Free Walking Tours in Europe: How it Works
As we travel on an extremely tight budget, we unfortunately do not have the luxury of paying for expensive tours to see a destination. But worry not, fellow broke backpackers! There is still a way for you to see all the sights of a city without breaking the bank.
Free walking tours are available in almost every major European city - and we also went on some in Israel and in Southeast Asia. These free walking tours are a great way to not only see, but also - learn about the destination you are travelling in. You can really connect better with a city when you learn about its history.
Very knowlegable tour guide in Rome, Italy.
The tour guides are typically university students, and we have found them to be extremely knowledgeable. Not to worry - even the free tour guides hit you with awfully tacky jokes too!
Tour's can get busy depending on the number of guides to stay up front to hear everything!
So the way these "free" tours work is you meet at a landmark in the city and are then taken on a 1.5-4 hour tour. Groups sizes can range, as for example, in Hanoi we were the only ones on the tour, in Jerusalem there were 10 other tourists, and in Budapest, we were in a group of over 50. At the end of the tour, the guide will likely crack a joke about tipping, and then, yes, you are expected to give them a tip.
one of the best free walking tours we have ever been on in Berlin, Germany.
Tip sizes can range: we saw people escape right at the end and therefore have a truly free tour, we have tipped anywhere from $1-$10 depending on how much we enjoyed the tour, and we even saw someone tip $75.
For a true free tour, look for one in Southeast Asia as usually the guides show you around and hope to improve their English, with no tip expected.
Tours run rain or shine! Be prepared for both.