5 of the World’s Best Free Travel Experiences

Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront at night. And the Symphony of Light laser-sound spectacular hasn’t even begun! (Wikimedia)

Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront at night. And the Symphony of Light laser-sound spectacular hasn’t even begun! (Wikimedia)

Did we just say “free?”

Yes, you read correctly.

Around the world, travelers can take advantage of wonderful experiences without paying a dime…or Euro…or Yen. And by “wonderful” we’re talking, yes, wonderful! Here are 5 that top our list:

  1. Louvre, Paris. Arguably, the Louvre is one of the greatest—if not the greatest—art museum on earth. It holds more than 35,000 items ranging from the Mona Lisa to treasures from ancient Egypt and Greece, to paintings spanning the centuries from all over the world. And one day a month—the first Sunday to be precise—this amazing experience is free. The rest of the time—the museum is open daily except Tuesdays—the admission is quite reasonable, too—just €10. For more information, see www.louvre.fr.
  2. Lunchtime Concerts at the Royal Opera House, London. Why spend grandly when you can listen to grand music performed in grand style in a grand London setting without separating yourself from a shilling? That’s what you can do each Monday at London’s Royal Opera House. The programs feature the world’s finest music, and the interpreters range from first-rate fiddlers to baritones that can take your breath away. While there’s still no free lunch, these concerts come pretty close in value. For more information, check out the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.
  3. Tea, Grand Bazaar, Istanbul. If you like shopping—and even have a hankering for haggling—Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is a not-to-be-missed experience for travelers going to Turkey. You don’t have to go at a special day of the week or month to get the free tea, either. You can go any time the Grand Bazaar is open, Monday through Saturday. Just let the carpet seller take you to his or her showroom and—as you see his offerings—sip small glasses of delicious apple tea.
  4. Staten Island Ferry, New York. Speaking of apples, when you visit The Big Apple, one classic experience is taking the ferry to Staten Island and back. The ferries—which have connected Staten Island to lower Manhattan since the late 1700s—run 24 hours a day, the views of the New York skyline are breathtaking, and—another great perk—the 25-minute trip each way is absolutely free.
  5. Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront, Hong Kong. One great time to come here is 8:00 pm each evening when you can witness the Symphony of Lights laser-sound spectacular. During the day, the area is filled with shopping, sightseeing, an even a meditative martial arts learning experiences. For more information, check out www.discoverhongkong.com.

To learn more about these—and 5 additional—great freebies from Iceland to Japan, you might want to take a close look at this cleverly titled Lonely Planet piece, The World’s Finest Freebies.

Is there a freebie or 2 you’ve run across in your travels that you’d like to tell people about? If so, we’d be delighted to hear about it. Just post a comment at the end of this blog.