The best way to experience any travel destination isn’t behind the glass of an air-conditioned tour bus: it’s on foot, moving slowly, with your eyes, ears, and nose taking in the essence of the place. That’s the idea behind Context Travel, a company that compares its tours to small seminars in a liberal arts college classroom.
Founded in 2003, Context Travel began offering excursions in Rome, then expanded to include Florence, Naples, Paris, and Venice. Tour guides are scholars with a diverse range of expertise – from art history to cuisine.
In a style very much in keeping with the Slow Travel concept, the pace is deliberate and the goal is to delve into the nitty-gritty of subject matters. Group sizes are limited to six guests, making for in-depth, personal discussions and information exchanges.
At the beginning of March, Context launched walking tours in New York City and London. Although all of their international tours have always been English-language, these are the first offerings in the US or UK.
In New York the thematic walks will include several tours through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a study of archeology in Manhattan, visits to the chocolatiers in Soho, and an in-depth look at the role immigration played in the development of a neighborhood in Queens.
The London programs will include curator-led walks through the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as a comprehensive thematic walk through London dubbed “Portrait of the City.”
City planners take note: It’s no coincidence that some of the world’s most traveled-to destinations are also the most walkable, and not the modern sprawling monstrosities.
See also: Urban AdvenTours Removes the Bus From Tours.
Thanks to Kyeann from Wearing the Future for the info.
Photo via flickr by Nick Bowers.