THE clandestine lives of monks in Ladakh, the heart of Persian civilisation in Iran, the running of the bulls in Pamplona and witnessing Amritsar through the eyes of an expert photographer are some experiences now on offer with Country Holidays’ four new Signature Departure itineraries.
Signature Departure tours were launched by the bespoke travel agency four years ago to offer travellers a more intimate and in-depth group travel experience.
These tours include stays at unique hotels and immersive experiences while avoiding the negative points that plague most travel groups – crowded bus tours, cookie-cutter hotels and visits to tourist traps.
Theng Hwee Chang, managing director of Country Holidays, explained in a press release: “By limiting the number of travellers to 16, we are able to source the smaller hotels in smaller towns and hence create a more authentic, off-the-beaten-track experience for the group.”
This year, Country Holidays’ Savouring Spain itinerary takes travellers and their stomachs on a traipse through the Basque region of Spain for wining and dining, and wraps up with a private balcony view of Pamplona’s running of the bulls and a dinner at three-Michelin starred Azark. The tour runs from July 10-18.
Closer to home, travellers embarking on the Ladakh –Mountains, Monks & Monasteries from September 19-27 will visit capital of Leh for an education in Ladakh culture before moving to a luxury tented camp from where they hike into the rural countryside.
Photography enthusiasts can have a look behind Michael Freeman’s lens in the India Photography Workshop with Michael Freeman itinerary, stopping at Amritsar and the holy city of Varanasi to learn and practice photography. The tour runs from November 22 to 30.
Lastly, tourists enter Iran – The Heart of Persia to learn about one of the world’s oldest civilisations, whose influence persists even in Islamic Iran. Seven of Iran’s 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites are included in this itinerary, and travellers will be taken to Shiraz, Persepolis, Old City, the Zoroastrian Centre of Yazd and the architectural marvel that is Esfahan. Travel period spans September 24 to October 3.
Iran is the heart of the Persian civilisation – one of the world’s most ancient and long lasting. Though it has been under Islamic influence for nearly 1,500 years, the true spirit of Persia still prevails in the Iranians’ daily life today. There are now 20 UNESCO sites in Iran, 7 of which are visited on this trip.