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Rick's funny museum comment

from one of his newspaper columns:

Sightseeing deals: Europe must have a university course called “Confusing Nonsensical Museum Passes.” Few of them are worth the trouble, but some noteworthy exceptions pay for themselves in a hurry. Worthwhile museum passes in Paris, Rome and Berlin cover all the major sights. In London, budget-minded travelers can buy a Travelcard transit pass and get discounts on River Bus services on the Thames. With any pass, always crunch the numbers to make sure you’ll really save.

Posted by
16866 posts

Agree with the first sentence but I have alerted editors that Rome does not really fit on this list since the Roma Pass and Omnia Pass both provide just selective coverage.

Posted by
11613 posts

Still, if you plan to visit several places on the list the RomaPass can be a good idea, A pass doesn't have to have universal coverage to be economical.

Posted by
16866 posts

Right. Now the article says "covers nearly all the major sights." Hard to convey the details of three cities in one sentence, so bottom line is to crunch the numbers.

Posted by
3155 posts

"Crunching the numbers" is really good advice. We were just in Vienna. A helpful TI person pointed out to us that we would do better to buy 3-day, followed by 2-day, transportation cards and utilize the senior discounts (available at every museum we visited), than to buy Vienna Cards. We did buy the Berlin Cards a couple of years ago, and saved a lot. For me, the problem with that sort of card is that it forces you to compress a lot of museum visits into a very short time period. A non-monetary, but real consideration. BTW, in the past, we have run into the policy that only EU citizens were eligible for senior discounts. We've just been in four EU countries, and we got the discounts in all of them.

Posted by
12594 posts

"Crunching the numbers" is key! We've rarely bought passes as once we added up everything we realistically could do and/or what was included that we'd even be interested in doing, they weren't worth the money. Two exceptions were the Paris Museum and Friends of the Uffizi passes. We more than broke even on both but they included the majority of things we wanted to see, and allowed us unlimited visits to all of them - which was nice for very large museums. We also had 5 days to a week to make them work for us.

Posted by
506 posts

Also depends on how much you want to do in a day. Years ago we were in Salzburg with our 20 something year old kids and they bought the city pass and literally ran the whole day and saw everything on that card. Including getting their free beer at the brewery. But my husband and I don't travel that way and we probably saw two things to their full day.

Posted by
5362 posts

I agree with doing the planning to see if it pays, but have a good understanding of alternatives. I was recently in Berlin and planned to buy the 3 day Museum pass...But one of the museums high on my list, th German History Museum, is not on the pass, so I did that the day I arrived (Saturday). Still thought of the pass, but on Sunday the nice lady at the counter pointed out that nearly all the museums were closed on Monday...so just did the island pass. In the end, hit the places I wanted for a minimal cost.

Posted by
1655 posts

The version of the Lyon city pass that includes transit is a great deal, so long - as has been mentioned - as you actually are going to make use of a good many of the museum entries. Added bonuses are extended bike-share usage times, and even after the time period is over, you can retain the card and use it to load more transit credit.

Two other cards that stand out in my mind as good values are Boston and San Diego -- if memory serves, they are priced so that any use beyond one roundtrip a day is gravy.

Transit passes in Nice are the opposite (if I'm remembering correctly) -- only benefit is the convenience of fewer transactions.

Posted by
3833 posts

Our first experience with a city card was our first town in Europe - Verona. The card was perfect for us to have a well-rounded experience of Verona, and we saw places and a few neighborhoods that we would have missed, otherwise.

Other positive experiences with city cards: Padova, Paris Museum Pass, Salzburg
City card that we opted not to buy: Vienna Card

Posted by
796 posts

We have a habit of buying passes without crunching the numbers because we aren't budget travelers. In Paris in particular, we love the passes and spend a lot of time in museums.

Posted by
7942 posts

The Frankfurt Card in Frankfurt is a decent deal. For one person for one day it is 9.90 € and offers transportation all day including travel to and from the airport and 50% off entry to 28 museums. Transport itself would cost 8.85 € for one person. A 2 day card costs 14.50 €. A group card for one day is 20 € (transport, including airport for a group of 5 would be 15.80 € for just 1 day) or for 2 days, is 29.50 €. These are decent savings.

If you are already here or want to visit a lot of museums in one or 2 days, then the museum card is a good bargain too. Ticket for one person is 18 € and is valid for 2 consecutive days in 34 museums. Family tickets are 28 € and good for 2 adults & 2 kids under 18. Again, this is valid for 2 days. Considering that museums like the Städel cost 14 € p.p. those tickets pay for themselves even if you visit just 2 museums.
http://www.museumsufer-frankfurt.de/portal/en/News/Start/0/0/0/0/2360.aspx

Do remember, that in Germany, most museums are closed on Mondays, so it is always good to check if the museums you want to visit will be open during the time period you are in the city. Also, lots of museums close down for up to 1-2 years for extensive renovations. We have 2 closed right now, the Judengasse Museum and the Money Museum and a 3rd one, the Jewish Musuem getting ready to close in July.

Posted by
1804 posts

The other pass consideration is that you often get to jump the line, which can be priceless.

Posted by
350 posts

I used the Roma pass in Rome with great success, between museum savings and being able to use it on the buses and metro, it easily paid for itself and more. Plus there was the convenience of not having to wait in long lines, and not have to worry about having the proper ticket.

Posted by
4671 posts

I saved some money using the Stuttcart this year, but that included the Porsche Museum which I wasn't very impressed with.

Posted by
350 posts

"do tell, what's wrong with the Porsche Museum?"

Well, I thought it was one of the new, modern hand-on museums.

But, they really got upset when I drove the Porsche outside and took it for a test run.

Posted by
4671 posts

I sent phred a personal message but didn't realise the question was asked on the thread. For other people, the display is not very varied and for people who aren't hardcore Porsche enthusiasts there are too many slight variations on the 356 and 911.

Posted by
26 posts

I'd second the opinion that it saves waiting in line or making specific time appointments for a given museum.

Also, if no reservations are available, the passes in Rome and Florence get you "bypass the line" options. I missed getting our reservations online to see the Uffizi and Academia in Florence and there was a sign saying all tickets were sold out for that day. Because I wanted to bypass the line, I decided to buy a pass and so the guard let me into the ticket purchase area where I then noticed that there was a list of times available for ticket reservations that contradicted the sign outside. We bought our individual tickets and ended up saving money over the pass. All this to say, know your options and then you can make the best choice.

Posted by
126 posts

Transit passes can also be confusing. In Prague last fall, we showed proof of my husband's age (77) and he could ride the trams etc for free. Because I was 66 I got a deep discount too and could purchase tickets which were the equivalent of
a child's fare. I had to take a photo and fill out a form at a specific the metro station. Most of the time we have asked for senior discounts we have gotten them.

Posted by
3833 posts

Just back from Salzburg (& other locations) and will share that the Salzburg Card is still a great option. We purchased the 3-day card, and it covered everything that we wanted to do in the city - along with the fun of walking all around, including back through time and seeing the neighborhood we stayed in during our RS GAS tour 12 years ago. Have an apple strudel at the Old Fox restaurant! I wouldn't have visited the Christmas Museum without the card, and I really enjoyed their displays.