I find when I travel that the most memorable sights and experiences usually involve no admission charge. Find them and enjoy!
1) A Free and Spectacular View of Paris
Many visitors to Paris are discouraged to find out the trip to the top of Eiffel Tower involves not only a lengthy line, but also a hefty price. But there is a better view of Paris available at no charge at the base of Sacre Coeur atop Montmartre. You'll pay a small fee to ascend the basilica (by foot), but the views from the top of the steps leading into the cathedral are breathtaking.
2) London's Changing of the Guard
The Queen's Guard in London changes in the Forecourt inside the gates of Buckingham Palace at 11.30 a.m. every day during the summer months and on alternating days in the winter. Although it's free to view, you might want to invest some time to get there early enough for a good vantage point. This might be Europe's most popular free attraction, and the crowds can be huge.
3) A Tour of the Rijksmuseum Gardens in Amsterdam
Many visitors to Amsterdam are disappointed to learn the famous Rijksmuseum is closed for extensive renovations. The work should be finished by 2008, but while it continues, you can visit the museum's gardens. A free printed guide will point out some art treasures that cannot be seen elsewhere at any price, let alone for free. Please note that the garden is not open on weekends.
4) The Roman Forum
You grew up seeing it in your history textbooks, but in Rome it comes alive at no cost. This was the central marketplace in ancient times, and it is well worth the time to wander the area and imagine what life was like in those days.
5) London's Tate Modern and Borough Food Markets
These two attractions are located alongside one another. Tate Modern offers interesting (some say outrageous) art, while the markets are a fun place to browse on Fridays and Saturdays. Why not pick up an inexpensive picnic lunch in the markets and make a budget day of it?
6) Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral
You don't have to be a student of architecture to appreciate this magnificent structure, generally regarded among the most beautiful on earth. You don't need money to enter and walk the inside unless you decide to climb the towers or visit the museum. It is a wonderful Paris experience. One warning: In summer, you might have to invest a lot of time waiting in line to get inside Notre Dame.
7) Westminster Abbey in London
There are admission fees for Westminster Abbey, but those who choose to worship here can see the inside for free. Evensong is at 5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, plus at 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays. These are your opportunities to hear the Abbey Choir perform.
8) A Free Ferry ride in Amsterdam harbor
Boat tours in Amsterdam can be quite pricey. But one of the more revealing trips can be yours at no cost. You can traverse the older part of the Amsterdam port on a free ferry available behind the Centraal rail station. It's a short ride, but it might be a nice change of pace after a day of walking through the sites.
9) Scandinavia's Natural Phenomena
The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis, the Midnight Sun and the Polar Nights are three things you won't want to miss in Scandinavia, depending upon the timing of your visit. Although getting to Scandinavia countries can be expensive, consider these three natural treasures handsome dividends on your investment.
10) Fashion Gawking in Paris
Paris fashions hardly fit into a directory of free or inexpensive things to see, but remember that looking never costs you anything. Rue de Faubourg St. Honore or the nearby Avenue Montaigne are places to see the latest fashions and the best shoppers in action.