Essential Slovenia

Take a close-up look at a jewel of a country, lovely Slovenia. Slovenia has it all – coast, mountains, lakes, castles – and all within an hour or so of each other. On this in-depth exploration, range from the political and cultural capital, Ljubljana, through the countryside from the Julian Alps to the Adriatic Coast, admiring tidy villages and towns, grand mountain vistas, and aquamarine rivers and lakes. Visit a stud farm of the original Lipizzaner horse, attend a wine-tasting in the “Tuscany of Slovenia,” explore a cave system and a cave castle, and dine in an award-winning restaurant. Read More

Essential Golden Ring

Discover the abundant art, visionary architecture, and inspired culture of Russia’s historic Golden Ring, an elliptical string of medieval towns that once formed the political and economic core of the powerful Kievan Rus. From Moscow, the country’s political and business capital, circle a series of enchanting towns and villages in the countryside, each celebrated for their ancient kremlins, historic wooden churches, fascinating frescoes, and time-honored handicrafts. Read More

Essential Mongolia

On this incredible week-long journey in Mongolia, get an instinctual feel for the nomadic life a world away from home. Explore the capital, Ulaanbaatar, witness the glow of the Flaming Cliffs at sundown, experience the living traditions of the Mongolian people on intimate visits to local ger camps, and open to the unfamiliar resonances of Mongolian throat-singing, created to combat the loneliness of the nomadic herder under the big sky. Read More

Essential Romania

Romania is a country that has everything – fortified medieval towns, gorgeous mountain landscapes, castles complete with vampire legends, fascinating ethnographic museums, and hospitable people – and travelers are just beginning to discover it. From the vibrant capital, Bucharest, roam the green, forested hills and meadows of this little-known country, visiting folktale villages that seem to have stepped out of the Middle Ages, and walking in the footsteps of Bram Stoker’s legendary literary creation, Dracula. Read More

Essential Central Europe

Hidden from view for much of the 20th century, the hip and historic countries of Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary boast gorgeous countryside, handsome churches and city centers, warm people, and some two dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On this 8-day overland journey, relish in the medieval masterpieces, baroque architecture, sophisticated museums, and up-to-the-minute cultural life of three extraordinary European capitals — Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest. Read More

Essential Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, seated where the Caucasus Mountains meet the Caspian Sea, is a dramatic combination of the very old and the very new. Explore the booming capital, Baku, then take to the hills to visit villages lost in time, enclaves of the region’s original people, ancient archaeological sites, and a stained-glass-lit khan’s palace. Read More

Essential Albania, Macedonia & Kosovo

Albania boasts miles of Adriatic and Ionian Sea coastline, as well as spectacular Roman ruins. Land-locked Kosovo has a reputation for fine skiing and mountaineering, sophisticated cafés and shops, and a forward-looking young population. And Macedonia is a compact jewel of a country, blue with lakes and green with forested mountains. Visit all three, from the mountains to the sea, on this 10-day jaunt across the little-traveled, yet fascinating lower Balkan Peninsula. Read More

Essential Central Asia

Explore the markets, mosques, minarets and teahouses of oasis towns on the fringes of the Kyzyl Kum and Kara Kum deserts. Here, spiritual beliefs were the greatest commodities to flow along trade routes, and civilizations blossomed amidst austere natural beauty. Read More

Essential Caucasus

Armenia’s intricate stone khachkar crosses, the bounteous wines of Georgia and the ancient petroglyphs of Azerbaijan are icons of these three intertwined Caucasus countries, where you can experience five UNESCO masterpieces in 10 days. Explore cave monasteries, Zoroastrian fire temples and medieval watchtowers, and feast on the savory cuisine of the imaginative South Caucasus cultures.Read More

Essential Tibet

Fly to the holy city of Lhasa high on the Tibetan Plateau. Admire the treasures of Tibetan culture on the “Roof of the World” and respond to the atmosphere of centuries of Buddhist practices.The highlights of this stirring journey are the holy city of Lhasa and the remote monasteries and sacred refuges hidden in the heart of the forbidding Tibetan Plateau.Read More