You've made it to Europe! Now, you're wandering the Medieval streets of centuries old cities that you've dreamed about for years! You've got a place to sleep, you're eating all the local delicacies, and you can get where you need to be, when you need to be there. To really enjoy your stay wouldn't it be awesome if you had something to not only save you time and money, but to get you off the regular beaten tourist path to see things few people even know about? Lucky you, because that's exactly what you'll get with a City Card!
City Cards can offer free or discounted admission to popular and more obscure attractions, discounts at restaurants and stores, and free use of public transit! Best of all, more and more European cities are getting them, and not just the bigger cities either! (In fact city cards in smaller cities usually have greater value) They can be expensive, so be smart and do your research on each City Card as not all of them are created equal.
First find out if the city you're travelling to has a City Card. If you're travelling in the more central part of Europe the website We Love City Cards has assembled a lot of information in one place; otherwise a Google search will have to do. Go through their websites and see what the card offers. Weigh free admission against discounts, take note of how many lines you get to skip, and public transit is always nice, but not always needed in cities where attractions are clustered in certain areas. Most city cards also have multi-day versions, offering up to a week in some cases!
Plus there are many times where you get access to attractions that don't normally attract as much attention! Learn about different aspects of the places you explore by going to a bunch of alternative museums, like the Comic Strip Museum in Brussels, or the Tower of Senses in Nurnberg. Or get access to tours behind the scenes of places regular tourists only glance at, like La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière in Lyon France, where the tour takes you skittering across the rooftops to the highest pinnacle!
On our travels we've explored nine cities by using city cards, and found ourselves in places, doing things we never thought we'd be doing! Let us know in the comments if you'd like articles about our experiences and over time we'll go over the pros and cons; what we liked and what we didn't about each one!
by: Curtis Diehl