The 'free' walking tours available in Poland's most touristic cities provide an ideal opportunity for every tourist (and even some locals) to get to know their surroundings a little better.
When I first arrived in Wroclaw I started looking around the city by myself trying to become familiar with the most important streets and landmarks. When you've just arrived in a city that task is never easy though, especially if you have nobody to help you.
However it didn’t take long time for me to find out about the 'free' walking tours in Wroclaw. Еvery tour has its own theme, whether it be connected to history, dwarfs, communism or street art. There is even a tour of the infamous 'Bermuda Triangle' neighborhood, which shows the tours aren't restricted to the tourist hotspots either.
So, how do you join one of these tours? And what happens at them?
First of all, if you are interested in going you should check the webpage to find the tour timetable and then choose a theme and language. The meeting point for every tour is the Alexander Fredro statue on the Rynek. Once there, you just have to wait for your tour guide, who will be easy to spot due to the yellow umbrella and marked sign that he/she is carrying.
Usually the groups are big and the tours themselves take about two and a half hours. The 'free' tours technically cost nothing – however if you liked what you experienced you should really leave a tip to thank the guide for their time and effort. The people behind this particular tour are also keen to point out that they are a "foundation" and that this gives them a unique status compared to your average free tour.
The tour guides tend to be locals who are captivating speakers only too happy to tell the story of the city in an entertaining fashion. In my experience the guides are friendly and will gladly help you if you have any questions about the history of the city, places to eat, pubs, bars, transport – basically everything you need to know. Recently the tour guide operations also released their own map of the city, which they give away for free after the end of the tour.
For foodies and beer snobs, the same people run paid tours that take in some of the city's most interesting restaurants and multi-taps.
The same walking tours also operate in other Polish cities such as Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan and Gdansk. So if you are new in Wroclaw or fancy getting to know another Polish city, don’t hesitate to put on some comfy shoes, hop on the tour and be prepared to digest some fascinating history!