Free walking tours are my new thing!
I knew about walking tours but never actually thought of taking one. Maybe because my recent trips were to the Middle East and nobody there actually walks plus the distances are too long. However, during my recent trip to Europe, I took two free walking tours, one in Vienna and one in Budapest. I will be writing a review about them but they were both great and very different.
What are walking tours?
Self-explanatory but free walking tours are done by locals free of charge in various cities across Europe and the world. Some of them are professionals (like our tour guide in Vienna) while others have an interest in tourism and have studied on the matter (our guide in Budapest). You don’t pay for the tour itself (free) but you can tip at the end as much as you want or feel that it was worth. There are many sites you can find free walking tours but TripAdvisor is the number one place for me. Many times city tours can be pricey especially if you hire a tour guide starting around £150 per day so this offers an alternative and cheaper option.
Here are my reasons why I fell in love with walking tours.
Think about it. You arrive in a new city and you are not sure where to start. If you are like me, I love planning the trip but not so much the sightseeing (thank you husband). So I am usually lost for what to do unless of course my husband is travelling with me and then he does all that. But it is great to familiarise yourself with the new place. You join a walking tour, it takes you around the most important landmarks in this city and then you can take it from there and explore further. Job did and cheaply!
One thing I love about travelling is getting to know the local scoop. From my days in Corfu, I know that what tourists experience and what locals experience are two very different things. I really don’t like being scammed out of money or getting that ‘polished’ experience. So the free walking tours provide a great opportunity to actually meet a local have a chat with them and ask what you want. In our trip to Budapest, we found out where the local hangouts were, places to eat that are cheap and seriously just walking 4 meters on the other side of the street we saved 4x time amount others paid in the market for a pastry. Total rip off! Small things like this do make the experience better.
I mean isn’t it the meaning of travel to find other like-minded people, to have fun and a laugh for a few hours. This is exactly what the free walking tours provide especially for millennial travellers. You will meet other people from all over the world, hear their stories and just have some fun; even have more helping hands for photos! Selfies are fun but you do need a proper photo sometimes. Plus you will be spending a few hours in the company of others while you would have been doing the same thing by yourself. The tours don’t last more than a couple of hours but you do cover a lot of ground so you won’t be wasting your whole day. Also, you can just leave in the middle of the tour if you don’t like it.
I thnk I am sold on walking tours and I will be definitely be trying them again. I made a short video while in Budapest on free walking tours and you can watch it below. 🙂