Guide to incredible museums and art spaces to visit for free in Europe

If traveling is probably one of the best investments, this list will optimize costs. Spaces full of history and art at your fingertips in Paris, London, Berlin, Saint Petersburg and Madrid

If traveling is probably one of the best investments, this list will optimize costs. Spaces full of history and art at your fingertips in Paris, London, Berlin, Saint Petersburg and Madrid

Paris

Its more than 150 museums, its architectural wealth, the history that springs from its streets and its gastronomy made Ville lumière the favorite destination for tourists in 2017, according to the World Tourism Organization. And although the French capital is also reputed to be one of the most expensive cities in Europe, there are different options to discover it without spending too much money.

Most of the national museums, such as the Louvre , the Orsay , the Pompidou Center or the Orangerie , have free entry on the first Sunday of every month. With the same modality, between November and March it is also possible to enter free of charge monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe and the Pantheon . Finally, those under 26 with a European passport always enter for free.

– Victor Hugo’s house

House of Victor Hugo (Musées de Paris)

The Place des Vosges is not only the oldest square in Paris, it was the residence of Victor Hugo . The French author moved to the second floor of number 6 with his wife Adèle in 1832. He lived there for 16 years and it is estimated that he wrote most of his famous works there, including a good part of Les Miserables . Today the house is open to the public free of charge, in what is an ode to one of the leading representatives of French literature.

* It is visited from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 6 Place des Vosges.

-Museum Carnavalet

Carnavalet Museum

Located in the heart of the Marais, on one of the most picturesque streets of Paris, the Rue des Francs Bourgeois, this museum reconstructs the history of the city from the installation of the Gauls in the Ile de la Cité to the present, with a chapter special dedicated to the capture of the Bastille and a unique model that shows how that fortress was before being burned by the revolutionaries of 1789. The bad news is that the museum will be closed until next year by spare parts, but you can still visit the gardens of the former Hôtel de Carnavalet, built in the mid-sixteenth century by the then president of the French Parliament. There are different activities suitable for all audiences.

* The visit is from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The entrance is by 23 Rue de Sévigné or 16 Rue des Francs Bourgeois.

-Museum of Modern Art

"La Fée Electricité" at the MAM in Paris

Located steps from the Trocadero gardens and one of the typical postcards of the Eiffel Tower, the museum has a vast collection of 20th and 21st century works made by artists of the stature of Modigliani, Picasso, Chagall and Boltanski . Two of the three versions of La Danse by Matisse are there, like the iconic La Fée Electricité , a mural of 600 square meters which are represented figures like Thomas Edison and Pierre and Marie Curie . Opacado by the weight of museums like the Louvre or the Orsay, the MAM is one of the best kept secrets of Paris. And it’s free.

* It is visited from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Thursdays it is open until 22 a.m., avenue du Président Wilson.

-Petit Palais

"Self-portrait with oriental costume", by Rembrandt

The building of the Petit Palais, like that of the Grand Palais that is just opposite, was specially built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. Two years later, it became the Museum of Fine Arts in Paris. Most of his paintings belong to French painters of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, with references to romantic style, artistic realism and impressionism as Fragonard, Géricault, Delacroix, Courbet, Pissarro, Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Cézanne . It is also the home of Rembrandt’s famous self-portrait with oriental costume .

* Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Avenue Winston Churchill.

London

The English capital is also one of the most expensive cities in Europe and the entrance to most of its museums costs 10 pounds sterling. But, fortunately for tourists, the three best options to visit are free.

-British Museum

British Museum

From the Rosetta stone, thanks to which the hieroglyphics, the mummies of ancient Egypt and the Assyrian sculptures of the isolated bulls to the friezes of the Parthenon were deciphered, the British Museum gathers exhibited historical and archaeological pieces that belong to the heritage of the humanity and whose return continue claiming today countries like Greece. In the meantime, visitors can enjoy them and see in person pieces of universal history.

* It is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Great Russell Street.

-National Gallery

National Gallery in London

With more than 2,300 paintings, it is one of the most important art museums in Europe. The collection includes the extensive period of the 13th century until the beginning of the last century, with paintings by Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael, Rembrandt, Titian, Velázquez, Van Gogh, Monet and Gauguin . The building is located in the heart of Trafalgar Square, the nerve center of London.

* Open every day from 10 to 18, Fridays until 9 pm. Trafalgar Square .

– Tate Britain and Tate Modern

Permanent exhibition at the Tate Modern

While the temporary exhibitions are paid and, usually, not at all economic, the heart of both Tate is free and worthwhile. A donation of two pounds sterling is usually requested from visitors, but it is not mandatory to enter. In the Tate Britain, there is a permanent collection of British artists from the sixteenth century to the present, while the Modern, as its name suggests, is reserved for works from the 20th century onwards, with paintings by Picasso, Warhol and Dalí .

* Tate Britain opens every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Millbank.
Tate Modern opens every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays until 22. Bankside.

Berlin

The German capital is one of the biggest cultural poles in Europe par excellence. Surrounded by the remains of the wall, which has become a patchwork of art and history throughout the city, Berlin houses more than 200 museums of all kinds. And although none offer pieces of the height of the door of Ishtar as the Pergamon Museum, many do not cease to be interesting and, in addition, have free admission.

– Museum of the Allies

Museum of the Allies

It is the best testimony of the years when West Berlin was under the wing of the United States, the United Kingdom and France after the Second World War and during the Cold War years. The facilities were an old cinema and library that were available to American troops. And one piece of information: Checkpoint Charlie’s last checkpoint is there; the one that is located in the iconic place is just a recreation.

* The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Clayallee 135

-Plattenbau-Museumswohnung

Plattenbau-Museumswohnung

The place recreates a flat like those that could be found in the German Democratic Republic in the times of the Cold War. The apartment is located in the outskirts of Berlin and preserves its original furniture, consisting of elements from the 70s and 80s. In fact, it gives the impression of being in the abandoned house of a family of that time, as if its members had gone without taking anything.

* You can visit only on Sundays in the period from 14 to 16 hours. Hellersdorfer Straße 179.

-Museum of Military History of the Armed Forces

Aviation Museum

Also known as the Museum of Aviation, it exhibits aircraft that were used during the two world wars, which constitutes a true record of the country’s black history. In the place, there are also models, maps, uniforms and documents used by the German military aeronautics. Also, a review of the aviation in Germany is made and there is a special section dedicated to the air bridge that existed between the West Berlin and the rest of the country.

* It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Am Flugplatz Gatow 33.

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St. Petersburg

The Hermitage of Saint Petersburg

The capital of the Russian Empire is where different writers and artists met during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries until the October Revolution of 1917 razed its foundations and the political and cultural center moved to Moscow. Despite this, the city retains much of its prerevolutionary past in the monumental buildings of Baroque and Neoclassical style. And even more, it has been named the city of museums, many of them dedicated to the history, painting and Russian literature of the imperial era. The magnificent Hermitage complex is free on the first Thursday of each month.

-Nabokov’s house

House of Nabokov

In St. Petersburg, you can visit the houses where writers like Pushkin, Dostoyevsky and Akhmatova lived , but the only one with free admission is Nabokov’s. The author of Lolita and English translator of the famous poet Alexandr Pushkin , was born in that place, located a few blocks from the Hermitage Museum. There he lived until he was 17, when he went into exile with his family after the Revolution of 1917. In some of his novels, such as the autobiographical Other Rivers and Speech, memory , the writer makes descriptions of what was his home, which is not maintained intact, but enough to remember it.

* The museum opens from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bolshaya Morskaya 47

Madrid

Prado Museum

The Prado Museum opens its doors free of charge every day from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, and on Sundays from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. On the other hand, the Reina Sofía Art Museum provides free admission on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. 21, Sundays from 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and four exceptional days: April 18, May 18, October 12 and December 6.

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