visit. And when you plan to see as much as you can during your
vacation, the entrance fees really add up. Thankfully, there are also
lovely places which can be visited for free. These can vary from a
stroll down a popular street, to spending time in a park or visiting
incredible historical places like churches.
1 - St. Peter’s Basillica, Vatican City
St. Peter’s Basillica is one of the greatest Roman Catholic churches in
the entire world. It is also has the largest interior, capable of
holding 60,000 people. Catholic tradition holds that the tomb of Saint
Peter, one of the Apostles of Jesus, is under the altar of the
basillica. Despite popular misconception, St. Peter’s Basillica is not
a cathedral (as it is not the seat of a bishop).
century and the present building was completed in 1626. It is
associated with Michelangelo (the first chapel on the north aisle
contains the famous Pietà) and with papacy. There are over 100 tombs
within the Basillica, many located beneath the building (including 91
2 -The Pantheon, Rome, Italy
is the best-preserved Roman building in Rome and was built as a temple
to all Gods in Ancient Rome. The current build is actually a
reconstruction of the first temple which existed here. Since the 7th
century, the Pantheon has been used a Roman Catholic church (and yes,
masses are still held here on important Catholic holidays).
opening, called the Great Eye. When the Pantheon was used as a temple
the fire inside the temple would create smoke which escaped through the
opening. Today it is the only light source in the building.
3 - British Museum, London, UK
The British Museum is one of the most important museums in the
entire world. The collections comprise over 7 million items, depicting
the human history from its beginning to the present days. Among the key
highlights you will be able to see: the list of the kings of Egypt from
the Temple of Ramesses II, the Rosetta Stone, fragment of the beard of
the Great Sphinx, Mummy of ‘Ginger’ (3300 BC), mummy of Cleopatra from
Thebes and much more.
for the special exhibitions which usually require a fee to be paid).
4 - Schonbrunn Gardens, Vienna, Austria
is one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. For decades
it has been a very popular tourist destination for those visiting
Vienna. Only the Gardens can be visited for free and they are worth
some hours of your time.
between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., depending on the season. If you arrive by
metro you’ll probably enter the grounds via the Zoo gate while if you
come by tram, you can enter the grounds via the main gate.
top of the hill). In between those, there’s Neptune Fountain. The
western parts of the grounds have been turned into an English Garden.
On both sides of the Privy Garden there are 32 sculptures. Generally
speaking, unless you enter a building, the maze, the Zoo or climb up to
see the views from the Gloriette, you don’t need to pay anything.
during one day. It gets very hot during summer so make sure to bring
enough water (you have to enter to Zoo to get to the mini-shops, so
that’s not exactly a good idea) and good walking shoes. It’s pretty
easy to climb the hill to the Gloriette and the views are magnificent,
even if you don’t go up on the viewing deck.
5 - Gellért Hill Cave, Budapest, Hungary
Gellért Hill Cave is also known as Saint Ivan’s Cave, from the hermit
who lived here and was believed to have cured the sick by using the
natural water from the muddy lake located next to the cave. The
entrance in the cave is located 75 feet above the Danube River, on
Gellért Hill (right opposite the Gellért Hotel & Baths).
while during the World War II it was a field hospital. When the Soviet
Army captured Budapest, the entrance to the cave was sealed and it
wasn’t until 1992 that the cave was open again for the monks and the
right after the mass (while the organist still plays religious songs).
6 - War Museum, Athens, Greece
Inaugurated in 1975, the museum depicts the history of warfare over
thousands of years. You can admire weapons from every era, starting
with stone axes and ending with fighter plane.
interesting. If you are interested in the Greek War of Independence,
you can learn about the weapons used. Children will most likely enjoy
climbing in the cockpit of a fighter plane.
front of the Parliament, Railway Museum, Museum of Popular Musical
Instruments, The Hellenic Children’s Museum, Municipal Gallery of Athens
7 - Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
Paris is filled with incredible places to visit and Notre Dame is one
of those iconic landmarks we all have learned about at some point
during our school years.
Île de la Cité. It was the first building in the world to use the
flying buttress, although it was not originally designed to use them.
The construction began in 1163 and was completed in 1345.
8 - The Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany
Once the barrier dividing West and East Berlin, the Berlin Wall is an
important part of the German history. The wall fell on November 9, 1989
after a series of protests. Right after the fall, the government opened
ten new border crossings and visa-free travel was allowed starting on
December 23, 1989. In the summer of 1990 the official dismantling of
the Wall began.
nearly all of the original wall is gone. The longest remaining stretch
is the East Side Gallery, which is now considered an open-air museum.
There are also sections of the wall along with their histories located
in the busy Alexanderplatz area (pictured above).
9 - Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic
The Charles Bridge is one of the most beautiful places and best-known
attractions in Prague. And best of all, it’s free. The stone Gothic
bridge started its life in 1352. There are towers on each end of the
bridge but only one can be climbed. The bridge is lined with 30 statues
(most of them are replicas of the originals). Touching the status of
St. John of Nepomuk is believed to bring luck.
the crowds, plan to walk on the bridge either early in the morning or
late at night.
10 - Red Square, Moscow, Russia
The most famous square in Moscow and possibly the most famous in the
entire Europe is, without a doubt, the Red Square. During the Soviet
era, the square was used to hold all the parades, and soviet rulers
even wanted to demolish the famous St. Basil’s Cathedral only to have
more room for their displays of power. Nowadays, the square is a
preferred place to organize concerts.
Sites. The buildings located in the square are: Lenin’s Mausoleum, the
State Historical Museum, Kremlin towers, the Iberian Gate and Chapel
and St. Basil’s Cathedral.
11 - Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo, Norway
Part of Oslo’s Frogner Park, Vigeland Park features 212 bronze and
granite sculptures created by Gustav Vigeland. Among the interesting
art pieces, one can admire the fountain – originally designed to be
placed in front of the Parliament -, the Monolith and the eight statues
of children playing (in the area called Children’s Playground).
12 - La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain
The most famous street in Barcelona is, without a doubt, La Rambla.
During summer it’s awfully crowded with both locals and tourists but it
represents a lovely way to do some people watching and window shopping.
The middle part of the street is pedestrian only and at any time during
the tourist season it comes to life due to the live performances and
the flower market. There are interesting buildings on both sides of
the street and if you want to relax, go to Placa Reial, just off La
Rambla. And for a colorful and exotic meal, check out La Boqueria, the
iconic street market filled with pretty much anything you might want to
buy or eat.