I found the Ulmon CityMaps2Go app merely by accident when browsing the PlayStore while waiting for a meal. But I thought I’d give it a try.

Normally, when visiting a new city, the hostel reception of the tourist office is the first place I visit to get a map. I currently don’t have a local SIM with data service, so navigation in unknown surroundings can be challenging.

I downloaded the offline map for Paris. I was skeptic at first as the app was free, and usually that means you get a taste and have to pay after a few clicks or to get details. Or you have half the screen covered with ads. Not with the Ulmon app.

The ads are hardly noticeable and so far I have not come across a pay barrier.

Installation was a bit confusing, as I first downloaded the Paris offline app. Next I was asked, whether I wanted to download the large or the normal map. But that never really worked. Finally, I was asked whether I wanted to download the CityMaps2Go app. Once I had that everything went smoothly.

The app not only allows you to view and zoom in and out of the map. You can also find all public transportation (bus stops, train stations etc.) and download basic info on sights, culture, shopping, architecture etc. Within the preloaded locations you can star favorites to always find them again. First thing I starred was the hostel I was staying at, second thing was the Louvre.

There is no route planning, however, at the tip of a button you can (GPS permitting) always find your current location on the map and see which direction you are headed in and how far away – as the crow flies – a location is.

Ulmon offers a host of maps for different cities but also regions (e.g. in France), easily downloadable from within the CityMaps2Go app.

One word of warning: offline maps take up space. Ideally you can use a large external SD in your phone. The large Paris map has more than 120MB.

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