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6 Slow-Paced Tours for Seniors

By Sandra Roussy January 29, 2024 Travel

As the world continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, there’s an emerging trend that beckons people (not only seniors) to savor the journey rather than race through it – slow-paced tours.

In a society that often glorifies fast-paced adventures and adrenaline-fueled escapades, these tailored tours offer a refreshing alternative.

  1. New Orleans at a Slower Pace: A City of History, Culture and Celebration – Road Scholar’s New Orleans at a Slower Pace tour offers seniors an enriching and leisurely exploration of the city’s history, culture, and celebration, promising an unforgettable voyage through the heart and soul of the Big Easy.
  2. Paris at a Slower Pace: Art & Culture in the City of Light – This Road Scholar tour offers an immersive and leisurely exploration of Parisian cultural treasures, from masterpieces at the Louvre to strolls through the Latin Quarter and experiences at street-side cafes and open-air markets.
  3. Easy Pace Italy – Experience Italy’s top highlights from the Vatican to Venice on Insight Vacations’ 10-day Easy Pace Italy tour, indulging in VIP experiences, Renaissance masterpieces, Tuscan flavors, and the enchanting beauty of Venice’s canals.
  4. Easy Pace Budapest, Vienna & Prague – Embark on a 10-day guided tour with Insight Vacations, exploring the fascinating cities of Budapest, Vienna, and Prague at your own pace, discovering historical treasures, indulging in local cuisine, and immersing yourself in the cultural beauty of Central Europe.
  5. Living in France: A Three-Week Stay in Provence – Experience the enchanting beauty and artistic legacy of Provence during a three-week immersive stay in Aix-en-Provence with Smithsonian Journeys’ Living in France: A Three-Week Stay in Provence tour.
  6. A Stay in Holland: An Art History Journey from Vermeer to Van Gogh – Discover the rich legacy of Dutch art and immerse yourself in the world of iconic masterpieces from Vermeer to Van Gogh on Smithsonian Journeys’ A Stay in Holland: An Art History Journey tour, exploring museums, historic towns, and photogenic landscapes.

From captivating cultural encounters to picturesque landscapes that soothe the soul, these trips are thoughtfully designed to cater to the needs and desires of a variety of travelers.

Let’s delve into the transformative power of unhurried travel, where the emphasis lies not on ticking off landmarks on a checklist but on relishing each intricate moment of life. Slow-paced tours can rekindle the sense of wonder, create lasting memories, and open doors to unforeseen adventures for seniors seeking a new chapter in their travel story.

Why Choose a Slow-Paced Tour

While fast-paced travel might suit some, unhurried trips offer a host of unique advantages that make them an increasingly popular choice among those that enjoy stopping and smelling the roses.

Appreciate the Journey

Slow-paced tours encourage you to savor the experience fully. Rather than rushing from one attraction to another, you have the time to absorb the culture, history, and beauty of each destination. This unhurried approach allows you to develop a deeper connection with the places you visit, fostering a profound sense of appreciation for the voyage itself.

Enjoy Relaxed Itineraries

Slow-paced tours are thoughtfully designed with leisurely itineraries that prioritize comfort and enjoyment over rushed sightseeing. Ample free time allows you to explore destinations at your own pace, take breaks when needed, and even indulge in spontaneous moments of discovery.

Embrace Accessibility and Inclusivity

These tours often consider the accessibility needs of seniors, ensuring that the destinations and activities are senior-friendly. They take into account mobility concerns and offer accommodations that cater to varying physical abilities, making the trip more enjoyable for all participants.

Forge Meaningful Connections

With a more relaxed pace, you have the chance to interact with locals and fellow travelers in a more meaningful way. The unhurried environment fosters camaraderie and allows for deeper conversations, creating opportunities for friendships and lasting memories.

Experience Authentic Culture

Slow-paced tours often veer away from the crowded tourist traps, providing a chance to experience the authentic culture of a place. You can indulge in local cuisines, witness traditional customs, and partake in unique activities that might not be possible on fast-paced tours.

Reduce Stress and Fatigue

Traveling at a slower pace can significantly reduce the stress and fatigue commonly associated with rushed trips. This approach is especially beneficial as it allows you to maintain your energy levels and enjoy the experience to the fullest.

Immerse in Nature’s Beauty

These tours often include visits to serene natural landscapes, where you can bask in the tranquility of breathtaking scenery. Whether it’s a scenic countryside, a peaceful coastal town, or a majestic mountain range, slow-paced tours provide ample time to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Accommodate Special Interests

Slow-paced tours can be tailored to cater to specific interests, such as art, history, wildlife, or wellness. You can choose tours that align with your passions.

Finding the Right Balance

Margaret Manning, the founder of Sixty & Me and an avid traveler, reflects on the differences between slow-paced and fast-paced traveling. 

Years ago, I had the opportunity to join Road Scholar on a trip to Prague. On this adventure, I learned just how fun group travel can be. Every day had a theme, which I loved. At the same time, the formal activities weren’t overwhelming. I had time to walk alone. I discovered secret parks. I wandered through tiny shops and expansive gardens. And, of course, I made plenty of new friends.

Shortly after my Road Scholar trip, I completed a one-month train journey around Northern Europe. This second trip was much more fast-paced. In 10 days, I traveled 6,000 kilometers and visited 12 cities. I traveled by train, car, boat, and bike. I stayed in a new hotel every 2 days. It was an amazing experience… if a little tiring.

My goal on both of these trips was to inspire the women in our community to step out of their comfort zones and consider alternative travel options. 

One of the questions that I asked myself over and over again, as I worked my way around Europe, was whether I was pushing too hard. Was I trying to see too much? Would it have been better if I had taken it easy and “stopped to smell the roses” more often?

Obviously, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer to this question. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages.

On the one hand, like many women over 60, I feel a great deal of pressure to see as much as I can in the time that I have left. On the other hand, if I am honest, sprinting from place to place is harder on my body and mind than it used to be.


Does Road Scholar Offer the Best Blend of Fast and Slow-Paced Travel?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Road Scholar is actually an amazing blend of fast and slow-paced travel. On the one hand, all of their programs offer intellectually stimulating activities. They keep your mind buzzing (sometimes spinning) with new ideas.

On the other hand, they don’t force you to go beyond a comfortable pace. If you want to take part in the optional activities, you can. If you want to use your free time to sit at a local café and watch the people passing by, this is also completely fine.

Perhaps this was the main lesson that I learned on my most recent trips.

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to travel. There is no “too fast” or “too slow. There is only the pace that we need at a certain time in our lives.

Sometimes we need intensity. Other times, we need intimacy. The trick is to take the time to evaluate where we are in our lives and to choose our travel adventures consciously.

Slow-Paced Tours for Seniors

Slow-paced tours provide a refreshing opportunity to truly explore the beauty of destinations, forge meaningful connections, and embrace the joy of traveling at your own pace.

New Orleans at a Slower Pace: A City of History, Culture and Celebration

This tour is designed for people seeking an enriching and leisurely exploration of the Big Easy, promising an unforgettable trip through the heart and soul of New Orleans.

Delve into the intriguing history of the city with historical walking tours led by experienced local guides, who will take you through the iconic French Quarter and beyond, sharing stories of its colonial past and diverse architecture. Engage in the vibrant tapestry of New Orleans’ culture with authentic experiences, engaging with local artists, musicians, and culinary experts to gain insights into the essence of Creole traditions.

Enrich your understanding of New Orleans’ heritage with exclusive lectures and hands-on workshops, where you’ll learn about jazz music’s roots, the significance of Mardi Gras, and the city’s unique folklore. Savor the delectable flavors of New Orleans during guided culinary excursions, enjoy a gumbo cooking demonstration, and indulge in sumptuous meals that showcase the city’s signature dishes. Relax on a delightful riverboat cruise along the Mississippi River, taking in the city’s storied waterfront and majestic skyline.

This tour respects the need for personal exploration, offering ample free time to wander the streets at your own pace, visit art galleries, browse local boutiques, or simply sit back and soak in the city’s vibrant ambiance.

Your knowledgeable Road Scholar Program leader will be your trusted companion throughout the journey, offering insights, assistance, and facilitating engaging group dynamics.

Tour Operator: Road Scholar

Days: 6 days, 5 nights

Paris at a Slower Pace: Art & Culture in the City of Light

This meticulously crafted tour invites you to experience the grandeur and allure of Paris at a leisurely pace, providing ample time to savor the city’s cultural treasures. From the awe-inspiring spires of Notre Dame to the world-renowned masterpieces of the Louvre, this trip promises a truly immersive and enriching exploration of the “City of Light.”

Enthrall yourself in the art and culture of Paris as you view the works of the masters at some of the world’s most prestigious museums. Wander through the Louvre’s hallowed halls, gazing upon iconic paintings and sculptures that have shaped the course of artistic history.

Your travel through Paris’ cultural heritage extends beyond the museum walls as you stroll the historic streets of the Latin Quarter, where you’ll find yourself in the company of students from the nearby Sorbonne, breathing in the intellectual ambiance that has inspired countless luminaries throughout the ages.

Embrace the quintessential Parisian experience as you savor life at a relaxed pace, indulging in the city’s authentic charm. Pause at street-side cafes, just like the locals, and savor delectable French pastries while immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of everyday Parisian life. Discover the enchanting world of Parisian markets, where vibrant colors and enticing aromas beckon you to explore the array of fresh produce, cheeses, and artisanal goods.

Throughout your trip, you will be accompanied by local experts who will unveil the hidden gems and cultural nuances that make Paris truly special. Engage in in-depth lectures that provide a deeper understanding of the city’s history, art, and culture, enhancing your appreciation for the city.

Go on extraordinary full-day explorations via motorcoach, where you will witness Paris’ iconic landmarks, graceful boulevards, and famous monuments. Marvel at the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the magnificent Champs-Élysées, each a testament to the city’s timeless allure.

Unhurried and with ample opportunities for personal exploration, this voyage through the “City of Light” promises an unforgettable and soul-enriching experience, creating cherished memories that will stay with you forever.

Tour Operator: Road Scholar

Days: 9 days, 8 nights

Easy Pace Italy

Travel on an extraordinary 10-day guided journey through Italy’s most captivating destinations with Insight Vacations’ Easy Pace Italy tour. As you traverse the country from the Vatican to Venice, a tapestry of Italy’s top highlights unfolds, promising a truly immersive and indelible experience.

Your adventure commences in Rome, where the ancient and modern intertwine seamlessly. Begin with a visit to the iconic Colosseum, an awe-inspiring marvel of antiquity that echoes the gladiatorial battles of a bygone era. Next, prepare for an exclusive experience as you head to the Vatican Museums for a VIP dinner, surrounded by the world’s most renowned art collections.

In Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, the artistic wonders of Piazza della Signoria await. This open-air art gallery showcases masterpieces that have shaped the course of art history, offering a glimpse into the brilliance of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and other artistic luminaries.

Journey to Pisa, where you’ll meet a local expert for an informative tour of the city’s most iconic landmark – the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Learn about its intriguing history and architectural marvel, a true testament to human ingenuity.

The adventure continues to the idyllic Tuscan hills, where an organic farm welcomes you with open arms. Amidst fields of vibrant vegetables and lines of olive trees, indulge in an authentic Italian meal, savoring the essence of traditional Tuscan cuisine and hospitality.

Finally, arrive in the charming city of Venice, where life unfolds in a mesmerizing aquatic dance. Board a private boat, and allow yourself to be whisked away on a magical journey through the city’s winding canals. Admire the ornate palaces that stand tall along the water’s edge and pass beneath elegant bridges, ultimately arriving at the renowned Piazza San Marco with its marble arcades and stunning basilica.

Throughout the tour, experienced guides and local experts will share their wealth of knowledge, ensuring you gain a deep appreciation for Italy’s art, culture, and history. Insight Vacations’ Easy Pace Italy tour promises an authentic and leisurely exploration of Italy’s best, leaving you with great memories of this compelling country and a newfound love for its beauty and charm.

Tour Operator: Insight Vacations

Days:10 days, 9 nights

Special feature: Choose between a classic size group (max 40) or a small group (max 24)

Easy Pace Budapest, Vienna & Prague

Join the 10-day guided tour with Insight Vacations, the Easy Pace Budapest, Vienna & Prague, where you’ll explore the enchanting capitals of Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic at your own pace.

Your adventure starts in Budapest, Hungary’s iconic capital city, where your local travel director will lead you on a sightseeing trip through its historical and cultural treasures. Wander the cobblestone streets of the Castle district, taking in the captivating views from the Fisherman’s Bastion. To indulge in the flavors of Hungary, savor a delightful strudel tasting paired with rich, aromatic coffee, capturing the essence of Hungarian hospitality.

Continuing along the majestic Danube, you’ll arrive in Vienna, the imperial home of the Habsburg royals. Marvel at the regal grandeur of Schönbrunn Palace, a breathtaking architectural masterpiece that transports you back in time. In Vienna, indulge in an abundance of local dining, where you’ll have the chance to taste Austria’s most delectable dishes, discovering the culinary offerings that have delighted palates for generations.

Next, venture into the Czech Republic, where the fairytale town of Český Krumlov awaits with its ageless charm and picturesque beauty. Stroll through its quaint streets, adorned with historic buildings, and immerse yourself in the magic of this charming town.

Finally, arrive in Prague, the “city of a hundred spires,” where a knowledgeable local expert will guide you through its rich history and cultural heritage. Explore the intricate architecture, discover hidden gems, and bask in the timeless allure of this remarkable city.

Throughout the tour, you’ll have the freedom to explore each city at your own pace, embracing the enchanting atmosphere and cultural wonders that each destination has to offer.

Tour Operator: Insight Vacations

Days: 10 days, 9 nights

Special feature: Choose between a classic size group (max 40) or a small group (max 24)

Living in France: A Three-Week Stay in Provence

Indulge in the allure of Provence, a region that conjures visions of picturesque olive groves, rolling vineyards, and radiant sunlight, which once captivated artists like Cézanne, Chagall, and van Gogh. Embark on a remarkable cultural voyage with Smithsonian Journeys’ Living in France: A Three-Week Stay in Provence tour, immersing yourself in the charming city of Aix-en-Provence for an unforgettable three-week stay.

Aix-en-Provence, a city of timeless charm, will become your home during this immersive cultural experience. Nestled amidst elegant cobblestone streets, this small city boasts a 600-year-old university and numerous art and cooking schools, creating an atmosphere brimming with creativity and inspiration. As you stroll through the quaint alleys on your way to class or the bustling outdoor markets, you’ll be enveloped in the artistic spirit that has enchanted generations of artists.

Immerse yourself in the richness of the region’s history and natural beauty as you explore medieval hilltop villages, uncover fascinating Roman ruins, and venture into the captivating countryside. Each day brings new discoveries, revealing the layers of Provence’s storied past and its enduring beauty.

Escape the tourist crowds and savor authentic local experiences as you linger over a glass of wine at a neighborhood café, soaking in the ambiance of a place that feels like home. Delight your taste buds as you dine in restaurants tucked away from the tourist path, where you can savor exquisite culinary delights that reveal the essence of Provence’s gastronomic heritage.

Throughout your stay, enjoy the comfort and convenience of your apartment at the Adagio Aix-en-Provence Centre, ideally located on a peaceful street near the charming shops along the Cours Mirabeau. Embrace the rhythm of Provence’s daily life, relishing the opportunity to live like a local and forge connections with the warm and welcoming community.

This slow-paced tour from Smithsonian Journeys promises an extraordinary adventure, allowing you to fully absorb the essence of this beautiful region.

Tour Operator: Smithsonian Journeys

Days: 23 days

A Stay in Holland: An Art History Journey from Vermeer to Van Gogh

Go on a captivating art history trip with Smithsonian Journeys’ A Stay in Holland: An Art History Journey from Vermeer to Van Gogh tour. Throughout the Netherlands, the rich legacy of famous Dutch artists resonates deeply within contemporary culture.

World-class museums, including the Mauritshuis and the Rijksmuseum, proudly showcase spectacular collections of the Old Masters of the Dutch Golden Age, while the works of renowned painters like Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer remain integral to the identity of their hometowns.

Settle into the picturesque city center of Hals’s native Haarlem, where you’ll immerse yourself in the unique world of Dutch fine arts, beholding iconic masterpieces such as Rembrandt’s Night Watch, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, and van Gogh’s Sunflowers, alongside an array of lesser-known artistic gems.

On full-day excursions and guided tours led by local experts, explore the arts and culture of the Hague and Delft, marvel at the architectural wonders of Rotterdam, indulge in the tradition of cheesemaking in Gouda, and venture deep inside a national park to discover an extensive collection of van Gogh’s magnificent works.

This art-filled voyage promises an enriching and immersive exploration of Holland’s artistic heritage, unveiling the enduring beauty and significance of Dutch fine arts in the heart of the Netherlands.

Tour Operator: Smithsonian Journeys

Days: 9 days


Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you enjoy slow-paced traveling? Are you tempted by one of these slow-paced tours for seniors? If you have a different slow-paced tour destination in mind, please share it with the community!

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I just returned from a two week group travel tour of Ireland and Scotland. Although it was wonderful, I found the fast pace and constantly being on the go stressful and tiring. I am a 70 yo female in good health and fit! Plus, I caught Covid for the first time ever and although fairly mild, it still took its toll and I spent the majority of the trip wearing a mask. As a result of my experience, I had decided over the course of the trip that any future trips I take will be slower paced and immersive. This article is spot on!

Sandra Roussy

Hi Gmarie, I’m so sorry Covid put a damper on your trip to Ireland and Scotland. Slow paced tours are definitely an excellent way to discover new places without feeling rushed and pressured. They are great for getting an authentic feel of a destination and especially for getting an immersive experience. Keep us posted on your future travels!

The Author

Sandra is the middle-aged woman you hear about who sheds everything she owns and sets out into the world to rediscover and redefine herself. After more than twenty years spent in the fashion industry designing collections for brands such as La Senza, Victoria’s Secret, and JACOB Lingerie, she shifted her path and pursued her longtime passion for writing, traveling, and photography. Sandra was published in the NY Times best selling book Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It. A deeply personal essay hand-picked by Elizabeth Gilbert about loss, facing fears, and going after dreams. Visit her website:

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