Great ways to Explore European Cities
There are many ways to explore Europe’s cities. While it is always fun to explore on your own, guided tours of a city ensure that you can see everything that’s worth seeing. Here are some of the different types of tours available:
The most up close and personal type of tour. These tours allow you to walk the city streets and visit key attractions along the way. One of the best features of this type of tour is that you have the opportunity to speak directly with the tour guide(s) and really get the feel for a city and a culture. Walking tours range in size from a couple of people to a group of around 20. These tours can be free or quite expensive (depends on the size of the tour and the tour operator). Tours can be short (about 30 minutes) or can last all day. Lastly, tours can be generic, simply visiting key tourist attractions, or can be quite specific. For example, several London tour operators offer Jack the Ripper walking tours, while other cities may have tours that visit only churches and cathedrals.
Pub crawls are a form of walking tour, with a slight twist. Pub crawls usually consist of several short visits to different pubs situated all over the city. Tour guides walk the group from pub to pub while talking about the city and pointing out key attractions along the way. These tours are usually reasonably priced.
These tours are basically walking tours, only you ride a bike instead. These tours can often visit more places in the city than walking tours because bikes can cover more ground than walking. However, these tours are less personal because it is harder to hold a conversation with the tour guide while riding a bike in the middle of a group! These tours are also more expensive than walking tours. An interesting new twist on a bike tour is the Segway tour. However, these tours are even more expensive.
Many European cities have rivers or canals running through their middle. A popular type of tour in these cities is a boat tour/river cruise. These tours consist of cruising down the river (or canal), viewing the attractions on the shore, and listen to tour guides give you information about the city. The main drawback of this type of tour is that you are limited to whatever sights happen to be on the shore. These tours can also be somewhat expensive.
Hop-On, Hop-Off Tours
The popular hop-on, hop-off tours allow you to travel around the city at your own pace over a given amount of time. The buses stop at all of a city’s major attractions. While on the bus, it’s a tour, but you can get off any time to see the attractions and then catch the next bus coming through. These are often very reasonably priced.