Saving money when you’re travelling is easier said than done – those drinks might seem cheap at 1am in a Barcelona bar but come the morning you’re somehow left with only a few cents to your name and a whole day of sight-seeing to pack in. Luckily, there are solutions to this problem – Europe is full of places where you can get your culture fix without spending a penny. So here’s how to make the most of your trip… even when you’ve spent all your money on beer.
One of the best things about Britain’s biggest city is that almost every museum is free! Yep, that’s right, you can visit the permanent collections at museums like the Victoria and Albert Museum, The National History Museum, The Science Museum and The Tate (Modern and Britain), all for absolutely nothing! There are few capitals in the world which can offer such an enormous variety of free historical and cultural sights, so while London is often considered one of Europe’s most expensive cities, at least you can fill your days for next to nothing!
Often in Italy you’ll find bars which serve a buffet of small bites in the early evening. These snacks are called Aperativo and are made to pair perfectly with a nice glass of wine at around 6pm. The great thing is that these buffets are normally totally free of charge if you’ve bought a drink – making it the perfect way to get a free meal before you start the rest of your night! They’re also a great way to sample real Italian food the way it’s meant to be eaten.
Many of the French Capital’s most famous museums are pretty pricey for tickets, so it’s worth discovering the number of ways you can escape the entry fees.
If you’re from the EU and under 26, you can actually enter most of the most famous attractions for absolutely nothing! All you need to do is ask for a free pass for under 26s, show your EU passport, ID card or driving license and you’ll be given a ticket totally free of charge. Ticket desks won’t offer this option unless you ask, so make sure you ask specifically to gain entry to the following among others:
If you aren’t over 26 or you’re not an EU citien, don’t worry! Loads of these museums are free to anybody on the first Sunday of every month – make sure you queue early though as it gets pretty busy.
Failing that, there are a number of permanent collections which are free all year round – and definitely worth a visit. These include:
– Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux Arts de la Ville de Paris (Fine Art Museum of the City of Paris)
– Musee d’art Moderne
– Atelier Brancusi – Centre Georges Pompidou (Brancusi Studio Gallery)
For more information, check out the full list of free and reduced rate attractions at Paris’ Office du Tourism website.
It wouldn’t be fair to mention Paris without mentioning the Eiffel Tower – and while going up it for free isn’t really an option, you can certainly admire it from the outside for nothing. Head to Trocadero after sunset and join the masses as you watch the Tower light up every hour for free.
While some of Rome’s Must Sees are on the pricy side – The Roman Forum and St Paul’s spring to mind – it’s also fortunate that the majority of the city’s finest architecture can be enjoyed for free just by walking around the city.
From the breathtaking Pantheon (which until recently was the largest freestanding dome in the world) to the beautiful Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, many of Rome’s most famous sights are just scattered amongst the rambling streets, free for anyone to admire.
As if that wasn’t enough, if you’re lucky enough to visit the city on the last Sunday of the month you can also get into the Vatican Museum for free!
While this great museum used to be a fee-paying establishment, since 2008 it has done away with entrance charges completely. You can visit the museum for free at any time of the year. Part of the museum’s attraction is its amazing architecture – a huge brutalist structure with an enormous concrete sculpture in its garden – which dominates the landscape.
Not only does Berlin have loads of street art to enjoy on every corner, there’s also the world famous East Side Art Gallery, which is completely free to visitors. Consisting of over 1 kilometer of the preserved wall, the gallery showcases street art from over 100 different artists from all over the world.
In addition, you can visit any of the city’s National museums for free if you go after 6pm on a Thursday. You might need to prioritise though, since there are 16 free museums under this scheme!
The Reichstag is a great place to get an overview of Berlin – quite literally. The views from this German Parliament building are among the best in the city, and it’s free to visit. Make sure you book an appointment and remember your passport or ID card – they won’t let you visit without it.
The Pantheon and the Acropolis are on everyone’s bucket list while visiting Greece, and while the sites themselves aren’t free, you can get a great view of them without paying a penny. The trek up to Filopappou Hill isn’t too difficult, and your exertion will be well worth it when you see the view from the top. The site is free to enter and you get a clear photo opportunity right over to the Ancient Greek monuments.