I am a Romanian, who is not familiar to most Romanian cities, except my own. In which I grew up. Bucharest is my hometown, and sometimes (to be read “a lot of times“), I get bored of it. And when I am not travelling to a foreign country, I travel somewhere closer to home. Romania is a big country and has more than 1 big city. But now I started exploring my country using Questo app.
Exploring is something I am always ready to do. And it is supposed to be easy in my home country. That is partly right, but except for speaking the language, I haven’t got much clue on where to start when it comes to other cities.
Last year, I’ve discovered Questo and decided to test this app in Bucharest. To put it into simple words, Questo is a free app, a mix between a scavenger hunt and a guided tour app. It has that appeal, which most apps don’t: the challenge of achievement.
What is Questo?
Questo is a free app, which offers free and paid quests around cities all around Europe. At the moment of writing, Questo had over 70 quests in 4 European Countries.
What are the quests? The quests featured in the Questo app are designed to take you off the beaten path while providing legends and stories most people don’t know about. It’s like having your own private guide of the city.
How do you use Questo?
The app is free. Just install it on your phone, and you will get all the instructions. It’s easy to use and can be used offline. But as a tip, you might need to use Google maps, so it’s better to have internet or at least an offline map of the city. Reportedly, some people got lost. But no worries, you can’t get lost for long, as the total length of a tour is about 3 km.
After you install Questo, you are provided with a list of all the featured cities. Choose the city, and then you will have to choose the desired quest (tour). Some cities have just 1 quest, while others have more. Questo is always expanding and you might be surprised to discover that more quests have been created since you last checked your city.
After picking the desired quest, you need to reach the starting point. The name of the location is provided and also a pinpoint on google maps. Here is where you probably will need to use your mobile data.
TIP: Take notice that the app does not use GPS and if you click on the app that you have reached your starting point, and you haven’t, in fact, reach it, it will have no way on knowing that, and you will not understand anything.
From my experience, it is important to make sure you have reached the correct starting point. Even Google maps can trick you sometimes. And then you will not get any of the hints and clues.
How does Questo work?
After you reached the starting point, you are all set to start your quest. You will get a riddle to solve there, and a solution to it is required by the app, in order to get the story of the place and to get the instructions on how to get to the next stop.
This mechanism will repeat for several stops. No more than 10 from my experience, but I haven’t solved them all. In case you can’t solve the riddle, you can get a hint, or even choose to get the solution. But I wouldn’t recommend it since it might get you even more confused. Use this option only if you are absolutely sure you are in the correct spot and just can’t figure it out. Usually, the solutions consist of a number, year or a word.
After solving all of the riddles, and getting all of the stories, you will have finished the quest, and therefore rescue a city from invasion or something like that. There is a greater theme for each quest, more than just walking around.
What makes Questo so interesting?
It is a leisure app, interactive and fun. It’s a fun activity to do with your close group of friends, your boyfriend or girlfriend or for families with middle school children.
It has two modes: explore or challenge. If you want to take your time (and lots of photos), choose explorer more. If you want to make it on the leaderboard, and you usually walk fast, then you want to choose the challenge.
At the beginning of your quest, you will be asked to take a selfie. Make sure you take a nice photo because it will be the photo it will be shared on your social media at the end if you decide to do so.
Questo combines a game perspective with a real-life tour and challenges your creativity. It takes you off the beaten path and it will make you fall in love with this scavenger hunt. It’s addictive.
Check out their page and read about more interesting Questo experiences: Play a real-life game. Follow clues, solve challenges and find out hidden stories.
What can and will Questo help you with?
I find it a perfect solution to a common problem: How to spend some pleasant time with a group of friends, in your hometown, or in a city you’re not familiar with. It’s boring to just meet up and spend hours over coffee and lemonade. We want to be active, to be challenged and to be part of a community. And Questo delivers just that: an engaging and accessible tour of a part of a city, together with a fascinating story.
Speaking about taking the unbeaten path, read more about 3-Day Heritage Trip Itinerary Around Romania
Here is a short 5 min video I made while trying to solve a quest in Brasov, Romania.