The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates called walking "man's best medicine." And he might have been right. After all, walking is a great way to get physical exercise (research has shown that walking just 10 minutes a day can reduce one's risk of dementia, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease), mental exercise (the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato developed many of their most famous theories while ambulating), and even social exercise (as Mark Twain once said: "The true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking"). And for able-bodied travelers, it also can be a great way to see a city. For all those reasons and more, a walking tour is an ideal activity for meeting and incentive groups traveling abroad, members of which will gain healthier bodies, sharper minds, and stronger relationships with every step.
Although great walking tours can be found everywhere, here are five top-notch tours in five of the world's hottest meeting and incentive destinations:Barrio Bird Walking Tours' Glam Bird Tour (San José, Costa Rica)
Costa Rica's beaches are beautiful from a boat. And its jungles are best seen from the backseat of a Jeep. If you want to get to know its capital city, however, there's no better way to tour it than by foot. Check out Barrio Bird Walking Tours, whose small-group tours are led by "artists, researchers, activists, and entrepreneurs active in the revitalization of downtown San José." Pick from several options: Choices include the Bird's Nest Tour, which offers an overview of the city; the Artist Bird Tour, which showcases the creative side of Costa Rica; and the Hungry Bird Tour, which highlights local food. For a true taste of Costa Rican culture, however, try the Glam Bird Tour
, a history-themed tour of San José through the lens of Costa Rica's most important crop -- coffee. "This golden crop brought Costa Rica out of the provincial and into the glamorous in a matter of a few decades," according to the company, whose tour winds through the streets of the famous Barrio Amon and concludes with an interior tour of the National Theater, complete with a coffee in its elegant lobby.Vienna Explorer's Private Vienna Walking Tour (Vienna, Austria)
Because the world's most famous composers -- including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Strauss, and Ludwig van Beethoven -- all lived and worked there at some point, Vienna is best known for its musical contributions. Experienced on foot, its culture and history will therefore be music to attendees' ears. Among the city's favored tour operators is Vienna Explorer, whose private Vienna walking tours last 2.5 hours and encompass all the top sites in Vienna's historic city center. Highlights include St. Stephen's cathedral; the house where Mozart wrote his famous opera, "The Marriage of Figaro"; the Sacher Hotel, whose eponymous Sachertorte (chocolate cake) is world-famous; the Hofburg Imperial palace; the Spanish Riding School, which is well known for its Lipizzaner horses; and Heroes' Square, where Hitler made his famous "Anschluss" speech that confirmed Austria as part of the Third Reich. Whether one fancies history, food, art, architecture, or music, the tour -- like the city -- offers it all.The Local Experience's Size Matters Beer Tour (Munich, Germany)
When they travel, most people want to experience how the locals live. In Germany, that means experiencing how the locals drink. In other words: beer. Enter The Local Experience's Size Matters Beer Tour. Designed by locals, the four-hour tour is part history tour, part pub-crawl. It includes stops at three to four "biergartens" and bars, 1.5 liters of free beer, and heaps -- or rather, "hops" -- of knowledge about Munich's brewing history and culture. It's a social way to experience the best part of Bavaria: its beloved brews.ZenKimchi's Korean BBQ Night Out (Seoul, South Korea)
It's often said that the best way to experience a destination is by eating its cuisine. That's certainly true in Seoul, where Korean barbecue -- meat and vegetables prepared for a group on a gas or charcoal grill that's built into the dining table itself -- is a cultural staple. Groups can experience it firsthand by participating in "The Ultimate Korean BBQ Night Out," a food tour operated by ZenKimchi, Korean's longest-running food blog and tour guide to such customers as Anthony Bourdain, Bon Appetit magazine, and Andrew Zimmern. The tour begins with Korean pork barbecue and aged kimchi at one of Seoul's best BBQ joints, includes a tour of a local jeon (Korean pancake) market, and concludes at a traditional Korean pub with what the tour operator calls "a crash course in Korean alcohol."Fitz & Follwell's Old Montreal Walk (Montreal, QB, Canada)
Old Montreal (pictured) is one of North America's oldest neighborhoods. A blend of European and North American cultures, it's full of charming cobblestone streets, French and British architecture, and intriguing historical sites. On its "Old Montreal Walk," Fitz & Follwell shows groups all that and more. The three-hour tour begins with a multimedia presentation about Old Montreal, then proceeds with a casual yet informative walking tour that includes both major attractions -- the Old Port and Notre Dame Basilica, for instance -- and hidden gems: local guides' favorite cafes, markets, and eateries. If they ask nicely, attendees might even get to sample some authentic poutine.