Chances are, you have already heard about free walking tours before. But if you are still reluctant to try them out, keep reading to find out why you should do it next time you are traveling.
1. The first reason is pretty obvious – it’s free!
Well, almost. Although these tours are advertised as “free”, the guides work for tips, which means if you enjoyed the tour, you are welcome to leave the tip. The better explanation of this tour concept is that you are free to pay whatever you think the tour was worth. You can also leave without giving a tip if you didn’t like the tour. However, this is unlikely to happen as you can see in the reason 2 below.
2. Value for money.
The guides understand that the better the tour is, the more tips they can get. This results in them trying to make the tour as interesting and entertaining as possible. If you are still not satisfied – you don’t have to leave tips or you can leave smaller tips. At least you save yourself from the disappointment of traditional tours, where you may feel that your time and money was wasted if the pre-paid tour didn’t meet your expectations.
3. You have nothing to lose.
In the worst scenario – the guide is rude, boring or anything else that you don’t like – you are always free to leave in the middle of the tour. And because you tip at the end, you don’t feel stressed to be paying for something that you didn’t receive.
4. Meet people.
This is a really easy and fun way to meet fellow travelers. Especially if you are traveling solo, but also like to spend some time with other people, it is great to go on walking tour upon arriving in the city. You will have a chance to meet people you can continue discovering the city with. The people who attend walking tours come from all over the world and you may even meet some friends you can visit later. The tours are usually held in English, so you can be sure you have a common language to communicate.
5. Orientation of a city.
This is another good reason to plan walking tour on the first day of staying in the city. Maps are great, but when you are in the place for the first time, navigating might be difficult. The tour guides can also provide you all the necessary information about the best way to move around or reach the sites that are far away from the center.
6. Save planning time.
If you don’t like planning sightseeing as much as doing it, you can save your time by joining a free walking tour. In 2-3 hours the guide will point out the major sights and you can decide which ones you want to see more closely afterward. You can also ask the guide all the necessary information about opening hours, entry tickets, discounts instead of checking everything on the internet.
7. Learn history.
If history freaks you out and you stay away from traditional tours that are often overpacked with history, free walking tours are for you. Understanding the city without history is impossible, but guides try to make it as entertaining as possible, mixing history with local legends, myths, and jokes.
8. Insider advice.
Whether you want to know the best places to eat, drink, dance or shop, the tour guides will help you. No matter how much you prepared in advance, a bit of advice from a local would always help. The guides are often locals or expats who live in the city long enough to understand the local culture. Getting to know how the people live and spend their free time, learning local habits is an exciting part of traveling.
The concept of free walking tours became so popular that many companies are providing them, especially in the major touristic cities. You can choose the one that you like based on reviews or pick the time that fits you best. In addition to the usual old town tour, many companies offer street art tours, food tour, pub craws and more.
10. The best way to explore the city.
Besides the traditional bus tours, bike and segway tours became popular recently, but if you are a healthy human being, there is nothing better that good old walking. Most European cities are extremely walkable and old town area usually doesn’t have a large territory. They were built in times when walking was the most common way of moving, so walking tours are a very natural way of exploring them.
Have you been on free walking tour already?