As Expert Travellers, we’ve seen a thing or two, and when our favourite tour providers roll out itineraries like these, we can’t help but get excited about seeing more. We know the difference between typical travel experiences and something truly unique. If we had to narrow down our favourite tours of the year, these would be it.
If you’re looking for travel inspiration, you’ll get more than you bargained for with these, our top tours of 2019.
Inca Discovery with G Adventures
Visit: Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu & more
For those who have yet to tick Machu Picchu off their must-see list, listen up. In a sea of tours of Peru on the market, this is the real deal, a classic, the tour to book. In a perfectly-paced week, you get it all; just the right helping of bustle in the capital, the cozy city of Cusco, a scenic four-day trek along the Inca Trail to the mecca of the Inca Empire, and you might even pet a llama or two along the way.
The best part? G Adventures run their own treks ensuring an ethical travel experience. Named ‘Best Inca Trail Tour Operator’ (Regional Direction of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Cusco), this tour helps employ over 560 local guides, porters, cooks, drivers and office staff.
Georgia & Armenia Uncovered withTrafalgarTours
Visit: Tbilisi, Akhaseni, Dilijan, Goris, Yerevan & more
Besides exploring the vast natural beauty and tumultuous history of this up-and-coming region, Trafalgar’s deep dive into Georgia and Armenia tells a story through its locals. This isn’t a tour for spectators - far from it. Here, you’ll indulge in Russian pancakes and homemade tea with a local in Fioletovo. You’ll enjoy a master class in Georgian bread making and Churchkhela sweets in Kakabet. You’ll visit a wine cellar in Chardakhi, tasting included, and meet a local family in Garni who will teach you how to make lavash. Sign us up.
Gardens of Japan with Blue-RoadsTouring
Visit: Osaka, Kurashiki, Matsue, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Tokyo & more
Join Blue-Roads for an intimate tour exploring Japan’s most awe-inspiring gardens, taking in plenty of local culture and flavours along the way. Visit one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan (Kenrokuen Garden), stroll the tranquil bamboo forest of Kyoto, and learn how to decorate using traditional Kanazawa gold leaf. From busy fish markets and centuries-old palaces to tech-forward metropolises and meticulously kept gardens, Japan is an array of experiences that’ll have you coming back for more. Onsen tour anyone?
Best of Spain with IntrepidTravel
Visit: Madrid, Seville, Granada, Valencia, Barcelona & more
Flamenco in Seville, paella in Valencia, artful Barcelona and some of the best beaches in the world. And if that isn’t enough, Cordoba’s jaw-dropping great mosque (Mezquita) and spectacular Alhambra Palace are just days away from Gaudi’s famous gaudy church and whimsical Park Guell. Whatever you’ve come for Intrepid uncovers leaving you feeling like you’re really getting the very best of Spain - fitting. If you’re ready for possibly the most fun-loving country in the world, Spain is more than ready for you.
Lake Como - All Inclusive with Just You
Visit: Bellagio, Varenna, Tremezzo/Cadenabbia, Pallanza & more
Sitting pretty in the foothills of the Italian Alps, Lake Como is a microcosm of Italian elegance and quality. There really is no place like it - until you visit the just-as-gorgeous Lake Maggiore a few days later. Throughout this rich touring experience, prepare to be pampered Italian-style, complete with decadent al fresco meals, breathtaking Bellagio views and a guaranteed room of your own with no single supplement. Bellissimo.
Scandi Express withTopdeck Travel
Visit: Germany, Denmark, Sweden, & Norway
Sure, you can buy some cheap flights and backpack across Europe like your folks did, or you can be smarter about things and book this brilliant youth tour of Europe’s next big thing - Scandinavia. Begin in Berlin, a must for every lover of art, history or techno-driven dancefloor. Then, head north to enjoy tours of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo, some of the most progressive cities in the world. Eat, drink and be merry soaking it all in, wondering what your parents were thinking wasting all that time just winging it.
Northern Lights Discovery with On The Go Tours
Visit: Reykjavik, Hvolsvöllur, Seljalandsfoss, Selfoss & more
Iceland may not be the unexplored destination it was only a few years ago but that doesn’t mean that it won’t blow you away - it will. Especially on the Northern Lights Discovery tour with rustic tour masters On The Go. So compact you can squeeze it into a stopover, this highlight-packed jaunt will have you posing in the steam of the Blue Lagoon, trekking past shooting geysers and showering waterfalls, and of course, marvelling at the celestial brilliance of the stunning Aurora Borealis.
The Azores with Collette
Start: Ponte Delgada
Visit: Terceira, Faial, Pico, & São Miguel
Early on in this tour of the Azores with Collette, you’ll feel like you’ve been let in on a big secret. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. It’s just impossible to fathom that these enchanting ancient isles aren’t gracing the cover of every travel brochure - they’re that pretty. Comprised of nine volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (you’ll visit four), the Azores are Portugal’s answer to Hawaii. Although not as tropical, the archipelago is as lush a garden as the Aloha state, with rolling green mountains, black sand beaches, crystal blue waters, and seemingly endless volcanic caves. Oh, and the food is to die for, too.
Scottish Highlands Fling withGlobus
Visit: Edinburgh,St. Andrews,Dundee, Inverness, Orkney Islands, Glasgow & more
See Scotland in all its glory on this ultra-scenic 10-day tour with Globus. From the steadfast energy of Edinburgh to the Orkney Islands crowning the Highlands, over pints and tales of battling clans to the home of golf in St. Andrews, you’ll be gladly immersed in all things Scottish, whisky distillery tour included. Spend the night in the Highland capital, Inverness, before touring majestic Dunrobin Castle. Visit Skara Brae’s 5,000-year-old ruins and the mystical stone circle of the Ring of Brodgar, regarded as the Orkneys’ ‘Stonehenge’.
Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & The Mekong River with Avalon Waterways
Start: Ho Chi Minh City
Visit: Ho Chi Minh City, Vinh Long, Cu Lao Gieng, Phnom Penh, Angkor Ban, Siem Reap & more
The mighty Mekong is the lifeblood of Southeast Asia and sailing it is the absolute best way of exploring both Vietnam and Cambodia. Avalon Waterways’ cruise tour of the cities dotting its banks makes all the necessary stops. Begin in Ho Chi Minh City with sightseeing and a cooking class. Tour the Cu Chi Tunnels used in the Vietnam War. Browse colourful markets, visit a family making handcrafted sampans, and a workshop to learn how rice wine and traditional candies are made. Gawk at the grandeur of Phnom Penh’s Silver Pagoda and top it all off with a visit to the timeless Temples of Angor. Now that’s a cruise!
Go on, make your next trip the adventure of a lifetime. Our favourite tours offer something for everyone. Connect with our Expert Travellers to find the perfect tour for you.