Walking tour

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Tourists on a walking tour of the lower canyon at Petra, Jordan Tourists with guide in lower canyon, Petra.jpg
Tourists on a walking tour of the lower canyon at Petra, Jordan

A walking tour is a tour of a historical or cultural site undertaken on foot, frequently in an urban setting. [1] Short tours can last under an hour, while longer ones can take in multiple sites and last a full day or more. A walk can be led by a tour guide, as an escort.



A pilgrimage is a religious journey traditionally taken on foot, to a location of significance to the walker's faith. Chaucer's 14th-century narrative poem Canterbury Tales certainly indicates that a pilgrimage can involve pleasure.

The Camino de Santiago route to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain is a famous example, and remains popular today.

In Iraq, the Shia Muslim 20-day Arba'een Pilgrimage to Karbala attracts many millions of pilgrims each year. [2] [3] [4]

The Grand Tour, undertaken in Europe in the 17th through 19th centuries, as part of a wealthy young man's education, [5] involved visits to cities, historic and cultural sites.

There are also similarities between walking tours that involve long hikes and backpacking.

Tours of cities and cultural sites

A walking tour in Baden-Baden Free Walking Tour in Baden-Baden.jpg
A walking tour in Baden-Baden
A glass stud in York sidewalk. Such glass studs are the remnants of the York Breadcrumbs trail, an initiative from 2005 which incorporated three custom walking tours and (now defunct) website. The tours included the Minster, the Shambles, the Guildhall etc. with a story thrown in. YorkPavementButton1.jpg
A glass stud in York sidewalk. Such glass studs are the remnants of the York Breadcrumbs trail, an initiative from 2005 which incorporated three custom walking tours and (now defunct) website. The tours included the Minster, the Shambles, the Guildhall etc. with a story thrown in.

With guides

A walking tour is generally distinguished from an escorted tour by its length and the employment of tour guides, and can be under 12 hours, or last for a week or more. They are led by guides that have knowledge of the sites, or the landscape, covered on the tour, and explanations and interpretations of the site can cover a range of subjects, including places with historical, cultural and artistic significance. Walking tours, of various kinds and length, are universally part of the tourism industry, and can be found around the world.

Many walking tours involve a payment to the guide, although some operate on a tip system. [6] The "pay what you want" model started around 2004, and can be found in many countries. The UK-based Guild of Registered Tour has criticised the system for not requiring any training or certification of its guides. [7]


Several cities now have groups that are employing dramatic spectacle to add interest to their tours. Usually guided by actors in costume playing a role, these walking tours create the feel of living history as guests walk in the footsteps of those who came before them. These tours, which blend history and dramatic narrative, share "history in a non-academic, very accessible fashion." [8]

These tours are similar in nature to promenade theatre. Although the theatrical nature of these tours is similar to museum theatre in that it makes use of first person interpretation, the fact that these tours take place outside of traditional museum settings and requires the audience to move through urban environments makes this style of walking tour a genre of its own.[ citation needed ]

Self guided tours

Self-guided tours, utilise a range of methods to aid travel through a place, or landscape, such as books, [9] [10] maps, pamphlets, and audio material. [11]

Day tours with specific locations

See also

Related Research Articles

Pilgrimage Journey or search of moral or spiritual significance

A pilgrimage is a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience. It can lead to a personal transformation, after which the pilgrim returns to their daily life.

Walking Gait of locomotion among legged animals

Walking is one of the main gaits of terrestrial locomotion among legged animals. Walking is typically slower than running and other gaits. Walking is defined by an 'inverted pendulum' gait in which the body vaults over the stiff limb or limbs with each step. This applies regardless of the usable number of limbs—even arthropods, with six, eight, or more limbs, walk.


A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journey to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system. In the spiritual literature of Christianity, the concept of pilgrim and pilgrimage may refer to the experience of life in the world or to the inner path of the spiritual aspirant from a state of wretchedness to a state of beatitude.

Hiking Walking as a hobby, sport, or leisure activity

Hiking is a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails or footpaths in the countryside. Walking for pleasure developed in Europe during the eighteenth century. Religious pilgrimages have existed much longer but they involve walking long distances for a spiritual purpose associated with specific religions.

Karbala Place in Iraq

Karbala or Kerbala is a city in central Iraq, located about 100 km (62 mi) southwest of Baghdad, and a few miles east of Lake Milh, also known as Razzaza Lake. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate, and has an estimated population of 700,000 people (2015).

Camping Outdoor recreational activity

Camping is an outdoor activity involving overnight stays away from home in a shelter, such as a tent or a recreational vehicle. Typically participants leave developed areas to spend time outdoors in more natural ones in pursuit of activities providing them enjoyment. The night spent outdoors distinguishes camping from day-tripping, picnicking, and other similarly short-term recreational activities.

Peace Pilgrim

Peace Pilgrim, born Mildred Lisette Norman, was an American spiritual teacher, mystic, pacifist, vegetarian activist and peace activist. In 1952, she became the first woman to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in one season. Starting on January 1, 1953, in Pasadena, California, she adopted the name "Peace Pilgrim" and walked across the United States for 28 years, speaking with others about peace. She was on her seventh cross-country journey when she died.

Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, Spain

The Camino de Santiago, known in English as the Way of St. James, is a network of pilgrims' ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saints are buried there. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and organized tour groups.

Backpacking (hiking) Outdoor recreation of carrying gear on ones back, while hiking for more than a day

Backpacking is the outdoor recreation of carrying gear on one's back, while hiking for more than a day. It is often but not always an extended journey, and may or may not involve camping outdoors. In North America tenting is common, where simple shelters and mountain huts, widely found in Europe, are rare. In New Zealand, tramping is the term applied though overnight huts are frequently used. Hill walking is an equivalent in Britain, though backpackers make use of a variety of accommodation, in addition to camping. Backpackers use simple huts in South Africa. Trekking and bushwalking are other word used to describe such multi-day trips.


Arbaʽeen, Chehellom is a religious observance that occurs forty days after the Day of Ashura. It commemorates the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, who was martyred on the 10th day of the month of Muharram. Imam Husayn ibn Ali and 71 of his companions were martyred by Yazid I's army in the Battle of Karbala in 61 AH.

Hiking boot

Hiking (walking) boots are footwear specifically designed for protecting the feet and ankles during outdoor walking activities such as hiking. They are one of the most important items of hiking gear, since their quality and durability can determine a hiker's ability to walk long distances without injury. Hiking boots are constructed to provide comfort for walking considerable distance over rough terrain. Boots that protect the hiker's feet and heel are recommended. Hiking boots give ankle support and are fairly stiff. A less popular alternative is to use light trainers with thin soles. Footwear should be neither too loose nor too tight, to help prevent blisters and sore feet. Hiking socks that wick sweat from the feet, provide warmth, and cushion the feet are recommended and a thin, inner sock may also help. Most hiking boots are also designed for other outdoor activities such as backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, and hunting.

Shikoku Pilgrimage Multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi) on the island of Shikoku, Japan

The Shikoku Pilgrimage or Shikoku Junrei (四国巡礼) is a multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kūkai on the island of Shikoku, Japan. A popular and distinctive feature of the island's cultural landscape, and with a long history, large numbers of pilgrims, known as henro (遍路), still undertake the journey for a variety of ascetic, pious, and tourism-related purposes. The pilgrimage is traditionally completed on foot, but modern pilgrims use cars, taxis, buses, bicycles, or motorcycles. The standard walking course is approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) long and can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days to complete.

Tour guide Person who provides information and heritage interpretation to tourists

A tour guide (U.S.) or a tourist guide (European) is a person who provides assistance, information on cultural, historical and contemporary heritage to people on organized sightseeing and individual clients at educational establishments, religious and historical sites such as; museums, and at various venues of tourist attraction resorts.

Escorted tour

Escorted tours are a form of tourism in which travelers are escorted in a group to various destinations, versus a self-guided tour where the tourist is on their own.

Religious tourism Travel to religious sites, whether spiritual or sightseeing

Religious tourism, spiritual tourism, sacred tourism, or faith tourism, is a type of tourism with two main subtypes: pilgrimage, meaning travel for religious or spiritual purposes, and the viewing of religious monuments and artefacts, a branch of sightseeing.

Yatra Pilgrimage in Indian religions

Yātrā, in Hinduism and other Indian religions, generally means a pilgrimage to holy places such as confluences of sacred rivers, places associated with Hindu epics such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and other sacred pilgrimage sites. Tīrtha-yātrā refers to a pilgrimage to a holy site and is generally undertaken in groups. One who goes on a yatra is known as a yatri. As per Vedic Hindu Dharma Shastras, a Yatri is supposed to do Yatra barefoot. He/she should travel without umbrellas, vehicles etc., to get the benefit of the Yatra. At present these rules are not followed by many pilgrims.

Heritage trails are walking trails and driving routes in urban and rural settings that are identified in most cases by signage and guidebooks as relating to cultural heritage.

Hajj Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca

The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims. Hajj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.

Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace is a non-fiction travelogue written by Brandon Wilson, published in 2008 by Pilgrim's Tales, Inc.. It is the true story about Wilson, an American, and "Émile", a 68-year-old Frenchman, who set off in the spring of 2006 from Dijon, France to hike the route Godfrey de Bouillon and his army traveled in 1096 to Jerusalem. Traveling simply with backpacks and trusting in the kindness of strangers, the pair have two goals: to carry a message of peace along a route historically used for war, and to establish a pilgrimage path others might follow regardless of nationality, culture and religion.

Arbaʽeen Pilgrimage Pilgrimage to Imam Hussein shrine

The Arbaʽeen Pilgrimage, or the Arbaʽeen Walk, is one of world's largest annual public gathering that is held every year in Karbala, Iraq at the end of the 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual for the commemoration of martyrdom of the grandson of Prophet Mohammad and the third Shia Muslim Imam, Husayn ibn Ali's in 61 AH. Anticipating Arbaʽeen, or the fortieth day of the martyrdom, the pilgrims make their journey to Karbala on foot, where Husayn and his companions were martyred and beheaded by the army of Yazid I in the Battle of Karbala.


  1. http://oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_us1304940#m_en_us1304940 Oxford Dictionary 1
  2. Dearden, Lizzie (25 November 2014). "One of the world's biggest and most dangerous pilgrimages is underway". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  3. Philipson, Alice (2015-01-19). "The ten largest gatherings in human history". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 6 October 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  4. Chandra Kharel, Gopi (13 December 2014). "Arbaeen 2014: 20 Million Pilgrims Flock to Karbala [PHOTOS]". Ibtimes. Archived from the original on 4 October 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  5. The Canadian Oxford Dictionary (1998), and New Oxford American Dictionary.
  6. Molnar, Agnes (2014-04-25). "Strassenökonom – die Stadtführerin". Capital (in German). G+J Wirtschaftsmedien GmbH & Co. KG. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  7. Baker, Vicky (2013-06-12). "The rise of the 'free' city tour". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  8. Handley, Gen. "Forbidden Vancouver tour reenacts Gastown's gothic adventures". The Westender. The Westender. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  9. Frommer's walking tours. Paris, Prentice Hall Travel, 1993, ISSN   1081-3381
  10. Legarde, Lisa (1993), Frommer's walking tours. San Francisco, Prentice Hall Travel, ISSN   1081-3403
  11. Wooldridge, Denyse. (Narrator); Dee's Audio Walking Tours (1996), Manhattan Midtown West, Dee's Audio Walking Tours, retrieved 19 April 2013

Further reading