Blend vigorous tramps with insightful cultural visits as you explore Ireland's dramatic west coast. In addition to hikes along the Gap of Dunloe, the Dingle Peninsula, the Aran Isles, and Connemara, you'll discover iconic and lesser known cultural sites and enjoy a tasty pint and Irish hospitality at local pubs.

Starting at: $5,495 Register Interest or Call 833-254-6678
 Hiking through breathtaking landscapes in Ireland  The Gap of Dunloe  Landscape of the fabled Aran Islands  Typical scene of musicians in a pub. Credit: Courtesy Ireland Tourism Bureau  Ring fort, Dingle Peninsula. Credit: Courtesy Ireland Tourism Bureau  Conor Pass, the Dingle Peninsula. Credit: Courtesy Ireland Tourism Bureau  Stone fences along the Dingle Peninsula  Whiskey distillery, Dingle Peninsula. Credit: Courtesy Ireland Tourism Bureau  The village of Dingle  The 15th-century Ross Castle, outside Killarney  Typical landscape in Ireland. Credit: Ireland Tourism  The 12th-century Kilkenny Castle  Kilkenny street scene. Credit: Courtesy Ireland Tourism Bureau  Sheep dogs working their herd  The Connemara landscape. Credit: Ireland Tourism  Connemara's Kylemore Castle, once an abbey and school   The village of Clifden. Credit: Courtesy Ireland Tourism Bureau  Galway Bay  Street scene in Galway. Credit: Courtesy Ireland Tourism Bureau

Hiking the Emerald Isle

11 days from $5,495

Blend vigorous tramps with insightful cultural visits as you explore Ireland's dramatic west coast. In addition to hikes along the Gap of Dunloe, the Dingle Peninsula, the Aran Isles, and Connemara, you'll discover iconic and lesser known cultural sites and enjoy a tasty pint and Irish hospitality at local pubs.

or Call 833-254-6678

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Buswells Hotel

Dublin, Ireland

As one of the oldest hotels in Dublin, Buswells is nestled in the peaceful location of Georgian Dublin close to the picturesque St Stephens Green park and a short stroll from Trinity College, Book of Kells, National Museum, Galleries & Dublin Castle to name a few.

Number of nights: 1

The Malton Hotel

Killarney, Ireland

Built in 1854, this elegant hotel is a short walk from town center. The property features a fine- dining restaurant with garden views, a wine bar and a grand foyer with afternoon tea. 

Number of nights: 2

Dingle Skellig Hotel

Dingle, Ireland

The Dingle Skellig Hotel is situated on the beautiful Dingle Peninsula, surrounded by rolling hills and the calm expanse of Dingle Harbour. Since 1969 the hotel's reputation for comfort, hospitality, and service has excelled, and many travelers enjoy its warm and welcoming vibe. After a day on the trail, wind down at Blaskets Bar. The Coastguard Restaurant overlooks the bay and mountains that hold historic tales, and serves locally sourced seafood and other dishes.

Number of nights: 2

Kilmurvey House

Aran Islands, Ireland

This rustic B&B occupies a converted 18th-century stone house on Inishmore Island’s western edge. Breakfast is served in a traditional dining room. Guests can relax in the properties’ seasonal garden.

Number of nights: 1

Rosleague Manor

Connemara, Ireland

This 19th-century country house is set on 30 acres of woodland overlooking Ballinakill Bay. Individually styled rooms feature antique furnishings and tea and coffee making facilities. 

Number of nights: 2

Harbour Hotel

Galway, Ireland

The Harbour Hotel Galway is a family owned hotel offering excellent customer service with a waterfront location in the heart of Galway City—just a 3-minute stroll from the city center. 

Number of nights: 1

Activity Level

Activity Level 3:  Moderate / Active 


Expectations: This trip is part of the Smithsonian Active Journeys collection. These trips feature a daily schedule of physical activities—such as walking, hiking, kayaking, rafting, or bicycling—in addition to activities designed to offer cultural or historical context. Each trip entails a different level of physical expectations. Please review the following activity level description—and feel free to contact an Active Journeys Specialist to discuss the trip at more length—to ensure this Active Journey is right for you.

During this trip, daily hikes of 3 to 7 miles (from two to four hours a day) are taken at a leisurely to active pace over various types of terrain, ranging from groomed and open trails to small mountainsides with short steep sections, beaches, and pine forests. Surfaces can be uneven, with uneven steps, some rough limestone bedrock, mud, and exposed roots. Many of the walks are coastal, which can entail being exposed to wind and rain. Some walks along cliff-tops require additional care and attention. A few long travel days with early morning departures should be expected. Hiking boots and day packs for daily necessities are a must; some travelers may wish to bring hiking poles.

Almost every day features a cultural site associated with the hike, such as a castle visit, archaeological site, or meeting with local people. Hikes are not long enough to require support vehicles so once a hike is begun it is necessary to finish. However, it is feasible to skip a day’s activities and relax at the hotel, if desired. Leisure time is limited to the evenings.

Transport between hotels and to some sites is by a small coach, and travelers can expect driving times to average two hours a day with some longer drives on Days 3, 6, and 11. Accommodations feature comfortable lodges and country hotels. A 10-15 minute walk from hotels to city center can be expected. The highest elevation is 3,500 feet while visiting Connemara.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, expect a slightly vigorous pace, are comfortable participating in up to four hours of hiking per day, and enjoy challenging themselves physically..

Reading List

Highly Recommended

For the Love of Ireland: A Literary Companion for Readers and Travelers
By: Susan Cahill
Welcome to the Ireland of its WritersWalk the streets of Dublin with Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and Roddy Doyle. Contemplate the wild glens of Wicklow with John Millington Synge and Seamus Heaney. Wander the thrilling Cliffs of Moher with Wallace Stevens. Visit antic Limerick with Frank McCourt; mysterious Coole Park with Lady Gregory; breathtaking Sligo with William Butler Yeats; wild Donegal with Brien Friel; and hidden Clare with Edna O'Brien.No place has inspired more great literature than Ireland, which in each new generation gives birth to an astonishing number of poets, storytellers, and dramatists. For the literary pilgrim to arrive, book in hand, at the pub where Joyce set a scene or the mountain where Yeats imagined a myth is to uncover fresh meaning in the works of writers in love with their native landscape.In For the Love of Ireland, Susan Cahill offers the jewels of Irish literature. Each selection is followed by traveler's advice on how to find and fully experience the place that's about. Whether you take this book with you to Ireland or savor it in your armchair, you will be enriched, ennobled, and entertained by writers of remarkable range and at the top of their form.
How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe (The Hinges of History)
By: Thomas Cahill
The perfect St. Patrick's Day gift, and a book in the best tradition of popular history -- the untold story of Ireland's role in maintaining Western culture while the Dark Ages settled on Europe.Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become "the isle of saints and scholars" -- and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians. In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task. As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland. When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated. In the tradition of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, How The Irish Saved Civilization reconstructs an era that few know about but which is central to understanding our past and our cultural heritage. But it conveys its knowledge with a winking wit that aptly captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilization.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland
By: DK Travel
From touring historic castles to exploring the countryside along the mystical Ring of Kerry to drinking Guinness in Dublin's coziest pub, experience the best of what the Emerald Isle has to offer.Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Ireland.   • Hotel and restaurant listings and recommendations.    • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Full-color pull-out map marked with sights, a selected site and street index, public transit map, practical information on getting around, and a distance chart for measuring walking distances.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights and restaurants.    • Detailed city maps include street finder index for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Suggested day-trips and itineraries to explore beyond the city. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Ireland truly shows you what others only tell you.Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.

Maps & Guidebooks

Top 10 Dublin (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide)
By: DK Travel
DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photography, and illustrations of any guide.DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Dublin is your pocket guide to the very best of this city in Ireland.Immerse yourself in all things Dublin by visiting the greatest pubs, bars, and clubs, and learning the legends and myths of the Celts. Our Top 10 Travel Guide will show you where to enjoy Irish music, find fun things to do with children, and take excursions across Ireland to drink in its beauty. We'll lead you to the best hotels, guesthouses, and B&Bs; show you wonderful restaurants and cafes; and even fill you in on the finest Irish writers and playwrights.Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 DublinTrue to its name, this Top 10 guidebook covers all major sights and attractions in easy-to-use "top 10" lists that help you plan the vacation that's right for you.   • "Don't miss" destination highlights    • Things to do and places to eat, drink, and shop by area    • Free, color pull-out map (print edition), plus maps and photographs throughout    • Walking tours and day-trip itineraries    • Traveler tips and recommendations    • Local drink and dining specialties to try    • Museums, festivals, outdoor activities    • Creative and quirky best-of lists and more The perfect pocket-size travel companion: DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 DublinRecommended: For an in-depth guidebook to the city of Dublin, check out DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Dublin, which offers the most complete cultural coverage of Dublin; trip-planning itineraries; 3-D cross-section illustrations of major sights and attractions; thousands of photographs, illustrations, and maps; and more.
Dublin: A Cultural History (Cityscapes)
By: Siobhán Kilfeather
Europe's most westerly capital city was established by invaders and was for most of its history the locus of colonial administration, the engine room of foreign power, and a major site of indigenous resistance. From The Act of Union through nineteenth-century decline and into the early years of Irish independence it was a city identified with poverty, dirt, and decaying splendor. The Celtic Tiger produced sweeping changes, including massive new building projects, and the surprising revelation that Dublin has become fashionable. Siobhán Kilfeather finds the legacy of the past undergoing a series of transformations in the vibrant atmosphere of contemporary Dublin.
Ireland - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: John Scotney
The island of Ireland is famous for its timeless beauty, the variety of its landscape, its quiet towns and lively cities, the poetic and literary genius of so many of its citizens, its music and folklore, and its colorful and bloody history. What is also true is that the Irish people have in many ways changed in recent years, while retaining the scars and proud memories of their past, and their thriving national culture. Twenty-first century Ireland, North and South, is the product not only of its history and culture, but also of massive political change, remarkable efforts to heal centuries-old animosities, a metamorphosis in social and religious attitudes, and the dramatic peaks and troughs of a transformed economy. Until the late twentieth century Southern Ireland’s economy was essentially rural, tied to the UK; the North, a place of heavy industry. Then came the so-called “Celtic Tiger,” springing forward into a largely new type of economy that reaped colossal rewards. New industries arose, old industries disappeared. This was followed by financial collapse in the first decade of this century, worse than almost any country in Europe. Helped by its friends, and, at least in the South, by governmental and popular acceptance of savage austerity measures, Ireland survived. Today the Republic is a major target for US and European investment. Businesspeople and visitors who don’t know Ireland will find this book an invaluable introduction to the people, the country, and the economic opportunities it offers; while if you think you know Ireland and the Irish you will find plenty here to broaden and deepen that knowledge, and also plenty that will surprise you.

History, Culture & Exploration

Ireland: In Word and Image
By: Brand: Welcome Books
“Beyond the green land, the pubs and the auburn hair, is a rich culture dating back nine thousand years, including invasions by just about every nation in Northern Europe. The Irish have survived as a people, perhaps because of the genetics of hope, the richness of tale-telling and laughter, and the scent of peat in the air.”—Jay Ben Adlersberg    The Emerald Isle is known for its gorgeous countryside, and rightfully so. From the rugged cliffs of the Atlantic coast to the lush meadows and lakes of the interior, Ireland is rich in imagery both awe-inspiring and serene. The vibrant streets of such cities as Dublin and Belfast, where modern architecture rubs shoulders with Georgian townhouses and Norman stonework, testify to the island's 21st century resurgence as the cosmopolitan 'Celtic Tiger.' From the remains of a Bronze Age ring fort to the soaring modern Spire of Dublin to the stallions of the National Stud, Ireland is a land of surprising variety.   The rich color images collected here weave together the portrait of a land where Paleolithic monuments, medieval castles, quiet fishing villages, and bustling cities all exist alongside each other.  From the eerie, astonishing hexagonal stones of the ‘Giant’s Causeway’ in County Antrim to the cozy atmosphere of the town pub; from breathtaking wild landscapes to the exquisite gardens of stately homes; each page offers a new glimpse of Ireland’s multifarious beauty.  The prehistoric tombs of Newgrange, the Gothic peaks of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the sublime scenery of Connemara National Park, and countless country villages, all are here.  With a keen visual sensibility, Jay Ben Adlersberg captures the tiniest details and the most magnificent vistas that are at the island’s heart and that make Ireland one of the world’s loveliest places to travel—or to call home.   Here, too, is a journey through Ireland’s history.  The soaring modern Spire of Dublin monument, the elegant campus of Trinity College, the ancient seat of Ireland’s kings at Tara—each evokes a different moment in Ireland’s many-layered past.  Written in the land itself, Ireland’s history appears here in the slope of a thatched roof, in the grass-grown remains of a Bronze Age ring fort, in a field tilled for centuries. Finally, here is the soul of a land where, out of the hardships of the past, have come arts and culture alive with creativity and resilience, from traditional flute and fiddle music to a diverse literary tradition from which thirty poems and literary excerpts have been chosen to accompany Adlersberg’s images, including the romantic prose of James Joyce; the humorous boyhood memories of Frank McCourt; the celebration of natural beauty in the poetry of W.B. Yeats; and the folk tales of Douglas Hyde; as well as numerous others whose writings capture the unique spirit that is Ireland.    Samantha Bowser supplies the rich and nuanced captions for the more than two hundred photographs.
The Most Beautiful Villages of Ireland
By: Christopher Fitz-Simon
A visual trip through the Emerald Isle: an unparalleled portrayal of the rural beauty and charm of Ireland. Clusters of white cottages huddled between hills of an unbelievably rich green, villages of a single street, dazzling in their array of color washes and picturesque shop-fronts―such are the villages of Ireland, which to this day are living working communities. The most beautiful of these villages are captured here in Christopher Fitz-Simon’s sensitive commentaries and Hugh Palmer’s evocative photographs. This is a journey full of rural gems, some famous, others less so. Here are the colored coastal villages of Cork, their vibrant houses sloping down to a sea that so many Irish people crossed to found other communities in America. Here too are the stunning medieval churches of Roscommon and Galway; and the villages of Antrim, standing ruggedly in defiance of the northern seas. 285 full-color photographs
A Traveller's History of Ireland
By: Peter Neville
Concise and readable account of the region from prehistory right up to the present day.
A Book of Migrations: Some Passages in Ireland
By: Rebecca Solnit
A Book of Migrations is a postcolonial revision of conventional travel literature. In her passage through Ireland, Rebecca Solnit portrays in microcosm a history made of great human tides of invasion, colonization, emigration, nomadism and tourism. Her observations carve a new3 route through Ireland’s history, literature and landscape.

Archaeology, Art & Architecture

Ireland in Prehistory
By: George Eogan, Mr George Eogan, Michael Herity
The authors examine Irish prehistory from the economic, sociological and artistic viewpoints enabling the reader to comprehend the vast amount of archaeological work accomplished in Ireland over the last twenty years.

Travel, Biography & Memoir

Connemara Mollie: An Irish Journey On Horseback (Bradt Travel Guides (Travel Literature))
By: Hilary Bradt
An account of a journey through western Ireland made in 1984 that centres on the growing bond between the author and her Connemara pony and the many challenges they face before the tragic conclusion in the mountains of Kerry. It is a portrait of rural Ireland, built up from conversations with local people. The journey takes them through Counties Galway, Mayo, Clare and Kerry, the obstacles to their progress ranging from bogs, stone walls, and the River Shannon. "I've never tried hitchhiking with a horse before" comments the author. "It's not easy." She travelled with no set route.
Dingle Peggy: Further Travels In Ireland On Horseback (Bradt Travel Narratives)
By: Hilary Bradt
Hilary continues her journey on horseback, described in Connemara Mollie, through south west Ireland. With her new pony, Peggy, she travels from the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, down the coast of County Cork, before turning inland through Counties Waterford, Tipperary and Limerick. The story is both a portrait of Ireland and its people in 1984 and of the growing affection between the author and her pony. Both confront their fears: Peggy was used to pulling a cart and hated going cross country, while Hilary’s confidence was shattered by her experience in the mountains of Kerry with Mollie. But all ends well.Hilary Bradt is well known as a writer of articles and guidebooks.
McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery In Ireland
By: Pete McCarthy
The #1 Irish BestsellerDespite the many exotic places Pete McCarthy has visited, he finds that nowhere else can match the particular magic of Ireland, his mother's homeland. In McCarthy's Bar, his journey begins in Cork and continues along the west coast to Donegal in the north. Traveling through spectacular landscapes, but at all times obeying the rule, "never pass a bar that has your name on it," he encounters McCarthy's bars up and down the land, meeting fascinating people before pleading to be let out at four o'clock in the morning. Written by someone who is at once an insider and an outside, McCarthy's Bar is a wonderfully funny and affectionate portrait of a rapidly changing country.
Country Girl: A Memoir (Back Bay Readers' Pick)
By: Edna O'Brien
"Country Girl is Edna O'Brien's exquisite account of her dashing, barrier-busting, up-and-down life."--National Public RadioWhen Edna O'Brien's first novel, The Country Girls, was published in 1960, it so scandalized the O'Briens' local parish that the book was burned by its priest. O'Brien was undeterred and has since created a body of work that bears comparison with the best writing of the twentieth century. Country Girl brings us face-to-face with a life of high drama and contemplation.Starting with O'Brien's birth in a grand but deteriorating house in Ireland, her story moves through convent school to elopement, divorce, single-motherhood, the wild parties of the '60s in London, and encounters with Hollywood giants, pop stars, and literary titans. There is love and unrequited love, and the glamour of trips to America as a celebrated writer and the guest of Jackie Onassis and Hillary Clinton. Country Girl is a rich and heady accounting of the events, people, emotions, and landscape that have imprinted upon and enhanced one lifetime.

Literature

A Poet's Dublin
By: Eavan Boland
Juxtaposing verse and image, A Poet’s Dublin is a study of origin and influence from “a major Irish poet” (Edward Hirsch).Written over years, the transcendent and moving poems in A Poet’s Dublin seek out shadows and impressions of a powerful, historic city, studying how it forms and alters language, memory, and selfhood. The poems range from an evocation of the neighborhoods under the hills where the poet lived and raised her children to the inner-city bombing of 1974, and include such signature poems as “The Pomegranate,” “The War Horse,” and “Anna Liffey.” Above all, these poems weave together the story of a self and a city—private, political, and bound by history. The poems are supported by photographs of the city at all times and in all seasons: from dawn on the river Liffey, which flows through Dublin, to twilight up in the Dublin foothills.
Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996
By: Seamus Heaney
As selected by the author, Opened Ground includes the essential work from Heaney's twelve previous books of poetry, as well as new sequences drawn from two of his landmark translations, The Cure at Troy and Sweeney Astray, and several previously uncollected poems. Heaney's voice is like no other--"by turns mythological and journalistic, rural and sophisticated, reminiscent and impatient, stern and yielding, curt and expansive" (Helen Vendler, The New Yorker)--and this is a one-volume testament to the musicality and precision of that voice. The book closes with Heaney's Nobel Lecture: "Crediting Poetry."
Ireland: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions)
By: Brand: Whereabouts Press
What explains the fact that one of the world’s smallest, least assuming countries has consistently been among the top 15 international travel destinations for Americans? Ireland’s appeal can be attributed to many things: its blend of picturesque villages and bustling modern cities, its people known for their warmth, charm, stoicism, and individuality, its history — one of the most dramatic of any country on the planet — and its rich literary tradition. This engaging collection of short stories captures all these qualities of Ireland and more. Set in the Emerald Isle’s legendary provinces of Ulster, Munster, Leinster, and Connaught, these varied tales by some of the world’s most renowned writers give prospective visitors an immediate feel for the country’s enduring past and exciting present. Frank O’Connor, Liam O’Flaherty, William Trevor, John McGahern, Benedict Kiely, Patrick Kavanugh, Gerry Adams, Hugo Hamilton, and Desmond Hogan are among the talents represented here.
Irish Fairy and Folk Tales
By: William Butler Yeats
Born and educated in Dublin, Ireland, William Butler Yeats discovered early in his literary career a fascination with Irish folklore and the occult. Later awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923, Yeats produced a vast collection of stories, songs, and poetry of Ireland’s historical and legendary past. These writings helped secure for Yeats recognition as a leading proponent of Irish nationalism and Irish cultural independence. Originally published in two separate books near the end of the nineteenth century, “Irish Fairy and Folk Tales” have preserved a rich and charming heritage in an authentic Irish voice. In this volume, extraordinary characters of Irish myth are brought to life through the brilliant poetic voice of W. B. Yeats. These legendary stories of capricious Trooping Fairies, the frightful Banshee, Kings and Queens, Giants, Devils and the ever popular Leprechaun will delight and entertain readers of all ages. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of select speakers, Adventure Guide, and local guides throughout the tour as described in each itinerary
  • All gratuities for all tour staff
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents Only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • International and in-country airfare and departure taxes
  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s) and medication(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Communication charges (e.g. phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments must be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full by the tour operator. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

A Note About Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing accommodations. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised at the time of final invoicing.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on the date of written notice. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

This policy also applies to pre and post tour extensions. If we cancel a Tour, we will not be responsible for any additional expenses incurred by participant in his/her preparation for the Tour (e.g. nonrefundable airline tickets, visa fees, if applicable, clothing, equipment and medical expenses, etc.).

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.

If you have scheduled your own airfare and it is delayed or if for any reason you are prevented from joining the tour on the scheduled departure date and time, or if you choose to leave the tour early, we cannot provide a full or partial refund or credit toward a future tour.

Smithsonian Journeys reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrollment and when a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is issued for the destination.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance

Basic medical and evacuation travel protection is purchased on your behalf (Tour cancellation is not included in this plan). Optional Tour-cancellation protection is available at an additional cost and is strongly recommended. For more information about and to enroll in the option available through Travel Guard, visit the “Travel Insurance” section of our website at www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys.

Travel Documents

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, the tour operator will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

Smithsonian Journeys strives to offer programs that optimize our travelers' time and enjoyment, and we want participants to be aware of the physical requirements involved. By registering for a Smithsonian Journeys tour, the participant certifies that he/she is physically fit and does not have a condition that would limit mobility or trip participation. Participant further certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. For Tours that take place at higher elevations (above 5,000 feet), participant certifies that he/she does not suffer from a respiratory, cardiac or circulatory disorder. Participant must notify tour operator of any medical issues well before departure. We reserve the right in our sole discretion to accept, decline to accept, or remove any participant on a Tour at any time during the Tour. In the event of removal from a Tour, refunds are not given. Hospital facilities or appropriate medical facilities or doctors are often unavailable and evacuation can be prolonged, difficult, and expensive. We assume no liability regarding provision of medical care. Participants will receive appropriate health information and provide the tour operator with his/her medical history and any dietary restrictions as requested on the Personal Information Form. On certain designated Tours, a Physician Certificate must be signed by the participant’s physician and returned to us within 30 days after the participant receives it.

Each tour carries an activity rating from Level 1- Level 5. For the most satisfying experience (and in fairness to your fellow travelers), please carefully review the itinerary and physical requirements for your specific trip. If you have questions about the physical demands of your itinerary, call us at 833-254-6678.

Please be aware that healthcare standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform tour operator in writing of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, and services for any stated in the itinerary. We will not be responsible for providing any reimbursement for delays in the Tour due to bad weather, trail conditions, river levels, road conditions, transportation delays, or government intervention.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Accommodations (hotels, lodges, tents, etc.) are always reserved for single participants, however, the number available on a tour may be limited. Therefore, we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender to share with you. If a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operator will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability. Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy 

For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

Responsibility Statement

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer travelers a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, and safety of our travelers.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

Responsibilities of Participants

Participant is responsible for understanding the conditions as described in the Tour Itinerary and selecting a Tour in consultation with us that is appropriate to his/her interests and abilities. In addition, the participant should prepare for the Tour by reading the Tour Itinerary and supplemental Tour information in the pre-Tour materials and bringing the appropriate clothing and equipment as advised in those materials. The participant should also consult his or her physician to determine his/her suitability for the Tour and to discuss any over the counter or prescription medicines he/she should consider taking in the case of Tours which travel to higher altitudes. Screening for fitness (for Tours rated “Level 4 or Level 5”) is made during the confirmation of booking. In addition, we strongly urge all participants to review any State Department warnings, alerts, advisories, and destination specific information at www.travel.state.gov as well as specific health information for their destination at www.cdc.gov.