Like many travel destinations, the best time to visit Europe is during the summer months when the weather is warmer and drier and there is more daylight. However, if you have a choice of dates, it is worth bearing in mind that the prices of our coach tours are lower in the spring and autumn. Airfares will also cost less and with fewer people on vacation, popular attractions are less crowded.
No. CIE Tours’ travel protection plan is only valid in the US and Canada.
Many of our coach tours are easily combined, and we offer a discount on the second tour. If you want to combine a self-drive trip with a coach tour, consider taking a short coach tour first to familiarize yourself with Ireland and driving "on the other side of the road." Then you'll be ready to take the wheel and explore more deeply on your own.
On average our tours have around 35 passengers, but our coaches hold a maximum of 44 passengers.
Most of our coaches are equipped with emergency restrooms. However, for safety reasons they cannot be used when the coach is in motion. The coach makes frequent rest/bathroom stops, at two-hour intervals or less, for the comfort of all passengers.
Children over the age of 8 years old are permitted to travel on our general coach tours. For family tours, children 5 and older can participate. Rates for children are given on the family tour pages. Guests between 8 and 18 are charged 90% of the full adult rate on regular coach tours. Children of any age are permitted on custom groups, private groups, or private driver tours.
Our coaches are not handicap accessible, so you must be able to get on and off the coach unaided by CIE staff and be able to rotate seats on the coach. If you need extra walking assistance, you may bring a walker or a lightweight, foldable wheelchair that can be stowed in the luggage compartment. You must advise us when booking a tour that you will be using a wheelchair or other medical equipment.
After the stress of organizing a wedding, many newly married couples choose our tours as they are happy to have their honeymoon planned for them. But a self-drive trip or private driver tour would be a more romantic option for newlyweds.
CIE Tours uses three classes of hotels – these are first class (3-star), superior first class (4-star, which include castle properties) or deluxe (5-star, which include castle properties). First class hotels (3-star) feature a dining room, lounge, bar and comfortable guest rooms. Many have leisure facilities. Superior first class hotels (4-star) offer the same amenities with higher standards and many have leisure and spa facilities. Deluxe hotels (5-star) offer luxurious features and are often in unique settings. We choose hotels either in central locations or scenic regions, depending on location, and we name all hotels we use on each tour. Our website contains photos and detailed descriptions for all featured hotels.
For your hotel room you can choose to have a Twin (two separate single beds) or a Double (usually queen size). Please note that bedding is subject to each hotel’s discretion and availability. If there are three people sharing a room, then a triple room will usually have a double and one twin bed (total two beds). Please note there is no reduction in cost for a third person sharing a room with two others, and triples are limited to a maximum of one per departure. For comfort, we suggest that three adults take two separate rooms. No more than three people can share a hotel room on our escorted tours.
To ensure the comfort of all our passengers, we do not offer the option of a sharing service for solo traveling passengers. We do, however, offer a single supplement, whereby you will have the privacy of your own room. Our single supplements can be found at the bottom of the list of dates and pricing on each tour page on the CIE Tours website and brochure. We often have special departures where this supplement is reduced. Visit our special offers page for more information.
Due to the cooler climate in Ireland, Britain and Iceland, most hotels do not have, or need, air-conditioning. In Italy and France, all hotels are air-conditioned.
It’s a 4- or 5-course dinner with a choice of appetizers, soups, entrées and desserts. Most hotels feature a good assortment of red and white meats, fish and vegetarian foods. If you have certain tastes or dietary restrictions, you can advise us at time of booking or at the restaurant.
Hotels throughout Europe offer a wide variety of foods. When making your reservation please notify us of your specific requests, especially for low-salt or celiac diets. We cannot guarantee all requests and it is a good idea to double check once you are in your tour hotel.
All of our tours offer included sightseeing every day as part of our Inclusive Advantage and to maximize your touring time. However, if you want to take a day off from the scheduled itinerary to play golf, shop, explore or simply relax, you may choose not to participate on a tour on a day when you are staying in the same hotel for two nights.
Yes, as part of the Inclusive Advantage of booking airfare with CIE Tours, complimentary group transfers are provided on the first and last day of all tours. Transfer information is provided with your tour itinerary.
The Inclusive Advantage of traveling with CIE Tours means that you you can enjoy your vacation without having to endure daily sales pitches and unexpected costs while on tour. Our tours include daily sightseeing with prepaid admission fees, full breakfasts, table d’hote dinners, medieval banquets, cabarets and much more – everything to make your trip a lifelong memorable experience. Our “No Optional Extras” policy enables our tour directors to focus 100% of their time on making your trip enjoyable, and also saves you up to €400 per couple per week compared with other tour operators.
You’ll get all the wonderful features of our regular guided vacations, with one key difference: we limit the trip to 26 guests. You’ll still get our commitment to providing you with the highest-quality vacation, superior value and unparalleled service. It’s the same large luxury coach with panoramic views from every seat, the same expertly designed itineraries, and the same insider access, just with fewer people.
A CIE Tour Tattoo departure will include a night at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. This is an annual open-air show of spectacular military marching bands in colorful uniforms, as well as special entertainment from around the globe. CIE Tours has enviable reserved seating for our guests at this event.
You most certainly can bring these items. However, wheelchairs must be lightweight and fully collapsible. You must also travel with a companion who can push the wheelchair, and you must be able to climb on and off the coach on your own.
Because you get –
You'll get all the components for a great vacation. We use quality accommodations – mainly superior first class hotels (4-star). Breakfast (full in Ireland and Britain, and buffet in Europe) is included every morning. Dinner is served most evenings and some of these dinners are special banquets or cabaret-style entertainment. Every day a fun sightseeing program enables visitors to see highlights and yet enjoy free time for independent activities.
The sky’s the limit! We use mainly 48-seater coaches. For comfort we prefer to operate with 40 to 44 passengers. If you want an exclusive departure at our brochure rates we require 36 passengers. For fewer than 36 passengers, a small supplement will apply to have an exclusive coach.
Free conductor place or places are offered, depending on your group size.
Off-season rates make tour prices more attractive. Travelers can save up to 30% over high season rates. Remember that Ireland, England and mainland Europe have relatively mild winters, which makes travel enjoyable.
Many travelers realize that they have more fun with a group, especially when all arrangements are handled for them. Is there a special family event to celebrate? Are you a member of a church, club, pub or sporting association? Once you get a core group, we will work with you on the travel program and assist with sales flyers and information. Outside Business Development Managers can help with marketing.
We include all the necessary ingredients for a successful tour. Many competitors charge additional for sightseeing and dinner/shows which can add up to an additional $550 per person. Great hotel accommodations, all breakfasts, most dinners, special evening entertainment, admission fees to attractions, and expert tour escorts and local guides are all included.
We have more than 65 different motorcoach programs featured in our main brochure and on our website with departures throughout the year.
For administrative purposes, 10 or more paying passengers constitute a group booking on a brochure tour. The two types of group options for brochure tours are Shared Group Vacations: 10 or more traveling with others on the coach and Private Group Vacations: 10 or more passengers with additional supplement in order to provide exclusive use of private coach and private guide.
Free conductor place or places are offered, depending on group size.
Our highly trained custom group department is happy to tailor an itinerary to your specifications – taking budget, length of tour and inclusions into consideration.
Your deluxe backpack with your documents will be delivered to your first hotel for when you check in. This includes the vouchers for the coach tour and other services, an itinerary, hotel list and our Go-To-Guide booklet in PDF format. You have paid for tour vouchers, so treat them as you would money, as they are non-refundable. You will need to present the relevant voucher in return for services such as hop-on, hop-off bus tours.
Generally the dress code for our tours is very comfortable and casual. A dinner jacket for men is required on our Irish Supreme and Scottish Supreme tours, and our Irish Heritage & Dromoland Castle tour; no other tour will require a dinner jacket. Dressing in layers provides the most comfort as you can shed and add items when the temperatures fluctuate. Consider packing the following items:
On coach tours, you are permitted one piece of luggage and one carry-on bag per person. Porterage between the coach and your hotel room is included.
Self-drive clients need to consider the limited trunk capacity, and that soft-sided luggage is easier to stow in the car.
Airlines have their own regulations and some carriers charge for checked baggage.
You will need a valid passport with an expiration at least 6 months after your travel dates. For specific details by country on other travel documents needed, please reference the Go-to-Guide that will be sent to you in advance.
Since most components of your Ireland and/or Britain tour have been prepaid, you will only need money for lunch each day and for dinner when you have an evening at leisure. If you are an avid shopper or enjoy a cocktail in the evening, these costs are incurred at your own expense. Also, it is customary to tip your guide and driver at the end of the tour (please see the question on tipping guidelines for more information). Use credit cards and ATMs to avoid carrying large sums of cash. High denomination bills are not readily accepted for exchange, even in banks, so it is better to carry smaller denominations.
Major credit cards are widely accepted and we recommend you use them to avoid carrying cash. ATMs are widely available and will accept appropriate cards and dispense cash in the local currency. Additional fees may be charged, so please check with your financial institution before you travel. It’s also a good idea to inform your bank that you are traveling overseas to ensure that they don’t block your ATM / credit cards while you are on the road.
Tips are not included within the price of your tour, but are customary to show gratitude to your tour director or driver for satisfactory service. Tipping for restaurant/bar staff is usually discretionary but some restaurants do add a 10% to 15% service charge, so be sure to check your bill first. Our tipping guidelines are as follows: Recommended minimum amount per person, per day:
Driver/Guide (1 person crew) €8
Tour Director (part of 2 person crew) €5
Driver (part of 2 person crew) €5
Guide for walking or city tour €2
Driver for chauffeur vehicle €20
The appropriate adapter (3-prong for Ireland and Britain and 2-prong for Italy, Iceland and France) will be provided with the backpack we will send you. Hotels provide a shaver outlet in the bathroom and most hotels have a hair dryer and iron in the room or will supply them on request. More information can be found in your Go-To Guide booklet which is sent with your travel documents.
Check-in time varies between noon and 3:00pm, depending on the individual hotel. If you arrive in the early part of the day, this can mean a wait at the hotel. Many hotels offer a checked luggage area so you may enjoy this time by taking a walk, having a snack or doing some exploring.
We want you to see as much of the country you are visiting as possible, without spending all your time on the coach. We generally incorporate a sightseeing feature each morning and afternoon. There are breaks at two-hour intervals or less so that you get a chance to stretch your legs, purchase a snack or lunch, take photos, have a cigarette or use a restroom. On all tours, seats are rotated on a daily basis to allow all passengers an opportunity to sit towards the front of the coach. The tour director assigns seats for all clients. Seats belts must be worn when the coach is in motion. If you suffer from motion sickness, bring medication with you.
Morning departure time depends on the itinerary to be covered on any particular day. In Britain the tour day begins between 8:00am to 8:30am, while in Ireland the day usually begins between 8:30am and 9:00am. Arrival back to the hotel, or at the next hotel is usually between 4:00pm and 5:00pm. Our coaches make frequent stops for sightseeing, smoking, lunches, snacks and bathroom breaks. You will have breaks at least every two hours.
Many of our tours incorporate walking tours in interesting locations; these are leisurely paced guided walks. You will have free time when you arrive at a hotel in the afternoon when you can to take a walk on your own or use the hotel’s fitness or spa facilities. Pack comfortable shoes with non-slip soles as many historic places have uneven paving.
Most of the hotels on your tour have wonderful leisure facilities and spas. You have some free time most days so be sure to pack a swimsuit and workout clothes.
Most hotels feature laundry and dry cleaning services that can be used when you stay in the same property for two nights. However, they do not offer self-service facilities. Check with the hotel's website to see exactly what services they can offer.
Many hotels in Europe do not provide washcloths so it is a good idea to bring some with you. Guest rooms have TVs and hair dryers; some also offer an iron and ironing board. Hotels also provide a shaver outlet in the bathroom. For exact information, please check the hotel’s website.
Most small medical devices, for example C-PAP machines are permitted on tour. If you travel with a C-PAP machine, be aware that distilled water is not always readily available in stores. Some, but not all, pharmacies stock supplies. Bring distilled water with you or contact one of the hotels and arrange this directly with them.
If you need to bring insulin, please be sure to bring a box to store it in together with freezable ice packs. Hotels can store the insulin for you and can freeze the ice packs to help you keep it cold when traveling on the coach. If you take prescription drugs, ensure that you have an ample supply for the duration of your trip and always keep them with you. Any medication must be in its labeled container when going through airport security and customs.
CIE Tours could not exist without our great locally employed tour directors – they are the envy of the travel industry. From the moment you land, your tour director is there to welcome you, handle your luggage, drive you from place to place and give you daily commentaries. Tour directors help make history and culture come alive and create a superb experience with daily doses of humor, information and assistance.
Once you meet your tour director, you don’t have to handle your luggage for the rest of your journey! At every hotel, your suitcase is delivered to your bedroom door and collected before departure. However, luggage is restricted to one suitcase and one piece of carry-on baggage per person.
You can get international currency at home several ways. With a bank account: You can request currency at your bank and they should receive your order within 3 to 4 days depending on the bank. Without a bank account: To get the local currency of the country you are traveling in, use any local ATM after you arrive or exchange your home currency for local at currency exchange shops.
If you have access to phone or internet, please contact our office. Call +353-1-7031888 or email [email protected] and advise us of approximately when you will be arriving. We will alert our personnel in Ireland or Britain to ensure they are aware.
If you are scheduled to take our group transfer and you miss it, we recommend that you take a cab from the airport to the first hotel where you will meet the tour.
If you are delayed longer than a day, you should make your way to the relevant hotel on the tour. A cab or public transport may be most suitable method of getting to the next hotel which may be a distance from your arrival airport.
Any additional expenses for transportation or accommodation to catch up with the tour will be at your own expense. We regret that we cannot issue any refunds or credits for any missed portions of the tour.
If you become ill on a tour or have an emergency situation at home, advise your tour director immediately. In the case of illness, have the front desk call a doctor or direct you to a medical facility. If you need to fly home immediately, our personnel in Ireland or Britain will assist you in making the best possible arrangements.
VAT (Value Added Tax) is included in the selling price of all goods in our European destinations. Non-European Union resident purchasing goods to take home may claim a VAT refund for goods of a certain value once the relevant forms have been completed at time of purchase. This can save you up to 20%, depending on products purchased.
Free WI-FI aboard coaches enables you to keep in contact and share your travels with friends and family back home. Most hotels will offer internet services, some in guest rooms and some in the lobby only. As some hotels charge for WI-FI, you should check rates with the front desk in your hotel. If you carry a mobile phone, check usage rates with your provider before departing and remember to switch off roaming. In Europe, pre-paid calling cards offer excellent rates and are on sale in many stores. You can also buy a simple mobile phone with pre-paid minutes. In some parts of Europe you may experience poor mobile phone or wifi signals.
Basically whatever you would like to have! Of course, you will have coach transportation with a driver/guide throughout, hotels and breakfasts. Then you can choose whatever sightseeing, meals and entertainment that appeal to you and your group.
There are many castle hotels at different price points. Some are 5-star top-of-the-line properties, but there are also some 4-star and 3-star castle hotels offering the wonderful atmosphere of a historic experience at often reasonable rates.
Because you can –
As you will have exclusive transportation and services of a driver/guide, we suggest a minimum of 20 paying passengers. However, by using a smaller vehicle we can keep costs down and put together a program for 10 or more paying passengers.
We offer a standard 5% early commitment benefit on most of our brochure groups when booking early. Contact the group department for further details. Custom Groups are sold at a net—therefore discounts are not offered.
Yes, you'll have the support of local BDM as well as complimentary flyers.
Once your group is confirmed you will be sent a link for a flyer request form. Simply fill out the form and a flyer will be created and sent back to you for review. Turnaround time is typically 3 to 5 business days.
We can provide a custom URL for group leaders to book passengers directly online or you may share this link with your group travelers to book it themselves. We find most agents and group leaders handle the bookings for all passengers.
From your group summary page, you will find a list of all the group passengers and can access them individually by clicking the link to their reservation.
You can easily book a tour online with CIE Tours right here at www.cietours.com or you may call our reservations department directly at the phone number at the top of this webpage and speak to one of our helpful travel consultants. You can also contact your local travel agent to book any CIE Tours package. We accept most major credit cards as well as debit cards. Your online transactions are secure and all payment details are entered on a secure page and transmitted over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). As an additional security measure we require CVV2/CVC2 verification on all credit card and debit card transactions.
You will receive your travel documents approximately 21 days prior to your tour departure date provided that full payment has been received. This includes the vouchers for tours and other services, an itinerary, hotel list and our Go-To-Guide booklet in PDF format. You have prepaid for your tour vouchers, so treat them as you would money as they are non-refundable. You will need to present the relevant voucher in return for services such as hop-on, hop-off bus tours.
CIE Tours' Inclusive Advantage begins at home with a deluxe backpack, travel adapter, document wallet, luggage straps, and luggage tags.
Yes, we are happy to email you a copy of your documents.
Yes, documents can be mailed to two different addresses for a nominal fee of $25.
Our self-drive packages are an increasingly popular way to travel. We can either help you plan your ideal custom trip or you can follow one of our popular suggested itineraries. Our trips include accommodations, daily breakfast and your rental car. You’ll have the freedom to sightsee and dine at your own pace. Wherever you stay, you’ll be treated like a CIE Tours guest, and have the advantage of getting the competitive pricing we can access thanks to our long-established relationships with hospitality providers. You’ll travel in the comfort of a personal current-model Hertz rental car, with your choice of manual or automatic transmission – plus you’ll get a complimentary GPS navigation system to show you the way.
At this time we only provide self-drive vacations for Ireland, however we do offer a private driver option that will take you all over the UK.
As many or as few as you would like; you can rent a minivan to accommodate up to 9 people or book multiple cars to accommodate your party size.
Yes, we have a selection of pre-planned popular itineraries that you can book.
A self-drive vacation is perfect for families with children! We are happy to request car seats and boosters for you with the car rental company. You will pay for these extras when you collect the car.
You can choose from B&B accommodations, ala carte hotels and castles; feel free to mix and match all three.
In the UK and Ireland, they drive on the left side of the road.
Yes, we require a minimum of 3 nights.
Yes, all castle stays are very popular and our dedicated team will put together a customized itinerary for you.
CIE Tours enjoys a decade long relationship with Hertz, a premier car rental company in Ireland.
Absolutely, this is very common; there is however a surcharge from the car rental company.
Yes, GPS is included in the CIE Tours contract with our car rental partner.
The minimum age for drivers is 23 years old. Only vehicles in groups B&E will be allowed for rental. There will also be a daily surcharge for young drivers: €26 daily. The maximum age is 79 years old, this will require a letter from your doctor stating full health issued 1 month prior, along with a letter from your insurance company that says that there have been no accidents in the past 5 years.
B&B is a bed and breakfast accommodation in Ireland. These are usually family homes or private residences with around 6 bedrooms; breakfast is included in the morning. B&B accommodations are very popular in Ireland.
Once you have paid for your self-drive vacation you can visit http://www.reserveabandb.com to select your accommodations.
You can pick up and drop off the vehicles from a number of locations. These include: Dublin Airport, Dublin Downtown, Shannon Airport, Cork Airport, Belfast International Airport, Belfast City Airport and Kerry Airport.
A private driver package is a luxury customized tour of Ireland and/or the UK with a personal private driver, allowing passengers to see destinations through the eyes of a local.
Our luxury specialists work with you to ensure a personally crafted vacation encompassing recommended routes, hotels and activities to suit your personal tastes. This, accompanied by our long-standing relationships with valued partners, ensures a memorable and stress-free experience. Our drivers relish the opportunity to unfold the hidden beauties of their homeland, taking guests beyond the surface for a truly immersive experience. You'll explore local villages, medieval castles and rugged countryside accompanied by a local expert.
Absolutely! Our team regularly creates custom castle vacations and itineraries.
We require a minimum of 3 consecutive days with driver AND 3 nights of accommodation to be booked through CIE Tours per destination.
Private Driver vacations are for guests who are looking for a more personal and heightened experience and prefer a more customized itinerary. Some considerations include those who are hesitant about driving on the “wrong” side of the road on a self-drive tour, guests who are participating in ancestry searches, and leisure enthusiasts including golfers, foodies and much more!
Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.
Yes, 1-9 passengers only. (10+ passengers is considered a Group and handled by our specialized Groups department.)
You can book from 18 months to anytime up until 30-day period prior to time of travel (moderately flexible) – If it falls within this time frame, it is a on a case-by-case basis to ensure we can assign a driver and confirm hotels.
The cost of a private driver tour depends on multiple factors. The destination, number of nights, types of accommodations, and number of people to name a few. We say that if you see an Ireland/Northern Ireland motor coach tour that you like, the cost to turn it into a private driver will be about two times more per person. For the UK, it could be up to three times more per person as a rough estimate. For more pricing, we offer some examples on the Private Driver page of our website.
All accommodations and driver’s services (includes gasoline, tolls, parking, driver’s meals and accommodations) are included, as are breakfast daily (except for the day of arrival), private transfers to and from the airport, and sightseeing and admission costs where applicable. CIE Tours also offers negotiated airfare for easy one-stop shopping.
The package price does not include gratuities, flights, lunches and dinners.
In Ireland, we recommend 20 euros per person, per day that you have the driver. In the UK, we recommend 18 pounds per person, per day you have the driver. This should to be paid in cash, in the local currency to the driver.
Unfortunately, gratuities cannot be prepaid.
Only breakfast daily (except for the day of arrival). Other meals that can be included are specialty dinner shows, such as Brazen Head, or Bunratty Banquet.
No there is no age limit: We cater to infants and elderly. We can arrange a baby seat, crib in the hotel room, wheelchair accessibility and any other needs.
Our drivers are locally employed, knowledgeable on history and culture, full of humor and stories (i.e. Irish craic), and provide personal assistance throughout the journey (e.g. hotel check-in, getting into attractions, dining at the best places).
Yes, to ensure comfort for both driver and passengers we recommend a limit of 150 to 200 miles max (4 hours) per day.
The driver will generally meet passengers at hotel at 9 AM and return to hotel by 5 PM; however, with a private tour, hours are flexible and can be customized based on the clients' request.
We use different types of cars, depending on the number of passengers: Mercedes Sedan: 1 – 2 passenger(s); Mercedes Viano (7 seater): 3 – 5 passengers; Mercedes Sprinter (12 seater): 6 – 9 passengers (or similar vehicles may be substituted).
CIE Tours books 3, 4, & 5 star hotels, along with castle/manor style properties.
Unfortunately no, these are considered domestic flights and must be arranged independently (by agent/passenger).
Please see your individual tour policy for payment date.
A non-refundable deposit of €500 per person is required.
Easy installment plans are available for payments.
Your final set of documents will be sent out 30 days prior to departure and includes a backpack, luggage straps/tags, travel adapter, your itinerary, and any vouchers needed prior to when you meet your driver.
Pubs are about more than just Irish beer and whiskey—people come to enjoy music, laughs, and the legendary Irish wit.
Loch Ness contains more water than every lake in England and Wales combined—and Scotland itself has 31,000 lochs.
The Queen has eight royal residences, including the grand, 775-room Buckingham Palace and the centuries-old Windsor Castle, home to 39 English monarchs.
Every region in Italy has their own unique way to enjoy pasta—and there are more than 600 different pasta shapes to try.
Blame the Vikings for the lack of trees in Iceland's stunning landscapes. They deforested much of the country when they arrived here in the 700s.
Vienna's known as the world capital of music—and four of the 10 all-time-great composers called it home.
The McCarthy family built the legendary Blarney castle, with its stone that gives those who kiss it the gift of eloquence.