5 of Europe's Best Free Walking Tours
5 of Europe's Best Free Walking Tours
Walking tours offer you the opportunity to explore a new city through the eyes of a local, so are a great way to get oriented once you step off the train. They're offered in cities across Europe, but we're going to share with you 5 of the best, to suit every taste! Keep in mind, though, that every free walking tour is actually a pay-what-you-please tour, so remember to tip your guide what you consider fair. Now we have that out of the way, let’s get steppin’.
Ljubljana is perfectly set up as a walking town with pedestrianised streets and lots of interesting attractions within walking distance. That’s why we recommend you explore this one on foot. Plus, a walking tour will offer fresh insights into the city’s past, present, and future.
If you take one walking tour: The Classic Free Tours from The Ljubljana Free Tour are all run by experienced guides. They’ll walk you through the town with their own stories and experiences.
Getting there by rail: Ljubljana is at the heart of the Slovenian rail network. You can also take international trains to destinations like Vienna and Budapest.
Porto is a vibrant city set high on the banks of the Rio Douro. This is great for views, but it can take its toll on your legs if you take a wrong turn and end up off-track. That’s why walking tours that focus on one district of the metropolis have become popular. The tour guide will ensure you don’t venture too far, highlight some of the best views of the river, and add historical context to this dynamic place. Furthermore, Porto is a charismatic melting pot that offers historical monuments, outstanding tourist activities, and an endless abundance of Portuguese charm.
If you take one walking tour: Porto Walkers is a well-planned and informative walking tour. They have experienced guides who don't just point out famous buildings or touristy places to eat - they show you their favourite eating and drinking spots, tell you their favourite folk stories, and bring the city’s rich history to life.
Getting there by rail: Porto is easily accessible by train from Lisbon with several daily connections. There are also regular trains to north-western Spain.
Berlin is a massive, sprawling city that can easily overwhelm new visitors. Fortunately, dozens of free walking tours come to the rescue. Berlin offers a variety of walking tours that take visitors on explorative journeys through the historic buildings in the east and west of Berlin. Whether you take a historical tour or one of the more alternative street-art focused tours, you're sure to see the city in a new light afterwards.
If you take one walking tour: We suggest taking the free walking tour by Orginal Berlin Tours.Their guides have put a lot into trying to make every guest's trip to Berlin awesome. They also are very knowledgable about Berlin and guests will notice the love they have for the city.
Getting there by rail: Berlin is a major rail hub with trains running throughout Germany. There are also regular long-distance and overnight trains to several international destinations.
Krakow has a glowing reputation as the nightlife capital of Europe. However, Krakow is also famous for its rich history, world-class monuments, Wawel Dragon, and pretzels. But it isn't worth limiting a visit to Krakow to just the legendary bugle call or viewing the Wawel Royal Castle. Krakow has loads of interesting attractions and historically significant sights, which are all worth exploring in daylight hours.
If you take one walking tour: Krakow Free Walkative Tour has six different free walking tours to chooses from. Knowledgeable guides will make these tours comprehensive and insightful for you.
Getting there by rail: Krakow has good train connections to the rest of Poland. There are also direct international trains from Prague, Budapest, and Vienna.
Bratislava’s Old Town is ideal for exploring on foot. A walking tour will give you insight into the city’s common attractions and less obvious sights. The Slovakian capital also has a somewhat sombre history. Pick a good tour that visits the Jewish World War II memorial, where you can reflect on the city’s troubled past.
If you take one tour: Be Free Tours offer a comprehensive 2.5-hour walking tour throughout the city. They delve into Slovakia’s culture, traditions, history, and future while exploring Bratislava’s major sights.
Getting there by rail: There are several trains to and from Bratislava, including dozens of regional lines and international connections from Vienna, Berlin, Prague, and Budapest.
FAQ for free walking tours
- 1. Are these tours really free? What’s the catch?
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, most of these free walking tours in Europe are exactly that – walking tours without a fixed price. Most guides will subtly or not-so-subtly mention that they volunteer their services and that tipping is the right thing to do.
- 2. How much do I tip?
This is entirely your choice. Some guides will try to put a price on the tour by indicating what a similar tour would cost. However, you should go with your gut and tip what you can afford, and what you think the experience was worth.
- 3. How do the tour companies make money?
Many of these free walking tour companies use the free tour as a sales pitch for other fixed-price tours that they offer. Wine tours and pub crawls being an example of other tours. You should never feel obligated to go to any of these tours if you’re not interested. However, if you’ve found a helpful guide, it may be beneficial for you to join a paid tour.
Furthermore, the guide might coincidentally stop at a coffee shop or restaurant on the way. There’s a good chance that this coffee shop or restaurant is in cahoots with the tour company. If you suspect the prices are too high or the venue doesn’t feel right, then you don’t have to spend your money there.
- 4. How do I find good free walking tours in other cities?
Walking tour companies often visit hostels to encourage new participants to join in, but the best way to track down a good tour is to turn to the web. Look for reviews of walking tours on sites like TripAdvisor to get honest opinions.
Time to raise the intensity... Next Stop: Hiking
From the city to the countryside, are you ready to go one step further and see Europe in full colour?