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I am trying to convey the concept of sightseeing.

I have looked into this extensively. I have seen some sources say that Spanish doesn't have an exact term for sightseeing.

Spanishdict lists turismo as the translation. However, this word is also used for tourism. So I am not sure if turismo is a good equivalent, as tourism usually has a subtle sense of commercial activity. For example, it might sound a little odd to consider to go hiking in the mountains as a form of tourism.

Searching through articles on Newspapers, I see "visita turística" used (Example 1, 2, 3)

So would visita turística be natural to use before naming an activity in a heading.

E.g.

Visita turística: Arquitectura (Sightseeing - Architecture)
Visita turística: Museo de Arte (Sightseeing - Art Museum)
Visita turística: Castillos (Sightseeing - Castles)
Visita turística: Iglesias (Sightseeing - Churches)
Visita turística: Atracciones en la ciudad (Sightseeing - City Attractions)
Visita turística: Tour de historia (Sightseeing - History Tour)
Visita turística: Tour de cine (Sightseeing - Movie Tour)
Visita turística: naturaleza (Sightseeing - Nature)
Visita turística: safari (Sightseeing - Safari)
Visita turística: Sea Safari (Sightseeing - Sea Safari)
Visita turística: tienda (Sightseeing - Shops)
Visita turística: Museo Espacial (Sightseeing - Space Museum)
Visita turística: volcán (Sightseeing - Volcano)
Visita turística: Museo de la guerra (Sightseeing - War Museum)
Visita turística: zoológico (Sightseeing - Zoos)

If not what would be a natural way to express it?

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  • sightseeing is usually an activity engaged in by tourists. That's why visita turística works in many cases. However, what did you do today? We went sightseeing. would not be: visita turística..... – Lambie Aug 17 '20 at 19:01
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In the IATE1 web about terminology for the European Union, you can find the following result:

humanities (3611) [SCIENCE]

en
    sightseeing tour
    city tour

es
    visita turística
    visita de la ciudad

The translation is marked as being reliable, and I can't find anything wrong with it, so "sightseeing tour" (or just "sightseeing") can be translated as "visita turística", at least in European Spanish. I don't know if the American Spanish is OK with this translation or if they prefer another expression.


1 IATE ('Interactive Terminology for Europe') is the EU's terminology database. It has been used in the EU institutions and agencies since summer 2004 for the collection, dissemination and management of EU-specific terminology.

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  • 1
    Sure, but what about I went sightseeing today? – Lambie Aug 17 '20 at 19:01
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For a formal or organized context, "visita turística" looks fine. It's hard to be precise when translating idiomatic expressions. When I used to travel in Latin America, people would ask me what I was doing, and I'd try to explain to them, and almost invariably they would conclude that "¡ah, estás conociendo!". That seemed to sum it up pretty well, so that's what I say now if I'm asked.

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  • I disagree completely. Most European languages have idioms with equivalent meanings. – Lambie Aug 17 '20 at 18:56
  • 1
    +1 In Chile, "andar conociendo" is the natural way we call this activity. – Rodrigo Aug 17 '20 at 19:08

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