My MUST DOs when I travel (part 1)

There are three things I do in almost every city I go to: walking tours, markets, and ghost tours. I’ll break them up into separate posts so that you aren’t sitting here reading a a super long post in one sitting. Maybe I’ll throw a picture of a cat in there somewhere, too. You’re welcome.

Let’s start with:

Walking Tours are, in my opinion, the BEST way to get a feel for a city. Screw bus tours! Those are bad for the environment and only take you along main routes. Walking tours, on the other hand, bring you down hidden alleys, get you free samples from cheese shops and give your feet a chance to feel the cobbles. You get to know a city much more with a walking tour, and the guides are always eager to answer questions, have a chat, and give you their favourite food/bar/activity recommendations.  Best of all, you can find free or cheap walking tours almost anywhere you go! FREE, GUYS. Don’t be a dick and make sure you tip as much as you can at the end, and give them a good rating on Trip Advisor too.

Here are some of my favourites:

Almost every big city in Europe has a Sandeman’s Free tour, and they are fucking fantastic. Dudes, they’re FREE. They also have paid tours (usually like 12 Euros or something) that are great quality, pub crawls that give you way too much to drink, and they’re a great way to meet people. My favourite paid ones (I did about five of the free ones and all of them were great): the Prague Castle and the visit to the concentration camp just outside of Berlin. They were well worth a few Euros.

In Toronto, Tour Guys is run by one of the nicest guys I know and is fantastic. I checked out their ghost tour last year and had a total blast, and can’t wait to get home to try more!

Melbourne Underground is (I think?) relatively new and I had a wonderful time. Our guide was fantastic with her fvavourite recommendations and the rotue took us all around the CBD. A really really great way to spend a few hours in one of my favuorite cities on Earth.

I’m Free offers free tours in Sydney, and are great. Sydney is a big city, but it felt much more walkable after this tour, and I got to see some great places and learn some great history. They have another tour of The Rocks that I’d like to do when I get back to town later this year.

Make it a point to check out a walking tour next time you find yourself somewhere new (or find yourself with a night off in your hometown)! Exercise + learning? You can’t beat it!

Do you have any favourite walking tours you’d recommend? 


3 thoughts on “My MUST DOs when I travel (part 1)

  1. Great post Jenny,
    Personally, I’m a big fan of bike tours as well. Fat Tire does a series of affordable ones in London, Paris, Berlin and Barcellona. As a history teacher, I was a fan of how engaging, knowledgable, and accessible their 3rd Riech tour of Berlin was. I meant to check out on of their Parisian tours when I was there last, but the weather just didn’t cooperate.

    Another great way to get to know the local flavor of a city is to go and get yourself lost on foot. Just circle your hotel or hostel on your map, cram it in your back pocket and start wandering. This frees you up to actually take in the city itself – instead of always reading the map and stressing about landmarks – and has always lead me to some memorable window into local life.

    Last, with so many city-wide bike rental programs like Vélibre or Bixi springing up in large and smaller cities around the world, why wouldnt you take advantage of this cheap, fast and exilhilerating way to check out your tourist destination of choice? FYI, while Paris’ Vélibe gives you the first half hour free, I’ve heard that Parisian police don’t always waive the 250 euro fine for running red lights, even if you are making excellent time from Les Jardins du Luxembourg to La Bastille.

    • I 100% agree with you on all points, Graham! I went on a fabulous bike tour in Bruges and it’s one of the highlights of my trip.
      And yes! Getting lost in a city is key! I traveled with a friend to NYC a couple years ago who was always maps maps maps, so when I suggested just *walking* he was skeptical…but loved it. Found the yummiest cupcakes, coffees and pictures 🙂

  2. Pingback: My MUST DOs when I travel (part 3) | Jenny Serwylo

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