Over the years travelling around Europe gathering information for our free pocket guides I’ve picked up many budget tips. So now that we’ve entered Europe’s high season, I’ve put together my ultimate list of top-ten budget tips for Europe for Indietravelpodcast.com.

1. Paris – Plan your trip around the first Sunday of the month
If you’re planning a trip to the French capital, plan it around the first Sunday of the month when main museums are free. This includes Musee D’Orsay, Musee du Louvre and the Musee du Arte de Moderne at the Pompidou Centre.

2. Berlin – Go on a free walking tour
Yes, that’s right…FREE! New Berlin Tours operate free walking tours every day at 11am, 1am and 4pm from the Starbucks on Unter den Linden (near the Brandenburg Gate) around the German capital’s main sights. All you have to do is tip at the end. The same company also operates similar tours in London, Dublin and other cities.

3. London, Dublin and Edinburgh – Visit the free museums and galleries

Three cities – one tip. In all these capitals, the National Galleries are free. In London many others such as the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum are free. In Edinburgh the National Museum of Scotland is free along with many more which can be found along the Royal Mile. While in Dublin, the National Museum of Natural History, aka the Dead Zoo (it’s full of dead, stuffed animals) is free also.

4. Milan – Get fed for free
Around 6pm in Milan is ‘aperitivo’ time, and this is when many bars leave a full table of food for you to feast on for free. All you need to do is buy a drink to avail of their generosity. One of the better places is ‘Bar Brera’ on Via Brera in the Brera neighbourhood.

5. Vienna – Take a (cheap) round trip of the city centre
Most of Vienna’s most beautiful buildings are located along the Ringstrasse which circles the city centre. These include the Rathaus (city hall) and Parliament. Trams #1 and #2 both loop the Ringstrasse, passing all these buildings. The journey costs just €1.80.

6. Edinburgh – Enjoy cheap food for being a backpacker
Prove to the staff of ‘The Last Drop’ in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket that you’re a backpacker and you’ll get all mains on the menu costing £7.25 for £3.95. Your hostel key or card should suffice.

7. Madrid – Visit the two main art museums for free
The Spanish capital’s two main art galleries are Museo Prado and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. The former is free Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm to close and on Sundays from 5pm. The latter is free Monday-Friday (closed Tuesday) from 7pm to close, from 2.30pm on Sundays from 10am to close.

8. Rome – Get into the city’s top art gallery for free

Admission into Rome’s most famous art gallery is €15. But if you happen to be there on the last Sunday of the month get there early – entrance is free then between 9am and 12.30pm.

9. Lisbon – Jump on Tram #28
Lisbon has a red tourist tram that passes many top attractions which costs approximately €15. But if you jump on tram #28 and pay for the single journey (not more than €2) you’ll pass by many of the city’s top attractions such as Sé Cathedral, Sao Vicente de Fora and others.

10. Prague and Krakow – Explore castle grounds for free
The main attraction in both these cities are castles, and you need to pay to get into some parts of both. But exploring the grounds of either of castle is completely free.

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Your thoughts on "Money-saving tips for Europe’s top cities"

  • Great tips! I took the walking tours in Berlin, Amsterdam, and London and they were awesome. The guides were great.

    on July 21, 2010 at 11:15 pm Reply
  • Cool. We're thinking about doing one in Berlin this week.

    on July 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm Reply
  • You don't really need to spend too much in order to enjoy. You only need to find places which will allow you to enjoy for free or at a lower price. There are surely lots of it around you, you just need to make thorough research and explore the area.

    on August 1, 2010 at 9:40 pm Reply
  • Walking tour is the best way to see most of the European cities, one needs only some comfy shoes and a map.

    on August 23, 2010 at 7:05 am Reply
  • Vienna: Better take the "24-hours ticket" for public transport. It allows you to take the Undergrund, the tram and buse. You get them all for just 5,- Euro. The underground is the best way to discover Vienna, but to see the inner circle, just walk! Stop at Rathaus, cross the Ringstrasse and walk to the Stephansdom. You´ll pass by all the famous hotspots in a few minutes. Have a nice trip!

    on October 10, 2010 at 10:02 am Reply
  • That 24-hour ticket is a good tip, Nico. That's the one we tended to use when getting around. If you're on the correct side of the Donau, Vienna is such a walk-able city that we didn't tend to use it much either.

    on October 12, 2010 at 5:41 am Reply
  • How much does a drink cost to get the free food in Milan?

    on October 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm Reply
  • @John A glass of wine will cost you around €4.

    on October 26, 2010 at 3:06 am Reply
  • It's crazy how much things change from place to place in Italy. In some places you can find a fair (simple but drinkable) glass of wine for €1. Then again, bars are special places and I've seen prices well above €4! My favourite thing to do in Milan was sit on the Duomo roof and watch the clouds roll by. Following it up with wine and a free snack or two would have been great.

    on October 26, 2010 at 7:30 am Reply

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