We are big fans of the “free” walking tour and over the past few years we have done about 15 tours in cities large and small around the world.
I never even knew about “free” walking tours until we arrived in Sofia Bulgaria. Sofia has a wonderful Free Walking Tour company offering several different kinds of tours at different times of the day. Our very first Free Walking Tour in Sofia was amazing. Our guide was outstanding, and from then on we
were hooked. In fact we enjoyed our first tour of Sofia so much (the Culture Tour), we went back the next day and did the Communist Tour.
Since then we have done Free Walking Tours in Veliko Tarnova Bulgaria, Plovdiv Bulgaria, Cape Town South Africa (both the Walk to Freedom and the Bo Kapp Tour), Brussels Belgium, Brugge Belgium, Berlin Germany (our best guide ever), Poznan Poland, Wroclaw Poland, Kracow Poland (both the Old Town and the Jewish Quarter tour) and have a tour scheduled in Warsaw Poland.
I expect we will be hitting several in our next country of Romania.
So what exactly is a Free Walking Tour? Independent guides work under the umbrella of an organization in each city. The guides pay a stipend to the organized tour office who does all the promotion for the tours. The guide does not earn a salary, but rather is paid by the people on the tour, who “tip” whatever amount they feel the guide and the tour was worth. The guide is responsible to pay the taxes then in the individual city or region.
Our standard tip is about 10 euro or 10 dollars per person. We did more for our guide in Berlin, who was absolutely amazing. It was almost like a performance. We loved every minute of it.
But sometimes you have a guide who is maybe not so enthusiastic, or perhaps a bit disorganized. Sometimes the accent is difficult to understand. But most of the time it’s a five-star experience.
Free Walking Tours fall under different company names depending on the city and country you are in. Tours are usually available in English, German, Spanish and occasionally other languages. Just google Free Walking Tours and the name of the city you want and it will pop up. And give it a whirl if you haven’t yet. What do you have to lose? If you hate it, its free! But I bet you will love it as much as we do.
That’s my Fabulous Tip! Go Travel!!