Top Small Group Tours & Vacations 2024/2025 [reviews &...

Small Group Tours & Travel Packages 2024/2025

1,307 Small Group trips. Compare tour itineraries from 36 tour companies. 25,537 reviews. 4.7/5 avg rating.

Small Group Small Group Tours

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Top Small Group Attractions

  • Receiving an invitation to watch a local Vietnamese woman prepare pho in her kitchen
  • Quickly and easily accessing museums and historical sites in Italy and Greece
  • Staying ‘under the radar’ while exploring the medinas of Morocco
  • Connecting on a more personal level with your fellow small group travel companions
  • Learn the secrets of Scotch whisky on a visit with the owner of a local distillery in Scotland
  • Getting an intimate, private tour of a local artist’s studio in Cuba
  • Glide across Ha Long Bay in Vietnam on an exclusive sunset cruise
  • Unearth the ancient mystique of Petra and take a four-wheel-drive tour of Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert
  • Experiencing a water puppet performance at the Thang Long puppet theatre in Hanoi
  • Using local transportation options, such as tuk-tuk in Thailand
  • Cruise the canals of Venice with a private gondolier before a cocktail with your small group of new friends at a bacari (wine bar).
  • Discover Croatia with a local Dubrovnik tour guide, who will show you the best sights, from Strossmayer’s Garden to the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments.
  • Stroll around the Jordaan neighborhood in Amsterdam, a local favorite for its tiny boutiques, alfresco dining and cafes
  • Marvel at the mighty Victoria Falls in Botswana on a privately guided visit.
  • Be among the first guests of the day to see the Book of Kells on a tour of Dublin’s Old Library at Trinity College.
  • Toast your new friendships as your small group tour enjoys a Shabushabu dinner in Kyoto with geiko entertainment.
  • Join like-minded travelers as your small group walks along the less-often-seen Mutianyu section of China’s Great Wall.

Small Group Tours & Travel Guide

Small Group Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Small group tours have some distinct advantages over larger tours: they can generally move more quickly from one place to the next, eat in more intimate dining spaces, stay in smaller hotels or inns, and travel in smaller vehicles, among other perks.

Depending on the tour operator, a "small group" may number anywhere from a few people up to 24, though more traditionally it means a maximum of 12-16 travelers. Biking and hiking tourstrekking expeditions, and other adventurous and exotic tours tend to be small groups, but any type of tour can fall into this ever-more-popular category.

Why Take a Small Group Tour

More Authentic Experiences

In most cases, small group tours tend to offer more in-depth, authentic experiences than traveling on a coach or bus tour. This is mostly a result of the flexibility you have in a small group. For example, you’re walking around a rural area in Brazil and come across a pick-up soccer match (or futbol to the Brazilians).

You and your travel companions stand and watch and are then invited to play! These types of memories are often what turns a good trip into a great one, and are more likely when traveling in a small group.

The smaller a group of people traveling together, the more possible it is for a local guide to get access to behind-the-scenes and off-hours sightseeing (the Acropolis at dawn in Greece - sure!), as well as immersive experiences in local villages, restaurants, family homes and more.

The meticulous staff of your chosen small group tour operator has more leeway and creativity when planning your all-inclusive adventures - that may mean more unique, boutique-style accommodations, hands-on cooking classes that lead directly to a family-style meal and guided sightseeing by luxury vehicle (as opposed to that big tour bus). 

Connecting With Fellow Travelers

You may or may not travel in a group to make friends. However, you are almost sure to come away from your trip with at least one or two new “pen pals.” Traveling in this style affords real connections among the group - whether this be chatting around a campfire while on safari in Tanzania or catching up at happy hour on the deck of your small-ship cruise.

You might not relate to everyone but will find that most small-group travelers are like-minded and are there for the same reasons. This creates a convivial social vibe and you’ll feel much less like a face in the crowd and more like one of a group of friends who have chosen to explore the world together.

Less Hassle 

One of the best perks of small group travel is the fact that most of your vacation is planned for you. Sure, you may love to pore over guidebooks and websites, learning as much as you can about where you’re going. But wouldn’t it be nice to focus on all the amazing things you’re going to see and do instead of worrying about how to cobble it all together in a seamless itinerary? 

That’s where your expert small group tour operator comes in. They know these destinations intimately and have curated trips that highlight not only the major sightseeing attractions that you won’t want to miss, but filled in the gaps with immersive, authentic experiences along the way - the kind of moments you most likely won’t find in any guidebook or website. 

Small group tours are much less hassle than either a large group tour or arranging your travel yourself. Your in country airfare, train and transfer bookings are all taken care of. Your accommodations are thoughtfully chosen and reserved. Your guides will speak the local language, leaving you to speak and learn as little or as much of it as you’re motivated to. Want to eat where the locals eat? Your local small group tour guide can easily suggest dining options. 

They move more quickly from one place to the next - fewer people, easier transport and in likely smaller vehicles. They can dine in more intimate spaces and stay in smaller hotels and inns. It’s easier to hear about where you’re visiting and have one-on-one conversations with your guide. Overall, if it’s a taste of local life and culture you’re seeking, a small group tour is the best choice.

Popular Small Group Tour Destinations

1. Italy 

On a small group tour of Italy, your handcrafted itinerary can be just as you always imagined it. From the hilltown of Cortona in Tuscany to the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence, your local Italian guide will usher you to the landscapes, cities, villages, museums, vineyards and more that make Italy one of the world’s top tour destinations. 

Experience la dolce vita as you sip limoncello, cycle through vineyards along the Amalfi Coast, visit the ancient sights of Rome, cruise the canals of romantic Venice or sail to captivating Capri. A small group tour of Italy will unveil all this and more, immersing you in local-level culture and cuisine. 

See all Italy small group tours »

2. Ireland

Toast your amazing Ireland vacation with a pint of local stout, surrounded by new friends as part of your small group tour. With so much to see throughout the Emerald Isle, it’s prudent to choose a local, expert guide to show you Ireland’s off-the-beaten-path sightseeing.

There’s character and magic around every corner, from castles and small-town pubs to ancient cemeteries and the Blarney Stone. Your tour of Ireland unlocks the folklore of Donegal, unmissable views of the Ring of Kerry, the less-often-visited Slieve League Cliffs (almost three times as tall as the Cliffs of Moher) and a hefty share of restaurants and pubs where you’ll feel that irresistible Irish craic. 

See all Ireland small group tours »

3. Scotland

Only on a small group tour of Scotland will you have the opportunity to tour the majestic Royal Yacht Brittania in the early morning hours, before the crowds. These behind-the-scenes moments and privileged access are among the many perks of traveling with a small group in Europe.

Set out through the Scottish countryside with a learned host and gain a deeper understanding of what makes this extraordinary land tick. Visit Edinburgh Castle and the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town in the country’s capital. Venture to Loch Fyne and Inveraray Castle - you may recognize this setting from Downton Abbey!

Take a privately guided cruise on Loch Ness and take a gander at the perfectly picturesque Urquhart Castle, dating back to the 13th century. Your small group tour of Scotland will unlock the rugged beaches and cliffs, verdant countryside, ancient castles and renowned distilleries of this most endearing country, while immersing you in traditional Scottish cities, from Edinburgh to Glasgow.

See all Scotland small group tours »

4. Amsterdam 

Amsterdam and its canals, markets and cultural highlights is a city best experienced on a well-thought-out small group journey. Let your expert Netherlands guide show you the way through this charming, 17th-century city, from the Anne Frank House to the Rijksmuseum, from a private tasting rooms in a 1679 distillery to its nearby windmill-laden countryside (for more on the Netherlands, see our Netherland travel guide).

Only your local Amsterdam guide can take you behind the scenes in the world’s narrowest house or to her favorite “eetcafe” for local beer and delicacies. From Amsterdam, consider extending your tour to nearby Belgium and Germany, other top spots for small group travel.

See all Amersterdam small group tours »

5. Greece

Explore Greece, cradle of Western civilization, on a small group tour and be assured that you won’t have missed a thing. Between the fabled Samaria Gorge, traditional Cretan villages, sunsets on Santorini and the best historical sites of Athens, the best way to see Greece is by going small.

A comprehensive small group tour of Greece can be difficult to plan on one’s own - How to fit it all in? Islands? Athens? Where to start? Thankfully, when you decide on a small group journey to ever-popular Greece, these questions have been answered for you and the logistics taken care of, so you don’t waste one precious moment.

So, sit back and experience the glory of Greece, from a private tour of the Acropolis and Agora to an off-hours visit to Delphi to a pre-arranged exclusive cooking class and meal with a local family.

See all Greece small group tours »

Can You Go Off-the-Beaten-Path on a Small Group Tour?

Of course! And it’s encouraged. Small groups tours are designed to explore and discover new places in a way untouched by traditional large group tours.

Your guide is there to make sure the logistics are taken care of and that everyone gets to where they need to be … that being said, if you want to take it easy one morning and sit back in a cafe in Amsterdam and watch the world go by, they’ll not only agree to it, but suggest their favorite spot - and maybe even their favorite barista. 

If your group has a particular interest that isn’t being fully met, simply look to your small group guide to change things up a bit. They’re generally flexible enough that a day’s itinerary can shift a bit to include that art gallery, farmers’ market or glassblowing studio you were all intrigued by. The flexibility and freedom afforded by a small group tour allows for less touristy sightseeing and more authentic world travel.

Things to Consider When Browsing Small Group Tours

A few things to think about when you are choosing a small group tour:

  • Look for the most all-inclusive small group tour you can find. That way, you can relax and enjoy your trip instead of worrying about additional fees for meals, admission prices, transfers, etc. If you are traveling solo on a small group tour, there are ways to avoid the single supplement. While it is true that some more upscale tour operators will charge a single supplement regardless, many will waive that fee if you are willing to room with another solo traveler. 
  • Look at reviews from past travelers to ensure that you’re the right audience for this tour operator. If you’re hoping for a quieter, more intimate experience with lingering meals in tucked-away wine cellars, then you don’t want a small group tour aimed at families with young children. If you’re less physically capable, make sure to choose one that has plenty of options for activities, from easy to advanced. There are countless small group tour operators out there, so with a bit of advance research, you’re sure to find one right for you, whether it’s for older couples, younger people, photographers, birders, oenophiles or trekkers. 
  • Inquire about your small group guides. When travelers reflect on their tours, particularly in Europe, it’s the operators who employ local, expert, passionate guides who are most favorably reviewed. Instead of acting as a babysitter, these knowledgeable individuals aim to take you where the larger tours don’t go, explain everything along the way in an effort to provide the most immersive experience possible and translate when necessary. 
  • Look for balanced days. No one wants to be running pell-mell from one place to the next all day, being shuffled into vans and herded along like livestock. Good small group tour companies strike a proper balance between sightseeing and physical activity and off-hours, when you may either strike out on your own if you have the desire and energy, or just sit back, have a coffee and a pastry and watch local life go by. Use the "Mixed" Travel Style filter to see the most balanced small group tours »
  • Ask about environmental impact. Ecotourism isn’t just another buzzword - it’s a real and growing trend that will make the world more accessible, for longer, for all of us. Small group tour operators often consider it their duty to thank the local community with a service project of some kind, whether you’re bringing in school supplies for local children or cleaning up the very trails upon which you will trod. 
  • Consider group size. Think about how you picture a small group tour and what you’re comfortable with. Is this five people traveling together? Upwards of twenty? Around 10-12 is typical for a guided tour on the smaller side, a perfectly manageable size for transfers, dining together and accessing sightseeing attractions during off-peak hours.

Small Group Tours in Europe

From Greece to Iceland to Ireland and the Netherlands, Europe is a top destination for small group tours. With a language barrier to overcome, a bucket list of historic attractions as long as your arm and the opportunity to experience several different cultures in one trip, Europe is not only popular but can prove overwhelming. 

There are no longer just two ways to experience Europe - either on a large tour bus with 60 of your (not) closest friends, or on your own, with hours of researching to get you there. Instead, take away the guesswork with a guided European vacation package, leaving the planning to a trusted professional. 

No one has the expert, off-the-beaten path knowledge that your Europe tour guide will have - having been born and raised or at least having lived for years in the country you’re visiting. Perhaps they have a family friend who owns a winery in Tuscany, Italy, and can arrange a private tasting and tour. Or, maybe it means a tour of rarely visited castle ruins in Scotland, followed by a falconry demonstration. 

You’ll see Europe at your pace on a small group tour - choose a guided vacation that encompasses one country or includes a whole region (Scandinavia or the Greek Isles, say).

Everyone’s Europe is different - whether you’re there for the art, the history, the cuisine, the hiking, the skiing, the Northern Lights - so why settle once you’ve made it there? Go with a small group tour operator and the Europe you’ll find can be exactly the one you’ve been seeking.

Small Group Reviews & Ratings

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Trusted Customer

Jun 2024

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Pure Brazil

Great trip. Saw jaguar and anteater. Nice places to visit....

T

Trusted Customer

Jun 2024

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Pure Brazil

Embarking on a journey through Brazil was like stepping into a vibrant carnival of culture and adventure, every moment was a brushstroke of vivid experiences. Afte...

T

Trusted Customer

Oct 2023

Written on

Pure Brazil

The time in the Pantanal was amazing. Did the day trip to see the jaguars which was a long day, but worth it. Lots of animals around the lodge too. If you are lucky,...

T

Trusted Customer

Oct 2023

Written on

Pure Brazil

Visit to the pantanal. Amazing lodge and wildlife.

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Trusted Customer

Oct 2023

Written on

Pure Brazil

Covered the highlights of Brazil making sure the traveller saw the best of its highlights with sufficient enough time to take in the various areas and experience wha...

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Traveling to Small Group, an FAQ

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