Free Walking Tours: Discovering cities around the world

By August 2, 2015Travel Tips

Free Walks 194

Whenever I visit a new city, I want to get an overview first and thus find the places I am really into. Two years ago I first tried a Free Walking Tour in Buenos Aires, which has since become my preferred way to discover new cities in a couple of hours.

It is a tip-based movement, which started in 2006 introducing people to new cities. The founder, Chris Sandeman, started this business in Berlin and has since expanded all over. In addition, many other companies have started to offer tip-based “Free Walking Tours”. The guides are often students or historians, with profound historic and local knowledge. The beauty about these tours is, that you are in mixed age and cultural group of people, who usually prefer to travel independently and thus have a quite some travel experience to share themselves.

Once I went on a business trip to Florence and found two different walking tours, which helped to gain a feeling for the city and its history effortless in a beautiful way.

As always, there are downsides to beautiful ideas, and Sandman has been accused of charging his guides for every guest and thus the guides push people for the tip. I have never had such an experience, but wanted to make sure, you have heard about it.

As summertime is up now and you might be traveling to a new place soon, I want to encourage you to give try a “Free Walking Tour”.

Happy discovering!

2 Comments

  • Simon says:

    This is a wonderful travel tip! I went to visit my sister in Dublin last summer and while waiting for her to finish her work day, I went on a free walking tour to pass the time. I was really looking for a gelato shop and I found the tour by accident. 🙂 Anyway, the tour was fantastic and really set the tone for my entire trip. The guide was enthusiastic and very informative, telling wonderful stories about the culture, history, religion, local Dublin humor and provided great tips on what to do and what to avoid as well!

    Thank you for the reminder. I had forgotten about this. I’m visiting Hamburg soon and this will be a great way to discover the city.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Simon, you are so welcome. Thanks for your nice words!
      You are so right, it is a great starting point to explore the city, because it feels as though you get a condensed version of the city in a very personal way. In Hamburg, I have never done a free walking tour – so funny, why we do these things everywhere but home.

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