Finding the right tour for you

There are over 400 European tours on our website. Our search engine is designed to simplify the process of searching for your tour. Click on the green 'search' button at the top of your screen and a drop down box will ask some questions.

Where? Click on 'where' and find the country you would like to visit. Click on the 'search' button at the bottom of the search box and you will have an overview of the country and a list of tours in that country.

What? If you know what 'experience' you are seeking (small group tours, cycling, walking etc.) click on the 'what?' box and find your interest, then you will have an overview of what is involved in the tours giving you that experience, and a list of the tours which match.

If you are only interested in one type of tour experience - (small group tours, cycling etc.) , leave the other boxes empty and click on the list 'what' - e.g. 'cycling' then you will have a display of all the cycling tours in all countries.

If you know that you want to visit a particular country (say, France) and only one experience (say, Barge & Bike tours) then use both boxes to filter the number of tours. Sometimes you will find only a few tours, or occasionally, no tours. That happens when we have all tours booked, or when there are no tours of that type in a particular country. write to us and let us know. We are always updating our website.

If you have specific month of departure, click on the 'when?' box and then click on your month of departure, and you will have a list of all the tours which run from the 1st of that month. Sometimes this leaves only a few tours to match your query, so if you can be more flexible with your dates, go back to that box and delete your entry.

The search box follows you as you move around the website, so use it when you want to change your search criteria. If you want to mark a few tours to compare them, on the same page, you can 'freeze' the summary so it stays in place. Then you can compare the price, country and title of the tours.

For a better way of comparing a variety of tours, you can create an account and store your favourite tours. That way, they stay in your account until you remove them. Handy if you want to show them to a travel partner later on, or if you are booking flights and want to keep the tours available without having to search for them again. Check out the FAQ - How do I use the Favourites feature?'

Evaluate your own needs and desires from a sporting and fitness level as well as your interests.Most cycling and walking tours have a level from 1 (easy) to 4 (challenging) Decide whether you would like to see battlefields, chateaux, luxury barges, sail and bike, etc. or try a small group tour with some walking and options for half day use of bike or canoe on many tours.

And we appreciate all feedback on your search success.

The favourites feature is there to help you to evaluate several tours when you can't decide which one you prefer, or to keep them in an account so you or anyone you travel with can look at them later.

First, you need to create an account with your email address. If you are going to book anything we will require this anyway, and we don't use your email address for sending our newsletters or specials until you give us permission by filling out the special contact details box on our website.

Once you have an account, you can login and click on 'favourites' to see what is in your store. You can store as many tours as you like in your own space. When you hover over the first photo of the tour overview, the summary appears. At the top left hand corner is a heart symbol. click on this and the tour will drop into your favourites box.

When you have stored several tours and want to compare, you can easily eliminate them as you work your way through them to find the one you would like to book. Click on the 'favourites' button at the top of the screen. Your own 'Slow Tours - My Favourites' will appear at the top of the page and the tours you have stored now have a dustbin where the heart was. This allows you to compare tours and delete them from your favourites.

Once you have selected your tour, you can book online (check our FAQ for how to do this), email us or call us. Our contact details are available in the 'contact us' pop up box at the right of the screen.

Difficulty level of cycling and walking tours

DIFFICULTY SCALE FOR A WALKING TOUR

Level 1: You have already walked for a half-day or a day. The tour is reasonably flat with routes of 15km maximum.

Level 2: You walk regularly at least twice a month, you are not afraid of hills. You are ready to walk between 15 and 25 km per day.

Level 3: You regularly hike and you are fit. You are used to daily walks on uneven ground. You know how to read a map. Your daily route can go up to 30 km with an altitude of up to 1000m.

Level 4: You are used to long walks for a several days. You can easily reach uneven and rocky ground. You aren’t afraid of high altitude, it can reach 1000 m per day and the daily distances can be longer than 30km.

DIFFICULTY SCALE FOR A BIKE TOUR

Level 1: Easy biking in nearly flat landscape, some minor hills maybe on some days. You have already cycled for a half-day or a day. The daily distances will be between 15-30 km a day . Level 2: Biking in flat to hilly areas. You may encounter some climbs from time to time, sometimes short but steep. You cycle at least once a month, you are not afraid of hills. You are ready to cycle between 25 and 40 km per day.

Level 3: Strenuous biking trips in hilly regions where climbs cannot be avoided. You are used to daily cycling. You have already been on cycling tours for a few days. You are ready to cycle between 35 and 60 km per day with slight difficulties.

Level 4: Serious and strenuous biking in mountainous regions, climbs are longer and steeper than level 3 tours. You often cycle for several days and can easily ride for long distances on different ground levels...

Booking a tour

Once you have found the right tour(s) for you, you can book in several ways:

a) book directly online - you can defer payment and we will invoice you, or pay directly by credit/debit card b) email us with details of the tour(s) you would like, with any questions you may have - send your email to info@slowtours.com c) Our number is in the 'contact us' box at the right of the screen, and you are welcome to call and book with us directly.

On each tour page, you will find a description, itinerary, prices and dates. There is also a booking box for each tour. You can select how many single,double or twin rooms you would like to book. These are added to your cart.

You can continue finding other tours and adding them to your cart in the same way. Once you are finished, click on the cart at the top of the screen, and a list of tours you would like to book are presented.

Check that you have all the tours correctly reserved, then click on the book button. You will be asked for your contact details and names of persons travelling with you. Once completed, you select whether you would like to pay by credit card or by direct funds transfer.

If you choose to pay by direct bank transfer, deposit funds transfers must be received within 48 hours to confirm your booking.

We will deal with your booking promptly and if you contact us, we will hold tours open for 48 hours while payments are made.

Where tours are heavily booked, occasionally a tour which was 'open' is booked before we can put a hold on it. If this happens, we will let you know as soon as possible, and will offer an alternative or reimburse any monies paid.

Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm places on your tour(s). Should there not be enough places, we will immediately tell you so you can change your tour or we refund your payment.

As most of our tours are for smaller groups, it is wise to book early to secure your place(s)

Some of our tours require a minimum number of people, although this if often only 2 people.

Each tour is different, and we will let you know this at the time of booking. If tours are cancelled due to insufficient bookings, any payments you have made will be reimbursed. Please check our Terms and Conditions at the bottom of the home page for other eventualities.

Pricing

All the inclusions are listed on each tour, as some are different from others. You can see how many breakfasts, lunches and dinners, are included in the price, also for cycling tours equipment included is shown.

Single supplements are charged particularly on tours where the accommodation is restricted, such as a barge with only 5 or 6 cabins, and on many tours where room charges vary for one person.

Solos are very welcome on our tours and you won't feel alone. Most tours have a solo host/guide who will accompany solo travellers on days when you have free time to wander in a town or village. Also, in smaller groups, people get to know each other very quickly.

Some barges have smaller cabins for solo travellers where you do not pay any extra. Ask us for details info@slowtours.com

The price we show is per person for the entire length of the stay, unless otherwise stated. A single supplement is shown as a separate price where there is only one person in a room or cabin. Shared rooms may be selected as twin beds or double bed, and if your choice is not available, we will let you know.

This depends on the country and hotel as in some places a tax is not included in the hotel or tour price, but has to be paid each time a tourist stays in a hotel, and is charged at your departure. This applies in France in particular and is around 1-2 Euros per day per person. Tax requirements change from country to country so it's always good to check.

Check each tour you book in the ‘description’ tab, as they differ depending on the country, type of tour and location. You will often find a number of meals listed as ‘free choice’ which allows you to choose your preferred type of meal, snack or full menu, with a choice of restaurant. Most cycling tours will either include a packed lunch, or suggest a local place where you can buy a snack en route.

If you have any dietary requirements, please let us know at the time of booking. Many tours now include an option for vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free, also vegan is possible n some tours. There is usually a small surcharge

Airport transfers are sometimes included in tour costs and this is specified in the ‘inclusions’ on the tour description. If you need help organsing your transfer to the start of the tour please contact our Customer Service Support on +61 408 358 448

No, we do not charge any fees at all, but we do ask you for a deposit to secure your place on the tour(s).

Paying for your tour

We accept Credit Card and direct bank transfer payments. When you search for your tour with our search engine on the front of the home page, you can then book and pay for it online, either by credit card (in Australian dollars, US dollars and Euros) or you can pay by direct bank transfer to our bank account in Euros, Australian dollars, US dollars.

We ask for a deposit to ensure your spot is safe on the tour. Most of our tours are for small groups so it is important that places are reserved.

Full payment must be made at the latest 90 days before departure. If there are any issues with payment, please contact Slow Tours Customer Service Support on +61 408 358 448. Cancellation fees are in our Terms and Conditions.

Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions may be found at the bottom of the website homepage along with our Privacy Policy

Before my trip

A valid passport from your country of citizenship is required for any Slow Tour passenger who is travelling out of their residential country. Please check on our website which countries your tour will cover and if in doubt, check with your Embassy

For all tours, we require your passport number and date of expiry. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your return date.

Slow Tours cannot organise your passport but our customer service team are more than happy to give advice and point you in the right direction if you need assistance. Please contact our Slow Tours Customer Service Support on +61 408 358 448.

Generally, you will need 6 months validity after your return date, but please check with your local embassy and the countries where you will be travelling how much validity is required on a returning residential passport.

Please contact your local embassy to arrange a Visa or Visa Waiver if you require one. The Visa and Visa Waiver does not apply to every country so it is important to check which countries your tour covers, and refer to your Embassy or passport office of your country of residence.

Yes. We advise full coverage travel insurance before you leave and your policy number is required by Slow Tours before you travel. We ask for your travel insurance company and policy number in case you need any assistance while you are away from home.

You are advised to bring at least 2 copies of your passport, travel insurance policy number and telephone number to call in an emergency, airline tickets, car hire documents, doctor medication letters and your Slow Tours booking confirmation.

We suggest you have a copy of all documents in your hand luggage and one in your suitcase. Also, leave a copy at home with your next of kin so they are able to contact you in any family emergency.

Slow Tours requires details of your passport and passport number, travel insurance company name and policy number, emergency contact numbers and a fully completed booking form prior to your tour departure date

Please check with your doctor and your local embassy if you require any immunizations

Communication

There will be access to public phones at your accommodation throughout the tours but we cannot guarantee daily access to a phone. Calls are at your own cost. In an emergency your family should be able to contact you as long as you leave the list of accommodation contact numbers with them.

If you are travelling on a cruise or barge trip, the captain will have communication available for any emergency situation.

Most of the accommodation will have wifi access and mostly it is free, but we cannot guarantee this. Also, many hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, town centres and airports have free or small fee-paying wifi available.

On barges and ocean cruises, there is often limited wifi, sometimes with a small fee payable.

Please check with your local mobile provider for user accessibility and charges whilst overseas. Charges can be quite elevated if you use data roaming. It is a good idea to check and compare costs and offers before leaving home.

We will send you contact details of your guide and your accommodation in your Tour Information Pack. We strongly advise that you leave a copy of all your travel information with your next of kin before departing.

Many countries have the 220/240-volt electricity supply, but often with a different plug. Some countries have a 120-volt system. It is important that you check before travelling, so you will have the necessary adapter equipment with you.

Many hotels can loan adaptors for a short while, but it is best to buy your own. Airport shops have many different designs and price ranges.

Money requirements while on tour

For currency information on your chosen tour(s) please check the Tour Information Pack which will be sent to you before you depart. Most banking institutions have a travel card where you can change your own currency online and continue using the card for payments and cash withdrawals. Ask at your bank for the best way to do this, and let them know which countries you are travelling to.

Most countries in Europe use Euros, but check first so you don't get caught out. For example, Switzerland uses Swiss francs and Great Britain uses British pounds.

Most of our destinations have money changing facilities at airports, some banks, and in most places your credit/debit/travel card will work in cash distributors (teller machines). Always check the Tour Information Pack which will be sent to you before you depart. We also advise that you exchange a small amount of cash before you leave home so you’ve got some money when you arrive in case the nearest Currency Exchange, bank or automatic teller machine is not close by.

It is also possible to have cash sent to you via institutions such as Western Union. Check the charges before leaving home

There are some minor costs that will need to be paid on the day by the guest including some meals, extra hotel charges, such as telephone and mini-bar costs, your own souvenirs etc. but these are generally detailed in the tour descriptions on our website, also in the Tour Information Pack which will be sent to you before you depart.

Meal inclusions vary on tours, as do costs, so luxury hotel barge cruises include all meals and drinks. Many tours include breakfasts and most dinners, but not lunches. Check each tour inclusions separately so you know how much extra money you may require.

Tours do not include flights, unless specifically mentioned in the tour description.

Some countries that we travel to have a tipping culture but your local host/guide will be able to advise you on the local protocol. Hosts/guides who do a really good job of looking after you often receive tips, but this is entirely at your own discretion.

Most major credit cards work whilst overseas but also may have conversion fees attached. Please contact your local credit card company or bank before you travel to organise your money whilst overseas. There are some very convenient and less expensive ways of handling money overseas.

Slow Tours is committed to providing the most value for money tours whilst keeping you in comfortable style. As we offer a range of 3 - 5 experiences, tour costs and inclusions are bound to vary. Any extra on-the-day costs that you will need to pay for have been detailed in your tour description for the specific tour on our website and also the Tour Information Pack which will be sent to you before you depart.

We would love to have a crystal ball, but 'unforeseen' costs are just that! Your host/guide is there to assist with any difficulties which may crop up.

Packing and luggage

Your airline determines your maximum luggage weight allowed. If you are travelling on an international airline, and include some domestic flights during your holiday, then it is wise to use the lesser amount allowed so you won't end up paying excess luggage fees.

We suggest that one small (preferably a secure backpack) and one medium case (on wheels) is all that you need, so you can manage your baggage yourself. In many countries now, you may not find a baggage handler to assist you. There are laundry facilities along the way where you can wash items of clothing and a smaller case is easier to carry around. And you can rinse out undergarments in your hotel or cabin bathroom.

As our tours range from cycling to relaxing on a barge our packing lists are varied! Also, much depends on the season and climate of the countries you visit. Make sure you check the tour description(s) on our website, also the Tour Information Pack which will be sent to you before you depart. There will be suggested/required items in your information pack.

Using layers is a great way to adapt to changing temperatures, so an undervest, t-shirt or shirt, light woollen jacket and a warm coat would cover almost every climate. A small fold-up umbrella is useful in changing seasons, also a rain jacket which folds up into a small bag can become a treasured item if you hit some bad weather.

Please check with your Doctor for any prescription restrictions there may be on your medication in the countries you will be visiting. If you are bringing any medication ensure that you have a Doctors letter with you in case it is needed at security at the airport.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your luggage is secured, and whilst we endeavour to keep your luggage secure at all times, we will not be held responsible for stolen or lost luggage. Your travel insurance should cover any damage or losses.

Make sure you have your name and travel destinations on all bags.

We suggest 1 (or maybe 2) small to medium suitcases as smaller cases are easier to manage. Whatever you choose, we suggest that you should be able to carry it yourself.

A secure and safe back-pack is also strongly advised over a handbag for day trips and site-seeing. Some art galleries and museums do not allow back-packs, and you may have to leave them at the cloak desk.

On tour information

It is better to be prepared, so this information is here to help you, however, this is a rare occurrence, and if your valuables are lost or stolen, this is the reason we advise you take out travel insurance.

Some of the destinations we travel to are unfortunately home to pick pockets but our local guides will be able to give you information and tips to make sure you feel comfortable. We recommend a secure back pack (zippers on the inside next to your back) for your day trips to towns and cities when you are more vulnerable. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, stay with your local host/guide who is there to help.

Nearly all the countries we visit have good protection laws and police to enforce them, so there is no reason for you to feel unsafe.

Slow Tours is committed to your safety and the safety of our guides and will do everything we can to ensure guests' safety during the tour. We will keep you updated with any information relevant to your chosen destination but please also check with your local embassy for any travel restrictions placed on residents of your home country.

Please ask your guide during your tour if you have any concerns and he/she will be sure to let you know if a specific site has any restrictions.

Most art galleries, museums, churches and basilicas allow photos but no flash. Check for local signs before taking photos

Please let your tour guide know immediately and they will help you handle the situation with advice from your local Embassy.

Our maximum 'small group' sizes vary but generally numbers do not exceed 16. Self-guided cycling, walking and hiking tour groups can start at 1 person, and usually there is a maximum of 10 for cycling, for safety purposes. Guided groups may be different but that is because there is a qualified guide with the group, and often an emergency vehicle which can be brought in quickly.

For the cruising ships and barges, the number of guests may vary from 20 - 120 , so check the size of your boat before booking.

Each tour uses different transport from smaller mini-buses to barges/boats and bicycles! For the transport used in your tour please check the tour description for the specific tour on our website and also the Tour Information Pack which will be sent to you before you depart.

Some tours use public transport, which you use with your tour guide (who purchases the tickets). This is mostly the case in regions where public transport is more convenient than vehicle use. Switzerland would be a typical example of this, also Bavaria, which is small and well served by train and bus transport. It is a great way to travel and with a local guide, it is more fun!

There is no predetermined fitness level required for any of our tours and it is up to the individual as to how energetic they feel! Some walking is included in all of the tours for site seeing but this can be adjusted to suit any issues you may have, just make sure you discuss this at the time of booking. Some people may prefer to wait in a nice coffee shop when the group climbs hills and explores villages, or you may like to just go halfway at your own pace and meet in a coffee shop when the rest of the group returns.

In many cases, we can tailor your experience for you. Our cycling and walking tours, however, require a moderate level of fitness, and the hiking and skiing requires a greater level. Check the cycling and walking tours for the level of difficulty (1-4) and if you are concerned about the cycling, there is usually the option of an electric assisted bike., for both Hotel & Bike and Barge & Bike Tours

We cannot guarantee a laundry facility at every accommodation, although most hotels offer an in-house service of laundry and dry-cleaning. There will most certainly be access to laundry facilities at some point during your tour.

Most travellers rinse out undergarments in their hotel or barge bathroom.

The concept behind Slow Tours is that there are rarely extended periods of sitting on buses or trains as the whole tour is conducted at a leisurely, relaxing pace. We prefer that you relax and enjoy yourself on holiday, so endeavour to avoid long travel times in one day, unless there is something exceptional to visit.

Walking and cycling tours have a predetermined distance to travel each day. Choose the tours which match your level of fitness. If in doubt, check with us when booking.

Yes, definitely! Due to the nature of Slow Tours philosophy, our tour operators provide the opportunity for as little or as much activity as you want and your host/guide will endeavour to tailor activities to suit the individual where possible, including factoring in free time.

Certainly! The beauty of the small Slow Tour groups is that it is easy for you to opt out when you feel like resting at the hotel or on the boat for the day . Just let your guide know what you would like to do in advance if possible, and they will make every effort to accommodate your requirements.

With walking and cycling tours, you can sometimes stay an extra day in a hotel so you can have a day of rest between the energetic days. Check the tour itinerary to make sure it is one which will suit your capabilities. There is a hotline service during your tour just in case you have any problems.

One of the nice parts about Bike & Barge is that if you feel sore and lacking energy, you can miss the bike ride and stay on board for the day!

Each tour has different accommodation standards but every tour has comfortable accommodation with ensuites to each bedroom. Generally most tours are 3-5 stars which means there is a range of accommodation from small family B&B's often used out in the countryside on cycling tours, to 5-star chateaux with a luxury touch.

Similarly barges may be a neat and tidy 3-star with good meals, or a luxury hotel barge with state rooms, a first class crew and chef on board. For individual tours take a look at the specific tour information on the website or in your Tour Information Pack which will be sent to you before you depart.

Some walking and cycling tours have a range of options for your accommodation, so you can choose from a small 2 family hotel to a 4 luxury hotel with spa and swimming pool. If in doubt, check with us.

We understand that flights may be delayed and often you arrive late due to no fault of your own. However, as your tour has been booked, we are unable to offer a refund (please see Terms and Conditions). Your travel insurance should cover you for all lost days and any extra travel expenses to help you join the tour.

We will do our best to get you to the tour, which may involve extra transport costs if the tour has already departed. Again, this should be covered by your travel insurance.

Our guide will ensure that as far as possible, any dietary requirements are taken care of at any group meals. Please let us know when you fill out your booking form which is sent to you when your tour is booked and confirmed.

Our tour operators will endeavour to meet your dietary requirements, but on some tours there may be a small charge for this. Sometimes a group may have vegetarians, gluten free, dairy free and vegan diets to manage. Please be patient with the chefs and cooks as they really do try their best!

The weather will depend on the destination of your tour and the time of year that you are travelling. We suggest that you take a few 'layers' of clothing, so it is easier to add or remove one layer of clothing as the day or season gets warmer or cooler.

A small range of uncrushable tops and a couple of scarves or cravats will save a lot of room in your luggage and will be the invaluable items !hat you will wear a lot of the time!

The current Slow Tour destinations in Europe rarely have undrinkable tap water but please drink bottled water if this works better for you. If you are in doubt, check with your local tour guide.

There certainly are in most places! In some of the less well known European countries, there are still facilities which are not to the standard we are accustomed to, but your guide will know where the best in the area can be found. The others are a good photo shot to show your friends when you return home!

After your tour

Yes, you will receive an evaluation survey, and we would really love you to fill it out. This helps us to make sure our clients receive the best available in slow travel on this planet!

You are welcome to send us a testimonial and photos to put up on our website - we will love you forever!

Once you have travelled with us, you will be welcomed into the Slow Travellers Club where you will receive notice of special prices before we put them onto our website. You also get other benefits and discounted tours.

Yes, you will. And we will continue to send you information on early bird pricing and information on new tours as our website is updated.

As a Slow Tour Travellers Club Member (someone who has come on a Slow Tour) you will also receive Member only offers. Also other specials before they are open to the public.

If you have any more questions or comments after your tours, we would be delighted to hear from you. Send us an email to info@slowtours.com with details of the tour(s) you went on.

If you have not found an answer to any of your questions, please contact us so we can make sure the FAQ's are kept interesting and informative for future clients.

Thanks so much!

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