Free. Walking. Tours. 

So many countries in the world are hopping on board with the Free Walking Tour train and it is magnificent for us travellers. These are tours that are often in main cities, and are usually ran one or two times in a day, everyday. Make it a habit of asking the hostel staff about the local walking tour in every new city you visit. 

Our walking tour guide in Thailand had so much information about local plants and benefits of different foods at the market.

What I love about walking tours and why I recommend them to everyone:

  1. They are a fabulous way to see many parts of a new city and get a good idea of the layout.
  2. The guides are very knowledgable about their city. Often times, they have lived in it their entire lives so they really know the low down.
  3. I have been on over a dozen of these tours so far and I have never had a bad guide or tour.
  4. Because they know the city so well, the guides are more than happy to tell you about their favorite local lunch spot, the best bar in the city, or where to get a really local shopping experience.  
  5. The guides are just normal, young people so there is no intimidation factor. They create a comfortable environment to ask away questions and you might even leave the tour with a new friend to meet up with later. 
  6. It’s a great way to support a local person.

The free walking tour in Peru took us to some amazing, local gems hidden down small alleyways that we would have never known to explore on our own.

FAQs about free walking tours:

Are they really free?

Although they are called “Free” tours, they are, in actuality,  based off of tips. I think this is the best way to run them because you really can give nothing if the tour was terrible. However, the guides know this, so they work extra hard to make it the best tour possible so that they can walk away with some cash (not just because they have a lot of passion for their city).

Where can I find out if the city I am visiting does them?

Any hostel employee, most hotel front desks, and every tourist information booth should be able to tell you if their city hosts free walking tours. Keeping an eye out for them as you explore on your own is a good way to find out as well. The guides will be happy to tell you when and where the next tour starts.

What kind of information do you learn?

Free walking tour guides offer a wide variety of information. Anything from where to eat, to history, politics, culture, art influence and even a few words in local slang.

How much should I tip?

The beauty of these tours is that you can tip what you feel the tour was worth. If you learned a lot, be generous. If you didn’t enjoy it, just tip a little or nothing at all. But please keep in mind, this is how the guide makes their living. Their time is valuable.

Our AMAZING guide in Colombia not only taught us the history and culture of his country, but told us personal, emotional stories of his life experiences growing up there.

Please be sure to check these out next time you are in a major city (or even some small, popular towns). They are such a great way to get to know a new place and really learn some facts that you may have otherwise never known!

What is your experience with Free Walking Tours? Had you heard of them before or even been on some? I would love to hear what cities host your favorite tours!

There's always more to explore: