Do you think travel to Europe has to be expensive? Think again, there are so many free things to do throughout this continent which don’t have to break the budget. Something I love doing when I arrive somewhere new is to look if there are any free walking tours. They’re a great introduction to a city as they give you plenty of insider secrets, local stories and history. Sometimes even a few discount coupons at the end.
While I have done a few free walking tours on my current European trip, I wanted to open up this post to other travel bloggers. In this post, you can find the best free walking tours in Europe. Make sure you reference this list before your next European city break.
Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Click here to read my disclosure statement.
- 1 AMSTERDAM
- 2 BERLIN
- 3 BRATISLAVA
- 4 BRUGES
- 5 BUCHAREST
- 6 CORK
- 7 FLORENCE
- 8 KIEV
- 9 KRAKOW
- 10 LISBON
- 11 LONDON
- 12 MINSK
- 13 MOSCOW
- 14 PRAGUE
- 15 REYKJAVIK
- 16 SEVILLE
- 17 VIENNA
- 18 WARSAW
FreeDam Tours provides a two-and-a-half-hour-long free walking tour in Amsterdam. What sets this tour apart is the tour guides mastered the art of “educational storytelling”. You learn history and culture through their hilarious stories. And no topic is off the table – with conversations on the Red Light district, World War II and drug policies. The tour guide also shares information on the unique architecture, renowned museums and popular bicycle culture. At the end of the tour, the guide gives you a complimentary postcard. The unique design makes for a great souvenir!
You will learn how the tolerant and free culture of the past influenced the modern-day progressive lifestyle in the Dutch capital. You will also leave the tour not wanting to bike in the city – the guides share some alarming collision statistics. And finally, you will learn why most buildings have a large hook on the exterior!
There are five tours each day, starting in front of the Old Church in the Red Light District. They leave at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Look for the tour guide holding a yellow umbrella.
Like most free walking tours, it’s important to tip the guide at the end of the tour. Also, ask the guide for recommendations on other things to do and see. My guide recommended a day trip to Zaanse Schans – it was one of the highlights of my time there! To start planning your trip, check out Anchored Adventure Blog’s Amsterdam travel guide.
We enjoy day tours, but oddly enough we had never been on a walking tour until our trip to Berlin. Our hostel encouraged us to sign up for a Free Sandemans Walking Tour. It seemed like a budget-friendly way to see Berlin and we enjoy walking, so we were in!
Tours are available every day and the first thing we noticed was how well organised it was. Everyone meets in front of Starbucks at the Brandenburg Gate, and although it seemed like chaos to us, we were quickly organised into groups.
A great thing about free walking tours is that the guides really have to work to earn their money. Our guide was a real history whizz with seemingly limitless knowledge. I really liked how she kept us entertained, not with inane jokes, but with interesting stories from the past.
This is a great tour to learn about the city’s incredible history. It visits many famous landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, parts of the Berlin Wall and the cheesy Check Point Charlie!
The tour takes three hours and is a fabulous introduction to Berlin and a great way to orientate yourself to the city.
BRATISLAVA FREE WALKING TOUR
Visiting Bratislava in one day requires taking one of their free walking tours. Run by a Slovakian who walks you through how this 25-year-old country managed to carve its own identity.
The 2.5 to 3-hour tour that starts at 11 am or 3 pm gives a thorough overview of Bratislava’s past and its architecture. They highlight details of the Velvet Revolution which led to the transition of power away from the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to a Parliamentary republic. The tour even highlights how this Slavic nation is often mistaken as Slovenia. Meetups are done once a month to exchange wrongly addressed mail. It doesn’t help when their flags are so similar as well.
The tour is engaging and even highlights the unique Blue Church and other interesting finds on St. Michael’s street, for instance, the narrowest house in Europe is found here which is next to a kebab shop. If there’s any better way of getting to know the city, especially the city’s weirdly sights like the UFO tower building, it is best to know via a free walking tour. You meet people from other countries and also interact with the guide to probe further about what makes Bratislava unique. Tipping is encouraged and most people tip between 3 to 10 Euros.
LEGENDS OF BRUGES FREE WALKING TOUR
Bruges (also known as Brugge) in Belgium captivated us at every turn. The free Legends of Bruges walking tour is a perfect activity for your first day of sightseeing.
We got to try the tour with founder, Simon – a native of Bruges and self-proclaimed historian – in his third month of business. Due to his popularity, the company’s offerings have since expanded with multiple times and languages offered all week long.
While pointing out important landmarks around town, Simon explained the history of Bruges in story form. We could picture each turn of events as if it were before our eyes. From the rise and fall of the city’s economy to the hidden symbolism in a statue; we learned many intriguing things about Bruges that we never would have known otherwise. We also got to sample chocolates, beer and received discounts at several places around town (we also took advantage of the waffle cart and bike rental discounts later on).
Check the Legends of Bruges website for start times. Then look for the guide with a red umbrella next to the statue in the main square. The walk is about two hours long and you can tip the guide at the end as you see fit.
BUCHAREST WALKABOUT FREE TOURS
Bucharest Walkabout Free Tours has three options for free walking tours. ‘The Story of Bucharest Romania’, ‘The Royal Century’ and ‘The Communist Tour’. When I visited Bucharest, I opted for the Story of Bucharest as this is the general all-rounder one. The tour starts at 10:30 am and 3:00 pm daily and meets at the Bucharest clock in Piata Unirii Park.
We had one guide meet us for a group of around 40 people! I was surprised how many people were here considering it was winter. Even though there were 40 of us, our guide was able to keep us together nicely and there was never a time when I couldn’t hear what he was saying.
The guide was a local and knew every inch of his city, there was never a question he couldn’t answer. What I found the most fascinating was learning about the Communist past. (The Communist Tour wasn’t an option when I was there, otherwise, I would have done that one too). We learnt about Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) and wandered past old churches and one of the oldest trading posts in Europe.
This tour is a great introduction to the city and covers the main sites and basic history. Make sure you read my guide on Bucharest for more things to do in the city.
WALKING TOUR CORK
Being one of Europe’s oldest cities, Cork’s medieval past remains one of the top reasons why the city is among the top destinations in Ireland. Being the second-largest city in the country and located strategically, Cork is also a good base when visiting Ireland.
Our Walking Tour Cork is one of the free walking tour companies that offer a stroll through the history of Cork City. The tour is only 90 minutes which is a good length of time to not get bored or tired.
The tour starts in Daunt’s Square. From there, the tour commences toward the backstreets and ancient sites in the city. The walking tour also covers the English Market, St. Finbarr Cathedral, Berwick Fountain, the ancient remains of the forge on Gate cinema site from the 1300s, the Drawbridge, the Golden Castle and the Exchange Building.
Aside from taking in the sights, you’ll also enjoy the history of the city starting with St. Finbarr, the Patron Saint of the city who settled in Cork as early as 607 AD, the arrival of the Vikings and the Anglo-Normans.
We enjoyed getting a piece of history from the local guide Neasa who is very knowledgeable and fun. To join the walking tour, go to Daunt’s Square at 11 in the morning every Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Or better yet, send them an email to verify their schedule. Also, even though it’s a free walking tour, please consider leaving a good tip.
LA BUSSOLA FREE WALKING TOUR
If you are in Florence you should register for a free walking tour – it is fun, informative … and free. Costs in Florence can explode easily and buying skip-the-line-tickets can be costly. So a free walking tour to learn about the rich history of the city is a great idea.
There are several tours offered – at different times and with different routes and topics. There are also several operators offering tours. If you go with La Bussola, tours run at 10 am, 10:30 am and one at 3 pm. The one in the morning covers the lesser-known areas – Santa Trinita Bridge, Vasarian Corridor, but also the famous Pitti Palace, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi, Piazza Della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio. I did this one and learned about the David Statue by Michelangelo and what is represented. The one in the picture is a replica you will find at the Piazza Della Signoria.
If you are lucky, you will have Elizabeta as your guide. A funny person who tells about Florence´s history in a fun way. I am sure, that reading about some aspects myself – like the Varisan Corridor – would not have been as much as fun. She also shared tips on where to eat on a budget and other insider travel tips. As the tours are quite long, about 2.5 hours, you will have a 20-minute break so you can walk around by yourself near the Pitti Palace.
THE MODERN KYIV TOUR
I arrived in Kiev, Ukraine with embarrassingly little knowledge of the Ukrainian capital and no particular plans for my time in the city. After all, I had primarily viewed Kiev as a stopping point on my way to my two-day tour of the Chernobyl Nuclear Exclusion Zone. However, I quickly realized that Kiev had a lot to offer, and I decided to get my bearings by joining one of the free walking tours offered by Kiev Free Tours. Since they offer several free tours every day, I was able to find one on my first afternoon in the city: the Modern Kyiv Tour.
All of Kiev Free Tours’ walking tours start at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, also known as Independence Square. I was quite happy to join the 4:00 pm Modern Kyiv Tour, as Kiev can be quite hot in the summer and the tours scheduled at noon involved a lot of walking in the hot sun. This late afternoon walking tour took us through some of the newer parts of central Kiev, beginning with a stroll along Khreschatyk Street towards the Friendship Arch, and then up a small hill into Khreshchatyy Park, where we had beautiful views of the city and river below. We then continued past some of the city’s most important government buildings, while our guide explained more about Ukraine’s history and current political situation. It was fascinating to hear a local perspective about issues and events that, as foreigners, we had only read about in the news.
JEWISH KRAKOW FREE WALKING TOUR
The Jewish Krakow free walking tour provides a fascinating insight into how Jewish history impacted culture in Poland. The tour takes you through the history of the Jews and the old Jewish Quarter in Krakow- Kazimierz. It illustrates the dramatic changes which occurred during WW2 and the Holocaust (though is not directly focussed on it), then journeys through Communist Poland when the quarter became crime-ridden. The tour ends in the present with Kazimierz today being one of the most hipster neighbourhoods in the city.
The Jewish Krakow tour runs daily:
March – October: 10:30 am, 2 pm & 5 pm
November – February: 10:30 am & 1:30 pm
It meets outside the Old Synagogue on Szeroka 24 Street (the guide will have a yellow umbrella). During the tour, you’ll get some great tips on less-touristy restaurants, bars and vintage/unique shops in Krakow. Additionally, most of the guides live in the neighbourhood so are a fountain of knowledge and tips. A highlight of the tour was the best place in Poland to try Zapiekanka (an open baguette sandwich with an unlimited combination of toppings). It’s a late-night snack hot-spot for locals and tourists alike. Also, you get to see some filming sites from the movie Schindler’s List (if you’re into that…).
Every guide in Poland must be licenced by a national board to lead tours – including free walking tours – and the licencing exam is only in Polish. Therefore, 99.9% of the guides in Poland are locals with incredible insider tips and knowledge!
DON’T MISS OUT ON A TOUR TO AUSCHWITZ OR THE SALT MINES DURING YOUR VISIT
CHILL OUT FREE WALKING TOUR
If you are looking to learn more about the history and culture of Lisbon, the Chill Out Free Walking Tour is an absolute must. What I loved about this tour is that it is run by locals who are very passionate about the city, and that is easily seen in the care they put into leading it. I can honestly say that this was one of the best walking tours (free or otherwise) that I’ve taken anywhere.
Your tour guide takes you from the Baixa-Chiado neighbourhood through the winding streets of the Alfama district and everything in between! You’ll learn about the history of the city, including the impact of the great earthquake and the experiences of both Arab and Jewish peoples in the city. Our guide gave us AMAZING recommendations for things to see and eat in the city and even extended the time of the tour to address specific requests from the travel group.
In terms of logistics, this tour meets daily at both 10:00 AM and either 3:00 or 4:30 PM, depending on the season. The meeting point is at the Praça Luís de Camões right in the heart of the city. The tour is offered in both English and Spanish and will take place even if only one person shows up or if it is a rainy day.
LISBON STREET ART TOUR
You don’t have to spend much time in Lisbon to know that it’s got a thriving and creative street art scene with some incredible pieces. This underground culture is the fascinating subject of a free walking tour of the city. You meet your guide in one of the quieter, more boho suburbs and she takes you on an eclectic whirl past murals the size of buildings and small political pieces that pack a real punch.
I’d recommend this tour because it tells you so much about life in Portugal today and pop culture – and the art really is great. Our guide had even taken time to meet some of the street artists and enter their world, so she was able to share the hidden meaning behind some of the more obscure pieces.
It runs weekly and lasts for around two hours (allow extra time, you might get absorbed!). Tips are welcome at the end, but even if you are a backpacker who can’t afford to tip, you’re still welcome to come along.
SANDEMANS NEW LISBON FREE TOUR
I’ve been on many free tours, and the Sandemans free tour of Lisbon, Portugal was one of the best and most memorable to date. I had already been living in Lisbon for a few months when I joined the tour, and even then I still learned so much from the tour guide and had a lot of fun in the process.
The tour starts at Largo de Camões and finishes at Praça do Comércio, stopping at many of Lisbon’s top sights along the way. It’s offered in both English and Spanish up to four times a day, at 10 am, 11 am, 2 pm and 4 pm. Our guide was not only a local and very knowledgeable about his own city; he was also a very good storyteller. His recounting of key moments in Lisbon’s history, such as the Great Earthquake of 1755 and the Carnation Revolution of 1974, gave me chills.
After the tour, he gave us recommendations on some of the best restaurants in Lisbon and patiently stuck around to answer all our questions. While it’s called a free tour, it’s important to remember that the guides do depend on tips to make a living, so be sure to tip generously!
LONDON LANDMARKS WEST BY STRAWBERRY TOURS
There are many free walking tours in London that it can be hard to narrow down which one to do. Regardless of the length of your stay, the London Landmarks West by Strawberry Tours should be a top priority. It showcases many of the main London highlights that tourists come to the city to see: Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. Plus it includes other notable locations like 10 Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, St. James Palace and many more.
The free walking tour takes place daily at 10:00 am, with an additional tour at 11:00 am Friday through Sunday. It departs from Leicester Square and is three hours long. The tour ends at a traditional English pub where participants get special pricing on a burger and pint of beer.
Having done several free walking tours by Strawberry Tours in London, I found that the guides are extremely knowledgeable, engaging and humorous. The quality of the tours is not sacrificed even though it is free! Just be sure to tip the tour guide based on your experience and what you can afford. For additional budget-savvy tips on visiting London, see the One Savvy Wanderer London on a Budget post!
DOPE ART TOURS
There are so many ways to get to know a city. Some people do it through food, others by the nightlife. However, my favourite way to fall in love with somewhere is through its street art. Getting to know a city the size of London takes time. You could literally wander for days and not see the same street twice! Finding large murals can be hit or miss. Fortunately, Dope Art Tours already know the best places to find them!
My experience with Dope Art Tours was truly mind-blowing. I took their tour expecting to see some cool, creative paintings, learn a little about spray paint and maybe see a Banksy (which we did!). But what really made this tour special was the depth of knowledge that our guides had. Not only did we see and learn about the amazing pieces London has to offer, but the tour changed the way I look at graffiti and street tags. I gained a new appreciation for and understanding of what those who choose to paint the walls by night feel the need to show and say. It was almost profound!
If you want to have your perceptions broadened and appreciation of a city’s culture taken to another level, then this is the tour for you. The company runs two tours and a graffiti workshop, and both the Shoreditch and Brixton excursions (I did both!) can be arranged by contacting them through the Dope Art Tours Facebook Page.
FREE WALKING TOUR MINSK
Minsk, Belarus may not be a popular destination for backpackers, but it certainly has so many interesting facts and rich history. The Free Walking Tour Minsk does a great job in showcasing some of the city’s highlights, and our guide Alex was funny and very knowledgeable about his city.
The Free Walking Tour Minsk is offered everyday at 4pm. It starts off at the Svabody Square – in front of the bronze statue of Voigt, a man holding a big key and paper in front of the City Hall. The tour lasts about two to three hours, and you will be able to visit some of Minsk’s popular and important spots: Minsk City Hall, Island of Tears, Opera House, Lee Harvey Oswald House, and Victory Square.
Just like other cities typical free walking tours, there is no fee associated with joining in. However, a USD 10-20 tip is recommended. Read more of the Is Free Walking Tour Ethical? to learn more about the etiquette of joining Free Walking Tours all around the world.
MOSCOW FREE WALKING TOUR
Moscow is the capital city of Russia with 13.2 million inhabitants. There are so many things to see and do in Moscow. If you are on a budget, join a free walking tour to get acquainted before exploring the city yourself!
Moscow Free Tour is a local tour company and it has been receiving some good reviews on various travel websites including TripAdvisor. The company offers a couple of classic guided tours and the free walking tour covers the three must-see attractions in the centre of Moscow, the Red Square (Lenin’s mausoleum), the Saint Basil’s Cathedral, and GUM.
The tour starts at 10:45 am daily at Varvarka Street; The tour is conducted in English and the professional guides share their knowledge of history and culture about Moscow. They then move along the street towards Red Square. There, we learned a little bit more about the fun facts of the buildings and landmarks in the area. One thing that I remembered is that “Red” in Red Square has nothing to do with the bricks, nor communism. It simply means “beautiful”.
The tour then carries on in Red Square and finishes right outside the Alexander Garden of the Kremlin after a short break in GUM. The tour guide gave us a recommendation about where to find cheap but authentic Russian dishes in GUM!
OLD TOWN WALKING TOUR
Old Town Prague is a charming maze of cobblestone streets lined with small restaurants, cafes and shops. Most of these small businesses are housed in historic buildings, many with fascinating stories about the former inhabitants. It’s definitely worth the time to take a free walking tour of this part of town and learn about its thousand years of history.
Michal, our guide from Free Walking Tour Prague, met us at the Powder Tower and led an informative tour for two and a half hours. We strolled through the streets learning about the founding of the city, the 250-year rule of the Hapsburg Dynasty, the types of architecture seen throughout Old Town, and much more. We viewed several of the top sights in Old Town including St. Nicholas Church, the Astronomical Clock, and the house of the Black Madonna. I took this walking tour on the first day of my visit, and as a result, had a better appreciation for the city during the rest of my time.
Tours in English are offered five times a week starting at 10:30 a.m. The tours end at the Charles Bridge which is an ideal location to grab lunch or continuing exploring the city. To complete your understanding of the city, consider taking the free tours of the New Town and Charles Bridge.
CITY WALKING TOUR
Sometimes the best way to find out about a city is on a walking tour. They are normally run by a local and they have all that special insider info that you can sometimes miss on a large tour. One place we did not expect to be doing one was in a freezing cold Reykjavik in January!
The Reykjavik City Walking Tour was one of the best things we did in Iceland. We met Eric our guide behind the Parliament building with a largish group of about 25 people. With the high cost of Iceland, a walking tour is a great way to see some sites and save money.
The walk was easy and there were plenty of stops along the way. Our girls found the walk fine and were not bored as we wandered the streets. Eric was hilarious going through Iceland’s history. The whole group loved how he could explain things in a humorous way. We got to see the tree of the year (now that is an experience you cannot miss) and the prison that has hardly anyone in it.
You must go online and secure your spot if you want to go on this tour as places are numbered. I can tell you, you don’t want to miss it!
FEEL THE CITY MONUMENTS TOUR
Seville is a city with a lot of incredible sites and an equally interesting history. There are a number of different free walking tours available and they were definitely among the best tours we’ve done. We actually did two different tours, the Monuments tour described below and the Flamenco tour. This tour takes you around the city through the eye of the history of Flamenco and ends at a traditional flamenco show. If you’re looking for something unique, this could be it.
A perfect introduction to Seville is to take the popular monuments free walking tour. There are a number of companies offering a version of this but we chose to book with Feel The City Tours after some research. This company uses guides who have studied (or are studying) art and history so they are passionate and knowledgeable. And it shows! While you could grab a map and wander the city to see all the major monuments; there is so much history in Seville that it is well worth having a guide to explain everything. Our tour also gave us some great tips for places to eat, how to skip some long lines and the most important things to do if time is limited.
The tour leaves every day at 10:30 am from Puerto Jerez. It takes you past the Giralda, Cathedral, Alcazar, Plaza de Toros among other significant sites. Three hours later it ends in Plaza de España.
VIENNA FREE WALKING TOUR
The historic centre of Vienna, Austria is well-suited to walking tours, with a great many famous landmarks within proximity to each other. Fortunately, there are many free Vienna walking tours to choose from. Ours were included in our Big Bus tickets. We met our certified tour guide in front of the Vienna Opera. Before even walking one foot we heard the first interesting fact about the Opera’s design and architect (you’ll have to do the tour to find out for yourself).
Our free walking tour of Vienna continued to pass some well-known and some lesser-known sites. These included the Albertina, the stables of the Spanish Riding School, the Imperial Palace, and even Demel, the pastry shop/café where the famous Sachertorte was first served. Our guide was great in highlighting fascinating facts that you won’t find in your ordinary guide book. Even my 11-year old son enjoyed the tour, which shows that it can easily be included in a list of things to do in Vienna with kids.
The free walking tour of Vienna ended in front of St Stephen’s Cathedral. The given duration is 90 minutes, but ours took closer to 2 hours, which we didn’t mind at all.
Various companies besides Big Bus offer free walking tours in Vienna. Of course, there is an expectation to “pay” for it in the form of a tip after the tour, based on how much you valued it. If you don’t enjoy it, you don’t have to pay a cent (or so they say).
COMMUNIST WARSAW FREE WALKING TOUR
If you love learning, Warsaw is a perfect destination for you. We lived in the capital of Poland for a semester during a semester abroad, and learnt more than we can list, both inside the University and outside in the city. In the end, we completely fell in love with Warsaw, and we believe you will too.
While living there, we travelled extensively to neighbouring countries, but our priority was also to explore Warsaw and learn as much as we could about the city. We were glad to see that there are plenty of Free Walking Tours in Warsaw, and all are incredibly informative. If we have to recommend just one, we’ll go with the Communist Warsaw tour because it shows you parts of the city that many tourists see, but don’t fully understand. The guides take you around the most important symbols of this time in Polish history, while sharing interesting tales and legends of life in Warsaw during the decades of Communist rule. You may not think of Communist architecture as the most beautiful, but after this tour, you’ll understand how remarkable it can be.
From November to March, the Communist Warsaw Tour happens every Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 2 PM. From April to October, you can not only do it on these days but also on Monday at the same time. The meeting point is Plac Grzybowski 3/5. Look for the guide with a yellow umbrella.