Make 2017 the year you go on a truly epic journey that covers lots of ground, history and legendary sights for an experience you’ll never forget, including holidays in Iran, Bali and Peru
Isfahan at night (Dreamstime)
With British Airways having resumed flights to Tehran, chances are the new wave of visitors will be on their way, so get ahead of the pack. Voyages Jules Verne’s Return to Persepolis tour sees travellers retrace Iran’s long, complex heritage.
Visit Pasargadae and Persepolis, both founded by ancient Persian kings, to wander tombs and cultural sites, then head to Iran’s ancient capital of Isfahan, pausing at the mosques and palaces of the Safavid period that saw it become the heart of the country, before moving on to compare its modern equivalent: Tehran.
Who: Voyages Jules Verne
When: 10 Mar, 7 & 21 Apr, 12 May, 11 Aug, 15 Sept, 13 & 27 Oct 2017
How long: Eight nights
How much: From £2,285 (incl flights)
Balinese rice paddies in the morning (Dreamstime)
Experience Bali minus the hordes on KE Adventure’s Paradise Trails of Bali and Lombok tour. Here, you’ll meander out of the mainstream on the ever popular paradise island, wandering its rice terraces, enjoying sunrise from the summit of Pergasingan Hill and hiking the steep ascent up Mount Rinjani on Lombok, Indonesia’s second highest volcano.
With trips to the ‘Mother Temple’ (aka Besakih) and time spent snorkelling the coral reefs of the Gili Islands, you'll be contemplating where all the crowds went.
Who: KE Adventure
When: 8 Apr, 13 May, 24 Jun, 12 Aug, 23 Sept, 28 Oct 2017
How long: 12 nights
How much: From £1,995 (incl flights)
Train arriving in small fishing village in Norway (Dreamstime)
Ride the Ofoten Railway to Narvik, one of the most northerly lines in the world and skim through frozen peaks and passes, then rattle to the UNESCO-listed Geiranger fjord on the Rauma Railway, pausing only to cruise its beautiful, frigid waters.
Who: Planet Rail
When: Year round
How long: 20 nights
How much: From £3,495 (incl train travel)
Khor Virap Monastery, Armenia (Dreamstime)
Explore these former Soviet states with Travel the Unknown’s Best of the Caucasus trip. Sample local wines and learn to cook Georgian-style, then descend into the 3,000-year-old Uplistsikhe, an ancient cave town and fortress hewn from a rocky massif in eastern Georgia some 3,000 years ago.
Wander the bazaars of Baku before hopping borders for a trip to the geological wonder of Armenia’s Garni, its canyon lined with the basalt columns that saw it christened the ‘Symphony of the Stones’.
Who: Travel The Unknown
When: 13 May & 7 Oct 2017
How long: 14 nights
How much: From £2,995 (incl flights)
Independence monument in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (Dreamstime)
Delve into the origins of Central Asia by tracking the ancient East-to-West trade route upon which so many of its modern cities were founded. Wild Frontiers’ epic 28-day The Five ’Stans of Central Asia trip offers an exhaustive insight into this rarely visited region, covering Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
See the bizarre white-marble city of Ashgabat, soak up the architecture of the Silk Road cities (the wealth of which fuelled some incredible buildings) and explore the Tian Shan mountains, an epic corridor that once shook with merchant caravans.
Who: Wild Frontiers
When: 21 May & 24 Sept 2017
How long: 28 nights
How much: From £5,395 (excl intl flights)
The train from Puno to Cusco (Dreamstime)
Wend the Andean highlands on the only sleeper train in Latin America with Llama Travel. Their Andes & Luxury Sleeper Train trip traipses the colonial city of Cusco, explores iconic valleys and ruins on a visit to Machu Picchu, and reveals how the ancient Inca transformed the land.
Then, board the luxury sleeper for the three-day journey to Arequipa, stopping at the waters of Lake Titicaca, exploring Taquile Island, where Taquileños have preserved their way of life for centuries, and stopping overnight in Colca Canyon for a rejuvenating dip in its hot springs.
Who: Llama Travel
When: Selected dates from 7 Jun 2017
How long: 13 nights
How much: From £3,599 (incl fights and train travel)
Main image: Camel train on the Silk Road (Dreamstime)
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