What is a Free Walking Tour?

What is a Free Walking Tour?

The most common question about the Free Walking Tours: Are they really Free?

By The Honest Explorer

The Original

Let’s start from the beginning. The First Free Walking tour started in Berlin in 2004. Thus,  the aforementioned tour is called “The Original!”.  The basic idea is to offer a service for free and upon completion the participants can choose to tip their guide according to their satisfaction. 

Moreover, due to the nature of these activities, do first – pay later, the quality of the free walking tours tends to be considerably higher in comparison to the traditional “pay first tours”. 

Trip Advisor Review

“We did the Roman and Jewish Quarters – City Centre Walk
Yannis was such an excellent guide that showed us around both, the heritage and modern side of the beautiful city of Thessaloniki. He combined interesting and well-told historical stories about the city from Alexander the Great up until recent history of the city (current architecture) with tips and recommendations about where to eat (he showed us the best spot for the typical sweet dish Trigona) and drink and what to see during our time here – he was very knowledgeable not only concerning history but also modern culture.”

My First Free Walking Experience

My introduction to the Free Tours community was in Barcelona, Spain. There was a board in the hostel I was staying advertising a local Free Walking Tour and to be honest when I first looked at it I was hesitant to believe it. How can a tour be for Free and if it is for free indeed it certainly isn’t good enough, right?

Oh my goodness! Little did I know that I would soon become a free walking tour addict and that from then on I would start every trip with a free tour. The guide was excellent, the stories captivating and the atmosphere friendly and familiar. During said tour I met what turned out to be my co-traveler for the next week and this experience changed my perspective on tours altogether.  

Should you join a Free Tour?


YES! Absolutely, unequivalently, YES! There is, in my opinion, no better way to start your trip and no better way to get a fair understanding of the destination’s history, culture, and overall orientation of the city but with a Free Tour. 

Second! A free walking tour is the best way to meet and interact with other travelers especially if you are traveling solo. And Third, a free walking tour is the best way to get a local’s perspective as the guides are independent and do not depend on the opinion given by whatever ministry of tourism in any given country.  


Our team

Explore Thessaloniki  (Explore Free Tours on trip advisor) is a non profit org committed to promote the history and culture of Thessaloniki to every traveler and set you up for a truly local experience. Check our free walking activities and drop a text to look for availability.