Offered in cities all over the world!!
Free Walking tours can be a fantastic way to see a city, learn the history in a fun, entertaining and comical way, discover the significance of certain things that you otherwise would have walked straight past, and be shown around by a local (subject to which city you are in). They are also fantastic because as the title suggests they are FREE. They work on a tip basis, meaning if you enjoyed the tour you are encouraged to tip at the end what you think the tour was worth or how much you personally can afford. Meanwhile if you didn’t enjoy the tour you are not obliged to pay.
As a student this is fantastic for the budget! Also even though you may feel bad about only tipping X amount, I can nearly guarantee that people in a more comfortable financial situation will tip significantly higher than yourself. So don’t feel guilty if you can only afford a small amount. This is why these tours are so great and what they are here for. Besides as you continue to find them in nearly all major cities I think it’s safe to say they are doing alright.
You will often find that Free Walking Tour companies offer several different types of tour within a city, often but not always including Old Town or (enter city name) City Tour, Alternative City Tour, Jewish District Tour and a Communism Tour, as well as other city specific tour options and often a Pub Crawl. Companies generally time these and place them on alternate days so that it’s possible to go on more than one of them in a day or squeeze as many into your trip as you choose to.
Having been on my fair share of them now I can admit that some of them have been much better than others. I have never hated one yet, or found someone so painful to endure that I have left – which is of course an option, you aren’t losing anything by leaving as you haven’t paid for it. I have been blown away by them though, and found them so incredibly useful, informative and worthwhile that I have tipped more than the cost of my accommodation. This specific instance was in Berlin when his manner and story telling reduced the entire group to utterly moved silence as he described the scene that only two and a half decades ago would have been visible where we stood. I love them, and will always continue to go on them, especially as the first thing I do in a new city. What better way to get oriented and acquainted than be shown around by a local, told the history and culture and receive recommendations for what you should do and what your options are for the rest of your trip?!
How to find them? Your hostel will generally have flyers or be able to recommend one and tell you the starting point.