Guided hiking tours: private vs group

Text by Valdis Čeičs, photos by Solveiga Kaļva, www.solveigakalvaphotography.com

A hike led by a person who is familiar with the area, route, and sights and knows how to get to the site is what characterizes a guided hiking tour organized by a tour operator. In this article, I share some knowledge related to the guided hiking tours from my own experience working as a tour guide.

Social aspect

Hiking alone for some people might be the most terrifying activity, while for the others – the most meditative and calming process. During group hikes, people usually tend to form smaller groups. For solo travelers, a group tour could be a nice way to make new friendships, but it might turn out to be a very isolating or even annoying experience if the companionship is not very enjoyable. On a private tour there is no such a problem, and the traveler can enjoy the surroundings without any social distractions, the amount of conversations depends on the traveler and the guide.

Group dynamics

The pace is set by the tour guide, depending on the slowest participant. Every group has its own dynamics, it is especially noticeable in the groups over twenty people. More people -more needs have to be accommodated by the guide, which means – more pauses for checking the group. In private groups, the guide knows everyone’s level of fatigue by walking along and can stop only when it is necessary. This is the reason why people in the big groups are often dissatisfied with the hiking pace – the fittest wants to continue the hike, but the weakest want to have a rest.

Support on the track

Being into the wild brings a lot of joy, but sometimes it comes together with injuries, insect bites, or damaged equipment.  Usually, the guide can handle these situations as they are prepared for the unexpected. The advantage of big hiking groups – everyone has a little bit of everything, someone has a spare battery, someone has a mosquito repellent or sunscreen. Sharing is caring. A group of strangers can make a picnic together and share their snacks, drinks, and other stuff, but sharing in a private tour is more intimate and natural than in a big group of strangers.

Pros and cons of group and private hiking tours

The private tour is more expensive, but it means less hustle for you and more time with the guide to ask questions. Private tours also have extra inclusions, like pick-up from your location, a picnic and water. The group tour has lower fares, but more self-organizing needs to be done, for example, getting to the starting point. It is also more exhausting as you have to carry your own food supplies. From the positive side, you can bond with others in the group and make new friends. 

Our group hiking tours

Our private hiking tours

Request a tour

What travelers say about us

Artur Iwański
Artur Iwański
2023-05-03
A very good and interesting guide. Customized trips - which is very useful. If you want to get to know Latvia (which is worth it!) there is no one better. Highly recommended.
Giovanni Paolo Palamara
Giovanni Paolo Palamara
2023-01-07
Very interesting trip. Definitely worth it!
Eddie Mantle
Eddie Mantle
2022-12-05
Very professional. Valdis, guided a group of 8 around Mangasala, Riga, giving us a fascinating insight into the military history there. Looking forward to the next tour.
Zijian Hua
Zijian Hua
2022-11-02
Valdis is an experienced guide, a local from Riga. He has a wealth of knowledge and is always able to tell you interesting history along the way. The route plan of the hiking is also reasonable. In autumn, the fallen leaves near Sigulda are also very beautiful. If you are planning to do an outdoor hike in Latvia too, then don't hesitate to join a walking group organized by Valdis.
bllhmn
bllhmn
2022-10-31
I took the tour in Lilaste. The train ride was very relaxing. The lakes and coast were amazing. It is great exercise and a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
John B
John B
2022-10-30
Great hike at Lilaste. Friendly tour guide. Definitely looking forward to the next hike. Highly recommended for those who want a short break from the daily routine.
Rachel Pamplin
Rachel Pamplin
2022-10-18
I enjoyed I enjoyed my tour of Cesis: Medieval Heritage and Natural Treasures! I loved being able to do a little of many things. Exploring the old city, touring a medieval castle, and a walk through a national park. The scenery was amazing and my guide was knowledgeable and helpful! As a single female, I felt safe the entire time and and would recommend to others!

Leave a review

Tell us about your experience!

About the booking terms & conditions

Travel insurance needed? Read more

Baltic Nature Travel
Baltic Nature Travel
Baltic Nature Travel