I’ve been thinking recently about the value of walking tours compared to bus tours: walking gets you up close and personal with an area of a city, while going by bus allows you to see buildings, attractions and monuments that are further afield, while being protected from any adverse weather.
Leipzig Erleben has struck upon a perfect balance, though: combine them both! A one-hour walk through the streets and arcades of the city centre is immediately followed by a 90-minute bus trip with a live commentary.
Tours run throughout the day, but most are in German only — fair enough, given that around 80% of Leipzig’s tourism is internal. We were the only English speakers on the combined English-German tour, and I was impressed at how well our guide, Franz, conducted the tour in two languages — he paced his commentary well and nobody looked bored when he was speaking the other language.
The walk was particularly good: among other stops, we visited the old town hall, St Nicholas Church, and the Mädlerpassage — famous for its inclusion in Goethe’s Faust. The bus trip seemed just a little too long — though perhaps I just needed a coffee — but there was plenty of interest to see, including the Stasi Museum, a palace, and an enormous war memorial monument. Franz kept us entertained with a constant commentary on what we were seeing, and made sure the driver stopped outside the most important buildings so we could get a good eyeful.
I was very impressed by the tour and would recommend it to any visitor to Leipzig — by the end, I had a much better understanding of the city than I’d had before it started. Tickets cost €15 for the complete 2.5 hours, and if you’d prefer not to hop on a bus, a 90-minute walking tour is available for €10.