European Museums

Travel in Europe can be pretty pricey, especially if you want to actually go inside all of the museums each city has to offer. As young people and students, we’re entitled to so many unadvertised discounts and freebies. I’ve done the research before visiting some popular tourist attractions and wrote about them more in depth on the individual post for each location but in this post I’m only going to write about a few of the European cities I’ve visited, so if you’re interested in finding out about more of them just search a location on my homepage.

Being an Art History student, visiting an art gallery has come to be one of my staples whilst travelling, regardless of the location, and the more I visit the more I realise you can save money on your trip while doing it. Usually there’s three ways to either get a discount on, or sometimes avoid completely, admission fees: with your passport, your driver’s license or your student card. Different places offer different discount criteria, some look at whether or not you’re a student, others what nationality you are and others what age. You won’t be able to actually get a discount unless you provide valid identification, so it’s always worth researching the admission prices of wherever you intend to visit so you’re sure to have the necessary ID on your person. Here’s a breakdown of some of the busiest museums in Europe and how you can save some money when visiting them:

  1. Musee d’Orsay, Paris: Out of all the cities I’ve visited in Europe, I would have to say Paris is the most generous when it comes to discounting admissions. Admission was free for us as we were between 18 and 25 and had a European Union passport. Other free admissions are given to anyone under 18, unemployed visitors, disabled visitors and an accompanying adult, those with a Paris Museum pass and the first Sunday of every month allowed everybody to enter the museum for free. For more information on free admission as well as discounts, see the museum’s official website.
  2. Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo: Even though we only had a few hours in Oslo, I knew I had to visit the Norwegian National Gallery. This particular museum offers a discounted admission of 30 NOK to all students, pensioners, groups of at least ten and concessions from the full price 50 NOK. It also offers free admission to children, all day on Thursdays and to art students (studying Art, Design, Architecture or Art History) with valid student ID. Click here for more information on the National Gallery in Oslo.

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    Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
  3. Uffizi Gallery, Florence: One of many Florentine galleries, Uffizi too offers a discounted admission fee to anyone between the ages of 18 and 25 who is an EU citizen. Children are allowed to enter the museum for free, as well as other qualifying concessions. On the first Sunday of every month admission is free to everybody. For more information on who and who isn’t entitled to discounts, see this link.
  4. The National Gallery, London: Public museums across the board are free of charge in central London. The Tate and Tate Modern, The National Portrait Gallery and he Saatchi Gallery are all free of charge. For audio, group or private tours charges incur and there are suggested donations in the entrance of all of these galleries, but you don’t have to donate if you don’t want to.
  5. Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow: Like London, all of Glasgow’s galleries from the Burrell Collection to the Gallery of Modern Art are absolutely free. Glasgow has an extensive collection of art across a comparatively small number of galleries which means the existing ones are bursting with incredible works of art. For more on Kelvingrove and other galleries in Glasgow, see the Glasgow Life website.
  6. Galleria Borghese, Rome: The Borghese has a very limited supply of tickets so if you want to avoid disappoint it’s one of the few museums I would recommend booking  a ticket for in advance. A discounted admission is offered to European Union passport holders between 18 and 26 at a cost of €9,50 plus an online reservation fee of €5 per ticket (if you choose to book online). Children between the ages of 6 and 17 are charged €2,50 and full price tickets cost €15,50. Adults over 65 are not entitled to a discount at this particular gallery and must pay for a full price adult ticket. To book online or to research the gallery further you can read more here.

I know this blog is pretty particular to those who are either students or part of the EU, but unfortunately that’s really the only groups of people who are offered discounted or free admission across the board for most of the European countries I’ve visited. Be sure to research the galleries or landmarks you’re visiting to get a good idea of how and what you can save before visiting them. If you’d like to read more about each of the cities I’ve talked about above, either search for them in the side bar or click the links above.


6 thoughts on “European Museums

  1. This post reminds me of my backpacking through Europe, seeking life’s meaning and good time (why shouldn’t they come together). When I got to Louvre, it was free because the workers had gone on strike, so I took my time thinking I had some days (labor disputes takes days I assumed), went out to lunch and when I came back the booths were open and I had to buy tickets. At least I got to see Mona Lisa.

  2. Hi Caitlin. I was once a University Art History student. 🙂

    I remember standing and staring somewhat nonplussed at a painting in the Guggenheim, it may have been “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”, I can not remember clearly from this trip, now some 20 years ago. I had read psychoanalytic critiques of the work, I had studied the Art in its Historical and Cultural contexts, I had pondered a notional Zeitgeist in cubism and the dynamic relativistic conceptualisations of SpaceTime (Special Relativity) and developments in non-Euclidean spaces and mathematics at the Century’s turn, I had attempted to generate grandiose hypotheses orbiting the self-referential symmetries of gender, of masculinity and the Desiring Eye, I had explored the way misogyny is encoded in culture and then reiterated and recursively regenerated through visual representation, I had written and rewritten essays on the topic but there and then in front of the actual canvas it all seemed a little less vast, a little smaller, more mundane – really just angular shapes splashed on a canvas. *Just. *A. *Painting. I relayed this experience to one of my University lecturers in Art History and he said that the disenchantment does occur, but you do get the “magic” back (he did not use those exact words).

    I imagine the same could be said of travel, of the places in our minds when compared to the actual places in space and time – sometimes the reality falls short, even if only for a little while, of the high expectations we carry with us. The Guggenheim during my first (and only) visit felt like a massive spiralling and spacious skateboard ramp with pretty affectations and cultural knick-knacks adorning the walls. Although this may just have been a side-effect of the general affective and psychological displacement incurred by the overwhelming “New York-ness” of New York for a small town lad like I was at the time. If I ever go back, I must endeavour to take a Skateboard…

  3. Thanks for the visit to my blog! I’m glad to see the Paris Museum pass is still going strong. When I visited years ago as an American student, I bought a mulitday pass and a good city map and then planned routes that took me to all of the museums I wanted to visit. I felt I got more than my money’s worth from the pass, and I got to explore different parts of the city, including parks, cafes, shops, and street events, as I walked between museums.

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