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Travel to Europe
Five Ideas for Budget Sightseeing in Europe
Budget Europe Sightseeing Idea #1: People Watching There are few things in life better than simply people-watching in Europe. You can do this for free by finding a nice bench or spot in a busy plaza, square or thoroughfare. Or you can pop some change for a cup of coffee and do it with some style: people watch from a sidewalk café.
Budget Europe Sightseeing Idea #2: Wander Aimlessly One of my personal favorite things to do in Europe is a very specific plan to do nothing in particular. When arriving in a new city, I tuck a local map in my back pocket and just go, usually in no direction in particular. This is the best way to make discoveries and, so long as you avoid bad neighborhoods, is a splendid way to discover a city. The best part is you will probably find some amazing city neighborhood tucked away, teeming with friendly locals, and unknown by most tourists.
Budget Europe Sightseeing Idea #3: Look for Free Museum Days or Nights Most major European cities, and even some countries, feature free museum or attraction days of the month. Some also feature evenings that are free. Check to see when the free day is at the destination you will visit, and plan accordingly.
Budget Europe Sightseeing Idea #4: Be Your Own Tour Guide This sort of follows along similar lines as suggestion #2, but with a slightly different spin. One of the biggest budget drains when it comes to sightseeing is organized tours, which can sometimes run even a few hundred euros per person. Instead, go it on your own. Find a good map, a good brochure or guidebook that mentions the destinations you want to see, or even use Google maps to build some sort of an itinerary. Then set out, either on foot or on public transport. Podcast tours are also a very inexpensive alternative to a live human tour guide. The nice benefit here is that you aren’t tied to a strict itinerary, and you can linger as long as you like at one stop while rushing the next stop if it’s boring.
Budget Europe Sightseeing Idea #5: Use Local Transportation Local transportation options in Europe are quite extensive, even surprisingly available in many small cities and villages. Hopping a city bus, a metro or commuter line, or even a regional train can cost nothing more than change, and provide you a nice tour of the city or the area.
In many destinations, you will find hop on, hop off tour buses, for example, that cost 25 euros and up per person. Then, a block later, you will find the local transport with an all-day pass for maybe 3 euros. Are you really getting a value worth eight times that of the local transportation? It’s doubtful. One tip, however, is that local transportation systems can be confusing to visitors. Ask your hotel’s front desk for help or a bus map or schedule, or visit the local tourism office for some assistance.