Category Archives: Uncategorized

UPCOMING TOURS

Ruins of ancient Apollonia, Albania

Ruins of ancient Apollonia, Albania

Albania & Macedonia

We have enjoyed watching enigmatic Albania open and grow during the last 20 years that we have been offering tours here. Infrastructure improvements and greater reliability of visitor services has made exploring this small but fascinating eastern European state, which was, for many years, closed to tourists, much easier and more comfortable than was just two decades ago. We are also pleased to be one of the first operators to offer tours here, and are very excited about our numerous itineraries that combine Albania with neighbouring countries, including Macedonia, where we visit Ohrid—the “City of 365 churches”—an outstanding mixture of the Western and the Oriental. Albania/Macedonia can also be preceded by our hugely popular Adriatic tour (Slovenia & Croatia), which spends a night in Budva, Montenegro, en route to Tirana. Tours from 14 to 30 days; dates in spring & fall

Albania & Macedonia 
AL1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 04 Jun 2017 - GUARANTEED

Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania & Macedonia 
AD6 | 30 Days | Details
Departure date: 19 May 2017 – SIX SPOTS LEFT

 

“CZ Series”

Our tours beginning in the Czech Republic, with options to the Slovak Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria (which we affectionately refer to as the “CZ series”), is one of our longest standing family of European itineraries, featuring amazing architecture, compelling histories, unique cultures, stunning landscapes, and great value-for-money. Variety is the name of the game here; it’s no wonder why this is one of our most popular series in Europe. The main problem here is how to choose!

Czech Republic 
CZ1 | 9 Days | Details

Czech Republic & Slovakia 
CZ2 | 13 Days | Details

Czech Republic, Slovakia & Budapest 
CZ7 | 15 Days | Details

Czech Republic, Slovakia & Hungary 
CZ3 | 21 Days | Details

Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary & Romania 
CZ4 | 28 Days | Details

Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria 
CZ5 | 35 Days | Details

Other combinations, ie Romania & Bulgaria only, also exist; summer and fall dates booking now!

 

Eastern China & Hong Kong

There is still time to consider the spring departure of our ever-popular foray through Hong Kong and Eastern China is a guaranteed trip with last minute space still available. Past Adventures Abroad travellers to China have appreciated our small-group concept at a destination where much group travel is dominated by huge busloads of 50+ tourists who spend much of their time just getting on and off the bus and being herded into souvenir shops. Our Tour Leaders and local guides put the culture, sites, history and monuments of China first to ensure that your experience is as in-depth, authentic, and personalized as it can be. As a small group, we can get much more done in a day without feeling rushed, get to know our fellow travellers, and dine out at local restaurants to avoid the massive and characterless hotel buffet! Hong Kong, Guilin, Li River, Yangtze River, Shanghai, Xi’an, Beijing

Eastern China 
CN2 | 12 Days | Details
Departure date: 10 Apr 2017 - GUARANTEED

Hong Kong & Eastern China 
CN4 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 04 Apr 2017 - GUARANTEED

 

Switzerland

Our comprehensive rail tour of Switzerland is filling quickly for both summer and fall dates. This tour is a rich fondue brimming with highlights. Throughout we make use of the region’s uber-convenient (and scenic!) rail system, including the famed Glacier Express. We even pop into the Principality of Liechtenstein, one of the world’s smallest states! We are also over-the-Alps excited with the popularity of and feedback from our recent Swiss hiking tours, which feature a well-paced combination of walking tours of towns and cities along with some of the country’s most scenic and famous mountain trails. Throw in a few rail journeys (including the world-renown Glacier Express) and spectacular cable-car journeys, and you have a highly-varied and quintessentially Swiss experience.

Switzerland 
SW1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 23 May 2017
Departure date: 13 Sep 2017

Hiking Switzerland 
XSW | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 26 Jun 2017
Departure date: 01 Sep 2017

 

Microstates of Europe

Join us as we explore the unique culture, history and scenery of these fascinating corners of Europe. These less sizable nations tend to remain under the radar, but each one boasts a distinct culture and myriad attractions and sights. Most are so small that it is hard to even find them on a map, and few travellers know much about what they have to offer. We will examine the history, culture, and inner workings of these smallest independent countries in Europe. These are among the oldest states on the continent and, despite their diversity, they have much in common. San Marino, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra, Vatican City & Luxembourg

Microstates of Europe
MCMS | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 10 Jun 2017 – 4 SPOTS LEFT
Departure date: 09 Sep 2017 – 10 SPOTS LEFT

WHAT A SITE!

Photo Credit: Martin Charlton

Photo Credit: Martin Charlton

 Al Beidha

A short distance north of Petra, Jordan, lies an area of pale honey coloured rock – Al Beidha in Arabic, ‘the white one’ – the next most important site in Wadi Musa, also included in Petra’s inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here in the 1st century AD the Nabataeans established a commercial suburb, a place for trading caravans to stop en route between south Arabia and the Mediterranean.

Well before the Nabateans, however, area’s fertile land had been exploited for many millennia by Neolithic groups, who settled here around 7000 BC, hunting animals with flint weapons and gathering wild plants to eat. They also grew wheat and barley and kept goats and sheep. It was first excavated in 1957 when three periods of occupation were detected: the Natufian period in the 11th millennium BC, a Pre-Pottery Neolithic B village with masonry construction in the 7th millennium BC, and a Nabatean period dating to the 1st or 2nd century BC.

Natufian Beidha is characterized as a seasonal encampment, repeatedly occupied over a long period of time. Evidence from lithics recovered along with the layout and position of hearths and roasting areas suggested the occupants were primarily engaged in hunting related activities. This was supported by the absence of permanent buildings, storage, burials and large stone implements.

During the Neolithic stage, the villagers used stone masonry and built a wall around the settlement of round houses with subterranean floors. Many of the materials recovered came from some distance and included Anatolian obsidian and mother of pearl from the Red Sea. Evidence shows it was destroyed by fire c. 6650 BC and then rebuilt with rectangular, overground buildings and specialized workshops. The transition to right-angled buildings shows an important development in human society that may have contributed the eventual development of cities.

Spending three nights in the region allows participants on our tour to explore this very special and important site, often overlooked by groups rushing through in a day. Spending two full days here allows for this very special visit and the chance to re-enter the main site of Petra for relaxed independent exploration on day two.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Visit Petra and Al Beidha on all of your tours that include Jordan:

Jordan 
JO1 | 8 Days | Details

Jordan & Israel 
JO4 | 17 Days | Details

Jordan, Israel & Egypt 
JO9 | 29 Days | Details

Israel with Petra Extension 
IS8 | 14 Days | Details

Egypt & Jordan 
EG5 | 21 Days | Details

All 2017 tours including EGYPT are discounted

patagonia rachel kristensen

Chasing glaciers in Patagonia

On the southern tip of South America straddling Chile, Argentina and the Andes lies a wild and far flung region with little settlement but big landscapes. Wide sweeping plains give way to mountains that tower in the horizon with granite peaks that scratch the skyline. Huge glaciers crash into the blue lakes that form at their melting point, and icy breezes blow icebergs to the shorelines. In every direction of Patagonia paints a worthy sight. It truly is a place you need to see to believe. Here are just a few highlights from a recent tour of Patagonia, previously posted on tour leader Rachel’s instagram:  

Take the long way home. @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Chile | | #Patagonia

A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

All roads lead to adventure. @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Chile | | #Patagonia A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

If only there were some views on this walk. Said no one ever. @adventuresabroadtravel || #Argentina || #Patagonia

A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Trekking at the end of the world, Ushuaia. @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Argentina A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

The more you know, the less you need. -Yvon Chouinard @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Chile | | #Patagonia

A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Just a little mountain day dream. A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on
Mother nature is a beautiful thing. @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Argentina | | #Patagonia A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Ice, ice baby. Did I get that song in your head now? @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Argentina | | #Patagonia

A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Don’t forget to look up. @adventuresabroadtravel || #Argentina | | #Patagonia A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on
—- These photos were taken on Adventures Abroad Tour of Argentina and Chile. For more info on Adventures Abroad and small group tours, click here.

What a Tour of the 5 Stans Looks Like

For the adventurous, the list of worthwhile destinations is long. Usually near the top of that list, is the Five Stans. Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The five former USSR nations are rich in history dating back thousands of years and for centuries this region was part of the major trade routes from Asia to Europe. The traditionally nomadic people retain much of their culture to this day.  Cities with beautiful Islamic architecture mix with Soviet art museums that are in stark contrast to the vast wilderness of mountain ranges with locals living in yurts and sprawling deserts which are just some of the highlights in this far corner of the world. A former resident, tour leader Jonathan Hodgson takes us along for the ride on his latest tour of the 5 stans with these beautiful photos on his instagram.      

The necropolis of Chor Bakr. #Uzbekistan #silkroad #travel @adventuresabroadtravel

A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

The Ark. #Bukhara #Uzbekistan #centralasia #silkroad #travel @adventuresabroadtravel A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

Chor Minor medressah. #Bukhara #Uzbekistan #centralasia #silkroad #travel @adventuresabroadtravel

A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

Bibi-Khanum Mosque. #Samarkand #Uzbekistan #silkroad #centralasia #travel @adventuresabroadtravel A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

The Registan at night. #Samarkand #Uzbekistan #registan #centralasia #silkroad #travel #night @adventuresabroadtravel

A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

For more information on our tours to the Stans, click here.

What is the history of the symbols of Portugal?

Not counting the flag or the coat of arms, there are a few symbols of Portugal that you will undoubtedly see on any journey here. Here’s two. symbol of portugal The Rooster of Barcelos The small black rooster is a curious object in Portuguese folklore. The story acompanies a 17th century calvary, from the city of Barcelos. Today the ceramic rooster is found in nearly every touristy shop and on countless postcards. But it stems from a legend in Northern Portugal where a mans life was nearly determined from a cooked dinner. A pilgrim was making the pilgrimage to St James’s resting place of  Santiago de Compostela, and passed through the Braga county in Northern Portugal. Unfortunately for the pilgrim, the whole town was on the hunt for a thief who had stole the silverware from a rich landowner. Despite declaring his innocence, the court was unconvinced and sentenced the pilgrim to death by hanging. In his final request, he pled his case once more to the authorities, just as they were sitting for dinner. It is as certain that I am innocent as it is certain that this rooster will crow when they hang me.”  Unsatisfied with his defence, he was sent away to be hung. But, losing their appetites, the dinner was postponed and the rooster never was ate. On the minute of his hanging, the rooster came to life, just as the man declared. Luckily, St James had intercepted and the poor pilgrims life was spared not by a pardon, but by a terribly knotted rope. symbol of portugal The Sardine Lisbon is home to the sardine trinket and the sardine festival, both of which honour St Anthony. In the 13th century, St Anthony – the patron saint of Lisbon – left to Italy to preach his gospels. Unfortunately for him, only the sardines would listen.  While the people of Rimini, Italy ignored him as he spoke along the shoreline, it is said that the sea was filled with millions of sardines, heads above the water, listening to his every word. Now-a-days the sardine is a symbol of love as well. St Anthony also doubled as the matchmaker saint with boys and girls going crazy to invoke the saints help. A single person may hold water in their mouths for hours on end, waiting for the name of their love to be spoken. They may write the name of their crush only to put it in a bowl of water and hope St Anthony works his magic. Or, if all else fails, they’ll take the idol of St Anthony and place it upside down in the garden until he find them a true love. The sardine festival in June is one of the most high spirited times in the old city of Lisbon, with the sardines being sold on every street corner and people joining for dancing and drinking at all hours of the day. While both symbols developed from religious stories, today they both present symbols of good luck in life, love and fortune.   ——-   If you are interested in joining a tour of Portugal that takes you to some of the most historic cities, towns with a focus on food as well as past and present culture – follow the link for our tours of Portugal here.  

Introducing Everyday Middle East

As part of the Adventures Abroad’s family, Lindsay MacKenzie is a name you may know well as one of our beloved tour leaders. Working also as a photographer and a multimedia journalist, Lindsay boldly started a project called Everyday Middle East to document life beyond the grueling headlines in both the Middle East and Northern Africa. The project is beautiful and we can’t express how proud we are of her accomplishments with this. Here is a quick look at the Everyday Middle East project on Instagram.  

Old City of Jerusalem. Photo by Wissam Nassar @wissamgaza @wissam.lens #Jerusalem #oldcity #everydaymiddleeast #everydayeverywhere

A photo posted by Everyday Middle East (@everydaymiddleeast) on

Waitstaff prepare to break their #Ramadan fast in #Dubai. Photo by @msomji everydaymiddleeast #uae

A photo posted by Everyday Middle East (@everydaymiddleeast) on

Explore the everyday Middle East yourself, join a tour to the Gulf Statestour Iran or explore many of our other Middle East tours.

7 incredible images of Argentina and Chile

If you’ve been, you know: Argentina and Chile, the southern end of South America, hold some of the world’s most stunning landscapes. Deserts, volcanoes, glaciers and rainforests all in vast wilderness areas that give a stark contrast to the chic cosmopolitan cities the countries also boast. These two countries are what dreams are made of. That is, if your dreams include nature, wildlife and exotic escapes. Here are seven incredible images that prove these two countries are simply the best:
Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Patagonia: At the far end of Argentina and Chile, this southern section of the Andes is this a wilderness comprising of of mountains, lakes, deserts and grasslands. It is one of the most diverse regions of the world.
source:Wikipedia

Source:Wikipedia

Mendoza Some forget that Chile and Argentina also boast one of the best wine growing regions of the world. What better way to relax on an adventurous tour than to enjoy vineyards and the fruit of the land.
Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Tierra del Fuego With so many photos of glaciers and mountains of Argentina and Chile, we hardly see photos of the forests. Here a look at the sub-polar forests in Tierra del Fuego.
Source: Trip Advisor

Source: Trip Advisor

El Calafate As the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, expect to see stunning icefields like this one on any day out in El Calafate.
Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Bariloche A lakeside town full of chocolate shops and beautiful vistas. Need we say more?
Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Torres del Paine Home to one of the most iconic mountain trails in the world, thoughts are Paine stems from an indigenous word for the word blue noting the piercing colours of alpine lakes found in the region.  
Source Wikipedia

Source Wikipedia

Atacama Desert The wild llamas aren’t the only thing special about the Atacama desert. Volcanoes provide the backdrop on red mars-like landscapes with thermal pools and lost lagoons dotting the park. It is also the driest non-polar region in the world. Take a tour of Argentina and Chile this year, next tour leaves soon.

An extraordinary adventure in the Canadian Arctic

You asked, we delivered. For over 25 years, Adventures Abroad has been taking groups to countries all over the world. But what about those exotic and hard to reach locations within our homelands. Each year we update our tours to keep destinations fresh, and often we’ll prepare private or one-off tours to unique locations. In 2015, one of these unique tours was to the Canadian Arctic with Martin Charlton. Below are some of his extraordinary highlights, as documented on his Instagram. Thank you for sharing Martin!  

Arctic exploration at the top of Baffin Island. Near Bylot Island and the flow edge.

A photo posted by Martin Charlton (@travelbug1970) on

Making our way across the ice to our camp at the floe edge. From Pond Inlet to Bylot Island.

A photo posted by Martin Charlton (@travelbug1970) on

Exploring the Canadian Arctic… high above the Arctic Circle.

A photo posted by Martin Charlton (@travelbug1970) on

What to see in Central America

Deciding what to see in Central America can be overwhelming. Spanning seven countries, it is hard to decide whether to focus on Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Belize, or El Salvador. Allow us to break down what to expect while touring Central America.

Rachel Kristensen - Central America (4)

 Fire, ash and steam.

Located in the Ring of Fire, the Central American Volcanic Arc contains hundreds of volcanic formations.

No trip to Central America is complete without seeing a few of these dramatic landscapes, from watching actual lava to getting steamed with boiling mud.

Nicaragua’s Ometepe Island is picturesque with two volcanoes dominating its land, while the volcanoes surrounding Guatemalas colonial towns only add to the ambience.

These two countries offer the best in getting up close and personal to volcanic landscapes as well as far enough away to appreciate their scale.

Rachel Kristensen - Central America (2)

Churches and Cathedrals

Distinctly Spanish colonial architecture, most Central American cities were designed with a park or plaza with a beautiful cathedral located on its perimeter.

Eighty percent of Central America is Roman Catholic, the majority of the remainder are Protestant, which means even the smallest of villages often will have at least one house of worship.

Interestingly, in Guatemala, much of the Mayan population worships a fusion of Mayan gods and Catholicism which can be witnessed in both cathedrals and in personal houses.

Belize

Flora and fauna

The natural wonders of Central America are remarkable.

Those who enjoy exploring the underwater world will be treated to one of the most diverse and beautiful dive spots in the world, along the 2nd largest reef system.

Above water, standing underneath the lush green canopies with macaws and hundreds of other birds squawking, while monkeys swing from vines above you allows you to have your own imagination of a Tarzan lifestyle.

The best monkeys to encounter are the howler monkeys as, they give off this low growl noise that seems fit for a horror movie.  Just note that sometimes these monkeys have been known to throw things at people, so look up if you hear one!

Want a truly unforgettable experience? Mix in your explorations with a Mayan temples visit.

Tikal

Temples, pyramids and ball courts

As one of the worlds great empires, Mayan structures are found all throughout Mesa-America.

In Tikal, enormous structures as high as 44m rise out of the forests and spread across the limestone and forested plain. Considering how amazing this place is and that dozens of temples still remain under dirt, I look forward to return in the years to come where more is excavated.

Copan, in Honduras, with its intricate carvings on the stone stellas are unlike any other Mayan site. Other than the scuba diving in the Bay Islands, most people give Honduras a miss, but Copan makes it well worth a visit.

Belize has Caracol and Lamanai temples close together that are both very rewarding visits.

For those looking for a look at modern Mayan life, there is no better place than the Sunday Market of Chichicastenango. The colourful fusion of Mayan gods, Christian deities and the smoking figure of Maximon is something you need to witness.

Ready to go? Get to know Central America better on our recently improved Central American highlights tour of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Quick facts about the Galapagos

gal Ever thought of visiting the Galapagos Islands, a group of volcanic islands that straddle the equator and sit 525 miles east of Ecuador? Well if you did, here are some quick facts about your next adventure location. Some may know that the Darwinian Theory of the Origin of Man was developed after studying the Galapagos Islands, but did you know that confluence of four ocean currents (Equatorial, Cromwell, Humboldt, and Panama) in this area is what gives it such an unpredictable and unique climate? Think that penguins are only found in the Southern Hemisphere? Wrong. Penguins found in the Galapagos Islands are the only penguins known to breed in the Northern Hemisphere. Ever wondered why the cormorants don’t fly away from the islands? Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) for them they have evolved to grow too large to spread their wings and fly. The birds wings are only one third of what they should be for a bird of that size making this type of cormorant one of the rarest birds on Earth. Speaking of birds that can’t fly, the marine iguana is the only lizard that is known to swim. You knew the tortoises were another large animal on the island, but did you know they were almost 600lbs and can live up to 150 years? No trip to the Galapagos ever takes place without learning a great deal about nature and wildlife. Join us on a 22 day tour to Ecuador this once in a lifetime location and discover why so many people have fallen in love with the Galapagos. Click here for more information about our Galapagos tour and our shorter 8 day adventure.