At Exodus, we have an unrelenting passion for adventure, whether that’s exploring a new country, delving into unique cultures, or getting involved in activities that take you firmly away from the everyday. While we love to take groups of like-minded travelers on guided adventures, we also recognize that for some, having the freedom to explore is more their style, so we offer a wide range of self-guided adventures too.

If you’re wondering which traveling style suits you best, read on as we share the differences and benefits of self-guided and guided vacations and provide some destination inspiration for each.

Discover Your Travel Style: Self-Guided vs Guided Adventures

The differences between self-guided and guided tours

Our guided adventures are small group tours, typically with 8-16 people in a group led by our hand-picked local experts. With this number of people, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with new, like-minded travelers from different backgrounds and share experiences on the adventure together. We also keep the groups small to minimize the impact of our travel on the environment and communities we visit.

On a self-guided adventure, you have the flexibility and freedom to explore Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond your own way. Whether you’re traveling on foot or by bike, our detailed trip notes give you everything you need to make the most of the opportunities along the way.

Discover Your Travel Style: Self-Guided vs Guided Adventures

What are the benefits of each?

On our guided tours, our expert local guides lead the way on your adventure, providing you with unique insights, intriguing legends and little-known facts behind the monuments and local sites. They’ll know the best routes to take and times to visit places without the crowds. Speaking the local language, too, they’ll make the whole experience seamless, so you can sit back and enjoy every moment.

With a self-guided vacation, you are in charge of the where and when. Linger at sights that capture your imagination, take a little longer over lunch or set out early to avoid busier periods; it’s your choice. However, with our in-depth trip notes and detailed maps, you’ll still have access to all the information that will make your adventure one to remember. We also transport your luggage between hotels, meaning you can travel light throughout the day.

Discover Your Travel Style: Self-Guided vs Guided Adventures

Which travel style will suit you?

Do you enjoy independence on your vacations, with the freedom to explore as you please and change plans should something inspire you? Do you like to while away the hours in world-class art museums or local markets without concern about time? If so, our self-guided tours would be great for you.

On the other hand, if you’d rather leave the organization up to someone else, having guides leading pre-planned routes and activities and allowing you to switch off and unwind on your trip, then come and join us on our guided tours.

Discover Your Travel Style: Self-Guided vs Guided Adventures

Destination inspiration

The Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is the perfect location for a self-guided walking adventure. Its dramatic coastline is stunning, with mountains rising steeply out of the Mediterranean and vibrant towns nestled below.

On our self-guided Paths of the Amalfi Coast trip, you can explore at your own pace, sampling the local food, taking in the sights and enjoying the pleasant climate. Follow our route trekking the spectacular ‘Path of the Gods’, regarded as one of the world’s finest trails. Then, take time to explore the UNESCO world heritage site of Pompei, a fascinating, preserved ancient Roman city and one of the most visited archaeological sites.

However, if you’d like a guide to help you gain an in-depth, local perspective of this area’s rich history and heritage, take a look at our guided Walking the Amalfi Coast. With knowledge of the optimum routes throughout the trip, your guide will reveal unique local sights along the way, the ancient stone houses carved into the cliffs, the shepherds’ huts, and the stories behind the idyllic seaside views. As you explore Pompeii, they’ll tell you all about the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius, how the city was lost for 1700 years, buried under ash and pumice, and what its discovery taught us about ancient Roman life.

Discover Your Travel Style: Self-Guided vs Guided Adventures

The Coastline from Porto to Lisbon

The coastline of south Porto and the Aveiro Lagoon are awash with color and vibrancy. The traditional Rabelo boats, the painted, shuttered townhouses and the brilliance of pink flamingos, purple herons and kingfishers all lure you to linger for a while and take in their beauty. Aveiro is known as ‘Portugal’s Venice’, a city where ornate, gondola-style moliceiro boats offer unique views of its splendour. Taking our self-guided Porto Coastal Cycling trip, you can explore it all at your leisure, enjoying the mainly flat routes, which are perfect for a relaxed cycling adventure.

Covering more ground but still enjoying the ride, our guided Porto to Lisbon Atlantic Ride leads you further south to the country’s capital. Learn more about the UNESCO World Heritage city of Porto, the history of Portuguese shipbuilding and its timber from the Leiria Pine Forest, and how after one of the fiercest forest fires in a century, it’s now undergoing regeneration. With your expert guide leading the way, you’ll stop in charming villages and medieval, white-washed towns, enjoying a complete immersion in the relaxed Portuguese way of life.

Discover Your Travel Style: Self-Guided vs Guided Adventures

The Swiss Alps

In the heart of the Bernese Oberland, pausing to absorb the immense beauty of glistening glaciers, serene sapphire lakes, surrounded by flower-filled meadows, and lush green forests is irresistible. On our self-guided Classic Swiss Alps Walk, the well-marked trails lead you through this picture-postcard landscape where the magnificent mountains of Eiger, Jungfrau, Matterhorn and Monch provide a breathtaking backdrop. Discover the ‘hidden valley’ of UNESCO-recognized Gasterntal and the mighty Klus Gorge, where glacial waterfalls cascade the sheer rock faces, before returning to a well-earned swim and sauna in your hotel at the end of an epic day. 

Discover Your Travel Style: Self-Guided vs Guided Adventures

The Rolling Hills of Tuscany

Further south, the landscape becomes less mountainous and more undulating but remains equally stunning. In the sun-soaked, rolling hills of Tuscany, you can enjoy a laid-back walking adventure discovering the region’s fabulous local wine, chianti. On our guided Chianti Walking & Wine trip, explore the medieval towns of San Gimignano and Greve, the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site of Siena and the magnificent city of Florence, enjoying wine tasting in local wineries as your guide shares intriguing insights into the region’s famous art, history and culture.

With so many incredible destinations to choose from all you need to do is decide whether you want to go self-guided or guided with our local experts. To learn more about what our trips can offer on your next adventure, head to our Ways to Travel page or get in touch with our team.