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5 Best European Cities for Cheap or Free Attractions

Whether you're interested in history and art or simply soaking up the local culture, these five European cities will entertain you around the clock without breaking the bank!
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When planning a trip to Europe, finding affordable activities can help keep your budget in check. Fortunately, several European cities have free or cheap attractions that offer plenty of opportunities for exploration and enjoyment. Whether you're interested in history and art or simply soaking up the local culture, these cities will entertain you around the clock without breaking the bank!

1. Prague, Czech Republic

astrological clock prague church facade

Known for its stunning architecture and rich history, Prague offers a wealth of cheap and free attractions, starting with the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square (pictured above). Make sure to visit the square by the turn of the hour to witness the many dials and gears come to life, and the figures of the Apostles appear! Next, stroll across the iconic Charles Bridge and wander through the charming streets of the Old Town. Here, a classic Klobasa or sausage dish and beer cost around €5 at a nice restaurant. For art enthusiasts, the Lennon Wall and the various art installations throughout the city provide free and fascinating experiences. Prague Castle is another top tourist attraction overlooking the city and the Vltava River. Some parts have entrance fees, but you can explore the grounds for free. Consider visiting around noon to witness the impressive changing of the guard.

2. Budapest, Hungary

woman in thermal bath budapest

Budapest is famous for its thermal baths, and visiting one of these relaxing oases is a must. The above-pictured Szechenyi Thermal Bath is one of the largest and most famous thermal spas in Europe and offers an affordable way to unwind. Full-day admission tickets are often bundled with museum access, bath parties, and more, all starting at around €44. Additionally, the city's many bridges, including the iconic Chain Bridge, provide picturesque views of the Danube River and the city skyline, all free of charge. For even more free attractions in Budapest, visit Fisherman's Bastion on the western banks of the Danube River. This stunning architectural gem offers breathtaking panoramas of the city, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts and history lovers. Many of the balconies and seven towers are free to enter, while the upper turrets require a small entrance fee.

3. London, UK

red telephone booth double decker bus london

London appears on our list of the best European cities with free attractions, which may come as a surprise. Despite being an expensive city, many of London's top attractions are actually free to visit. Case in point: London boasts more free museums than those that charge admission tickets. Some of the most popular free museums in London include the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, and the Tate Modern. Other freebies, such as the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, Speaker's Corner, and many free concerts throughout the year, offer visitors to London a wide range of entertainment and cultural experiences without breaking the bank. Rounding out the free offerings are the beautiful parks and landmarks, including Hyde Park, Primrose Hill, and Tower Bridge, where visitors can stroll along the Thames River or enjoy a picnic with breathtaking city views.

4. Lisbon, Portugal

lisbon yellow streetcar colorful buildings

Lisbon is a beautiful coastal city offering many affordable and free activities for visitors. Explore the stunning Estrela Basilica and its adjacent garden, a serene retreat from the bustling city that won’t cost you a dime. Next, stroll through the historic neighborhoods of Alfama and Bairro Alto to soak in the charming atmosphere and vibrant street life. The historic district of Belem, which has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is also free to explore. For breathtaking panoramas of Lisbon, visit several of the city’s miradouros or viewpoints, especially the Santa Luzia Miradouro in the Alfama District. The Gulbenkian Museum offers free admission on Sundays after 2 p.m., while several others offer free entry anytime, including the Money Museum, the Rua dos Correeiros Archaeological Nucleus, and the João de Deu Museum. Finally, don't miss the lively Mercado da Ribeira, where you can sample delicious local cuisine like bacalhau à brâs (braised cod) without spending a fortune.

5. Dubrovnik, Croatia

aerial beach view with dubrovnik city background

Dubrovnik is renowned as one of the top European cities offering free or affordable attractions. Its rising popularity is largely attributed to the highly acclaimed HBO series "Game of Thrones." While a GOT tour can cost around $60, visitors can enjoy other activities such as walking the city walls, exploring the Old Town, and visiting the beautiful beaches for free or at a low cost. Fort Lovrijenac, Banje Beach, and the famous Stradun are just a few of the many affordable attractions in the city. Another hotspot is Mount Srd where visitors can enjoy sweeping panoramas of the Adriatic Sea. A visit to Gundulic Square is a must for fresh produce and souvenirs at affordable prices. Consider also the opportunity to go church-hopping in Dubrovnik; the city is home to several beautiful churches, most offering free admission. Don’t miss the Dubrovnik Cathedral, featuring a stunning Baroque style and an impressive collection of artwork and relics.

The Recap

The best European cities offering freebies include Prague, Budapest, London, Lisbon, and Dubrovnik. When visiting these cities, be sure to take advantage of the free walking tours, museum days, and other complimentary or affordable activities. Creating an itinerary using a Canva (or similar) template is also a good idea. You can also download our ultimate packing list and view our list of essential travel accessories to make the most of your trip.

Finally, if you need some excellent travel gear to enhance your experience, feel free to browse our online shop. For more travel tips and tricks, subscribe to our channel and check out the rest of our blog.

Happy travels! 🗺️🧳✈️🌍✨

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