Top 10 small group holidays

Joining a small group holiday gives you so many options when it comes to destinations, and activities. From spotting the Big Five in Botswana to amazing cultural discoveries in Japan, Cuba and Jordan, or hiking through iconic landscapes such as Italy’s magnificent Amalfi Coast or Spain’s Picos de Europa – the company of others enhances your experience in so many enjoyable ways. And all the nitty-gritty logistics are taken care of on your behalf. The camping equipment in Botswana, the bullet train tickets in Japan, the national park permits in Costa Rica – your tour leader handles the tricky logistics while you enjoy the ride, and the company of your fellow adventurers.

Keep reading to discover our best small group holidays.

1. Communal camping in Botswana

Travelling as part of a small group makes perfect sense when it comes to Botswana, as here it’s all about wildlife watching in remote wildernesses that are tricky to reach and explore independently. Camping together makes this a sociable and atmospheric experience. Everyone pitches in when it comes to meal prep, loading vehicles, pitching tents and ensuring that no traces are left of your overnight stays, and there will be many opportunities for bonding around the campfire.

When to go: All year round
Our top small group trip: Botswana camping safari
See all our trips: Botswana small group holidays
Learn more: Botswana travel guide and Small group safaris guide

2. Admire the Northern Lights in Finland

Finland winter activity holidays are often family-friendly trips, though many specify a minimum age of 16. Evenings are spent watching for appearances of the Northern Lights, but the days are a hugely entertaining mix of well-organised activities, from snowmobile safaris and husky sledding to fishing through frozen lakes and visiting working reindeer farms for an introduction to Sàmi culture.

When to go: November to March
Our top small group trip: Finland Northern Lights holiday
See all our trips: Northern Lights holidays
Learn more: Northern Lights travel guide

3. Walking the magnificent Amalfi Coast in Italy

Set against a dreamy Mediterranean backdrop on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, this popular walking holiday follows ancient donkey trails and well-worn footpaths to out-of-the-way villages along a romantic coastline. Enjoy getting to know your fellow walkers on the trail and around the table at rustic tavernas along the aptly named ‘Walk of the Gods’.

When to go: All year round
Our top small group trip: Amalfi Coast walking holiday
See all our trips: Amalfi Coast holidays
Learn more: Amalfi Coast travel guide

4. Walk on the wild side in Costa Rica

A two-week small group holiday immerses you thoroughly in one of the world’s most spectacular wildlife watching countries, with turtles, monkeys, caimans and iguanas among the residents of Costa Rica. You’ll also have plenty of free time to explore on your own or with new friends made on the drives between Tortuguero National Park, Arenal Volcano and the Highlands.

When to go: All year round
Our top small group trip: Costa Rica wildlife holiday
See all our trips: Costa Rica small group holidays
Learn more: Costa Rica travel guide

5. Adventure & nature by the lake in Montenegro

Ideal for families, small group activity holidays in Montenegro escape the busy coast for Lake Skadar. Days are spent kayaking, canyoning, swimming, hiking and bird watching, while in the evenings you can get together with your fellow guests around a bottle of wine and a board game, or retreat to a corner with a good book – whatever you’re in the mood for.

When to go: May to October
Our top small group trip: Activity holiday in Montenegro
See all our trips: Montenegro small group holidays
Learn more: Montenegro travel guide

6. Cruising Croatia in style

Small ship cruises in Croatia carry with them big advantages, not least of which is that you can moor up in harbours that larger vessels cannot. Hopping along the Dalmatian coast and from island to island as part of a small group, you’ll have your own en suite, air-conditioned cabin with shared access to the ship’s sun deck and ladders down into the warm blue sea.

When to go: April to October
Our top small group trip: Luxury small ship cruise in Croatia
See all our trips: Croatia small group holidays
Learn more: Small ship cruising in Croatia travel guide and Croatia travel guide

7. Tour Japan by rail & bike

One of many reasons to recommend small group trips in Japan is the fun of experiencing the vivid cultural kaleidoscope together. They also save you money in what can be an expensive country to travel. Roaming between Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, mountains and market towns using the famous bullet trains as well as cycling provides many opportunities to get to know your fellow travellers as well as local people.

When to go: February to November
Our top small group trip: Japan small group holiday
See all our trips: Japan small group holidays
Learn more: Japan travel guide

8. Walking & talking in the Picos de Europa

A fantastic way to develop your Spanish language skills while also exploring one of Europe’s most dramatic mountain landscapes, this small group holiday ensures you’ll bond with fellow travellers over a shared interest. Regular daily language lessons are complimented by a series of organised activities around this spectacular national park in northern Spain where you can put your new knowledge to practical use.

When to go: May to October
Our top small group trip: Spanish course and walking holiday, Picos de Europa
See all our trips: Spain small group holidays
Learn more: Spain walking holidays travel guide and Picos de Europa travel guide

9. Epic adventures in Jordan

Discover traditional Bedouin lifestyles and iconic landmarks such as the King’s Highway and the rock city of Petra, snorkel coral reefs in the Red Sea, and roam the dramatic desert landscapes of Wadi Rum. And all in the company of friendly fellow adventurers, local guides and an enthusiastic tour leader. A small group holiday makes a superb introduction to Jordan.

When to go: February to December
Our top small group trip: A week in Jordan
See all our trips: Jordan small group holidays
Learn more: Jordan travel guide

10. Cuba in good company

Get a tantalising taster of this Communist Caribbean island’s unique culture with a small group holiday that whisks you between Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and the Bay of Pigs. Plus, an expertly designed itinerary is packed with memorable experiences that would be time-consuming to organise yourself, from touring Havana in a classic car to a salsa class, and even learning how to roll a cigar.

When to go: All year round
Our top small group trip: Cuba cultural holiday
See all our trips: Cuba small group holidays
Learn more: Cuba travel guide
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Cristina Cerda] [1. Communal camping in Botswana: Hans-Jurgen Mager] [4. Walk on the wild side in Costa Rica: Zdenek Machacek] [7. Tour Japan by rail & bike: InsideJapan Tours] [10. Cuba in good company: Locally Sourced Cuba Tours]