From the world’s best-known cities to exotic, far-flung lands, the nations we dream of travelling to have multi-layers to discover. We want to do it all – from seeing the icons to discovering the secrets only locals can show us.
But doing this in some of the world’s most amazing destinations isn’t always easy – there can be language challenges, cultural norms to navigate, limited technology and tricky transport.
Where and what to eat, how best to get around and how to find out where the unique experiences are requires strong local connections and a whole lot of research.
That is where group guided holidays with Trafalgar work so well. No need for hours of trawling the internet hoping for trustworthy tips, no need to wing it on accommodation, no flying blind. When you travel with a group, everything is taken care of, leaving you to have fun and make your memories.
In exotic locations like Iceland, Myanmar, Peru and China especially, group travel can open up experiences unavailable to independent visitors.
With GPS-confounding place names that look like a Scrabble hand, getting around Iceland for the first time is a challenge even for the most experienced travellers.
But when you travel with a group you are free to sit back and enjoy astonishing scenery including glaciers, fjords, steaming geysers and lava formations as it passes by.
Ensure you make time to see the magnificent icebergs up close, including the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, as well as the glacier that inspired Jules Verne’s classic story Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and don’t forget swimming in a geothermal spa. In the fjord town of Siglufjördur, it’s worth taking time to wander through the art galleries, cafés and shops. Trafalgar’s Insider Experiences offer memorable and authentic moments like visiting the Thorbergur Centre where you’ll learn about one of Iceland’s most famous writers. You will also visit Höfn, the lobster capital of Iceland, where you’ll dine on this delectable ocean delicacy loved by locals, and also have the chance to stay in a forest hotel on the shores of Lake Lagarfljot.
And for a truly local Iceland experience Trafalgar takes guests to a horse farm to learn about the pure Icelandic breed, visiting the stables and hearing about the farm from the family over a light homemade lunch.
When in Athens a visit to the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Agora, the Royal Palace, the Temple of Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch is a must, but is made even more fascinating when taken with an experienced Trafalgar Local Specialist who will share insights along the way.
Cross the mighty Corinth Canal, beyond the capital, to the Peloponnesian Peninsula and see the ancient city of Corinth and Mycenae. Enjoy a spectacular drive across the Mountains of Arcadia and stop at the site of the first Olympic Games, held in 776BC. If you love the thought of having dinner followed by dancing in a private family’s olive groves and vineyard, set in the ancient Greek birthplace of the Olympic Games, you’ll be pleased to know it’s possible with Trafalgar.
Norway, Sweden and Denmark – home of fjords, massive glaciers, soaring mountains and sparkling waterfalls. Experience these picturesque kingdoms and their rich Viking heritage by road, rail and water to truly uncover all the rich charms and traditions of these amazing countries.
Sightseeing in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm is spectacular and even more captivating when you have a Local Specialist to tell you about the history behind all the must-see sights – like Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid which sits on a rock in the Copenhagen harbour.
In Denmark’s capital Copenhagen visit the magnificent Amalienborg Palace precinct where you can try to catch a glimpse of our own Aussie Princess Mary.
Out of the city, nowhere does Scandinavia’s dramatic landscape reveal itself in a more breath-taking way than from the Flam railway. Regarded as one of the world’s most scenic journeys, it speeds through the sheer mountainsides and looks over deep ravines and waterfalls.
And, for a truly local experience, Trafalgar has arranged for guests to dine on local Norwegian specialties on a farm which dates back to the 15th century.
A visit to one of Lima’s best neighborhoods, San Isidro, is a great start to a Peruvian holiday with a lively shopping and restaurant scene on your doorstep – which can be made more enjoyable when travelling with a group and a local expert.
Seeing any country with a local is an experience that’s hard to beat, and even harder (if not impossible) to organise on your own. Trafalgar’s ‘Be My Guest’ takes you to the private home of an illustrious Lima family to meet the owner, learn about the history of the host’s ancestors and tour his historic estate before enjoying a sumptuous home-cooked meal of traditional Peruvian delicacies.
Beyond the mind-boggling traffic of this coastal city one of the world’s great mysterious treasures, Machu Picchu, is a signature experience of any holiday to Peru. Catch the famous Vistadome train to the Inca citadel and explore the World Heritage listed Temple of the Sun, House of the Priest, and the Sacred Plaza.
A range of cultural experiences complements iconic sightseeing – try coca tea and corn beer, and browse the handcraft stalls at the Pisac market. With exclusive Insider Experiences you can try Peru’s traditional weaving yourself when you attend a lesson in centuries-old spinning techniques, learning dyeing traditions that have been passed down through generations.
Rainforest nature walks and cruises along the world’s most important waterway, the Panama Canal, are must do experiences that show the diversity of these Central American nations sandwiched between the Pacific and the Caribbean.
To truly get under the surface of these countries, a Local Specialist is essential. With Trafalgar you’ll enjoy amazing Insider Experiences like an unforgettable nocturnal guided walk with a passionate local naturalist through the misty, secluded, wildlife-rich Los Angeles Cloud Forest, just outside of San Jose.
In the Gamboa rainforest, board a jungle boat ride that will give you the chance to see toucans, sloths and monkeys before stopping at the village of Embera’ Drua for a taste of the cultural and traditional food.
With Trafalgar you can visit the farm of one of Panama’s most prominent families for lunch and hear how they breed their magnificent thoroughbreds. While in San Jose you can lunch at a beautiful plantation with owners Don Alberto and Dona Anan Quintana.
Enjoy the brightened dances of children from a local school in Arenal with Trafalgar, then visit the Asis Project, to get up close and personal with a wide variety of animals at this wildlife refuge.
China’s tourism appeal is clear – it’s exotic and culturally different from countries outside of East Asia and packed full of new sights and experiences. Especially now as the Red Republic is in the midst of astounding growth and going through a major facelift, with over 4,000 thousand years of history interwoven into a thriving modern economy.
Visiting China wouldn’t be complete without seeing Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. As well as walking the Sacred Way in Beijing, visiting the Terracotta Warriors and City Wall in Xi’an and cruising the Huangpu River in Shanghai.
Travelling with a group means you get to see these highlights in comfort, stress free and with amazing insights from a Local Specialist to make the most of your Chinese holiday. You can enjoy traditional experiences with ease like dashing through the ancient Hutongs by rickshaw and relaxing with a reflexology food massage after a big day of sightseeing.
Get a glimpse into Chinese life when you travel with Trafalgar, as they’ve arranged for a guest visit to the home of a local family for a delicious traditional lunch, followed by a visit to a charming tea house where a Local Specialist prepares and serves tea whilst explaining the historic ritual.
Colonial grandeur meets mystical tradition in this rapidly changing South East Asian nation which until recently has been untouched by tourism.
The capital of Yangon remains one of the world’s best examples of 19th century British colonial architecture, which is best experienced on a walking tour with a local English-speaking specialist, who can translate when you meet Burmese speaking locals along the way. Yangon is also revered as home of the magnificent, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda – this is where a Travel Director is invaluable as they advise on cultural norms like removing shoes for your dawn or dusk visit when monk and nuns take part in candle-lit ceremonies.
A visit to the remote Inle Lake – where the much-photographed, uniquely skilled fisherman cast their nets, and fast long boat rides whizz passengers to lakeside markets – is a must.
In Bagan, local families host Trafalgar guests to a home-cooked meal, while the tea shops of Mandalay are a genteel reminder of this golden land’s cross-cultural heritage. A visit for lunch at a local nunnery gives an unforgettable insight into the nation’s Buddhist traditions.
The world is full of alluring, exotic destinations that you may not have ever considered travelling to on your own – but you can explore them with safety and confidence when you set off with Trafalgar.
Click here to grab your ticket to a new Trafalgar adventure today.