Home > Operators > Back-Roads
Back-Roads Tours

Back-Roads Tours

Choose from 43 Back-Roads tours and read 104 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
  104 Reviews (4.7/5)
Small Group Tours
Fully Guided
Europe UK & Ireland

Featured Tours View all

13 Days Rome to Venice

Operator: Back-Roads

From 6,359
Save 146

12 Days Madrid to Lisbon

Operator: Back-Roads

From 5,771
Save 127

7 Days Porto to Bilbao

Operator: Back-Roads

From 3,468
Save 75

11 Days London to Edinburgh

Operator: Back-Roads

From 5,409
Save 122

Popular Destinations View all Explore the following regions on one of 43 tours with Back-Roads

Back-Roads Europe Tours

30 Tours

Back-Roads UK Tours
UK & Ireland

12 Tours

Back-Roads Touring Reviews View all

AVG. RATING 4.7 / 5
104 Reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Greek Adventure   1 , VIC, Australia, Oct 2023
We had a wonderful time on this trip. It included beautiful coastal places, tours through ancient historic sites, excellent accommodation and meals. We enjoyed every activity; the tour leader was very skilled and helpful and group was relaxed and friendly. The transport was comfortable with a great driver. We fell in love with Greece! We would definitely ...read more recommend this tour with Back Roads.
A step back in time discovering historic Villages in the Cotswolds   1 , NSW, Australia, Sep 2023
This small group tour was enjoyable from the start to the end. The historic Cotswold's villages and the surrounding countryside were stunning. We had regular stops and time to see the individual villages, learn of their history and the movies made in those villages. The two nights in Bath enabled us to enjoy the ingenuity of the Romans dating back 2,000 ...read more years as well as learn about the events of the regency era. I highly recommend this 5 day tour.
Great taste of northern Italy     3 , ACT, Australia, Sep 2023
Tour covers great mix of locations across northern Italy with some unique accommodation along the way. Highlights included the time in Lucca (pretty much everyone of our tour would go back there again), watching the truffle hunt near Alba, and cooking lesson in Tuscany. Full tour and major tourist areas were very busy in Italy this September so some ...read more itinerary changes as a result. Probably less ‘back roads’ than other tours I’ve been on, with visits to Florence and Pisa standard ‘in, tour/highlights’, out’.
Emerald Isle   0 , NSW, Australia, Sep 2023
What a fabulous 13 days! We covered so much of Ireland from top to bottom. What a great bunch of people to travel with from the tour leader, driver and fellow passengers. We learnt so much of the Irish History & Culture and many on board were able to connect with their ancestral heritage. Accomodation and meals provided were excellent. Would highly ...read more recommend Back Roads Tours.
10 Day Discover Portugal with Back-Roads   0 , NSW, Australia, Sep 2023
What a way to discover Portugal. We had a small group tour with an incredible guide. A mix of nationalities who all got on extremely well. Only the finest hotel accommodations and first class food -- even the meal we cooked ourselves in our Cooking and Nature hotel. This was our second Backroads tour and we look forward to experiencing many mor ...read moree.
Essence of Austria     3 , WA, Australia, Jun 2023
Loved the itinerary and Kinga was an amazing guide. Loved the hotels location after Munich with some amazing views and of the track locations. The coach was disappointing prior to the overheating. Definitely not luxury standard. Was a Mercedes but modified to have extra rows of seats that were not overly comfortable - made very small leg room and made ...read more you sit twisted and uncomfortable for entire trip. Lucky we could sit on our own. Driver didn’t really engage with guests until breakdown when he needed our assistance/patience. Kinga made the trip with knowledge, humour and personality!
Iberian Inspiration   3 , WA, Australia, Jun 2023
Wonderful time! Well done Backroads. Pamela, our guide, was so friendly, professional, helpful, a font of knowledge - we learnt so much about Spain. Would love to travel with her again. She managed the tour really well & had a great sense of humour. Our group were all Australians & everyone pretty easy going. Bus driver Sav was a nice person & a safe ...read more driver throughout the trip. Almost all the hotels were great picks at authentic memorable places. Convento Aracena Hotel was lovely as was the Castle at Estremoz hotel. The only hotel that we found difficult was Las Casas de la Juderia in Seville. Excellent location & historical but we found it complicated as it was a labyrinth of walkways, underground in some parts, to get to our room right at the rear. Toilet/shower were tiny. We kept getting lost trying to find our room. The first group evening meal on meeting in Madrid needs to be reviewed. Tour itinerary was well thought out with a mix of guided tours & free time to explore. Our first small group tour & I'm sure it won't be our last.
Around Ireland   3 , Canterbury, New Zealand, May 2023
Overall the tour anticlockwise around Ireland from Dublin was worthwhile. I enjoyed learning about the history, especially in Belfast. The Derry tour was shortened because we linked late with the local guide. The scenery down the west coast was nice, especially Galway, Derry and the Dingle peninsula.

Things deteriorated a bit from there. We didn't ...read more see the vaunted "lakes of Killarney", which was a disappointment. The last couple of days felt like they were being padded out and everyone was winding down. I think it would be much better to finish the tour after breakfast in Dublin instead of Kilkenny. The current arrangement and communications around timing of drop off in Dublin are varied and imprecise, and can mess up travel arrangements for people flying out of Dublin. Global Journeys information did not coincide with what actually transpired when we got to Kilkenny. I had to book a bus from Kilkenny to Dublin Airport. The tour guide was nicely understated for a Irish person :-). ie she didn't talk too much but told us what she felt we needed to know.

Back-Roads Brochure Download the latest Back-Roads brochure to read at your convenience.

Europe & UK

Europe & UK (2024-25)

Back-Roads Touring's brochure offers deep-diving holidays, letting travellers experience destinations as locals do. For over 30 years, we've curated small group tours that balance iconic sights with hidden gems, paired with charming local retreats. It's not just about sightseeing; it's about immersion and independent exploration. Dive in.
Play Youtube Video

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 well worn 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 notoriously difficult 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!

Travel Styles