Are you a digital nomad or a traveller? Are you looking to explore a new city at your next destination? This is the ultimate walking tour guide for free walking tours, and why free walking tours are the best travel activity.
I’m Nicole, a full-time digital nomad, world traveller, and online business owner. Over the last 6 years, I have travelled throughout the world, visited over 40 countries, and have partaken in many free walking tours along the way.
When you arrive in a new city or country, one of the first things you need to do is to make room in your schedule and book a free walking tour. This is the perfect way to get to know a new city and the history that made it was it is today, meet a local who was born there, and connect with other travellers.
On the countless free walking tours I’ve taken in over 10 cities, I’ve met great friends and amazing locals with vibrant stories.
The tour guides are so proud of their city and know so much of the local history that I never would have known had I not taken a free walking tour.
In this article, I will discuss why free walking tours are the best travel activity, we will talk about my favourite free walking tour websites, and walk through why YOU should make free walking tours a staple when you arrive at a new destination.
Be sure to check out my article on geo-arbitrage and how you can use this to your advantage if you are looking to start a travel or digital nomad lifestyle.
To answer this question, I offer you two great recommendations.
The first is Free Tours, this is the original walking tour site I used, which I have gone on countless walking tours through.
They have almost every city imaginable that is available with local guides who grew up in the city and carefully studied its history.
For example, if you want to take a free walking tour in Medellin, Colombia, the city currently has 87 free walking tours! There will certainly be no shortage of walking tour options for you.
Another reason I like to take walking tours is that I am happy to be able to support the locals.
If you’re interested in booking a free walking tour for your next adventure, I highly recommend checking out Free Tours.
These Pro tours are still free, however, you can rest assured that past walkers have enjoyed the tour and received valuable information from the tour guide. These guide professionals are also experts and have led many different walking tours throughout their careers.
Free Tours and Guru Walk are my top recommendation for tours and free walking tour websites.
While on tour through either of these websites, you can expect to learn more about the history of the particular country you are visiting, the history of wars and conflicts that happened in that area or country, local landmarks, downtown, local market tours, and so much more, that only a local can tell.
Free walking tours are my number 1 hack to get to know a city like a local and feel like you have experienced an absolutely authentic side of the city.
Be sure to ask your guide for recommendations on food, restaurants, day trips, or anything else while on tour!
Let’s talk about the cost of these “free” walking tours.
Of course, the title of a free walking tour itself means the tour is free. However, you can always expect your tour guide for the day to ask you to tip at the end of the tour.
Your host will ask you to leave a tip based on the value they provided during the walking tour. For example, the site Guru Walk recommends about 10 euros or dollars per person.
This tip is hard-earned money for your tour guide after showing you around their city from anywhere between 2-4 hours, oftentimes in the heat, and a way to show your appreciation for their time.
So, what should you be bringing with you on a free walking tour?
These tours generally run during the day, in the morning or afternoon. However, evening walking tours are also offered, depending on the type of tour.
If you’re in a fairly safe town, especially if it’s quite hot during the day, an evening tour might be best. As mentioned above, most tours run either in the morning or afternoon, usually at 10 am or 2 pm.
You want to be sure to bring a small backpack, if possible, with sunscreen as you will be in the sun for 2-4 hours. I have also done walking tours of 4+ hours. Be prepared for anything!
If possible, pack water and snacks in your backpack as well. You want to be sure you bring an external battery pack, hat, umbrella, charger, or anything else you may need for the day.
Of course, be sure to bring enough money to tip your guide at the end of the tour. However, it’s important to be aware that you don’t know the area you will be visiting, and it may be less safe than the area where your accommodation is.
Don’t bring too much money, just enough to tip your guide and potentially buy a meal and bus ticket to get to your destination.
I have done free walking tours all over the world, in different countries like Romania, Serbia, Mexico, Colombia, and Montenegro, among others.
I’ve personally never had a bad experience on a free walking tour. Of course, you never know what your host will be like or what their personality will be before the tour.
If you have questions prior to beginning your free walking tour, I recommend messaging your walking tour host beforehand. You will almost always be able to access their phone number and add them on WhatsApp, so many questions you may have, you can message your guide beforehand.
Be sure to read your tour guide’s bio on the website where you book your tour beforehand and read the previous testimonials of the tour and guide online.
Several very popular cities offer free walking tours, such as free walking tours of Barcelona, Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin, and Dublin free walking tours.
During some tours, it’s only myself and my partner on the tour, while at other times the tour can include 20+ guests. Be prepared for any number of guests on tour with you for the day and be ready to meet other travellers and digital nomads from around the world.
I highly recommend booking a free walking tour the next time you travel or continue your digital nomad journey around the world. Free walking tours are my favourite travel activity when in a new city, and I hope they become yours too!
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