With over a hundred thousand museums around the globe, as noted by Wikipedia, it’s impossible to see them all. But if you’re looking to start exploring the world’s most impressive and captivating museums and galleries without breaking the bank, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our list of the top seven must-visit institutions that offer absolutely free admission for your cultural enjoyment.
London National Gallery, London, UNITED Kingdom
Operating hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours on Fridays until 9 p.m.
Notable Exhibits: Step into the mesmerizing world of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, get up close and personal with Van Eyck’s Portrait of the Arnolfini, and be captivated by the beauty of Titian’s Holy Family at these world-renowned museums with absolutely free entrance.
The United Kingdom is home to one of the most expansive art galleries, offering free access to over two thousand paintings spanning from the 12th to the 20th century. Nestled in the heart of London’s iconic Trafalgar Square, it’s nearly impossible to stroll past this cultural gem without being enticed to step inside.
The National Gallery houses an iconic collection in the history of painting, featuring masterpieces from every European art school all under one roof. With such an extensive array of artwork, it can be overwhelming to take in everything at once. To make the most of your visit, plan your route in advance by selecting specific paintings or artists you’d like to explore. If you’re unsure where to begin, the gallery’s website offers a handy list of the top 30 most significant paintings to help guide your journey through the captivating world of art. And best of all, entry to this incredible museum is absolutely free.
Museum of Contemporary Art Paris, Paris, France
Operating hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours on Thursdays until 10 p.m.
Notable Exhibits: At this world-class museum include Raoul Dufy’s electrifying masterpiece “Light of Electricity” and Matisse’s captivating “Paris Dance.”
Nestled in the heart of Paris’ 16th arrondissement, the museum is housed within the stunning confines of the Tokyo Palace. Boasting a collection of over 8,000 works, it showcases an array of 20th-century artistic movements. Visitors can immerse themselves in avant-garde trends such as Cubism, Fauvism, Expressionism, and Surrealism, while also exploring more contemporary masterpieces – all without spending a dime.
The museum’s permanent exhibition is thoughtfully split into two comprehensive sections. The first section showcases art masterpieces from the early 20th century up until the 1960s, featuring works from renowned artists such as Braque, Chagall, Degener, Dofi, Modigliani, and Picasso. Visitors can also admire the furniture and interior design items from that era, immersing themselves in the historic ambiance. The second section is dedicated to the various currents of contemporary art that have emerged post-1960. Additionally, there are separate galleries highlighting specific artists; one celebrates Matisse’s incredible works, while the other displays a breathtaking fresco titled “Light of Electricity” by the talented Raoul Dofi.
The museum gained notoriety for being connected to one of the largest art heists in recent years. In 2010, five priceless masterpieces by Picasso, Leger, Matisse, Modigliani, and Braque were stolen from its halls. Valued at a staggering $100 million, these paintings remain at large, evading the grasp of art aficionados and investigators alike.
Getty Museum, Los Angeles, USA
Operating hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with extended hours on Saturdays until 9 p.m.
Notable Exhibits: Van Gogh’s masterpiece Irises, Renoir’s enchanting Walk, and the majestic Kibela Statue.
The Getty Center, California’s largest art museum, welcomes visitors free of charge every day of the year. Established by oil magnate Jean Paul Getty, who was the wealthiest man in the world upon his passing in 1976, the museum inherited his private collection and vast fortune. This allowed the institution to acquire renowned old master paintings and antique sculptures from prestigious auctions. In fact, the staff’s zeal for obtaining these prized pieces even sparked a frenzy in the art market, resulting in a dramatic surge in prices. As one of the top museums in the world with complimentary admission, the Getty Center is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts.
Today, the renowned Getty Museum comprises two impressive complexes: the Getty Villa in Malibu, a sprawling palace constructed during a billionaire’s lifetime, and the Getty Center in Los Angeles, designed in 1997 by the celebrated American architect Richard Meier. The center houses the most famous works of art, while the villa boasts a vast collection of ancient treasures.
If you haven’t made your way to California yet, don’t worry – you can still experience the museum’s exhibits from the comfort of your own home. Since 2013, over 4,600 digitized images have been made accessible to anyone with an internet connection, allowing you to explore their collection at your leisure.
National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
Operating hours: The museum welcomes visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, with doors open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Note that the museum remains closed on Mondays, giving you the perfect opportunity to explore other attractions during your weekend getaway.
Notable Exhibits: Discover the captivating artifacts of the Egtved Girl and marvel at the ancient solar chariot, all without spending a dime, at these top museums offering free entrance to visitors.
If you’re eager to delve into Denmark’s rich history without spending a dime, you’re in luck. Don’t assume you’ll be visiting a basic local history museum, though. As the country’s premier cultural and historical institution since 1892, this museum houses an impressive collection of exhibits showcasing Denmark’s fascinating journey through the ages. Best of all, admission is absolutely free. So go ahead, immerse yourself in the captivating story of this Nordic nation at one of the world’s top museums.
If you’re a Viking enthusiast, the museum boasts an impressive collection of artifacts from that era, including stones adorned with ancient rune images. Notable exhibits include the Trundholm Sun Chariot, the Gallehus golden horns, and the Dejbjerg wagon. This captivating destination ranks among the top seven museums worldwide with absolutely free entry, making it a must-visit for history and culture buffs alike.
Discover the captivating exhibit of a girl from Egtved at the ‘7 Best Museums in the World With Absolutely Free Entrance’. Unearthed in 1921 near the town of the same name, this burial dates back to approximately 1370 BC. Although the body has decomposed over the millennia, all of her jewelry and clothing – including a miniskirt – have been remarkably preserved in near-original condition. This extraordinary find remains the best-preserved outfit from the northern European Bronze Age to this day.
The Solar Wagon takes center stage as the most renowned exhibit at the museum. This magnificent bronze sculpture features a large horse draped in a gilded sun-shaped chariot, harkening back to the same era as the famed Egtved Girl. It is widely believed that this chariot played a significant role in religious rituals of the time, adding a mystique to its already captivating presence.
National Museum of China, Beijing, China
Operating Hours: The museum welcomes visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, with doors opening at 9 a.m. and closing at 5 p.m. However, keep in mind that the museum is closed on Mondays, so plan your visit accordingly. Enjoy exploring one of the world’s top museums without spending a dime!
Notable exhibits: Discover the captivating 3,000-year-old sacrificial tripod known as Din, marvel at the 1.7 million-year-old Yuanmou man, and admire the exquisite craftsmanship of the jade prince at these world-renowned museums, all without spending a dime on entrance fees.
As the largest museum in the country and the most visited in the world, it’s surprising that this gem isn’t more popular among foreign tourists. Nonetheless, the Chinese themselves make up the majority of visitors, and for good reason. This remarkable institution is a must-see for anyone interested in China’s rich history, as there is no other place on Earth that houses such an extensive collection. With over 620,000 exhibits stored within its walls, it’s an experience not to be missed on any cultural excursion.
Discover 5,000 years of China’s fascinating history at this must-visit museum, where entrance is absolutely free. While the upper floors, dedicated to modern China, the revolution, and the Communist Party, may not captivate every foreign visitor, the breathtaking display of antiquities on the lower levels is truly a sight not to be missed. Join us as we explore one of the world’s top seven museums offering complimentary admission.
The museum boasts an array of truly priceless exhibits. For instance, it’s worth visiting just to catch a glimpse of the terracotta army soldiers, albeit only a few are on display. Equally deserving of your attention is the ancient sacrificial tripod, Dean – a ritual vessel once used to honor the spirits of ancestors. With over 3000 years of history and weighing in at 833 kilograms, it holds the title for the world’s largest bronze artifact from antiquity.
One exhibit that is sure to captivate visitors is the Jade Prince, a flawlessly preserved garment intricately sewn with gold threads and crafted from polished jade fragments. This remarkable piece dates back thousands of years, having been buried deep within the country for ages before its discovery.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UNITED Kingdom
Operating Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., with extended hours on Fridays until 10 p.m.
Notable exhibits: Botticelli’s “Portrait of Esmeralda Brandini” and Rossetti’s “Day Dreams” are just a couple of the renowned masterpieces you can enjoy free of charge at these world-class museums.
Discover London’s finest museums without spending a penny at one of Europe’s richest collections of decorative arts. To fully appreciate the beauty on display, be prepared to set aside at least a couple of days to explore, and even then, you’ll only be scratching the surface. With over four million items showcased across 140 halls, this museum is a treasure trove of artistic wonders just waiting to be uncovered – all for absolutely free.
Discover 5,000 years of humanity’s pursuit of beauty at the museum, showcasing a diverse range of rare exhibits spanning from ancient Egyptian household items to the latest in home design. The British halls are a hit with children, featuring numerous interactive installations to keep them entertained. Adults, on the other hand, will be captivated by the costume exhibitions, including theatrical displays. Fine art enthusiasts will marvel at Raphael’s sketches for the tapestries of the Sistine Chapel. The museum’s collection goes beyond Europe, encompassing furniture, musical instruments, decorations, and even architectural elements from Asia and Japan. Additionally, visitors can explore Britain’s most extensive assortment of early British photography at this extraordinary institution, which offers absolutely free entrance.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, USA
Operating Hours: The museum welcomes visitors Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays, the doors open at 11 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.
Notable exhibits: Discover Leonardo da Vinci’s captivating “Portrait of Ginevra de Benci,” marvel at the elegant strokes in Claude Monet’s “The Walk: Woman with a Parasol,” and delve into the world of Pablo Picasso with his intriguing piece, “Family of Comedians,” all at these top-tier museums with absolutely free entrance.
The National Gallery of Washington boasts an impressive collection of artwork, including over 1,200 world-famous paintings by European and American masters. It proudly houses one of the finest collections of Italian Renaissance painting in the world, featuring works by renowned artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Fra Beato Angelico, and Pietro Perugino. Of course, the gallery wouldn’t be complete without the masterpieces of the three greatest Renaissance artists – Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Although Michelangelo’s presence is limited to a few drawings, one of Leonardo’s most acclaimed works, the portrait of Ginevra de Benci, calls the National Gallery its home. Notably, this is the only piece by the legendary artist found on the American continent.
The gallery comprises two distinct buildings linked by an underground passage. The Western building, a grand neoclassical structure adorned with columns and a magnificent dome, showcases sculptures and masterpieces from bygone eras. Its Eastern counterpart, a more modern edifice, houses an impressive array of contemporary art. The complex also features educational and research centers, making it a haven for art enthusiasts worldwide.
The gallery boasts an expansive Sculpture Garden, offering visitors the chance to admire contemporary sculptures, unwind on comfortable benches, and during winter months, enjoy ice-skating on the rink that opens at the heart of the garden. This world-class museum experience comes at absolutely no cost, making it a must-see destination for art and culture enthusiasts.