Can you believe we’re about to enter into a new decade? No, neither can we – time simply flies. With this in mind, we thought we’d help kickstart your travel plans for the new year by rounding up our must-visit archaeological sites, in the hopes they might inspire you to explore someplace new over the coming 12 months. From iconic ruins mentioned in legendary tales to lesser-known sites that you might never have come across, take a look at our 10 best tours for 2020 below. The best thing? We can take you to visit all of them…
10 Best Tours For 2020
December 13 2019
Central Mexico: Mesoamerican Mysteries
Join the fantastic Dr. William Saturno on a 14-day adventure through Central Mexico in January. Departing on the 11th, this tour is the perfect way to start the new decade. Cross frontiers of time into lost pre-Columbian worlds, journey through the lands of the ancient indigenous civilizations of Mesoamerica, and trace the stories of the Aztecs, Toltecs, Olmecs and more. Highlights include a chance to see the elaborate reliefs carved into the columns and friezes and El Tajín, a performance of the Danza de las Voladores de Papantla, and an exploration of the legendary site of Teotihuacan.
Mexico - The Maya
Operated by our sister company, Andante Travels, this is a 15-day tour that begins in Mexico City and travels to San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Palenque, Yaxchilán, Campeche, Uxmal, Mérida, Chichén Itzá, Tulum and on to Cancun. Led by expert scholar David Drew, you will encounter enduring Maya traditions among the Chiapas communities, you'll travel in 4x4s to remote sites boasting unique ancient architecture, and you will explore the remains at the world-renowned site of Chichén Itzá.
Northern Peru - Land of the Cloud Warriors
Travel in the esteemed company of Professor John Rick, Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropological Sciences at Stanford University, Curator of Anthropological Collections, and past Director of Stanford’s Archaeology Center. On this memorable 14-day tour, which departs in either May or November 2020, you'll visit the UNESCO-listed site of Chavín de Huántar with the site director, there will time to explore the Citadel of the Cloud Warriors at Kuelap (the Machu Picchu of the north), and you will discover lesser-visited sites such as the Tucume pyramids and Huanchaco Pampa.
Pompeii, Herculaneum & Classical Campania
Join our sister company Andante Travels on their flagship tour to Pompeii. One of its longest-running and most popular trips, you'll explore this iconic archaeological site in the company of expert scholar Doru Bogdan, who is a specialist in Roman archaeology and has supervised numerous excavations. This tour is packed with special experiences, from private access to the off-site Theatre of Herculaneum and private access to the Cave of Sejanus, to private access to the Store Rooms at Paestum Museum, where you'll see Lucanian painted tombs off-limits to the public. Elsewhere, you'll climb the crater of Vesuvius, visit newly opened houses, and explore an array of sites with stories to tell. All this and more from just $2,425pp.
Oberammergau - The Passion Play
2020 is not only a brand new decade, but it's your next chance to witness the legendary Passion Play of Oberammergau. Taking place just once every 10 years, this event sprang to life in 1633 when the plague descended upon the residents of this charming Bavarian village. Citizens vowed that if their lives were spared, they would perform a play that depicted Christ's life, suffering, death and resurrection once per decade. We have a number of tours on offer, including an Archaeology of Northern Italy tour, that include tickets to experience this event.
Departing in both June and August, this tour – again operated by our sister company, Andante Travels – is led by expert scholar Jeremy Bennett, an archaeologist studying for his PhD at Cambridge University. On this 8-day discovery, you'll explore the fascinating prehistory of the Emerald Isle. The monumental passage tomb of Newgrange is but one of the highlights on this tour that also visits in Dublin, the Boyne Valley, Carrowmore, mystical Galway, and the island of Inis Mor.
England: Henry VIII and His Wives
One for the history lovers among us, this 14-day tour is led by Tudor expert Elizabeth Norton and takes in visits to numerous castles that hold the secrets and stories of this legendary monarch. Spend the night at historic Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn; visit the graves of Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London; and fall in love with the splendid surroundings of Hampton Court and visit the state apartments, along with the gallery said to be haunted by the ghost of Catherine Howard.
Egypt: Pharaohs & Pyramids
Departing in February and then twice in October 2020, join us to experience the history and archaeology of ancient Egypt. Led by either Dr. Xavier Droux or Dr. Luigi Prada, this 16-day discovery takes in the temples of Abu Simbel, the iconic Giza Plateau, the seldom-visited pyramid complexes at Dahshur and Abusir, and the Karnak Temples. Elsewhere, you'll cruise along the Nile to visit sites that include Kom Ombo's rare double temple, Aswan's beautiful Philae Temple and Luxor's Valley of the Kings and Queens.
Israel is a country of immense natural beauty and unbeatable history, with a culture that is a unique blend of the ancient and modern. From the lively city of Tel Aviv and the holy city of Jerusalem, to the lowest place on earth – the Dead Sea – spending time in this country will be truly memorable. Let the culinary delights of this country enchant you with a wine-tasting experience and a cookery class where a popular brunch dish is on the menu. Take a cable car to King Herod’s desert fortress-palace and accept an invitation from a local family to join them for an authentic Shabbat dinner, where stories of this special event will be shared.
Romans, Visigoths & Viziers
Join expert scholar Doru Bodgan on our sister company Andante Travels' southern Spanish sojourn. Spend 8 days exploring the rich history of this unique part of the world, from the ruined Moorish palace of Medina Azahara to the legendary Alhambra, and from the necropolis at Carmona to private access at Baena Archaeological Museum.