More Free Things in Great Cities

Continuing on in my (and Lonely Planet’s) recommendations of some city freebies to make your travel dollar streeeeeetch:

4. Walking tour, Reykjavik, Iceland

Despite the economic meltdown, this almost-Arctic island is still going to test your bank balance. So freebies here taste all the sweeter – and Goecco’s Reykjavik Free Tours are as unique and feisty as a shot of brennivin (the local firewater – drink with caution). These two-hour easy ambles around the secret sites of Reykjavik are led by “performance historians”. You’ll see the city’s maritime architecture, historical foundations, coolest districts and best bathing spots, accompanied by lashings of Icelandic quirk – stories told with actorly verve, which lift the lid on this inscrutable capital.

Tours depart Ingolfs Square at 1pm Monday to Saturday, from May 15 to October 1. See www.goecco.com.  

5. Louvre, Paris, France

Simply, it’s the greatest collection of art ever assembled, displayed in a building that is both a typical Parisian palace and a striningly modern pyramid of glass.  There are more than 35,000 items here, from ancient Egyptian antiquities to Greek treasures, Persian trinkets and paintings spanning cnetureis.  Its depth and breadth is truly overwhelming; you really need more than a day to appreciate te wonders assembled here. But if that’s all you have, make it a certain day. On the first Sunday of the month, the Louvre is free – something, surely, that should make even the resident Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci crack a proper smile.

The Louvre is open daily except Tuesday from 9am to 6pm (10pm Wednesday and Friday); regular admission 10 euros. See www.louvre.fr.

6.  City bikes, Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is the two-wheeled capital of the world: every day 37 per cent of locals cycle to work, and there are 390 km of dedicated cycle lanes. So really, it would be rude not to join in – a gesture made all the easier by Bycyklen, the city’s free bike scheme.  Stacked at racks around central Copenhagen, these free cycles are the perfect way to get around the blissfully flat capital.  You can pedal from the cafes lining the brightly painted harbor front to hippie hangout Christiania, the kitsch but cool Tivoli Gardens and around the grounds of 17th-century Rosenborg Castle – without it costing a drone.  A 20 krona coin is neede to release a bike, which is refunded when you return it.

Bikes are available from March or April to November. See www.bycyklen.dk.

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About Chris McBeath

Travel writer Chris McBeath has worked aboard cruise ships, opened hotels, managed convention centers, marketed spas and spa resorts, and written guide books and travel articles on nearly every aspect of travel.
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