Walking tours are one of my favourite activities to do when visiting a new city. I’ve walked my way around dozens of cities over the years – from Budapest to Bratislava to Barcelona, and many cities in-between. However, one integral component of these tours often leaves me feeling frustrated, and sometimes even disappointed: the large group sizes.
Enter: This is My Athens – the antithesis of large, run-of-the-mill walking tours. It’s a completely unique concept, and so many aspects set it apart from the average walking tour: it’s fully customizable, it’s a private (or sometimes small group) tour, and each tour is unlike any other. Plus, it’s free!
In order to book a tour, you must choose from a list of interests and hobbies, and provide a small paragraph about yourself with some added details. The interests range from art & culture lover to outdoor enthusiast, history buff and foodie. After you’ve selected your preferred interests, you’ll be matched with a local guide who is best suited to your chosen interests and hobbies for a perfectly tailored tour.
There are roughly 50 local guides, each of which has a profile on This is My Athens website listing their interests, a snippet of information about themselves, and reviews from past guests. The guides are volunteers who want to showcase their city, and although you may feel inclined to tip at the end of the tour, many guides will politely decline the gesture.
This is My Athens is the best walking tour I’ve ever taken, mainly because it’s so personable. In fact, it didn’t seem like I was on a walking tour at all – it felt like I had just met up with a new friend in Athens who kindly offered to show me around their hometown.
On the tour I delved into the history of the city and visited major archaeological sites, like The Ancient Agora and Hephaestus Temple. I was able to get a better understanding of what life in Athens was really like – from the thriving coffee culture to the hardships locals are facing during the debt crisis. I discovered an incredible view of the Acropolis atop Philopappos Hill, and was shown some of the city’s lesser-known, off-the-beaten-path areas. My guide also recommended a local restaurant for dinner, which turned out to be one of the most authentic and memorable dining experience of my travels – and the most delicious meal I had in Greece!
If you want to get to know Athens through the eyes of a local, and scratch more than just the surface of this dynamic and influential city, I’d highly recommend booking a walking tour with This is My Athens.
Have you been to Athens?
What’s the best walking tour you’ve ever taken?