Throughout my time abroad, I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel to a lot of places. So far I’ve journeyed to Spain, the Netherlands, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, England, and Denmark and lots of different cities in France. Unfortunately, I usually only get to go to these amazing places for a couple days on the weekends so there’s not a lot of time to explore everything the cities have to offer. For that reason, my travel companions and I have taken full advantage of free walking tours that most cities offer.
I know, I never thought I’d become the person that does tours, either! When my friend first suggested it I was a little bit unneccessary because I have always been more of a fan of wandering around and discovering cities on my own. After doing just one tour, I was sold! These tours allow us to learn some of the important history of the cities we visit as well as get to know the general layout of the city. My personal favorite part is that it gives us the opportunity to see the areas we want to come back and explore. I think it’s the most efficient way to see a city when you have such a short time. Another benefit is that they only ask you to tip the tour guide at the end of the tour, so it’s your decision how much you think the tour was worth. Because these tour guides are working for your tips alone, they tend to be very phenomenal guides. That’s how the “free” part works on these walking tours.
I cannot believe what kinds of things I might have missed out on if it weren’t for these tours. For example, in Berlin we got so much history from an amazing tour guide. He even took us to the place where Hitler died. It’s not marked by anything except one small sign, and I would have missed a lot of important history and never would have seen the area if it weren’t for that tour guide. Another example, a lot of times, the tour guides are born and raised in the cities that we were doing the tour. They can give you a cool, local perspective and are always willing to answer any questions about fun things to do and where locals tend to hang out.
I am a huge advocate for these free walking tours and honestly recommend them to anyone as they start a trip in a new city. Doesn’t take much, all you have to do is listen and follow the tour guide’s umbrella!