New Zealand’s South Island is split by the snowcapped spine of the Southern Alps, fringed with karst cave systems and wild beaches, laced with gorgeous fjords, and iced with glaciers. It’s no wonder that the “adventure capital of the world” is found here. Set off on a multi-sport adventure, paddling along the pristine northern coast in a sea kayak, hiking coastal trails between soaring mountains and the Tasman Sea, trekking across a glacier that descends through a rain forest, and black-water rafting on a subterranean river. Get to know the charm and personality of towns like Nelson and Wanaka, and opt to try bungee jumping in Queenstown, birthplace of the commercial sport. Then cap off the adventure with an overnight cruise on the sublime Milford Sound
Itinerary – 12 Days
Day 1 — Nelson, New Zealand
Arrive in Nelson, a sunny hub of artists and craftspeople on the northern shores of the South Island. Gather for an orientation at our waterfront hotel and enjoy time to discover this vibrant town before our welcome dinner tonight.
Morocco is a land of stunning contrasts, where majestic minarets tower over spice-scented souks and soaring mountains give way to endless desert. Set out to explore the epic landscapes and imperial cities of this magical country. On a three-day trek, ride camels across the Sahara alongside Berber cameleers and sleep in starlit tents nestled among golden sand dunes. Discover the Moorish splendors of Fèz, the medieval medina of Marrakech, and the Roman ruins of Volubilis. Hike to rose-colored casbahs, visit Berbers in their mountain villages, and explore dramatic gorges and less-traveled corners in 4×4 vehicles
Itinerary – 14 Days
Day 1 — Casablanca, Morocco
Arrive in Casablanca and gather for a welcome dinner.
Day 2 — Rabat
This morning, visit the extraordinary Hassan II Mosque. Then travel to Rabat and discover its architectural treasures on a tour led by a local guide.
Day 3 — Meknès/Volubilis/Fez
Travel to Meknès, Morocco’s 17th-century capital, and visit its grand gateways and mausoleums decorated with mosaic tiles. Delve into the Roman ruins of Volubilis before transferring to Fez.
Day 4 — Fez
Make this the summer you take, or plan, that bucket-list trip through the Sacred Valley of the Inca to the ancient city of Machu Picchu. Get inspired closer to home at two Washington, D.C., events: the Peru-focused Smithsonian Folklife Festival (June 24-28 and July 1-5) and the National Museum of the American Indian exhibition “The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire” (June 26, 2015, through June 1, 2018). Then, book a group tour such as National Geographic Expeditions’ Peru: Land of the Inca, or a classic, four-day hiking trek to Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail.
To help protect the integrity of the legendary route, only 500 government-issued Inca Trail permits are available per day. But limited access shouldn’t dissuade people from making the trip, says Alistair Butchers of G Adventures, which leads a variety of Sacred Valley tours. “It’s important for travelers to visit … and do so in a sustainable manner, so they can become ambassadors and help spread the word about the importance of sustainable tourism,” he says. “Through awareness and education we can help preserve iconic destinations such as the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.”
The lush jungles and misty mountains of Myanmar and Thailand lend an enchanting backdrop to cities where colonial architecture, serene temples, and chaotic open-air markets exist side by side. Discover these intriguing landscapes through the people who call them home as you explore by foot, bicycle, and boat. In Myanmar (formerly Burma), trek the shores of Inle Lake and paddle a canoe past floating villages. Hike and ride a bike between Bagan’s temples and take in a traditional music and dance performance under the stars. Meet with a journalist in Yangon, Buddhist nuns at a nunnery in Mandalay, and artisans all along the way. Then travel to the Thai city of Chiang Mai to celebrate local spiritual traditions and the country’s famous cuisine
Itinerary – 12 Days
Days 1 & 2 — Yangon, Myanmar
Arrive in Yangon (formerly Rangoon) and explore the city on your own before gathering for a welcome dinner. The next day, set out on foot to discover the old town. Take in the charm of its colonial-era architecture and the interplay of its many cultural influences—Burmese, Indian, Chinese, British, and others. Then board a local train to the city outskirts to
Fill your camera lens with emerald-green tea plantations and golden beaches, Buddhist temples and wildlife-rich jungles as we journey with Jay Dickman from Sri Lanka’s northern plains to ancient Galle on the southern coast. Photograph the stunning rockfortress of Sigiryia and the cave monastery of Dambulla. Capture daily life in picturesque villages, go behind the scenes at a tea plantation, and shoot portraits of pilgrims in the holy town of Kataragama. Explore four national parks along the way, encountering elephants, leopards, monkeys, sloth bears
Itinerary – 12 Days
Day 1 — Colombo, Sri Lanka
Arrive in Colombo and transfer to our hotel overlooking the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Set out on a photo tour of Sri Lanka’s capital city, exploring the historic Fort district—the city’s commercial hub. Train your lens on the lively markets of the Pettah neighborhood and Gangaramaya Temple, and visit the Colombo National Museum. Gather for a welcome dinner this evening.
Days 2 & 3 — Habarana/Sigiriya
Dotted with Buddhist temples, rugged mountain outcrops, and the ruins of once-great cities, the northern central plains formed the heart of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. Drive north to Habarana, located along
In Japan, a deep reverence for nature and tradition vies with a fascination of all that is futuristic—and this jarring contrast is part of the country’s strong allure. Our adventure starts off amid the skyscrapers of Tokyo; then we step back in time in Asuka, one of Japan’s ancient capitals. In the sacred mountains of the Kii Peninsula, embark on the Kumano Kodo, a beautiful pilgrimage route that has drawn emperors and kimono-clad worshippers for more than a thousand years. Delve into Japan’s spiritual traditions as we hike to stunning shrines nestled amid cedar-covered slopes. Soak in hot springs, stay in traditional mountain inns and ryokans, and experience the diversity of Japan’s fine cuisine—from the lively pubs of Tokyo to delightful, locally sourced meals along the Kumano Kodo.
Itinerary – 11 Days
Days 1 & 2 — Tokyo, Japan
Arrive in Tokyo and transfer to our hotel in the modern Shiodome district. Meet for an orientation and welcome dinner. Our first full day starts with a walking tour of Tokyo’s elegant Ginza shopping district and the park around the Imperial Palace. Then stroll through quiet Yanaka, where age-old temples are tucked in among traditional wooden
Land of red dragons and Buddhist monks, massive fortifications and delicate arts, modern skyscrapers and ancient villages, China and its contrasts mystify and enchant. Delve into the legacy of China’s myriad dynasties, hiking three remote sections of the Great Wall and exploring imperial sites in Beijing and Xi’an. Venture into the Forbidden City and the ancient caves of Yungang, face Xi’an’s ancient terra-cotta warriors, and climb the peaks of the holy mountain of Hua Shan. Then immerse yourself in the surreal karst landscapes of southerly Guilin
Itinerary – 13 Days
Day 1 — Beijing, China
Arrive in Beijing and check into our hotel, located in a hutong neighborhood of traditional courtyard houses. Gather for a welcome dinner this evening.
Day 2 — Forbidden City
Begin the day at the Forbidden City, the imperial palace complex that has graced the center of Beijing since the early 1400s. Retrace Chinese history from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty and walk up a nearby hill for a bird’seye view of the complex. Then visit the Lama Temple, the most important Tibetan Buddhist site in Beijing—and home to the largest Buddha statue in
The third largest island in the world, Borneo is stunning for its verdant jungles, dramatic coastlines, and incredible biodiversity. Land and sea teem with exotic endemic species; many of which are endangered. Spend 11 exhilarating days exploring Malaysian Borneo, on the island’s northeastern edge. Set out on day and night hikes, river safaris, and snorkeling excursions, looking for iconic orangutans, leopard cats, birds-of-paradise, and much more. Stay in jungle lodges nestled within wildlife reserves close to the action, including two nights on a small tropical isle surrounded by aquamarine waters and lush reef systems
Itinerary – 11 Days
Day 1 — Sandakan, Malaysia
Arrive in the bustling city of Sandakan on Malaysian Borneo’s eastern coast. Check into our hotel, perched on the edge of the Sulu Sea, then gather for an orientation and welcome dinner.
Day 2 — Sepilok/Kinabatangan River
Head to the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve and visit the orangutan rehabilitation center, where we join scientists to observe the morning feeding. Then take a behind-the-scenes tour of the nearby Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre to learn about Malayan sun bears. Continue to the Kinabatangan River, home to one of the highest concentrations of
Nestled among the eastern Himalaya, the tiny kingdom of Bhutan captures the imagination with serene landscapes, sacred temples, and a culture steeped in ancient Buddhist traditions. Set out to discover the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” on an exhilarating adventure that includes three days in Bumthang, Bhutan’s most sacred valley. Cross mountain passes strung with colorful prayer flags, traverse stunning glacial valleys, and visit hilltop monasteries populated by red-robed monks. In charming villages long isolated from the modern world, meet gracious Bhutanese people and witness their dedication to preserving their country’s natural beauty and daily rituals. Along the way, delve into Bhutan’s unique artistic heritage in the cultural centers of Thimphu and Paro
Itinerary – 14 Days
Days 1 & 2 — Bangkok, Thailand/Paro, Bhutan
Arrive in Bangkok late in the evening. The following day, board an early morning flight to Paro, taking in views of the some of the highest peaks of the eastern Himalaya, including Mount Everest, if weather permits. Check into our hotel and enjoy lunch together before setting out on a short walk to the Paro Dzong. This medieval fortress, perched on a hillside overlooking the town, now serves as the
Southern Africa’s combination of dramatic landscapes, vibrant cultures, and legendary wildlife make it an inspiring photography destination. Join a National Geographic photographer in Cape Town, framing stunning coastal scenery in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and atop Table Mountain. In KwaZulu-Natal, capture life at a Zulu homestead and on the streets of Durban’s oldest township. Search for the “big five” on game drives in wildlife reserves; hike to a spectacular waterfall in the Drakensberg mountains; and document the rugged alpine beauty and Bathoso culture of Lesotho, one of the world’s highest-altitude countries.
Itinerary – 12 Days
Day 1 — Cape Town, South Africa
Arrive in Cape Town and transfer to our hotel situated at the foot of Table Mountain. Gather for a welcome dinner at a restaurant on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.
Day 2 — Cape Peninsula
Trace the coast of the Cape Peninsula on a breathtaking drive to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, stopping to photograph the seaside towns of Clifton, Camps Bay, and Hout Bay. Develop your landscape photography skills as we explore winding coastal trails, and frame the iconic, cliff-top lighthouse at Cape Point, which
With deserts that reach all the way to the sea, twinkling salt pans, and lunar-like red-rock landscapes, Namibia is stark, wild, and spectacular. On a variety of safaris and wildlife walks, track animals of all sorts, including cheetahs, desert-adapted elephants and rhinos, and the kudu, zebra, and oryx of Etosha National Park. Meet with scientists to learn first-hand about efforts to preserve Namibia’s cheetahs, leopards, and rhinos. Spend time in San and Himba settlements and get acquainted with the fascinating ancient cultures that make their home in this harsh and mystical land. –
Itinerary – 14 Days
Day 1 — Windhoek, Namibia/N/a’an ku sê
Arrive in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city, and travel to nearby N/a’an ku sê, a research and conservation center focused on protecting Namibia’s wildlife and cultures. Encounter leopards and cheetahs up close and personal with a Naankuse researcher as founded by National Geographic. Stay in the center’s stunning not-for-profit eco-lodge tonight.
Day 2 — Okonjima Game Reserve
Travel north to the Okonjima Game Reserve, stopping to browse local handicrafts in the markets of Okahandja. Stretching some 50,000 acres, Okonjima is home to the AfriCat Foundation, which seeks to rehabilitate injured
Join our knowledgeable experts to explore fascinating destinations across the globe. Discover the unique wildlife of the Galápagos alongside a team of naturalists; venture into Inca ruins with an archaeologist; climb aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway with a historian; or embark on an epic around-the-world journey by private jet led by a full team of experts. With special trips designed for photographers, families, and independent travelers, there’s an expedition for every type of explorer.
National Geographic Expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert or expedition team and offer a high level of service and special access to sites. Accommodations are world-class or best available and most activities and meals are included.
Aboriginal settlement of Australia dates back at least 50,000 years, making the indigenous cultures of Australia the world’s oldest continuous living cultures. At the time of European settlement, around 270 language groups spoke more than 600 dialects. Aboriginal culture thus encompasses many cultures, though most share similar social structure, lore, taboos, and spirituality called the Dreaming, which is expressed through story, song, art, and dance.
In South Australia, most traditional Aboriginal areas are in the remote north and west of the state. Of the many peoples, two of the better known are the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara, whose lands in the northwest cross over to the Northern Territory and include the geological landmark Uluru, and the Adnyamathanha from the Flinders Ranges region.
Adelaide has long been a center for Aboriginal studies, and a good place to start exploring Aboriginal culture is the South Australian Museum, which has the country’s largest collection of Aboriginal ethnographic material. Also in Adelaide, Tandanya is the arts center and gallery space for the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, with rotating exhibitions, an arts shop, and cultural performances.
Aboriginal rock art sites are scattered
A winged griffin is playing a ukulele on Broad Street, awaiting the arrival of the Red Queen. At the nearby Bodleian Library, a caterpillar dispenses nutritional advice to children in pinafores. In front of the Pitt Rivers Museum, a lachrymose Mock Turtle leads a lobster quadrille dance. Me? I’m standing on the prow of the Hertford, my rental canal boat, trying to take in this annual celebration of the famous literary creation Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Oxford University don Charles Dodgson (better known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll).
I lived on St. Barnabas Street from 2009 to 2010, when I was an undergraduate immersed in the eccentricity of Oxford University life. England was still new to me, every day a cultural shock as I tried to reconcile English reserve with my American exuberance—a balance that I still am not sure I’ve struck.
But today I am looking at my university home, which sits 60 miles northwest of London, from another angle entirely.
EAGER FOR AN ADVENTURE, a British friend, Sarah Heenan, and I are spending one week cruising the Oxford Canal, an 18th-century waterway that runs from Oxford north almost 80 miles to
1. Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
Festooned with gargoyles and Gothic touches, this imposing icon of Paris is essential for every visitor. Entering this grand medieval edifice is free (although it costs to climb its twin towers) as is a stroll along the neighbouring Seine for an alternate view of the cathedral’s spiky apse and naturalist sculptures.
2. Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen
Window-shopping (or lécher les vitrines to the locals) is a great way to take an indulgent peek at objets d’art and wild curiosities you’d never actually buy. The St-Ouen flea market and antiques fair is the perfect place to let your imagination run riot. Marvel at bearskin rugs, antique tapestries and brass diving bells in this decadently eccentric marketplace. (But try to keep your eyebrow-raising in check when you look at the price tags.) Hop off the metro at Porte de Clignancourt (line 4) and continue under the bridge until the souvenir stalls give way to side streets crammed with beautiful buys.
3. Parc du Champ de Mars
A lift to the peak of the Eiffel Tower can squeeze the budget at €15 per ticket but views below can be equally stunning, albeit from a
Despite the focus of the hunt for terrorists moving to Brussels, there remains a high threat from terrorism within France and its capital, Paris, the Foreign Office warns.
The country is in the midst of a three-month national state of emergency, however, recent research by Telegraph Travel found that few visitors were changing their travel plans.
Is it safe to travel?
The huge security presence probably means that it is as safe as it can be, though there are likely to be delays at airports and on Eurostar because of this extra security. Border control checks have also been implemented at all entry points into France.
The French Ministry of Education has advised British schools not to make trips to the Ile de France region, including Paris, until November 29, however says that trips passing through the region to other parts of France are allowed.
- Is it safe to travel to Brussels?
The Foreign Office is advising British nationals to be vigilant in public places and follow the advice of local authorities. It also urges travellers to subscribe to email alerts for updates to its travel advice.
“On Friday 13 November,
Restaurants follow French mealtimes, serving lunch from noon to 2:30 pm and dinner from 7:30 or 8 pm. Some cafés serve food all day long. If you have your heart set on a specific restuarant, it’s wise to reserve a table for dinner; top choices book up months in advance. When you’re ready for the check, you must ask for it (it’s considered rude to bring a bill unbidden). In cafés you’ll get a register receipt with your order. Servis (gratuity) is always included, but it’s good form to leave something extra if you’re satisfied with the service: a few cents for drinks, €1 for lunch, €3 at dinner. Leave 5% of the bill only in higher-end restaurants.
Come come,” urges Jeanne, a pint-sized Frenchwoman nearing 70 but with the joie de vivre of someone half her age. She is waving her hands above her head, frantically trying to hurry us along. Jeanne strides on unperturbed, weaving in and out of the narrow Parisian streets, ducking and dodging between other locals, leaving us needing to jog just to keep up.
I’m on a Trip4real shopping tour of Le Marais, Paris. Founded in Barcelona in 2013, Trip4real is a revolutionary “experiential” tour guiding company, providing bespoke local-led tours, activities and experiences for travellers. And, unlike with many other tour offerings, the groups are small and intimate – it’s just two friends and I with our personal guide, Jeanne.
We’re heading to the city’s oldest food market, Le Marché des Enfants Rouges: a deliciously chaotic food frenzy- small stools and overloaded tables among babbling tourists and busied stall owners. This is a top spot for local produce, so we’re told, and one of Jeanne’s favourite culinary haunts.
- Romantic Paris: what to do and where to stay
“The site used to be a 16th century orphanage, and all the children would wear red clothes donated by Christian charities, which
There’s a neat, shady square in the rue de Furstenberg in St Germain-des-Prés, which has stuck in my mind since I first came here more than 20 years ago. Partly because it is a rather beautiful survivor of an older cityscape, before Haussmann swept away the little streets and squares which revolutionaries had blocked and barricaded, and built the great boulevards which characterise Paris today. Partly because on one side is a branch of Osborne & Little – wallpaperers to the current Chancellor of the Exchequer. But also because I like to imagine a tall, elegant, rather haughty man wearing a frock-coat and a top hat striding across the square and disappearing through the green gate in one corner.
How to live like a local in Paris
This is Eugene Delacroix, the 19th-century Romantic artist whose free, energetic and spontaneous style inspired both the Impressionists and Modernists who followed him. And he is on his way home to the bachelor pad where he lived for the last six years of his life.
Delacroix, possibly who may well have been the illegitimate son of Talleyrand, was something of an enigma. I say haughty because, although his
In the golden triangle of Paris on the broad avenue between the Champs-Elysées and Alma-Marceau (with George V and Alma-Marceau metro stations at either end), this area is a magnet for high-end fashion shopping, although the Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais and the Chaillot museums (Palais de Tokyo, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Guimet, Musée de l’Homme, Cité d’Architecture) are all nearby.
Style & character
Originally opened in 1928 in honour of George V alongside its neighbour the Prince de Galles, the Four Seasons is all about traditional comfort à la française, although I can’t help feeling a little sad that the original Art Deco furniture and fittings were auctioned off before it was reborn as a Four Seasons in 1999, reappearing in a Louis XV and Louis XVI style that for many visitors epitomises Paris. My favourite aspect is the incredible flower displays by the hotel’s florist and artistic director Jeff Leatham that have been different each time I’ve come here. The vast, flower-strewn lobby, broad corridors, and large lifts cleverly belie that there are as many as 244 rooms and suites.
Service & facilities
Legions of staff