Back-Roads Tours

Back-Roads Tours
Choose from 48 Back-Roads small group tours and read 43 in-depth 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 consultant to look after your booking and the best price guaranteed!
Back-Roads Reviews: (43)
Tours on Sale: 48
Accommodation: Various
Average Age: 40-60+ years
Types: Small Group Tours
Max Group Size(s): 18
Budget: Premium
Destinations: Europe, UK & Ireland

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Back-Roads Destinations

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Back-Roads Europe Tours
Europe (34 Trips)
Back-Roads UK & Ireland Tours
UK & Ireland (14 Trips)

43 Back-Roads Tour Reviews

Read the reviews for Back-Roads from Global Journeys' past Aussie & Kiwi clients


Average 4.6 out of 5 based on 43 user reviews.

Overall Rating
Value For Money
Coach Quality
Tour Guide
Included Excursions
Optional Excursions
Tour Pace
Global Journeys

  “Good way to travel”
Trip:    Trip Date: 19/07/2017    Overall Rating: 5/5
Excellent small group touring, good transport and guide. Good itinerary, good choice of food, nice picnics, great countryside touring, magical.
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  “Back roads of Ireland ”
Trip:    Trip Date: 22/06/2017    Overall Rating: 5/5
Loved the whole trip. New small bus full of wonderfully friendly people. Well organised with interesting stops along the way. The guides and our tour leader were fountains of knowledge. All the accommodation was if high standard with a couple of nights being a real stand out.
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  “Eye Opening Experience”
Trip:    Trip Date: 14/06/2017    Overall Rating: 4/5
I really enjoyed the trip, but for my husband it was so so. I agree with him there were too many churches, & the fortress in St. Petersburg could have been missed, instead a river cruise or the Faberge Egg Museum would have been nice. Loved the candle making & the Christmas decoration painting as well as the Eco farm. Russia is a lot more open than what we thought. My husband loved going down in the KGB bunker & would have liked to seen more military exhibits or the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics instead of the walk through the park at the end of the Metro viewing. Need to think of more interest for men. Also we should have had more free time on our own paid lunch breaks instead of been taken to Restaurant's with only Russian food. The accommodation was excellent except for the 2nd last hotel, at least we only had one night there.
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Peter & Anne Maree 's Trip

  “Interesting trip with sensational tour guide”
Trip:    Trip Date: 08/06/2017    Overall Rating: 5/5
We had an excellent trip with Back Roads. This company provides a driver as well as a tour guide now with each tour. Our tour guide Nic was fantastic with his knowledge of history and his interesting commentaries. Our driver, Tibor was skillful and helpful. The itinerary included a lot of variety and some extra "hidden gems" such as the open air Minack theatre near Penzeance. The accommodation was very good and the hotel at Fowey was outstanding for its quality and location. We would recommend this trip if you would like to visit the West Country.
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Pamela's Trip

  “Cotswolds and Bath short break”
Trip:    Trip Date: 29/05/2017    Overall Rating: 4/5
Have travelled with Backroads (UK) twice before with excellent tours all round. This tour was also very good, but the tour guide was not quite so prepared as with previous tours, this detracted somewhat from the overall experience. Great group of fellow travellers.
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  “A great trip, through a beautiful part of the Spain.”
Trip:    Trip Date: 25/09/2016    Overall Rating: 5/5
First trip with Back Roads but it wont be our last. We had a great guide in David who was knowledgeable and had a great sense of fun. The group really got on well and there were lots of laughs. The group was not too big but not too small. Excellent accommodation everywhere, wonderful included meals and a terrific mix of places to visit. Loved Dali's house, felt peaceful at the monastery, so enjoyed the fabulous anchovies and our lunch at Elkano will never be forgotten. This was the third Back Roads tour for some of our companions and they were very pleased with all of their tours. We are both looking forward to our next Back Roads, maybe Puglia!
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  “Benelux adventure”
Trip:    Trip Date: 21/09/2016    Overall Rating: 5/5
We had a very enjoyable trip with diverse activities including castles, Roman ruins, historic towns, river cruises and war museums. We had some busy days but overall there was a good amount of free time and time to explore places by ourselves. We enjoyed the mix of dinners together and some free nights. Our guide Rachel was a great leader and organiser and suggested some extra activities which added to the enjoyment of the trip.
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  “A great mix of wonderful historic towns and local culture”
Trip:    Trip Date: 14/09/2016    Overall Rating: 4/5
Well structured tour, great hotels, and good guide. We had perfect weather and a lovely group. Our only complaint was air cond in coach was too cold or too hot. Hopefully that will be rectified.
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New Zealand
  “A great way to travel with everything organised for you. ”
Trip:    Trip Date: 09/09/2016    Overall Rating: 5/5
Everywhere we went was a highlight and it is hard to single out one in particular. The weather was perfect the whole time and our travelling companions all got on exceedingly well with each other. Our tour guide was a standout and had to do things that were not in her normal line of duty. The only downside was the tiny cabin which was a bit claustrophobic, but as was only a small boat was unavoidable. The meals were superb and the french cheese lessons most informative.
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  “A history lesson in real time”
Trip:    Trip Date: 29/08/2016    Overall Rating: 5/5
I had previously undertaken a coach tour of Ireland and was left a little dissapointed. Not this time! The Back-Roads people do exactly what their name implies. We rarely saw a main road it was truly on the back roads where the scenery was spectacular. The transportation was by a small mini bus with only a maximum of 15 people. The driver and guide, Breda, was wonderful. She was a true Irish woman with a keen wit who continually entertained us with stories about the history and area we were in. She was a key element that made the trip so memorable. Some of the places we ran into were unique, no major coach lines could get there. The accommodation was first class, again due to the small numbers, we were housed in smaller boutique places unavailable to larger groups. This included a castle and manor house. Overall a great trip. I certainly will look at using Back-Roads again.
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View All 43 Back-Roads Tour Reviews

About Back-Roads

Why you should choose to travel with Back-Roads on your next holiday
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. There is more to our itineraries than simply taking passengers to the important sights and major cities. With our small group size you will experience specially selected accommodation loaded with charm and home comforts. You will dine with the locals in their restaurants, meet traditional producers and mingle with those characters who so en-rich the heritage of local communities.

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

Maximum Group Size of 18
Maximum Group Size of 18

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 us to especially select more intimate hotels and restaurants where local charm and character abound. *Except Charming which is maximum 22.

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. And, if you find yourself on our tour in Sicily, you'll learn about the origins of the Mafia and see where important scenes from The Godfather were filmed.

Leisurely Paced Itineraries
Leisurely Paced Itineraries

Forget about tales of long, tiring touring days that typically start early and finish late. We rarely leave our accommodation before 8.30 am – in fact most days begin around 9 am. Back-Roads itineraries are thoughtfully planned to avoid cramming too much into a day. We prefer to make our 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, we promise that we 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 rustic rural retreats to old country estates, traditional inns to grand castle-hotels, 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.

Culinary Experiences
Culinary Experiences

Sampling local cuisine is an integral part of experiencing the culture – not to mention one of life's pleasures. Back-Roads include authentic culinary experiences which are locally sourced. Whether you're dining in Rick Stein's famous Seafood Restaurant in Cornwall, at a local farm in Puglia, or sampling tapas in a chef's living room in Seville – you will find that all of our included meals are at local hand-picked establishments. And, wherever we dine we'll always offer you a choice of meal as well.

Back-Roads FAQ's

Some of the frequently asked questions Back-Roads receive from their clients
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 Tour Consultant 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.

Why is my contact information collected when I book?

There may be times when unforeseen events beyond our control impacttravel schedules and potentially disrupt cruises, tours, or packages. These include, but are not limited to, severe weather conditions, acts of nature, and government travel advisories. Under such circumstances, it is critical that Back-Roads be able to contact you immediately and reliably - including nights, weekends, and holidays - to make sure we've informed you of any possible changes to your travel.

Arrival & Departure Information

What happens when you arrive at your destination, including information on airport transfers with Back-Roads

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 & Conditons

Yep, all the boring small print! We still recommend you read it though, as no one likes surprises!
Travel Industry Associations & Awards

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