Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe!

Best cheap backpacking in Europe is one of the most exciting adventures to go on. London, Paris, Rome, and Amsterdam are definite stops on the travel trail in Europe, and you need to know what's free in those sometimes expensive spots. Get a list of the top free things to do in Europe, including what's free to do in these favorite European cities.

Tower Bridge in London
Tower Bridge in London, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Free Things in Paris

Visit Pere Lachaise cemetery, resting place of notables like Marcel Proust and Jim Morrison. See free movies at Parc de la Villette.

Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Pere Lachaise Cemetery, best cheap backpacking in europe

Hit the Paris beach: volleyball worthy sand on the Seine. Fashion gawk: see what nonbackpackers are wearing on aves Rue de Faubourg St. Honore and Avenue Montaigne. Free Friday nights at the Louvre: just for those under 26.

Free Friday nights at the Louvre!
Free Friday nights at the Louvre, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Free Things in London

Hang out in Piccadilly Circus: perfect people watching place. Take the iToors Soho Podcast Tour: see some spots where famous scribblers wrote, misbehaved or almost starved in sometimes not so long ago London. Tour the Tower of London with a Yeoman Warder: yeah, free! You can get a bonus free tour, too. See the British Museum: one of the world's best. See street art in Covent Garden; hit a market.

Tower of London
Tower of London, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Free Things in the UK

Allen Banks and Staward Gorge
101 acres of gorge and river scenery that make up one of the great Victorian wilderness walks. The landscape includes a site of special scientific interest, protected for its rare plants, ancient woodlands and wildlife. There are miles of walks, a reconstructed Victorian summer house and the remains of a medieval tower.

Ridley Hall, Allen Banks and Staward Gorge
Ridley Hall, Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, best cheap backpacking in europe

Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum
This Roman Fort once housed the garrison that guarded the entrance to the Tyne. Based on excavations and finds from the site, this is an exciting reconstruction of an unusual aspect of Roman life. Arbeia means Arab in Latin. The Romans thought nothing of moving legions of their soldiers where ever they were needed in the Empire. This garrison was manned by Iraqi legionnaires. Check the museum's calendar and time your visit for a candlelight tour in December to celebrate the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
Open: April through October - Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., November through March - Monday - Saturday to 3:30 p.m., closed Sunday, December 25, 26 and January 1.

Arbeia Roman Fort
Arbeia Roman Fort, best cheap backpacking in europe

ArtsFest Birmingham
Top arts organizations all over the Midlands city of Birmingham devote a weekend in early September to top notch performances, totally free. Concerts, theatre and film are scheduled at all the city's major concert venues and theatres. There are also street performances and special events in neighborhoods like Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. The event is organized and supported by Birmingham City Council and, perhaps because of that, information about this great annual arts party tends to be hard to come by until the very last minute. But persist in checking the ArtsFest website where details are published as they become available.

ArtsFest Birmingham
ArtsFest Birmingham, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Beautiful Beaches
The United Kingdom has some of the world's most beautiful beaches. That shouldn't seem so surprising. After all Britain is an island kingdom with nearly 7,800 miles of coast. Nowhere in the entire country is more than two hours from a beach.
These are not the sort of beaches where you can bask in the sun or spend hours swimming warm seas. The water, even on UK beaches washed by the Gulf Stream is pretty chilly. But what the UK's beaches lack in tropical charm, they more than make up for in sheer drama. For walking, surfing, exploring, wildlife watching, these are some of the most beautiful and isolated free beaches in the world.

United Kingdom Beautiful Beaches
United Kingdom Beautiful Beaches, best cheap backpacking in europe

Castlerigg Stone Circle
There is this ancient stone circle high up in the Lake District near Keswick. The view of snow capped Helvellyn and High Seat is unforgettable. The circle, of 33 stones, was erected about 3,000 years ago. Open: In delightfully English fashion, English Heritage, who manage the site, say that it is open "At any reasonable time".

Castlerigg Stone Circle
Castlerigg Stone Circle, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Free Things in Rome

The Appia Antica
Walk the old road out of Rome on Sunday, when no cars are allowed. There are lots of ancient things to see on the peaceful walk, and the park has detailed routes and maps of the best walking and biking routes.

The Appia Antica
The Appia Antica, best cheap backpacking in europe

The Bocca della Verita
The Bocca della Verita was really an ancient sewer grate, but don't let that stop you. Place your hand in the mouth and legend has it that your hands will be bitten off if you've lied. Be careful. Located in Piazza Bocca della Verita.

The Bocca della Verita
The Bocca della Verita, best cheap backpacking in europe

Pitch Three Coins into the Trevi Fountain
Gawk at Nicola Salvi's late Baroque waterworks influenced by an earlier try by Bernini, then follow the Roman tradition of throwing a coin into the fountain to guarantee a return to the Eternal City. "Italian courts have recently ruled that Roberto Cercelletta, who has been scooping out coins tossed into the Trevi fountain for about 20 years, is not stealing public money. He made an estimated 180,000 USD a year from his labors. Charity organization Caritas, which retrieves the money on Sundays when Cercelletta takes a day off, tried to get a court order to stop him".

Pitch Three Coins into the Trevi Fountain
Pitch Three Coins into the Trevi Fountain, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Scale the Spanish Steps
The Scalinata di Spagna, steps extending from Piazza di Spagna to Trinita dei Monti, were originally named after the Spanish Embassy adjacent. Ascend further from the top of the steps to get good views of Rome. The steps had a major restoration in 1995-96, and the once popular art of lunching on the steps is frowned upon, and fines can be levied. At the foot of the steps is the Keats-Shelley Memorial House. The area around the steps offers designer shops, restaurants and bars.

Scale the Spanish Steps
Scale the Spanish Steps, best cheap backpacking in europe

Vatican on Vacation
While the Vatican Museums usually exchange filthy lucre for entrance peeks, you can visit free on the last Sunday of the month. Also free is an interesting visit under the Vatican to see the excavations or a Wednesday audience with the Pope.

The Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Free Things in Amsterdam

Civic Guards' Gallery: 17th century Art
Just inside the Kalverstraat gate to the Amsterdam Historical Museum is a glass roofed walkway that houses impressive 17th century portraits, on display to the public at no charge.
The subjects of the 15 huge paintings are the Amsterdam Civic Guards that served in the 1600s. The most famous Civic Guard portrait is, of course, The Night Watch in the Rijksmuseum; these paintings have a similar but more formal feel than Rembrandt's masterpiece.
Kalverstraat 92 - Open during museum hours.

The Night Watch in the Rijksmuseum
The Night Watch in the Rijksmuseum, best cheap backpacking in europe

When you enter the Begijnhof - a hidden courtyard of cottages originally built in the 14th century for a group of pious, charitable women (the Beguines) - you're instantly transported from busy central Amsterdam to a tiny village. You'll find a well kept lawn and flower gardens, centuries old houses, a small medieval church and tall trees whose rustling leaves you can actually hear in the unusual silence.
Also here is Amsterdam's oldest house, one of the city's only two remaining wooden houses, dating from 1475. Women still live here, so groups aren't allowed and guests are asked to visit in quiet reflection.
Gedempte Begijnensloot (alley just off the Spui) - Open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Begijnhof, best cheap backpacking in europe

Lunchtime Concerts: Hear Performances at Concertgebouw and Muziektheater
Every Wednesday, from September to June, at 12:30 p.m., the Concertgebouw treats visitors to a 30 minute concert, which is often a public rehearsal from world renowned orchestras or ensembles that will perform officially later that evening.

On Tuesdays, from October to June, also at 12:30 p.m., the Boekmanzaal room at the Amsterdam Stadhuis/Muziektheater complex (often called "Stopera") hosts free concerts performed by one of its permanent ensembles: the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, the Choir of the Netherlands Opera and the Netherlands Ballet Orchestra.
Concertgebouw: Concertgebouwplein 2-6 (off Van Baerlestraat)
Stadhuis/Muziektheater: Amstel 1 (near Waterlooplein)

Concertgebouw, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Rijksmuseum Gardens
Many visitors don't realize they can wander through the sculpture, hedges and rose bushes of the Rijksmuseum Gardens without paying a dime - or, a 10 eurocent. During the ongoing renovation of the museum (to be completed in 2012-13), the Renaissance and Baroque Gardens remain open to the public.
A free printed guide provides background on the impressive statues, fountains, ponds and five centuries of salvaged Dutch architectural pieces - including Gothic pillars and 17th century city gates - that make this an exceptional Amsterdam attraction.
Jan Luijkenstraat 1 or Museumplein - Open daily 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Baroque Garden closed on weekends)

Rijksmuseum Gardens
Rijksmuseum Gardens, best cheap backpacking in europe

Ferry over the IJ
Between the city center of Amsterdam and North Amsterdam lies the IJ (eye), the oldest part of Amsterdam's port. If you're itching for a boat ride, why not enjoy one for free? While it is quite a straightforward and short trip (about 5 minutes), the ferry ride to the northern banks affords visitors an expansive view of the Amsterdam waterfront.
The Buikersloterwegveer ferry (landing 7) operates 24 hours a day, leaving every 7.5 minutes between 6:30 a.m. and 9 p.m., and every 15 minutes the rest of the time. The smaller IJ-Veer ferry (landing 8) only runs Mon. - Fri. between 6:35 a.m. and 6:05 p.m.
Ferry Landings Behind Centraal Station.

Ferry over the IJ
Ferry over the IJ, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Free Sights in Berlin

Brandenburg Gate
No visit to Berlin is complete without seeing the Brandenburg Gate. During the Cold War and the division of Germany, this landmark stood between East and West Berlin. When the wall fell in 1989 and Germany was reunited, the Brandenburg Gate became the iconic landmark of a new Germany.

Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate, best cheap backpacking in europe

The Reichstag
The Reichstag is the traditional seat of the German Parliament. When the historic building was remodeled in the 1990s, it was adorned with a modern glass dome, offering a look into the parliamentary proceedings and a stunning view of the Berlin skyline.

The Reichstag
The Reichstag, best cheap backpacking in europe

Museum Island
Berlin's Museum Island is home to five world class museums and the Berlin Cathedral; this unique ensemble of museums and traditional buildings on the small island in the river Spree is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Berlin's Museum Island
Berlin's Museum Island, best cheap backpacking in europe

East Side Gallery Berlin
The East Side Gallery is a colorful section of the Berlin Wall, which once divided the city into East and West Berlin. This last piece of the original wall has been turned into the largest open air gallery in the world, displaying more than 100 paintings by international artists.

East Side Gallery Berlin
East Side Gallery Berlin, best cheap backpacking in europe

Holocaust Memorial Berlin
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is one of the most impressive and moving monuments to the Holocaust. The architect Peter Eisenmann designed this sculpture, which is laid out on a 4.7 acre site and covered with more than 2,500 geometrically arranged pillars. The adjacent underground museum holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims.

Holocaust Memorial Berlin
Holocaust Memorial Berlin, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Tiergarten in Berlin
Relax in the Tiergarten, the green heart of Berlin, and find out why so many Berliners love this park. On more than 600 acres, you can enjoy lush lawns, leafy paths, small creeks, and traditional beer gardens.
Getting There: Metro Stop "Potsdamer Platz" (line U2, S1, S25) or "Bellevue" (line S5, S7, S9, S75)

Tiergarten in Berlin
Tiergarten in Berlin, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Free Things in Barcelona

Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia
Barcelona's most famous landmark may charge admission, but viewing it from the outside is free. Personally, I don't think going inside is worth it - the museum isn't especially interesting (unless you have a big interest in architecture) and the climb to the top gives you a less than spectacular view of the city.
Of course, paying the entrance fee does at least help guarantee that they finish the building (over 120 years and counting, so far), but if you're on a very tight budget, you can still appreciate 90% of the building from across the road.

Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia
Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia, best cheap backpacking in europe

Ramblas, Boqueria Market
Barcelona's most famous thoroughfare is a tourist attraction in itself. The street performers are there all day, every day and for a few cents will do their little party trick for you (if you're really, really tight, you can wait until someone else pays the 10c needed to get them to do something).
Also on Las Ramblas is the Boqueria market (though the fruit and vegetables come at a price, wandering around the stalls costs nothing).

Ramblas, Boqueria Market
Ramblas, Boqueria Market, best cheap backpacking in europe

Parc Guell
Parc Guell is another of Gaudi's works and, like the Sagrada Familia, was never completed. It was intended as a residential area for Barcelona's rich and famous, but it didn't receive the local support required. What exists today is a fabulous park with gingerbread houses, fountains and interesting ceramic statues that will fascinate young and old alike. The small museum charges to get in, but everything else is free.

Parc Guell
Parc Guell, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Picasso Museum
The Picasso museum is the best showcase of works by the Spanish cubist artist. It is only free on the first Sunday of the month. Be warned, the line to get in is gigantic - get there early. The museum is also free to under 16s and to study groups (only on Wednesday afternoons). Inquire at the museum for more information.
On certain days there are free guided tours of the collection, but you have to pay the normal entrance fee to see it.

Picasso Museum
Picasso Museum, best cheap backpacking in europe

Montjuic and the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
One of two moutains in Barcelona (the other being Tibidabo), Montjuic has a wealth of sights for those who don't mind a bit of a climb. Take a walk with a nice view of the sea, wander round the old watchtower and marvel at the Mayor's Belvedere, a collage of broken bottles and pottery. The Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya is free to under 15s, over 65s and to everyone on the first Sunday of the month.

Montjuic, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Beaches in Europe

Spree River, Berlin Urban Beaches
Sand trucked in from the Baltic Sea to twenty spots in Berlin along the Spree River add up to probably the best urban beach fun in Europe, with some beaches being a bit grittier than others - as in, hooked into the cool club scene here in one of the cities you'll most like in Europe. A few sandy social spots to drop into:
Bundespressestrand and Capital Beach, both near the central train station (Hauptbahnoff)
Oststrand - Berlin's biggest urban beach, covering 7000 square meters. You'll like this beach, found by the former Berlin Wall near the famous East Side Gallery, the best!

Oststrand - Berlin's Biggest Urban Beach
Oststrand - Berlin's Biggest Urban Beach, best cheap backpacking in europe

Amsterdam Beaches
Amsterdam Plage and Strand West are the manmade beaches in Amsterdam you'll like. Strand West is a bit of a bus ride and walk from Amsterdam's center, and Amsterdam Plage is a short walk from the central train station; Amsterdam Plage's also open all summer, while most of Europe's other urban beaches are basically one month wonders. While you're thinking of sun and sand in Amsterdam, you may also want to take a quick trip to the hip Bloemendaal, a real beach just a short hop from Amsterdam.

Hip Bloemendaal Beach!
Hip Bloemendaal Beach, best cheap backpacking in europe

Bruxelles les Bains, Brussels Urban Beach
Situated along the Quai des Peniches on the northwest side of the city, Belgium's Brussels Spa, or Bruxelles les Bains (or Brussel Bad) offers a Sports Field (beach soccer, rugby, climbing, petanque, climbing and rowing) beside the beach umbrellas and bars.

Copencabana, Copenhagen
Copenhagen's Copencabana (Copencabana Havnebadet, Havneholmen) is a 2500 meter sand beach with plenty of palm trees and an adjoining swimming pool, and the adjacent Copenhagen Harbor is clean enough for swimming (the last public pool in the harbor had closed five decades ago due to truly terrible water). More swimming nearby, too, at Havnebadet at Islands Brygge in Copencabana's former site. Amager Strandpark (Njalsgade 13), not far from the city center, is a pleasant place for a picnic or kayak rentals and subsequent fun in the sun.

Copenhagen Harbor
Copenhagen Harbor, best cheap backpacking in europe

Prague Beach
Zlute Lazne is very close to the city center and can be a family scene some days, though the hammocks are always a good place to recuperate from a tour of Prague's clubs.

Prague Beach
Prague Beach, best cheap backpacking in europe

Best Cheap Backpacking in Europe, Dublin's Urban Beach at Docklands
Ireland's first manmade beach debuted in Dublin in 2008 at George's Dock in Docklands (an urban renewal area downtown) and started the summer with serious social event plans like Tango Night, Salsa Night and Trash and Treasure Blind Date Night, all of which happen amid the usual palm trees and beach umbrellas. Showers, towels and change rooms for all, plus lunchtime workout classes, mini golf, beach rugby and volleyball for the athletically inclined, and boules for the less so. We'll see if it lasts - so far, the Dublin drizzle seems to be keeping it cool and calm and not in a good way.

Docklands, best cheap backpacking in europe

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