Travel in Europe can be expensive enough before you even begin to consider what landmarks to visit. 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. As well as this, I’ve done a separate post on museums that you can save money on across Europe.
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:
- Chateau de Versailles, Paris: We were able to visit Versailles and the surrounding grounds at no charge because we were both under 26 and lived in an EU country at our time of travel. Others who can access for free include anybody under the age of 18 and those with a disability as well as one accompanying adult. All we had to do at the ticket desk was present our passports (but an EU driving license or citizen card would suffice). For more details about Versailles admission fees, check their website.
- The Colosseum, Rome: Much like Versailles, we were entitled to a discounted admission to the Colosseum and Roman Forum because we were from a EU country and between the ages of 18 and 25. Reduced tickets cost €7.50 instead of the full price €12 and by purchasing our tickets at the ticket desk and not online, we also saved a €5 booking fee. This same discount also applied to anybody under the age of 18. This website is really helpful for information on admission fees as well as opening times and how to get to the venue.
- Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna: Schonbrunn Palace, unlike the majority of other palaces in the Central European region, don’t offer any concession priced tickets. Single tickets for the day can range from €14.20 (30-40 minutes, 22 rooms) to €24 (all attractions), which may seem pricey but is pretty relative to prices in Vienna. Schonbrunn’s saving grace is that visitation to the grounds are absolutely free. You’re able to stand atop parts of the palace, have exceptional views of the gardens and are able to access the onsite zoo. For more information about the palace and grounds, see the official website.
- Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh: Although the only concessions offered at Edinburgh Castle are to unemployed people and those over the age of 60, an ‘Explorer Pass’ can be purchased at the ticket office -either full price, for adults or for concessions (including full time students) and families – which offers free admission for either 3 or 5 days for 77 sites all over Scotland, including Stirling Castle. Purchasing this pass also gives you 20% off tours at Edinburgh Castle. You can see for yourself on the Explorer Pass website, but if you intend on visiting at least a few of the landmarks on the list they provide then it’s definitely more than worth your while to purchase it.
- Buda Castle, Budapest: Buda Castle is entirely free, as is the Fisherman’s Bastion that stands just beside it. Both offer incredible views of the Danube, lower Buda and the entire Pest side of the city. You can go inside the castle and learn more about the city’s history, or just wonder around the grounds. At the top of the hill the castle stands on lies the National Museum and the Budapest History Museum, admission costs to which can be found here.
- Pompeii, Pompeii: Full price tickets for the ruins at Pompeii only cost €11, but concessions are offered to those between the age of 18 and 25 at €5.50, and those under 18 are able to enter for free. For more information on admission fees as well as details about day tours for Pompeii, see this link.
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.