Blog
2017-06-14

Self-Guided or Guided Tour: Which Is Right For You?

When you start planning your exciting adventure through Portugal, there are many things to consider. Which beautiful region will you explore? What fun activities can you plan to immerse yourself in the local culture? When is the best time to book your adventure holiday? And, ultimately, will you travel independently or will you be led by the expert knowledge of a local guide? Read below to find out whether a self-guided or a guided tour is right for you:

Why Choose a Self-Guided Tour

Self-guided tours are ideal for travellers whose main priorities are flexibility and unpredictability – and that can seem like an exciting opportunity or too much of a nuisance, depending on your travel preferences. So why should you book a self-guided tour?

Why:

  • Customize your journey: Whether taking a walking tour or biking tour in Portugal, when you opt for the self-guided option you’re opening yourself up to a world of exciting and unknown possibilities.
  • Manage your own time: The hundreds of kilometres of trails here allow you to freely choose when to start your journey, which detours to indulge yourself in and how to best explore your region of interest.
  • Get lost: Lose yourself through winding backroads and natural trails and find yourself among dense oak tree forests, dramatic mountain landscapes and stunning seaside cliffs.

Why not:

  • Don’t get too lost: Without the help of a guide, it can be easy to lose your sense of direction and wind up on a more adventurous journey than you originally planned for!
  • Logistics are on you: While travelling without a guide can be more thrilling, it can also be more bothersome: you’ll have to transport your own gear and luggage everywhere and do your own equipment repairs as needed on the road.
  • No local flavour: Professional guides also provide you with something unique – their own expert knowledge on the local culture. If you’re just looking to take in the country’s beautiful landscapes on your walking or biking tour in Portugal, then you won’t feel the need to have someone guide you along the way. But if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the deeply complex and diverse culture here, maybe it’s worth it to consider a guided tour.

Why Choose a Guided Tour

The truth is, no amount of prior research can substitute the knowledge of a local guide who has both the professional training and exciting personal experiences to truly enrich your trip. But hiring a guide can also increase the overall price of your trip, which is always something to consider. So why should you book a guided tour?

Why:

  • Local knowledge: With a guide’s expert knowledge leading your journey, you will travel deeper to discover ancient traditions, local myths and unique stories.
  • More social: If you’re traveling solo, this is also a great opportunity to meet other travellers and locals, ensuring that your walking or biking tour in Portugal becomes a trip you won’t soon forget. (Of course, there’s always the small chance you won’t like the other members of the group but, in our experience, this has been extremely rare: people can always find something they have in common!)
  • No logistics: Guided tours can also take some of the travel planning burden off you as accommodation, equipment and meals are all taken care of by the travel company team

Why not:

  • Pricier: Having a guide and a travel team handling logistics and bookings will certainly increase the price of your trip. And while you may be looking for the most affordable holiday, it’s worth considering that travelling with a guide will allow you to truly relax knowing that hotels are booked, luggage transport is arranged, and the needed equipment for your tour is secured.
  • Strict schedule: With everything pre-booked, you will miss out on the flexibility and unpredictability that a self-guided adventure gives you. On the other hand, having everything scheduled means you will be able to see more of the country in a shorter amount of time, which is perfect if you’re only stopping by for a few days.

Self-Guided or Guided Tour: Which Is Right For You?

Ultimately, choosing a self-guided or guided tour in Portugal will be defined by your own travel preferences and needs. If you’re a thrill-seeking traveller looking to get lost among Portugal’s stunning landscapes and wanting to DYI your journey into an unpredictable adventure, then a self-guided tour will be the best way to explore Portugal’s extensive walking and cycling trails. But if what you’re after is a relaxing holiday that will allow you to explore the best of Portugal’s landscapes, history and culture then opt for a guided tour that will truly enrich your adventure here. Whichever option you choose, though, we’re sure you will find plenty of things to do here in Portugal and a wealth of places to visit.

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