main 2 | Free Museum Days in Europe: Your Guide to Seeing the Best on a Budget

Free Museum Days in Europe: Your Guide to Seeing the Best on a Budget

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Louvre (Paris, France)

Free Museum Days - Louvre

The Louvre regularly gets the status of the most visited museum in the world – it’s easy to imagine what a full house goes on here every day. Such high popularity is quite understandable – there are more than four hundred works of art, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus of Milos. The museum is about the size of twenty soccer fields. This means that dreamers who hope to see all the exhibits must stay in Paris for at least a week and spend every day in the Louvre from morning to evening.

The history of the Louvre began with a military fortress erected in the XIII century. The remains of this construction stayed in the museum’s foundations, and you can see them even today. Over time, a royal castle appeared here, and each ruler considered it a matter of honor to bring a work of art from the campaign. So, the collection gathered for centuries at the end of the XVIII century turned into a famous museum.

From October to March, you can enter the Louvre for free on the first Sunday of the month. The rest of the time, it costs 15€. Children under the age of 18 do not have to pay.

Paris Museum of Modern Art (Paris, France)

Free Museum Days - Paris Museum of Modern Art

Nestled on Chaillot Hill and adjacent to the Palais de Tokyo, the Paris Museum of Modern Art is a beacon of modern art in Paris. It boasts an extensive collection spanning from the early 20th century to contemporary times, including masterpieces by iconic artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, and Marc Chagall. Beyond its permanent collection, the museum frequently features exhibitions on various modern art movements, as well as screenings and special events.

For enthusiasts of modern art, this museum is an essential stop. Plus, with its proximity to the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, and other key Parisian landmarks, visitors have plenty of options to enrich their cultural journey in the city.

The museum’s permanent collection is completely free to enter! That’s right, you can wander through iconic works by Braque, Chagall, and countless others without breaking the bank.

Vatican Museums (Rome, Italy)

Free Museum Days - Vatican Museums

The Vatican isn’t just famous for its rich history and unique status as a city-state; its museums are a treasure trove of art and artifacts that draw visitors from around the globe. A visit to Rome isn’t complete without wandering the Vatican Museums’ nine kilometers of exhibition space. From Michelangelo’s awe-inspiring ceiling in the Sistine Chapel to Raphael’s masterpieces and a collection of ancient Egyptian mummies and pharaohs, these pieces have been meticulously collected by popes since the early 16th century.

With nearly 1,500 rooms, the Vatican Museums are a labyrinth of wonders. The Gallery of Geographical Maps dazzles with ceiling maps from various eras, while the underground Hall of Chariots showcases papal transportation, ranging from historic carriages to modern vehicles. Yet, the Sistine Chapel steals the show—no photos, videos, or above-whisper conversations allowed here.

Enjoy free entry on the last Sunday of each month from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM and on September 27, Tourism Day. Regular tickets are €16, and children under six are admitted free of charge.

British Museum (London, UK)

Free Museum Days - British Museum

Exciting news for culture vultures hitting London: the British Museum, a global icon among museums, offers free admission all year round! That’s right, you can explore its main exhibits without spending a dime, though some special exhibitions might have an additional charge.

Founded in the mid-18th century through a collaboration between the British government and countless patrons and citizens, the museum’s origins are storied, albeit with a complex history of acquiring some artifacts under contentious circumstances. Various countries continue to seek the return of these cultural treasures.

Spanning 94 galleries, the museum boasts an array of ancient wonders, from pharaoh sculptures and divine effigies to sarcophagi and priceless artifacts. And here’s a quirky tidbit: the British Museum is the proud employer of several cats, officially tasked with keeping the mouse population in check.

The museum’s free to visit all year round! While you can explore its main exhibits for free, temporary exhibitions might require a ticket. So, check their website before you go.

Prado Museum (Madrid, Spain)

Free Museum Days - Prado Museum

Spain’s Prado Museum stands among the world’s most celebrated cultural institutions, a testament to the nation’s deep historical ties to the Catholic Church and royal patronage. Legend has it that King Philip II, a passionate art lover of the late 16th century, adorned every inch of his bedroom walls with renowned paintings, reflecting the fervor that ultimately birthed the Prado’s collection.

Opened in the early 19th century, the Prado showcases an impressive lineup of masterpieces from artists like Bosch, Raphael, and Velasquez, alongside significant works from the Venetian school and not to be overlooked Dutch and Flemish masters such as Rubens, Rembrandt, and Van Dyck.

Visitors can explore the Prado for free—drop by Monday to Saturday between 6 PM and 8 PM or Sunday from 5 PM to 7 PM. Outside these hours, entry is €14, but it’s always free for children and students under 25.

Free Museum Days - Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence owes its inception to Cosimo de’ Medici’s vision of consolidating the city’s administration under one roof in the mid-16th century. This led to the construction of the expansive Uffizi building, which soon housed the Medici family’s growing art collection. Initially a private collection, it expanded so significantly that it became an exclusive museum, out of reach for the average person. However, the gallery was eventually opened to the public in a historic move, allowing everyone to marvel at its unique treasures.

Commissioned works by the Medicis, like Lippi’s “Madonna with Child and Angels,” highlight the collection, alongside masterpieces by primarily Italian and internationally renowned artists. Visitors often find themselves in awe of works by Botticelli, a Medici confidant, including the famous “The Birth of Venus,” as well as pieces by Raphael, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, and even a self-portrait by Aivazovsky.

Admission to this treasure trove of art history is free on the first Sunday of every month. Regular ticket prices start at €9, but entry is always free for those under 18, making the Uffizi Gallery a must-visit for art lovers and history buffs alike.

Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Free Museum Days - Van Gogh Museum

The Vincent van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which opened its doors in 1973, was a dream realized by the artist’s nephew, who possessed an extensive collection of Van Gogh’s works. The museum’s original building, designed by renowned Dutch architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, features expansive windows that bathe the space in natural light. In 1998, the museum expanded with an annex designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa.

Home to the largest collection of Van Gogh’s works worldwide, the museum showcases 200 paintings and 500 drawings alongside personal letters and documents. The exhibits are arranged chronologically, mirroring the distinct phases of Van Gogh’s artistic journey.

Not just a homage to Van Gogh, the museum also displays works by contemporaries like Gauguin, Monet, and Picasso, offering a comprehensive view of the era’s artistic landscape.

Admission is free for visitors under 18 and holders of the Museumkaart, Rembrandt card, or ICOM card, while adult tickets are priced at €20. Open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Don’t forget:

Nearly every European capital offers city cards that grant you free museum access. Seize the chance to dive deep into the rich tapestry of European art—it’s an experience packed with joy and aesthetic wonder you won’t want to miss. And for those embarking on this European art adventure, booking your flights with WowFare is the smart move to ensure a seamless journey. Let’s make those travel dreams a reality!

When can I visit the Louvre Museum in Paris for free?

The Louvre offers free entry on the first Sunday of every month from October to March. There’s a standard admission fee for the rest of the year, but children under 18 are always free.

Is there a day I can explore the Vatican Museums free of charge?

Yes! Head to the Vatican Museums on the last Sunday of the month between 9 AM and 12:30 PM to enjoy free admission. Additionally, they offer free entry on September 27th, which is World Tourism Day.

Does the British Museum charge an entrance fee?

The British Museum is a haven for free art exploration. You can wander through its permanent collection all year round without spending a dime. However, some special exhibitions might require a separate ticket.

Is there a way to see the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam for free?

The Van Gogh Museum offers free entry to visitors under 18, and holders of specific museum pass, such as the Museumkaart, Rembrandt card, or ICOM card. Otherwise, there’s a standard admission fee for adults.

What are my options for free entry at the Prado Museum in Madrid?

The Prado Museum is open for free Monday through Saturday between 6 PM and 8 PM and Sundays from 5 PM to 7 PM. Otherwise, standard admission fees apply, though children and students under 25 always get in for free.

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Zoey Peregrine Avatar

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