Buy Tickets in Advance? Your Survival Guide to Europe's Top Attractions | The Invisible Tourist

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” ~ Jim Rohn.

If you’re anything like me, you absolutely HATE queues and prefer to buy tickets in advance. Sometimes I think those who don’t must enjoy lining up for tourist attractions. Maybe they’re the same people who camp out for days on end before the launch of the newest iPhone… Is it so they can brag about it on social media afterwards? I just don’t see the appeal!

Whatever the reason, especially for the top European attractions I don’t think I’ll ever understand why anyone would waste most of their day lining up to get in. Do they not know (or care) that it’s possible to buy tickets in advance to significantly reduce waiting time, and in some cases entirely skip the line altogether??

Many attractions give you the chance to buy tickets in advance online, which is a wise idea. Here you’ll find more info on where you can pre-purchase tickets for the top 10 attractions in Europe. I’ve also included where to learn more on pricing, tips and things to keep in mind to help you make the most of your visit.

In order to survive the utter chaos that can sometimes be European attractions I recommend pre-purchasing tickets for the below attractions. Read on for more!

  This Europe attractions skip-the-line guide will cover:

  • Anne Frank Huis (Anne Frank House & Museum) – Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Casa Milà (La Pedrera) – Barcelona, Spain
  • Château de Versailles (Palace of Versailles) – Versailles, France
  • Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
  • Foundation Claude Monet (Monet’s Residence & Gardens) – Giverny, France
  • La Segrada Família – Barcelona, Spain
  • The Last Supper – Milan, Italy
  • Musée du Louvre (The Louvre) – Paris, France
  • Musée d’Orsay – Paris, France

 …And a BONUS attraction. Keep reading to learn more!

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Skip the Line! Buy Tickets in Advance to These Top 10 European Attractions | The Invisible Tourist #amsterdam #annefrankhouse #barcelona #casamila #lasegradafamilia #paris #eiffeltower #louvre #museedorsay #versailles #monetsgarden #giverny #milan #thelastsupper #alhambra #spain #france #netherlands #italy #europe #unesco #gaudi
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You can skip the line at the Palace of Versailles, France
You can skip the line at the Palace of Versailles, France

Europe tourist attractions to buy tickets in advance

With that out of the way, let’s jump into the Europe attractions you should absolutely buy tickets in advance to. Save yourself the hassle and make the most of your precious travel time!

ANNE FRANK HUIS (House) • THE NETHERLANDS

Location: Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands

Why Visit Anne Frank Huis?

Anne Frank’s diary became famous post WWII for its detailed accounts of her two years spent hiding from the Nazi’s in the building’s secret annex. Now converted to a museum, The Huis is very sobering and respectful to Anne’s memory by only allowing a small number of people to visit at a time.

Things to keep in mind when visiting Anne Frank Huis

I’ve seen the queue waiting to get into this museum literally a kilometre long. No joke. When I was able to walk straight in with my pre-purchased ticket I caught a few people looking at me as though I was a magical unicorn✨. No need to be envious, anyone can do it if you plan ahead!

TIP: You can book a time slot two months in advance. Why waste all afternoon lining up?

How to book Anne Frank House tickets in advance

You can only pre-purchase Anne Frank House tickets from the Anne Frank Organisation. If you’re not familiar with Anne’s story and are interested in taking your Amsterdam trip to the next level before your visit to Anne’s house, there are some guided tours of the neighbourhood you can do to make the most of your experience.

Anne Frank Guided Walking Tour

To find out more information and pricing for the Anne Frank’s neighbourhood walking tour, click here.

Buy Anne Frank Tickets in Advance

Anne Frank's House is the third-most visited attraction in AMsterdam after the Rijkmuseum and Van Gogh Museum
Anne Frank’s House is the third-most visited attraction in Amsterdam after the Rijkmuseum and Van Gogh Museum

CASA MILÀ (La Pedrera) • SPAIN

Location: Passeig de Gràcia, 92, 08008 Barcelona, Spain

Why visit Casa Milà?

Antoni Gaudì has etched his mark throughout Barcelona and Casa Milà (also known as La Pedrera) is another fine example of his unique architecture style. Completed in 1912 Casa Milà is the last residential building designed by Gaudì, who was commissioned to design it by Pere Milà and his wife.

Their vision was to reside in the building and rent the remaining apartments, in which they did with some controversy. Today Casa Milà is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The rooftop terrace has funky sculptures and amazing 360° views of Barcelona.

Things to keep in mind when visiting Casa Milà

To avoid overcrowding of the apartment rooms, Casa Milà can only be enjoyed via a guided tour in small groups. It’s a great idea so the quirky interior design features and furniture pieces can be appreciated fully.

TIP:“La Pedrera” means “the stone quarry” and was a colloquial name given to the building by locals at the time who disapproved of the chunky stone and twisted iron rails on its exterior.

TIP: Use my Barcelona travel tips to avoid looking like a tourist during your trip.

How to book Casa Milà tickets in advance

For more information and prices for skip the line Casa Milà Guided Tour tickets, click here.

Casa Mila (La Pedrera) Barcelona, Spain

Quirky sculptures on the terrace rooftop

CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES (Palace of Versailles) • FRANCE

Location: Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles, France

Why visit Château de Versailles?

An easy day trip from Paris, this elaborate palace was the seat of political power in the Kingdom of France from 1682 when Louis XIV moved the royal court from France’s capital.

The French Royal Family resided here until the 1789 French Revolution when Louis XVI was ousted from power. Marie Antoinette also called the Palace her home. The opulence needs to be seen to be believed. It’s no wonder they chopped off Louis XVI’s head!

Things to keep in mind when visiting Château de Versailles

Be warned there still may be a lengthy queue upon arrival even if your tickets are pre-purchased. Although, the line for pre-purchase is significantly shorter than those who have not bought tickets in advance. There are also no limits imposed on visitor numbers so it does tend to get VERY crowded. But, you can easily see why it’s such a popular attraction to visit!

The King’s Rooms and Hall of Mirrors can become so cramped you may be reduced to gradual shuffling without much chance to fully absorb or take photos of the ornate details. During my visit I heard people accusing others of pickpocketing them. Just be aware!

TIP: If you can, visit on a weekday during the off-season.

How to book Versailles tickets in advance

In my opinion, it’s not a true visit to Versailles unless you include the gardens as part of your visit. The enormous scale of them cannot really be appreciated unless you take the time to explore them! Opulence is an understatement.

For more information and prices for:
Skip the Line Versailles Palace & Gardens Guided Tour tickets, click here
Versailles Guided Day Trip Tour from Paris, click here.

Buy Versailles Tickets in Advance

Buy Versailles Tickets in Advance

Versailles Buy Tickets in Advance

EIFFEL TOWER • FRANCE

Location: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France

Why Visit the Eiffel Tower?

No visit to Paris is complete if you haven’t checked out France’s 300m flagpole! It was a revolutionary piece of architecture for its time when it opened in 1889 and the icon of Paris today.

Things to keep in mind when visiting the Eiffel Tower

If your trip is a few months in advance, you can make a reservation at restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel (58 metres up) and dine with a view – this allows you to skip the queue altogether.

How to buy Eiffel Tower tickets in advance

There are a few ways you can skip the line and enjoy the amazing views at Paris’ most famous attraction!

To find out more information and prices for:
Eiffel Tower Skip the Line Tickets, click here
Eiffel Tower Skip the Line Access + Lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant tickets, click here

Eiffel Tower Skip the Line Access + Dinner at 58 Tour Eiffel tickets, click here.

Buy Eiffel Tower tickets in advance to skip the line

The Eiffel Tower is breathtaking at any time of year
The Eiffel Tower is breathtaking at any time of year

FOUNDATION CLAUDE MONET (Monet’s Garden) • FRANCE

Location:  84 Rue Claude Monet, 27620 Giverny, France

Why Visit Monet’s Garden?

Claude Monet’s private residence is a fascinating little time capsule of the early 20th century. With his magnificent property bursting with colourful flowers beside his renowned lily pond, you’ll completely understand why he poured so much inspiration from here into his paintings!

Things to keep in mind when visiting Monet’s Garden

Giverny is 45 minutes from central Paris by RER (train). Alight at Vernon station and take the 10min shuttle bus (€8 round trip) through the picturesque French countryside to stunning Giverny village. The Foundation closes the residence and gardens over the winter months from November – March.

TIP: Go early morning. The famous Water Lily bridges always have people standing on them, making it difficult to get a decent shot. You can visit Giverny in the morning and admire Monet’s paintings on display at Musée d’Orsay (below) in the afternoon for the full experience!

How to buy Monet’s Garden & Residence tickets in advance

If you’re confident to get to Giverny yourself from Paris, you can purchase Monet’s Gardens & Residence tickets here (in French).
Alternatively, for tickets and info about guided day trips from Paris to Monet’s Gardens & Residence tickets, click here.

Monet's Garden, Giverny

Monet's Residence

Pops of colour everywhere

LA SAGRADA FAMíLIA BASILICA • SPAIN

Location: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain

Why visit La Sagrada Família?

Work began on Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece in 1882 and it’s due to be completed in 2026. Making good use of the stunning natural light (it’s the most light-filled basilica you’ll ever visit), the stained-glass windows splash vibrant colours throughout the interior and over its giant tree-like pillars.

With astonishing attention to detail wherever your eyes wander, it becomes obvious why this UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts 3 million visitors per year!

Things to keep in mind when visiting La Sagrada Família

Each Barcelona city block is 300m long, and the queues at the height of summer easily wind around at least 3 of them (I saw this with my own eyes!). If you don’t buy tickets in advance you’ll have to line up in the scorching sun around 2 hours to get your ticket. This then allocates you a time slot that could be several hours away to prevent overcrowding inside… So you double-wait.

TIP: Opt for the guided tour. The guides are very knowledgeable and go into detail about each area of the basilica as they escort you around. Very interesting and informative! They’ll also answer any questions you have. Don’t miss the museum downstairs, either.

How to buy La Sagrada Família tickets in advance

To find out more information and prices for:
La Sagrada Familia Fast-Track Guided Tour tickets, click here
La Sagrada Familia Guided Tour + Tower Access tickets, click here.

La Sagrada Família’s Nativity façade (credit: C messier via Wikimedia Commons)

Stunning interior of La Segrada Familia

THE LAST SUPPER • ITALY

Location: Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano, Italy

Why visit The Last Supper?

One of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous masterpieces, The Last Supper has been attracting visitors since the 15th century. Depicting Christ and his apostles the night before his crucifixion, you can see why many of Jesus’ followers have flocked to see this mural throughout the centuries.

Admittedly, when I was planning my time in Milan I was unsure whether I wanted to actually visit and didn’t bother booking a ticket in advance. During my 3 days in the city I decided I wanted to see it after all, and navigated the cobbled streets to Santa Maria delle Grazie where the mural is housed. To my dismay I was informed that there was a four-day wait to get in without pre-purchased tickets (and this was during the off-season!)

Things to keep in mind when visiting The Last Supper

Moral of the story: If you’re visiting Milan, consider booking tickets within a decent timeframe before your trip to avoid any disappointment, especially if you know you’ll be visiting during peak periods.

How to buy The Last Supper tickets in advance

For more information and pricing on a skip the line guided tour to see The Last Supper, click here.

The Last Supper (credit: Haltadefinizione via Wikimedia Commons)
I was disappointed after making the journey to Santa Maria della Grazie
I was disappointed after making the journey to Santa Maria delle Grazie

MUSÉE DU LOUVRE (The Louvre) • FRANCE

Location: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France

Why visit the Musée du Louvre?

The world’s largest museum, The Louvre is home to an impressive 403 rooms and 14.5km of corridors displaying priceless collections of artworks and sculptures. No expense was spared creating the building and it was opened in 1793. The ceilings could be artworks within themselves! Mysterious Mona Lisa lives here, too.

Things to keep in mind when visiting the Louvre Museum

As one of the most famous museums in the entire world, it should come as no surprise that a visit to the Louvre is bound to be extremely busy. This is why it helps to spend longer in Paris and visit after the day trippers have left for the day, or purchase a ticket to skip the tourist hordes altogether for a more enjoyable experience.

TIP: Enter from the underground via the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall (off Rue de Rivoli and Palais Royale Musée du Louvre Metro station). This allows you to skip the massive crowd of people lining up at the iconic Pyramid Entrance on the ground level.

How to buy Louvre tickets in advance & skip the line

To find out more information and prices for:
Louvre Skip-the-Line Admission tickets, click here
Louvre Skip-the-Line tickets with Audio Guide, click here
Louvre Skip-the-Line Guided Tour tickets, click here. 

MUSÉE D’ORSAY • FRANCE

Location: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France

Why visit Musée d’Orsay?

Built as a railway station in 1900 along the River Seine and converted into a museum in 1986, Musée d’Orsay is home to many artworks of France’s great impressionists. If you love art history you’ll appreciate timeless paintings and sculptures by Monet, Cézanne, Degas, Manet, and Renoir gracing the walls and hallways.

Things to keep in mind when visiting Musée d’Orsay

As mentioned previously, see Monet’s private residence in Giverny before you go to fully appreciate his masterpieces!

TIP: Use Entrance C to enter with your pre-purchased ticket and avoid the queue.

How to buy Musée d’Orsay tickets in advance

To find out more information and prices for Musée d’Orsay Admission tickets, click here.

Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France | The Invisible Tourist #museedorsay #paris #paristravel #france #skiptheline
The giant clock on the top floor of the museum

Musee d'Orsay, Paris

BONUS: ALHAMBRA PALACE • SPAIN

Location: Calle Real de la Alhambra, 18009 Granada, Spain

Why visit Alhambra?

Once started as a small fortress in the 9th century, mighty Alhambra is perched high above the historical town of Granada and has changed hands many times throughout the centuries.

Meaning “Red Castle” in Arabic, Alhambra was completed by the end of Muslim rule in the region by the 14th century. Intricacies of the architecture that make up this former royal residence are incredible.

Things to keep in mind when visiting Alhambra

I personally am yet to visit this UNESCO World Heritage site! But it’s on my bucket list. When I do plan on visiting, of course I’ll practice what I preach and be sure to pre-book tickets at least one month in advance. Tickets are restricted to prevent overcrowding of the complex – I really wish Versailles had the same idea!

Alhambra Guided Tours

For more information and pricing on Alhambra Guided Tours, click here.

Gardens in Alhambra
Gardens in Alhambra (credit: cnsconsultores via Pixabay)

One final (and important) tip about popular Europe attractions

If your attraction has a free entry day, AVOID it like the plague! Every man and his dog decides to save money doing it this way but in turn spend much of their time lining up to get in. Your crucial travel time worth much more than that. You’ll get more out of your trip travelling The Invisible Tourist way.

It’s a much more enjoyable experience if you just pay the money for a regular day and enjoy the attraction to its full potential. What are you waiting for? Go get those tickets in advance!

Have you visited any of these attractions without a pre-purchased ticket? What was your experience like? Comment below! If you found this article helpful, please share it over on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, TikTok or don’t forget to Pin It on Pinterest!

Until next time,

The Invisible Tourist

 

 

 

 

 


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Skip the Line! Buy Tickets in Advance to These Top 10 European Attractions | The Invisible Tourist #amsterdam #annefrankhouse #barcelona #casamila #lasegradafamilia #paris #eiffeltower #louvre #museedorsay #versailles #monetsgarden #giverny #milan #thelastsupper #alhambra #spain #france #netherlands #italy #europe #unesco #gaudi

Skip the Line! Buy Tickets in Advance to These Top 10 European Attractions | The Invisible Tourist #amsterdam #annefrankhouse #barcelona #casamila #lasegradafamilia #paris #eiffeltower #louvre #museedorsay #versailles #monetsgarden #giverny #milan #thelastsupper #alhambra #spain #france #netherlands #italy #europe #unesco #gaudi

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12 Comments

    1. Hi Jonathan, thanks so much for letting me know! All fixed 😊
      I hope you love La Sagrada Familia as much as I did!

    1. That’s a great question, Gabi! It depends completely on each experience and if you’d be travelling during a peak period. For instance, Alhambra suggests at least one month in advance, Anne Frank tickets are available up to 3 months in advance. I’d suggest if you’re really keen on making sure you see the attraction you want to book as soon as possible so you get the day that best suits you. For the museums in Paris it’s probably ok to book a few weeks ahead (even a few days) as there aren’t restrictions on visitor numbers like some other attractions. Hope that helps 🙂

  1. I’m so thankful that I bought my ticket to Anne Frank’s house in advance. When I went I was able to walk right on in and skip the queue of over 100 people waiting to get theirs. Also buying my ticket in advance to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam saved me a lot of time, too. I agree about about avoiding free entry hours, especially if short on time. I tried that with the Prado Museum in Madrid only to find about 300 people waiting for entry. I decided to hit the museum on another trip and buy the ticket.

    1. The queue to get in is insane, isn’t it! Walking right in bypassing everyone is a good feeling. Ah, the Van Gogh Museum is another I think I’ll have to add to this list. That’s another amazing yet popular place. Free days are the worst, good on you for just buying a ticket for another day, April 🙂

  2. Such a useful guide, thanks for sharing! I’m the same, totally hate spending time in queues haha so this is perfect for me!

    1. I really hope you get there, Jossus! It’s a truly beautiful place to visit, especially if you’ve seen his wonderful paintings in person 🙂

  3. Very interesting and informative article.

    Just returned from a Europe trip which involved a visit to the Anne Frank Huis and I couldn’t agree more on the sentiment expressed here.

    Perhaps I may suggest adding two more attractions to the list whereby tickets are notoriously difficult to obtain and pre-planning / booking is essential

    1. The Alhambra palace complex in Granada, Spain

    2. Leonardo Da Vinci’s great masterpiece ‘”The Last Supper” at the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy

    1. Good on you for buying tickets in advance for Anne Frank Huis, Chue! The queue for those who wait is many, many hours long. And yes I totally agree with your suggestions, thank you! I for one missed out on seeing “The Last Supper” in Milan years ago as I didn’t buy tickets in advance. The wait time was 4 days and I was only in Milan for 3 so it’s definitely a good idea to pre-purchase before your trip. I will add your suggestions to this list soon 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

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