I’ve written before that my touristy routine is to get up as early as possible, enjoy some coffee, then hit the streets. Part of the reason is that, in late spring and summer, morning is certainly cooler, and the air is fresher. There is limited traffic. You have the opportunity to watch and engage with residents as they live their lives–setting up stalls, delivering crates of flowers or produce, unloading trays of freshly-baked goods, standing and chatting with neighbors at cafes, and so on.
If you’re traveling somewhere that is tourist-heavy, an even better reason for going out early: crowd avoidance. I love people, and I know some really do enjoy the energy of a crowd, but, for me, being caught in a crowd can induce anxiety. It also feels limiting–there’s much jostling and fighting to see objects, structural details, and so on. If you’ve ever fought to get a good (unobstructed) view of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre or the Pietà at St. Peter’s, I’m pretty sure you know exactly what I mean. When you’re in a crowd, you can’t always linger to admire details, to meditate on an item, or take in a whole.
These photos illustrate my point quite well, I think; they were taken early-to-mid July.
The Pantheon, early morning. Room to explore.
Anyway, this is why I advocate for early nights, early rises, and early walks while traveling. Call me a curmudgeon, but it works for me.