10 Beautiful Cities in Europe With Free Walking Tours

10 Beautiful Cities in Europe With Free Walking Tours

Explore the very best of these European cities with free walking tours.

Ever heard of free walking tours? Free walking tours are essentially tip-based walking tours. This means that guests who join such a tour are not obligated to pay a fixed fee for the guide’s service. Rather, guests are free to tip their guide with any amount they’re willing to pay. Free walking tours are increasingly popular amongst travellers — this is especially so when it comes to exploring cities in Europe, which are home to many pedestrian-only streets and alleys. As such, taking free walking tours is the perfect way to sightsee. 

For one, you’ll have a local expert take you through the city’s most outstanding attractions. Secondly, because free walking tours are wholly tip-based, the wonderful guides are known to deliver excellent service that will make your holiday exceptionally memorable. Finally, free walking tours are very flexible and easy to book online — you can choose the tour timing and location of your preference and easily secure a slot even if you’re currently halfway around the world. 

Interested in free walking tours on your next trip to Europe, but not sure which places you’d like to explore? This article recommends some of the most beautiful cities in Europe with free walking tours to get you started!

Also read: 12 Best Affordable Summer Destinations in Europe

Beautiful cities in Europe ideal for free walking tours

1. Milan, Italy

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One of Italy’s most illustrious cities, Milan is a consistent favourite destination for tourists. It’s renowned for its beautiful architecture, art exhibitions, fashion, and entertainment. 

Milan is a great place to explore on a free walking tour as you can easily walk to its most popular attractions within a day. Many of the city’s key attractions are located within walking distance of its most iconic landmark: the Piazza del Duomo. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is also known as Cathedral Square, is considered Milan’s most beautiful square. Here, you’ll see dozens of stunning historic buildings, including the Duomo di Milano, a huge Gothic cathedral located in the centre of Milan. 

Just around a kilometre from the Duomo di Milano is the Pinacoteca di Brera, also known as the Brera Art Gallery, which is one of Italy’s most important art museums. Nearby, you can also reach Sforzesco Castle, which houses seven special museums and displays Michelangelo’s final artwork, the Rondanini Pietà. If you walk a little further to Piazza della Scala, you’ll find the iconic Teatro alla Scala, which is the world’s most famous historic opera house.

For budget travellers who enjoy learning about the city’s heritage and culture, a free walking tour is ideal. There are plenty of free walking tour service providers to choose from; in Italy, Citywalkers is a good choice to consider. 

2. Budapest, Hungary

budapest hungary free walking tours europe

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Budapest, the magnificent capital of Hungary, is easily one of the most beautiful cities to explore on free walking tours in Europe. Located along some of the most scenic stretches of the Danube River, the picturesque city boasts stunning riverside views. It’s also highly walkable. Most of Budapest’s key attractions are within close walking distance from one another, and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks are abundant.

Budapest is home to impressive architecture built under different empires. While strolling the scenic streets, you’ll see various buildings with Gothic, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau influences. One key landmark is Buda Castle, a sprawling architectural marvel that houses the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. Buda Castle has earned itself its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Walk another kilometre and you’ll find the iconic Hungarian Parliament Building situated along the banks of the Danube. This is Hungary’s largest building and is famous for its beautiful Gothic Revival architectural design. Continue walking along the Danube, and you’ll soon find Vörösmarty Square. This is a historic plaza located in the heart of the city centre and hosts some of Hungary’s most vibrant fairs. 

Looking for service providers that offer free walking tours in Budapest? Generation Tours Budapest and Budapest Free Walking Tour are some good options to consider. 

3. Belgrade, Serbia

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Meet Belgrade, the stunning capital of Serbia. One of Europe’s oldest cities, the city lies at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, and has been dubbed “The Gateway to the Balkans” and “The Door to Central Europe”. It’s home to numerous historical sites, beautiful nature, and a vibrant arts scene.

On a walking tour, you’ll very likely visit Belgrade Fortress, one of Belgrade’s most iconic landmarks, where you can experience a bird’s eye view of the iconic rivers. Located at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube, this grand fortress was once a strategic defence site. Today, the fortress is divided into Upper and Lower Towns.

And located in the centre of Belgrade Fortress is Kalemegdan Park, Belgrade’s largest park. We recommend climbing the Grand Staircase for a breathtaking view over the confluence of the Sava and Danube. 

Then, you can walk to Republic Square, the most important square in Belgrade. It is home to several of Belgrade’s important historical sites, such as the National Theatre, Riunione Palace, and the National Museum, which is Serbia’s largest and oldest museum. Republic Square is one of the liveliest places in Belgrade, known for its thriving arts scene.

Belgrade Free Tour is a good service provider you can check out for free walking tours in Belgrade.

4. Vienna, Austria

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Vienna is the capital of Austria, but it’s also hailed as the world’s “capital of music” thanks to its outstanding classical music scene. It’s also renowned for its historical imperial sites and lively cultural scene. Many of Vienna’s key attractions are located in its compact city centre, making Vienna a good destination to explore if you’re looking to try out free walking tours in Europe

Vienna’s most distinct landmark is the towering St. Stephen’s Cathedral, located right in the centre of the city. This Gothic-style building is Austria’s tallest church and also symbolises the reconstruction of the republic after the Second World War.

Walk a little further to the Ringstrasse, a stunning boulevard where you’ll find some of Vienna’s most iconic historic buildings. This includes the dazzling Vienna State Opera, which is one of the world’s most prestigious opera venues. You’ll also see the Austrian Parliament building, the Museum of Art History, and the Museum of Natural History.

Other notable Vienna attractions include the famous Schönnbrunn Palace, which is one of Austria’s most important cultural assets. This Baroque-style site was the royal residence of the Habsburg royalty from the 18th century to 1918 and is extremely well-preserved. 

Prime Tours and Good Vienna Tours are some popular service providers of free walking tours in Vienna.

Also read: A Cultural Guide To Vienna: History, Music, and Food!

5. Oslo, Norway

oslo norway free walking tours europe

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Praised for its rich culture, world-class art museums, striking modern architecture, and friendly locals, Oslo is definitely worth adding to your European bucket list. Norway’s vibrant capital is a very compact and walkable city, making it a good destination for free walking tours in Europe. According to the official travel guide to Norway, you can explore all of Oslo’s key highlights in just 10,000 steps!

Walking around Oslo’s city centre, keep an eye out: Along the way, you will encounter Oslo’s most famous landmarks. One of the highlights is the sprawling Akershus Fortress (Akershus Castle), one of Oslo’s distinctive architectural sites. It was one of ancient Oslo’s most important fortress complexes; the castle used to be a mediaeval building before it was modernised into a Renaissance-style castle. Today, the fortress area is a popular venue for important public events and concerts.  

Another can’t-miss spot in Oslo: the exquisite Royal Palace, which is the home of HM King Harald V and HM Queen Sonja. This palace is not only charming; it also exudes an exceptionally welcoming atmosphere, as visitors are allowed to get up close to the building. In summer, guided tours of the palace are also available.

Other important buildings you’ll pass by while walking around the city centre include the historic National Theatre, the Nobel Peace Center, the Museum of History, and the Museum of Architecture. Walk a little further from the city centre, and you will reach the fjord. Here, you can walk along Oslo’s Harbour Promenade, which connects the old and new parts of the city, and enjoy fabulous views. 

For free walking tours in Oslo, you can check out these service providers: Nordic Freedom Tours and Oslo Free City Walking Tour

6. Stockholm, Sweden

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Make your way to Stockholm, the vibrant capital of Sweden which is also Scandinavia’s largest city. Comprising 14 islands, the city is home to beautiful architecture and scenic nature. It’s also one of the world’s cleanest metropolises. Some locals affectionately call Stockholm the “beauty on the water.” All of these create the ideal setting for some of the most engaging free walking tours in Europe!

By foot, you can easily visit the famous Gamla Stan, which is one of Stockholm’s most prized cultural assets. Also known as Stockholm’s Old Town, it’s one of the world’s best-preserved mediaeval city centres, with unique winding cobblestone streets and colourful buildings. 

Within Gamla Stan, you will find the Baroque-style Royal Palace, which is one of the world’s oldest palaces still in use as an official royal residence. Other popular attractions within Gamla Stan include The Medieval Museum, The Jewish Museum, The Nobel Prize Museum, and The Royal Armoury.

Walk half a kilometre from Gamla Stan, and you’ll see the iconic Riksdagshuset (Swedish Parliament House) on the tiny island of Helgeandsholmen. And just five minutes away on foot, you’ll see the beautiful Royal Swedish Opera complex. 

Though Stockholm is very large, it’s quite easy to walk from one attraction to another, making it a good destination for free walking tours in Europe. That being said, many people recommend spending two to three days in Stockholm. That way, you’ll get to explore a greater range of its offerings!

For free walking tours in Stockholm, Rainbow Tours is a highly popular service provider you can consider.

7. Prague, Czech Republic

prague czech republic free walking tours europe

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Located along the stunning Vltava River in the Czech Republic, Prague is consistently ranked among Europe’s most beautiful cities. Its key attractions are clustered closely together and are easily accessible by foot, making Prague a top choice for free walking tours in Europe

Expect to come across some of the world’s most impressive architecture spanning different artistic periods in Prague. One popular activity is to walk around Prague’s Old Town and marvel at some of Prague’s most iconic historical buildings, including the Municipal Hall, Old Council Hall, and the Old Town Hall Tower

Another unmissable attraction is the dazzling Prague Castle. One of Prague’s most important historical and cultural sites, it overlooks key landmarks in the city, including the Vltava River and Old Town. Additionally, Guinness World Records recognises Prague Castle as the world’s largest ancient castle complex. 

Located between the Vltava River and just north of Old Town is the Prague Jewish Quarter, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical and cultural value. The quarter survived the horrors of the World War Two bombings and is now home to the Jewish Museum in Prague, one of the world’s best-preserved complex of Jewish monuments in Europe.

100 Spires City Tours and Free Walking Tour Prague are some highly-rated service providers of free walking tours in Prague. 

Also read: 12 Best Prague Attractions for First-Time Visitors

8. Copenhagen, Denmark

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If seeing one of the world’s happiest countries sounds like a good time to you, then visit Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. It’s a highly popular tourist destination, thanks to its beautiful waterways, striking architecture, vibrant arts scene, and relaxed culture. Copenhagen is a compact city full of pedestrian-friendly pavements, making it one of the best destinations for free walking tours among cities in Europe

On a walking tour through Copenhagen, you’ll likely stop by Amalienborg Palace, one of Copenhagen’s key attractions. This beautiful rococo-style palace serves as the seat of the Danish royalty, which is one of the world’s oldest monarchies. We recommend timing your visit for the palace’s famous changing of the guard ceremony. 

Walk another kilometre and come across the grand Christiansborg Palace. It houses the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of State. And if you walk yet another kilometre, you’ll see Nyhavn, an iconic landmark in Copenhagen. Once used as a busy commercial port, Nyhavn is home to beautiful colourful houses, a gorgeous canal, and a lively food scene. What’s more, the famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen lived in three of the old houses along the canal!

Located just steps away from Nyhavn is Kongens Nytorv, also known as The King’s New Square. This square is right in the heart of Copenhagen’s old town, and houses important architectural sites such as the Royal Theatre and Kunsthal Charlottenborg.

For free walking tours in Copenhagen, you can check out these well-reviewed service providers: Copenhagen Free Walking Tours F.M.B.A. and Dinturia Tours.

9. Barcelona, Spain

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Barcelona is the gorgeous capital of Catalonia, an autonomous region in Spain. With its stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, striking architecture, and lively arts and cultural scene, it’s definitely one of Spain’s most celebrated cities. Barcelona prides itself on being a highly walkable city that is full of sidewalks and pedestrian-only streets. Its key attractions are also located close to each other. 

When exploring around the city, travellers will likely see Barcelona’s most iconic architectural landmark, the Sagrada Família. Renowned for its intricate artistry depicting the life of Jesus Christ, this massive basilica was designed by Antoni Gaudí, one of the most remarkable architects of the 20th century. 

Walk another 15 minutes to get to Casa Milà, also popularly known as La Pedrera, which is another famous architectural work by Gaudí. The building’s appearance of fluidity and its unique stone carvings make it one of Barcelona’s most striking landmarks.

Less than 10 minutes away by foot, you’ll find another of Barcelona’s top architectural sites: the Casa Amatller, famous for its unique combination of Neo-Gothic and Dutch urban architectural styles. It was designed by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch and is considered a key example of Catalan modernism.

There is a wide selection of free walking tours available in Barcelona. Some popular service providers include Artista Tours and Barkeno Tours

10. Dubrovnik, Croatia

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The final recommendation on this list is Dubrovnik, the famous capital of Croatia. Overlooking the gorgeous blue Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik has been dubbed the “Pearl of the Adriatic” because of its beauty. The city’s defining features are its massive city walls and forts, much of which can only be explored on foot. As such, Dubrovnik is an extremely popular destination for free walking tours in Europe

An unmissable attraction in this city is its Old Town. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to grand walls and stunning architecture, and is also a pedestrian-only area. One of the best things to do in Dubrovnik is to walk around the Old Town city walls and explore its numerous gates and forts. The highest point of the city walls is Fort Minčeta, from which you will enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Old Town and the Adriatic Sea.

Walk along the western side of Old Town, and you’ll see Fort Lovrijenac, one of Dubrovnik’s most famous historical sites. Also known as Fort Lawrence or Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar, this grand fort stands at 37 metres above sea level. It has also been used as a filming site for the television series Game of Thrones

For a fun free walking tour in Dubrovnik conducted by a local, you can check out tours provided by Marko. ACCESS Dubrovnik is another popular service provider. 

Also read: 12 Common Mistakes That Travellers Make When Going to Europe

Ready to enjoy some amazing views and gain unique insights from friendly local guides? Explore these beautiful cities on free walking tours during your next Europe trip!

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About Author

Esther Yue
Esther Yue

Esther is an inquisitive girl who enjoys uncovering the depths of life. She loves exploring new places and cultures. While travelling, she never skips the roller coaster rides in the amusement parks. In her natural habitat, you’ll probably catch her with a book and an iced drink, listening to some good music.