Looking for amazing group travel activities? Add these top excursions to your trip!
Aug 23, 2022 by Jamie Gallerani
One sure way to bring your group trip to the next level? By adding excursions to dive deeper into your destination! Our team of experts handpicks these unique, local experiences so that you can embrace even more cultural moments alongside your group. From a farm visit in Ireland to a home-hosted dinner in Cairo, check out some of the excursions our travelers love most. (We’ll level with you: If you’re going on a tour that offers one of these group activities and you don’t have it booked, then you’re truly missing out!)
Top excursions to add in Central Europe
- Add this excursion on: our tours that visit Prague or the Czech countryside, like Budapest, Vienna & Prague, Highlights of Eastern Europe, and A Week in Eastern Europe: Prague, Kraków & Budapest
- Why you can’t miss the experience: “It’s an experience only available to Go Ahead travelers due to our relationships with locals in the area,” said staffer Emily. “Travelers can’t do it on their own or with another tour company.” You’ll step inside this 17th-century aristocratic residence, which the Rohan family has owned for over 200 years. Soak in the beauty of the castle on a private tour, admiring the colorful walls and intricate wood carvings. Then, attend a private recital of classic Czech music performed by some of Prague’s most talented musicians and enjoy a private dinner featuring regional specialties and local beer or wine.
- Take it from a traveler: “Amazing (and on my birthday!)” said traveler Pamela after her Budapest, Vienna & Prague tour. “The tour and private concert were wonderful. I liked that this château felt more like a home, with furnishings and personal stories. It was charming to have musicians play for us—very special. Thank you! That evening’s dinner and walk around the grounds were very memorable for all.”
Jungfraujoch: The Top of Europe
- Add this excursion on: Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich
- Why you can’t miss the experience: You’ll travel through Alpine valleys to the village of Grindelwald, nestled deep in the Swiss Bernese Alps. Here, board a train for a ride up to Jungfraujoch, a UNESCO-listed mountain pass that overlooks the largest glaciated region in the Alps—and take in views from the summit, more than 11,000 feet above sea level! As if that’s not cool enough, here’s a fun fact about this amazing group activity: “During summer months, the Jungfraujoch station and railway are powered by the station’s own hydroelectric power plant in the valley below,” said staffer Tom. “This plant was built in the early 20th century and, with the heavy snowfall, is a reliable power source before the water freezes over. Travelers can visit the Top of Europe while emitting only negligible amounts of carbon.”
- Take it from a traveler: “Stepping out of the visitor center onto the viewing platform was something I will never forget,” said traveler Brian. “The sky was incredibly blue, we could see for miles, and we barely noticed the cool temperatures. We did everything there was to do, and yet had no idea of the final experience ahead of us: the view from the gondola as we descended. There were moments of ‘Look!’ and ‘Ohhhh!’ and there were moments of silence. A perfect ending to a perfect day.”
Top excursions to add in the UK & Ireland
Thames River Cruise & Pub Dinner
- Add this excursion on: our tours of London
- Why you can’t miss the experience: “Doing anything on the water offers a different perspective on the place you are visiting, and the views are usually the best,” said staffer Emily. Step aboard a riverboat and cruise down the Thames from Tower Pier to Westminster Pier, taking in views of the London skyline, Tower Bridge, the Southbank, Shakespeare’s Globe, and more. Disembark for a tour through the Covent Garden area of the West End, and then sit down in a local pub for a dinner with your group.
- Take it from a traveler: “We had a very enjoyable evening out on the Thames,” said traveler Howard after adding the experience on our Highlights of Scotland & England: Edinburgh to London tour. “The sun even shone! It was a bonus that we had the ‘hop on and off’ pass and we took advantage of that, too. The tube ride to the pub was an added experience for all of us. The meal and atmosphere were great once again.”
Glen Keen Farm & Dinner
- Add this excursion on: Ireland: The Wild Atlantic Way
- Why you can’t miss the experience: This is hands-down one of the best group activities to enjoy on tour! Glen Keen Farm is one of the largest sheep farms in Ireland and you’ll learn about sheep farming while soaking in the natural beauty of the area. There will be an interactive sheep-herding demonstration, a guided walk to a Bronze-Age ring fort, and Farm Lamb stew and tea. It’s one of the best travel experiences to have in Ireland.
- Take it from a traveler: “I still tell the story of going to Glen Keen Farm, which is a working sheep farm,” said traveler Kathy while sharing her reasons to visit Ireland in the summer. “As a person who lives in a rural area of the U.S., I thought that a visit of this nature would be silly. But I felt so differently once I was there—it was absolutely the most interesting, amazing several hours on the whole trip for me. It was very unique and well done, and showed the culture of the people in the area. The herding dogs’ training was unbelievable, and I loved seeing the craft of the locals who live and breathe this kind of thing every day.”
Top excursions to add in Italy & Greece
Rome Cooking Class & Dinner
- Add this excursion on: our tours of Rome
- Why you can’t miss the experience: Hands-on cooking classes are some of the most fun group activities to experience on tour. During this evening in Rome, you’ll learn how to make traditional dishes such as ravioli, gnocchi, and fettuccine alongside an experienced Italian chef. Then, enjoy eating the foods you cooked during an included dinner with wine. Mangia!
- Take it from a traveler: “This was one of the add-ons that I was most looking forward to,” said traveler Tessa after our Grand Tour of Italy & Greece. “I was very happy that we were able to go! I had so much fun learning how to make pasta from a famous chef. I can’t wait to cook homemade pasta when I get home from my trip!!”
Paros Boat Cruise & Snorkeling
- Add this excursion on: Greek Islands Adventure: Athens, Naxos & Paros
- Why you can’t miss the experience: If you’re looking for fun group activities that will bring you and your fellow travelers together, this is it. Head to the port in Paros and board a catamaran sailboat to cruise to the nearby islands of Antiparos and Despotiko. You’ll enjoy swimming and snorkeling at the picture-perfect Blue Lagoon on Antiparos, as well as in local sea caves, at the uninhabited Despotiko island, and on the idyllic Faneromeni Beach. A full Greek barbecue lunch of pork, chicken, and fish souvlaki paired with vegetables—and unlimited wine and beer!—will be served aboard the boat.
- Take it from a traveler: Travelers rave about the food, the crew, and the amazing destinations they visit on this excursion—but nothing beats building deeper connections as you island hop and eat fish souvlaki together. “Best icebreaker for our group,” said traveler Yalitza after our Greek Islands Adventure. Traveler Autumn agreed. “This was such an amazing experience,” she said. “Everyone was so nice and I felt like the group really bonded!”
Top excursions to add in Spain & Portugal
Madrid Flamenco Show
- Add this excursion on: most of our Spain tours
- Why you can’t miss the experience: If you’re traveling with a group that loves a live performance, then this is the excursion to add! Flamenco is an Andalusian style of dance exclusive to Spain, and combines guitar playing, song, and rhythmic handclaps. Experience this celebrated tradition during a live show in Madrid after enjoying a light dinner of tapas at a nearby restaurant.
- Take it from a traveler: “AMAZING… absolutely amazing!” said traveler Ken after our Barcelona, Madrid & Seville tour. “The dancers’ passion and artistry gave me a much deeper understanding and sense of Spain’s character and persona. One of the highlights of this wonderful trip.”
Algarve Coastal Cruise
- Add this excursion on: our tours that visit the Algarve region, including Portugal: Porto, the Algarve & Lisbon and Portugal for Solo Travelers
- Why you can’t miss the experience: The Algarve Coast is incredible from the land—and even more impressive from the water, which makes seeing it on tour one of the best group activities for adults. Board a boat in Lagos and sail along spectacular cliffs and beaches, including the natural rock formations and caves of the famous Ponta da Piedade. Keep your eyes peeled—you may even catch a glimpse of birds and dolphins as you cruise.
- Take it from a traveler: “Thoroughly enjoyed this cruise!” said traveler Mark after adding the coastal boat ride on our Portugal: Porto, the Algarve & Lisbon tour. “The seaside rocks and cliffs were awesome, as was the turquoise and blue water!”
Top excursions to add in the U.S. and Canada
Upper Antelope Canyon & Navajo Nation
- Add this excursion on: our tours that visit Phoenix, Arizona
- Why you can’t miss the experience: Long story short: This is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S. Plus, learning about its spiritual importance to the Native Americans in the area on a tour with a Navajo guide is an unforgettable group activity. You’ll journey through the Native American territory known as Navajo Nation, a historic area that covers more than 27,000 square miles, as you make your way to Upper Antelope Canyon. Forces of wind and water created this breathtaking slot canyon over thousands of years and it’s considered one of the most stunning natural structures in the American Southwest.
- Take it from a traveler: “Antelope Valley was amazing,” said traveler Ruth after our U.S. National Parks Adventure: A Week in the Southwest tour. “Our tour guide, Leticia, was wonderful and explained everything we saw. She was also patient with the group as we took pictures and even took them for us, so we were guaranteed to get the right shots.” Traveler Lygia was right there with her. “The guide was very knowledgeable and made us feel a part of everything that she was explaining,” she said. “It was a beautiful experience.”
Banff River Float
- Add this excursion on: Canadian Rockies by Train: Banff, Lake Louise & Vancouver
- Why you can’t miss the experience: When it comes to fun group activities, this is right there at the top. Go off the beaten path and get a whole new perspective on the Canadian Rockies as you float down the Bow River. As you drift through Banff National Park, admire staggering mountain scenery and a variety of local wildlife. Then, pass by the hoodoo rock spires that dot the northern face of Mount Rundle.
- Take it from a traveler: “Our raft guide, Stu, was excellent," said traveler Rodney. “He was very familiar with the area and terrain and was very friendly and informative.” Traveler Jane agreed. “The guys made us all feel safe and secure!” she said. “It was entertaining! No better way to experience nature than to just get in the middle of it!”
Top excursions to add in Africa
- Add this excursion on: South Africa: Cape Town to Kruger National Park
- Why you can’t miss the experience: Your group will take a ferry to Robben Island, the historic symbol of apartheid and South Africa’s struggle for freedom, and join a former political prisoner for a guided tour of the UNESCO-recognized site. The island’s prison held many political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela. You’ll see the jail cell where the former South African president was held for 18 years and learn more about the Nobel laureate’s life and work, which helped end apartheid. If you ask us, travel experiences don’t get much more fascinating than that.
- Take it from a traveler: “The personal tour by a former inmate made the experience extremely engaging and impactful,” said traveler Holly. “This was a good trip to take at the start of this tour to begin understanding the transformation South Africa underwent.”
Swahili Cooking Class & Lunch
- Add this excursion on: the Zanzibar extension of our Tanzania Wildlife Safari
- Why you can’t miss the experience: If you and your group members want to learn to make authentic Swahili food, this is one of the most fun group activities to add on tour in Africa! You’ll visit a market in Stone Town where locals shop for grains, meat, and seafood, and then continue on to a spice farm. After you’ve learned about the flavors and roots of East African dishes, learn how to cook an authentic meal you’ll find served at restaurants and in home across Zanzibar.
- Take it from a traveler: “Aisha, the cooking class instructor, is knowledgeable and a great teacher,” said traveler Beth. “Shopping at the market for fish, coconuts, rice, and ingredients was educational. The tour of the spice farm by Khamis was outstanding. He is exceptionally knowledgeable and his experience shows.”
Top excursions to add in the Middle East
Masada, the Dead Sea & Kfar Hanokdim Bedouin Camp
- Add this excursion on: our tours that visit Israel
- Why you can’t miss the experience: From journeying by cable car up to Mount Masada, a fortification in the desert, to floating in the famously salty waters of the Dead Sea, this is one of those group activities you don’t want to miss. You’ll round out the experience by visiting the village of Kfar Hanokdim for a traditional Bedouin dinner, which is a beautiful way to get closer to culture while you travel with a group.
- Take it from a traveler: “Floating in the Dead Sea was absolutely amazing, and the Bedouin camp was so cool,” said traveler Katherine after our Israel, Jordan & Egypt: Petra to the Pyramids tour. “We had a Bedouin woman speak to us about her day-to-day life. I bought the Bedouin tea that was served and was shown how to make it. Loved it!”
Cairo Home-Hosted Dinner
- Add this excursion on: Egypt & Nile River Cruise
- Why you can’t miss the experience: Any time you and your group members can connect with locals on tour, you should jump at the chance! Those moments turn out to be some of the best group activities, and you’ll feel thankful to learn about a place’s culture from the people who call it home. During this group travel activity, you’ll join a local at their home in Cairo to enjoy traditional dishes and dine like a true Egyptian. During this dinner, you’ll receive an authentic understanding of your host’s day-to-day life while learning about Egyptian culture and traditions from a new perspective.
- Take it from a traveler: “The family was generous and friendly, and were all-around amazing people,” said traveler Michelle after her Egypt & the Nile tour. “The food… oh the food… the spread was delicious. It was immersive and I loved spending time with this family. I would recommend this to everyone.”
Top excursion to add in Asia
Mae Kampong Hill Tribe: Village Visit & Hike
- Add this excursion on: most of our tours that visit Thailand
- Why you can’t miss the experience: The Mae Kampong Hill Tribe lives in Northern Thailand where members of the community continue to practice and share their storied traditions, and their village is truly one of the hidden gems in Thailand. Begin this tour activity with a short hike through the mountains surrounding the village. You’ll stop to view a waterfall as you hear about the beauty of the area from your guide. Continue into the village to learn about the traditional ways of life during a tea tasting. Farmers in the community have produced tea for over 200 years, and the area’s fertile farmlands are one of the main reasons the villagers choose to live here. Then, enter the home of a village resident and get to the heart of traditional Thai cuisine during a home-hosted lunch.
- Take it from a staff traveler: “During the hike through the jungle, we got to see an absolutely gargantuan tree,” said staffer Kai after returning from our Thailand Adventure: Bangkok, Chiang Mai & the Islands tour. “It was a great photo spot, and one of our travelers had the cool idea of taking a photo in panoramic mode, but going upwards so you could capture the scale of the tree.”
Top excursions to add in Latin America
- Add this excursion on: our tours of Costa Rica
- Why you can’t miss the experience: The canopy layer of the Costa Rican rainforest teems with life, but until recently, it was difficult for travelers to enter this world. On today’s excursion, a guided tour brings you to a series of suspended bridges high above the floor of the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
- Take it from a traveler: “One of the best highlights of this tour!!!” said traveler Yolanda after our Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & Wildlife tour. “The hanging bridges make for an amazingly beautiful nature walk! Breathtaking views!” Traveler Kevin also raved about this travel experience after our Highlights of Central America: Costa Rica & Panama tour. “From being above the clouds, hearing the wildlife, rain and rushing water to the overall walk/hike, it was an incredible experience,” he said.
Jaguar Paw Cave Tubing in Belize
- Add this excursion on: A Week in Belize: Ruins, Reefs & Rainforests
- Why you can’t miss the experience: “This group travel activity is simultaneously an adventure and relaxing,” said staffer Shannon.” Just overall a super cool, unique experience.” Travel to Jaguar Paw Park and meet up with a local guide, and then float through a network of caves alongside your group members. All you have to do is sit atop your tube and enjoy the views! Learn about the geology of the caves and enjoy periodic glimpses of the sunshine and surrounding jungle. You’ll also hear about Mayan history, including where they worshiped and sourced their sacred water.
- Take it from a traveler: “This is another highlight of the trip,” said traveler Vinnie. “I’m a huge fan of caves so this was right up my alley.” Traveler Carolyn also counted this as one of the top group activities from her tour. “Great cave tubing experience,” she said. “The guide was encouraging, friendly, and helpful, and provided great safety info.”
Top excursions to add in Australia & New Zealand
Phillip Island Penguin Parade
- Add this excursion on: our tours that visit Australia
- Why you can’t miss the experience: Every night, the tiny penguins of Phillip Island waddle ashore in an adorable parade—and you and your group members can witness it during this amazing group activity! Journey to Summerland Beach to see the penguins come home after a long day of fishing. They’re returning to feed their babies, and you’ll watch as the penguins arrive for dinner on the beach.
- Take it from a traveler: “It was a beautiful experience to see the penguins come home,” said traveler Magdalena. “It was more than I could have imagined.” Traveler Rebecca agreed. “Cannot beat seeing animals in the wild,” she said. “My group absolutely loved this.”
- Add this excursion on: most of our New Zealand tours
- Why you can’t miss the experience: If you and your group members are dreaming of a ferry ride across Auckland Harbour to a beautiful island in the South Pacific, this travel activity will deliver. A local guide will share the history of the island and tales of the region once you arrive. You’ll then make your way to a boutique vineyard for a wine tasting before continuing to a bustling olive oil mill. As a plus, the beach will be close by—and spectacular views await.
- Take it from a traveler: “Jenny was a lovely guide,” said traveler Ilene. “She gave information about the island that was pertinent and interesting!!”
What’s the best group activity you’ve ever experienced on a Go Ahead Tour? Tell us about it on our Facebook page!
About the author | Jamie Gallerani
It was Jamie’s homestay in Germany that made her fall in love with travel (and her studies in Florence that really sealed the deal). When she’s not writing and sharing the magic of seeing the world with others, she’s usually on the lookout for her new favorite memoir, testing out recipes at home, or visiting her family on Cape Cod.