10 Free Things to Do on a European Vacation

When you consider free things to do on a European Vacation, perhaps the well-worn cliche that says "the best things in life are free" springs to mind.

Most overworked phrases earn their status because they deal in truth. I find when I travel that the most memorable sights and experiences usually involve no admission charge. Here are 10 such places (in no particular order) linked from other About travel sites. Find them and enjoy!

  • 01 of 10
    Sacre Coeur offers one of the most spectacular views of Paris, without the lines and expense found at the Eiffel Tower.
    ••• (c)Mark Kahler, under an arrangement with About.com
    Many visitors to Paris are discouraged to find out the trip to the top of Eiffel Tower involves not only a lengthy line, but also a hefty price. But there is a better view of Paris available at no charge at the base of Sacre Coeur atop Montmartre. You'll pay a small fee to ascend the basilica (by foot), but the views from the top of the steps leading into the cathedral are breathtaking.
  • 02 of 10

    The Queen's Guard in London changes in the Forecourt inside the gates of Buckingham Palace at 11.30 a.m. every day during the summer months and on alternating days in the winter. Although it's free to view, you should invest some time to get there early enough for a good vantage point. This might be Europe's most popular free attraction, and the crowds can be huge.

  • 03 of 10

    From 2003-13, much of the Rijksmuseum was closed to visitors as renovations were completed. During that time, visitors learned to appreciate the museum's gardens. A free printed guide will point out some art treasures that cannot be seen elsewhere at any price, let alone for free. Please note that the garden is not open on weekends. 

  • 04 of 10
    You grew up seeing it in your history textbooks, but in Rome it comes alive at no cost. This was the central marketplace in ancient times, and it is well worth the time to wander the area and imagine what life was like in those days.
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    These two attractions are located alongside one another. Tate Modern offers interesting (some say outrageous) art, while the markets are a fun place to browse on Fridays and Saturdays. Why not pick up an inexpensive picnic lunch in the markets and make a budget day of it?
  • 06 of 10

    You don't have to be a student of architecture to appreciate this magnificent structure, generally regarded among the most beautiful on earth. You don't need money to enter and walk the inside unless you decide to climb the towers or visit the museum. It is a wonderful Paris experience. One warning: In summer, thousands of visitors invest time waiting in line to get inside Notre Dame. But people who attend mass do not wait out those lines -- and have an authentic experience in a place designed as a house of worship.

  • 07 of 10
    There are admission fees for Westminster Abbey, but those who choose to worship here can see the inside for free. Evensong is at 5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, plus at 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays. These are your opportunities to hear the Abbey Choir perform.
  • 08 of 10

    Boat tours in Amsterdam can be quite pricey. But one of the more revealing trips can be yours at no cost. You can traverse the older part of the Amsterdam port on a free ferry available behind the Central rail station. It's a short ride, but it might be a nice change of pace after a day of walking through the sites.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis, the Midnight Sun and the Polar Nights are three things you won't want to miss in Scandinavia, depending upon the timing of your visit. Although getting to Scandinavia countries can be expensive, consider these three natural treasures handsome dividends on your investment.
  • 10 of 10

    Paris fashions hardly fit into a directory of free or inexpensive things to see, but remember that looking never costs you anything. Rue de Faubourg St. Honore or the nearby Avenue Montaigne are places to see the latest fashions and the best shoppers in action.