Albatross vs Back-Roads

Compare the travel styles, pricing, destinations and popularity of Albatross and Back-Roads.

The Low Down

 
Albatross are a little bit different to the larger coach Operators, you'll see this when you peruse through their tour itineraries. Designed with leisurely 2, 3, 4 and even 5 night stays, their trips focus on regional discoveries - travelling around 1 to 3 countries in-depth. Albatross focus only on Europe, and split their tours into two categories - summer trips and winter festive trips. The latter all depart in the winter months and have a maximum 40 passengers per departure, while the European summer range have a maximum group size of 28. Albatross pride themselves on their tour inclusions, so you wont be dipping into your pocket for gratuities and optional excursions.
 
As their name suggests Back-Roads itineraries focus on regional tours off the beaten track. Catering for small groups (maximum of 20), they travel through Europe & the UK as well as newly released tours in Asia and North America where accommodation is 'selected for their charm and home comforts'. While our team at Global Journeys haven't experienced any of their trips personally, our clients that have chosen to discover Europe with Back-Roads have provided glowing reviews on their return. With an eclectic range of trips to choose from - including canal cruises, this small group Operator is well worth considering.

Reviews

Reviews rated out of 5

 
4.4 out of 5
104 Reviews
Value For Money
4.3
Tour Guide
4.6
Accommodation
4.2
Tour Pace
4.2
Included Excursions
4.4
Optional Excursions
2.4
 
4.7 out of 5
87 Reviews
Value For Money
4.4
Tour Guide
4.7
Accommodation
4.4
Tour Pace
4.7
Included Excursions
4.6
Optional Excursions
2.5

Operator Details

 
No. of Trips
18
 
Departures
0
 
Avg. Length
15
 
Avg.
$0
 
0
This Month
Trip Type
Trip Type
Guided Tours
Trip Budget
Budget
Premium
Accommodation
Accommodation
4 Star
28
Max. Group Size
Summer
40
Max. Group Size
Winter

Regions Explored:

 
No. of Trips
68
 
Departures
459
 
Avg. Length
9
 
Avg.
$479
 
62
This Month
Small Group Tours
Trip Type
Small Group Tours
Max. Group Size
Max. Group Size
18
Trip Budget
Budget
Premium
Accommodation
Accommodation
Boutique
Age Requirements
Age Requirements
12+ Years

Regions Explored:

Asia, Europe, UK & Ireland, USA

In Their Own Words

We asked the travel companies themselves why you should travel with them.

 

Stephen York, National Sales Manager - Albatross

"At Albatross Tours, we are all about ‘creating remarkable memories that last a lifetime’. We genuinely set out to create unique, immersive, European regional touring experiences to satisfy and delight our travellers.

The one aspect that everyone loves about us, is that we pace our itineraries so well. Our longer stays of 2, 3, 4 and even 5-night stopovers in each destination means you will get quality “My Time” to explore and experience hidden delights at your own pace. It’s all about balance…

Something else we know you will love is that our tours are genuinely inclusive, from feature dinners to scheduled attractions, everything really is included in the upfront price – so you can forget about ‘optional’ expenses. Even tips for your tour manager and driver are covered.

Lastly, our European Summer holidays have group sizes of just 10 to 28 fellow travelers, all on a full-sized luxury coach which means you will travel in style and comfort for your entire journey. Come Share our love of Europe!"
 

Dylan Hearne, Head of Sales APAC - Back-Roads

At Back-Roads we have over 30 years’ experience in creating small group tours that focus on forming experiences that immerse our passengers in some of the most incredible destinations in the world. Our dedicated mini-coaches enable us to travel the back roads, avoiding motorways and taking you to the heart of our destinations. We pride ourselves on delivering truly unique travel experiences through expert local knowledge, carefully curated cultural experiences and hand-picked boutique accommodation.

Each one of our small groups tours of up to 18 guests is guided by an expert Tour Leader, who immerses the group in the culture, cuisine and history of each unique place we visit on our award-winning tours. Back-Roads operates tours from 5 to 13 days across the UK, Europe, North America and Asia.

Recent Reviews

 
Sardinia & Corsica, the Lands of Myths & Legends
5 Star Review from Fiona.

I have recently returned from the Albatross Sardinia & Corsica Tour, and I had a truly wonderful time! For travellers like myself who have been to most European countries, this tour itinerary offered something new and very exciting to visit. Even though Sardinia is technically part of Italy, and Corsica part of France, they even still maintain their original languages in both regions. Both places are large islands with very mountainous landscapes, beautiful azure blue harbours and seas, history and sites reaching back at least to the Bronze Age and wonderful cities and towns to visit. Corsica was actually where Napoleon Bonaparte was born, and one of the inclusions was to visit where he lived. Our Tour Guide Gilberto was excellent and he looked after us very well. All places were at least a 2 night (if not 3) stay and the tour was at a relaxed pace with plenty of free time. Gliberto was always happy to give suggestions and to organise outings during that time for who wanted to go. There was quite a few single travellers on the tour and everyone got on well and had a wonderful time. Thank you so much to my Global Journeys Travel Advisor, Tracey, who very professionally organised this tour for me, and really made me feel at ease as I was travelling by myself, which I haven't done in a long time.
Scandinavia, In the Footsteps of Vikings
4 Star Review from Linda.

Firstly, dealing with Global Journeys was excellent. A big thank you to Juliet & Jodie for organising our group of 8. This was our first Albatross tour after studying their brochures for years. I had liked the sound of the smaller group size, relaxed starts, longer stays at each destination, no optional tours and tips included. Also the fact that many meals were included helped with budgeting. Normally they offer a drink with dinner, but that doesn’t apply on the Scandinavian tour. After seeing the price of drinks we could understand why. Expect to pay anywhere from $14 - $20 for a beer & $20 - $25 for a glass of wine! This was a new tour for Albatross and I think with a bit of tweaking it would be fantastic. Not that we didn’t have a great time, because we did. Our fellow travellers were the best I’ve ever had on any group tour. So much fun & laughter. 24 Aussies & 3 Kiwis! We weren’t blessed with the best weather which was a bit disappointing. Scenic cruises & train rides aren’t quite the same in pouring rain! However, we did get to see some amazing waterfalls so it wasn’t all bad. The sun did come out in the Lofoten Islands which were breathtakingly beautiful. The scenery was amazing and some of the group even managed to glimpse the northern lights. The accommodation was generally good as was the food, although most meals were a set menu. It would be nice to be given a choice and it’s hard to understand why there’s not. For example, one dinner we were given roast beef & sauce so the gluten free lady in our group was given a beautiful piece of grilled salmon & veges. You would think they should be able to offer everyone the choice of beef or salmon. But that’s just a minor quibble. A couple of hotels had buffet dinners though which was nice. One thing we did miss was tea and coffee in our rooms. Some hotels provided it, others didn’t. Also some bathrooms had the shower over really high baths which some of the group found difficult to get into. Our Spanish tour director was lovely and though she seemed a little unsure of the Aussie sense of humour at the start, by tour end she was joining in the banter as well! She went out of her way to ensure we all had a great time. It wasn’t made easy with the changeable weather or the fact many things were closed for the season. I would advise going earlier in the season if possible as some things on our itinerary were changed due to that fact. There was probably a few too many museums for my liking, but that’s just my opinion. Tips for Norway - bring a good quality raincoat and waterproof shoes and be prepared to pay a lot for food and drinks! All in all we had a wonderful, relaxing holiday and would be happy to travel with Albatross again.
Sardinia & Corsica, the Lands of Myths & Legends
5 Star Review from Chris.

We had a wonderful tour. The well-designed program allowed us to experience such a lot with our amazing tour director- Gilberto. Every care was given to our well being and comfort. Not only did we travel by coach, but also train and ferry. What an interesting variety of countryside and history these two countries present. Some quite stunning scenery particularly along the coast. For example, sailing into the bay of Bonifacio, on the south coast of Corsica, between vast cliffs with the upper village buildings on top. What a great tour.
Glorious Germany & the Czech Republic
5 Star Review from Barry.

We booked this tour through Jemma at Global Journeys and she did a great job. After the initial booking I wanted to make changes and she handled these with patience and efficiency. I would certainly book my next holiday through her and Global Journeys again. This was our second Albatross tour and definitely the best. There were 16 participants from Australia and NZ and we all got on very well. The Albatross hotels at the start and end of the tour were located near major railway stations which made it easy to get to and from the airports. The other hotels during the tour were also located in or near the city or town centres. The Berlin public transport system is easy to use and very efficient. We used the S-Bahn on several occasions to get around. There is so much to see in Berlin that we were glad we had booked an extra day at the start. We could easily have spent another 2 days there. Dresden was another highlight with its Gothic architecture and position on the Elbe. The tour included plenty of excellent activities including a river cruises, beautiful scenic walks in Saxony Switzerland, visits to Potsdam palaces, Konigstein Fortress and Colditz Castle. The latter was particularly interesting with the part it played in WW2 as a POW camp. Prague was also great but far too crowded with tourists. I liked that we were taken out of Prague to visit other interesting places like Kutna Hora and Trebon which are not yet on the tourist radar. Staying 2 nights in Cesky Krumlov was also good as it meant you could walk around the town after all the day tourists had gone. The tour director Ernst was very knowledgeable especially in respect of German history and all the local tour guides were excellent. Overall we thought that this tour was excellent value for money. I would certainly consider booking an Albatross Tour in the future.
Italy, the Deep South & Sicily
5 Star Review from Christine & Mark.

We enjoyed every moment of our holiday from the excellent accommodation and places we visited to our tour guide Vanessa who was the very best guide ever as nothing was too much trouble for her, she was never fazed by our questions, always patient, knowledgeable and caring in every situation. Sicily is a hidden gem of delightful surprises and is the Disneyland of the ancient world... not to be missed. Albatross don't have optional excursions as everything on the tour is included except for "free time".
 
WWI Battlefields
5 Star Review from Debra.

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 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.
La Belle France
4 Star Review from Colleen.

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 picnics coordinated by guide and driver really added to overall experience.
Iberian Inspiration
5 Star Review from Jeannine.

11 days of driving through Spain and Portugal, visiting World Heritage sites on an almost daily basis. Wonderful organisation, careful driving and a truly professional guide made this a trip to remember.
Enchanting Southern Italy
5 Star Review from Jill.

Loved our week in southern Italy wandering the back streets, driving into the hills and catching local ferries along the coast. Good friendly group of 11 from four different countries. Great guide and mother hen Elda.
Highlights of Northern Spain
5 Star Review from Roger & Mary.

This is the second Back-Roads trip we have taken. The decision to try them again was very much based on the great experience we had with Back Roads in Ireland. This trip seemed a little chaotic compared to the Irish trip. Something happened to our originally designated tour leader and a replacement was made at short notice who could only be with us for 8 days then another Tour Leader joined us for the last 2 days. Both tour leaders were very good with the latter one being exceptional. However, despite this bit of chaos, the trip was great. The various towns we visited, wineries we sampled and hotels we stayed in were all first class. Our group consisted of 15 other travellers, a bus driver, a tour leader and a trainee tour leader. All accommodation was centrally located and unique, something we would struggle to organise on our own or would not happen if we were part of a large bus tour group. Overall it was a great trip, we saw a part of Spain that is not that highly over run with tourists and very unique. It was also great fun with a good group of like minded fellow travellers. Back-Roads are still very much on my preferred options list.

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