to see some of the most important pieces of art in the world and an exhibit that would require days to go through. This is why I believe that going to Paris without visiting the Louvre Museum it would be a bit like going to Rome and skipping the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. You just shouldn’t!

If you are still wondering, let me be clear: you simply can’t go to Paris and skip the Louvre. It really is a must, no matter how crowded it is and no matter how much of a hassle getting tickets may be (but let me tell you, it really isn’t and you will soon see why).

Some background information about the Louvre

The Louvre Museum is housed what used to be a fortress that was initially built upon orders of Philip Augustus on the right bank of River Seine in the 12th century and that throughout time saw many changes and enlargements.

Francis I, king of France from 1515 until 1547, was a lover of art. He was the one who, in 1546, ordered the original structure to be razed and to build his royal residence on top of it. That’s how the part that nowadays corresponds to the southwestern part of the Cour Carrée was built by architect Pierre Lescot.

Subsequent kings of France such as Louis XIII and Louis XIV added to the structure – both of them acquired a lot of art pieces, and so did Cardinal Richelieu – who was prime minister during the reign of Louis XIII.

Once Louis XIV moved the court and his residence to Versailles Palace in 1682, the Louvre stopped being a royal residence. However, it was not turned into a museum until the 18th century.

In 1793 the revolutionary government that was ruling in France after the revolution opened the Louvre Museum to the public. At the time, it was named Musée Central des Arts and it occupied the Grande Galerie, which was built by comte d’Angiviller.

Napoleon Bonaparte was the one who ordered the construction of the Cour Carrée and of another wing on the north along the rue de Rivoli. During the 19th century, to other wings were completed and inaugurated during the reign of Napoleon III.

In the 1980s and 1990s an underground complex was created, with shops, toilets and restaurant facilities that would make the visitors experience to the museum even better.

The famous glass Pyramid designed by Chinese architect Pei Cobb upon request of the (then) French President Mitterand was inaugurated in 1989, on the 200 years anniversary of the beginning of the French Revolution.

This immediately attracted lots of criticism (much like the Eiffel Tower did, back in the day when it was built) – firstly because it blocked the view of the small Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, and secondly because such a modern structure looked at odds with a classic building like the Louvre.

With time, Parisians as well as tourists got accustomed to the Pyramid, which is now the symbol of the Louvre Museum and one of the landmarks of Paris, often use as the background for incredible photos.

Diana of Versailles

Diana of Versailles is a masterpiece at the Louvre

Why is the Louvre always packed?

In 2018, more than 10.2 million people visited the Louvre. That’s roughly four times the population of Paris city, and that means that – were the museum open every day (which it isn’t – see more about it below) the average number of people visiting each day would be roughly 28000.

To make a long story short, the Louvre is always crowded. But why so?

Quite simply, this is the biggest art and archeology collection in the world. There are over 380000 pieces, of which more than 35000 pieces of art on display. There are pieces that have made art history such as the Mona Lisa and the Virgin of the Rocks, the Wedding at Cana, the Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory, the Coronation of Napoleon, and the Seated Scribe to name a few.

The fact that the Louvre Museum is always so crowded means that you have to plan your visit there carefully, and that you really can’t go there without having bought tickets to the Louvre in advance – this not only will allow you to skip the lines at the ticket desk, but in some cases it’ll be the only way you can get in.

IN SHORT: These are the best Louvre tickets that are also skip the line:

PLEASE NOTE: No matter what kind of ticket you hold, you will have to go through a couple of security checks and have your bags scanned before getting inside the Louvre, so be prepared for those lines – which however are much shorter and faster than those for getting tickets.

TIP: Remember that as per Louvre regulations, you won’t be able to take inside any times such as weapons (including pocket knives), excessive amounts of foods or drinks, flammable items, and animals other than guide dogs. Make sure to leave prohibited items in your room so as to avoid any delay when going through security.

INTERESTING FACT: If you are curious to see how much you may have to wait in line for the tickets at the entrances of Pyramid and Carrousel, make sure to download the app created by the Louvre. You can download it here.

Continue reading for more tips on how to make the most of your time at the Louvre Museum and on how to skip the lines!

Visiting the Louvre more in depth

The basic tickets to the Louvre allow you to spend as much time as you want in the museum (you’ll probably need a full day to see a portion of the museum), but they don’t include a guide or an audio-guide. I appreciate that having a guide is not for all, but for such a big museum I honestly recommended it.

And unless you are an art historian, you need to have at least an audioguide that will explain you the details of the paintings or sculptures you will be looking at.

A guide will take you swiftly through the security checks; you won’t have to consult the map every minute to find out where you need to go to admire your favorite pieces and will share important information about all the artwork you will be seeing.

I did this tour and had an excellent guide who was ready to answer all my questions. After the tour, I was able to stay at the museum for as long as I wanted – map in hand, in search of other pieces I was curious to see.

If you are a fan of guided tours as a way to get a good introduction to a museum, consider investing in one of these tours:

Continue reading to discover how to get tickets to the Louvre and skip the lines.

crowds outside the Louvre

The Pyramid is a perfect spot for photos

9 Absolutely Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Louvre And Skip The Line

There are various equally good ways to get tickets to the Louvre and and skip the lines. In this post, I will highlight the various ways, pointing out their main characteristics and who are they most suitable for.

In general, skip-the-line tickets to the Louvre are necessary under all circumstances, and the museum itself points out in its homepage that admission without pre-booked tickets can’t be guaranteed.

There are various kinds of skip-the-line tickets. Most of them are the basic kind – you get in and then you are on your own. A few include an audio-guide. Some include a guided tour which can vary in length.

Of all the ways to get tickets to the Louvre, my favorite is with a guided tour. I appreciate it is the most expensive option, but it really is the one that allows you to get a good understanding of the museum and all that it has to offer, and that takes you swiftly to see all the highlights. If your budget allows, definitely opt for this.

Finally, without any more delay, here are all the best ways to get tickets to the Louvre.

Way N. 1: Buy your tickets to the Louvre on the official website

Perfect for: no frills travelers

Advantages: It is one of the most budget options.

Disadvantages: It is very basic as it only covers the admission. Anything else is an add on. You have to print the ticket.

This is the official website to get tickets to the Louvre. Booking the tickets is incredibly easy: pick a day, pick a time for your entrance, pay €17 per visitor (15 for the ticket and 2 for the booking fee), and that’s done. If you want an audioguide, that’s an extra €5.

You will need to print the ticket and take an ID with you as you may be asked to show it while entering. Keep in mind that this actually isn’t a skip-the-line ticket, but you will be able to go through the Pyramid in half hour.

TIP: Be punctual! Louvre management is very clear in saying that if you don’t arrive within your allocated time slot, you will have to get in line to get new tickets!

GOOD TO KNOW: Tickets to the Louvre via the official website can be bought up to two months in advance.

TIP: If you care to visit the museum at a specific hour (ie as soon as it opens to avoid the largest crowds) make sure to book well in advance.

Way N. 2: Buy tickets to the Louvre via a third party site

Perfect for: Travelers who aren’t flexible about their timing

Advantages: There many third party sites you can use to get tickets and you’ll hardly be stuck without one. You can purchase your tickets months in advance (perfect if you need to plan your trip well beforehand).

Disadvantages: Tickets tend to be more expensive than on the official tickets.

If tickets to the Louvre via the official website are sold out, or if you are trying to book 60 days before your visit and the official website isn’t selling them yet, you can buy them via a third party site. Tickets will be a bit more expensive, but with so many sites to pick from, unless you are trying to buy them 30 minutes before your visit, you will find something that suits your needs and budget.

These are the best Louvre tickets which include skip the line access (but no guide):

Continue reading to discover other tickets to the Louvre that allow you to skip the line but which also include a guided visit.

Mona Lisa

A lot of people visit the Louvre first and foremost to admire the world famous Mona Lisa

Way N. 3: Take a group guided tour

Perfect for: Learning more about the Louvre

Advantages: You have a guide to take you around the museum and explain its history and the most important pieces.

Disadvantages: Groups can be of up to 20 visitors, so you can’t really go on your own pace.

There is no shortage of companies that offer guided tours of the Louvre which include skip the line tickets. Tours are easy to book – you just have to pick a preferred date and time, and they will arrange everything else with the museum. They will even print the tickets for you – all you need to do is get the mobile voucher which you can show them on your phone, and show up at the meeting point on time.

This is one of the best ways to visit the museum. Tours can last anything between 1.5 hours and 3 hours, after which you are free to stay at the museum and explore it by yourself.

Guides are generally knowledgeable about the Louvre, they know where to go so you won’t have to worry about looking at the map, and they will answer your questions and entertain you with quizzes.

These are the best guided tours that include tickets to the Louvre:

Way N. 4: Take a private guided tour

Perfect for: Those who don’t enjoy large group tours

Advantages: You have the guide all to yourself (or your small group).

Disadvantages: It’s definitely more expensive than the group tour option.

If you want a guided tour but can’t be fussed with a (potentially) large group, where people may take forever taking photos, ask endless questions, move slowly or regularly get lost, you can opt for a private guided tour.

This is obviously going to be a more expensive option – private tours start at €100 per person. However, most private group tours are priced per group, so if you are traveling with a group of friends or family (including children) this may well be the best idea, and not necessarily the most expensive one.

These are the best guided private tours that include tickets to the Louvre:

inside the Louvre

The interesting architecture at the Louvre deserves to be admired

Way N. 5: Get a combo ticket to the Louvre and a Seine River Cruise

Perfect for: Seeing the best of the city

Advantages: You get to cruise the Seine for fabulous views of many other sites in Paris, and get skip the line access to the Louvre.

Disadvantages: The price of the combo ticket is higher than the combined prices of tickets to the Louvre and Seine River cruise.

A cruise on the Seine River is one of the nicest things you can do in Paris, and it can often be combined with one or more of Paris attractions. Cruises generally last one hour and include an audio-guide, but if you want an audio-guide for the Louvre Museum that will be an add on.

The combo vary in kind: in most cases, you first visit the Louvre and then hop on the boat for memorable views of the Eiffel Tower, Pont Alexandre and Notre Dame.

Sometimes, combo tickets only allow you to access the Louvre after 2:30 pm (not ideal if you can foresee spending a full day there) and the cruise would occur afterwards.

Other combos let you stay as long as you want in the Louvre (you have to indicate a time of arrival when selecting the date) and you are free to cruise the Seine whenever you want (even a day or two later).

These are the best combo River Seine and tickets to the Louvre options:

Way N. 6: Take a guided tour of Paris

Perfect for: Those who have very little time to visit Paris.

Advantages: You get to visit Paris’ most famous attractions, including the Louvre Museum, in one day, and don’t have to worry about making single reservations for each.

Disadvantages: Tours may be a bit rushed and it may be more expensive than you’d wish.

If you don’t have much time in Paris, you may want to consider joining a guided tour that takes you to all the most famous attractions – including the Louvre Museum – and that includes skip the line tickets for each. The benefits are having a live guide that shows you around, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost; and having to just make one booking, while the company running the tour will reserve the skip-the-line entrances for the various attractions. In other words, this is very easy.

These are some good guided tours of Paris that include tickets to the Louvre:

tickets to the Louvre

The beautiful interiors of the Louvre

Way N. 7: Get the Paris Pass

Perfect for: Those planning to see more attractions in Paris

Advantages: You get skip the line tickets to a lot of attractions attractions.

Disadvantages: You have to book entrances to the each attraction separately. You don’t really save money.

The Paris Pass is a great way to get skip the line tickets to the Louvre – and to a plethora of other museums in Paris. Keep in mind that if the Eiffel Tower is one of the attractions you want to have included in the Paris Pass, the only option you have is the Paris PassLib which costs €109 for the 2-day pass and €159 for the 5-day one. You can get it here.

These are other Paris Pass options that include tickets to the Louvre:

This is where you have to book your entrance if you have a Paris Pass.

Way N. 8: Buy tickets to the Louvre on FNAC website

Perfect for: Another easy no frills option

Advantages: You can pick up your physical ticket at one of the many locations in Paris.

Disadvantages: Tickets are slightly more expensive than on the official website. FNAC website isn’t easy to navigate, and the English version is not as complete as the French one.

FNAC is a massive online retail store where you can buy all sorts of things, including tickets to events and attractions. To be fair, the website tends to be confusing, and it is not very user friendly. Upon navigating you will see that only the main page is in English, but you can ask Google to translate the other pages.

If you can go over these obstacles, FNAC is a great website to buy tickets to the Louvre at a price that is only slightly more expensive than that of the official website, and you can pick up your physical ticket at one of the many FNAC location in Paris – I am sure there is one close to where you are staying.

Way N. 9: Visit the Louvre at night (only on Wednesdays and Fridays)

Perfect for: Night owls.

Advantages: The museum is less crowded in the evening.

Disadvantages: It’s only available on Wednesdays and Friday evenings. You still have to book it online.

Great news for night owls! While the regular closing time of the Louvre is 6:00 pm, on Wednesdays and Fridays it closes at 9:45 pm, with the latest admission at 8:30 pm. Although you still have to reserve your ticket online on the official website of the museum (find it here), chances are that the museum will be significantly less crowded in the late evening, when most people are done with their sightseeing and are all busy having dinner.

This is your chance to have the museum to yourself (well, almost)!

interesting paintings

Among the coolest pieces at the Louvre, Arcimboldo’s Four Seasons

Other Useful Information For Visiting The Louvre Museum

Book in advance

Let me stress this once again. You really, truly, definitely are better off booking your tickets to the Louvre in advance. Even the management of the museum says so on its website.

As of 2019, no tickets to the Louvre are sold at the door.

So, whether your trip to Paris is a last minute one or something you have been planning for months, make sure to check all websites – that of the museum and those of third party retailers for tickets and don’t just show up there as you may get disappointed!

Entrances to the Louvre

The Louvre Museum has five entrances (you can see them on the official map you can download here). The main and most known one is the Pyramid one. Other entrances are the Port des Lions one, the two entrances of Louvre Carrousel, and the one on the Passage Richelieu.

Port des Lions is the one normally used by guided groups. Carrousel can be accessed directly from the Metro Line 1 (yep, super easy) and – since it is underground – provides shelter in case of rain.

How to get to the Louvre

You will find the Louvre Museum on Rue de Rivoli and at the very end of the Jardin de Tuileries, past the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Getting there is fairly easy and you have several options.

By metro

There are various metro lines that have stops right by the Louvre or nearby. Lines 1 and 7 stop at  Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre and line 14 stops at Pyramides.

By bus

Alternatively, you can get to the Louvre by bus. The buses that stop by the Louvre are numbers  21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, and 95.

By hop on hop of bus

If you are interested in doing a tourist round of Paris, you can get there by hop on hop off bus. You can get your hop on hop off bus ticket here.

By Batobus

The Batobus is a hop on hop off boat service with several stops, including one near the Louvre. You will have to get off at Quai François Mitterrand – there will be someone announcing the stop so you can rest assured you won’t miss it. Other stops include the Eiffel Tower and and Place de la Concord. You can get a ticket which is valid for one of two days. You can buy your Batobus ticket here.

outside the museum

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel leads to the Louvre

Opening times

The Louvre is open from Wednesdays to Mondays, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

On Wednesdays and Fridays the Louvre remains open until 9:45 pm – last admission is at 8:30 pm.

Please take care to notice that the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December. 

Prices of tickets to the Louvre

Official tickets to the Louvre cost €15 if bought in person at the ticket counter, or €17 if bought online on the museum website.

Free tickets to the Louvre

Free admission is available for under 18s, or for under 26s living in the EU, as well as for people with disabilities and the person accompanying them.

TIP: Make sure to carry your ID with you as you may be required to show proof of age.

MONEY SAVING TIP: The Louvre is free on every first Saturday of the month between 6:00 pm and 9:45 pm, and on Bastille Day (14 July). However, keep in mind that the lines are terribly long on that day!

Security checks

All people visiting the Louvre have to go through two security checks. Make sure to avoid bringing in any bulky bag or any prohibited items such as flammable material or weapons (even a pocket knife is considered a weapon) to make the security check process faster and smoother.

Length of visit

This is completely up to you, really. Many say that one full day is not enough to see all of the Louvre, and after having been there I must say I agree! If you opt for a guided tour, this normally takes around 2 hours but it literally only covers the highlights – after that you will have more time to continue exploring on your own pace.

Toilets at the Louvre

You will find plenty of toilets at the Louvre main entrance, and on each floor.

Accessibility of the Louvre

The Louvre strives to be accessible to disabled visitors, with various elevators and wheelchair lifts, and even a Tactile Gallery.

Luggage storage facilities in or near the Louvre Museum

There are free self-service lockers beneath the Pyramid, but keep in mind you can only really store small items there. Larger items can’t be taken in so you may want to look for luggage storage facilities nearby.

Eating at the Louvre Museum

You definitely won’t starve at the Louvre: there are 15 cafés and restaurants where you can eater sit for a meal or take the food away.

The best time of day to visit the Louvre Museum

If you are spending a few days in Paris, I recommend visiting the Louvre on either Wednesday or Friday evening, when it stays open until 9:45 pm. Large tour groups usually leave by 6:00 pm and most people go for dinner soon afterwards, so the museum will be significantly less crowded.

Final tips for visiting the Louvre Museum

Bring your camera

With so much to see inside and outside the Louvre, you will definitely need your camera for photos. The building itself is gorgeous. The only rule is that flash photography is not allowed.

Wear layers and comfortable shoes

Though there is no dress code for the Louvre, I recommend wearing layers as some parts can feel extremely hot compared to outside during the winter months. Make sure to also wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking a lot.

Beware of pickpockets

A place so crowded like the Louvre is bound to be a playground for pickpockets. Make sure to keep your valuables safe; close your bags or backpack properly; wear your backpack at the front and your purse across your shoulder.

Visit the outside too

The outside of the Louvre museum is almost as interesting as the inside. Needless to say, the glass pyramid provides many photo opportunities – though you are better off going there very early in the morning when there are no people around. The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is a nice sight, and make sure to admire the view of the museum from the Jardin de Tuileries.

Further readings about Paris and France

Are you planning a trip to Paris and France? Don’t forget to read my other posts:

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Seventeen Incredible Things To Do In Venice

Seventeen Incredible Things To Do In Venice

There are many incredible things to do in Venice. The city has so much to offer that it is easy to see why it is a top tourist destination – in Italy and in the world.

After Rome, Venice is the most visited city in Italy. Its rich history, culture, museums, winding streets, mouth-watering cuisine, art-filled palaces, stunning architecture, picturesque canals, etc. attract close to 30 million tourists annually.

Built on 118 small islands connected by more than 400 bridges, and canals, this city in northern Italy is a beautiful place to visit – so unique that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If it is on your list of dream places to visit, I can suggest your holiday in Venice, which has many nicknames including “The Floating City,” “The City of Bridges,” and “The City of Canals,” will be absolutely worth it.

To ensure you get to see, and do the best things Venice has to offer, here is a list of activities you must include in your travel itinerary. I will also share a few tips that will help you organize your trip at the end of this post.

what to do in Venice

Piazza San Marco with high tide

17 Amazing Things To Do In Venice

Explore Saint Mark’s Square

One of the unmissable things to do in Venice is visiting St. Mark’s Square. This is the largest and most popular piazza (public square) in Venice. For centuries most of the major events in the city have been held here, and it is named after Evangelist Saint Mark, Venice’s patron saint.

Called Piazza San Marco in Italian, this piazza has some of the city’s top attractions such as St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Torre dell’Orologio. It is the perfect place to begin your tour of Venice because you’ll tick off your travel itinerary several of the must-see attractions when you visit the public square. The best time to visit Saint Mark’s Square is early morning just after sunrise, at this time the square is not packed with tourists.

You’ll find lots of friendly pigeons, and you might be tempted to feed them, but don’t do that. Feeding the birds is banned and if you’re found doing that you could pay a hefty fine. Once you’re done taking in the sights you can go to one of the cafes found at the north end of the piazza for Italian espresso.

Tour St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) 

As I mentioned above, this attraction is located in Saint Mark’s Square. It was built in the 11th century and is the most famous building in Venice. So, you must make a stop here, the church’s Italian Byzantine architecture is something to marvel at.

You can tour St Mark’s Basilica on your own or pay for a guided tour of the place. Entry to the basilica is free, but to access some of the spaces like the basilica’s museum, Pala d’oro, or Treasury, you’ll have to pay about $2- $6. When seeing the place, be sure to pass by the outdoor terrace for magnificent views of Saint Mark’s Square below.

Usually, the basilica is open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday to Saturday. On Sunday it opens from 2:00 pm after the Catholic mass service, which you can attend, and closes at 5:30 pm.

Being one of the top tourist attractions in Venice, you can expect to find long lines at St.Mark’s Basilica. To avoid waiting in line for hours to get into St Mark’s Basilica go very early before it opens, so that you can be among the first in line, or late in the afternoon. You can also pay around for a skip the line ticket or tour that will get you in swiftly.

These are the best guided tours and skip the line tickets of St. Mark’s Basilica:

Piazza San Marco

A gorgeous view of Piazza San Marco

Walk up St. Mark’s Bell Tower

This is the tallest landmark in Venice and from the top, located right in St. Mark’s square and one of the symbols of the city that you will easily recognize from a distance. From there, you’ll enjoy an unforgettable view of Venice – easily one of the best things to do in Venice. There always are long lines to get in – and it’s easy to see why. So I recommend getting a skip the line ticket. You can find it here.

Visit Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale)

This palace for centuries served as the home of the Doge, a supreme leader who was elected by Venetian nobles to govern Venice. Located at Saint Mark’s Square, you can go to admire the buildings Venetian gothic architecture and opulent interior.

Doge’s Palace is also full of history about how Venice was ruled in its earlier years because all its affairs were run from here including imprisonment and executions of those found to have wronged the state.

Doge’s Palace is open from 8:30 am. to 7:00 pm from April to October and 8:30 am to 5:30 pm from November to March. Tickets cost about $24. But honestly, the line to get in is so long and there is so much to see that it’s probably better to invest in a tour or – as a minimum – in skip the line tickets.

These are the best guided tours of Doge’s Palace that include skip the line tickets:

Ponte dei Sospiri

One of the most beautiful sights in Venice

Admire the Bridge of Sighs

This bridge used to be were prisoners passed as they left the dungeons to go to courtrooms in Doge’s Palace. It’s a lovely sight, it makes for some of the most iconic photos of Venice and it definitely is one of the nicest Venice attractions.

Enjoy an evening at the opera at Teatro La Fenice

Teatro La Fenice is one of the most popular opera houses in Italy, and you can catch an opera show here when in Venice. Opened in 1792 the opera house has survived three fires hence the name Teatro La Fenice, because like a phoenix the theatre has risen from the ashes a couple of times.

Getting tickets to catch an opera is not easy, so if you plan to go for one during your trip to Venice you’ll need to buy tickets months before your trip. You can look at the planned events and concerts and buy tickets on the official website here.

The opera house has daily tours you can take if you’re unable to get tickets for a show.

The tours start from 9:30 am., and end at 6:00 pm. You can go for a tour to admire the Teatro La Fenice magnificent architecture, gold interiors, plush red velvet chairs and et a feel of the opera closed boxes. This attraction is located 5 minutes from Piazza San Marco and tour tickets cost about $12 for adults and $8 for students. The tour can be booked here

Opera tickets are pricier and performances usually take place from 5.30 pm or 7:00 pm.

Ponte di Rialto

Ponte di Rialto is a must see when in Venice – it used to be the only bridge allowing to cross the Grand Canal on foot

See the Grand Canal (Canale Grande)

Hundreds of canals connect the islands that makeup Venice. The largest of those canals is Canale Grande. This s-shaped 2-mile canal cuts through Venice, and has close to 200 buildings, some built as far back as the 13th century, lined along its banks.

This waterway has for years played a major role in Venice’s economy, and is always busy with water traffic. It is another attraction you cannot leave the city without experiencing. If you want to admire the canal and the buildings along its banks on the cheap, walking along it or riding the Vaporetto (water bus) is what to do in Venice.

During peak season, April, May, June, September, and October, the water buses are often packed with tourists and locals. The morning and evening commutes can be particularly uncomfortable due to the large crowds. Therefore, the best time to sail the Grand Canal on a Vaporetto is at night. The lit waterway and palatial buildings are awesome to look at this time and fewer people are using the Vaporetto, so you can enjoy the trip.

Sail the Venice canals on a Gondola

If you don’t want to use a water bus to see the Grand Canal (or even the smaller canals in Venice) you can hire a gondola. A gondola is a flat bottomed traditional Venetian rowing boat that looks like a bit like a canoe. The gondola is rowed by a gondolier who uses a rowing oar. It once was the only means of transport in Venice.

If you opt to pay for a gondola, to tour the Grand Canal or other waterways in Venice, be prepared to pay about $90 for a 40-minute ride. I know this is pricey, but riding a gondola is kind of a ritual for most tourists visiting Venice. So suck it up and pay for one, it will be an interesting new travel experience.

The best part is as you ride the gondola and take in the sights a singer onboard or the gondolier will serenade you with beautiful traditional Venetian melodies.

If you look online you will see that there are some shared gondola rides. If you don’t mind sharing, this may be a good way to save some bucks.

These are the best gondola rides you can book online:

Cross Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)

One of the nicest places to visit in Venice is Rialto Bridge. This bridge found on the Grand Canal is the most famous in Venice and was once the only way you could cross Canal Grande. From the top of the bridge that was built in the 16th century, you can have great aerial views of Venice.

Like other attractions in Venice, this bridge receives hundreds of tourists each day, particularly around midday. You can access the bridge at any time of the day, so the best time to go is early morning or any time after sunset.

At the center of the bridge, there are many shops where you can buy Venetian souvenirs to take back home with you.

things to do in Venice

Colorful buildings along the Grand Canal

Walk around the Jewish Ghetto 

This is believed to be the world’s first ghetto. It was established in 1516 when Jews in Venice were forced to live in poor conditions in this enclosed area. Today the area has many restaurants, shops, synagogues, and a Jewish museum you can visit. It’s a lovely part of the city that I wholeheartedly recommend visiting, and it gets less visitors than the rest of the city so visiting is what to do in Venice to get away from the crowds.

Get lost in Venice’s narrow alleys

Venice can’t be accessed by car, so exploring the city on foot is one of the pleasures of visiting this city which has many winding narrow streets. It colorful, beautiful and discovering the narrow alleys can be a very rewarding experience. I recommend NOT taking the map – get lost and have fun!

Shop at Rialto Market 

This is the busiest market in Venice, and a visit to this city wouldn’t be complete without a tour of this market. Here is where the locals come to buy fresh seafood, fruits, and vegetables. If you want to enjoy some of this fresh produce you can grab a meal at one of the many restaurants at Rialto Market.

If you would like to do a tour of the market and taste the amazing food, you can opt for these:

If shopping is one of the things to do in Venice, you’ll be glad to know that the tourist section of the market is also a good place to buy souvenirs. The market which is located close to Rialto Bridge opens daily from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Go for a drink at the Hotel Danieli

This five-star hotel featured in 3 James Bond movies, From Russia With Love (1963), Moonraker (1979), and Casino Royale (2006). So like Bond you can enjoy a vodka martini “shaken not stirred,” at the hotel’s bar.

Carnival

A typical Venice Carnival mask

Plan to attend a Carnevale

Every year in February Venice holds a carnival were close to 3 million locals and tourists dress up in masquerade costumes, and party for two weeks. The Carnevale was first held in Renaissance times and scholars believe the masks worn at the time were aimed at hiding the true identity of participants. This way the upper class and peasants could interact freely during the event without caring about status.

The atmosphere in Venice during the Carnevale is electric with parades, lots of food, drinks, and entertainment on the city’s streets. It can get really wild so if you’re not the partying type you should skip this event.

If you don’t make it for the Carnevale you can get yourself the famous Venetian carnival mask as a souvenir. You can buy a cheap one from street carts in Venice or if you want a classier mask that is hand-made you can purchase one at the specialized mask shops.

Visit the Galleria dell’Accademia di Venezia

If you love art touring this attraction which has an impressive collection of 14th to 18th-century Venetian art is a must. The art museum has over 800 paintings including works by great artists such as Da Vinci, Bellini, Tintoretto, Canaletto, Veronese, Tiziano, Carpaccio, Giorgione, and Giambattista.

Galleria dell’Accademia di Venezia is 15 minutes away from Piazza San Marco. Tickets cost about $18 for adults and children get in free. The museum is open from 8:15 am. to 6:15 pm Tuesday to Sunday, and 8:15 am to 1:00 pm. on Monday.

Take a day trip to Burano

Burano is one of the islands found on the Venetian Lagoon. It is a 40-minute boat ride from St Mark’s Square and is the perfect place to escape the large crowds in Venice for a few hours. You’ll see colorful buildings and lovely, quaint atmosphere. Guided tours usually go also to Murano and Torcello.

These are some excellent guided tours that include a trip to Burano:

Visit the Basilica of Saint John & Paul

This is the largest church in Venice, which took more than a century to build and that was finally consecrated in 1430. The square where it is located is a good place to hang out, especially for families with children or for a group of friends.

Burano Venice

Easily reached from Venice, Burano is a must see

Practical Information To Organize Your Trip To Venice

Schengen area travel requirements

To travel to Venice, Italy – and to other Schengen countries in Europe – you need to confirm your ETIAS validity before your trip.

Guided waling tours of Venice

It takes more than a walk to discover Venice, but a guided tour is a good idea to be properly introduced to the city. These are some excellent options:

Where to stay in Venice

Venice has no shortage of excellent accommodation options, and you won’t have any issue finding something that is suitable to your taste and needs. I have selected a few places which are all excellent, and some are even very budget friendly considering the location. Here is what I recommend:

Best time to visit Venice

Venice is always crowded with tourists, and the weather is unforgiving. Picture cold, humid and foggy winters with regular chances of high tide (acqua alta, as we say here in Italy) – which makes it hard to walk around town. And very hot, humid summers that make it really exhausting to explore.

Having said so, I’d say that the best months to go to Venice are April and May in the spring, and September and October in the late summer / early fall. And if you want to experience Venice Carnival, February is the best months.

Keep in mind prices go up in the weeks of carnival, and that during high season (June, July and August) Venice tends to be even more crowded than usual, and as expensive as it gets.

How to get to Venice

Venice is a well connected city and you have several options to get there. Below is a summary.

By plane

Venice is well connected to the rest of the world via two airports. The main one is Venezia Marco Polo and it is located on the mainland. This has direct connections to many international destinations. From there, you can easily get to Venice with a private water taxi, the Alilaguna waterbus, a bus to Piazzale Roma (you can book it here), or a shared or private transfer or taxi to Piazzale Roma (book it here) from where you can get to your accommodation in town.

The other airport is in Treviso and has budget flight connections to a variety of destinations in Italy, Europe and Mediterranean countries. From there, you will need to catch a bus or train to Venice Piazzale Roma.

By ferry

Big cruises and ferries regularly get to Venice. I honestly do not recommend using this means of transportation to get there – and in fact, I don’t recommend a cruise altogether as these are known for having had a massive impact on the lagoon and on the city itself – to the point that subsequent governments have suggested moving the main dock to a lesser central location than the current Giudecca.

By train or bus

Venice is well connected to mainland Italy by bus and trains. Buses will leave you in Piazzale Roma, whereas trains go as far as Venezia Santa Lucia train station. From both places, you can easily catch a water taxi or water bus to get to your final destination.

How to move around Venice

The best way to explore Venice is on foot! However, if you need to cover longer distances you can count on water taxis, water buses and the famous vaporetto. Consider investing in a Venice City Pass if you are planning to visit many attractions, as it will give you skip the line access to many attractions and include use of public transportation. You can get it here.

Other useful information

As for any other trip, make sure to get a good travel insurance for your trip to Venice. You can get yours here.

Check out my post Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.”

Further readings

If you are planning a trip to Italy, make sure to read my other posts:

Legal Disclaimer: This post was written in cooperation with Etias Visa. Needless to say, the views expressed are my own.

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Read about the best things to do in Venice - via @clautavani

Nineteen Incredible Things To Do In Zanzibar

Nineteen Incredible Things To Do In Zanzibar

You’ll find no shortages of things to do in Zanzibar.

Tanzania is a popular destination for tourists looking to go on safari. The East African country has several world-class wildlife parks where you can go to see the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino). However, the incredible wildlife Tanzania boasts is not the only thing that attracts millions of tourists to the country each year.

Zanzibar certainly is one of the biggest selling points to people who plan a trip to Tanzania. This small beautiful island on the Indian Ocean is located off the coast of mainland Tanzania; and it is also very popular with tourists. I would say that it makes the perfect addition to a trip to Tanzania.

After visiting Serengeti National Park to see the wildlife, or touring Tanzania’s capital city Dodoma, I highly recommend you plan a trip to Zanzibar. The island has warm weather all year round, miles of stunning beaches, picturesque landscape, friendly people, delicious cuisine, history, and fascinating culture.

And if you are worried that Zanzibar, let me reassure you: it is possible to travel to Zanzibar on a budget. Many tourists have visited the island and spent as little as $25 a day by staying in a hostel and eating at local restaurants.

This post highlights the most fun things to do in Zanzibar. At the end, you will find a few tips that will help you plan a trip there.

things to do in Zanzibar

Stone town is a cool city to discover

19 Fun Things To Do In Zanzibar

Wander around Stone Town

In Swahili, the main language spoken in Zanzibar, Stone Town is called Mji Mkongwe, which means ‘Old Town’ in English. True to its name Mji Mkongwe is the oldest part of Zanzibar city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is a tourist hot spot has a lot of history and is rich in European, Arab, Persian and Indian cultures and I recommend to spend some time there to wander around, aimlessly if possible, to take in its lovely atmosphere. Then, you can consider visiting some of its attractions!

Visit the historical landmarks in Stone Town

One of the unmissable things to do in Zanzibar is getting to know its history. There is no better way to do it than exploring the historical landmarks scattered around Stone Town. Here are some you shouldn’t miss.

If you want to take a guided tour of Stone Town, here are some good options:

The Palace Museum

This 19th century building used to be the home of Zanzibar Sultan and his family. That’s why it is also called the Sultan’s palace. After the position of the Sultan was disestablished in1964 the site become a government office for some years. Today it is a museum that exhibits relics from past Sultan families.

The House of Wonders

Built in 1883 by Sultan Barghash, this was the first building back then to have running water and electricity – something that had never been seen before in East Africa. It is Zanzibar’s tallest building with impressive architecture. Unfortunately, due to years of neglect, the building found at the old town’s seafront, on Mizingani Road has been closed for renovation. I still recommend you admire it from the outside.

The House of Wonders has been included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch in order to attract attention to its state of despair.

The Arab Fort

Built in the 17th century this building boasts impressive architecture and interesting history. Part of its history is that it was built on top of an old church, then it became a prison in the 19th century, and a ladies’ tennis club at some point.

The Anglican Cathedral of Christ Church

This church was built in 1873. The church was built on a site where slaves were whipped and has a world-famous slave memorial monument on its grounds.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The church is open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a $5 USD admission fee.

Visit the Old Slave Market

One of the things to do in Zanzibar to learn about its past is exploring the Old Slave Market. This is actually a museum, set in the area where the market used to take place and which the British forced to close when they ruled the island in the 19th century.

fresh mango and papaya

Make sure to try local food, including the freshest fruit!

Enjoy local cuisine at Forodhani Gardens

Forodhani Gardens is a night time food market where you can sample Swahili and Zanzibari cuisine. If you love seafood this market – which opens late in the afternoon – is one of the best places to visit Zanzibar. Apart from seafood other food to try at Forodhani Gardens include:

Biryani

This is a rice dish made with different spices served with meat or fish curry. It one of Zanzibar’s most famous meals, and tastes delicious.You could also try Pilau rice. To make it, instead of cooking the rice, spices, and meat separately the chef cooks them all in one pot.

Zanzibar Pizza

This tastes or looks nothing like the pizza you may know (or the one I may be used to in Italy). To make, a ball of dough is rolled it into a circular shape. Ingredients of your choice are then added. They can include beef or chicken, onions, peppers, mayo, and vegetables. An egg and cheese are then added on top and everything is fried on a hot pan surface for a few minutes.

Mishkaki

These are local meat skewers, and if you’re feeling adventurous you can try one made from octopus instead of the usual beef or chicken.

Chips Mayai

This is made of french fries which are fried together with eggs. Think of it as a french fries omelet. I know, it is weird. But I promise you it is good.

Mandazi

If you’re looking for a snack opt for mandazi – fried dough. You can enjoy a mandazi with some Zanzibar tea which is usually made with an amazing blend of spices.

Go shopping at Darajani Bazaar

This is the biggest trading center in Stone Town. Here you can buy anything from food, jewelry, clothes, art, wood carvings, perfumes, etc. It is the perfect market to buy something to take back home that will remind you of Stone Town once your holiday is over.

TIP: Be sure to haggle the prices of any item you have your eyes set on or you’ll pay more than you should.

Explore Spice Island

Spice trade is big in on the island, and going on a spice tour is what to do in Zanzibar to appreciate more of its culture, history and food. It will help you learn more about the different spices Zanzibar grows and sells. You may love some of the spices and buy some to take back home.

These are some excellent spice tours of Zanzibar:

On the way to Prison Island

On the way to Prison Island

Visit Prison Island

As I have already pointed out, Zanzibar has a dark past involving slave trade, and you can learn about this trade by visiting Prison Island. The island is a 30-minute boat ride from Stone Town.

In the past, this was also where people with deadly diseases were sent to die. So, you can also learn more about which disease years ago were considered deadly and could have seen you sent to this island if you contracted them.

Once you’re done learning about the island’s not so good past, you can go admire the endangered giant Aldabra tortoise species found on the island. These tortoises are huge and some are over 100 years old.

These are the best tours of Prison Island:

best beaches in Zanzibar

One of the gorgeous beaches in Zanzibar

Soak up the sun at Nungwi Beach

You cannot go to Zanzibar and not spend time on the beach. One of the best beaches in Zanzibar to relax while sunbathing and swimming in the Indian Ocean is Nungwi Beach. This beach is located in Nungwi village which is found in Zanzibar’s North West region. The beach is popular among tourists but you’ll rarely find it overcrowded like other beaches on the island. As the waters are nice, shallow and transparent, this is a great place to go snorkeling.

Go scuba diving

Speaking of marine life, with warm, clear water is it only obvious that one of the best things to do in Zanzibar is diving. Make sure to go at least once! The best place to go diving is Mnemba Island Atoll.

Dine at the Rock Zanzibar

For scenic views of the island, you should enjoy a meal at this world-famous restaurant which is literally located on top of a rock in the Indian Ocean. From it you can see Zanzibar’s main sights, and taste the best seafood Zanzibar has to offer.

TIP: This restaurant is often very busy, so you should consider making a reservation to ensure you get a table when you choose to go there.

what to do in Zanzibar

The pretty red monkey of Zanzibar

Explore Jozani Forest

This pristine rainforest located in the eastern part of the island covers close to 2000 hectares and it is Zanzibar’s only remaining indigenous forest with over 100 species of trees. It is the only place in the world you can still see the endangered red colobus monkey.

Other animals you can see at Jozani Forest include bush babies, sykes monkeys, Ader’s duiker, over 40 bird species and 50 butterfly species. There are several nature trails in the forest you can explore to get to see these animals up close.

These are some good guided tours that go to Jozani Forest:

Go to the Seaweed Center

Have you ever drank a seaweed smoothie? I’m guessing maybe not because seaweeds are not widely consumed in many parts of the world. In Zanzibar, you can sample a seaweed smoothie and see if you like it at the Seaweed Center located in Paje.

The center is a local enterprise where women in Zanzibar use the abundant seaweed found on the island to make products such as organic soaps, scrubs, essential oils, smoothies, and juices.

You can support these women by buying their seaweed products which are known to have health benefits such as reducing heart disease risk and helping in weight loss.

Go kitesurfing in Paje

The best place to do kiterfing is in Paje Island, which is located southeast of Zanzibar. Kite surfing is very popular in Paje because of its reliable winds, and don’t worry if you have never done it before. There are many kitesurfing trainers around who are waiting for the opportunity to show you the ropes of kitesurfing. With their expertise and your enthusiasm to learn a new skill you should be a kitesurfing pro in no time.

Travel in a Dala Dala

If you’re traveling to Zanzibar from a developed country you’re used to an organized and safe bus transport system. In Zanzibar, the public transport system may shock you. To move around locals share minibuses common known as dala dala. These minibuses are often overloaded with people, some are clearly not roadworthy and the ride can be bumpy.

They’re, however, the cheapest way to move around Zanzibar. From Darajani Market in Stone Town, you can catch a dala dala that will get you anywhere on the island. Riding in one of these vehicles will be an experience to remember and one of the most unique things to do in Zanzibar.

Attend one of the Zanzibar Festivals

Zanzibar has several festivals throughout the year. Consider attending one if you happen to be there when they are taking place. The most popular are:

Sauti za Busara (Sounds of Wisdom)

A music festival where the biggest artists in Africa perform. It is usually held in Stone Town in February.

The Zanzibar International Film Festival

Consider this as the East African version of the Emmys or the Grammys where the best talent in film, music, and art in Africa and beyond are recognized and rewarded. This usually takes place in July.

The Zanzibar Beach and Watersports Festival

If you love sports this water sports event should be on your radar during your trip to Zanzibar. Apart from water sports competitions, this festival has lots of music and food. It takes place in Jambiani, Zanzibar in September.

Spend some time in Jambiani

Jambiani is a lovely fishing village right by a gorgeous white sand beach. It’s the kind of place where you can chill and enjoy the incredibly relaxed vibe.

sailing in zanzibar

Such clear waters!

Sail the Indian Ocean

One of the things you should really not miss while in Zanzibar is going on a blue safari tour. On this tour, you’ll sail the ocean waters on a dhow, a wooden boat with a canvas sail. From Stone Town, the dhow will take you to Menai Bay to see dolphins. You will also visit an isolated sandbank where you’ll have a seafood lunch before returning to shore as the sunsets. You can book your blue safari tour here.

Watch the sunset

Zanzibar has some of the most stunning sunsets you can think of. When on the island you can experience the sun go down on land or on water.

On land, several locations around the island offer you a clear view of the sunset. For example, some hotels have rooftop terraces where you can relax and enjoy sundowners.

I prefer watching the sunset on the water by taking a sunset dhow cruise. Many companies in Zanzibar can organize for you a romantic sunset cruise or plan a boat party for you and your friends as the sunset. This is an excellent sunset boat tour that you can book online.

Party hop

Zanzibar doesn’t go to sleep when the sun goes down. There are several places on the island where you can enjoy a night out listening to music, dancing, drinking and socializing. To know what is happening on a particular night of the week ask the staff at your hotel bar. They’ll tell you the best place to go for a night out.

sunset sailing in Zanzibar

Sunset sailing in Zanzibar is a must!

Practical Information To Plan Your Trip To Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar travel requirements

Before you travel to Tanzania, be sure to confirm if you need to apply for the Tanzania Online Visa. Citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia, India, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Israel, and Spain – among others – can easily obtain their visa online.

When to visit Zanzibar

Zanzibar enjoys warm weather year round. Though you are bound to get sun throughout the year, the same goes for rain. Most rain falls during the monsoon season, between November and December and April and May. I’d recommend avoiding the monsoon as it can be very humid and unpleasant. August is a nice month to go, with long, sunny days.

Guided tours of Zanzibar

If you don’t want the hassle of organizing a trip to Zanzibar, but just the enjoyment of visiting, you may want to consider going on an organized tour. There are several excellent ones run by G Adventures. Here are my favorite options:

How to get to Zanzibar

Zanzibar has its own airport, but the vast majority of tourists flies Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s former capital, from where they can catch a 2 hour ferry ride to Zanzibar.

How to move around Zanzibar

You have three main options to move around Zanzibar. Taxi – which you have to haggle fiercely and there are chances rates will be highly inflated for tourists; dala dala – of which I have talked before; and shared shuttle buses which you can easily book at your accommodation.

Where to stay in Zanzibar

There is no shortage of good accommodation options in Zanzibar and you are bound to find something for any budget. These are the best places to stay on the island:

Other useful information

As for any other trip, I suggest getting a good travel insurance for your trip to Zanzibar. You can get yours here.

Check out my post Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.”

Further readings

If you are planning a trip to Africa, make sure to read my other posts:

Legal Disclaimer: This post was written in cooperation with Tanzania Visas. Needless to say, the views expressed are my own.

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Seven Smart Ways To Get Eiffel Tower Tickets And Skip The Lines

Seven Smart Ways To Get Eiffel Tower Tickets And Skip The Lines

Getting Eiffel Tower tickets is easy! Follow my guide to find the way that best suits you.

You have finally arrived in Paris, the Ville Lumiere. You’ve seen it in so many movies, you read about it in so many books, and you can’t wait to explore it. You’ve had a first peek of the Eiffel Tower from a distance, and from the banks of the River Seine. It looks imposing, beautiful and shiny at the same time.

It’s now finally time to go up the tower – but the minute you get there, you face the harsh truth: the line to get Eiffel Tower tickets is almost as long as the height of the tower. It looks like you’ll be standing there for two hours at least. You are ready to give up and settle to take photos of it from a distance.

Don’t give up though! There are ways to get Tour Eiffel tickets without having to wait in line for hours and I promise you will love every moment of your visit.

In this post, I will tell you how to get tickets to the Eiffel Tower so that you don’t have to wait in line for hours. But first, let me provide some information on what you can expect when visiting the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower tickets

The Eiffel Tower as seen during a Seine River cruise

Why You Must Visit The Eiffel Tower When In Paris

A city as beautiful as Paris well deserves a visit – in fact, I believe that repeat visits are not only advisable but actually necessary in this case. The city is huge, with so many interesting places to visit for any taste and interest. From parks to art galleries, from monuments to quaint neighborhoods, Paris really has it all.

There’s more than a reason why Paris attracts millions of visitors each year. This is one of the World’s most visited cities, second only to Bangkok. What this inevitably means is that Paris is crowded. A city that already is so populated ends up feeling all the more packed because there are so many tourists, and each and every one of them is visiting the same attractions – including the Eiffel Tower.

Rightly considered the symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower likely is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the French capital, to the point that many (including myself) think that going to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower would be a bit like going to Rome and not visit the Colosseum or to New York and skipping the Statue of Liberty. Senseless, if I may say.

In case this isn’t clear, let me stress it one more time: you simply can’t go to Paris and skip the Eiffel Tower. It is – quite simply – a must – no matter how much of a hassle getting Eiffel Tower tickets may be.

Some background information about the Eiffel Tower

Shooting into the sky with its 324 meters, the Eiffel Tower is a wrought iron lattice tower that was built in 22 months between 1 July 1887 and 1898 to celebrate the centenary of the French Revolution in 1889, during the World Expo. It didn’t really have any specific purpose, other than that of impressing visitors to the fair.

Named after Gustave Eiffel, the tower wasn’t actually designed by him but by Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, who worked in the same company as he did. Eiffel was, however, the person who invested most of the money in the construction and he later on bought the right to the patent.

At the time of the construction, the Eiffel Tower attracted a lot of criticism – mostly by the community of Parisian artists who defined it “monstrous” and who petitioned for the construction to be stopped. In fact, the tower was meant to be dismantled 1909 – but the fact that an antenna was placed in its summit to conduct wireless signals (the Eiffel Tower is still used as a communication tower for both radio and digital television) and the fact that it progressively became more and more famous saved it from being demolished.

For four decades after its construction, the tower remained the tallest building in the world. It was only in 1930, with the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York, that it lost its title.

Affectionately named “The Iron Lady,” the Eiffel Tower was initially a reddish-brown color. Ten years after its construction, it was painted in yellow. Its current color, known as “Eiffel Tower Brown,” was first painted in 1968 and is reapplied every seven years, manually.

CURIOUS FACT: Gustave Eiffel had his very own apartment at the top of the Eiffel Tower. It’s been fully restored and it is now open for visits to those who also go to the summit.

Eiffel Tower skip the line

A lovely vintage carousel below the Eiffel Tower

Why is the Eiffel Tower always packed?

To put it simply, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, not to mention the world’s most visited attraction. First of all, the controversy over its construction inevitably attracted a lot of interest and with time the tower became more and more recognized, to the point that it became the place where celebrations such as those for Bastille Day – commemorating the beginning of the French Revolution on 14 July – or those for New Year’s take place.

Nowadays, around 7 million people visit the Eiffel Tower each year. That means an average of more than 19000 visitors every day. Put this together with the increased security checks to get in and climb it, and you can see why it gets easily packed and there are endless lines to get tickets.

What this means is that you really have to plan your visit to the Eiffel Tower carefully, and that you are better off getting Eiffel Tower tickets in advance to avoid the long lines.

IN SHORT: These are the best skip the line tickets to the Eiffel Tower:

PLEASE NOTE: Regardless of the kind of ticket they hold, all visitors much go through a couple of security checks (one for the perimeter barrier and one for either the elevator or the stairs) and have their bags scanned when visiting the Eiffel Tower, so be prepared for those lines. The good news is that this line is much shorter and much faster than that for the tickets.

TIP: Certain items such as glass bottles, bulky luggage, pocket knives, baby strollers can’t be taken to the Eiffel Tower so you should leave them in your room to avoid wasting precious time when going through security.

Continue reading for more tips on how to fully enjoy your time at the Eiffel Tower and on how to skip the lines!

Visiting the Eiffel Tower more in depth

The basic Eiffel Tower ticket only allows you to access the second floor – you can opt for the lift or, for a more budget friendly option, take the stairs. If you want a more in depth experience, one that gives you more information about the tower, I wholeheartedly recommend opting for a guided tour – whether a group one or a semi-private one – which includes skip the line Eiffel Tower tickets as well as access to the summit.

GOOD TO KNOW: You need to purchase your summit tickets in advance, because you can’t buy them once you are already in the tower – you would have to get out and get back in line at the ticket counter to get tickets to the summit.

Needless to say, the views from the summit are spectacular and I wholeheartedly recommend you opt for those. The summit is also where you’ll get to see Gustave Eiffel’s secret apartment. I wouldn’t want to miss out on that.

If you care to have a more in depth experience at the Eiffel Tower, consider investing in a guided tour. Here are some excellent options:

Continue reading to discover how to get Eiffel Tower tickets and skip the lines.

Eiffel Tower and Pont Alexandre

A beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower

7 Absolutely Smart Ways To Get Eiffel Tower Tickets And Skip The Lines

There are several ways to get Eiffel Tower tickets and skip the lines. Below, I will mention the various solutions, pointing out their main characteristics and indicating for which kind of traveler and budget they are most suitable.

In general, skip-the-line tickets to the Eiffel Tower bought online are the only reliable way to avoid standing in line at the ticket counter. There are several kinds of skip the line tickets, some including a more in depth visit with access to all levels, or even a guided tour, others being very basic.

Of all the ways to get Eiffel Tower tickets, my favorite is the summit tour. It is the most expensive one – but it really is the most inclusive one and if you are not afraid of heights, you definitely should opt for this.

Finally, without any further ado, here are all the best ways to get Eiffel Tower tickets.

Way N. 1: Buy your Eiffel Tower tickets on the official website

Perfect for: no frills travelers.

Advantages: It is very budget friendly.

Disadvantages: It really is bare bones. Tickets to the summit sell out fast.

This is the official website to get Eiffel Tower tickets. Booking the tickets is extremely easy – you pick the floor you want, you pick a time, and you don’t even need to print the tickets. This really is the most budget friendly option with tickets starting at €10,20 for stairs access to the second floor, and going to €25,50 for the lift to the summit.

GOOD TO KNOW: Tickets to the Eiffel Tower via the official website can be bought up to 60 days in advance.

TIP: Make sure to buy your ticket well in advance, especially if you want the summit ones, as they are the first ones to get sold out.

There used to be an official Eiffel Tower App that visitors could download for a small price (in the range of €3) to get an audioguide and tour the tower for just around one hour, but this has unfortunately been discontinued.

Trocadero and La Defense

Trocadero and La Defense as seen from the summit of the Eiffel Tower

Way N. 2: Buy Eiffel Tower tickets via a third party site

Perfect for: Travelers who aren’t flexible about their timing

Advantages: There are a lot of third party sites you can use to get tickets and you are bound to find a ticket. You can purchase your tickets months in advance (perfect if you need to plan your trip well beforehand).

Disadvantages: They are slightly more expensive than on the official tickets.

If tickets to the Eiffel Tower via the official website are sold out, or even if they aren’t on sale yet (ie 60 days before your planned visit), you can buy them via a third party site. Tickets will inevitably be more expensive, but you will have various sites to pick your tickets from which means that unless you are trying to get tickets at the very last minute, you will be able to find something.

These are the best Eiffel Tower tickets which include skip the line access (but no guide):

Continue reading to discover other Eiffel Tower tickets that allow you to skip the line but include a guided visit.

Way N. 3: Take a guided tour

Perfect for: Learning more about the Eiffel Tower

Advantages: You have a guide that shares interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower.

Disadvantages: You will be in a group of up to 20 visitors, so you can’t really go on your own pace.

Various companies offer guided tours of the Eiffel Tower that include skip the line tickets, and they are super easy to book. You just pick a date and time, and that’s all done – they will be the ones booking the slot directly with the Eiffel Tower and all you have to do is show up at the place and time suggested in your voucher (which you don’t even have to print).

I find this is the best option to visit – personally, I like having a guide that takes me around, that tells me exactly what I have to do and when I have to do it, so that I can completely switch off and stop worrying and actually just enjoy the visit.

There are various options for guided tours – some including access to the second floor only, others going to the summit. I think you already know that my recommendation is to go all the way to the summit!

These are the best guided tours that include Eiffel Tower tickets:

one of the best views of the tower

Perhaps the best view of the Eiffel Tower

Way N. 4: Get a combo ticket for the Eiffel Tower and a Seine River Cruise

Perfect for: Getting the absolute best views of the city

Advantages: You get to cruise the Seine for fabulous views of many other sites in Paris, and get skip the line access to the Eiffel Tower.

Disadvantages: Access to the summit is an add-on.

If cruising along the Seine if on your list of things to do while in Paris, you may be happy to know that you can purchase a tour that includes a River Seine cruise and Eiffel Tower tickets. This really is a wonderful way to experience the most famous attraction in Paris, and to get splendid views – of the city, and of the tower itself – from the river.

The cruise normally lasts about one hour, and after that you’ll get priority access to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, where you can spend as much time as you want. You can also add the summit if you want.

These are the best combo River Seine and Eiffel Tower ticket options:

Way N. 5: Take a guided tour of Paris

Perfect for: Those who have very little time to visit Paris.

Advantages: You get to visit Paris’ most famous attractions, including the Eiffel Tower, in one day, without having to worry about making separate reservations for each of them.

Disadvantages: The tour can be a bit rushed and it may be more expensive than you’d wish.

If you have limited time in Paris but still want to make the most of your time there, opting for a guided tour of the city may be a good idea. Tours generally go to all the most famous attractions, and include skip the line Eiffel Tower tickets. They generally have a guide (some just an audio-guide) and can be more or less budget friendly.

These are some good guided tours of Paris that include tickets to the Eiffel Tower:

On top of the Eiffel Tower

Posing for a photo on the Eiffel Tower

Way N. 6: Get the Paris Pass

Perfect for: Those planning to see more attractions in Paris

Advantages: You get skip the line tickets to many attractions.

Disadvantages: You have to book entrances to the attractions separately. It’s not a real money saver.

Contrary to the Roma Pass that gives you access to the Colosseum, most Paris Passes don’t include Eiffel Tower tickets and if you have the pass chances are you’ll have to buy your skip the line tickets to the Eiffel Tower separately.

Having said so, the Paris PassLib is the one pass you can get if you want an option that includes access to the Eiffel Tower (second floor). It starts at €109 for the 2-day pass and getting to €159 for the 5-day one. You can get it here.

Way N. 7: Make lunch or dinner reservations for one of the two restaurants

Perfect for: Romantic couples.

Advantages: You get to dine while having one of the most impressive views in the world.

Disadvantages: Restaurants at the Eiffel Tower are certainly not cheap.

There are two main restaurants at the Eiffel Tower, as well as a champagne bar (for which no reservations are taken), a snack bar, a macaroon parlor and a couple of cheaper (so to say) eateries.

If you can’t get Eiffel Tower tickets in any other way, you may want to make reservations for one of the restaurants.The experience is certainly unique, but keep in mind that dining at the Eiffel Tower isn’t exactly cheap. If you want to splurge, however, this is definitely a good option.

Both restaurants have their own private elevators and if you have reservations you can just directly go there.

58 Tour Eiffel is located on the first floor. You don’t need to have a reservation to get there but it is certainly recommended. The house specialty is a picnic style basket at lunch, but dinner is more formal.

Jules Verne is a fine restaurant located on the second floor. After going through some major renovation works, it reopened in July 2019. Its menu was created by Michelin-star chef Frederic Anton, so rest assured you are in for a treat. Make sure to reserve in advance and expect to pay no less than €200 per person.

TIP: Try to be at the Eiffel Tower well before your reservation time, as there may be a line at the elevator and you still have to go through security.

the views from Trocadero

The Eiffel Tower as seen from the Trocadero

Other Useful Information For Visiting The Eiffel Tower

Book in advance

I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t want to get stuck in the line at the ticket counter, make sure to book your Eiffel Tower tickets well in advance. Even if your trip to Paris is very last minute, make sure to check online for availability of tickets and tours before going all the way to the Eiffel Tower and discovering it’s sold out.

What to do if Eiffel Tower tickets are sold out 

First of all, do not panic. Even if Eiffel Tower tickets are sold out online, chances are you can still get in.

Here are your options:

Get tickets for the stairs in person

Tickets for the stairs are not sold online, not even on the official website – you can only buy them in person at the ticket counter, on the day of your visit. So, if you are in good shape and don’t mind a bit of exercise, this is a great option. Tickets cost €10,20 for stair access to the second floor, and €19,40 for stair access to the second floor and elevator to the summit.

Buy elevator tickets in person at the Eiffel Tower ticket counter

This is obviously the least pleasing option, as chances are you’ll have to wait in line for a long time to get your elevator tickets.

Book a guided tour with stair access (and upgrade to include summit access later)

Alternatively, you can book a guided tour that allows you to climb the stairs to the second floor and to get an upgrade on the spot to get to the summit. These tours are obviously a bit less popular as they require a work out, so chances are that you’ll be able to book for the day after (for example, I have just checked today and there is availability for tomorrow). You can book it here.

How to get to the Eiffel Tower

You will find the Eiffel Tower on the north end of the Champ de Mars, one of Paris’ most famous parks. Getting there is fairly easy and you have several options.

By metro

There are various metro stations close to the Eiffel Tower. You can get line 6 (stopping at Bir-Hakeim), 8 (stopping at Trocadéro) or 9 (stopping at Ecole Militaire) and even RER commuter rail line C, stopping at Champs de Mars.

By bus

Alternatively, you can count on the excellent bus system. Buses 69 and 87 both stop at Champs de Mars. You can also use buses 42 or 82, which stop at Tour Eiffel.

By hop on hop of bus

This is a good option if you want to go on a tourist round of Paris. You will have to stop at either Champs de Mars or Eiffel Tower. You can get your hop on hop off bus ticket here.

By Batobus

Similar to a hop on hop off bus service, but this one is by boat so the added bonus is that you get to see the Eiffel Tower from this perspective. You can get a one or a two day pass and hop on and off at one of the various stops along the Seine. You can buy your Batobus ticket here.

Sacre Coeur as seen from the second floor

Sacre Coeur as seen from the Eiffel Tower

Opening times

The Eiffel Tower is open daily from 9:30 am to 11:45 pm. Last access with the elevator is at 11:00 pm and last access with the stairs is at 6:00 pm.

Prices of tickets to the Eiffel Tower 

As of October 2019, these are the prices of Eiffel Tower tickets via the official website:

Ticket with access lift to the second floor: adults €16,30; visitors aged 12 to 24 €8,10; visitors aged 5 to 11 and disabled €4,10.

Ticket with access lift to the summit: adults €25,50; visitors aged 12 to 24 €12,70; visitors aged 5 to 11 and disabled €6,40.

Ticket with stair access to the second floor: adults €10,20; visitors aged 12 to 24 €5,10; visitors aged 5 to 11 and disabled €2,50.

Ticket with stair access to the second floor and lift to the summit: adults €19,40; visitors aged 12 to 24 €9,70; visitors aged 5 to 11 and disabled €4,90.

Please note that children aged 4 or under can enter for free but they still have to get a (free) ticket. Discounted rates are only available for youth, children under the age of 12 and disabled.

Money saving tips

If you are on a tight budget, your best bet to save a bit when visiting the Eiffel Tower is to opt for the stairs access and to limit yourself to the second floor (many believe that the views are better from the second floor than from the summit, anyways). Keep in mind that there are there are 674 steps from the entry point to the 2nd floor, so this option is only recommended for those who are keen on some exercise.

Remember that stairs tickets can only be bought in person!

Security checks

There is no way to avoid security checks at the Eiffel Tower. In fact, since September 2018 a bullet proof glass perimeter 3 meters tall surrounds the tower.

Security checks are pretty similar to airport ones, including a metal detector. It can take half hour or more to go through security so make sure to avoid taking any of the prohibited items to speed the process.

Things you can’t take include weapons, knives (including pocket knives), glass bottles, cans, strollers that don’t fold, bulky bags, animals unless they are certified guide dogs.

the view from the summit

The Champs de Mars and Montparnasse Tower as seen from the Eiffel Tower

Length of visit

You can expect to spend anything between 1.5 to 2.5 hours at the Eiffel Tower, depending on whether or not your ticket includes a summit visit.

Toilets at the Eiffel Tower

You will find toilets at the floor level, on the first and second floor and even on the summit. Baby changing facilities are not available at the summit toilets. Disabled toilets can be found on the main level, on the first and second floor.

Accessibility of the Eiffel Tower

All floors of the Eiffel Tower can be accessed via elevator – which is good news for visitors with limited mobility and for those using a wheelchair. However, keep in mind that for safety reasons wheelchairs are not allowed to go to the summit.

Luggage storage facilities in or near the Eiffel Tower

There are no luggage storage facilities at the tower or in its immediate surroundings, so don’t take your heavy backpacks or suitcases with you – leave them in storage at your hotel or at the train station.

Good to know

The weather may affect your visit

You can really do little about it, but you may want to know anyways that things such as clouds, fog and rain may affect your view of the Eiffel Tower and – quite obviously – from it. If you aren’t flexible with time, there is nothing you can do about it. But if you are in Paris for a while, make sure to check the weather broadcast and try to go on a clear day.

There are lines to get down too

The good news is that with priority Eiffel Tower tickets you can really cut the amount of time you have to wait for the elevator to go up. The bad news is that the same can’t be said about getting down. Expect lines – especially on the summit. You can take the stairs from the second or first floor if the lines for the elevator are too long.

Eiffel Tower from Trocadero

Make sure to take in the views from the tower as well as those of the tower!

The best time of year to avoid the crowds at the Eiffel Tower

Paris gets incredibly busy during the summer months – especially July and August; but a bit quieter during the cold winter months. This means that the best time to avoid the crowds at the Eiffel Tower is by visiting in the winter, and on weekdays.

The best time of day to visit the Eiffel Tower

The best time to visit the Eiffel Tower is in the early morning and in the first hours of the afternoon, when visibility is at its best. Sunset is a very popular time to go – the views are certainly gorgeous, but it will also be more crowded.

In the evening, the Eiffel Tower is beautifully illuminated. Personally, I find that once night falls, I’d rather get views of the Eiffel Tower than from the Eiffel Tower – but this is just a matter of personal taste.

The best time of day to avoid the crowds is between 9:00 and 11:00 am, and between 8:00 and 10:00 pm.

Final tips for visiting the Eiffel Tower

Bring your camera

The views of and from the Eiffel Tower are amazing, and you will want to capture them. Make sure your smartphone camera takes good photos, and if not consider taking a camera with a good lens – a 18-105 mm as a minimum.

And an extra layer

It’s colder on top of the Eiffel Tower than it is on the ground, so definitely take an extra layer of clothes to wear if you feel chilly.

Wear comfortable shoes

This is especially relevant if you plan to take the stairs up or down.

Beware of pickpockets

Much like all tourist sites, pickpockets hang around the Eiffel Tower. Make sure to keep your valuables safe and keep an eye out for scams right outside the tower – you’ll find hordes of vendors trying to push souvenirs on you, those that try to convince you to make a donation for a charity (it’s a well known scam – don’t donate anything!) and those playing the 3 cups and ball game.

Visit nearby attractions

This is something I would recommend for any destination, actually. Concentrating on an area of the city during the same day is the best way to avoid wasting precious time by moving around too much and having to rely on public transportation. There are plenty of places to visit in Paris that are close to the Eiffel Tower.

Among the places you can easily visit near the Eiffel Tower there are the Champs de Mars, the Trocadero and the Champs-Elysées. You also have easy access to the S

Stay tuned as I am planning an itinerary series for Paris what will help you plan your time there!

Further readings about Paris and France

Are you planning a trip to Paris and France? Don’t forget to read my other posts:

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Find out what you should know about the Eiffel Tower - via @clautavani

Discover how to get Eiffel Tower tickets - via @clautavani

Read everything you should know to plan your visit to the Eiffel Tower - via @clautavani