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Back-Roads Tours

Back-Roads Tours

Choose from 42 Back-Roads tours and read 95 verified Back-Roads reviews from past clients of Global Journeys. When you book your Back-Roads tour with us you'll enjoy exclusive online savings, a dedicated travel advisor to look after your booking and the best price guaranteed!
AGE RANGE: 12-99 Years
BUDGET: Premium
  95 Reviews (4.7/5)
Small Group Tours
Fully Guided
Europe UK & Ireland

Popular Destinations View all Explore the following regions on one of 42 tours with Back-Roads

Back-Roads Europe Tours

30 Tours

Back-Roads UK Tours
UK & Ireland

12 Tours

Featured Tours View all

13 Days Rome to Venice

Operator: Back-Roads

From 5,879
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12 Days Madrid to Lisbon

Operator: Back-Roads

From 5,575
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12 Days Athens to Athens

Operator: Back-Roads

From 5,683
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7 Days Porto to Bilbao

Operator: Back-Roads

From 3,439
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Back-Roads Touring Reviews View all

AVG. RATING 4.7 / 5
95 Reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
A great experience   1 , NSW, Australia, Oct 2022
The Iberian Inspiration trip was well worth the wait post Covid. Commencing in Madrid and finishing in Lisbon 12 days later, it certainly gave us a excellent overview of southern Spain and a touch of Portugal. Our tour leader, Elaine, was fantastic. Nothing phased her. She is a UK citizen that has lived in Spain for about 19 years. Her knowledge of ...read more the country and her grasp on both the Spanish and Portuguese language was to be admired. Our group was fairly diverse from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. It gelled together very well adding to the sense of fun on the road. Hotels were all very central to the old parts of cities and towns which again enhanced the experience. This was a trip 3 years in the making, thanks Hannah for you support getting us there.
Tuscan Treats   1 , NSW, Australia, Oct 2022
Great guide Liza and Mohammed as driver made a very good trip. Tour perhaps more suitable for experienced guests as there was a lot of free time, which whilst appreciated by seasoned travellers, may be a little daunting for other’s needing more guidance and advice. Included meals could be improved. Some discrepancies in itineraries with guests caused ...read more some discontent, but was handled by Liza very competently.
Wonderful tour through northern Italy and Switzerland     0 , ACT, Australia, Sep 2022
This trip to me was classic Backroads Touring - visiting a mix of smaller places particularly in Italy with great experiences which you wouldn’t think to do yourself or couldn’t do with a larger group, and a mix of iconic railway journeys with lake and mountain vistas in Switzerland. We had a very small group with a great tour guide who got to know ...read more our group’s interests and with the driver, was able to make minor itinerary adjustments to make the tour even more special.

Highlights in Italy included visits to a small Grana Padano cheese factory (and sampling), a boat trip in Lake Iseo and hike to the church at the top of Monte Isola, and a cooking lesson and wine tasting in the Franciacorta region. In Switzerland, highlights were the trips on the Bernina and Glacier Express train trips, the bus trip over the Sustenpass and the cogwheel train trip above Brienz. A great way to experience these parts of Europe - with some unique moments along the way.
Cornish Delight     1 , NSW, Australia, Sep 2022
I would highly recommend this tour. Even though the name of the tour is Corners of Cornwall, it visits other counties such as Somerset, Devon, Dorset and Wiltshire giving you an overview of each. The famous Wells and Salisbury Cathedrals were highlights. Small group tours are ideal for making new friends, experiencing the country lanes and individual ...read more cultures as well as staying in unique hotels. The standard of the hotels was high, ranging from a historic country hotel in Darmoor to beautiful and stylish hotels overlooking the coastline.

The included meals were excellent; particularly at the Dartmoor Hotel. Not forgetting the opportunity to dine at Rick Stein’s restaurant in Padstow. As a Doc Martin fan I enjoyed visiting Port Isaac and eating the fresh seafood available at most of the coastal towns. Our Tour Guide and Driver were both very professional and entertaining. This tour was my third with Back-Roads and I have already decided on the fourth.
Enchanting Southern Italy     0 , CA, United States, Sep 2022
The tour was well organized. The tour guide went above and beyond to accommodate everyone on the tour. I would book a Back-Roads tour again.
Well Planned Backroads Tour     1 , NSW, Australia, Sep 2022
This was a well planned small group tour by Backroads to the beautiful countryside of Kent. Neil (tour guide) and Steve (bus driver) were excellent in their professionalism and we both enjoyed a relaxed and hassle free trip. The itinerary was well planned, but would have preferred a little more time a Hever Castle. The hotel stays were in great locations ...read more with close proximity to restaurants and services. Thank you to Georgie for your efforts in taking care of flights and liaising with Backroads. Would definitely travel with Backroads again.
Worry free battlefield tour     1 , NSW, Australia, Nov 2019
The highlight of the trip for our group was Armistice Day, our tour guide Steve was amazing he organised for us to lay a wreath at the Hooge Crater cemetery, 11am service. That night we attended Menin Gate to watch the Last Post, for me this was one of the most touching experiences I have witnessed, again Steve made sure we were positioned perfectly ...read more to view the ceremony. Steve’s patience and thoughtfulness made this trip a pleasure, we had great accommodation and exceptional food for the whole journey. Steve’s knowledge regarding WWI was extensive.
Great trip through Normandy, Brittany and Loire Valley   1 , ACT, Australia, Sep 2019
Trip certainly covered highlights of the areas (Monet’s Garden, Normandy Beaches, Mont St Michel and chateaus in the Loire Valley) as well as introducing us to local specialties (cider, calvados, galettes and crepes). Local accommodation added to overall feel of the trip. Days were leisurely and could have fitted more in on some days. A couple of lunchtime ...read more picnics coordinated by guide and driver really added to overall experience.
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The Back-Roads Touring Experience Choose to travel with Back-Roads on your next adventure!

Small Group Touring
Small Group Touring

Back-Roads are experts in small group touring holidays offering a unique range of fascinating and leisurely regional tours throughout the UK and Europe.

With a maximum of 18 passengers, Back-Roads professional tour leaders are able to offer a more personalised experience with more attention to the interests of individuals and flexible touring days. Smaller numbers also mean a less obtrusive style of touring that enables them to especially select more intimate hotels and restaurants where local charm and character abound. In Asia the maximum is only 14!

Scenic Back Roads, Not Freeways
Scenic Back Roads, Not Freeways

Back-Roads mini-coaches are comfortable. Their size enables them to travel along local roads and across breath-taking mountain passes to find charming villages and picturesque vistas which lie beyond the wellworn tourist trails where large motor coaches cannot go.

For added convenience, they usually drive into the centre of tiny villages and old town centres to park beside charming accommodation and intimate local restaurants.

Authentic Local Experiences
Authentic Local Experiences

Back-Roads recognise that authentic local experiences have greater appeal than attractions on the typical tourist trail. They take the time to seek out experiences where their guests can relate to local crafts and culture.

For example, Back-Roads meet local craftsmen in the Cotswolds, visit the Irish National Stud on a private guided tour, learn to speak a few words of notoriouslydifficult Welsh in Wales, and visit one of the few stonemasonry workshops left in Europe in Croatia.

Leisurely Paced Itineraries
Leisurely Paced Itineraries

Forget about tales of long, tiring touring days that typically start early and finish late. Back-Roads rarely leave their accommodation before 8.30 am – in fact most days begin around 9 am. Each itinerary is thoughtfully planned to avoid cramming too much into a day.

Back-Roads prefer to make their discoveries at a more leisurely pace with time to socialise with the tour leader and appreciate the local settings or delve deeper into attractions on your own. Sometimes you'll have an afternoon – or even a day - at leisure. And, they promise to keep long drives to a minimum.

Charming Local Accommodation
Charming Local Accommodation

Back-Roads choose quality local accommodation to reflect the character of the region you visit. From idyllic garden resorts in Asia to elegant European châteaux, every style of accommodation is in keeping with its surrounds. Some are chosen for their tantalising history, others for their location or superb service.

Whether you stay in a Scottish castle, French chateau, Spanish palace, Italian villa, or Turkish cave hotel, you may be sure that each one will bring more authenticity to the itinerary.

Explore More Explore more Your guide to travelling with Back-Roads Touring

Travelling Safely with Back-Roads: A Focus on Your Health and Wellbeing

01 July, 2020

Travelling Safely with Back-Roads: A Focus on Your Health and Wellbeing

Due to COVID-19, Back-Roads and their travellers have been restricted from exploring the world. However, as new beginnings and travel plans dawn on the horizon, Back-Roads want to reassure you that your health and wellbeing is at the forefront of their operations. As a small group touring...

Back-Roads Introduce Fresh Journeys (and a New Destination) to Their Asia Collection

31 October, 2019

Back-Roads Introduce Fresh Journeys (and a New Destination) to Their Asia Collection

Back-Roads has added four new itineraries to their Asia small group tour collection, including two journeys to Japan for the very first time. Lovers of Back-Roads who may have experienced their boutique trips in Europe, the UK or USA can now enjoy the Back-Roads experience in Japan as well as...

Experience North America on a Small Group Tour with Back-Roads

19 June, 2019

Experience North America on a Small Group Tour with Back-Roads

North America is a land of compelling contrasts, from the spectacular beaches and sun drenched vineyards of California in the west to the soulful southern states. It’s America’s head-spinning variety of landscapes, cultures and historical monuments that make it unique. Travelling around North...

Join an Expert-led Battlefields Tour with Back-Roads

13 February, 2019

Join an Expert-led Battlefields Tour with Back-Roads

Present day Northern France may conjure up images of picture perfect vineyards and bright green hills, but history tells a darker story. Countless lives were lost on this land when WWI and WWII raged on the now-picturesque countryside and the narratives of a turbulent past were penned on these...

Back-Roads Touring FAQ's Frequently asked questions for those considering travelling with Back-Roads Touring

Who goes on a Back-Roads tour?

They are mainly English-speaking and in the main come from Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and Hong Kong. We do have other nationalities join occasionally but all tour commentaries are in English. We believe that our tours appeal to individuals who enjoy culture, good food, meeting like-minded people, exploring local regions and want a more relaxing style of travel. We welcome first time travellers, however, also find that many of our passengers have travelled with us before and continue to do so.

Are Back-Roads tours guaranteed?

As a general rule we will run our tours with a minimum of four people, at which point we will usually guarantee it. Guaranteed tours are identified on our website, and your Travel Advisor will be able to advise you of the on-going status. If Back-Roads are forced to cancel a tour, you will be advised at least 6 weeks in advance.

What is the typical age of a Back-Roads client?

There tends to be a fairly wide range of ages, but broadly our clients are in the 40-75 age group. Our tours are designed principally for adults, but we will consider accepting children aged 12 or over on request. The exception to this is ‘A Family Christmas in Lapland' which is suitable for children and adults of all ages. Please note that triple and family rooms are not always available.

What grade of hotel does Back-Roads use?

We generally use a 3-star / 4-star standard of accommodation ranging from country inns to town centre hotels and the occasional castle! Rather than going by the official grading (based solely on facilities rather than the standard), we base our choices on quality. In all properties the rooms have en-suite bathrooms. Many of the traditional properties we use are older buildings rather than purpose built hotels. Often the rooms are different shapes and sizes and may be smaller than you might be used to. Often hotels do not have lifts: in many cases this is because they are not allowed to as they are ‘listed' or protected buildings.

What kind of room should I book?

When booking we need to know whether you want a twin room (two single-sized beds in a room) or a double room (one standard-sized bed for two people). Please tell us at the time of booking what your choice is as the room types are not interchangeable.

Do we dine at the hotels?

All breakfasts are taken in the accommodations. We have a minimum of a two-course cooked evening meal at many of them but on occasion, to add variety to your tour experience, we also dine out at local pubs and restaurants. When we dine out it is understandably to a budget but in the rare circumstance of a client wanting something special you are able to contribute to, and supplement, the budget. Wines and other alcoholic drinks are not included but tea/coffee is included.

I am a single traveller. Is it possible to share a room?

We do not ‘match up' single travellers, because we find that in a small group scenario this does not work. There is a common misconception that a single room is ‘more expensive'. In reality a single room is often less expensive than a double room, the difference being that the cost of a double room is shared by two people as opposed to a sole occupant. Often single rooms in European hotels have one single bed, although in some hotels the single traveller will have a double room for their own use.

What sort of vehicle do we travel in?

You'll be travelling in our comfortable 18-seat Mercedes Sprinter mini-coaches, or 7 or 9-seater Mercedes Vitos, depending on the numbers on a tour. All seats have seatbelts and all seats are forward facing. Luggage is stored in a rear compartment. All vehicles are air-conditioned or with forced air vents and PA systems. The coaches may vary in Europe when we have to hire in the coach, however, they will always be comfortable mini-coaches.

How many people will be on my tour?

The maximum number we carry is 18 and the minimum 4. Your guide will usually implement a daily seat rotation exercise on the vehicle so you can get to know your fellow travellers better and see from a different perspective each day.

What meals are included?

Breakfast is included daily. We also include some lunches and dinners, either in the hotel or in a local restaurant. You will have some free evenings to try the local cuisine independently. One thing to remember, dinner times in Europe are likely to be later than you might be used to: 7.30pm at the earliest and often later in France and Italy. We will do our best to satisfy your dietary needs, please ensure that any restrictions are made clear to us at the time of booking so we can pass the information on to our hotels.

How much walking on a tour?

In cities, walking tours are offered by your guide. On European mainland tours there is considerable walking as many historic cities prohibit motorised transport and we have to park some distance out of the centre. On most tours there are opportunities for some extended walking, often from the accommodations we use. Please bear in mind that you will have to negotiate getting on and off the vehicle on a regular basis, walking to attractions, managing stairs in the hotels and showers over the bath. We frequently use traditionalstyle hotels and many will not have lifts or ground-floor rooms. If you are in any doubt as to whether our tours are suitable for you, please check with us.

Am I expected to leave gratuities?

It is common in the UK & Europe to leave a small gratuity in restaurants and cafes if you have received good service (typically 10% on top of the bill). It would also be usual to give your tour guide a tip at the end of the tour if he/she has done a good job. The amount is entirely at your discretion, and is not mandatory, but it is always much appreciated.

Can you explain what a driver/guide companion is?

Our driver/Tour Leaders have all passed a stringent government test allowing them to drive our vehicles and conduct tours. The small nature of our groups means that he/she becomes your travelling companion rather than just a Tour Leader, which makes for a much more rewarding experience. On some tours in mainland Europe (e.g. Italy, Austria and Finland) we will often use a driver in addition to a Tour Leader as this makes for better operation of the tour in these particular areas.

Most tours start at 08:30am on Day 1 of your tour or at 6pm. If departing in the morning, we advise you stay in the hotel the previous night so you are ready to meet your guide in the morning. If your tour commences in the evening, you may not require pre-tour accommodation and instead arrive during the day at your leisure. Please check your itinerary. Most tours complete early evening. We cannot usually drop you off at the airport, so we suggest you book your flights departing the following day of the tour to ensure you do not miss your flights due to unforeseen circumstances.

Terms & Conditions All the boring small print. We recommend you read them, as no one likes surprises!

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