There's an undeniable charm in losing yourself amidst the streets of a new city and immersing yourself in its unique atmosphere. According to our recent research into the nation’s travelling plans, over a third of people (39%) are looking to enjoy a city break in 2024. 

As a travel money provider, we want to uncover the European cities with the highest number of free attractions. To do that, we analysed thousands of the top-rated free TripAdvisor attractions throughout Europe highlighting that there are ways you can make travelling a bit more affordable, even during peak travel periods.

While the attractions themselves are free, it's recommended to carry local currency for potential expenses like transport or purchases from local vendors. We'll guide you on when this is necessary throughout the article. Make sure to read until the end for key tips on why you need local currency, even when exploring free attractions.

The top European city breaks for free attractions

Our research reveals that Assisi in Italy boasts the highest number of top-rated free attractions, with 21 options to explore across an area with a population of just under 28,000. Following closely after Assisi are Dubrovnik in Croatia and Chania in Greece.


One of the best-preserved Medieval towns in the world, this charming Italian gem is the perfect escape for a city break. There’s so much you can do in this atmospheric little town – take a stroll through the picturesque streets, enjoy the views over the Spoleto Valley or visit the many churches and basilicas. 

Get lost in the charming streets of the Historic Centre of Assisi, where you’ll be able to find the main attraction –  the Basilica of St. Francis. This impressive structure, built in 1228, is captivating even from a distance, and completely free to visit.  

Located just a short distance from Assisi, don't miss the opportunity to explore the Church of San Damiano, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Admission to this historic site is free, inviting visitors to explore its rich heritage and significance. It’s important to note that as it’s outside of the city, you should make sure you have some local currency to use in case the public transport only accepts cash.


Located in the stunning coastline surrounded by crystal blue water, this Croatian town is a picturesque scene straight out of a postcard. While many will recognise it as the backdrop featured in Game of Thrones, serving as the primary filming location for King’s Landing, the town offers so much more than that.

You're likely familiar with some well-known attractions like the Old Town, the cobblestone streets, and the captivating walled city that effortlessly transports you to another era. But there are numerous hidden gems waiting to be discovered, all without putting a strain on your budget.

According to our research, one of the standout free attractions here is, surprisingly, a tour. The Funky Wheels Tour has gained popularity among visitors who rave about its truly unparalleled experience – exploring the city alongside locals. This guided tour takes you to places you might not discover on your own, all while cruising in style aboard an iconic vintage car. While the tour itself is technically free, it's customary to leave a tip, so it's advisable to have some cash on hand.

Another one of the top-rated free tourist attractions the research found is Art by Stjepko, a hidden gem nestled just off the busy main street, Stradun. This captivating art atelier offers a unique experience for art enthusiasts, where you can observe artists immersed in their craft, bringing creations to life right before your eyes.


Mostly known for being an amazing beach spot, Chania is a surprisingly good choice for a city break as well. The Old Town of Chania is one of the most picturesque places on the island and completely free to explore. Take a stroll during the day through the many alleys and the countless little shops. There are plenty of fish restaurants and taverns in case you get hungry.

In our research, one of the top-rated free attractions was found to be the Greek National Football Museum. Despite its modest size, the museum boasts an impressive collection of memorabilia, artefacts, and a noteworthy array of shirts, offering a thrilling journey through the rich history of Greek football. The focus, particularly on the nation’s success in the Euros, provides a compelling narrative that captures the essence of the nation's footballing achievements. It’s the perfect place to get you in the spirit of the upcoming UEFA Euro 2024 tournament in June and July. Although it’s free to visit, there is a donations box when you enter, so it’s good to be prepared with some local currency.


Strolling through sunlit piazzas, marvelling at masterpieces in galleries, and being captivated by the intricate details of every building – Florence needs little introduction.

Explore the charm of Piazzale Michelangelo, a neoclassical masterpiece crafted by Giuseppe Poggi in the 19th century. This delightful attraction not only provides some of the most breathtaking panoramic views of Florence's historic centre but also hosts replicas of Michelangelo's renowned sculptures, such as David and the Medici Chapel statues.

Discover the artistic heartbeat of Florence at the renowned Art Gallery Studio Iguarnieri, one of the top-rated free tourist attractions according to our research and the go-to haven for local artists. Nestled beneath Michelangelo's Piazzale, this studio is a testament to the contemporary vibrancy of Florentine art.

After a long day of exploring, is there a better way to unwind than with a glass of exquisite wine and a good book? Immerse yourself even further in the Florentine atmosphere by visiting Oratio – a unique attraction that serves as both a library featuring the world's finest literature on food and wine, as well as a bar.


The allure of Venice is truly captivating, and you’ll instantly fall in love with its beauty. Choosing Venice on a budget doesn't mean compromising on the magic that this unique city has to offer. Venice's true charm lies in its timeless architecture, winding canals, and hidden gems, which are accessible to all. Wander through the narrow alleys, discover charming street vendors, and enjoy the breathtaking views from bridges without spending a fortune.

The best free attraction according to our research is Centro Storico di Venezia – the primary island of Venice, known as the historic centre. St. Mark's Square, the heart of the historic centre, is surrounded by iconic landmarks such as St. Mark's Basilica, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture embellished with intricate mosaics.

Le Stanze Del Vetro stands out as another top free attraction according to our research. Tucked behind the church on the Island of Saint Giorgio Maggiore, it presents captivating glass exhibitions. Featuring two annual showcases, one highlighting Murano glass designers from September to January and another spotlighting European glass designers from April to July, the venue allows visitors to explore up to 300 works.

The top ten European city breaks with the highest number of free attractions

Rank City Free attractions Attractions per 10,000 people
1 Assisi 21 7.5
2 Dubrovnik 27 6.5
3 Chania 21 3.9
4 Florence 109 3.0
5 Venice 75 2.9
6 Rhodes 29 2.3
7 Bruges 27 2.2
8 Porto 47 1.9
9 Reykjavík 22 1.6
10 Lisbon 45 0.9

Methodology: Data was gathered by collating all the top-rated free attractions across Europe on TripAdvisor. To ensure a fair and equitable comparison among cities of varying sizes, the ranking system incorporated population data. Cities were positioned higher in the ranking if they exhibited a substantial number of free attractions relative to their population. This approach aimed to highlight cities with a higher density of attractions per capita. 

If this has inspired you to book a city-break, then be sure to pick up some local currency, without commission fees. For great rates and 0% commission, pop to a Bureau de Change in our John Lewis & Partners shops around the UK, or order online for click and collect at a John Lewis or Waitrose store or currency home delivery

Exchange rates in our shops may vary from those offered online. Click here for our bureau rates.

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