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sep 11 2008

GoCar: Sightseeing tours with you in the driver's seat while the car talks

The GoCars out on the town in Miami (Courtesy GoCar Tours)

There are a few things I'm a little obsessed with. Some that fall in the travel category are sightseeing tours, GPS devices (oooo, gadgets!), and those cute Smart Cars.

So imagine my delight when I found GoCar, which sort of combines all three. The company hawks GPS-guided tours in San Francisco, Miami, San Diego, Barcelona, and just recently, Lisbon.

The bright yellow, three-wheeled cars are available for rent. Start driving, and the GPS device kicks in automatically. The fun comes when the device starts "talking" to you—not only giving directions but also providing a running commentary on the sights that you're passing. Think of it as an overly chatty but very informed local giving you directions and a tour—only you're in the drivers seat.

The brand-new Lisbon operation has 10 cars in its fleet, with four available tours. On the East City Center tour, you'll quickly circuit the city, passing such important sites as St. George's Castle. There's also an optional detour into Lisbon's more secluded neighborhoods. And with those painfully cute, two-passenger, open-air cars, there's no telling what conversations you can start with the locals.

You can reserve a GoCar in the U.S. in advance on the website or by calling 800/914-6227. For Lisbon, email reservation-pt@gocartours.com or call 011-351/210-965-030. Rates are 25 euros ($35) for the first hour, 20 euros ($28) for the second, and 18 euros ($25) per hour after that. Or, rent a car for the whole day for 89 euros ($126). Rentals are available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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