April 8, 2020

Inaugural Tour Itineraries

From Patagonia to Scandinavia, these brand-new
journeys reach the world's far-flung corners

By Kathryn E. Worrall

Vacations Magazine: Inaugural Tour Itineraries
Tawan Chai/Alexander+Roberts
A new year brings tempting new tour itineraries, and for me, new places for my bucket list.

For example, take Bhutan, an outpost gaining in popularity. A hike to Tiger's Nest, the monastery perched on a cliff 3,000 feet above the valley floor, sounds like a good way to jump-start my fitness goals (though a Tibetan guru's legendary method of arrival, a flying tigress, seems a bit easier). I've yet to visit the Middle East (save for a layover), so the bazaars and temples of Turkey also made my list, and the more I research Norway, the more I long to go.

Trips to these and other locales are detailed below, so challenge yourself to new experiences easily planned with one of these recently added itineraries. Visit Vacations To Go's tour portal for day-to-day schedules, rates and dates.

"Highlights of Andalucia"
Eight days with Intrepid Travel
Sink into southern Spain's sunny Andalucia region, renowned for its tapas, architecture and sultry flamenco routines. The trip spends most of its time in Seville, Ronda and Granada, starting in Seville to see its sweeping cathedral and alcazar, a royal palace dating to the 10th century. Visit an olive oil mill during free time in Ronda, then sample Zahara de la Sierra, a scenic village with a mountaintop castle. Granada's main lure is the medieval Alhambra, a grand Moorish palace and fortress with intricate facades and verdant grounds. From $1,975.

"Enchanting Israel"
11 days with Gate 1 Travel
Israel overflows with notable attractions, from Roman ruins to revered religious grounds. Seaside Caesarea has relics from the Crusades and a 2,000-year-old amphitheater. Nazareth is noted for one of the Middle East's largest basilicas, while Capernaum hosts an ancient synagogue and Bethlehem has the Church of the Nativity, believed to be Jesus' birthplace. There also are sojourns to the Dead Sea and the storied fortress of Masada National Park. In Jerusalem, inspect the Western Wall and the Israel Museum, home of mementos like the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls. From $2,099.

"Art, Culture and Cuisine of Colombia"
10 days with Luxury Gold
From coffee country to the capital, Bogota, this itinerary offers plenty of VIP experiences. Highlights include a private tour of Bogota's Gold Museum, containing 55,000-plus pieces of the metal, and an after-hours trip to Zipaquira's Salt Cathedral, an underground church with holy figures carved from salt. In Medellin, explore Comuna 13, a revitalized neighborhood that once was home to gangs loyal to Pablo Escobar, and the Museum of Antioquia for works by artist Fernando Botero. In coastal Cartagena, Luxury Gold offers classes on salsa dancing, cooking and emeralds, a leading export for the country. From $4,824.

"Wellness Bhutan: Mystical Himalaya"
10 days with Abercrombie & Kent
A relatively remote country on the edge of the Himalayas, Bhutan abounds with forests, monasteries and ancient religious practices. A&K guests enjoy a hike to rural Chimi Lhakhang, a famed fertility temple, and Tiger's Nest, a mountainside monastery, followed by a Champagne picnic lunch. Healers explain traditional Tibetan medicine and, at a Bhutanese religious festival known as a tshechu, participants don masks and perform sacred dances to honor a Buddhist guru. A four-day, post-tour extension heads to Nepal for meditation, yoga and an optional helicopter tour of Mount Everest. From $9,995.

"Iceland and Ireland Adventure"
11 days with CIE Tours
While Ireland is a well-known destination, Iceland also is growing in popularity among travelers, and this itinerary hits top spots in both countries. Memorable monuments in Iceland include the erupting Strokkur geyser and Gullfoss, one of the largest waterfalls in Europe, plus bustling Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon, a steamy geothermal spa. The Ireland portion combines classics like the Cliffs of Moher, 15th-century Blarney Castle, a functioning farm to watch sheepdogs at work and the Titanic Belfast, a maritime monument to the ill-fated liner. From $3,599.

"Patagonia: Edge of the World"
14 days with Collette
Located on South America's southern tip, Patagonia covers about 260,000 square miles with a varied topography of deserts, glaciers and the Andes Mountains. Venture to four national parks -- Tierra del Fuego, Cape Horn, Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares -- and several glaciers, including the calving Condor and picturesque Perito Moreno, one of few on Earth still growing. Among hiking options is a challenging trek to a glacial waterfall and a stroll amid a colony of Magellanic penguins. Along with free time in Buenos Aires, Argentina, guests enjoy a lamb roast with local gauchos (cowboys) and a tango performance. From $5,939.

"Treasures of Turkey"
15 days with Insight Vacations
Take a deep dive into Turkey: Descend into a subterranean city amid the golden hills of Cappadocia, lounge seaside in Antalya and peruse silk markets in Bursa, a former capital of the Ottoman Empire. Tour-goers can dip toes into mineral-laden water cascading into milky-white pools at Pamukkale, and afterward can treat themselves to their hotel's Turkish bath complex. The Temple of Aphrodite in the ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias is dedicated to the goddess of love and beauty, and Troy offers a replica of its famously deceptive horse. Modern Istanbul grants top-notch dining, museums and Roman ruins like a hippodrome once used for chariot races. From $2,400.

"Exotic Delights of Java and Bali"
12 days with Alexander+Roberts
From sampling gudeg (jackfruit stew) to preparing jamu (an herbal remedy), guests immerse themselves in Indonesian culture on two lush isles. In Java, watch the sun set over the world's largest Buddhist temple, attend a workshop with a master craftsman of curving kris daggers and hike Mount Penanjakan to witness the sunrise over a neighboring volcano. In Bali, expect to see a treasured "sea temple," Pura Tanah Lot, and receive a blessing from a Hindu priest at a hallowed waterfall. An optional four-day extension also spots the extraordinary lizards of Komodo National Park. From $8,249.

"Discover the Baltics and Russia"
17 days with CostSaver
Commence this extravaganza of medieval capitals and royal sites in Warsaw, Poland, with excursions to the opulent 17th-century Wilanow Palace and sobering Warsaw Ghetto. In Lithuania, seek Baroque architecture in the capital of Vilnius and view thousands of contributions to Siauliai's fabled Hill of Crosses. Riga, Latvia, claims art nouveau buildings, while Estonia's Tallinn has the onion-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Regal St. Petersburg boasts the riverside Winter Palace and the iconic Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. In Moscow, try an outing to the Kremlin Museums' Armoury Chamber to view royal regalia and prized Faberge eggs. From $2,675.

"Western Canada With Inside Passage"
13 days with Cosmos
Packing in plenty of outdoor escapades, this tour sets off from Vancouver, British Columbia. A cruise of Alaska's Inside Passage weaves past rainforests and mountains, with sightings of eagles and orcas, and a train trip through the Coast Mountains might reveal bears and moose. Enjoy the view from the Canadian Rockies' highest peak, the nearly 13,000-foot Mount Robson, and sight glaciers from Jasper National Park's Maligne Lake. Elective expeditions in Banff National Park allow for hiking, horseback riding and a helicopter tour. A 15-day version of the trip departing June 28 ends with the Calgary Stampede, one of the world's largest rodeos. From $2,660.

"Fabulous Fjords and Stockholm"
Eight days with SITA World Tours
Begin your Scandinavian sojourn in Norway at Bergen, a coastal city surrounded by fjords and mountains. Among the brightly hued homes you'll find the 12th-century St. Mary's Church and Haakon's Hall, a former royal residence. Journey past snowy mountains before a ferry ride through the slender Naeroyfjord. In Oslo, your group heads to the modern opera house and neoclassical Royal Palace. Wrap up in Sweden's capital, Stockholm, to visit City Hall, the medieval Stockholm Cathedral and Stortorget, a public square housing the Nobel Prize Museum. From $2,000.

"Australia's Wild North: Kakadu, Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef"
12 days with Natural Habitat Adventures
Survey the land Down Under on a route from Brisbane. At the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral preserve, snorkel or dive among vibrant inhabitants such as loggerhead sea turtles and clownfish. Search the Earth's oldest rainforest, Daintree, for tree frogs and southern cassowaries (flightless birds similar to emus), and in Australia's largest national park, Kakadu, join an outback safari to locate crocodiles, dingoes and wallabies. This untamed exploration ends in metropolitan Sydney. From $10,995.

"Cultural Wonders of Mexico"
Nine days with G Adventures
Traverse Mexico's interior, beginning in Mexico City for supreme street food, museums and murals from the likes of Diego Rivera. The Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan reveals pre-Aztec ruins of temples and pyramids, and at night, tour-goers can cheer on wrestlers at a lucha libre match. Puebla is noted for its Talavera pottery and the Great Pyramid of Cholula, and artisans in Oaxaca sell carved wooden masks and folk figurines. Embrace the local cuisine with quests for mole, fresh tortillas and mezcal. From $1,649.

"Colourful India"
14 days with Trafalgar
Kick off this northern India jaunt in both New and Old Delhi with a rickshaw ride, bazaar shopping and a visit to one of India's largest mosques. In Jaipur, dine at a local family's home, learn the arts of turban tying and kite flying and wander through the beautiful rose-colored Hawa Mahal, the women's portion of City Palace. Among other attractions are Agra's Taj Mahal, the resident tigers at Ranthambhore National Park and a Jeep safari through the countryside. Special itineraries feature Holi and Diwali celebrations. From $3,955.

"Cape Cod and the Islands 400th Mayflower Anniversary"
Nine days with Globus
Commemorate the Mayflower's 1620 landing in what now is Plymouth, MA, and the founding of New England's first permanent colony with this singular itinerary. Historic points of interest include Plymouth Rock, a full-scale reproduction of the Mayflower and a Wampanoag feast featuring local and seasonal ingredients. There also is a stop in Provincetown's harbor, where the Mayflower Compact was signed, and a cruise in Boston to the site of the Boston Tea Party. Stops in upscale Newport and Martha's Vineyard offer opportunities for shopping and walks along the water. From $2,999.

The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in Winter 2020. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 338-4962 for current rates and details.


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