Essential Golden Ring

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 Romania

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

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

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

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


Persia & the Silk Road by Private Train

Persia & the Silk Road by Private Train

This remarkable rail journey by private train follows the trail of countless caravan merchants and explorers through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, as well as dazzling Iran. Admire the breathtaking Uzbek oases of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva, and visit Turkmenistan's burning Darvaza Gas Crater, called locally the “Door to Hell.” Enter Iran and discover the luxuriant gardens of Shiraz, the gracious Islamic architecture of Isfahan, and one of the most important sites of the ancient world, Persepolis. Why end might nine different UNESCO sites before the journey ends in Iran's exciting capital, Tehran. Read More


Silk Road Backroads & Byways

Silk Road Backroads & Byways

The fascinating countries of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan encompass some of the most spectacular and absorbing hidden corners of Central Asia. Dive deep into the distinct cultural identities and multi-layered history of these extraordinary lands, discovering ancient desert citadels, dramatic Silk Road fortresses, and surprising Soviet-era remnants, and connect with artists, experts, and tribal villagers who still cling to traditional ways of life. Read More


From the Heavenly Tien Shan to the High Pamirs

From the Heavenly Tien Shan to the High Pamirs

Join a fascinating and adventurous journey through two of the most remote and rarely explored countries in Central Asia – Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Why end might the proud traditions and hospitality of Kyrgyz nomads in the highlands, enjoy visits with local Tajiks in their timeless mountain villages, and take in majestic and hauntingly beautiful landscapes along one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Pamir Highway. Read More


Essence of the Silk Road & Beyond by Private Train

Essence of the Silk Road & Beyond by Private Train

Traverse four of the five ‘Stans of Central Asia on this private rail journey along the Silk Road. Begin in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city. Continue into Kyrgyzstan to inspect the capital, Bishkek, and take a boat ride on the country’s most beautiful lake, Issyk-Kul. Dip into Khujand in Tajikistan to meet with a local family and hear about their daily lives. Stop in Tamerlane’s UNESCO-listed hometown, Shahrisabz, before visiting three famed Uzbek Silk Road oases – Samarkand, Khiva, and Bukhara – all of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Why end might four UNESCO sites in 16 days, with seven hotel nights and eight nights onboard the comfortable Orient Silk Road Express private train. Read More


Village Traditions of the South Caucasus

Village Traditions of the South Caucasus

Step deep into the cultures of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, experiencing local life in one of the most hospitable regions of the world. Share stories and warm meals in mountain villages, sample natural wines and fantastic local cuisine, and meet craftspeople who work in clay, stained glass, metal and wood — all of it set to a soundtrack of polyphonic singing that can give you goosebumps, and traditional instruments playing the old, old songs of love and heartbreak. Read More