Fabulous and free: Europe’s budget-friendly attractions for families

In Budget, Family, Travel Inspiration by KerrynLeave a Comment

Kew Gardens is free for children 16 years and under (Photo: Laura Nolte)

Kew Gardens is free for children 16 years and under (Photo: Laura Nolte)

Traveling in Europe as a family can get expensive, especially when you add up all the admission fees you pay to see popular attractions. Thankfully, there are some superb European attractions that are free for kids. Here is a selection of just a few of my favourite European attractions where kids aren’t charged any admission fee:

Paris, France

The Louvre is one of the most popular attractions in Paris (Photo: Jeroen Berndsen)

The Louvre – one of the finest museums in the world, and it’s FREE for kids (Photo: Jeroen Berndsen)

The city of love is not just for couples, it’s a great place for a family holiday and even though admission fees for adults can be quite pricey, there are some places where you don’t have to pay anything for kids.nb

The Louvre

It’s one of Paris’ most popular tourist attractions and is admission is free for visitors under the age of 18. The Louvre is one of the world’s largest museums, with an impressive collection of ancient artefacts, sculptures and paintings from artists like Da Vinci, Raphael and Rembrandt. Even though adults must pay an admission fee, it’s undoubtedly one of the finest museums in the world and worth every penny.

Arc de Triomphe

It’s probably the second most recognizable landmark in Paris, after the Eiffel Tower. The Arc de Triomphe monument is situated at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, in Place Charles de Gaulle and is a tribute to the French soldiers who fought in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The monument is surrounded by a traffic circle, so to access it you must use the underground tunnel on the Avenue de la Grande Armee side of the circle. To reach the top you’ll have to climb 40 stairs. Children 17 years old and under are free.

Luxembourg Gardens

Luxembourg Gardens is a beautiful public park located next to Luxembourg Palace. Admission is free for adults too, and there are plenty of things to do and see including playgrounds, puppet shows and a boat pond where you can sail toy boats. It’s a very relaxing way to spend an afternoon in Paris.

Musée de la Musique

This collection of rare, antique, and exotic musical instruments is in my opinion one of Paris’ most underrated attractions. Even those who don’t know much about music will enjoy the amazing collection of fascinating instruments from around the world. Not only are kids free, but they also get a special activity booklet and they get an audio guide specifically for kids, which tells amusing stories that bring the instruments to life. It’s definitely worth a visit.

London, England

The impressive hall of London's British Museum (Photo: Guillermo Viciano)

The impressive hall of London’s British Museum (Photo: Guillermo Viciano)

Although London is not a cheap city to visit, it does have a fantastic number of attractions that are free for both adults and kids.

The British Museum

Not only is the British Museum is one of the most impressive museums in the world, with around 8 million items on display, it also has one of the most comprehensive collections, with items from every continent. You’ll be able to see the Rosetta Stone, the mummy of Cleopatra, ancient artefacts, drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo, and much more. Entrance is free for all, although some charges may apply for special exhibits.

Tate Modern

This national gallery of contemporary art is one of the best family friendly attractions in London. There is a fantastic Under 5’s Zone, for little ones to explore. There is an Interactive Zone which is also a great place for children of all ages to get a hands-on experience with games and other interactive exhibits. Visiting the permanent exhibitions is free. Although adults have to pay for special exhibitions, these are also free for children under 12.

Kew Gardens

If you’re looking for a little bit of peace and quiet in the bustling city of London, then head to Kew Gardens, which is free for children 16 years and under. The Kew Royal Botanic Gardens stretch over 120 acres, and give you the chance to explore glasshouses, enjoy treetop views and stroll through the arboretum. There are free guided tours of the gardens daily.

Vienna, Austria

Immaculately maintained gardens create a beautiful setting for Belvedere Palace in Vienna (Photo: Erik Cleves Kristensen)

Immaculately maintained gardens create a beautiful setting for Belvedere Palace in Vienna (Photo: Erik Cleves Kristensen)

Belvedere Palace

Beautiful Belvedere was constructed between 1717 and 1723, and is divided into the Upper Palace and the Lower Palace (the garden villa). The gardens of Belvedere are immaculately maintained and are a beautiful setting for the impressive palace. The Upper Palace is lavishly furnished and has a fascinating art museum. Admission is free for children 18 years and under.

Heeresgeschichtliches Museum

The Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (Museum of Military History) is an interesting place to visit if you’re interested in the history of Austria and the Habsburg empire. There is a small admission fee for adults, but children 18 years and younger are free.

Rome, Italy

The Colosseum in Rome is fabulous and free for kids! (Photo: Luke Price)

The Colosseum in Rome is fabulous and free for kids! (Photo: Luke Price)

For those with any interest in history, Rome is a wonderful destination to visit and some of the best historic monuments offer free admission for kids.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved Roman buildings, originally built by Marcus Agrippa, and rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian about 126 AD. It has a beautiful marble interior and is home to the tomb of the famous artist Raphael. Best of all, admission is not only free for children, but also for adults.

The Colosseum

Another famous Roman landmark is the Colosseum. The elliptical amphitheatre is an architectural masterpiece and testament to the engineering feats of the ancient Romans. On the upper floor of the outer wall you’ll find a museum dedicated to Eros – the Greek god of love.  The network of passages beneath the Colosseum that used to lead gladiators and animals into the arena are open to the public.

Galleria Borghese

Galleria Borghese is a small but very impressive art gallery housed in a beautiful villa. The gallery has a large collection of paintings and sculptures amassed by Cardinal Scipione Borghese between 1576 and 1633. Because the gallery is small there are a limited number of visitors allowed in at a time so it’s essential that you book in advance. Children under 18 are free.

Edinburgh, Scotland

The Scottish National Gallery is a must-see for art enthusiasts (Photo: dun_deagh)

The Scottish National Gallery is a must-see for art enthusiasts (Photo: dun_deagh)

If you’re looking for a holiday a little closer to home, Edinburgh has some fabulous museums and galleries that are free for kids.

National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland has 20,000 objects exhibited in 36 galleries. You’ll get to see meteorites and dinosaurs, and treasures from around the world. There are also a number of galleries that are specifically for kids. The museum is free for all visitors. Although adults must pay for special exhibitions, they are usually free for kids under 12.

The Scottish National Gallery

Located in the heart of Edinburgh, between Princes Street and the Royal Mile, the Scottish National Gallery is a must-see for anybody with an interest in fine art. The superb collection of artwork includes work by masters like Raphael, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet and Cézanne. Admission is free.



KerrynFabulous and free: Europe’s budget-friendly attractions for families

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