Roman Ruins in Italy on top archaeology tour

Ruins & Archaeology - Best Tours & Trips 2019

Machu Picchu…Ephesus…Chichen Itza…the Parthenon…Angkor Wat…Petra…Stonehenge…Pompeii…all archaeological treasures reflecting the finest cultural achievements of ancient civilizations. Whether you “dig” ancient ruins figuratively or literally, you can find a tour that will breathe new life into your appreciation of their cultures.
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Trip Type Trip Type Classic Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Guided Experiences Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ocean Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Tour Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Independent Package A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ocean Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Tour Styles

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

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Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

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Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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Top Ruins & Archaeology Experiences and Attractions

Top Ruins & Archaeology Experiences

Reaching the end of a long trek to savor your first glimpse of Machu Picchu at sunrise 

Visiting Mexico’s Chichen Itza to marvel at the ancient Mayans’ command of astronomy 

Wandering the vast ruins of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, the largest religious complex ever built

Participating in a dig in the Utah desert, hunting for dinosaur bones 

Stopping at Egypt’s ancient Luxor during a Nile River cruise to gaze in awe at the mammoth temples

Passing through a narrow canyon to come upon your first view of Jordan’s ancient Petra and its unforgettable red-rock Treasury

Joining professional archaeologists on a tour through Arizona’s Agua Fria National Monument, searching for prehistoric Native American artifacts

Paying an early morning call to one of the remote, crumbling sections of the Great Wall of China

Discovering the mystery behind Stonehenge, England

Exploring the caves of Longmen Grottoes in China

Strolling through the ruins of the Roman Forum

Exploring the temple and pagodas of Bagan, Burma

 

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Ruins & Archaeology Trip Reviews

499 Ruins & Archaeology Tour Reviews - Summary 99% Recommend

4.8 out of 5
Excellent 434
Great 48
Average 14
Disappointing 1
Terrible 2
Value
4.8
Guide
4.8
Activities
4.8
Lodging
4.8
Transportation
4.8
Meals
4.8

Tour Reviews Write a Review

Great company makes a great trip!

5.0
America Israel Tours Company Reviews
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Our experience with American Israel Tours was awesome. The tour guide Yeshay was was informative, flexible with our desires, and kind. The bus driver was also funny and got us exactly where we needed to go in good time. The structure of the tour was also perfect because it was not too exhausting per day and ending the tour in Jerusalem really is perfect. Couldn't have asked for a better experience.

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Operator America Israel Tours

Thank you for the great trip

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

We had a great trip to India and Sri Lanka. Transfers at the airports were excellent and the guides in both the countries were knowledgeable and friendly. I am beyond happy , When I read all the reviews I was so scared to even go on the tour. My gosh , It was one of the best trips of my life . Our tour leader was such an amazing guy, very well educated, spoke perfect English and was so funny . We had a driver as well that picked us up from the airport, took us to 4 different cities and dropped us off at the hotel, he was such a hard working and a professional man. He drove at times 6 hours from one city to another and he never complained, he would open and close the door for us. AMAZING Our tour leader took us shopping to an expensive place and a cheaper place and he gave us the option as to what we want to buy with whichever quality.He was so knowledgeable and extremely funny. He was an amazing person. I am beyond thankful for this trip. I would definitely recommend them . I enjoyed every minute of it . The hotels were beyond my expectation. They were brand new, clean and the staff were so professional and friendly. I will book 100% again with them for further trips. Booking was easy. Agents at Indus are extremely professional and helpful. I am beyond happy with the experience. We visited The Qutab Minar, Taj Mahal, The amber fort and may more places. Our tour leader told us about the city, people and the scam artists. I am once again so thankful. Thank you Indus"

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Operator Indus Travels

I went on my first EF trip solo to Belize and it was absolutely amazing!

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

I went on my first EF trip solo to Belize and it was absolutely amazing! Efrain was our tour director and he was wonderful! He was very funny and approachable if you had any questions. He made this trip so memorable with everything that went on. During the trip we had a couple of longer bus rides and he always found things to do along the way so we were not sitting for long periods of time. We also had free time after our activities which we loved because we got to go explore the areas on our own. The locals in Belize are also very very nice and very helpful if you do have any questions. I would 10/10 recommend this trip!

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Operator EF College Break (EF Ultimate Break)

Enchanted Peru

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

We just returned from our Tour in Peru, unfortunately it was riddled with strikes by the Transportation Department. HOWEVER!!! we must say that Smartours went beyond what was normal. We were treated like Royalty, additional nights at the hotel, flight upgrades. We were able to see everything we came for. Some other Tour Groups we shared our hotel with were not that lucky and they ended up stranded. Also I like to say that our Tour Guide in Peru (Enrique) was funny, very knowledgeable and just overall a super nice person, we never felt like that we were a burden or "just a job". Too bad he wasn't able to come to Lima, we really missed him there. Overall our group was amazing and fun, we had a wonderful time. This was one of our many trips with Smartours and I am looking to see where we will go next. Thank you for all your effort. I will email some pictures ;-)

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Operator SmarTours

Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

This truly was a holiday of a lifetime and we would have no hesitation in recommending anybody from 20's to resonably fit 70's to go on this holiday with Exodus. The age range of our group was 30 to 71 and we gelled together very well, p[robably partly because of the quality and variation of the tour, with many group activities but time for space if you needed it. Machu Picchu is amazing but then gets trumped by the Galapagos and being on the Cachalote, a schooner with only 16 births, was a huge bonus. Lovely crew, great boat and we went places that others sometimes didn't so had bays, snorkelling and some walks all to ourselves. The organisation was excellent, hotels comfortable with a good breakfast and the experience unforgetable. It was our first time with Exodus but hopefully not the last.
Impossible to say, there are too many, but our first glimpse of Machu Picchu, indescribable in its beauty, size and location surrounded by stunning mountains and deep valleys would be one. Isla Genovesa, with its frigate birds, boobies, short-eared owls and huge density of birds and other wildlife would be another, together with. swimming in various locations with turtles, sea lions and stunning fish. including three hammerhead sharks (optional!). Mention must also be made of the waved albatross on Espanola courting, sitting on nests or flying along the cliffs, amazing..

We had three, in Peru, Quito and the Galapagos. All did an excellent job. Wilmer was warm, welcoming, enthusiatic and helpful as well as patient. Gloria in Quito again welcomed us warmly, was very knowledgable on the excellent tour and terrific in helping when one of our party injured themselves. Similarly David in the Galapagos gave us a terrific tour. He is both very knowledgable and passionate about the islands and their unique wildlife. He ran efficiently to time without ever rushing us and worked well with the captain and crew of the Cahalote. When snorkelling, with the help of the Panga drivers, he guided us well and ensured our safety. Because we were with David for a week on the boat he wins the prize but we cannot find fault in any of our guides.

Don't be surpised by the altitude in Cusco. Just take things slowly.
If you don't do the one day Inca trail walk and the weather is O.K., go up to Macchu Picchu that afternoon. Expensive but well worth it. It is quieter in the afternoon and it then gives you two sessions to enjoy this astonishing place at your own pace. The morning tour is excellent but only covers a small area.
If you snorkel in a swimming costume (i.e. not wet suit) be sure to wear a tee shirt - I didn't the first day, big mistake!
Mastercard works at ATM's almost always, debit and visa cards often don't, especially in the Galapagos. Preferably make sure you have plenty of dlooars for tips, drinks and small souvenirs, cards etc. before you leave Quito or even better, Peru.

If you can, go. This tour is all you could hope for and more and the advantage of being a small group, even on the boat, massive.

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Operator Exodus Travels

Excellent tour, amazing trip! Caravan is the way to go.

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

I went with Caravan to Guatemala from late December into January. Can't say enough good things about it. The company covers all contingencies, the tour guide was excellent (A+), the hotels were very nice, ditto for the food. My only complaint was a couple of days of very long bus rides but there were frequent stops so even that was tolerable. I'm planning to go on their Colonial Mexico tour next February. If you take the Guatemala tour (which I fully recommend), try to get Jorge Fuentes as your guide....he's terrific!

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Operator Caravan Tours

Ruins & Archaeology Tours and Travel Guide

Ruins & Archaeology Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Machu Picchu…Ephesus…Chichen Itza…the Parthenon…Angkor Wat…the Roman Forum…Luxor…Petra…Stonehenge…Pompeii…all archaeological treasures reflecting the finest cultural achievements of ancient civilizations around the world. Many tours include these and other famous ruins and sites in their itineraries, while others offer travelers opportunities to engage in some amateur archaeology themselves. Whether you “dig” ancient ruins and sites figuratively or literally, you can find a tour that will breathe new life into your appreciation of their cultures.

 

Why You Need a Guide: The Importance of Archaeological Group Tours

Unless you are a qualified expert in the exact sites that you are visiting (and chances are, you’re not), getting information on archaeological site can be complicated, timely, or even impossible. This is the main reason that having a tour guide is quintessential when visiting, for example, a series of ruins. Not only was the thing in front of you created during a time so long ago that you can barely imagine the context -- the wear and tear of time will have also degraded what it once was, making it more unrecognizable.

Going on a tour with a knowledgeable guide is by far the best way to connect with the historic (and sometimes prehistoric) places you are visiting, which is also important. Tours to ancient ruins and archaeological sites around the globe offer some of the best introductions into the often remarkable achievements of past cultures. With a guide, you will be able to answer questions like:

How did the ancient Mayans uncover their startling insights into astronomy that enabled them not just to predict when the spring and fall equinoxes would appear, but produce special effects to mark the occasion?

  • How did the ancient Egyptians build the Pyramids without modern technology?
  • What evidence proves that dinosaurs once roamed the American West in great numbers?
  • Are there still more ruins likely to be uncovered at the Roman Forum?
  • How did ancient Easter Islanders move multi-ton stone statues miles away from their quarries?
  • What is the mystery behind England’s Stonehenge?

The possibilities are almost limitless, but here’s a small sampling of some key archaeological sites and ruins around the world that you can tour:


Archaeological Sites in Europe

Israel: Temple on the Mount & Dome of the Rock, Old Jaffa Port, Western Wall, 

Greece: The Acropolis (Athens); the island of Delos; Delphi; Epidaurus; Marathon; Mycenae; Olympia; Temple of Poseidon (at Cape Sounion)

Italy: The Colosseum, Forum; and Ostia Antica (Rome); Hadrian’s Villa; Pompeii; Herculaneum; Agrigento, the old city of Siracusa and Taormina’s Greek theater (Sicily)

Britain: Stonehenge; Hadrian’s Wall 

Ireland: Skellig Michael (island); Carrowmore

France: Lascaux caves (replica)

Spain: The Alhambra (Granada); The Great Mosque (Cordoba)

Croatia: Emperor Diocletian’s Palace (Split)

Archaeological Sites in Asia

Cambodia: Angkor Wat (Siam Reap)

China: Terracotta Army (Xian); The Great Wall 

Japan:  Kyoto’s temples; Kasuga Shrine (Nara)

Indonesia: Borobudur

India: Taj Mahal; Fatehpur Sikri; Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Nepal: Lumbini, Changu Narayan

Archaeological Sites in the Middle East

Jordan: Petra, Wadi Rum, Amman Citadel, Ummayad Palace, 

Israel: Old Jerusalem; Akko; Be’er Sheva; Caperneum; Herodium; Masada; M

Turkey: Ephesus, Pergamo, Gobekli Tepe, Troy, Hattusha, Aphrodisias

Archaeological Sites in Africa

Egypt: the Pyramids of Giza and Saqqara; Temple of Karnak and Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens at Luxor, Abu Simbel at Aswan

Tunisia: Roman amphitheater at El Djem

Zimbabwe: Great Zimbabwe Ruins

Tanzania: Olduvai Gorge

Benin: Royal Palaces of Abomey

Archaeological Sites in Central & South America

Peru: Machu Picchu

Chile: The Moai (Easter Island) 

Guatemala: Tikal

Archaeological Sites in North America

Mexico: Chichen Itza; Tulum; Teotihuacan

United States: Cahokia Mounds (Illinois); Capitol Reef National Park and Horseshoe Canyon, Utah; Canyon de Chelly and Agua Fria National Monument, Arizona

Canada: Writing on Stone Provincial Park (Alberta)

Top Ruins & Archaeology Travel Companies

All Ruins & Archaeology tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.8 for all Ruins & Archaeology trips.

198 trips from 72 tour companies with 499 reviews

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