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In some cities, there's either no organised walking tours, or just one, so there's nothing to choose. Sometimes, you want a specific tour, perhaps architectural or to see movie/TV filming locations, and again there's few/no options.

Other times, you have a surfeit of choice, with several different free and paid-for tour operators running a general 3-ish hour "sights of the city" tour. In such well-served cities, you might have 4 or 5 options for a tour leaving mid morning or early afternoon covering the main sights to pick between!

What approaches / techniques / strategies can you use to investigate the options, to work out what's likely to be the best tour for your personal likes and situation, when you find yourself with a choice like this?

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This question is inspired by me wanting to work out what the "best" walking tour will be for where I'm going this coming weekend, but knowing that asking a question for the "best walking tour in X" will be too subjective! – Gagravarr Sep 23 '13 at 17:33
See if you can find the names of some of the walking tours. Search for those on the Internet and see if some site reviews them. TripAdvisor probably does - they seem to let you review just about anything. Use the usual cynical approach to sift out phoney and unreasonable reviews. – hippietrail Sep 24 '13 at 1:45
@hippietrail You might want to expand that a bit then post it as an answer? – Gagravarr Sep 24 '13 at 10:17
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The obvious initial answer for filtering your selection is to ask them where they go. Some may be offering an 'historic' tour, a 'river walk', 'museum stroll' or whatever - and depending on the variations of routes, even for a 'sights of the city' tour you may see some variation and see something one has that others don't that you don't want to miss.

Once you've narrowed it to the set that matches what you want, look at who they are. Many these days are free - run by students, or as a loss-leader by companies who then promote their paid tours at the end. Consider if this affects your decision.

Next, if you're going with one of the companies that also has paid tours, look at their paid tours and see if any look interesting to you. If so, it would be worth going with their free one, so that you get an idea for the company's pace, style and information.

Finally, one of the big sellers for me in Berlin was asking the tour guide's history. They were a British student doing their masters in European History, and they lived and breathed this stuff. The perfect informative person for such a tour.

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