Nowadays every major city in the world or an attractive tourist destination will offer a free city walking tour. Led by a local, freelance tour guide, these tours are an excellent way to get familiar with the history and culture of the city you’ll be visiting.
If you plan on visiting any of the capitals throughout the world on the main squares, or some significant landmark in the center of the city, you’ll notice young enthusiastic people with signs such as Free City Tour in their hands or umbrellas, depending on the weather. Whenever visiting a new city I would warmly recommend the free city walking tour from the start. These tour guides are very knowledgeable and capable of explaining the history in very entertaining and easy to understand way. They share the love for their city they live in, in a great manner and give a very good introduction to the city.
This is an excellent starting point for getting to know the city, especially if you are a first time visitor. Being among the locals you can expect the best tips and insides first hand that will save you a lot of your money, time and energy figuring out by yourself, and that can truly be of big help for anyone that visits a big capital. The guides are very friendly, full of information, useful tips and great recommendations that will definitely help you enjoy the city in a way better way and to have much valuable experience for the rest of your stay. Moreover, you will certainly meet other travelers as well.
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During the tour, you’ll be walking some of the most known squares, streets, and parks while learning about the culture and history of the city. You’ll hear very interesting stories and urban legends from the local guides on the way. A free city tour will cover all the most important and remarkable sights of the city, all you need to see while you are there and all the stories you need to hear that probably only locals know about the city.
These tours last about two to three hours and have a nice laid-back tempo. As soon as everyone arrives at the meeting point in the arranged time the walk starts. Usually, there won’t be too much walking between the stops. The tours won’t require any special physical effort and are quite easily walkable. The local tour guides give such an interesting and entertaining overview of the city that these two-three hours will simply fly by. You’ll spend a great time walking around the city, getting to know its great buildings and architecture, history and culture presented by the local guides in a very fun and energetic way.
The tours cover all the major central areas. After one of these free city tours, you’ll definitely get a better sense of direction in the center of the city and start feeling a bit like an insider too. Getting to know not just the main landmarks and history, but the hidden streets that only locals know about. You’ll definitely meet a local from the start. They surely will make you feel more comfortable for the rest of your stay in that foreign big city that you’ll be visiting for the first time. And big cities can look a bit scary and confusing.
It’s good to know that they do care about the visitors’ experience a lot and tend to make the groups enjoyable for everyone. That’s why they are trying their best for the tours not to exceed 20 people. To make the process much easier they made the booking available online. Although they prefer to know the number of people in advance to ensure that they have enough guides available, you can just show up on the spot without any previous reservation. They are offered every day of the year, regardless of the weather, rain or shine, but keep in mind though that the tours are predicted for individual travelers or small groups of people.
These walking tours are really convenient because anyone can join regardless of the budget. But, although the tours are free, still, tips are welcomed. The only income the tour guides have of the tours is from tipping or gratuities. They are not paid to conduct the tour and at the end, if you think that it met your expectations you can reward the guide and express your gratitude by tipping accordingly.
You are not obligated to pay anything up front or if you are not satisfied. In general, at the end of the walk when the tour is finished anyone can tip as much as they think the tour was worthed or as much as they can afford to pay. In general, they work on a voluntary tips-basis.
Taking a free city walking tour should be one of the first things you’ll do in a new city. And you certainly shouldn’t miss out. Whichever capital you’ll be visiting they are an ideal way to discover how those cities evolved to be so fascinating as they are today. It’s a great way to start your visit to a big city or a new tourist destination, to pick up valuable tips to get the best of your stay. The guides will gladly help you to have an authentic experience of the city during your visit. Don’t hesitate to ask anything and to take their local tips on where to go, eat and what you can do next in the city. They would gladly answer any of the questions you may have.
While enjoying the day walking and talking you’ll meet some new faces, locals, and travelers just like you. They are such a fun way of exploring the city that will definitely cheer you up and make your day better. Quite social too and an excellent option for any solo traveler.
Depending on the city you’ll be visiting you can search online for these tours to find more information about the meeting points and the exact hours of the tours. Nevertheless, if you find yourself already walking somewhere in the center of the city, near significant landmarks such as a cathedral or City Hall, like in the morning hours between 10h and 11h undoubtedly you will come across these local guys or guides.