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No time machine required

If you’re sitting at your desk planning your next get away, time travel might sound appealing. You might think this is impossible but it’s easier than you imagine. With somewhere on nearly every continent claiming to be the ‘Cradle of Civilization’ you are positively spoilt for choice for a trip back to a simpler time. All you have to do is decide how far you want to fly and how far back in time you want to travel.

ANCIENT GREECE

Travel Time: 3 hours 30 minutes – 4 hours

Time Travel: Approximately 2500 years

Greece

 

About
Ancient Greece spread out across the Greek islands, mainland Greece and Cyprus. Its various kingdoms united and separated, over hundreds of years, as rulers conquered one another.  Battles were set against a backdrop of philosophy, art and iconic architecture.

What to see in Greece:
To get a taste of this ancient world, visit some of its many archaeological gems. The Acropolis is perched on top of Athens’ highest point. The temple has survived throughout the city’s tumultuous history and tells Greece’s story better than any tour guide. Outside the city, in Delphi, the Temple of Apollo and its arresting peacefulness let visitors escape from the 21st century.

Across the Mediterranean, Crete is home to the famed temple of Knossos which is said to have housed the notorious Minator.

What to see in Cyprus:
In Cyprus you will find the ancient site of Amathus, said to be the birth place of Adonis.  Amongst the beautiful Cypriot landscape, the columns and statues seem to be perfectly in context and it becomes easy to visualise what life in this former royal city was like.

In the Island’s capital, there are numerous archaeological sites which feature in famous Greek legends, like the story of Pygmalion, a sculptor who willed his statue to come to life.

Getting There:
At the moment, Adventure travel specialist, GAP Adventures  is offering the final few places on its Greek Islands Sailing Adventure , which leaves on the 28th August for £580pp . This 8 day yacht experience will allow you to take in the Dodecanese Islands, Kos and Santorini for some of the lesser known wonders of ancient Greece and a spot of relaxing too.

If you fancy taking the kids on an educational trip Mark Warner offers  family holidays to Greece with the option of a fun packed activity programme in case they get bored.

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THE ROMAN EMPIRE

Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Time travel: Approximately 2000 years

Rome

What to see in Rome:
Gladiators were put to the test against lions in the enormous Colosseum.  The forum next to this massive stadium paints a gentler picture of ordinary Roman life. Around almost every corner in Rome you stumble upon a relic which harks back to Roman times such as the Pantheon, which is nestled between Rome’s boutique shops and cafes. A whole host of early churches and monuments are also waiting to be uncovered.

Elsewhere in Italy whole cities are frozen in time.  Pompeii and Herculaneum, buried by Vesuvius, are still being excavated today. They give an opportunity for visitors to step into 79 AD as well a glimpse into the archaeological process.

Getting There:
You can fly straight into Rome Fumicino airport from Gatwick for an extended city break. Alternatively, if you prefer to sit back and be shown the sights, Crusader provides coach holidays to Italy. In September it is offering a tour around Rome, Sorrento and the Neapolitan Riviera where you will get to visit the historic sites of Rome and Pompeii as well as the tranquil island of Capri.

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EGYPT

Travel Time: Around 8 hours

Time Travel: Approximately 5000 years

Egypt

 

About
Egypt is one of the most famous Ancient civilisations.  Its ancient inhabitants spend most of their time preparing for the afterlife by building grand temples and tombs in which to store their treasures.  As a result of this a great number of Egyptian artefacts have been left behind so it is a fantastic place to explore the past.

 

 

What to see in Egypt:
The pyramids just outside Cairo are huge archaeological playgrounds. Their discovery is almost as important a part of their history as the ancient times they help document.

Arguably more impressive than these geometric structures is the temple of Abu Simbel, which lies further south in ‘Upper Egypt’. Statues of Ramesses II loom over the cavernous entrance, giving the eerie impression they are watching the temple’s visitors.

Getting There:
Adventure travel specialist Gap is offering an amazing 20% off their best of Egypt Tour. This 8-day trip takes you from Cairo to Aswan, Felucca and Luxor. The tour includes a guided tour of Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx, a guided visit of the Egyptian Museum, a visit to Nubian Village where you will enjoy a traditional dinner, an overnight sailing excursion in a felucca, a guided visit of Kom Ombo and Edfu temples, a visit to the Colossi of Memnon, and a guided donkey tour of Valley of the Kings and Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. The price includes activities, transport (including a return flight from Luxor to Cairo), accommodation, and breakfasts, plus some additional meals. The tour leaves on 17th September 2011 from Cairo. The trip was originally £529 and is now £424

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PERU

Travel Time: 16 hours

Time Travel: Approximately 600 years

Peru

About:
Just before it was brought under Spanish rule, Peru was home to its own indigenous people who lived in tribes across the Andes. Although most of the tribes each had their own distinctive cultures they become known collectively as the Incas.  Their history is still fairly recent; however the Incas remain a mysterious people.  Their way of life was remote and as such remained distinct from the Western world until the Spanish invasion. The Incas believed in reincarnation and worshipped the Sun, much like the Ancient Egyptians.

What to See in Peru:
The Inca Trail will take you right into the heart of ancient culture. This 43 kilometre long hike through the Andes reaches dizzying heights of 800 metres and culminates at the Ancient site of Machu Picchu. The city was discovered 100 years ago and its spooky quality will make you think that its original inhabitants never really left.

Getting There:
Gap Adventures offers an Essence of Peru Tour which will make the most of your stay in Peru. On this tour you’ll begin with a 3 day excursion in the Amazon jungle. You’ll travel by foot and boat to spot wildlife and learn about the Amazon jungle. After stopping in Cuzco for a few days exploring the city’s museums and local markets, you’ll have a full day guided tour of Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo ruins.

Next you’ll travel by train to the magnificent Machu Picchu where you’ll have a guided tour of the ruins and have the option to climb up to Huayna Picchu. The tour ends with a visit to the floating Islands of Uros and a guided tour of Lake Titicaca. To book online or to view any offers visit: www.gapadventures.com/trips/last-minute-specials/

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AUSTRALIA

Travel Time: 20 hours 50 minutes

Time Travel: 40,000 years

Australia

 

About:
Australia was the domain of the Aborigines before westerners moved in around 200 years ago. The name refers to a number of tribes from all over Australia. These semi-nomadic people were hunter gatherers  who are most famous for their art, which helps to explain their way of life.

What to See in Australia:
A visit to Uluru, the Pitjantjatjara people’s sacred landmark, will put you smack bang in the heart of a culture which dates back thousands of years. These ancient people believed that Uluru marked the beginning of the creation of the world, when spirit beings (in human and animal form) transformed the land from a complete flat wasteland into the landscape that is there today. A scout around the nearby bush may allow you to stumble upon ancient paintings on the rocks which tell this story, as well as others.

Getting there:
Austravel specialises in flights to Australia. Flights are available from the UK to a number of Australian destinations including Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.  Austravel can also arrange stopovers, tours and multicentre holidays. It currently has offers for hotels and flights. See www.austravel.com/offers for more details.

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