Once you’ve fixed your flights or train travel and accommodation, it’s worth thinking ahead about your sightseeing plans.
For many popular cities, tourist passes can be bought that include free or discounted admission to museums, galleries and other attractions, and often free use of public transport too.
Paris Pass (www.parispass.com)
Cost: R1 195 (£90) for two days.
Coverage: Entry to 60 museums, galleries and monuments, including the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay and Pompidou Centre; a river cruise; two days of hop-on, hop-off bus tours; and public transport. The only major omission is the Eiffel Tower.
Any good? Because the pass is so comprehensive, it’s expensive, which means you’d need to be manic to make it worthwhile. The Paris Museum Pass (www.parismuseumpass.com) costs R438 (£33) for two days and gives free admission to the same 60 attractions, but without the added tours and transport.
Barcelona Card (www.barcelonacard.com)
Cost: With 10 percent online discount, R295 (£22.30) for two days.
Coverage: Free public transport, and discounts at various attractions.
Any good? The website claims it’s “Barcelona’s best buy”, but for leading attractions it offers miserly discounts – 20 percent off Picasso Museum admission – and the inclusion of public transport is no big deal when a two-day transport pass costs R145 (£11). A better option is the articket BCN (www.articketbcn.org) which, for R345 (£26), gives entry to seven top museums and galleries.
Roma Pass (www.romapass.it)
Cost: R345 (£26) for three days.
Coverage: Free admission to the first two attractions, discounts at 40 others and free public transport. Most major attractions except Vatican museums are covered.
Any good? Yes, if the first two attractions you visit are pricey. Without it, entry to the Colosseum/Roman Forum/ Palatine and Capitoline museums and a three-day transport ticket costs R400 (£30).
The iAmsterdam City Card (www.iamsterdam.com)
Cost: R570 (£43) for 48 hours.
Coverage: Free admission to 34 attractions, including the expensive Van Gogh Museum and Hermitage Amsterdam, along with free travel in the city and a canal cruise.
Any good? Paid separately, entrance to the Van Gogh Museum and Hermitage, a 48-hour transport pass and a cruise would come to R624 (£47) – which makes the City Card good value.
But two other top attractions, the Anne Frank House and the Rijksmuseum, are not covered.
London Pass (www.londonpass.com)
Cost: R810 (£61) for two days, or R1 050 (£79) with public transport included.
Coverage: Free entry to 55 attractions, including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s and a Thames river cruise – each costing £15 or more.
Any good? Only if you take in four of these attractions quickly. And much of the entertainment in London is free – the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Tates, the Science and Natural History museums. – Daily Mail