Lufthansa has created free podcasts about a number of its European destinations. They give you a quick overview of some major sites and must-dos in each city. At present, they cover: Barcelona, Budapest, Dublin, Frankfurt, Innsbruck, Istanbul, London, Milan, Munich, Nice, Paris, Prague, Rome, Valencia, Venice, Vienna, and Zurich. While the restaurant and bar recommendations are geared to travelers with a bigger budget, they also outline tourist attractions and city sites which are accessible to everyone.
A quick google brings up lots of other amateurs and professionals offering city tours, museum tours and city guides. After the jump some of the picks that looked most promising.
Rick Steves does Paris.
Tourcaster primarily sells mp3 audio guides, but they offer a free “Getting to Know” cities series. If you enter “getting to know” into the search field, it brings up free guides for Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Boston, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Chicago, Detroit, Dublin, Geneva, Las Vegas, Lima, Los Angeles, Madrid, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney, Toronto, Vienna, and Washington DC. A short registration is required to download the free podcasts.
National Geographic Traveler offers Walks of a Lifetime, thus far featuring Santa Fe, San Antonio, New Orleans, Montreal, Minneapolis, Barcelona, Philadelphia, Vienna, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Charleston, Savannah, Venice, Sydney, Boston, Rome, Washington DC, Tokyo, Chicago, Berlin, Miami, Paris, San Francisco, Tribeca and London.
Lonely Planet has also produced an entire archive full of podcasts, from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Nigeria to St. Petersburg, Russia and beyond.
The Amateur Traveler has been around the block more than once, most recently detailing trips in Germany, Switzerland, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Seychelles and Dubai.
The Independent offers Athens, Barcelona, Dublin, and Nice.
iToors offers a few podcasts for New York, California, Glasgow, London, Paris and Prague.
Budget Travel has three: Quebec City, Miami and Las Vegas.
Podguides allows you to upload your own city guide for everyone to listen to (which sounds like a great weekend project to try out in your hometown), and currently has tours of Melbourne, St. Louis, France, Belgium, Brussels, Ghent and Kent.
Slate offers tours of the National Mall in Washington DC and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial also produced its own audio guide. The Los Angeles Conservancy offers a walking tour of downtown LA.
Podtrips offers free museum audio guides for a handful of U.S. museums, and a couple offer discounts on admission if you bring your mp3 player loaded with the tour.
What fun, no? Give ‘em a try when planning your next vacation or take an armchair 5-to-30-minute audio mini-vacation right now!