We don’t mean to toot our own horn but…walking tours are awesome!
In the years before I worked for Sight Seeker’s Paris, I’ll be honest and say that I had never really been on a walking tour before.
I had always heard of them, but thought to myself “nah.” Why? Because I always thought that I could explore a new place better on my own with a little help from my friend the internet. Boy, was I wrong! After I started working here, went on all of our tours and saw all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make these tours happen, I wanted to go back in time and smack myself!
Okay, so I didn’t really want to go back in time to physically injure myself, but you get the idea! However, I was really kicking myself for never joining a walking tour to help me get to know a new city better.
If you’re anything like the old me, you’re probably hesitating over joining a walking tour. I’m here to tell you to stop what you’re doing and read this article! I hope by the end of it I’ll have changed your mind. Fingers crossed and here we go…
***We do realize that walking is not possible for all of our readers due to mobility issues. While we do think walking is the best way to get around, we also know that it could just not be possible for you! If you are someone who can not physically join a walking tour, we can help! Our Private Whirlwind by Car is just the thing for you. You may also consider booking any of our tours privately, so that you can take as many breaks as you need. Click here to learn more about these touring options!
1. Walking is the best way to see a new city
There are a ton of different options to explore a new city, but in my opinion walking is your best bet. If you think about it, it makes sense! Sure, you could hop on that bus or car tour, but think about all of the things you could miss!
Since we’re Paris experts here at Sight Seeker’s Paris, I’m going to be giving you a few examples of what you could miss in Paris if you don’t hit the streets with your own 2 feet. There are the teeny tiny alleyways that no car can go down. There are the cover passageways that cars don’t have access to either. And, what about those open air markets? All of these places need to be reached by foot, if you want to get a closer look.
Not to mention, walking is a great way to get your exercise in even if you’re on vacation. Think about all of those buttery croissants, creamy cheeses and glasses of wine you’ll probably be eating and drinking when you’re in Paris! What a better way to burn off those excess calories than with a little bit of wandering?
2. You’ll learn more than you could on your own
As I’ve mentioned, before I worked for Sight Seeker’s Paris, I never truly realized all of the hard work that goes into building a fantastic walking tour experience. There are hours of research involved, weeks (if not months!) of testing different routes and information, and not to mention all of the work that tour guides need to put in to memorize their scripts.
This, of course, is really enjoyable for passionate walking tour companies like ours, and the guides that make all of the magic happen. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard work!
For example, we’ve been working on a special 3 hour walking tour on the French Resistance here for quite a while now. This involved company founder Karen traveling all over France in order to gather all of the information needed from reliable, first hand accounts!
Then, we needed to decide on our route. We tested out a handful of options before deciding on the current route, and we had to pare down all of the incredible information that we discovered into an easily digestible 3 hour tour. Not an easy feat seeing as though there is so much to be said about the French Resistance!
This tour in particular has been in the works for a little over a year now, and we’re finally ready to launch any day now. It’s been an intense process, but we’re so excited to share it with you!
This is what I mean in that you’ll learn more than you could on your own. A great walking tour company (hi there!) does their research, which involves a lot more than a simple Google search. Trust me on this one!
3. You don’t have to worry about planning where to go
If you think you know the best routes to see a city just by looking at a handy map, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but…you’re wrong. Sure, you could find the most direct, or most convenient route by using a simple map, but you could miss out on a bunch of really cool areas that you may not even know exist! This goes back to the fact that a ton of work goes into building a great walking tour.
Another great part of joining a walking tour is that you simply need to follow your guide. You won’t have to worry about constantly checking your map or GPS to see if you’re going in the right direction, as your guide will do all of the work for you!
Plus, at the end of your tour, if you need any help getting to your next destination you can just ask your guide to direct you there! They may even know a special secret way to get to where you need to be that isn’t listed on any maps…all hail the local guide!
4. You’ll get to meet a local
In any good walking tour company (hi again!), your guide will be a local that knows the city inside and out. Here at Sight Seeker’s, our senior guides like company founder Karen have been living in Paris for most of their lives!
Locals can give insight into the city you’re exploring much better than any information you find online (unless of course you count our blog. We strive to provide the best of the best over here 😉 #justsayin’). Ask them for restaurant recommendations, help with the language if you don’t speak it, and other insider tips that you just wouldn’t be able to find out for yourself if you aren’t a local.
Plus, if you’re curious about the culture of the place your visiting, a local guide is a great resource. There are just certain things that you aren’t aware of unless you live in a city for an extended amount of time. For example, have you ever noticed that in Paris people tend to walk around with a fresh baguette under their arms, that have a little bite taken off of the end of it? That’s just a part of French culture folks: you test your baguette the moment you buy it! You wouldn’t have known this information if you hadn’t read this blog, or even better, if you hadn’t been on one of our walking tours and asked one of our guides. TGFLG (thank goodness for local guides)!
5. You’ll get to meet other travelers
This is especially true if you are a solo traveler. What better way to meet like-minded people than to join a walking tour? You’ll meet others that are also interested in learning the same thing, and you may even make a new friend.
You can also meet new people even if you aren’t traveling alone! Our favorite tours are the ones where we can bring groups of people together to learn and explore. It’s such a nice bonding experience, and we love the tours that end with travelers from completely different backgrounds exchanging information to keep in touch.
I hope that I’ve managed to convince you all to join a walking tour the next time you’re on vacation. You’ll learn a lot, meet new people, and best of all…discover a new place!
If you’d like to join one of our walking tours in Paris (and I sure hope you do!), visit our Tours page on our website to learn more. Until then…happy traveling!
Let me know in the comments below what you like about walking tours! We love hearing from our readers 🙂