For those of us who yearn for new horizons and distant shores, travelling is all about seeking adventure off the beaten path. But often it can be more challenging to access less popular destinations, with fewer options and a higher risk of complications. Luckily, escorted tours are a brilliant option for explorers seeking to experience a more exclusive destination.
Escorted tours come with local guides, ready to lead you down lesser-travelled paths where you’ll often meet the locals and taste an inimitable, authentic cultural experience. Travelling in small groups, you’ll make lifelong friends as you discover endless hidden gems. From ancient cities to unspoilt beaches, snow-capped mountains to tropical lagoons – there’s no chance of being disappointed wherever you venture.
Here we take a look at three mesmerising places off the beaten path to set your sights on.
Jordan is a peaceful place that welcomes pilgrims and travellers. With its rich history and stunning, diverse landscapes, there’s plenty to do and see in Jordan. The country is home to some significant religious sites, including the path Jesus is said to have walked to his crucifixion.
For history lovers, the red desert wilderness of Wadi Rum offers hikes through its valleys and natural rock bridges, where you can see prehistoric inscriptions and carvings. Or, explore the incredible ancient architecture of Petra, where over 2000 years ago a stone city was hewn into the mountain. The impeccably preserved tombs, temples and sacrificial altars carved with incredible detail are truly a sight to behold. In the capital of Arman, Roman amphitheatre ruins stand amidst hilltop temples and public plazas – where there are plenty of delicious culinary delights to be found.
The Dead Sea is a hypersaline lake that sits 423 metres below sea level, and has been said for thousands of years to possess healing properties. The beaches that line the lake in Jordan are far quieter than those found in the more popular Dead Sea holiday resorts, so you can enjoy the rejuvenating qualities of the water in peace and quiet.
With the white-tipped Himalayan mountains fading into lush alpine forests, Tibet is a truly wondrous place to visit. Often superseded by Nepal on tourist radars, Tibet is a magical place to see the magnificence of Mount Everest first-hand. Between the glaciers and incredible panoramic views, sacred lakes such as Yamdrok are blissful places to explore.
This Buddhist country is extremely friendly and welcoming, and by visiting via an escorted tour, you’re likely to be invited to dine with a traditional Tibetan family. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and is often one of the best advantages of travelling with a tour. Your guide will show you the very best Tibet has to offer, from its colourful monasteries balanced precariously on the mountain’s edge to the famous Summer Palace.
Most people have heard of the Galápagos Islands, but if you want to visit them, you’ll need to book a tour – as many of the protected islands are only accessible with a qualified guide. This volcanic archipelago helped Charles Darwin solidify his theory of evolution, and the incredible array of wildlife found on the islands is sure to impress all who venture here.
Offshore, the clear, tepid waters are filled with green sea turtles, reef sharks and many beautiful fish species. And on the sandy shores, hundreds of marine iguanas bask in the sun. Of course, you’re likely to also spot the famous giant tortoise ambling through the mangrove forests.
With a generally consistent climate, the Galápagos Islands are great to visit at any time of the year. For those looking to snorkel and dive, January – March offers the clearest water visibility.
The great thing about escorted tours is that they take care of all of the hard bits about travelling for you. You can be assured that you’ll not only visit places off the beaten path but that you’ll also have the opportunity to experience the authentic culture and quiet beauty of your destinations.