Instagram tours to Instagrammable sights and popular hashtag locations is a new form of ‘travel by Instagram’ – people are paying tour companies to take them to the best selfie spots, take Insta-worthy images of them, and even provide post-tour edited pics for sharing on social media.
Like many travel writers, I’m pretty good at predicting travel trends – Terence and I were writing about local travel and experiential travel years before they became a thing. But I have to confess while I’ve observed the growth of ‘Travel by Instagram’, I had no idea Instagram Tours existed until yesterday while searching Get Your Guide for day trips for our South Korea Food Tour post and an Instagram Bus Tour in Jeju popped up.
I guess I should have seen it coming. Since we moved to Siem Reap five years ago I’ve been to Angkor Archaeological Park countless times and there hasn’t been a visit when I haven’t spotted at least half a dozen Instagram shoots at Angkor Wat or the Bayon or another temple.
These are serious enterprises that go beyond the selfies that have become a normal part of travel photography. I’m talking about people with bags full of enough big floppy hats and long flowing dresses for half a dozen costume changes. But I didn’t truly understand how big a trend that Travel by Instagram had become until two things happened…
First, a client who hired me to craft a bespoke itinerary asked that I include Ta Som, a dilapidated twelfth-century temple that you might visit if you were spending three days at Angkor, but not if you only had one packed day. When I asked why, he admitted it was to take a selfie in the entrance that’s dramatically framed by tree roots, as he’d seen others do on Instagram. The Ta Som requests kept coming.
But it wasn’t until a year later that it really hit me. I’d been commissioned to do a heap of blog posts for the launch of the Marriott Traveller website. Amongst the list of posts I was asked to write on eating, shopping and spas were posts on the most Instagrammable spots in those destinations.
I’ve written before about selfies and how I’d like to see selfie sticks banned from Angkor and other attractions, as I can’t see how you can have an immersive experience of a place and connect with the people in that place if you’re constantly obsessing over your hair, make-up and clothes, and only looking at places as backgrounds against which you capture your own image.
But perhaps Instagram tours are the solution? Perhaps there are tours to Insta-worthy sights with guides who after having taken you to the most popular hashtag locations can say ‘enough’ and insist you have a history lesson, too? What do you think? Have you been on an Instagram tour? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the Comments below. In the meantime, these are the Instagram tours I discovered on Get Your Guide…
Instagram Tours to Grammable Sights and Popular Hashtag Spots – Extreme Travel By Instagram
These are the Instagram tours to Instagrammable sights, popular hashtag locations and the most insta-worthy places on Get Your Guide that caught my eye.
Instagram Bus Tour in Jeju to Scenic Spots
Instagram Tour pitch: “The Pink Jeju Bus is designed for those who cannot rent a car but want to visit the best places to take pictures in Jeju. Enjoy your hassle-free but affordable bus ride that stops at the most popular hashtag locations!”
Instagrammable spots: Expect to visit Jeju’s most Instagrammable spots including “the hottest Jeju attractions and spots that are popular on social media” so you can “get the best photos ever at the most beautiful spots on Jeju Island. Visit the most popular cafés and restaurants on Jeju according to social influencers. Be transported to the hot places as defined by social media.” These guys look very organised with two bus lines doing the 9-hour tours (yes, 9 hours!) with the East Tour Line taking in Jocheon Swiss Village “where you’ll feel the cozy atmosphere of a small Swiss town”, Saryeoni Forest Path “to take amazing photos with the tall lined-up trees”, ‘Let’s Run Farm’ with “gorgeous fields of sunflowers and poppies”. The West Tour Line takes in Iho Tewoo Beach’s “calm sea and the red and white lighthouse” where they advise you not to forget to add #jeju on your instagram posts. On the walk at Aljakji Beach, the tour notes also suggest you “listen to the waves”. There is lots more to ’gram, too, including a stop at a café owned by the famous K-Pop star G-Dragon (no idea) and visits to Seong Yi Sidol ranch, where you need to “find the tree that is big enough to cover a huge group of people – also a popular social media photo spot” and O’Sulloc Tea Museum “where wide green tea fields are spread out for you to admire and you where can try Jeju’s best green tea products”.
Fine Print: Apparently it’s the “local driver who will assist you taking pictures”. Admittedly I’ve only been aware of the existence of Instagram tours for all of 18 hours, however, from my limited research so far these guys appear to be very organised. I can see the Pink Jeju Bus growing into a whole global Hop-on Hop-off Instagram Bus franchise. Pink is so much more Instagrammable than red, right?
Book this Jeju Instagram tour with our tour booking partner Get Your Guide
Busan Premium Photography Tour to Sky Walk, Fish Market, Observatory
Instagram Tour pitch: “This premium day tour takes you to the main cultural and modern spots of Busan, and includes lunch, transportation, and even a photographer to capture you and your best experiences!”
Instagrammable spots: On this 10-hour tour (who can take photos of themselves for this long?!) you’ll get to shoot Busan’s most Instagrammable spots including Songdo Sky Walk, “a long, curving ocean trail that lets you enjoy the ocean view without getting wet” where you’ll “venture out on to the viewing platform stretching out into the water so you can take pictures of the amazing coastline. After the walk along the sea, you will have a chance to take creative pictures to share on your social media at Gamcheon Culture Village, nicknamed the “Machu Picchu of Busan” with various graffiti, decorations, and sculptures”. This Busan Instagram tour also takes in Yondusan Park, where you can “learn how the mountain got its name and how this mountain relates to the long history of Korea and the Korean War” (not sure how well that goes down) and “a local restaurant for a chance to try popular Busan food”, Gukjet Market for street food “where you can observe the hustle and bustle of local Busan natives’ lives”, Jagalchi fish market, Samwang Temple “where the famous lantern festival is held, named a must-see temple by CNN”, and Mount Hwangnyeongsan Observatory for “an overview of the beautiful city of Busan.”
Fine print: Included is “photographer service” and “enhanced photos of you taken during the tour”.
Book this Busan Instagram tour with our tour booking partner Get Your Guide
Bali Instagram Tours – The Most Scenic Spots
Instagram Tour pitch: “This tour will take you to the most scenic and Instagram-worthy sights around Bali where you’ll snap photos and experience the beauty of Bali. Immerse yourself in the nature and Balinese culture while exploring monuments and natural wonders.”
Instagrammable spots: While this 8-10 Instagram tour takes in many of Bali’s most Instagrammable spots including “an endless collection of seascapes, landscapes and beautiful landmarks that will stun even the most articulate poet”, it also promises that “you’ll learn about the Balinese culture and history behind those sites and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature”. You’ll visit the Gates of Heaven at Lempuyang Temple and “be awed by the magical views of Mount Agung behind the temple” where “your guide will not only snap cool shots for you but will also explain the history of the ancient temple as well as the Balinese people and their culture”. You’ll visit Tirta Gangga, the royal water palace for its tiered fountains, gardens, and “stone sculptures of mythical creatures spouting water into bathing pools”, and take in views of the lush rice paddies of northeastern Bali nearby; Tukad Cepung waterfall, where you can “admire the sun rays shining straight through the top of the falls, creating natural beams across the canyon” and enjoy a swim beneath the waterfall; Ubud, where you will be able to “walk in a beautiful rice field with the green of coconut plants”; and “last but not least, you will fly over the jungle and experience incredible views on a jungle swing”.
Fine Print: This Instagram tour includes a tour guide and there’s also a “drone option” where “a professional drone pilot will join and follow you on this Instagram tour”. You’ll get 3-4 minutes of edited footage 24 hours after the tour. There’s also a note to wear shorts and sandals but to bring long pants or a sarong to cover your legs for temple visits and to be “in good physical condition” for lots of “walking and hiking up steps”.
Book this Bali Instagram tour with our tour booking partner Get Your Guide
Bali and Nusa Penida 2-Day Flexi Combo Instagram Tours
Instagram Tour pitch: “This flexi combo tour will take you to the most scenic and Instagram-worthy sights around Bali and Nusa Penida. Snap photos and experience the beauty of both islands as you immerse yourself in nature and Balinese culture.”
Instagrammable spots: This 2-day (!) Bali Instagram tour takes you Bali’s most Instagrammable spots: the Gates of Heaven at Lempuyang Temple for views of Mount Agung, Tirta Gangga water palace, Tukad Cepung waterfall for the shining sun rays and “natural beams across the canyon”, Ubud for that “walk in a beautiful rice field among the coconut plants”, and the jungle swing to “fly over the jungle and experience incredible views” on the first day. On day the focus is on Nusa Penida where you’ll take a fast boat to Toyapakeh on the island of Nusa Penida to “visit the famous Kelingking Beach for the chance to take photos of the most beautiful spot on the island, snap magical pictures at Batu Molenteng Tree House, marvel at the cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean, and then continue to Pasih Uug (Broken Beach) and swim at the natural pool of Angel’s Billabong.”
Fine print: They also want you to wear shorts and sandals on this tour, but also take long pants or a sarong for temples, and also note “that there will be some bumpy and narrow roads on Nusa Penida, although they are worth it for the scenery”.
Book this 2-Day Bali Instagram tour with our tour booking partner Get Your Guide
Ultimate Sydney Instagram Tours – Harbour, Bridge and Pub
Instagram Tour pitch: “This tour will take you to the most scenic and Instagram-worthy sights around Sydney Harbour where you’ll snap photos and experience the beauty of Sydney at sunset. Immerse yourself in the Harbour landscape and city skyline while exploring landmarks. Visit the most picturesque locations of the Sydney Harbour foreshore and take the best photos with the help of your guide.”
Instagrammable spots: On this 4.5 hour tour you’ll get to photograph Sydney’s most Instagrammable spots while you “immerse yourself in the beauty of a Sydney sunset, the city skyline and a harbour ferry ride. Walk the hidden cobblestone laneways and the famous Harbour Bridge. Walk around the famous Sydney Opera house. Explore the beautiful Botanical gardens and Lady Macquarie’s chair. Hop on a ferry to Milsons Point to then explore the famous Luna Park and Harbour foreshore. Stroll over the Iconic Sydney harbour bridge and capture beautiful photos of the Opera House from above.” That’s a lot to pack into 4.5 hours but you’ll definitely be covering the most iconic spots and they promise that “on top of snapping some Instagram-worthy pictures, you’ll learn about the history behind those sites and immerse yourself in all that Sydney Cove offers” as “your guide will not only snap cool shots for you but will also explain the history of the colonial settlement.” The tour finishes at one of the oldest pubs in The Rocks where you can “enjoy a well-earned drink with new friends and share some great images.
Fine Print: You’ll get a local guide and photographer, plus a beer or wine at the pub and snacks like “chips, chicken wings, etc”. There’s also a reminder: “You’ll have opportunities for lots of pictures so don’t forget your camera!”
Book this Sydney Instagram tour with our tour booking partner Get Your Guide
Barcelona Instagram Tours of the Most Scenic Spots
Instagram Tour pitch: “Have a photo shoot with a professional photographer as you visit the most Instagrammable sights on a walking tour of Barcelona. Experience the beauty of the city and take home amazing pictures and memories. Visit the most scenic and Instagrammable sights around Barcelona while a professional photographer snaps photos of you. No experience is needed.”
Instagrammable spots: You’ll get to photograph three of Barcelona’s most Instagrammable spots: the Sagrada Familia, Bunkers del Carmel (for Barcelona views) and Park Guell. This bit sounds good: “You will meet early in the morning to experience the beauty of this city when the city is empty and the light is perfect for beautiful pictures.” This is another tour that promises more than ’gramming too: “Learn about Barcelona and immerse yourself in the history and culture of this place. This can be ran as a half-day or full-day tour and the differences are explained on the site.
Fine Print: Photo session at the most scenic places in Barcelona with a professional photographer and 10 fully-optimized high-resolution pictures per person.
Book this Barcelona Instagram tour with our tour booking partner Get Your Guide
Milan Duomo Rooftop and Top Floor Galleria Instagram Tours
Instagram Tour pitch: “Discover the most photo friendly spots of Milan and visit unique places on this panoramic tour. Your guide will know exactly where to take the best pictures and will allow you with enough time to score that Instagrammable selfie with the best view! Shoot some amazing photos of the best panoramas Milan has to offer.” Good to see a tour with a strong angle and focus.
Instagrammable spots: These 2-hour Instagram tours cover two of Milan’s most Insta-worthy spots. First the guide will “take you to a hidden place in the Gallery of Vittorio Emanuele”: “a historical house will allow you to climb all three floors of the Gallery, with each another breath-taking panorama. Within the historical house you can also find a little museum about the tailor shop that will show you how people used to dress up to visit the Gallery. Viewing this will have you travel through time and remember the classy golden days that have long passed.” After you’ve finished time travelling “you will visit the Gallery itself in all its glory. You will have enough time to take some great pictures while listening to your guide. Your guide might even have a hint or two on the best picture taking positions, as they know the place by heart. Feeling like you relived the classy past, it is time to follow your guide to the next panorama”. You’ll then take the elevator up to the rooftop of the Duomo Cathedral “and find yourself amidst all the white marble. This rooftop is amazing for two things, first, the amazing view you have of the complete city. On a clear day, you might even be able to see the mountains! Second, the rooftop is full of surprises and small details. In between all the spires, you can find many figures made out of marble that will spark your fantasy. The rooftop is full of spots for some great shots, your guide will know exactly where. Also, while you are at it, do not forget to take a picture of the amazing square below!” I have to agree that amongst all that amazingness, exploring the Duomo rooftop is probably the most amazing experience of all.
Book this Milan Instagram tour with our tour booking partner Get Your Guide
Pisa Instagram Tours of The Most Scenic Spots
Instagram Tour pitch: “Immerse yourself in the history and culture of Pisa whilst exploring some of its most iconic monuments and hidden gems. Grab your camera for this fantastic walking tour, specially designed to help you get some amazing photos of this beautiful city.”
Instagrammable spots: On these two-hour Instagram tours you’ll get to photograph Pisa’s most Instagrammable spots, starting at Piazza Garibaldi, where you’ll “take in amazing views of the Arno River as your guide snaps shots of you with a professional camera. Wander through Pisa’s most ancient streets with their quaint buildings, before continuing to the Piazza del Cavalieri with the stunning Palazzo della Carovana. Lastly, you will climb the city wall where you can get some spectacular shots of Pisa’s iconic leaning tower.” This tour promises that you’ll “discover the best that Pisa has to offer, which is much more than its famous tower” and “visit some of the city’s most iconic and picturesque sites on this tour specially designed to help you get some great photos, for your Instagram or just to share with your family and friends” but you’ll also “immerse yourself in the beauty of Pisan architecture. Learn about the culture of Pisa and the history behind the sites you visit”.
Fine print: You’ll get a guide with a professional camera to take photos for you, personalized postcard and lots of pictures.
Book this Pisa Instagram tour with our tour booking partner Get Your Guide
We’d love to hear from you if you do any of these Instagram tours or if you have some reflections or opinions to share on the genre of Insta-tours. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
Image courtesy of our Luxury Escapes. This post contains links to Luxury Escapes and Get Your Guide, our travel booking partners. If you book a tour, we earn a small commission, which supports this site, but you don’t pay any extra.