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Travel tips for 'megalith hunters'

(Personal travel experience Alec Van Rompuy)



Equipement (Figure)

Few megalithic tombs are provided whit artificial light; a flashlight can be priceless utility.
A compas can be used to determinate the orientation of a monument, the entrance can be directed on a solstice or on the equinox.
Entering a passage tomb without a hat can be painful, the cranium is very vulnerable in the low entrances.
Prevent obstructing equipment, like shoulder bags and backpacks before entering a  monument.
A raincoat is often very useful, and don't forget your measuring instruments...



Megaliths can be difficult to find, local information can be insufficient. Even in tourist information offices information can be very poor...

Gathering information in advance is often crucial.  "The Megalithic Portal" is the best website if you want to find megaliths, thousands European megaliths are marked on a map system. 
"The Megalithic Portal", detail maps European megaliths:
If you travel without a personal 'internet machine' you can go to an 'Internet-Café' or to a tourist information office.
If you have your 'high tech' with you, don't count on finding internet connection far from 'civilization'. It can be very useful to make 'screen prints' of the needed maps in advance. (Print screen, paste in Paint, save as JPG)


Visiting period

Day's first guided tour is often the less crowded. Some monuments, like Newgrange (Ireland) and Gavrinis (France), have a strict visitors limit. In the afternoon it can be to late to reserve your place...

Season. Out of tourist season open hours can be limited, in winter monuments can be closed. Look for information in advance to prevent unpleasant surprises!

Growing crops in summer, especially maize, can hide megaliths completely. On the wrong moment you only shall see the nameplate, like I did in North France when I wanted to see "Les Pierres Martine"... 

Nameplate "Les Pierres Martine" - Solre-le-Château, France
Nameplate "Les Pierres Martine" - Solre-le-Château, France


Taking pictures

Taking pictures forbidden, pictogram

In many guarded megalithic monuments cameras are prohibited. Taking pictures inside is not allowed in Newgrange (Ireland), Maeshowe (Orkney), Gavrinis and Petit Mont (Bretagne). Impossible to persuade the guides...
If you ask authorization in advance (via e-mail) maybe you'll get exceptional permission to make pictures, probable after opening time.


Take a picture of to road mark or nameplate of the monument if possible before your visit.  That will make identification of your pictures much more easily back home. Besides, pictures of nameplates can illustrate a presentation.


Books and guidebooks


In the most visitors centres near 'big' megalithic monuments interesting guidebooks are sold for just a few euros; often they also offer a bit more expensive books witch are rare to find elsewhere.
You also can take a look in the local shops for second-hand books...


Crossing the English Channel

Dover port, England
Dover port, England

The cheapest way to cross the channel is the ferry Dover-Dunkerque, but you have to book at least 24 hours before debarkation time, otherwise you'll probably more than the double.
If you can't reserve via Internet, you can buy your ticket in harbour the day before the crossing. The time left you can spend in the ports area. "Dover Castle" is an interesting place to see; also the "Battle of Britain Museum" in Hawkinge (near Folkestone) is worth a visit. Folkstone has a nice camping.
Gravelines (France), not far from Dunkerque's port, is a nice place to visit and for overnight.


Morbihan - Bretagne

During summer the Morbihan-area is always extremely crowed, in places like Carnac the traffic is often obstructed and monuments are full of people. May-June is a much quieter and cheaper period to visit Morbihan.


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Page published November 21, 2015

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