Unique Ways to Sightsee: Tours with a Twist

Tired of trundling along in a tour bus while a guide drones on about yet another historic castle or pretty waterfall outside your window? You’ll see the world in a totally different light with one of these alternative adventures – and you can be sure of holiday snaps that won’t make your friends’ eyes glaze over.


The Paparazzi Tour

sightsee 1Tours of celebrity haunts are ten a penny in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, but “Running from the Paparazzi”offers a new twist. Lace up your running shoes and trot four miles on a guided jog that brings you along the routes followed by actual celebrities who evade persistent photographers on the local streets. The tour starts on Wilshire Boulevard and proceeds past such celebrity haunts as The Ivy before finishing on Rodeo Drive. You are rewarded for your efforts with a cupcake.

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New York City in a Hearse

sightsee 5Most people don’t get to travel in a hearse until they are horizontal, but Drew Raphael has come up with a novel new tour concept that brings sightseers around downtown New York City in a 1960 Cadillac Superior Crown Royale combination hearse called Desdemona. Up to seven people can travel in Addams Family style around the more macabre locations in New York City.  Dead Apple Tours explores the history of famous dead New Yorkers from the 1600s, with destinations including a Spanish-Portuguese cemetery and the places where Heath Ledger, Sid Vicious, and other celebrities met their end.

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Historic Toilet Tour, York

sightsee 2It appears that historic tours in the UK city of York have gone down the drain. York has enough history to keep you busy for weeks – a magnificent Gothic cathedral, intact Roman walls, and a spectacular Viking museum to start – and now you can add the “Historic Toilet Tour” to that list.  Ticket-holders are led across Lendal Bridge and around Exhibition Square, discovering fascinating facts along the way about the disgusting pits used by Vikings, the remarkably advanced facilities enjoyed by the Romans, and the garderobes that medieval citizens generally emptied into castle moats.

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Chernobyl Tours

sightsee 3After the nuclear disaster of 1986, the Ukrainian town of Chernobyl turned into a destination that everyone knew – and nobody wanted to visit. Decades later, Solo East Travel is hoping to change all that with so-called ecological tours of the decommissioned power plant and the area around it. Highlights include the notorious Reactor No. 4, the unnerving “dead town” of Pripyat with its abandoned fairground, and the weirdly-coloured, radiated pine trees of the “red forest.”  Visitors can feed catfish at a cooling channel in the power plant and measure radiation levels.

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Tours of Hebron’s Occupied Territories

sightsee 4Most cities you will ever visit offer guided walking tours, but few can be as politically sensitive as those led by the group Breaking the Silence in Hebron. The tour guides (from Israel) all served in the military in Hebron and the South Hebron Hills, and the tours are designed to reveal the reality of military occupation. The tour begins in Shuhada Street, an area of what is now the settlers’ security zone, lined with boarded-up Palestinian shops and houses, many daubed with Stars of David. A local police district commander has claimed that the BtS tours are designed to try to provoke a violent response from settlers.

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