Cultural and archaeological tour specialist Peter Sommer Travels offers a range of in-depth, expert-led city tours in 2015, each accompanied by immensely knowledgeable and passionate guides. City breaks are a hugely popular holiday choice, but many travellers merely skim the surface of what is possible.
By choosing to travel in the company of an expert guide, visitors open the gates to a vast store of expertise, local secrets and the sort of know-how that simply cannot be found in a guidebook. From fascinating sites far off the well-beaten tourist trail to delicious meals at atmospheric neighbourhood restaurants, there are countless rewards to be gained.
Like all of Peter Sommer Travels’ trips, these city-based itineraries have been meticulously researched and carefully planned in order to provide an intimate understanding of each destination. Well-known highlights are covered alongside undiscovered surprises, encompassing culture, history, archaeology and gastronomy.
What’s on offer in 2015?
Two Athenian residents and archaeologists, Heinrich Hall and Dr Anthi Dipla, will escort guests on this exploration of Greece’s capital, taking visitors to their favourite gastronomic spots and secret haunts, in addition to informative and engaging visits to the city’s spectacular cultural and historic landmarks. The announcement of the British Museum’s blockbuster Ancient Greece exhibition – Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art – opening in March, has turned attention firmly towards this rich and captivating culture, whose celebrated highlights include Marathon – with its great mound for the heroic dead – the New Acropolis Museum, the Agora, and Athens’ old town, Plaka, where Roman, Hellenistic and Byzantine remains mark the city’s many layers of history. In addition to these must-see sites, visitors will strike out from the city to the beautiful island of Aegina and the fortified ancient country town of Rhamnous – little visited by tourists but with much to offer travellers who venture off the beaten track.
Departing 8 May, Exploring Athens costs from £2,375 pp (two sharing) including seven nights’ full-board accommodation, transfers, all entrance fees and expert guiding. Flights extra.
Exploring Istanbul Spring and Exploring Istanbul Autumn
Experience Turkey’s most vibrant, intriguing and energetic city, where east meets west, Byzantine meets Ottoman, and the footprints of different religions lend their colour to a rich and complex history. There are two departures – one in spring and the other in autumn, both avoiding summer’s scorching temperatures. Professor Jim Crow (spring tour) and Dr. Richard Bayliss (autumn tour), experienced archaeologists and Turkey specialists, will share their extensive knowledge and bring to life Istanbul’s legacy on visits to glorious palaces, fortifications, mosques and churches. There are trips to the unmissable Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque, and many lesser-known treasures, plus ventures into the countryside including a visit to Constantinople’s ancient aqueduct. The help of an expert is invaluable when unlocking the hidden secrets of Istanbul’s fantastic cuisine, and the trip includes meals at charming and traditional establishments, as well as hole-in-the-wall spots where local dishes are considered an art form.
Departing 16 April, the seven-night trip costs £2,195 pp (two sharing) including airport transfers, full-board accommodation, all entrance fees and expert guiding. Flights extra. Departing 12 September, the price is £2,225 pp.
Delve into the heart of the Eternal City on this new tour, led by two ancient history and archaeology experts: Paul Beston and Dr. Michael Metcalfe. Learn how ancient Rome wielded its immense power to shape the history of the whole of Europe, visiting world-renowned Classical wonders such as the Forum, the Pantheon and the Colosseum. The city also held a crucial position in the rise of western Christendom, and the trip features visits to fascinating religious monuments including ornamented basilicas, majestic Baroque structures, and of course the Vatican City, where the dome of St Peter’s towers above the skyline. There is much to be discovered beyond the confines of the city, where the mighty Villa of Hadrian sits within lush gardens, and the residential quarters of Ostia – Rome’s harbour town – remain remarkably well preserved. There will be ample time to enjoy meals in elegant restaurants bars and cafés – where the best of Rome’s culinary offerings will be on show.
Departing 17 October, the seven-night trip costs £2,895 pp (two sharing) including full-board accommodation in a 4* hotel, airport transfers, all entrance fees and expert guiding. Flights extra.
For further information and to talk to experts on all of the specialist company’s wide range of trips, call Peter Sommer Travels on 01600 888 220 www.petersommer.com