Eastern Turkey & Georgia: Legacy of Empire

Eastern Turkey & Georgia: Legacy of Empire

The rugged sunburnt Anatolian Plateau of Eastern Turkey and the steep-sided green valleys of Georgia are brilliantly paired on this unusual back-road exploration. Begin among the folded hills of out-of-the-way Anatolia, rich with the traces of early civilizations, and continue along the balmy Black Sea Coast to the unfamiliar little country of Georgia, where guests are welcomed at tables laden with some of the finest food and wine on earth. Read More


Essential Georgia & Armenia

Essential Georgia & Armenia

The warm, green countries of Georgia and Armenia are full of fruitful valleys and saw-toothed mountains.  Walk through river-cut canyons, explore magnificent cave towns, enter medieval fortress towers of stacked stone and visit the mountain homes of the Svan people.Read More


Essential Kazakhstan

Essential Kazakhstan

From Astana, Kazakhstan’s purpose-built capital on the northern steppe, down to Almaty, the country’s business center in the south, survey a hand-picked selection of highlights – natural, like gorgeous variegated Charyn Canyon, or man-made, like the ghost town of Otrar, founded in the 1st century AD.Read More


Essential Kyrgyzstan

Essential Kyrgyzstan

On this journey through the Kyrgyz outback, spend a night with a village family, visit with an eagle hunter and admire dramatic sandstone formations. Visit high-altitude Lake Issyk-Kul and spend the night at a guesthouse in the traditional village of Chon-Kemin, getting to know the locals before returning to the capital for a performance of the Epic of Manas.Read More


Essential Tajikistan

Essential Tajikistan

Secluded Tajikistan is wreathed in spectacular mountains and colored with the influence of the Islamic world and Russia. From the country’s capital, Dushanbe, to storied Khujand in the fertile Fergana Valley, discover Tajikistan’s hospitable people, famed archaeological sites and enduring culture. Explore the ruins of the ancient city of Penjikent and share a meal with a family.Read More


Essential Turkmenistan

Essential Turkmenistan

Modern monuments dot Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat, yet tribal culture remains strong in the villages. Crisscross this rarely visited country, connecting with tribal people in the mountains, admiring sweeping landscapes and UNESCO-listed ruins populated by wild camels, and enjoying the cool breezes of the Caspian seashore. Camp at the “Door to Hell,” the burning Darvaza gas crater.Read More


Essential Albania

Essential Albania

Country cousin of Greece and Italy, little-known Albania has 225 miles of coastline, Greek and Roman ruins and vestiges of Ottoman heritage. Beginning in the capital, Tirana, travel overland up and down the Adriatic coast and through the mountains of the south, finding medieval fortresses, beautiful beaches, Byzantine churches, mosques and monasteries. Read More


Russia’s Southern Steppe:  Land of Cossacks, Kalmyks & Caviar

Russia’s Southern Steppe: Land of Cossacks, Kalmyks & Caviar

Discover the southern Russian steppe, an unfamiliar region spiced with a spirited array of independent cultures, including freedom-loving Cossacks and descendants of the Golden Horde. Explore Volgograd’s massive memorial before learning about the food of kings – caviar – in historic Astrakhan on the Volga River Delta. Visit Buddhist Elista, land of the formerly nomadic Kalmyk people (and home of Chess City); Rostov-on-Don, ancestral home of the Don Cossacks; Krasnodar, headquarters of the Kuban Cossacks; and the balmy Black Sea resort of Sochi.Please noteThis itinerary is currently only available as a custom or independent program.  For a small group tour to this region, see Russia’s Imperial Capitals & Ancient Villages.Read More


Classic Western Russia:  Moscow, Novgorod & St. Petersburg

Classic Western Russia: Moscow, Novgorod & St. Petersburg

This indispensable introduction to some of Russia’s great cities gives an insider’s view of the real Russia, spotlighting not only the glittering palaces and dignified official edifices of the Russian Empire, but also a birch bark crafts class in historic Novgorod and the unforgettable warmth of a meal in a Russian home.Please noteThis itinerary is currently only available as a custom or independent program.  For a small group tour to this region, see Insider’s Russia: Moscow & St. Petersburg Rediscovered.Read More


Mongolia & Tibet: Steppes to the Roof of the World

Mongolia & Tibet: Steppes to the Roof of the World

The peoples of the Mongolian steppe and of the Tibetan Plateau have much in common. Both espouse Tibetan Buddhism and unfurl painted silk thangkas on festival days. Both were originally nomads, the Mongolians relying on the horse and the Tibetans on the yak for sustenance. From the “Roof of the World” to the Gobi Desert, dive deep into both enduring cultures.Please noteThis itinerary is currently only available as a custom or independent program.  For a small group tour to this region, see Mongolian Explorer: The Gobi & Beyond with Naadam Festival.Read More