The best tour guides take their clients off the beaten path. If you’ve already seen Buckingham Palace, they won’t waste your time. They have private access to museums and hotels. They get to know your likes and dislikes. A few get down and dirty—in Barcelona, Spain, tours conducted by homeless people expose the grim reality of street life.
These eight guides continually provide creative, unique adventures:
This Puglia native is an accomplished cook and sommelier, but his passion is Italian history. One of his favorite regions is the Amalfi Coast, where architecture and the surrounding landscape are perfectly integrated. A tour favorite is Eremo di Santa Maria a Cetrella, a 14th-century church on the island of Capri.
Dowling’s guests are treated to the real India and the ancient mysteries of China. Clients should be prepared to get up early: She likes being the first to arrive at her favorite spots.
Since Goulding was once a journalist, it’s no surprise that she’s quite a storyteller. She leads walking tours throughout London, but she’s partial to the Old Westminster neighborhood. She can point out former air raid shelters and other unofficial historical markers that you’d never have noticed.
This Kenyan safari guide, a former goatherd, knows the region like no one else. When he takes a rest from guiding, he heads home to the highlands where he serves as tribal chief to the Kisii people. Omwenga is a peaceable man with a keen respect for diversity of culture. He also dreams that generations to come will enjoy a cleaner planet.
Morrone just can’t write enough about New York City. The author of a dozen published works became a guide in a roundabout way; he only meant to promote his books when he started giving neighborhood tours. No other guide in the city offers private access to the Plaza Hotel, and he can give you the lowdown on dozens of famous guests.
Tone was skiing in the Swiss Alps when she was just a toddler. She now lives in Alaska and conducts heli-skiing tours. She has a knack for urging her clients to venture beyond their comfort zones.
Peter conquered Mount Everest nearly four decades after his famous father, Sir Edmund Hillary. He has climbed the mountain a total of five times, twice reaching the summit. He refers to Antarctica and the Himalayas as second homes.
Since Anees never publishes itineraries, her day trips through Mumbai are deeply personal. Her guests often enjoy gourmet meals and art tours in privately-owned Mumbai mansions. Given her elegance and perfect taste, no one is surprised to learn that she is royalty.