Free walking tours are hands down the best way to get an understanding of a city when travelling. Especially for solo travellers you will meet other travellers who you maybe able to plan some tours with.
When I am planning to visit a city I always Google free walking tours in _______________ (insert name of the city). There are usually worth the 2-3 hours set aside for them. I have experienced walking tours in Bogota, Jerusalem, Prague, Rome and a few other places.
The Pros of Free Walking tours
- Travellers get an overview of a city for cheap. Always tip the guide, it’s polite and ensures the service will continue for others to enjoy.
- You have a native to ask questions and get tips about things to see, do and places to eat among other things.
- You see and experience things that you would otherwise be ignorant of. Built into these tours are usually stops at select shops and eateries. These are sometimes gems.
- You can know where to find things that interests you and return later to explore in more depth.
- You learn how to get around without getting lost if you are prone to doing so, like me. LOL!
- You get some exercise in.
The Cons of Free Walking tours
- You may stop at some crappy places because the guide has some kind of deal to expose visitors to certain shops and vendors.
- There might be a big group of people so you may have a hard time hearing what the guide is saying.
- You don’t get quality information about some places because the guide may not be as knowledgeable as a trained guide.
The advantages outweigh the disadvantages especially because you can tip the guide on a free walking tour what you think he or she deserves. I have found that the guides are passionate about their cities and quite knowledgeable as well. Their enthusiasm is a great introduction and a nice welcome for me.
With this in mind I highly recommend do a free walking tour in any city you visit that has one. Go ahead, Google it and try it.