Last Updated: 5/13/23 | May 13th, 2023
Europe is one of the most popular destinations in the world.
While I love solo travel as much as the next person — and think Europe is one of the best places to backpack around — the continent is also a huge destination for tour groups.
When you think of group tours, you may imagine a horde of camera-clicking tourists wearing socks and sandals swarming off a massive bus, taking lots of pictures, and then moving on to the next site.
In the past, that image was pretty accurate.
But now? Not so much.
These days, the best tours have evolved and are much more nuanced and diverse, catering to all different age groups and travel styles. From hop-on, hop-off tours and river cruises to big bus and backpacker tours and everything in between, there’s a wide variety of tour options now.
No matter what kind of experience you’re looking for (or your budget), you’ll be able to find awesome and insightful tours to help you make the most out of your next trip to Europe.
I’ve taken tours offered by dozens of companies on the continent. Some were good, some bad, some great.
If you’re thinking of taking a tour around Europe — whether because it saves you time or money — here is a list of the best companies:
THE BEST DAY TOURS IN EUROPE
Pretty much every major city in Europe has a free walking tour. They are a fun, insightful way to orient yourself and learn about the history of a city. Plus, you’ll have access to a local expert who can answer any and all questions you have about the destination!
New Europe is one of the largest and best tour companies out there. Its guides are knowledgeable, and its tours cover all the major tourist sites. They also offer specialized tours, like food tours, day trips, and tours to specific historical sites (such as Edinburgh Castle or the Sachsenhausen concentration camp). You can find them pretty much everywhere in Europe. Just remember to tip your guides at the end!
Most tours will last around 3 hours. For their paid tours, prices start around 15 EUR per person and go up from there, depending on the duration of the tour.
Free Tours By Foot
Another free option is Free Tours By Foot. Like New Europe, they have qualified guides and a wide variety of themed tours in over 30 destinations across the continent. Chances are you’ll be able to find a tour with them (or with a company affiliated with them) in every major city around the continent. Tours usually last around 3 hours, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Since they offer free tours, make sure you tip your guide at the end.
They also have partnerships with other tour companies so you can find more specialized options here as well. For example, they have a great beer tour of Paris (as well as a macaroon tour if that’s more your style). Those tours aren’t free (they cost around 60 EUR per person) but they are a great way to get a specialized insight (as well as to try some amazing French beer and desserts!).
What makes these food, art, and history tours so special is that they get access to places others don’t, like the Louvre after hours, secret spots in the Vatican or Versailles, etc. The guides are incredibly well informed, so you’ll learn a ton of information. If you’re looking for a paid walking tour company, Walks is the best.
Their tours are usually around 3 hours, though they also have a few full-day options as well. Expect to pay at least 60-90 EUR per person. Be sure to book in advance as well, as many of their best tours (like their Sistine Chapel early entrance tour) sell out fast!
Devour Food Tours
For foodies, my go-to tour company around Europe is Devour. They run delicious food tours in Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the UK. From wine tours to dessert tours to filling hours-long food tours, takes you to local joints that the tourists don’t know about. Their guides are passionate and knowledgeable so you’ll not only feast on delicious eats but you’ll learn a ton about the food and culture too!
Most tours last 1.5-3.5 hours and generally cost around 50-110 EUR per person.
THE BEST MULTI-DAY TOURS IN EUROPE
Intrepid Travel is my go-to choice. I’ve been going on their tours for years and I’ve yet to be disappointed. The guides are excellent, the company offers amazing off-the-beaten-track itineraries, and it is committed to the local environment and supporting local communities. Their small groups ensure you’re never on one of those giant bus tours either.
While solo travel will always be my favorite way to travel, I really do enjoy going on tours. They are a fun way to meet other travelers as well as locals while you see and experience new destinations.
So if you’re looking for a tour on your next trip to Europe, be sure to consider the options above.
Get Your In-Depth Budget Guide to Europe!
My detailed 200+ page guidebook is made for budget travelers like you! It cuts out the fluff found in other guides and gets straight to the practical information you need to travel while in Europe. It has suggested itineraries, budgets, ways to save money, on and off the beaten path things to see and do, non-touristy restaurants, markets, bars, safety tips, and much more! Click here to learn more and get your copy today.
Book Your Trip to Europe: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- Safety Wing (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Europe?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Europe for even more planning tips!