Best Guided Tours
As much as we love independent travel, sometimes the experience and insider knowledge of a good guide brings you closer to a place than you could possibly get on your own. Here are Gogobot users' top 25 guided tours, spanning sand dunes and city markets, haunted houses and river cruises.
The great Seattle fire of 1889 led to a rebuild of downtown to 12 feet higher, creating the Seattle Underground. The guided tour through these subterranean passageways is a fascinating look at the first Seattle.
I did this on a college trip and it was really fun! Tons of historical information and a great way to not-see Seattle.
Shiver at the sight of solitary confinement cells and hear an account of the single successful escape from Alcatraz on a tour of this most famous of U.S. prisons. The price conveniently includes the ferry from the mainland and admission.
Definitely one of the most enjoyable experiences for me in the San Francisco Bay area. We purchased the Citypass for San Francisco, and the Alcatraz Cruise was an option offered to replace the ... read more
standard cruise that comes with Citypass. To do the substitution, you must reserve by phone with Alcatraz instead of purchasing the Citypass independently. Alcatraz was definitely one of the destinations I was eager to see on this trip. The cruise line offers several different departure times, we were allowed to change our reservation to the earlier departure since it wasn't full - without hassles. The island is in full view from the pier and the cruise itself was short - only took a matter of 5 minutes to get to the island. The boat is stable, clean, modern and beautiful - it was only of the few that's completely wind/solar powered! Once we were on the island, we had plenty of time to explore, as long as we got back to the boat by the last departure. Allow yourself ample time to explore the island, there are so much to see and explore. We first joined a guided tour by an incredible animated tour guide, he introduced us to a detailed history and evolution of the island, how it came about, its original purpose, intermediate purpose and finally how it became one of the most famous prisons in US. The history was filled with many interesting and hilarious anecdotes, the guide was a great storyteller and had us laughing constantly. Then we were left off at the foot of the real prison, from there we marched up to the building that hosted the prisoners and there was an audio tour with accounts from both the warden and prisoner view of Alcatraz from many perspectives. It also included accounts about the only successful escape out of the prison. We visited the dining hall, the cells, got a short taste of solitary confinements, looked into the beautiful view of San Francisco Bay from the recreational yards of Alcatraz. It was an amazing experience with a taste of history. Loved it!
Not just for budding Frank Lloyd Wrights, the Architecture River Cruise is a great way to see Chicago from another perspective. Geek out on the architecture as much as you want, or zone out and watch the Windy City float by.
I was born and raised in Chicago and still found this to be the most interesting tour ever. The Great Chicago fire was devastating but did open the door to some of the world's most talented architects ... read more
competing, year after year, generation after generation to create art which would be added to the Chicago skyline. The tour is about an hour and will really help you gain an appreciation for the city once your back on land.
Not just a tour, the Pacific Whale Foundation does important work to protect the giant sea mammals. There's really nothing better than knowing your vacation is contributing positively to the world as well as your sanity.
If you're going to go on a winter whale-watching boat trip on Maui, put the Pacific Whale Foundation, a nonprofit organization, at the top of your list. Tours include an on-board naturalist who'll ... read more
talk about the habits of the migratory north Pacific humpback whales that give birth and nurse their young in the shallow, warm waters just off Maui's leeward shores. Most tours depart from Maalaea Bay, south of Lahaina and north of Kihei.
The guided tour inside the theatre reveals the story of its reconstruction and gives an exciting insight into how the 'wooden O' works today as an imaginative and experimental theatrical space.
Step into the era of Shakespeare in this replica of the Globe that is also a working theater. We didn't get to see a play, but that is on the list for our next trip. In addition to the tour, there are ... read more
indoor exhibits that were very informative. The tour guides were knowledgeable and were happy to answer the audience questions.
Tourists, locals, Americans and Canadians shroud themselves in disposable ponchos to get an up-close glimpse of the world famous falls. Remember to bring a waterproof camera!
A ride on the Maid of the Mist is an absolute must. (And a sure fire hit at any age.) Basically, it's a boat ride from either the American or Canadian side that takes passengers so close to falls ... read more
themselves--American, Bridal Veil, and Horseshoe--that you'll get totally soaked (unless, of course, you opt to wear the rain gear provided). The close-up views are spectacular too.....
Aptly named, the Shotover Jet is a jet boat tour on the Shotover River. A thrilling race through canyons at 85 mph, it's one of Queenstown's favorite attractions, with a direct shuttle from town ferrying travelers back and forth.
The Shotover Jet in Queenstown is an awesome experience. Ripping up the river as the canyon walls brush past only inches from the boat. Hold on tight - it's a great ride!
A boutique tour company that organizes trips in Egypt, Nepal, and other off-the-beaten track destinations. Gogobot users love the personalized service.
Eric (owner of Backpackers Concierge) organized a trip to Egypt for a group of us and it was amazing! We traveled from Cairo to Aswan via train (quite the experience), took a boat on the Nile and then ... read more
went to Luxor. Eric made sure we hit all of the highlights (the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings, Luxor Temple), arranged some really unique events (Sandboarding in the desert) and took us to great traditional Egyptian restaurants.
Hold off on the po'boys and discover the haunted side of the garden district or learn all about voodoo in the Big Easy. Local legends figure as well as the supernatural, for a unique perspective on this American city.
New Orleans is a city rich with history-- and some of that history has a romantic, darker side. Take one of these tours to explore the occult side of the city. The voodoo tour highlights the city's ... read more
interesting mix of European, African, and Haitian roots, but the vampire tour is also popular and fun.
Parisian greatest hits like the Louvre Museum, The Eiffel Tower and Tuileries Gardens float by as you coast the streets of the City of Lights on your fat-tired bike. Baguette in basket not included.
The nighttime cycle around Paris is lovely and includes a stop for ice cream and a Seine river cruise. The guide was very knowledgeable and made it a fun and safe time for everyone.
Barcelona's hop-on hop-off service allows you to tour the city at your own pace. Just get off at an attraction you'd like to see, and get back on when the next bus passes - and you've soaked up your fill of the Sagrada Familia or Parc Guell.
This is probably one of the best ways to see the city. Especially if you're staying down near the water and want to get all the way up to La Sagrada Familia or the Olympic park - and learn some cool ... read more
stuff along the way. The bus I took gave us earphones and the option to listen in English. One of the best decisions I made during the Barcelona trip!
The dazzlingly beautiful red rock landscape outside Sedona is best seen up close, and Pink Jeep tours allow access to otherwise off-limits sections of desert.
This is a great way to get out and see a lot of the off-the-beaten-path trails. The guides are very friendly and entertaining and have a lot of knowledge about the history and areas. A must-do for ... read more
your first trip to Sedona.
See the sets of TV shows, take your turn in front of the green screen, and maybe even spot some of your favorite stars. Gogobot users love the behind-the-scenes access.
Such a fun tour! The green screen is hilarious and you can actually pose and read just like an on camera correspondent. The gift shop has some great souvenirs. This is a great tour for TV lovers and ... read more
groups of friends and family.
Want a little mud in your adventure? Get down and, ahem, dirty with an ATV tour of Kauai. Explore beaches, old ranches, and other parts of the island up close.
Great way to see some of the old ranch lands on the island, and climb up for some views of secluded beaches otherwise seldom visited. Bring a camera and prepare to get super muddy if its been raining. ... read more
Throw on your bathing suit before you explore the underground river and watery caves, as part of your tour requires swimming. A great way to go a little 'deeper' on a Mayan Riviera vacation.
Totally cool tour of a water-filled cave: you pull on a wetsuit and strap on a helmet and go for a walk (and sometimes swim) through this complex and beautiful space, some huge open rooms dripping ... read more
with stalactites and other narrower spots. You'll see amazing rock formations, and if you're lucky, some of the critters that live here. The moment when everyone switches off their headlamps and just sits in the dark is amazing. The whole operation is really smoothly run, and it's also a great activity for a rainy day, as it's all inside!
Follow your beer from fermentation to bottling and give a nod to historic machinery in the process on a tour of the Carlsberg Brewing Company. A few different options are available to suit your interest; Gogobot users love the building itself and the complimentary tasting at the end.
Fun little tour, but the best part is the beer tasting at the end. They've got some HIGH-POWERED beers available, so if you're a lightweight like myself, plan to take it easy for an hour or so ... read more
Visit the sand dunes of Morocco with an experienced guide, and marvel at the desert landscape by day and by night -- these tours allow you to sleep outside and enjoy the sunset and starry sky.
This was undoubtedly the highlight of my trip to Morocco. Hassan and everyone else at Le Petit Prince were absolutely fantastic. They made us feel welcome, provided a room for us to rest in during the ... read more
day before our overnight desert trip and made the whole experience unforgettable. The dunes were beautiful and this company is definitely the one to explore them with. I cannot say a ingle bad thing about the whole experience. Thank you Hassan and team!
No need to book, just show up for one of the two-hour walking tours with themes like Shakespeare's London and the Harry Potter Walk. London's quirky and convoluted history revealed: a great way to experience this amazing city.
This walking company covers just about any interest in London. The guides are always excellent and sometimes outstanding in their ability to entertain throughout the two-hour tours. The stories they ... read more
tell reveal new layers of London that, in my view, make a visit the the city more memorable. Personal favorites are "Jack the Ripper Haunts," "Ghosts, Gaslight & Guinness," "Somewhere Else London," and, in part for the name alone, "Bloody, Flaming, Poxy London" about the London of Christopher Wren.
Make your way through Pike Place market in two hours or take three days to kayak around Seattle's San Juan islands and taste the local dishes. Choose some Chocolate Indulgence or fancy a Farm to Table experience. Any way you 'slice' it, Gogobot users love the foodie perspective on Seattle, a city with a growing reputation for cuisine.
This is an awesome way to learn your way around the market. The tour guide shows you around and various vendors will provide generous samples of their best stuff for you to try. They'll also give you ... read more
a VIP card so you can get some discounts at a good number of shops around the market, it was definitely worth the price.
A duck if by land, and a duck if by sea! Take a narrated tour of beautiful, historic Boston in one of many brightly colored Ducks, vintage amphibious vehicles that allow your tour to venture beyond the confines of the streets. After hitting many of Boston's main attractions, try not to be alarmed when your duck leaves the land behind and drives you straight into the Charles River for a side of Boston you've never seen!
One of the most memorable things to do in Boston, especially as a kid. The tours are both land vehicles and boats giving you a full experience of the city!
Follow in the footsteps of prospectors as you tour the Anchor Brewery, founded during the first California Gold Rush. The Potrero Hill brewery offers two free tours a day all ahead for reservations, because they don't take walk-ins. Don't miss the malted rye whiskey in addition to the craft brews.
What an incredible local resource. We should all be grateful to the Maytag heir who bought the brewery, kept it going, and made it far more popular and successful than ever. Amusingly, I read a 1930s ... read more
semi-fictionalized account of life in SF in the 1890s and it made many references to "steam beer." If you have a chance to do the tour, do it! The tour was very informative and fragrant, and standing next to the idle bottling machinery I felt like Shirley Feeney. Plus you get to sample their many varieties!
On the slopes of Maui's Haleakala Crater, a visit to the goats (who, sadly, are not actually surfing) and a tour to sample their award-winning cheeses is a must. Gogobot users love this as a family-friendly stop on Maui.
What a nice place to learn about small farm operations, feed the goats, learn about cheese making, and taste some fresh and creamy goat cheese. Not too farm from Hana Hwy and Haleakala National Park ... read more
is Surfing Goat Diary Farm. A great place to bring the keikis and visitors. Definitely sample some of the variety of goat cheeses they have, it's soo good. Order some food or cheese snacks make on the farm.
If you want to learn more about what makes a giant metal tube stay in the air for hours on end, drive 25 miles north of Seattle to the Future of Flight Aviation, where you can tour a Boeing commercial jet assembly plant.
This is an amazing experience, to be able to see these airplanes being manufactured is unforgettable. Very impressive tour, and the museum and the exhibits are educational and cool! There is a little ... read more
cafe in case you get hungry, too.
Want to understand what it was like to live in a medieval Umbrian hill town? Go deep. Way deep. Explore the caves where medieval residents lived and defended themselves during sieges. (Hint: think lots of pigeon for dinner. And lunch. And breakfast.)
My old college pal and I took this tour into the caverns carved out of a relatively soft tufa stone. These caves run through the hill on which Orvieto was built, and lie directly under the famous (and ... read more
heavy) cathedral. The tour was wonderful and took us back to the ages of the early inhabitants of the area on into the current century. The caves really highlight the cleverness and the short-sightedness of our kind.
The Three Gorges Dam is a highlight of a cruise on the Yangtze River, most of which run between in Chongqing and Yichang. Our users love the natural scenery and White Emperor Island.
Awesome! The Dam is magnificent, scenery breathtaking esp the Little Three Gorges, culturally interesting with the Hanging Coffins, historically significant at the White Emperor Island.