Ireland & Northern Ireland

The Republic & Northern Ireland
TOURCODE: IE10

Duration:
10 Days

Activity Level:
1

When To Go:
May, Sep

Countries Visited:
2

Arrive In / Depart From:
Dublin (DUB) / Belfast (BFS)

Max Group Size:
18

Tour Style:
Cultural

Price From:

Discover the country's true culture with the help of experienced local guides.

  • Small group sizes to help escape the beaten path.
  • Authentic local experiences with lots of inclusions.
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Tour Overview
Tour Overview
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Countries Visited: 2 Activity Level: 1 Tour Style: Cultural

Ireland is a land of legends, where history meets myths and the landscape inspires timeless literature and art. On our Ireland tour, we delve into the iconic vistas, charming villages, and cobbled walkways that make this historic land famous. It is a journey for those who enjoy a culture that prides itself on a friendly image, and for those who fancy a geographic landscape that is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

In the capital city of Dublin, it's easy to feel as though you have stepped back in time with Georgian style buildings and 18th century squares around many corners. One stop for a Guinness along the Temple Bar district, and you will understand the importance of pub culture on the collective mindset of the people. Bursting with song, friendly with all, the pub atmosphere is an intimate way to decipher what is important to the everyday Irish.

Out of the city, one truly starts to understand why Ireland remains so popular. The gorgeous green scenery is endless, something you will notice driving around the Ring of Kerry, where we are continuously presented with a succession of picturesque land and seascapes. It does not take long to discover why Ireland has been bestowed with the nickname of the Emerald Isle.

For those with a love of ancient history, there is no other landscape in western Europe with the density and variety of archaeological monuments as that in the Dingle Peninsula. With the preservation of over 2,000 monuments, this mountainous finger of land jutting into the Atlantic Ocean has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years.

Whether you arrived to be blown away by the beautiful of the Cliffs of Moher at Galway, or were intrigued to better understand the connections between Ireland and Northern Island, there are many sides to this legendary country to fall in love with. Stone walled farms protecting sheep pastures, islands of saints and scholars, and lively pubs are all just an added bonus in a land as culturally rich as Ireland.

The enchanting history of this country lives on through the 17th century walls of Derry that have withstood numerous sieges over the centuries or through the Edwardian and Victorian buildings in Belfast. Join our Ireland tour to see the Emerald Isle like never before!

 


 

Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices

 

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to below Prices & Dates table. For general information on flights to/from the tour, click here.

Your Travel and Accomodations Arranged For You
(With English Speaking Guides and Staff.)

Driver, Dinner, and Local Guide Tips Included.

Authentic Local Experiences With Lots Of Inclusions.

Select a date below to reserve your spot:

 

Optional Single Supplement: $1000 USD (number of singles limited).

 


 

Full Itinerary
Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrival in Dublin
Today we arrive in Dublin, Ireland's capital city.

Since its beginning around AD 988, Dublin has accommodated many diverse nationalities from the Vikings and English invaders, to sailors, traders and writers who settled and lived here over the centuries. Modern Dublin is being transformed by enormous changes brought about by the recent economic boom, though the city will always have a reputation as a great historical city, and its strong links with world literature and the arts are readily apparent.

Overnight in Dublin.

Included Meal(s): Dinner



Day 2 Discovering Dublin: City Touring
Dublin is a warm and welcoming city, known for the friendliness of its people and famous for its “craic” (fun vibe), that has attracted writers, intellectuals, and visitors for centuries.

Today we have a guided walking tour. We begin at the Spire, also known as the Monument of Light, located on O’Connell Street. Continuing southwards to the River Liffey, we cross over to the south side of Dublin where we visit the exterior of Trinity College, Ireland’s most prestigious university, attended by some of Ireland’s biggest names including Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and Samuel Beckett.*

We continue west to Temple Bar, Dublin’s central nightlife district, known for its pubs and souvenir shops. Next we visit the outside of Dublin Castle, the former seat of the British administration in Ireland which dates back originally to the 13th century. Next we see the Molly Malone statue en route to Grafton Street, one of Dublin’s most prominent shopping areas, named after Henry FitzRoy, First Duke of Grafton -- an illegitimate son of King Charles II. We stroll the length of Grafton Street and look out for buskers who often frequent the area to entertain the crowds.

After a bit of a break, we experience Dublin tour with a difference, a guided visit of one of Ireland’s most famous graveyards, the hauntingly beautiful Glasnevin Cemetery. This tour will give you an overview of the history of the cemetery, where you will visit the graves of some of Ireland’s heroes, including Michael Collins, Roger Casement, Charles Stewart Parnell and Countess Markievicz. Our visit features just some of the stories of these rogues and the rebels, the famous and the infamous, the grave diggers and the grave robbers!

Finally we stop at the O’Connell Tower, the tombstone of the great Irish liberator, Daniel O’Connell. You can climb the 198 steps to the top for breathtaking views over Dublin, Meath, Wicklow. and the Irish Sea!

This evening we include a night of fun and merriment at the Merry Ploughboy, a 200-year-old pub (now part of the National Heritage List) in south Dublin. Here we enjoy a three-course dinner from a multi-dish menu as we experience an evening of traditional Irish music from the Merry Ploughboys traditional group and a dance performance from the champion Irish dancers and a true Irish welcome.

* We do not include a full visit of Trinity College and the Book of Kells, as it takes a considerable time investment, making it impractical for a busy city tour with many other things to see and do. A popular option for including this location in your itinerary is to add an extra hotel night/free day during which to accomplish this visit. For more info please visit https://www.visittrinity.ie/book-of-kells-experience/

Overnight in Dublin.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

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Day 3 Dublin - Rock of Cashel - Distillery Experience - Cork
Today we depart Dublin by road and travel south to Kinsale via a stop at the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. The Rock of Cashel, located on a dramatic outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale, is iconic in its historic significance and home to Ireland's most impressive cluster of medieval buildings. Originally the seat of Munster's kings, legend has it that St. Patrick himself came here to convert King Aenghus to Christianity. In 978, Brian Boru was crowned High King of Cashel and established it as his capital. Discover the round tower, Romanesque chapel, and Gothic cathedral that can be found here. While you explore, make sure not to miss the lesser visited Hore Abbey, Ireland’s last medieval Cistercian monastery, which is a short walk away from the Rock.

Kinsale is one of Ireland’s most picturesque towns. You’ll have some free time to explore the colourful, winding lanes and charming restaurants where you can get some lunch before visiting the Midleton Distillery Experience, an Irish whiskey museum and visitor centre. During our tour, we’ll learn about the history of Jameson Whiskey and the distillery that operated here between 1825 and 1975. We’ll see a short film before taking a guided walking tour through the old distillery to see the old kilns, mills, maltings, water wheel, still house, cooperage and warehouse. And, of course, our visit will include a whisky tasting, trying a dram of Jameson, Scotch, and American whiskey to become a 'Qualified Whisky Taster'.

We end our day in Cork,

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 4 Cork - The Ring of Kerry - Killarney
The Ring of Kerry is considered one of the finest drives in the world, with rugged cliffs and golden beaches, small villages, green pastures, peat bogs, and picturesque mountains. This peninsula illustrates all that is beautiful, wonderful, and wild in Ireland.

We begin with a visit to the town of Killarney, often voted the most beautiful town in Ireland and known as the gateway to the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Coast. Sites of interest in the town reflect it's strong religious and educational history. Killarney was a Church foundation from the 5th or 6th century, and settlement began here from around 1500. Today it's a lively, colourful place with lots of pleasant strolling, shopping and music.

Next we visit Killgorglin, known for the Puck Fair Celtic festival, where a goat is crowned king of the village! Continuing on a scenic drive along part of the beautiful Dingle Peninsula, we’ll stop along the way for some perfect photo opportunities. Next we stop at Waterville, often frequented by Charlie Chaplin and known for its early Christian monasteries and Skellig Rocks. We stop at the colourful village of Sneem before visiting Killarney National Park, which offers stunning views of the Lakes of Killarney and the Black Valley.

Our drive circles back around the to Killarney, where we spend the night. Before and/or after dinner you can explore colourful laneways, historic buildings dating back to the days of the landlord, and experience the ambiance of busy streets in the town centre. Killarney is a lively hub of activity with many shops, restaurants, and pubs.

Overnight in Killarney.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 5 The Gap of Dunloe & Lakes of Killarney Adventure
This morning we’ll meet our local guide at Ross Castle before transferring to the Gap of Dunloe, where our adventure will begin at the foothills of Ireland's highest mountain range. From there, we board a traditional "Pony and Trap" cart for a seven-mile journey through the Gap of Dunloe's dramatic glaciated valleys and breathtaking views. We’ll gain a unique perspective on rural Ireland as we travel through the Black Valley's unspoiled beauty and isolation. Before embarking on a fourteen-mile voyage through all three of Killarney's Lakes aboard a traditional Open Top Boat, we stop for a break for lunch at Lord Brandon's Cottage.

Our boat trip then guides us through the Lakes of Killarney, passing Innisfallen Island, Bricin Bridge, Colleen Bawn Rock, Torc Mountain, Old Weir Bridge, and the Meetings of the Waters, to name a few, before arriving at the magnificently-restored 15th Century Ross Castle for a visit.

We return to Killarney for dinner and overnight.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 6 Killarney - the Cliffs of Moher - Galway
Today we depart Killarney and head to Galway by way of the world-famous Cliffs of Moher (Aillte an Mhothair), formed over 300 million years ago. The cliffs are one of the most famous sights in Ireland; however, until you see them from the water, you haven’t really seen them at all! These amazing sea cliffs are named from the ancient Gaelic word ‘Mhothair’ (Moher) which means ruined fort. They rise to a jaw dropping height of over 214 metres (700ft) at their highest point.

From Doolin we depart on a one-hour boat journey of exploration under the towering cliffs, a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience the wide vista of these renowned cliffs from the water, with fresh air and open space all around you. Our vessel will sail south beyond the highest point, near to the great sea stack, An Bhreannan Mor. The crew will show you the many points of interest, including puffins and other marine birds, O'Brien's tower at the highest point, and the famed sea cave featured in the Harry Potter film The Half Blood Prince. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery as we cruise back to Doolin.

We continue to Galway, one of Europe's fastest-growing cities. Galway is a major city by Irish standards, yet it still manages to retain much of the accessibility and congeniality of a small town. Galway is perhaps the most prosperous city in Ireland and arguably one of the most appealing.

Overnight in Galway.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 7 Galway Food Trail - Slieve League Cliffs, Ireland - Londonderry/Derry, Northern Ireland
This morning we’ll meet up with a local expert foodie guide tour of some of Galway's best gastronomy haunts. We’ll visit the now famous Galway Market and a number of award-winning restaurants and cafes. We’ll be able to try 7-8 products ranging from oysters to cheese, sushi to crab, doughnuts to strawberry tarts, local beers and more (there are also plenty of options for vegetarians). After our culinary tour, there will be a goodie bag to take with you.

Leaving Galway behind, we travel to the Slieve League Cliffs (Sliabh Liag), nearly three times the height of the Cliffs of Moher, offering incredible views from their peaks and some of Europe's highest sea cliffs – the views are dramatic: the wild Atlantic Ocean, rugged landscapes, and the racing skies, which can change from wispy white clouds to dramatic greys in an instant. We'll be walking in the footsteps of pilgrims and monks as we explore the wilds of Slieve League: the mountains contain the ruins of an early Christian monastic site, including a chapel and beehive huts. Slieve League is also thought to have been a pilgrimage site prior to the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, with ancient stone remains dotted around the area.

We continue to Londonderry / Derry*, Northern Ireland, arriving in the late afternoon.

* The true name of the city of Derry or Londonderry is a subject of dispute between Nationalists (mostly Catholic) and Unionists (most of whom are Protestant), with nationalists calling it Derry, and Unionists, Londonderry. Although many Unionists will call it Derry in casual conversation, they generally insist on calling it Londonderry during political discourse; the reverse is not true of Nationalists. The most visible sign of this dispute to the visitor is in the road signage; those pointing to the town from within the Republic refer to it as "Derry", while across the border it is written as "Londonderry".

Overnight in London/Derry (dinner on your own this evening).

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Lunch



Day 8 Derry - The Giant's Causeway - Belfast
Today we’ll drive out of Belfast early and enjoy a spectacular guided tour along the Causeway Coastal Route. We start with a visit to Whitehead, a colourful seaside village nestled on the Antrim Coast north of Belfast. At Whitehead, enjoy a stroll through the village with our guide, seeing first Castle Chichester, a 17th-century ruined tower built to protect plantation settles from marauders.

Then comes a spectacular scenic drive along the coast looking out for wildlife, and arriving at Glenariff Forest Park. Glenariff, the Queen of the Glens, is one of the nine Antrim Glens in Northern Ireland. Glenariff Forest Park covers over 1,000 hectares with planted woodland, lakes, outdoor recreation spaces and conservation areas. We enjoy free time here to explore at your own pace before another gorgeous scenic drive ending in the picturesque seaside town of Ballycastle, where we'll have free time for lunch.

Our journey to Belfast not only takes us along one of the most scenic routes in all of Ireland, but it also passes Northern Ireland's most famous landmark, the Giant's Causeway, once believed to be the work of giants. We will visit these masses of basalt columns that form stepping stones climbing out from the sea up to the cliff. Some of the approximately 40,000 columns reach up to over 12 m (40 feet) in height.

We plan to arrive in Belfast in the late afternoon. Much of this city has been pleasantly pedestrianized, and in the early evening you may like to go for a stroll and explore this lively, cultural metropolis. Belfast is essentially a Victorian city, and no matter where you go you can see Edwardian and Victorian buildings with elaborate sculptures over the windows and doors. The City Hall (possibly closed for refurbishment), which dominates the main shopping area, was built in the grand Classical Renaissance style.

Overnight in Belfast.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 9 Maritime Belfast
Today we’ll delve into the story of how Belfast grew from a small settlement in the 1600s to one of the UK's most important ports just a few centuries later. We'll hear firsthand accounts of what it was like to work in the world-famous shipyard during Titanic's construction and get up close and personal with some of the remaining infrastructure, including Titanic's Slipway and Dry Dock. We have a walking tour along the Maritime Mile, which includes the Harland & Wolff Administration Building and Drawing Offices, as well as historic vessels such as the SS Nomadic. Next, we visit the award-winning Titanic Belfast, which tells the story of the Titanic, beginning with her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, continuing through her construction and launch, to her maiden voyage, and subsequent place in history. The Titanic Experience is a self-guided tour that takes you through nine interpretive and interactive galleries that explore the sights, sounds, smells, and stories of RMS Titanic, as well as the city and people who built her.

After our tour we return to our hotel for the balance of the afternoon at leisure.

Overnight in Belfast.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 10 Departure
Departure from Belfast.

SLAN ABHAILE!!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

 


 

Trip Info
Trip Info

Inclusions
Full-time Tour Leader with local guide support at various locations.

Breakfast and dinner (mostly local restaurants, maybe some hotels) daily.

All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary.

Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, hotel porters (if available).

Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving/late departing land & air customers who also book their extra hotel nights through us.

Exclusions
International airfare to/from the tour.

Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international air taxes (if applicable), excursions referenced as 'optional'.

Airport transfers for Land Only customers.

Optional trip cancellation insurance (for information please click on the "Resources" tab.

Seasonality and Weather
MAY is one of the best times to visit Ireland if you want to visit before the summer crowds arrive. The weather in Ireland tends to be good, with average highs of 15°C/59°F and average lows of 9°C/48°F. Although May is still spring in Ireland, the days are nice and long with the sun rising at 05:17 and setting at 21:26 (mid-May). This makes it possible to maximize our itinerary with lots of daylight hours to play with.

Ireland in SEPTEMBER is also hard to beat. Average temperatures see highs of 13°C/55°F and average lows of 9°C/48°F. We also enjoy long days -- at the beginning of the month, the sun rises at 06:41 and it sets at 20:14. This means we’ve around 12.5 hours of daylight to explore! September means the school year has resumed and many of the tourists that will have visited during peak season will have flown home; the beauty of visiting just after summer is that you’ll still have good weather and places will be much quieter with peak-season behind us.

Transport and Travel Conditions
Land transport throughout by private air-conditioned motor coach, 24-36 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size').

Our difficulty rating Level 1 refers to the comfortable, easy-going nature of this journey and the advanced state of development as it relates to tourist infrastructure, transportation, accommodation, and hospitality services. Our days are full but our travels from A to B are not arduous, with reasonable distances and plenty of stops of interest along the way. The sites we visit are many, but none are terribly large and all/most feature easy grades, handrails, and short distances. We will have walking tours of towns and cities (Dublin is mostly on foot at a leisurely pace), and some short walks to dinner. Please note that smaller hotels may not have porters, so you'll need to be independent with your luggage.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.

Activity Level: 1
No particular physical activity is involved other than town/city walks and short walks to dinners and sites of interest, some of which are large.

To learn more about the Activity levels, please visit our tour styles page.

Accommodation
Well-located, mid-range hotels (3-4 star) throughout. Porters are available in larger properties in major towns/cities; however you may have to manage with your own bags at smaller properties. All hotels have elevators.

For more info, please click on the "Map & Hotels" tab

Staff and Support
Tour Leader, driver, local step-on guides in various locales.

Group Size
Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader

Tour Extensions
This tour is part of a series that can be upgraded to make for a longer trip. For more options, please refer to tour code/s:

Ireland & Scotland Explorer
MAY SEP
TOUR CODE: IE20
Tour Overview

 


 

Map & Hotels
Map & Hotels

Regions visited: Western Europe
Countries visited: Ireland and Northern Ireland


*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


The Clarence Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Dublin
Country: Ireland
This hip hotel along the River Liffey is an 8-minute walk from the Ilac Shopping Centre and a 12-minute walk from St. Patrick's Cathedral.
The Montenotte Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Cork
Country: Ireland
In an elevated residential area, this warm hotel overlooks the city centre.
Dromhall Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Killarney
Country: Ireland
This upscale, family-run hotel dating from the 1960s is a 5-minute walk from the town centre and a 9-minute walk from The Ring of Kerry.
The Connacht Hotel
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Galway
Country: Ireland
This modern hotel is 2.2 km from Eyre Square in Galway city centre.
Da Vinci Hotel
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Londonderry
Country: Northern Ireland
Da Vinci’s Hotel Derry is located on the Culmore Road, an urban setting on the banks of the River Foyle. Just a short walk along the Quay to Derry City Centre and ... located to visit The Giant’s Causeway, the breath taking scenery of the Donegal Coast.
Read More
Titanic Belfast Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Belfast
Country: Northern Ireland
In a converted shipbuilding office dating from the 1880s, this polished hotel is surrounded by the maritime landmarks of the Titanic Quarter. It’s 2 km from Titanic Quarter train station and 4 ... from cultural exhibits at the Ulster Museum.
Read More

 


 

Gallery

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions
ASK A QUESTION
FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
ASK A QUESTION
01. What is the maximum number of participants on a trip?
Most of our tours carry a maximum of 18 participants; some tours (ie hiking tours) top out at 16. In the event that we do not achieve our minimum complement by our 90-day deadline, we may offer group members the option of paying a "small-group surcharge" as an alternative to cancellation. If all group members agree, we will confirm the trip at existing numbers; this surcharge is refundable in the event that we ultimately achieve our regular minimum. If the small group surcharge is not accepted, we will offer a refund of your deposit or a different trip of your choice.
02. Can I extend my tour either at the beginning or end? What about stopovers?
Yes, you can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end and we can book accommodation in our tour hotel. Stopovers are often permitted, depending on air routing. Stopovers usually carry a "stopover" fee levied by the airline.
03. How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?
The easiest way to make a reservation is via our website; during office hours, you are also more than welcome to contact us by telephone. A non-refundable deposit is payable at the time of booking; if a reservation is made within 90 days, full payment is required. Some trips require a larger deposit. If international airline bookings require a non-refundable payment in order to secure space or the lowest available fare, we will require an increase in deposit equal to the cost of the ticket(s). Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require greater preparation time. Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and send you a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and forms for you to complete, sign and return to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.
04. What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?
Please review our cancellation policy page for details.
05. I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?
All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location. This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement. The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible. On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available. Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.
06. Do you have a shared accommodation program?
Yes! If you are single traveller and are willing to share, we will do our best to pair you with a same-gender roommate. On most of our tours, if we fail to pair you, we will absorb the single supplement fee and you will default to a single room at no extra charge. At some destinations, however, where single rooms are not significantly discounted, or not at all, we may apply a "mandatory" single in the event that we cannot find you a share partner. This is usually 50% of the usual supplement, but can be as much as 100%. If applicable, this proviso will be noted on each tour page on this website, on your invoice, and in our tour date/price book (available for download under "Resources").

 

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Countries Visited: 2

Ireland; Northern Ireland.
Activity Level: 1

No particular physical activity is involved other than town/city walks and short walks to dinners and sites of interest, some of which are large.

To learn more about the Activity levels, please visit our tour styles page.
Tour Style: Cultural

These three- and four-star hotel-based, "soft adventure" trips concentrate on the culture, history, and natural attributes of our destination. Though there are no strenuous activities built into these tours, you need to be prepared for some full days with some early starts, plenty of walking on uneven surfaces through villages, cities and archaeological sites, and not a lot of "down time." Independence, reasonable fitness, and an ability to be steady on one's feet are critical in order for you to get the most out of these programs.

To learn more about the Tour Styles, please visit our tour styles page.
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