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Senior Discounts and Free Entries PDF Printable Version E-mail



Margaret Williamson    
February 2013

A query about the proof required for 'Senior Discount' at museums, ancient sites, etc led the following article.

Senior Discount at Museums and Historic Sites

Discounts for 'Senior Citizens' at museums etc vary from country to country, and site to site. They work on the basis of age, sometimes for over 60s, sometimes over 65s. Usually, if you look old enough, no proof is required but you might be asked to show identification bearing your photo and date of birth (eg passort or driving licence). This does not happen often but you do risk embarrassment if under-age. You could say you don't have any ID on you and offer to pay the full price, but in many countries (including Spain) it is a legal requirement that you carry an ID card or passport at all times and in theory you could be fined if you don't.

However, you are only going to get a discount up to 50%. You'd need to visit a lot of museums for the discount to make a significant difference to your budget! The main costs of motorhoming are always fuel, food and campsites (if used), all of which are easily controlled.

Free Entry to Museums and Historic Sites

A better deal is to find out if there is a time when entry is free, sometimes a specific day or season. A few examples:

In France there is no national system of discounts but it's always worth asking. In Paris admission to all the Louvre collections is currently 14 Euros (no concessions) but entry is free on the first Sunday of every month.

In Germany, again it varies. A visit to 'Museum Island' in Berlin (5 museums including the Pergamon on an island in the Spree River) costs 8 Euros per museum, or 12 Euros for a multi-ticket to all 5. However, entry is free for all to any of them from 6 pm-10 pm. Alternativel, buy a 'Berlin Welcome Card' offering free admission to Museum Island along with 3 days of unlimited public transport and other offers. Similar Welcome Card schemes apply in other cities.

In Greece state-owned ancient sites and museums are free on Sundays in winter (from 1 Nov-31 March) to all EU citizens of any age. For the rest of the year, there is a small discount for Seniors.

In Italy state-owned ancient sites etc are free to European citizens aged over 65 at any time (including the Uffizi Gallery in Florence). Local government sites and private sites usually offer discounts or free entry over 65.

In Spain some castles etc have free entry on Tuesdays, or the first Tuesday in the month. The Royal Palace in Aranjuez (normally 9 Euros) is free to all on Wednesday and Thursday from  3 pm-6 pm in the low season, while the Bull Ring (3 Euros or 1.50 for Seniors) is free to all between 11 am and 1 pm on Wednesdays. In Madrid the Museo Nacional del Prado art gallery (starting at 12 Euros, and half-price for over 60s) is free to all for the last 2 hours of opening: 6-8 pm on Tuesday through Saturday, 5-7 pm Sunday, and free to over 65s at any time.

In Sweden Stockholm's Vasa Museum, one of the best maritime museums in Europe, costs 110 Swedish Krona (about 10). However, entry is free if you have bought a Stockholm Card which has other benefits.

And if you venture as far as St Petersburg, the Hermitage Museum is free on the first Thursday of each month.

In short, always ask if there are any discounts or free days. Seek advice from the site itself, guide books, websites, tourist offices, campsite reception, etc. And remember that throughout Europe many sites and museums remain closed on Mondays.

Age Concessions for Motorhomes and Caravans

Discounts at campsites usually relate to time of year and length of stay, rather than age. In the UK, the Camping & Caravanning Club have reduced rates of 30% for over-55s except in mid- and low-season, your membership card marked 'Age Concession' being the proof. The Caravan Club, on the other hand, has no such discount.

Saga Insurance only deals with over-50s, supposedly at a beneficial rate, but they won't cover American motorhomes.

Public Transport

Occasionally there are Senior Cards available for public transport, giving reduced fares on trains or buses for over 60, or 63, or 65 it varies with different countries. The Bus Pass from our home town (free for over 60s) is not valid outside England (not even in Wales!). Ferries between Italy and Greece give a 10% senior discount but only on the passenger fare and not on the vehicle charge, which forms most of the cost. We haven't found any other ferry discounts based on age book well ahead on-line for the best deals there.

The Downside

At the other end of the age scale, health insurance penalties start to apply once you reach 70 and it's very hard to get any insurance for travel abroad (vehicle or health) once you reach 80. And if your motorhome weighs more than 3.5 tons, you will start having to take a lengthy medical exam when you renew your driving licence every three years after the age of 70.

Enjoy your retirement!