Walking tours are a great way to explore the world without feeling crammed on a tour bus. You have the opportunity to tour a historical or cultural location on foot and often at your own leisure. These tours are often led by a guide with a small group, but there are some self-guided tours in certain locations. These tours can last anywhere from thirty minutes to multiple weeks.
There’s a certain authenticity that comes from walking tours which you just cannot replicate with a traditional tour on a bus, car, or train. Yet, surprisingly, many tourists are unaware that a walking tour even exists. They rush to book a tour of the first local bus without considering what other amazing possibilities exist.
You may still be wondering if a walking tour is the best way to explore a new location or landmark. That’s why we’ve compiled a brief list of benefits associated with this unorthodox touring style. Once you take a chance and experience these tours for yourself you will never want to ride on another crowded tour bus again.
A More Intimate Experience
A tour bus makes money by booking as many people on each tour as possible. And while that might also be true of a guided walking tour, there are actually fewer spots available on most tours. Consider that most tour buses have two lanes of seats that might hold up to three people each. They might also have seats on top of the bus as well. That equates to dozens of people crowded onto a bus, cheek-to-cheek, and at least half of them won’t have a good view of the scenery.
A walking tour typically operates with less than a dozen people. Furthermore, for each walking tour, every person has the same view. They are often right in the middle of the scenery or at least very close to it. They aren’t being forced to look over someone’s shoulder just to get a glimpse of what the tour guide is talking about.
It’s an overall more intimate experience in multiple ways. The first of which is the fact that there are fewer people involved, as mentioned above. Second is the fact that you are closer to the landmarks that you are interested in seeing. In many cases, you can walk through the doors and touch the walls of the buildings. Third, because there are fewer people, you can often engage in one-on-one conversations with the tour guide and learn quite a bit about what you are seeing. Here are some of the best walking tours in the world!
The Quality Of Information
Traditional guided tours come in a few varieties. The first includes a tour director who points out certain locations or landmarks. The second has no guide or director, thus leaving it up to the tourists to spot locations on their own. Most guided walking tours are leaps and bounds above these two models.
A guided walking tour will often employ a qualified tour guide who may remain with the group for weeks until the tour is finished. They are distinguishable from a standard tour director by the wealth of information that they possess. These tour guides are expected to be intimately familiar with the locations they will be visiting, the cultural and artistic significance of the landmarks, and of the history of the area.
You can think of a standard escort tour as a way to see some landmarks in a new city. Meanwhile, a guided walk tour is a way to get close to those landmarks and to learn a lot about them. The information that is available during a walking tour is generally not available during an escorted tour unless you are lucky enough to land a tour company with an extremely knowledgeable tour conductor. Here is some self-guided walking vacation advice!
Stepping Away From Education
This may seem contrary to the last benefit, but there is actually a specific genre of guided tours that steers away from the education model for something more dramatic. These are often referred to as a dramatic walking tour, a narrative walking tour, or a living history walking tour. You can still learn quite a bit, but they are mostly a fun and unique way to experience the landmarks and history of a new location.
What sets this genre apart from the previous style of the walking tour is that the tour guides are often actors who are in costume for a specific role. They perform via a first-person narrative of a person who would have been alive at the time. The goal is to make the participants feel as if they are walking in the footsteps of someone who came before them.
Dramatic walking tours are quickly growing in popularity throughout Europe and many other locations as well. It offers tourists a way to learn about history, to enjoy a new location, and to visit a landmark without getting buried in history and textbook definitions. It’s an experience that cannot be duplicated on a tour bus.
If you have ever experienced museum theatre, then you may have an idea of what to expect. These two methods of historical education utilize very similar techniques to make the information more accessible to the masses. That being said, the two certainly have their differences. For example, a dramatic trekking experience can lead its guests in and out of landmarks and through city streets.
A Great Way To Explore
Anyone interested in visiting landmarks by foot while learning about their historical, artistic, and cultural impact should consider a walking tour. They provide an opportunity to experience these locations in an entirely unique fashion, whether you want to learn about them through reading books or you prefer some dramatic flair.