GPSmyCity app review: Simplifying city breaks with downloadable, self-guided walking tours
Would you like to find a way to make exploring cities easier and more manageable? Do you like the ease and convenience of having a tour guide but prefer the excitement and flexibility of exploring alone?
Yep, me too! If you answered yes then keep reading to find out about GPSmyCity, a travel app that makes visiting cities SO easy.
I often find cities to be overwhelming places to visit because there’s just so much going on. There are so many sights, iconic landmarks, countless places to eat and bucket list locations to visit. And then there’s all the hidden gems and interesting spots off the usual tourist trail you need to dig out and find.
Now imagine an app that stops cities being so overwhelming and guides you around to see all the unmissable locations. But not just the ‘top 10 things to see’ in that city; it can take you to all the places only locals know about, the places you’d usually walk straight past and the places you don’t see in many travel guides.
It will guide you around the city so you don’t get lost and will and ensure you don’t spend your precious holiday walking around in circles!
Let me introduce you to GPSmyCity (and their latest campaign)
I started using GPSmyCity in 2014 when I worked on a project with Citadines Apart’hotels. Over 10 days I visited Paris, Lyon and Berlin and travelled solo around all three cities. It was a fantastic 10 days and GPSmyCity became my little lifesaver!
I hadn’t had much time to plan my time away so when I arrived in each destination I wasn’t sure what to do or where to go so I downloaded a selection of travel articles from GPSmyCity. These articles are free to download and read just like any good travel article you’d find on a blog or a website. But the beauty of GPSmyCity is that you can pay $1.99 and bring that article to life.
By upgrading, the locations featured in the article are plotted on a map and the article essentially becomes a self-guided walking tour. Yes, it’s a map with a little dot so you know exactly where you are and which direction you’re facing! The maps can also be used offline using GPS so you won’t be eating into your data allowance or racking up an enormous bill when you’re abroad. And that’s another travel blogger confession; I’m terrible with directions. I’m always getting lost and when I travel alone I spend half of my time walking around in circles.
I found the app especially useful in a smaller city like Lyon where I really had no idea about what there was to see or do. The app took me to all the top sights and attractions with ease. I felt like a travel blogging cheat as this was such an easy way to discover the city!
GPSmyCity is the largest travel portal of its kind with over 6,000 city walks and travel articles in over 750 cities worldwide. That’s a lot of travel advice!
Reviewing GPSmyCity app
I hadn’t used the app since last summer (I used it for a second time in Paris when Sam and I visited to review the Renaissance Paris Republique Hotel) so before writing this review I wanted to give it a whirl again. As I haven’t travelled anywhere since I had Baby Joseph in October I decided to use GPSmyCity in my home city of Chester.
Now this is the ultimate test – being a tour guide to a local! Even a virtual tour guide has a tough job as I know most of the top spots to visit and have a long list of my favourites too. And in a small city like Chester there’s a limited amount of places that can be included in a tour.
I downloaded a walking tour of Chester and I had a great day out as I pretended to be a tourist in my own city. The app guided me around the city and showed me all the historical highlights with some interesting facts and information about each sight. The app even surprised me by taking me to places I’d never heard of before. My favourite spots were the places I was vaguely aware of but never visited – because who visits historical monuments or pretty views at home? I’m always too busy trying to do my shopping or meeting up with friends to actually look around and appreciate Chester.
I’m so glad I tested out the app in Chester for two reasons. Firstly, it gave me the chance to explore the city in a way I’ve never done before. I’ve never seen it through the eyes of a tourist and I had time to soak up the culture and historic atmosphere. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it’s very pretty and I finally got to see that. The app was really comprehensive and had some great suggestions.
The second reason is because I got to test out the app again and this reaffirmed how brilliant it is. I’m really conscious about only recommending products I really love on this blog and GPSmyCity is definitely one of those! I’m going away again this weekend (to Barcelona but ssssshhh, it’s a surprise for Sam’s birthday) and I’ve already downloaded a couple of walking tours for while we’re there.
You can download the app for free and get access to many of the articles and walking tours. If you want to use the maps offline then you do need to pay but it’s not a lot and it’s usually worth it to avoid the roaming fees and for the convenience of having all the details there on your phone.
GPSmyCity are currently running a crowd funding Kickstarter campaign and you can get membership to all app content if you donate. The minimum donation is $50 which is actually pretty good if you travel a lot and you’re likely to use it in most cities you visit! You can download the GPSmyCity app here for iOs devices.
Update: I’ve just returned from Barcelona where I used GPSmyCity ALL the time! It was brilliant for visiting a new (and very confusing!) city. With all those narrow streets and hidden alleys it’s really easy to get lost in Barcelona. There’s also a lot to see in the city so the app made it really easy to find the sights we wanted to see without overwhelming us. You can choose walking tours that focus on specific things such as religious buildings, a Picasso Tour, a tour around the Gothic area, a Gaudi tour, a shopping tour, a La Rambla Walk and loads, loads more.
When we weren’t following the app we would stumble upon cool sights or historic buildings. If we wanted to know what they were, we could check what it was using the app. The app plots where you are on the map and you can see all the attractions around you so you can discover more about the sight that caught your interest.