Buddhism novices at Shwezigon temple, Bagan (Shutterstock)
List 09 March

7 trips that will get you closer to new cultures

Want to mingle with local people and immerse yourself in everyday life? These trips were designed for culture seekers – and they'll whisk you to the world's most colourful destinations

Unveil ancient myths in Turkey and Greece

Delve deep into the history of two great civilisations when you travel from Istanbul to Athens with Tucan Travel. This 12-day adventure starts in continent-straddling, bazaar-bustling Istanbul before heading to historic Troy and the Gallipoli battlefields.

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Shutterstock)
Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Shutterstock)

Cross into Greece to explore the slope-side port of Kavala and Thessaloniki’s Ottoman heritage, gaze up at the UNESCO-listed Meteora monastery, muse over the ruins of Delphi and end in ancient Athens.

Bite into the Balkans

Get a taste of eastern Europe on a Real Food Adventure – Macedonia & Montenegro trip with Intrepid Travel – a 10-day itinerary that lets you stuff yourself silly. Eat moussaka in Skopje’s Old Bazaar, learn to make pastry with local women in Janche, and sip herb-infused rakija with locals in Kuratica.

Sveti Jovan Kaneo Church on Ohrid Lake (Shutterstock)
Sveti Jovan Kaneo Church on Ohrid Lake (Shutterstock)

Visit Ohrid Lake and the painted mosque of Tetovo, spend a day with a beekeeper in Dihovo then cross into Montenegro to sample Njegusi’s smoked hams and Kotor’s olives. Yum.

Find Mayan magic in Mexico

Peek into the Maya world on Llama Travel’s 12-day Passage Through Mexico
trip. Kick off by exploring Mexico City’s Aztec roots – including the Templo Mayor ruins – before gawping at the 2,000-year-old pyramid city of Teotihuacán.

Pyramids of the Sun and Moon at Teotihuacan (Shutterstock)
Pyramids of the Sun and Moon at Teotihuacan (Shutterstock)

Head into the Chiapas jungle to see the Mayan temples of Palenque, Bonampak and Yaxchilán, and end with the crowning glory of Chichén Itzá.

Journey through the ’Stans

Join G Adventures’ Central Asian Adventure – Almaty to Tashkent, a trip packed with culture, dramatic landscapes and friendly locals. Over 14 days you'll pack in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – a satisfying snippet of the Silk Road.

Mosque Haji Yaqub in Tajikistan (Shutterstock)
Mosque Haji Yaqub in Tajikistan (Shutterstock)

Visit leafy Almaty and drive through the rocky Charyn Canyon in Kazakhstan; learn how to build a yurt in Kyrgyzstan; see Dushanbe’s grand mosque and hike the Fann Mountains in Tajikistan. Your adventure ends in the Silk Road city of Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital.

Immerse yourself in Iran

Delve into Iran’s rich cultural heritage on Cox & Kings’ Iran: Treasures of Persia trip. This 11-day trip unveils the culture, history and key sites of the country – and throughout it all, overwhelming Iranian hospitality is guaranteed.

Imam Square in Isfahan (Shutterstock)
Imam Square in Isfahan (Shutterstock)

Over 11 days you'll visit the great poets’ tombs of Shiraz, the ruins of ancient Persepolis, the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great (founder of the Achaemenid Empire) in Yazd, and the UNESCO-listed Jameh mosque and general splendour of Isfahan.

Explore Burma's best bits

Walk and cycle your way round Burma’s best bits on TransIndus’s Active Myanmar tour. Stroll Yangon’s colonial quarter, pedal from Mawlamyine to local markets, ride to Hpa-An’s sacred caves and see the sun rise from Kyaithiyo’s Golden Rock Pagoda.

Ancient Pagodas in Bagan (Shutterstock)
Ancient Pagodas in Bagan (Shutterstock)

That’s not all: wander between Bagan’s endless temples, conquer 2,758m Mount Victoria and explore Inle Lake by boat. This 20-day trip gets you to the heart of this fascinating, colourful country.

Celebrate Greece's ancient Games

Looking forward to Rio 2016? Then immerse yourself in the world of ancient athletes on Sunvil Holidays’ 7-night Discover the History and Tradition of The Olympic Games trip.

Panathenaic Stadium in Athens (Shutterstock)
Panathenaic Stadium in Athens (Shutterstock)

Kick off with a tour of Athen’s classic sites, as well as the modern Olympic Stadium, before self-driving to the venues of the ancient Olympics: visit Delphi’s amphitheatre and Olympia – the birthplace of the Games. Complete your stay with trips to another host town, Nemea, and Venetian-influenced Nafplion. 

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Main Image: Buddhism novices at Shwezigon temple, Bagan (Shutterstock)