A walking tour is an amazing way to explore a new city. Whether you are just there for the day or you’re spending a while there, it is a fantastic way to see many major sites in a short space of time and tick the must-do attractions off your list. You can pay for guided tours, create your own route or book a free walking tour. Rome, Paris, Milan, Berlin and many other cities offer brilliant tours that give you the chance to see the best bits. Here is how to ensure you make the most of any walking tour you do on your travels!

Wear something comfortable

Comfortable clothes for sightseeing

It goes without saying but you want to be comfortable on a walking tour. By their very nature, they involve a lot of walking around - you’ll be getting from A to B on foot. If the weather is cold, be sure to wrap up warm: wear layers that you can easily take off should you warm up from all the moving you’ll be doing. Comfortable shoes such as trainers or even walking boots are a great idea, too. If you wear sandals or flip flops you could end up with blisters which will really take the shine off a fun day out. And if it’s a sunny day, be sure to wear some SPF and a hat to keep yourself protected from the harsh rays. Ending up with sun stroke is one way to put a downer on any sightseeing!

Keep your eyes peeled

Group of tourists checking every detail of a monument

While walking tours obviously have points of interest which you’ll be walking between, that isn’t to say the highlighted places to visit are the only things to see. As you head from the Colosseum to the Pantheon, for example, there are plenty of other things worth noting. This is what is so great about a free walking tour! Rome has so much beautiful architecture and hidden gems, so if you really keep your eyes open while walking around you’ll never run out of things to see. This is, of course, true of other cities too. Take your camera with you or snap some photographs on your phone, and a short walking tour will turn into an album full of amazing pictures to look back on.

Talk to your guide

Group of tourists inside the St Peter's Basilica on a Guided Tour

If you have booked a walking tour with a guide, make sure you interact with them as much as you can. Firstly, ask questions about the places you visit. Want to know some Eiffel Tower facts during a walking tour in Paris? Your guide will be able to tell you plenty. Wondering how old the Colosseum really is? Your guide will definitely know the answer on a free walking tour. Rome, Barcelona, Madrid… these cities are full of stories and secrets, and the best way to find out about them is from a local, passionate tour guide. And because the guides who run walking tours - and other guided city tours - are local, they are the best people to ask for recommendations when it comes to eating, drinking, partying and more. You will be able to find restaurants and bars that aren’t in the guide books, and often these are the best ones. They will be the places that aren’t fully booked, and as they come recommended by someone who lives in the city, you can be safe in the knowledge that they must be good! If you’re looking for things to do that you might not have heard of otherwise, tour guides are a great place to start…

Talk to other people on your tour

Friendly group of tourists interacting with each other

It’s not only the guide who is worth talking to. There are so many interesting people you can meet on a free walking tour! Rome and other cities are hotspots for backpackers and long-term travelers, all of whom have so many interesting stories to share and plenty of tips for your travels. If you are backpacking or inter-railing yourself, you could make friends that you end up moving on with - it really is such an easy way to meet like-minded people from all over the globe. Don’t be shy about asking these people for recommendations too, especially if they’ve been in the city for a few days already. This is another amazing way to find great places to go during your time in a new place. Plus you just never know who you could meet on tours like this! Getting to know new people is one of the very best things about traveling, and it is an opportunity you should grab with both hands if you can.

Do some research

Tourist researching the travel destination

Read reviews of walking tours before you decide which one to book. If tours have bad reviews, then chances are you won’t enjoy it as much. But those with good reviews will be well worth going on. Check ability levels and ensure you and your party will be able to enjoy every moment. Look at the routes offered on different tours, or if you’re making your own then write down a list of everything you really want to see. Make sure that whatever tour you end up doing, you’ll get to see the attractions that are on your list.

There are so many brilliant ways to see a city, from guided tours to a free walking tour. Rome has plenty of options, from the Dark Rome Best of Rome Walking Tour to the Best of Rome Evening Walking Tour with Wine and Appetizers. Getting out and about to explore a new city in the fresh air is a brilliant way to spend your time on vacation. Whether you’re in the Eternal City itself or somewhere like Paris, Florence or Bruges, a walking tour will allow you to see everything worth seeing and more.