Renowned all over the world for its rich culture, great historical monuments and multifaceted character, the capital of Greece is a place you should visit once in your lifetime Considered to be the birthplace of classical civilization, Athens features many interesting sights. In terms of sightseeing, the place you certainly have to visit is the iconic Acropolis, a fine sample of classical architecture, and the neighboring New Acropolis Museum exhibiting parts of this unique structure. Sip a coffee on the museum’s terrace overlooking part of this imposing marble structure or just wander around the cobbled streets of nearby Plaka, a quaint area filled with traditional cafes and taverns, as well as souvenir shops. Moreover, there are plenty fun things to do in this fascinating city, when the history buff inside you has seen enough.
Easily accessible by plane thanks to its luxurious international airport, Eleftherios Venizelos, Athens is flocked with visitors from all over the world, who are more than pleased to find out that there is a plethora of accommodation from budget hotels and hostels to luxurious international accommodation, such as the Holiday Inn Athens Airport Hotel .
Take a walk up and down the city’s biggest shopping street, Ermou, to feast your eyes on fancy and elegant shopping windows. But, make sure you explore the area’s arcades, where hidden little treasures are patiently waiting to be discovered by inquiring visitors. Shops selling antique furniture and vintage clothing, traditional cafes, taverns and spice markets can travel you back in time and give you a taste of old Athens.
Seek the best view from any terrace around central Athens. Apart from the cozy, bohemian and elegant bars, Athens also offers a plethora of roof bars in hotels and hostels. Some of them might only be open for their guests; however, there are still plenty that would be more than happy to serve you a refreshing cocktail with magnificent views.
See the other side of Plaka. For an off the beaten track walk in Plaka, head for the unique neighborhood of Anafiotika. Resembling the tiny Cycladic island of Anafi, the area is filled with cafés and taverns to ease you appetite.
To soak up that all important sun, sea and sand, explore the beaches lining the coast of Attica. From crowded organized beaches to secluded idyllic coves the wider Attica area caters for all tastes. Fun lovers can swim in the beaches of Varkiza and Glyfada featuring top-notch beach bars and beautiful people. Couples and isolators will be more than happy to swim in the coves of Sounio.
Get your checked tablecloth and a basket filled with sandwiches, wine and fruit ready and set off for a pick-nick day in the parks of Attica. You can either spend your day on Filopappou hill overlooking the Acropolis or relax in the lush green surrounding of Andreas Syggros park in the northern suburbs. Have your lunch right beside the gothic church, which is unique in the whole of Greece. Other choices include the park in Kesariani Shooting Range where you can also use the local snack-bar, and the eco-park of Antonis Tritsis featuring ponds with little ducks, lush green surroundings and information kiosks.
Turkey has become one of Europe’s premier holiday destinations, and this can be attributed to many things. The country itself is amazing and the fact it covers two continents means it has a varied and diverse culture in both food and dress. My first ever visit, was to Istanbul and I spent many days looking in the Grand Bazaar and the local shops. Istanbul is endless and I think if you walk for days you would never reach the end.
Proximity: Alanya is about a two hour drive from the nearest international airport and is situated on the coast. This means Alanya can offer sandy beaches and beautiful fishing ports and villages along the coast line. There is a closer airport by the name of Gazipaşa, but this is for internal flights only.
Weather: The weather in the region is renowned for heat and dry spells lasting months. It really is a breath of fresh air, during your visit you will enjoy the sea breeze that is cooling and refreshing. It is fair to say that the midday sun is very strong and I would recommend you do some shopping or have an afternoon sleep, away from the sun during these hours.
Location: With the Mediterranean on its coast means you have a variety of water activities at your disposal. Scuba diving, sailing, fishing and so much more, it is a clean and warm sea that has many delights to offer.
Beaches: Being on the coast of the Mediterranean, Alanya can offer many sandy beaches both big and small. The locals have their own hide always and you are best to ask if it is a secluded beach you are searching for. Think outside the box and look on Google map prior to your visit to Alanya so you are well prepared.
Historical architecture: During my visit to Alanya, I particularly liked the Red Tower, part of the Alanya Castle. It is so well preserved and looked after. It gives you an insight in to how life in Alanya used to be, and I love history wherever my travels take me. There are so many places to visit during your stay and I always fined a guided tour is the best way to see the important and most historical landmarks.
Food: I particularly liked the food that was on offer in the all-inclusive restaurant and out in the cafes and bars. Turkey has a beautiful countryside that grows a variety of vegetables and spices that are used in local dishes that will change the way you eat forever. Do not be shy, try everything and you will be amazed at what can be done with such natural ingredients.
Culture: The culture of this amazing country is attributed by its very location, covering two continents. You will find a wide diverse culture that is very well preserved, their religion is followed along with some beautiful and respectful traditions.
The Greek Island of Crete is said to be blessed by Gods and it’s easy to see why. Its stunning coastline, imposing mountains, mix of Minoan and Venetian architecture and spine-tingling (we don’t say that lightly!) cuisine make the island an incredible place to visit. Whether you are looking for total relaxation, floating in turquoise waters, rich and lively nightlife or have a passion for history, Crete will impress you.
If you want a true taste of the island and are planning a full tour, then you should definitely add some space in your schedule for Rethymno. Just two hours from the main town of Heraklion, even if you only have time for a day trip, it’s well worth it.
The Old Town and the restaurants
Discover the Old Town of Rethymno. This should be the starting point of any visit to Rethymno, as well as the place you’ll end up in the evening for a boozy shot of raki or indulging in some divine Cretan cuisine and try some restaurants such as Alana Restaurant. Start of from Paleologos street, where you’ll find a Venetian Lotzia, a lovely 6th century building which is now the Public Library. Wandering around the cobbled streets of the Old Town, which are naturally adorned with pink bougainvilleas, you’ll meet many historical sites of interest. A favourite is the Rimondi Fountain, a leftover from the Corinthian Era complete with elaborate lion heads that still flow with water today. Next up check out the Historical and Folklore Museum, housed in a Venetian townhouse, it offers a real insight into the history of the island. Their permanent exhibition features handmade textiles, traditional costumes and tools and materials from days gone by. At the nearby Church of St Francesco why not relax and take a moment of reflection before continuing to the Mosque Neratzes, formerly a small chapel dedicated to the Mary of Augustans and currently in use as a conservatoire.
The Fortezza fortress
The highlight of the town is The Venetian fortress Fortezza perched high on top of Paleokastro hill. Thanks to its raised position, Fortezza is the symbol of Rethymno and can be seen from every single spot in the town. Once a sanctuary to the Goddess Artemis, and shaped like a star, it was built by the Venetians to keep the town’s inhabitants safe from invasion. Take an hour or two to put yourself in their shoes and discover what it must have been like to live on the island hundreds of years ago. In the summer a newly built theatre the Erophylli offers outdoor music and theatrical performances. It’s hard to beat soaking up a wonderful outdoor theatre performance on a balmy summer evening.
Old Venetian Harbour
Finish your tour with a walk along the old Venetian harbour. The promenade is made for long, easy strolls and simply watching the world go by. It’s lined with colourful buildings, fish tavernas and rows of Turkish and Venetian inspired buildings. At the end of the pier you’ll meet the dramatic lighthouse with a small café which is busy from morning until night. In the evening go back towards the Rimondi Fountain, where you can indulge in a lush evening of food, including local specialities, fresh fish grilled with olive oil and lemon dressing, snails with vegetables and of course, a couple of shots of local raki!
When you go on your adventure trip to Croatia, you will be able to explore incredible natural beauty of this country, discover centuries-old historical monuments, and enjoy numerous water activities on its many rivers and on Croatia’s amazing Adriatic Sea coastline.
Croatia is a land of startling natural beauty. More than a thousand islands (most of them uninhabited) dot the sea around the thousands of miles of coastline. National forest lie scattered at the base of bare mountains thrusting up through the earth and the inland portions are filled with incredible pastoral beauty, simply begging to be hiked.
Adventure travel through Croatia is an amazing experience and will yield enormous benefits. How do you do it, though? What are the best ways to experience adventure and enjoy sport activities through the country? What companies offer Croatia adventure packages? Here are a few helpful tips to get you going.
Kayaking and Rafting
Croatia boasts an enormous amount of coastline and 1,200 islands begging to be explored. You’ll find many rafting and kayak companies offering sea kayaks for your enjoyment. You’ll also find a considerable amount of whitewater rafting in the country’s rivers. While there are numerous companies offering trips, the oldest and most established is Huck Finn Adventure, located in Zagreb. They feature rafts and kayaks, a well as professional guides to help you stay on track. Whether you want to adventure by sea or enjoy the numerous rivers in the region, this is a great option.
Sailing the Seas
Croatia is a land renowned for the coast; consummately, you’ll find a number of companies offering sailing and yachting expeditions through the blue Adriatic. You can explore thousands of coves and inlets or venture out to the uninhabited islands just offshore. You’ll enjoy incredible benefits aboard several craft plying the crystalline waters. You’ll also find that prices are very low, compared to other exploration methods.
Diving the Area
Diving in the Adriatic is not like diving in the Caribbean. You’ll find aquatic life in plenty, but the real attraction is historic shipwrecks. Just off Vis (an island off the coast of Croatia), you’ll find an enormous graveyard of ships to explore. Numerous dive companies exist to help you make the most of your aquatic adventure in Croatia.
Camping, Hotels and Hostels
You’ll find over 500 campgrounds located on the coast and throughout the pristine islands that offer you the best way to stay during your excursion. The prices are cheap, the sites are clean and well-maintained and you can easily make it to the next one in a day. You’ll also find a number of hostels dotting the countryside, especially in the inland regions. Hotels are plentiful, but located around major cities, such as Zadar, Dubrovnik and Zagreb.
Your Croatia adventure travel need not end there. There are many other options and activities available for you to enjoy. Visit AIP Travel for more holiday and travel tips in Croatia.
Are you planning to visit a ski resort during your next holiday? If so, there is a pretty good possibility that Austria will be considered since there is a growing popularity among ski lovers from all around the world. It is obvious why. All that you have to do is look around and you will see stunning photographs from wonderful ski resorts in the country.
Mayrhofen – Tirol
A quite fun packed ski resort. Everything here is basically geared towards snowboarding and free skiing. There are many slope types that are available and we can say that the entire mountain side is beautiful.
You should consider a visit during the famous Snowbombing Festival, which is quite massive from a musical and cultural point of view.
Mayrhofen is great if you want to relax or just cut loose. We recommended the festival because the atmosphere is even better and the entertainment options are numerous during that time. The experience is definitely memorable.
Saalbach – Salzburger Land
Saalbach is great for families that have children, groups of travelers, snowboarding lovers and those that love après ski. You can do a lot here and it is a guarantee that you will actually have a vacation.
While in the area, make sure that you check out the Ski Circus Snowboard Park. It offers many different fun filled activities for both non-skiers and skiers. You will love the fact that there are slopes that are suitable for intermediate, expert and beginner skiers or snowboarders.
The only problem is that this resort is quite popular at the moment. You need to book your stay in advance. Check pages like the Saalbach Travel Austria one so that you can see what is available based on the accommodations that you are after.
St Anton Am Arlberg – Tirol
The resort is quite close to Switzerland and it has a really long skiing history with various local teachers going to USA to popularize this sport in the country. There are various royals from Europe and celebrities that can be seen here during their holidays. This is a highly popular Summer ski resort in Austria as it is nested at an altitude of over 1,300 meters.
Due to the fact that the ski resort is popular for different types of tourists (including those that would not ski), there are many different small cafes and bars. You can expect a friendly small town atmosphere that is fueled by the history of the region.
Kitchberg – Tirol
The Kitchberg resort is found in Kitzbuhel Alps. It is a resort that is well renowned for the scenic landscapes that are visible, together with the highly diversified list of ski routes. You will always find something to do thanks to the 65 kilometers of ski routes. There is also a large selection of snowboarding opportunities if you do not actually like skies.
Ischgl – Tirol
There are different stars that love Ichgl so if you go during the on-season, it is almost a guarantee that you will see some world renowned stars. The resort is integrated in the Stubai SuperSki/Innsbruck Glacier Ski Austrian area. You automatically gain access to downhill skiing, 12 km of slopes and there are 7 ski lifts, marked slopes and 11 pistes.
Besides the options that are available in Ischgl, you can also go skiing to everything in the Stubai SuperSki/Innsbruck Glacier Ski area.
Choose The Best Austrian Ski Resort For You!
The 5 resorts that we mentioned above are just some of those that are available in Austria. You should try to allow yourself enough time to consider all the options that you can find. Have patience and use the internet in order to basically learn all that you can about the accommodations that are available at the moment. If you have the necessary time, leave a comment and let us know of the options that you loved in the past. Also, offer tips for the resorts we mentioned if you know them.
Memorable activities in Texas Certain places, features, vistas, and situations can make a travel experience in Texas most fulfilling and memorable. Texas has a vast geographical space, a diverse mixture of demographics, and multiple physical attractions that delight tourists and travelers across the state. Social activities in the various cities of Texas including entertainment and sports can make traveling particularly fascinating. Below are some of the most memorable activities for first-time and regular travelers in Texas.
Touring and shopping at the San Marcos Outlet malls is ever fulfilling and marvelous.
The Premium and Tanger outlets offer attractive goods and services in all seasons.
The physical attraction and the presence of shops and restaurants enthrall travelers.
Touring the Alamo building offers insights into the great history of Texas.
The Alamo is particularly significant due to the 1836 Battle of the Alamo.
Experiencing the Marvelous Sea World of Texas
Traveling across Texas remains incomplete without a stopover at the Sea World Saint Antonio. Texas is about the only place in the United States that features extremely fascinating marine shows that captivate travelers and travelers who find it unique and memorable. Travelers enjoy the thrilling rides in the water and the inexhaustible beauties of marine life. The flourishing marine tourism is particularly fulfilling during the festive months of Easter and Christmas. Some of the activities that enrich the Sea World experience include:
Onsite dining under the moonlight
Highly attractive exhibits
Packages for vacation
Various forms of entertainment
The Fascinating Pedro Island National Seashore
The Padre Island National Seashore stands out as a geographical marvel that distinguishes Texas as one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. The seashore is also famed as the longest of its kind in the world. One of the most significant geographical facts about the seashore is that it separates the Laguna Madre from the Gulf of Mexico. Travelers enjoy the picturesque features of the shore with many of them making frequent return tours at the place to savor the aesthetics of geography. Foreigners interested in touring the marvels of Texas must go through the ESTA clearance, which ascertains the eligibility of all entrants in the US. The automated system is highly efficient and reliable. Some specifics that enhance the natural beauties of the seashore are:
The seashore comprises of wind tidal flats, prairies, and dunes.
The seashore is among the very few natural homes of the Kemp’s sea turtle.
Nearly 400 species of birds feature around the seashore.
The seashore carries the historical significance of Spanish explorations.
Generally, a travel experience through Texas can be memorable by combining the manmade and natural attractions. The specifics would include visiting the famous places such as the islands, shoes, and places of historical significance while also mixing with the exuberance of Texas social life. The fun and merriment that mark the various cities’ nightlife adds to the memorability of the travel experience. Texas does not impose restrictions on touring many of these attractive sites even to foreigners as long as they are cleared by the ESTA system.
With a surface area of 8,300km2 and situated at 3,810m above sea level, Lake Titicaca, located between the border of Perú and Bolivia, is considered the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. The freshwater lake is home to a number of islands with Amantaní and Taquile being the principal ones on the Peruvian side. Also, here lies an archipelago of artificial floating islands made entirely from totora reeds.
Touring these islands can be easily arranged from the lakeside city of Puno, Peru, with each island offering a different cultural experience. It takes about thirty minutes by boat to reach the floating islands of Uros.
Once you alight, the sensation is akin to walking on a moving boat dock, where the floor is a bit wobbly, making you wonder about its stability. But the Uru people who inhabit these islands continually replenish the totora reeds, on average, every three months.
You spend roughly an hour learning about how the Uru had come to live and maintain life on these islands by relying on this plant, which grows abundantly in the lake, for food, cooking, medicine, construction, and transportation. Then, there’s the opportunity to take a ride on a balsa, boats the Uru also construct out of totora. And for those who love collecting passport stamps, you can get one for Lake Titicaca, making for a brilliant souvenir.
Uros may be the least culturally immersive and has been characterized as somewhat “touristy.” So if you can spare a full day on the lake, include a trip to Taquile. From Uros, it takes another 2.5 hours to get to (or three hours directly from Puno).
Taquile and its textile art is on UNESCO’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, where knitting is exclusively done by the men and the women exclusively make the yarn and weave. The craftsmanship is so intricate that it looks machine made.
But aside from this remarkable cultural activity, the views of Lake Titicaca afforded from the island and the simplistic beauty of the surroundings as you walk the one hour towards the main square is absolutely stunning. Along the way, you will notice how the people of Taquile recycle everything as the lifecycle of a worn out rubber tire, made into a shoe sole, now serves as a door hinge.
Topographically, the hike is only a gradual ascent, but the high altitude makes it challenging. If not sea sickness, altitude sickness is a common occurrence. The best way to prevent a medical emergency where help is not easily accessible until you return to the mainland is to spend some time acclimatizing in Puno. The return to port is not back the same way, but rather a descent down 500 narrow and steep stone steps.
And if you have even more time, commit to a two day, one night excursion that includes an overnight stay on Amantaní . Amantaní is the furthest from Puno, about 4 hours, but only an hour away from Taquile. The island is beautiful in a subdued way. Not as lush and verdant as Taquile, but with a plenitude of agricultural terraces that extend practically up to the sheer cliffs that plunge into the ocean.
At the port, local families await to greet the small groups that they will be paired with to host. The homestay provides a glimpse into everyday life. Accommodations are simple. There is no running water, electricity, or showers.
Groups and their families hike up to the highest point, Pachatata (Father Earth), to enjoy the sunset. Also here, is an ancient ruin, where it is believed that if you walk around it three times counterclockwise, your wish will come true. Later in the evening, you dress up in traditional costume to attend a party hosted by the community and return in the early morning hours to fall asleep under a clear night sky full of twinkling stars. There are other possibilities for Lake Titicaca tours that are a bit less commercialized so be sure to ask about the options.
Regardless of which islands you choose to visit, there’s no doubt that Lake Titicaca offers a memorable experience.
Almost all of us are looking for a place with numerous places and opportunities for great shots. One place where you can find the best moments to capture is Moreton Island. The following are just a few of the great places on the island.
One of the most famous tourist spots unique to Moreton Island is the ship wreckage site. This place was not the result of a naval accident. Instead, fifteen boats were intentionally sunk in order to create a break wall in 1963. This allows smaller vessels to safely visit the area as well as creating a perfect diving and snorkelling site.
The Tangalooma Wrecks is where you can find some incredible sights. If your camera is up for some underwater shots, you can find an astounding array of marine life in the area. You can take a shot of the trevally, kingfish yellowtail, wobbegongs and much more. Even if your camera is not ready to take a dip, the wreckages itself are a sight to behold. The steam powered barges and dredges sitting on the sandbank with the setting sun shining upon them can make for a great picture.
Dolphin feeding area (Tangalooma Jetty)
Another of Moreton Island’s signature attractions is the opportunity for you to feed the dolphins in person. Every evening around sunset, half a dozen of these marine creatures visit the Tangalooma Jetty. Each dolphin has their own identity and traits which you can get to know more.
To participate, you will need to visit the Marine Education and Conservation Centre, run by Tangalooma Island Resort. This is where you will register for the dolphin feeding event in the evening. During the activity, the Dolphin Care Team will guide you in feeding the visiting creatures.
Be sure to use a camera with a waterproof feature to take a shot of the dolphins while feeding them. If you wish to simply witness the event, you can get a good view on the wharf.
ATV quad bike tours
Moreton Island has a vast number of areas with great opportunities for a photo op. A good way to find them is with an ATV quad bike tour. Get to visit the beaches and bushlands of Moreton with a professional guide. This can give you a hands-on experience as you get the chance to take amazing shots of the island from the back of a rumbling rough terrain vehicle.
Scenic helicopter ride
Many of the pictures taken by tourists are usually from the ground or sea. Why not do something a little different with an aerial shot of the entire island? A scenic helicopter flight can give you this chance. Visit all of the attractions of the island, including the Tangalooma Wrecks, by air. You also get the opportunity to see Moreton Island’s sand dunes during your flight. The bird’s eye view shots can be a breath taking souvenir for your family and friends.
Remember to pack extra batteries and water with you at all times while you visit Moreton Island’s sights. This will make sure you and your camera can enjoy the experience to the fullest.
Miami has always remained a fabulous destination to me. I always look forward to visit this fascinating place whenever I can. I find plenty of reasons to visit Miami – its weather, beaches and some of the awesome attractions here. I want to share my experience of a short trip to Miami which was made recently.
There are several ways to reach Miami from any part of the world as it is quite accessible. There are various international airlines that operate direct flights to Miami, such as British Airways, TAM, Airberlin, Virgin Atlantic, Iberia and many others. Being a native of the United States, I always take US Airways flights to Miami. There are other domestic carriers conducting flights to Miami like Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines and others. You won’t find it difficult to reach Miami from different parts of the world.
I made a brief, 48-hour trip to Miami. Your Miami flights will either land at Miami International Airport or Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, depending on the last minute flights you purchased. I, however, landed at Miami International Airport, and the entire check-out process was really smooth. I took a taxi to reach the city center. This is the cheapest and quickest way into the city if you are traveling on a budget. The other cheap option is to try Super Shuttle, which will help you save money.
Miami is well-known for its beaches. Though, it is not only about beaches here. Whether you travel by cheap international flights or U.S. domestic carriers, do make it a point to explore Miami neighborhoods whenever on a short trip here. Miami neighborhoods like Downtown Miami, Little Havana, Little Haiti and Wynwood Design District have lots of surprises in store for you. A visit to these places will instantly give you a feel as if you are walking in the streets of Latin American cities. Miami neighborhoods are home to several South American, Caribbean and Cuban immigrants.
Another major concern for those taking flights to Miami on a short trip is finding the best place to eat, relax and enjoy. I frequented many restaurants in Miami, and after a long search landed at the best restaurant so far all along my trips on various occasions here. I would recommend trying out at ‘Michael’s Genuine’, probably the best restaurant I’ve ever been to while in Miami. You must also check this out. Here you’ll thoroughly enjoy. You will be treated to homemade fresh and local ingredients. Try ordering deviled eggs and the crispy pig ears. Believe me, you are going to enjoy this!
Getting around Miami at low prices is what all visitors look forward to while visiting here. Make use of the public transportation system to the fullest. This is the cheapest way to get you around the city.
Another thing not to be missed out while in Miami are the food trucks. There is a flourishing and vibrant food truck scene at the Tropical Park in South Miami. Check these out and you’ll find all kinds of delicacies to satiate your gastronomic appetite.
Peru is a country full of historical, cultural and archaeological splendour, and is an excellent country to visit for a holiday experience like no other. Its geography is varied resulting in incredible biodiversity – it is one of only 17 countries in the world classed as “mega-diverse”, its food is rightly and finally starting to earn a reputation as some of the best in the world, and the adventure opportunities are endless – trekking, sand-boarding, rafting, bungee, kayaking to name but a few.
Despite all this, however, the jewel in the crown for Peru is its majestic array of archaeological ruins dotted all over the country. There are many ruins to visit in Peru, so this list is intended as a guide on the Top 5 ruins to try to visit on a holiday to Peru.
1.Machu Picchu must visit on Peru holiday
It would have been impossible to write a list of the best archaeological ruins in Peru without mentioning Machu Picchu, the most famous and most popular tourist destination in the Americas. The UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World is surely one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring places in the entire world. The classic “postcard” photo, showing the sprawling ruins with the mountain peak of Huayna Picchu as a backdrop, is almost as iconic as the site itself, and has been used as the photo for endless guide books, postcards, and magazine covers.
The site is not mentioned in any of the Spanish chronicles, so it believed the Spanish Conquistadors were not aware of its existence, and it was hidden from the western world for hundreds more years, until Hiram Bingham discovered the ruin, with the help of some indigenous locals, in 1911.
Today visitors to the site get a very interesting and educational tour of the ruins by a professional guide, aside from the views the Inca stone-work is exceptional, and the water system the Inca devised to transport water throughput the site is nothing short of genius.
For anyone up to the challenge by far the best way to experience the site is to trek the 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, which arrives at Machu Picchu on the morning of the 4th day before sunrise so tired trekkers can watch the first rays of the sun rise of the ruin. However the town of Aguas Calientes, in the valley below Machu Picchu, is where most tourists stay overnight before catching a 20 minute bus up to the site entrance. Aguas Calientes is reached by train from Cusco.
Although Machu Picchu is the only Inca site in Peru to be listed here, the area surrounding Machu Picchu and Cusco is full of excellent Inca archaeological sites that may be less famous than Machu Picchu but are definitely worth visiting… amongst the best are Ollantaytambo, Choquequirao, Sacsayhuaman, Moray, Pisac, Qorikancha and Tambomachay.
2.Caral – The Oldest Civilisation in the Americas
Caral, around 2 hours north of Lima by road, is an incredibly large UNESCO World Heritage Site which is very important in the cultural and archaeological history of Peru.
The Norte Chico civilisation lived in this area of Peru from as early as 5000 years ago, and Caral itself is though to be around 4000 to 4500 years old. It is the oldest civilisation to have been discovered in the entire Americas.
Today Caral is little-known, with only a handful of visitors per day, however that might change soon – the Peruvian government is investing time and money in ongoing restoration of the site, with plans to expand access and make it the “Machu Picchu of the Pacific coast” within the next 15 to 20 years.
In terms of size Caral far exceeds Machu Picchu – Caral encompasses a series of 19 pyramids spread out over 35 square miles, with the main site featuring 9 large pyramids encircling a giant enclosure.
Onsite guides will give a tour throughout the entire site, visiting all the pyramids and showing stone carvings that are thousands of years old.
3.Kuelap – City of the People of the Clouds
One of Peru’s best kept secrets, the ruin of Kuelap can be visited by tours from the nearby northern Peruvian city of Chachapoyas. The Chachapoyas region of Peru has just as many interesting and adventurous tourist destinations as the much more famous Cusco region in the south of Peru, but is far less-visited.
Kuelap, built around 1000AD, is a very visually impressive site – giant man-made “cliffs”, up to 12 metres high, surround the hill-top ruin and enclose round brick houses where the Chachapoyas people lived.
The countryside surrounding the ruin is typically Andean, with endless mountains and valleys and terraced farmland. The views from the ruin are just as spectacular as a visit to the ruin itself. Although access to Chachapoyas is more difficult than Cusco, Kuelap is an astonishing place to visit on a Pery holiday .
The outstanding Gocta Waterfalls, one of the top ten highest waterfalls in the world, are near to Kuelap and Chachapoyas and are definitely also worth a visit.
4.Chan Chan – The largest adobe city in the world
Around 800 years ago Chan Chan, on the outskirts of the modern city of Trujillo (famous for its cuisine and accessed easily by bus from Lima), was an incredibly large and important city. It was the largest pre-Colombian city in the Americas, and is the largest adobe city in the world, which at one time housed tens of thousands of people over an astonishing area of almost 30 square kilometres.
Today the site is so large that only part of it can be visited, and whilst restoration of the remaining parts of the ruin will continue, it is likely that full restoration will be impossible simply due to the sheer scale of the site.
The northern region of Peru is often over-looked by tourists, but it has a rich array of sites to see, of which Chan Chan might possibly be the jewel in the crown. A visit to the site is very interesting, with endless walkways, plazas and richly decorated adobe brickwork. For beach lovers, the nearby village of Huanchaco is famous for its traditional reed-boats, and the beach-side town of Mancora, and the resort of Punta Sal, are easily accessed with Trujillo being an excellent stop-off point en route from Lima.
5.Huaca de la Luna y Huaca del Sol
Like Chan Chan, the “Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Sun” (Huaca de la Luna y Huaca del Sol)are also adobe ruins and are also on the outskirts of the city of Trujillo, however that is where the similarity ends. The Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Sun are around 600-800 years older than Chan Chan, and whereas Chan Chan is the largest adobe city in the world, the Temple of the Sun is the largest adobe single-structure on the planet, made with more than 100 million adobe bricks!
However, despite the size of the Temple of the Sun it is the Temple of the Moon that is much more worth visiting. Although the Temple of the Moon is smaller, it is much more extensively excavated, and archaeologists have opened it up into a maze of corridors, rooms and chambers, some of which feature 1500 year-old original painted decorative features which are astonishing.
Author: Jonathan Lillie lived in Peru throughout 2008 and 2009 and has travelled extensively throughout the country. After returning from his adventures he helped set up the Peru travel company Go Andes. One of his favourite things to do is to spend a day people-watching and taking photos of the wonderful sites in the city of Cusco, before spending the evening watching the sunset over the main plaza.