Walking Tour of Vienna

When on a short city break, it can sometimes feel like you are trying to cram everything in. One of the best ways of seeing a lot in a short space of time is to take a walking tour.

Luckily, on our trip to Vienna, the hotel was offering a free walking tour of the city and we decided to make the most of it. When picking a tour, I like to look for ones that don’t just visit the popular tourist spots; I can do that perfectly well on my own. Instead, I like to pick tours that offer something a little different, usually places that are just off the beaten path. The free tour we joined was just the ticket as it was centred around the Jewish quarter and surrounding areas, slightly out of the main shopping areas.

We spent a couple of hours hearing tales of historical sites down the twisty streets next to the Danube. The architecture was incredible, often showing glimpses of the changes made to buildings across the years: Art Deco, Baroque and Gothic in places, splattered with an array of Roman style statues.

Stories of bar tenders who were so drunk they were mistaken for Plague victims and thrown into mass graves, visits to the places Mozart studied and incredibly ornate churches behind plain wooden doors: the tour was excellent and gave a sense of Vienna’s history.

As this tour took place on the coldest day of our trip in Vienna, we rounded off the morning with a hot drink in a toasty cafĂ©. Once we’d suitably warmed up, we were off again; this time making up our own little tour locations as we found out way back towards the Danube.

The Best Free Show In Vegas

Experiencing the Bellagio Fountains from the sidewalk and from above – the best free experience in Vegas

One of the most iconic features of Vegas (other than the Vegas sign or the casinos) are the Bellagio Fountains. If you are spending any time on the strip (see some of Wandering Beeb’s pictures of the Strip here), you won’t be able to miss the spectacular show that they perform.

The first time I went to Vegas, I was astounded by the sheer size of the fountains – they aren’t really comparable to anything I’d seen before.

Set on an expanse of around twenty-two million gallons of water, an underwater, crocodile-like track of jets lies in wait.

The view from the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Vegas

Every fifteen to thirty minutes (depending on the time of day and holiday periods) this snaking underwater spine comes to life, heralded by a booming rendition of whatever song is selected for the performance. You can see the range of music used in the performances here.

In time with the music, spiralling columns of water are boosted four-hundred and sixty foot in the air, illuminated by piercing spotlights.

Bellagio Fountains in Vegas

The first time I went to Vegas, we’d caught a performance of Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye) on our last night. The combination of the music and graceful movement of the water had brought tears to my eyes, knowing that we were coming to the end of this particular adventure.

There are very few free things in Vegas and to have something so beautiful available to watch for free feels like a luxury you can’t afford to miss. Watching the fountains from pavement level gives you a great view, no matter where you choose to stand, but be warned, pick-pockets do operate in the area, often in co-ordinated groups, striking whilst unsuspecting travellers are gazing up in awe as the lights and water dance along with the music.

Night time view of the Bellagio Fountains in Vegas

Last time I went to Vegas, we upgraded our room at the Cosmopolitan to include a fountain view. This cost around $80 extra on our room price and was worth every penny. The rooms in the Cosmopolitan are amazingly well soundproofed, however stepping on to the balcony, we had a great view of the fountains and could still hear the music clearly. Even from a distance, the unmistakable rumble of the water, crashing down from dizzying heights was just as powerful as at ground level.

Bellagio Fountains mid performance in Vegas

Watching the fountains at night, surrounded by the Vegas lights was incredibly beautiful and because we were up higher than the busy strip below, it felt as though the fountains were marking out their performance just for the two of us. If you have an opportunity to view the fountains from above – take it, it’s worth every second.

What other ‘can’t miss’ freebies are there in Vegas? Share your thoughts in the comments.