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Historic Site

When should you visit a historic site? Historic sites are locations where pieces of political, cultural, or social history have been preserved. Often due to their cultural value. Historic sites can be temples, whole cities, pyramids, castles, churches or any other kind of buildings.

Everything on the Mount is influenced by the tides and the weather. In contrast to Mont St. Michel the island is surrounded by the sea and accessible by feet for a time frame of roughly 3-4 hours. It’s one of the most popular and iconic landmarks in Cornwall with roughly 300.000 paying visitors at the Mount plus many more, so crowds can spoil this exceptional experience. If you spend a couple of days in the Penzance area, come here twice. Notice it’s closed on Saturdays and even boat transfer is not offered. Usually, the island and the castle remain closed from late December until mid-February! Continue reading to get all insights for an unforgettable visit at St. Michaels Mount.

St. Michaels Mount in the evening from the Marazion Beach

Each season is special and worth a visit. If possible try to experience St. Michaels Mont during high and low tide. It’s outstanding waiting on the cobblestone walkway for the incoming tide and the first waves. The exposed causeway to the island is approx. 2 hours before until 2 hours after low tide accessible. Usually, once a day and once in the night. Therefore, check the tide times first. Tide Times The Mount 

Photographer Tip: Come here in the evening for a perfect shot of the Mount with the sunset in the back.

Crowds and Weather by Season

Most tourists come here from April to September the “driest” months of the year. However, it’s often misty at the Mount. If possible, come on a sunny day. During the day the Mount gets overrun at low tide. If you are not a National Trust member, you have to queue for tickets for the castle. Avoid late morning and midday when the guided bus tours arrive, and people queue in the entire town of Marazion for a boat ferry at high tide. The same can happen when you want to leave the Mount. During high tide, the boat transfer for 2 £ and kids 1 £ one way is offered. Take your time at the Mount; visit the garden and the castle and walk back on the ancient cobblestone pathway at low tide.

Crowds on the cobbled causeway to St. Michaels Mount

  • Spring
    This time of the year gives you the opportunity to experience the unique atmosphere of the Mount. March and April are quieter while more tourists visit Cornwall from May onwards. However, May is still bearable, and the weather may be good as well. March is still pretty cold on average 10°C at daytime and in May around 14°C but can be warmer as well.
  • Summer
    June is busier while July and August are the worst time of the year. You almost can’t avoid crowds except late in the evening and early morning. It’s quite difficult to enjoy this unique place with so many people taking pictures. On the opposite, the weather can be gorgeous and warm.
  • Autumn 
    September is similar to May and a pleasant month as well with daily temps on average around 17°C. The crowds thin out in October and November is pretty quiet, but therefore it rains often. You can enjoy the special atmosphere that exists at the Mount.
  • Winter
    December is also a good month to avoid the crowds except after Christmas. But check first if the castle is open. The opening times change each year. The castle and the island can be closed from late December to mid-February. There is a huge amount of precipitation, and daily temps are chilly below 10°C.
     
St. Michaels Mount in the evening at sunset without any crowds
3 Top Tips to Avoid the Crowds
  1. Come early morning before the tour buses arrive.
  2. Another option is the afternoon; stay until the evening, but check tides and boat transfer first. 
  3. If you don’t want to visit the castle just the Mount; come on a Saturday. This is the quietest day of the week.
     
Accommodations in Marazion and Cornwall 

We spent 10 days in Cornwall. To get the most out of our stay with less driving, we’d booked two cottages on different locations — the reason that we visited the Mount twice; once in the morning for a couple of hours and again in the evening when most of the people had left the Mount and the castle was already closed. This was a magic moment with a memorable sunset. Check out the hotels and cottages in Marazion, Penzance or in St. Yves. For St. Yves check out if parking nearby is available. Bookmark the link and get the best prices for your stay in Cornwall.

Boat and Amphicraft Rides

You get to the Mount always during high tide from three different landing points in Marazion. Depending on the time of the day you may queue pretty long either going to the Mount or back to Marazion although there are a fleet of boats for your transport, often six and even more.

Amphicraft at St. Michaels Mount used during winter

The sea is often rough during winter. An amphicraft was built in 2002 and is used instead from the slipway in Marazion carpark for 3 £. This is quite an experience with space for 46 guests.

Opening Times Castle

The opening times change pretty often. In between the castle remains closed for a week. From late December to mid-February the castle and island are closed in 2019! Saturdays are also closed. It usually opens at 10.30 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. except for summer; closure at 5.30 p.m. Last admission is 45 minutes before closing. Check the opening hours first if you like to have a look into the castle. Closures can happen due to a bad weather forecast as well. Opening Times Castle

Opening Times Garden

The castle’s garden is not often open to the public. It’s open from mid-April until late September. During the flower season until the end of June from Monday to Friday. All other months on Thursdays and Fridays only. Last admission 45 minutes before closure. If the garden is open one of the gardeners gives detailed information about the garden and plants at 1 p.m.

Guided village and harbour tours are offered daily at 11.30 a.m., 1.30 p.m. and 2.30 p.m. except for Saturday.

GB United Kingdom

No trip to Jordan is complete without a stop at Petra, the stunning and mysterious rose-tinted lost city that stands as the country’s most famous sight.  [This article received a huge update in late 2018! Regarding the video below: Please note that no video or photo does this historic real-life experience justice! On a mobile phone, turn your screen to watch it in landscape mode]:

Many would-be visitors wonder when the best time to visit Petra is, as the weather can definitely influence your experience at the amazing landmark. In truth, the best time to visit Petra is whenever you can make it to Jordan – so if you are restricted as to when you can visit, don’t panic. However, if you do have the flexibility to choose which season you will visit in, it is worth carefully deciding as each season brings a slightly different experience. Before you continue reading,  check out our Ultimate Wadi Rum Guide as well if you like. Now, you may read our season guide or jump directly to the Petra Top Tips

 

March – April – May (Spring)


Petra (Jordan) in the spring

The springtime is one of the best times to visit Petra, as the temperatures are milder yet still pleasantly warm, and there is not much rain. In March, temperatures are still relatively cool, hovering between about 18°C (64°F) during the day and getting down to about 6°C (49°F) overnight – so be sure to bring some warmer clothes for the evenings and frosty mornings. You can also expect there to be a little bit of rain lingering in March (however it is unlikely to disrupt your holiday), although by April the amount of rain is much less, and the average temperature climbs to a high of about 24°C (75°F), dropping to about 10°C (50°F) overnight. Temperatures continue to climb during May, with a warm average daytime temperature of 28°C (82°F) and overnight lows of about 12°C (53°F). As summer draws near, rainfall is even less during May and it is very unusual for your plans to be interrupted by rain. The skies tend to be a beautiful blue, and there are wildflowers dotted around the landscape, which are great for photographs and views.

Is it crowded?
These pleasant temperatures make the spring months some of the best times to visit Petra, however you will not be alone in thinking so, and April and May in particular attract quite large crowds. If you are planning to visit Petra in spring, be prepared to book tours, transport and accommodation well ahead of time to avoid any disappointments. You can also expect prices to be fairly high due to the peak demand.

What to wear?
Although the temperatures are quite moderate, it is still advisable to pack clothing for extremes, including long, billowy clothing to protect from the sun, as well as some warmer jackets for the cooler nights. The milder temperatures of spring also mean that it is fine to visit the site at any time during the day, although if visiting early in the morning it is still worth bringing a warm extra layer or two, especially in March.

 

June – July – August (Summer)


Petra (Jordan) in the summer

Jordan's summer months are notoriously hot, meaning the crowds thin as people try to avoid the 40°C plus (100°F+) temperatures. Throughout the three months, there is less variation and June, July and August experience very similar temperatures and almost no rainfall. In these months, average daytime temperatures hover around 33°C (91°F) and overnight the mercury usually only dips to around 18°C (64°F). It is not unusual for temperatures to soar above these averages, however, with temperatures around Petra sometimes reaching 42°C (107°F) or more. It is usual for the site to be bathed in sun more than 14 hours per day in summer.

How to protect yourself from the heat?
This temperature can be biting, and it is advisable to take care if visiting Petra in the summer. It is important to wear light, loose-fitting clothing that provides a protective layer from the fierce sun, and bring lots of water. Petra is a large site, and in such warm temperatures you can expect to drink a lot more water than you usually would back home. It is also strongly advisable to try to get to Petra as early as possible when the temperatures are lower, and the crowds are fewer.

Is it quiet tourist wise?
Generally, the summer months at Petra are far less crowded, so as long as you are prepared for the heat, it can be a great time to visit and have more room to explore. However, if you are visiting with older people or children, or are particularly susceptible to heat, you may want to skip this time.

 

September – October – November (Autumn/Fall)


Petra (Jordan) in Autumn

September brings much-needed relief from the scorching temperatures, with the mercury starting to drop and average highs of approximately 31°C (88°F) and overnight lows of about 16°C (61°F). Rainfall is very limited, so the chances of your plans being affected by rain are very low. Overall, September is still quite warm, however, so many visitors stay away until October, when there is a significant drop to approximately 27°C (81°F) during the day, with cooler nights that hover around 11°C (52°F). October is definitely time to put those jackets back in your bag for the chilly evenings, and perhaps a rain jacket as rain is a little more common! By November, overall temperatures can be quite fresh, with an average maximum of 20°C (68°F) during the day and a cool 7°C overnight (44°F). Warmer layers are definitely required if visiting Petra in November, and it is not unusual for there to be some rain during this time.

Is autumn the best time?
October in particular is a popular month for visitors, so you can again expect full occupancy for hotels and tours, so do book ahead. Overall, autumn or fall are a great time to visit Petra as the temperatures are typically mild. These mild temperatures mean visiting at any time of the day is pleasant, although it is advisable to bring warm clothing if arriving early in the morning as it can still be frosty.

 

December – January – February (Winter)


Petra (Jordan) in the winter

Most people do not think of Petra as a winter destination, however there are good reasons to visit Petra in the winter months. In December, temperatures are cool, with an average daytime maximum of around 15°C (59°F) and overnight lows hitting a chilly 5°C (41°F). The rain also starts to pick up, and increases towards the end of the month and into January. January can experience quite extreme lows, with an average daytime maximum of 13°C (55°F) and frosty nights that are just a few degrees above zero. Both January and February can experience some rainy days, and it can even snow at the lost city of Petra. While not very likely, it's even possible, that Petra is closed for 1-3 days due to rain or snow. By February, temperatures are beginning to thaw out a little with an average high of 15°C (59°F), although the nights are still frosty with an average low of 4°C (39°F). In the winter months, there is still an average of about 7 hours of sunshine per day, although Petra is very occasionally closed due to rain. Therefore, it is advisable to leave several days in your itinerary to visit, just in case weather conditions are prohibitive.

Should I really visit in winter?
Although winter is not the most popular time to visit, there are many reasons why visiting Petra in winter can be a great decision. The site certainly has a unique beauty when it snows, and as long as you dress appropriately for the chilly temperatures, there is no reason the frosty lows should put you off entirely. Plus, it is a lower season in terms of tourist numbers – one of the benefits of this means that you can visit later in the day (therefore avoiding the cooler mornings) and it is still not too crowded. In addition, winter offers a softer light which is better for picking up the intricate detail of the rock that Petra is carved from.

 

Weather

Weather in Petra is influenced by its location in the desert, meaning that temperatures can experience quite extreme swings from chilly winters to searing heat in the summer. Even in the warm summer months, overnight temperatures can still be quite cool and mornings can be chilly. Other features of the desert landscape mean that rain is relatively rare (even in the winter) although not non-existent, and there can be sandstorms, especially in autumn and spring. It also has a high UV index so precautions should be taken to protect from sunburn, even if it doesn't feel overly hot. Overall, the weather in Petra is similar to nearby Amman, and is considered a desert or steppe climate.

 

Petra by Night - Is It Worth It?

For a different perspective on Petra, you may like to visit Petra at Night. What is it? Petra Night runs every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8:30 PM. Over 1500 candles are lit. It starts at Petra Visitor Centre. The view can be stunning and romantic, however the decision on whether to visit Petra at night is largely personal. During the peak months such as April and October, it can be very crowded which makes visibility difficult. Although many photographers dream of snapping the beautiful, atmospheric shots of the Treasury illuminated by candlelight, it can be very difficult to actually get this photo due to the crowds. It is largely a matter of luck whether you will be near the front, or toward the back, although arriving early or waiting until the crowds leave after the show can help.

On the other hand, the low season provides better photographic opportunities but in winter it can be bitingly cold and unenjoyable if you are not properly dressed. However, if you are able to layer up, one of the benefits of visiting during the lower season is that you are far more likely to have an unobstructed view of the candles which leads to much better photographs. By contrast, summer is also less crowded and the overnight temperatures are actually very pleasant.

In the end, it is a personal decision whether Petra at night is worth the relatively steep cost, however if (like most people) it is the photographic opportunities that draw you to it, then visiting Petra at night in low season may be a great option. During the peak season, however, it may be preferable to skip it altogether unless you are not worried about the cost and happy to 'roll the dice' with your view.

 

Avoiding the Crowds and Heat (Time of Day)

Petra is undoubtedly Jordan's most popular tourist destination and you should be prepared for crowds. Even in the lowest season, it is unlikely to be completely deserted and during spring and autumn you might find yourself jostling for room! Luckily, there are a few ways to avoid the crowds at Petra.

Go early!
The key way to avoid the crowds is to arrive early, as close to the 6am opening as possible. Most of the tour buses do not arrive as the gates open, so the first hour or two of the day is the best time to explore. Helpfully, this is also generally when the temperatures are at their mildest – so all in all, it is definitely advisable to try to arrive as early as possible. The only time that this is not necessarily the case is during winter, when you may prefer to wait until things warm up a little bit more.

Be aware that even in the warmer months, temperatures do vary and early mornings can still be quite chilly. Even if visiting in a summer month such as June, it is worth bringing a jacket just in case.

Go to different spots!
Another way to avoid the crowds is to try to take in unique viewpoints of Petra. Of course, standing in front of the Treasury is always likely to be crowded, however the site is absolutely huge, and there are many hidden gems where you can get an unobstructed view. For example, you can climb up and look down at the Treasury by following the Al-Khubtha trail. Another beautiful view is from beyond the High Sacrifice. If you go with a guide, they will likely be able to show you some out-of-the-way places where you can get goosebump-inducing views.

 

Photographing Petra (Time of Day)


Petra Jordan
by Sam Amil, CC-BY

The charming and unique lost city of Petra is a photographer's delight, offering many different views and landmarks to photograph. Plus, as the most well-known landmark in Jordan, photographs of Petra are the quintessential souvenir of your stay in the beautiful country. Here are some tips on how to photograph Petra so as to get brilliant photos that will be a reminder of your memories at the rose city.

Arrive early!
Not only does it help with the crowds and the heat, but it also makes all the difference with your photographs. There are fewer people to crowd your photos and get in your shot, but the light is also better before the sun has risen too high, particularly in the Siq (the leadup to Petra). By early- to mid-morning and past noon, the crowds make it difficult to get the classic shots of Petra from the Siq. Likewise, the harsh midday sun tends to wash out Petra. If you miss the early start at Petra, your best bet is to return later, as the afternoon near sunset is another great time to photograph Petra.

Make use of different spots and angles!
As already mentioned, try hiking the different trails to get to different vantage points and away from the crowds. Not only does this reduce the change of other visitors ruining your shot, but it gives you a lot of unique and interesting perspectives on Petra. Finally, if you are serious about photography, you may want to purchase a multiple day pass which will give you the chance to thoroughly explore the site and take plenty of photographs from different angles. In addition, you can document the subtle changes that occur daily at this incredible site.

 

JO Jordan

Mont Saint Michel the most visited destination in the Normandy with an estimated three million visitors and pilgrims each year. The island is situated 600 meters from the mainland with its own microclimate. Mont Saint Michel is 78 meters / 256 feet high. Extraordinary is the highest tidal range in Europe with roughly 15 meters. This makes a visit during spring tide a unique experience. Regarding the weather, it may be pleasant from May to October. What makes a visit outstanding? Continue reading to get detailed information.

Tides at Mont-Saint-Michel

If possible, visit Mont St. Michel during low tide. Spend a couple of hours on the island and the Abbey and wait for the incoming high tide. Ask at the information center close to the parking and opposite the shuttle bus stop when the first wave may come. After visiting the Abbey, instead of leaving it walk back to the west terrace especially if a spring tide is expected. You can also leave the Abbey at the entrance afterward. Alternatively, visit the Abbey half an hour before the first wave, the tidal bore is predicted. Bear in mind that you may queue for a ticket depending on the season and time of the day. This ensures that you are in time at the west terrace to get a good place for watching a spectacular show of the incoming tide.

Crowds on the west-terrace at Mont-Saint-Michel watching the spring tide
Pretty busy on the West Terrace

The sea flows out 15 km during spring tides and comes back with an immense Tidal bore. You already hear the sea coming back from far away with 30 km/h / 18.64 mph. It’s an extraordinary experience to witness the power of the tides.

The first wave at spring tide watched from Mont-Saint-Michel
Most impressive is the first wave; the tidal bore

The spring tides occur 36 -48 hours after full and new moon; in total round about 20 times a year. Mont Saint Michel becomes an island with a water level of 12.85 m and higher. The strongest spring tides happen in March and September with a sea level above 14 m. To get the most out of your visit check the tides first. If the spring tide is in the night, you can watch it, but you can't get a good shot. If a spring tide is forecasted for the evening; the Abbey closes around 10 pm. Mont St. Michel is not accessible roughly for 1 ½ hour during the highest water level. We experienced this outstanding spring tide in September 2018. Tidal times for Mont Saint-Michel

Visitors are waiting for the spring tide on the bridge in front of Mont Saint Michel
Visitors are waiting for the spring tide.

Visitor Centre Opening Times

It’s open from 9 am to 7 pm from Easter until the end of September and the rest of the year from 10 am to 6 pm. Only closed on Christmas Day the 25.12. and New Year 1.1.

Abbey Opening Times
  • Closed on 1st January, 1st May and 25th December
  • 2nd May until 31st August from 9 am to 7 pm, last admission one hour before
  • 1st September until 30th April 9.30 am to 6 pm, last admission one hour before
  • Exceptions: During July and August also open from 7.30 pm until 11 pm except Sunday with a special programme and illumination. An additional or combined ticket is necessary for it. Roughly four evenings each year during spring tide in the evening open at least until 10 pm
Peak Season and Crowds

With three million visitors each year it’s almost always crowded but summer months are the worst. You even have to queue for the restrooms and for paying your parking ticket at the ticket machine. Most of the guided bus tours come here during the day and already leave the outstanding place in the afternoon. If you want to avoid the crowds; come here for the sunrise or in the afternoon. Experience the village in the evening when most of the shops are closed, and the narrow alleys are almost without any people.

Narrow alleys are empty at Mont Saint Michel during the evening
The main street "Grand Rue" is less crowded during the evening.

Weather

Mont St. Michel has a coastal climate but due to the location, influenced by the tides it has its own microclimate mostly a bit cooler. Rain frequently occurs throughout the year but not much just around 750 mm per year. Less precipitation from June to September. Most sunshine hours from May to September. The summer is the most popular time of the year for a visit with pleasant temps and plenty of sunshine. Temps in summer are on average around 20°C but can climb up to 25°C as well. October and May are similar to an average daily temp of 16°C, and the lowest is 10°C. December to February expect one-digit temps. Anyhow, it’s pretty chilly during winter due to the high humidity. The water temp is below 20°C even in the summer.

Tidal Flat Tours

There are tidal flat tours offered at low tide. If you visit the area for more than one day, it'll be an outstanding experience. It's essential to book a guided tour due to quicksand, waterholes and the fast coming tide.

Tidal Flat Tours at Mont Saint Michel, Normady

Where to Stay

Camping
The closest campground is “Camping du Mont Saint-Michel”. It’s just the location next to the walkway to Mont Saint Michel which makes it worth to stay here. The campsites are not big. The facilities are ok more or less. Anyhow, you can check in 24 hours at the hotel reception and the staff is friendly. If you plan to stay just for one night it’s fine but for a couple of days you better chose “Camping aux Pommiers - Mont Saint Michel”. The facilities are well maintained. Plenty of showers and dishwashing sinks are available. There’s an indoor pool and cabins with private bathroom are offered as well. The campground is open from the end of March until the beginning of November.

Hotels
You will love to stay on the island for one night. Enjoy the mystic atmosphere in the narrow alleys when day visitors left the island. Experience the sunrise in front of Mont Saint Michel. The best rated charming hotel for Mont Saint Michel is the "Auberge Saint Pierre". You get remembered to Hogwarts from Harry Potter.Auberge Saint Pierre at Mont Saint Michel island

Another cheaper option but not in such a magical location is the “Le Relais Saint Michel”. Ask for a room with a Mount St. Michel view. It’s situated just next to the walkway.Hotel Le Relais Saint Michel close to Le Mont

FR France

This is one of the most stunning historical sites of Sri Lanka. It's also very popular and heavily crowded at times. We show you how to avoid the crowds and make the most out of your visit. Also, make sure to read our 7 must-know tips before you visit at the end of the article.

Avoiding the Crowds


Sigiriya Stairs Sri Lanka by Falco Ermet, CC BY

It's significantly less crowded in the early morning and in the late afternoon. If you want to avoid midday heat and beat the crowds at the same time, be there at 7 a.m. sharp or visit in the late afternoon.  Visiting later in the day (about 2 hours before they close) also gives you the perfect light for a good shot of Sigiriya Rock.  Especially the intriguing fresco paintings are at their best in the late-afternoon light. However, for a perfect photo, it needs to be sunny. Avoid weekends and public holidays if possible, as in addition to foreign tourists many local and domestic visitor are there. Overview of public holidays: Sri Lanka Public Holidays. Opening hours from 7 am - 5:30 pm. The entrance fee is costly (30 $ in 2017), and the experience may get spoiled when you arrive at midday while sharing the place with tons of other tourists.

Climate / Weather


Sigiriya Rock by Vinnie Cartabiano, CC BY

'Dry season' in this area is from May to August/September but often overcast from June to August. It's a tropical climate with humidity around 80 % most of the year. October until December are the wettest months. From January to May it's frequently sunny. We spent two days at Sigiriya in January, and the weather was quite nice. Helpful weather overview: Climate - Average Monthly Weather Sigiriya

Sigiriya is a year-round destination. It usually offers the most pleasant weather conditions between January and June. However, showers can occur throughout the year.

LK Sri Lanka
Avoiding Crowds

To enjoy this beautiful place without crowds, you should be there from spring to autumn either very early in the morning or late evening. It is the most popular place in Saxon Switzerland with around 1.5 million visitors each year. We visited this magic sandstone bridge several times in May. We enjoyed most our visit at 6.30 on a Sunday morning. 

Opening Hours

The reproduction of the castle is accessible 24/7. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the entrance fee of 2 € has to be paid at a cash desk and afterwards, you are asked to put the fee into a metal box. This is a marvelous opportunity to enjoy this magical place with a view people and photographers only.

Tip for Photographer

Early morning is the best light for a good shot of the Bastei bridge.

DE Germany

The guards change ceremonies at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial bronze statue hall takes place on top of the hour. You should arrive at least 15 minutes before. This will ensure that you may get a place in the first row. 

Opening Times and Crowds

The hall is open from 9 am until 6 pm but the guard change happens from 9 to 5 each hour in total 9 times each day. The hall is closed at Chinese New Year Eve, Chinese New Year and maintenance days. The monument and the park around are one of the main attractions for tourists and guided tours in Taipei. Try to get there early in the morning and in general avoid weekends because the location is visited by many local people as well. The Memorial Park opens daily from 05:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Crowds at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Peak Season in Taiwan

Avoid the summer months (July and August) and around Chinese New Year (late January or early February) when prices are on the highest level, accommodations are often fully booked, and many places are overrun.

Taipei Weather

From April until October temps can be unpleasant hot with high humidity at daytime. In summer day temps are around 30°C and in winter (Dec. to Feb.) around 20°C while nights are cold with less than 10°C. Most precipitation from May to September but a dry season does not exist. The driest months are November to January/February with rainfall on average less than 100 mm. The climate is influenced by the northeast and the southwest monsoon. The northeast monsoon season lasts long from October until March and the southwest from May until September. At the monsoon season typhoons occur, and Taiwan gets hit each year frequently from July to September.

Chiang-Kai-shek Memorial Hall view from the park

TW Taiwan