An award-winning UK-based specialist tour operator we design inspirational trips of a lifetime: stimulating and luxurious tours, educational and relaxing gulet cruises.
"Tour Operator of the Year Gold Award 2015" AITO (The Association of Independent Tour Operators)
"Tour Operator of the Year Silver Award 2016" AITO (The Association of Independent Tour Operators)
"Tour Operator of the Year Gold Award 2017" AITO (The Association of Independent Tour Operators)
"One of the 100 best worldwide vacations to enrich your life" National Geographic
"A 100 Best Holidays Company 2016, 2015, 2014 & 2011" The Sunday Times
We offer cultural vacations and holidays - primarily gulet cruises - with a professional and above all personal touch. On our escorted tours in Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Turkey and the UK, we take only small groups (some as small as a maximum of 10 guests) of like-minded people, travelling in an easy-going, informal style. Our carefully crafted journeys will take you to some of the world’s best preserved Greek and Roman ruins, with a friendly and knowledgeable expert guide ready to bring their history to life.
The guides who lead our escorted holidays in Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Turkey and the UK, are true specialists - archaeologists, historians and travel writers - natural enthusiasts steeped in Croatian, Greek, Sicilian and Turkish history and culture. We choose our tour guides not just because they are extremely knowledgeable, but because they are great communicators and friendly hosts.
In 1994, Peter Sommer walked 2,000 miles across Turkey, following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, and in the process fell in love with the country, its ancient civilizations, and the Turkish people. For the past 14 years, Peter, a British archaeologist and documentary maker, has been leading and organising unique historical and cultural tours and gulet cruises in Croatia, Greece, Italy & Turkey, escorted by the finest experts.
Peter Sommer Travels is a member of The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO), the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
Our archaeological tours are very much self-selecting. The people who come on our trips are usually well travelled, enthusiastic, and curious about exploring new countries and cultures. They come from an incredibly wide range of professional backgrounds. Some have never been on an archaeological tour before; others have explored ancient sites all over the world. On average about a quarter of the people on our trips are single travellers. About 40% of our guests come from the UK, 40% from the US, with the remaining 20% split between Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and beyond.
Many of the people who travel with us first find out about Peter Sommer Travels through personal recommendations. Many clients travel with us again and again. Our trips tend to appeal to quite a wide age range. Generally speaking, most are in the 35-70 age bracket. Our family tours have attracted parents with children aged 8-15. We have mums and dads bringing their grown up children along in their 20’s or 30’s, and we are finding more and more people in their 30’s and 40’s coming on our trips.
Throughout our tours we provide much needed business to local cafes and shops in these places, thereby supporting local families, artisans, and village crafts. We dine in family run local restaurants, that source food locally providing income to families living in rural areas.
Throughout our tours we employ local guides and location managers. We also use local drivers and vehicles to visit sites, which are often owner operated or run by a local cooperative. This ensures that money goes directly into the pockets of local people, so it is the local community that benefits.
We travel in a small group to minimize our impact on the environment. We believe that escorted small group tours is the best way to organise sustainable tourism, allowing travellers to discover the ancient heritage and modern culture of Turkey, Greece or Italy while at the same time keeping our impact as low as possible.
We make it clear to our customers that the archaeological and historic remains we visit must be treated with care and attention. We consider archaeological tours to be of great benefit. Uncovering the past enhances our travellers’ ability to understand a country’s modern situations – its culture and religion, as well as the environmental history of fragile ecosystems.
To help protect the environment, if we discover litter and detritus on a beach, path, etc. we pick it up, and then dispose of it properly. We regularly organise litter picking parties to tidy up a beach we are moored by and so help keep the coasts of Croatia, Turkey and Greece and the Mediterranean beautiful, free from detritus, and safer for native animals.
Since we are travelling by boat, the amount of water available is limited and needs to be used sparingly. Only showers are provided, not baths, and we advise customers to reduce their use of water by taking short showers, and avoiding leaving the tap running for long periods. As a result the amount of water used during our cruises is significantly less than if travellers were staying in a typical large resort hotel.
We have been using the same gulet for the majority of our trips ever since we started organising tours in Turkey. We charter the gulet for almost the entire season, providing important employment and income to the boat’s crew and owner.
From an office perspective, we use green electricity and aim to use as little as possible. We reuse and recycle materials (such as paper, cardboard, glass, tins and food waste) whenever feasible. We try to keep our paper waste to a minimum, and all our printing is done using recycled paper and/or on paper approved by the FSC, the Forestry Stewardship Council.