In this post, you will find the best tips to help you define the main topic of your tour. It will be very useful if it’s the first time you are creating a tour or if you already have a tour and are thinking of opening a new one.
You will see that the possibilities are endless!
- What’s the typical free walking tour?
- What topic should I choose for my tour?
- Topics beyond the typical free walking tour?
- What’s next?
What’s the typical free walking tour?
Before explaining more alternative topics, it’s important to highlight what’s the typical free walking tour in most cities around the world.
It’s a walking tour that always has the same route and it usually lasts between 2 and 3 hours. Most of the time, it takes place in the old town, which is usually the most sought after place for tourists. Its main advantage is that it attracts a large number of travelers, but as it has a very broad approach, it’s not always easy to find a way to differentiate from the competition.
- Overview of the city: free walking tours are not used to go in-depth on a particular topic, but to show what the city can offer to the traveler.
- Most important sites, stories and topics: the tour includes the most important and emblematic monuments, topics (gastronomy, architecture, art, …) and stories about the city.
- Historical evolution: the evolution of the history of the city is usually explained, from its foundation to the present day and it’s the common thread of the tour.
- Curiosities, legends and anecdotes: travelers don’t want to hear again what they read earlier on the Internet. It’s important to surprise them with lesser known but curious and interesting stories.
- Fun and entertaining: travelers expect to have fun and have a good time.
- Personal touch and recommendations: travelers expect to receive good recommendations, both for places to see after the tour, as well as restaurants, …
- Adapted for everyone: it’s a basic tour, that everyone can enjoy: families, young people, … regardless of their personal interests or their country of origin.
What topic should I choose for my tour?
We have seen the case of the typical free walking tour but it’s only one of the many possibilities you can choose!
To identify the tour topic you should choose, think about the following:
What do I know better than others or want to continue learning? If you have a passion or something that has always fascinated you to learn, ask yourself if it is possible to create a tour based on this topic.
- Look at the free walking tours offered in your city. They can give you ideas of what you could do. But you also have to think about how you could stand out. If there are already several free tours about the historic center, perhaps it would be interesting to choose another theme. But you can also stand out in another way: offer a tour in another language, schedule at a different time than the rest, or choose your own approach, … Here you can search for your city and see all the tours that are offered in your city.
- What is your city famous for? Apart from the old town, your city is perhaps famous for something else. Think about what travelers have in mind about your city, what are they looking for and they would be interested to know? It can be a famous person, a neighborhood, an era, an artistic style, a typical food, … In the next part, we explain it to you in detail.
Topics beyond the typical free walking tour?
Nowadays, the traveler is tired of always seeing the same thing and is looking for different and more authentic experiences.
Let’s highlight the best-known alternative topics that generate a lot of interest from travelers.
Street art tour
After the typical free tour, it’s one of the most popular. In a couple of hours, you go through the area of your city with the greatest number of urban art works. Not all cities have an urban artistic heritage, but if yours does and if you are passionate about it, it might be a good tour idea for you. This is what many gurus who live in the 13th “comuna” of Medellín decided to do. So did our guru Magda in Athens or Susana in Porto.
In this case, you explain the different art works, their interpretation, their stories, their author, etc. Keep in mind that the route is changing, since the art works are not eternal and new ones can appear, so you have to be aware and constantly update your route.
The food tour is another very popular free walking tour topic. The common thread is to discover local food with travelers and it can be organized in different ways. If you are passionate about food, this is the main topic you have to choose!
For example, our guru Benardo in Amsterdam takes travelers to different shops and restaurants where he made agreements to receive a free sample of food for each traveler. During the tour, many travelers end up buying products in these places, which makes everyone happy. It’s also what the Balkan Bites agency does in Sofia.
Another example is Can in Istanbul or the Hanoi Free Tour agency. They have another approach, in which they take travelers to places where there is a lot of street food or markets and each traveler pays what they want to try.
In this case, you can explain the typical and traditional dishes, the stories behind these dishes, how they are eaten, how they are prepared, where to eat like a local, …
Alternative neighborhood tour
Alternative neighborhood tour
After seeing the old town and the most essential of the city, there are often other very interesting neighborhoods to discover! Maybe you even live in one of these neighborhoods?
For example, the Free Walking Tours London agency offers several tours in different neighborhoods of London, such as the financial center “The City” or the alternative neighborhood “Camden Town”.
It can also be another kind of place, not only a neighborhood. For example, in Moscow, our guru Cesar has created a metro tour! Another example is the famous Colosseum in Rome that has an exclusive tour.
Dark Legends and Ghosts Tour
They are usually done at night, to better appreciate the dark stories and legends that scare travelers. It’s a very popular kind of tour, and each city has its dark side and ghost legends.
For example, in Edinburgh, we have several gurus who have chosen this topic for their guided tours.
Tour of a period or a famous person
Is there a famous person in your city that you are passionate about, and is there a possibility to create a route? Don’t waste a second and start creating your tour on it!
This is what our guru Belen did in London with her tour of Jack The Ripper! In Florence, we have an agency that has dedicated a tour to the powerful Medici family! Another example, in Rome, with the tour about the artists Bernini and Borromini.
In addition, it can be about a particular period, such as the tour of the Spanish inquisition in Madrid, another of the Soviet period in Moscow or this tour of the medieval period in Valencia.
But it can also be from an artistic era, touring the most beautiful examples of modernism in Barcelona or art nouveau in Brussels.
Based on a book or movie
Based on a book or movie
Perhaps your city was the star of a famous book or where a famous movie or series was filmed.
For example, our guru Aurora from Madrid offers a tour based on the scenarios where the Netflix series ”Money Heist” was filmed. The same with the famous Harry Potter stories, which have tours in London and Edinburgh and which are one of the most reserved guruwalks by travelers visiting these cities.
Social awareness tour
This is an example that we love and through which we can make known subjects that really matter: the reality that exists in many countries so that we all become aware of it and what better way to do it than with the help of a local?
We have for example a feminist tour of the forgotten women of the history of Madrid. But it could also be a tour of awareness of the environment, LGBT, local entrepreneurship, or the social reality of people “homeless” or living with few resources. The traveler could be brought closer to these and other realities through the favelas in Rio de Janeiro or the Bronx in New York.
Other main topics
There are thousands of different options depending on your passion and the city where you live.
- We have tours that focus on nature or the most beautiful urban parks, talking about local fauna and flora or the history of these places.
- We have music tours, like a British rock tour in London.
- There are also tours about mythology in Greece, or of the Viking gods. You could even do a tour about the Loch Ness monster.
- They can be tours at night, at sunset or taking travelers to different viewpoints to appreciate the city from another angle.
These are just some examples to create original guruwalks that hook your travelers but as you already know: the only limit is your imagination.
Now that you know your tour topic, the next step is to identify and plan out the different elements of your tour. We explain that to you here in this detailed post.