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  5. 2 Week Route 66 Itinerary: The Ultimate American Road Trip

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We designed this Route 66 itinerary with the idea that the 2 weeks would be spent driving along Route 66 and we only leave a day or less for exploring the beginning and ending points in Chicago and Los Angeles. Below is a brief guide to each of the sections within our Route 66 itinerary to help you understand and make the most of it:. Route : This section provides a rough idea of the route for that day if you are following the historical Route 66 road.

Route 66 is not signed in most places so you will need to use a guide if you want to stay on it. We also list alternative routes here if applicable. Mileage: We list the approximate mileage that would be driven that day if a person followed the Route 66 route for the itinerary that day.

The mileage is approximate and not exact given the nature of the route and the different alignments. Of course, if you make any detours or deviations from the route, this will likely add to your overall mileage. We found that we almost always drove a bit more and sometimes a lot more as we often made small detours to visit attractions, eat at restaurants, find parking, etc..

Historic Route 66 was about 2, miles km long and today the trip is approximately 2, miles 3, km long. If one drives at 45 miles per hour MPH on average, that would be approximately 3 hours and 37 minutes of driving each day on average. However, some days will have you going not as far or a bit further than miles.

We used these figures to help develop and guide the suggested itinerary. If you need to make up time at any point on the route, you can almost always jump on the Interstate to save time. The route crosses 3 different time zones. Big City Avoider Section: Some people drive Route 66 to escape the cities and want to avoid the big cities along the route and focus on the smaller cities and towns.

Others may feel stressed or uncomfortable driving in a larger city or not want to try to drive or park a large RV or motorhome in big city. The really big ones include Chicago, St. We include those directly on Route 66 plus those that are just a short detour away from the route. Notable Detours: If there are any notable popular big detours off the route that day, such as the Grand Canyon, we list them in this section. Note that some places take cash only, so it is always a good idea to keep some money on you.

Hamburgers, fried chicken, meatloaf, hot dogs, French fries, corndogs, burritos, chili, steaks, fruit pies, milkshakes, and the like are common Route 66 road foods. Ethnic food options can also be limited outside of the larger cities.

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palm springs tour a self guided pictorial sightseeing tour visual travel tours book Manual

Route 66 Lodging Recommendations: In this section we list recommended hotels across a number of budgets and types. We try to highlight any special places at each recommended stop, particularly Route 66 era motels or Route 66 themed hotels. We also list a few of the local RV parks and campgrounds for those planning to drive Route 66 in a RV or are planning to camp in a tent along the route.

We love supporting independent family-run motels and hotels, but do remember that many chain hotels are locally run and operated and some chain hotels such as Hampton Inn have been big supporters of Route But there are always mid-range options 3-star and 2-star in every recommended stop. I think that budget travelers should be able to find something suitable at almost every place but those seeking luxury hotels may struggle in a few places.

Note that parking is available for free at most of the recommended lodging throughout the route. In smaller cities and towns, on-site parking is almost always free for hotel guests. The exceptions will be in larger cities where parking space is limited such as Chicago, St. Signs are removed, bridges close to traffic, and roadside attractions disappear. I would not make a significant detour to visit a particular place without checking out opening times and hours beforehand. Check out this informative Route 66 website for the latest news about businesses and happenings along the route.

If you know of an attraction that has disappeared or a business that has closed or a great place that has opened or re-opened please feel free to leave us a Comment and we will look into it and update our information! Below is a quick outline of our suggested Route 66 route and the starting and ending points for each day are shown in the map below.

You can click this link or double click on the map image below to explore or save the map. This is just a quick reference Route 66 map to roughly show the route and itinerary so you can visualize it! Here is our suggested 14 Day Route 66 itinerary. The itinerary begins in Chicago and goes east to west as this is historically the direction of travelers driving the route.

However, you can easily reverse this route and start your trip in California. You just need to start reading from the end. If you are just driving a section of the route, you can find that part of the itinerary that is relevant to you. As noted earlier, we suggest that you use our itinerary as a guide for planning your trip and that you personalize and modify it as needed.

Welcome to Route 66 — today your great American road trip begins! The beginning is a bit anticlimactic as there is just a small sign in Chicago and the Chicago traffic can be stressful. If you are interested in U. This stretch of Route 66 is also filled with dozens of classic Route 66 eateries so you will not go hungry. Time Zone: Central Time Zone — no changes today. If you are wanting to avoid big cities on your trip, you might want to skip Chicago and some of its urban and suburban sprawl.

If you are OK with missing the official starting point, you can avoid Chicago and begin the route in a town like Joliet, Illinois. Ottawa Street as your route starting point! Then just continue onto Springfield. There are a LOT of restaurants along this stretch of Route 66 that date back to the Route 66 era, have a Route 66 or retro theme, or have been strong Route 66 supporters. We have eaten at several of these. You can stop in just about any town along the way to find a good spot, and you will not go hungry today!

Our suggested itinerary takes you to Springfield today, but we know many people will be wanting to spend at least one night in Chicago so we start with some recommendations for Chicago. There are thousands of choices in Chicago so it should not be difficult to find something that suits in the Windy City. For those who want a short first driving day or will be getting a late start we also provide suggestions for Pontiac below. If you are looking for a place to stay in Chicago before or after your road trip, you have hundreds of options for every budget and taste.

It is easy to travel around Chicago by public transportation or taxi. Here are accommodation options we recommend checking out near the starting point for Route These lodging options are for those wanting a shorter drive on their first day. We offer our Route 66 lodging suggestions for Springfield which is our recommended first overnight stop on the Route 66 itinerary. The big city highlight today is St.

Louis which includes plenty to see and do, but there are also loads of small town highlights today. Highlights include old-time soda fountains, a giant pink elephant, rabbits, the crossing of the Mississippi River, frozen custard, and the iconic Gateway Arch. Those really wanting to explore St.

Louis, may want to overnight there instead of Sullivan today. You can also make a small detour to visit Six Flags amusement park, which may particularly appeal to those traveling as a family. Today there are two splits in the road where you can choose to drive alternative historic Route 66 alignments. The first occurs as you leave Springfield where you can choose to drive the alignment or the post alignment of historic Route Both have their appeal and you can check the Attractions section to help you decide.

Louis beginning at the junction of U. Those starting the day in Pontiac will need to add 91 miles km onto the above figures. Those wanting to avoid big cities, may want to bypass St. After your cross the Mississippi River, you can jump onto the I to bypass St. Louis and then rejoin at either Des Peres pre Route 66 or Watson post route. If you need a break from fast food and diners, you can find fine dining options in St.

Those wanting to explore St. Louis in more depth might want to overnight there instead of Sullivan tonight. There are also opportunities to go hiking, canoeing, or bowling, do some wine tasting, visit museums, explore laid-back small towns, eat at some classic Route 66 eateries, and stay at some Route 66 era vintage motels. You might want to end the day seeing a film at the local drive-in movie theater.

Those with an interest in country music or seeing more of the Ozarks might want to make a detour to Branson today. No big cities along the route today. There are several eateries along this stretch that date back to the Route 66 era. Kansas has only 13 miles of Route 66 but it is worth taking the section at a leisurely pace to get the most out of your time in this friendly corner of this former mining region. Then you begin your exploration of Oklahoma, a state that straddles the Midwest and South.

Will Rogers fans will really enjoy today as there are a number of Rogers related sites along the route. Those wanting to avoid big cities may want to bypass downtown Tulsa by jumping on Interstate Today you spend a full day exploring Oklahoma with some nicely preserved sections of Route 66 that lead through small towns and rural areas. Today you leave behind Oklahoma to enter the big state of Texas. Despite the massive size of Texas, Route 66 only runs along the northern section of the Texan panhandle, making for under miles of driving.

While the scenery can be a bit dull at times, there is still much to see and do along this stretch. No big cities today, although some might want to bypass downtown Amarillo, which is the largest city population close to , Route 66 passes through in Texas. Already one week into our Route 66 itinerary!

Today you say goodbye to Texas and cross into New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment which has about miles of Route The route today passes through many ghost towns that did not survive the demise of Route 66 and ends in a town that screams Route 66 like no other town on the route, Tucumcari, NM. The driving time is fairly short today giving you plenty of time to do any extra exploring in Amarillo, make small detours, travel at a leisurely pace, and explore Tucumcari. Time Zone: 1 hour time zone change today! Keep the time change in mind if you have any appointments or tours scheduled today.

Note that there are limited options for dining spots between Amarillo and Tucumcari, especially ones that are open in the evening. So just keep that in mind today. This was a very popular Route 66 overnight stop and is still a great place to stop and sleep. There are no longer 2, motel rooms but there are still over 1, in the town. Several of the Route 66 era motels are still operational, so there is no reason to have to stay in a chain hotel here. Today you really get to see the heart of New Mexico, with a chance to explore one or both of its main cities, Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

The route diverges today after Santa Rosa and you can decide to take the older and slower route through Santa Fe or the main Route 66 route used after which bypasses Santa Fe and cuts across downtown Albuquerque. Albuquerque has the longest stretch of Route 66 of any city and has retained a number of Route 66 era buildings, signs, and restaurants. Whichever route you choose, both of these main cities are filled with worthwhile attractions. Today is also a good day to sample New Mexican dishes, basically any dish smothered in chile sauce, as you have loads of great options along the route today!

The route splits into two alignments today west of Santa Rosa. An older loop goes to Santa Fe and the post route goes through downtown Albuquerque. Note: The Albuquerque and Santa Fe route are similar in terms of miles if you overnight in Santa Fe versus but the drive takes longer as the road requires slower driving. Also note that the Santa Fe route will obviously add additional miles and time to your trip as you still have to loop back to return to Route Those who want to avoid big cities will likely want to avoid downtown Albuquerque population over , You can take the alternative route to Santa Fe or jump on I after Tijeras to pass through both cities.

Santa Fe is not a large city but the one-way narrow streets, crowds, and limited downtown parking can make it a bit trying for those trying to navigate by car. You are better off parking and walking around in the central downtown area rather than trying to drive. Santa Rosa, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque have tons of popular and well-reviewed eateries. A number of them, especially in Santa Rosa and Albuquerque, have been operating since the Route 66 era.

Be sure to try the green and red chile — they love to smother it on just about anything in New Mexico! Having lived in Albuquerque, I have dozens of lodging recommendations feel free to ask if you want something specific and you can find more Route 66 Albuquerque motels and hotels in my prior post. But here are several options:. Today you have another full day to explore New Mexico.


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  • The route goes through small towns, Native American reservation lands, and crosses the Continental Divide. There are a lot of ghost towns along the route that were once popular Route 66 stops. Acoma Pueblo is a short detour worth taking if you have not visited a Pueblo before. Gallup offers lots of historical buildings, a couple of museums, hiking opportunities, and even a bit of nightlife. Today the two towns with the most options for dining are Grants and Gallup with a few located in smaller towns along the route.

    Ask for a quiet room and bring ear plugs just in case. Today, you pass through cities, towns, abandoned tourist attractions, and scenic landscapes as you head towards Williams. Stops along the way include a petrified forest, a giant meteor crater, trading posts, and state parks. So be sure to check the local time once in Arizona, and note that it will actually change as you drive in and out of Navajo land!

    Flagstaff is the largest city today with a population around 75, which you can take the Interstate through if you wish to skip exploring it. Big city avoiders may want to overnight in Winona instead. Today you explore more of Arizona. You also begin driving the longest intact section of Route Today is purposely a short drive to allow time to detour to the Grand Canyon for those who wish to do so. If you are not visiting the Grand Canyon, this is a great day to relax and take it slow! The highway goes through a number of old mining and Route 66 era tourist towns.

    Although most of these communities became ghost towns, many have again become Route 66 tourist towns and this is one of the more popular stretches of Route Take the time to enjoy your drive, the towns, and your final taste of Arizona. Drive slowly as you navigate some switchbacks and watch out for wild burros! Be sure to check your watches and clocks. This is your final time zone change along Route Needles offers a mix of riverside resorts and chain motels. Campers have a lot of options here.

    Exotic Palm Springs California - Self Guided Walking Tour

    Today you begin your exploration of California and your drive takes you through the hottest and most desolate landscape along Route 66 through the Mojave Desert. Be sure to stock up on water and snacks, and fill up on fuel before leaving Needles. Some travelers and migrants would drive through the desert overnight to avoid the heat. Savor today as after San Bernardino, the historic Route 66 feel starts to disappear as you enter the Greater Los Angeles area and a long stretch of concrete jungle.

    No big cities along the route today, although San Bernardino has a population of over , people. Basically once you get to San Bernardino you just outside the suburban and urban sprawl of Los Angeles and there are no more small towns. Today you might want to think ahead about when you want to stop for meals particularly breakfast and lunch and bring along some snacks as there are few places along certain stretches of the highway today between Needles and Barstow. But there are several dining options in Barstow, Victorville, and San Bernardino.

    Today we recommend overnighting in San Bernardino but those wanting a shorter driving day, or those planning to make some detours, may want to overnight in Barstow. The real end is very unexciting, so most people drive on to the Santa Monica pier for a much more fitting end to this epic road trip adventure. Along the way to the pier you pass through iconic places like Hollywood and Beverly Hills. At the end, say hello to the Pacific Ocean and after 2 weeks of dusty roads you may be feeling like a swim!

    If you have the full day, a relaxing day at the beach is an excellent way to spend your final day and a pleasant reprieve after driving over 2, miles across 8 states! There is plenty to keep you busy in the Los Angeles area for several days if you have more time or you can start a new journey and explore further afield in California. There is nothing quite like the asphalt jungle of Los Angeles and its suburbs, and if you are wanting to avoid the traffic and city, you might want to end your Route 66 journey in San Bernardino or Pasadena.

    Or head in for the finish line and then retreat back to Pasadena or San Bernardino if you are looking to stay outside of LA. If staying in San Bernardino, you may want to stay in the same place for 2 nights see lodging recommendation above in Day 13 of itinerary. Today there is no shortage of places to eat and there are more options than on any other day along Route 66 as Los Angeles and the surrounding area has a plethora of options. There is everything from historical Route 66 eateries and ones that predate Route 66 to modern fine dining spots to restaurants representing about every type of cuisine in the world from Vietnamese to Nigerian.

    Below is only a short list of options! So that is the end of our Route 66 itinerary! We hope that you have found this helpful in planning your own Route 66 road trip. Are you interested in driving Route 66? Which spots on the Route 66 itinerary are most interesting to you? Just leave any questions or comments in the Comments section below! Dear Independent Travel Cats, last year when i started planning this trip I actually had signed up to run the half marathon in Chicago , when we decided to make a road trip out of it! We will be forever grateful.

    Your Route 66 in 2 Weeks Guide is hands down one of the best I have found. My husband printed it out and it became our bible for our road trip. If you would like, we can send you the picture for your blog. NIcki and Klaus from Berlin Germany. So happy to hear that you had a wonderful Route 66 road trip and that our Route 66 itinerary was so helpful in planning and guiding your road trip.

    Did you have any favorite towns or attractions along the way? You can find our emails here. This was brilliant. We are going to drive some of Route66 after leaving New York…. I have purchased the EZ66 but this blog it just fantastic….. Will not be leaving OZ without this.

    Think it has jus5 become my new route planner Thank you xxxxxx Karen. Hi Karen, Sounds like a great trip and so glad that you are finding our Route 66 itinerary helpful for that part of your road trip! Wishing you a great visit to the USA. Best, Jessica. Hi guys…I have a question. Whilst travelling on Route 66 ….

    I assume hotels and diners will take credit card however gas stations?? Hi Karen, Most places in the USA take credit cards, including along Route 66, however, I would always recommend having American cash on you when traveling along Route 66 or anywhere really. Some of the smaller diners, restaurants, and attractions are cash-only or only accept credit cards when paying for something over a certain amount e.

    So I would recommend making sure you get gas during the day rather than waiting until late in the evening so that you can pay inside by credit card, debit card, or cash as many pumps may not accept your international card. So best to fuel up during business hours. As a regular Route 66 traveller, my heart generally sinks at this sort of blog entry.

    Los Angeles

    Do I agree with it all? Of course not! Would I add or substract stuff? Of course, but that really is just personal preference. Nice work! Hi Blue, Glad you liked our Route 66 article and found it helpful! We like to do a lot of research on things and places before writing about them, and agree that many online articles on Route 66 are not very accurate or helpful. Love you blog post, now to get my husband to agree to do it. What time of year is best considering we will be travelling from the UK and probably take 4 to 6 weeks in total. It gives more about best time of year, car hire, and other more logistical things in planning a trip.

    If do it before the U. You need about 2 weeks for the Route 66 part of the trip, but you can of course take longer and I think 3 weeks would be ideal. Great artical and very informative. So I would definitely look into state laws for each of the 8 states as each state has different rules. There is a longer stretch of route in the California desert section without much options for gas or anything really but I think that is the only section and it is noted in our Route 66 itinerary.

    Jessica and Laurence… Great accurate guide! As a child, I fell in love with the route 66 television show to Fortunately 10 or more years ago, a group of 30 or so of us travelled the whole route in period-correct to Corvettes which were featured driven by the actors of old TV show. Absolutely the best trip of my life and a dream come true. I first drove Route 66 in ! Hi Paul, Thanks for taking the time to comment, and glad you enjoyed our Route 66 itinerary and guide. This is an incredible post! How have you both got enough time to document this and travel as much as you do? I have family here who are trying to persuade me to stay a little longer here, would you recommend it?

    Keep up the amazing work Jessica and Laurence! Hi Ben, Yes, it took a couple of weeks to write this Route 66 itinerary after our trip. If you are following our itinerary closely, let us know if you noticed anything that is closed or newly opened on your journey as we always appreciate updates! Wishing you a great Rte 66 road trip. This is amazing content, thank you. We are coming from New Zealand and looking forward to ticking off this bucket list trip. We fly out of Chicago on the new direct flight to Auckland, NZ — 16 hrs.

    I would like to know about rental cars, in particular Mustangs — any suggestions please? Regards, Nikki. Really good content. Thank you so much for sharing it. We will do the trip in May. Me and my husband. Hi Bella, That sounds great, hope you and your husband have a wonderful Route 66 road trip. Later, ride a camel across the sand dunes of the Thar Desert and stop for a traditional tea. Enjoy dinner off the train this evening while watching a performance by traditional folk dancers. Maximum group size: 24 16 on photo departures. Medical anthropologist Carroll Dunham will join the February 25, departure.

    Participants should be physically fit. This expedition is not suitable for anyone with limited mobility. The train has 14 fully air-conditioned deluxe saloons, each with three twinbed cabins, a mini-pantry, and a lounge. Each cabin has an en suite bathroom with a toilet, a sink, and a shower. Two restaurant cars serve continental, Indian, Rajasthani, and Chinese cuisine, and the bar offers a great place to wind down at the end of the day. Visit our website for additional photos of the train.

    Disembark the train in Bharatpur and head into the wetlands of Keoladeo National Park, a renowned bird sanctuary. Search for egrets, flamingos, and many other wildlife species. Then stop at a hotel near the park for a cooking demonstration and lunch. Take a guided walk around Bharatpur village before heading to Fatehpur Sikri, the capital of the Mughal Empire from to , where elegant carved sandstone palaces remain incredibly well preserved. Continue to Agra this evening.

    Kyoto served as an imperial capital for more than a thousand years, and many of the wooden temples and gardens from that era have been collectively designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Stroll the elegant Zen rock garden at. Travel to Mount Koya, headquarters of the Shingon Buddhist sect. Meet a temple priest and wander through the evocative Okunoin cemetery, where the tombs of more than , samurai warriors and other dignitaries fill a grove of age-old cedar trees.

    Venture into Kongobuji, the chief temple of the Mount Koya. Continue to Nijo Castle, built in and designated a national treasure. This afternoon, visit an artisanal ceramics workshop. Monastery, and see work by artists of the Kano school of painting. Settle into our simple lodgings and enjoy a traditional Buddhist vegetarian dinner. Our home for the next two nights in the Iya Valley is a ryokan, or traditional Japanese inn, where inviting, on-site hot spring baths offer a chance to relax and rejuvenate. Travel along the steep slopes of the Iya ravine to a year-old thatched farmhouse, home to the Chiiori Trust, a unique project that seeks to preserve age-old rural traditions in the valley.

    Continue to the Okuiya Niju Kazurabashi, twin suspension bridges made of intertwined vines, and hear the legends of their creation. Witness timeless scenes of village life in Ochiai, a community of traditional dwellings, some of which date from the Edo period circa — Travel to Japan during the heart of winter when snow-blanketed landscapes set the stage for an incredible wildlife spectacle. Explore Tokyo, and then fly to the wild island of Hokkaido to witness the splendid courtship displays of the endangered red-crowned crane.

    Search for red foxes and sika deer in Akan National Park, and learn about the traditions of the indigenous Ainu people. Visit our website for itinerary details, dates, photography departures, and pricing. In Takamatsu, stroll through the tranquil gardens of 17th-century Ritsurin Park. A ferry then brings us to the small island of Naoshima, which has recently emerged as a mecca of contemporary art and architecture. Get a new perspective on nature through inventive art installations at the Benesse House Museum this afternoon, and stay in the adjacent hotel, designed by acclaimed architect Tadao Ando.

    Ferry back to Honshu and take the high-speed train to Hiroshima. Go on an optional guided visit to Shukkei-en garden, or explore this thriving modern metropolis—a testament to Japanese resilience—on your own. Set off by ferry for a full-day excursion on Itsukushima Island, popularly called Miyajima. Venture into the 12th-century Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, a World Heritage site built over the water, where a vermilion torii wooden gateway appears to float at high tide.

    Participate in a traditional tea ceremony, then take advantage of free time to go on a hike, visit temples, and stroll through the picturesque town. Gather for a farewell dinner back in Hiroshima this evening. Travel writer and editor-at-large for National Geographic Traveler magazine Don George will join the September departure.

    The Eko-in, Henjoko-In, and Hotel Hikyonoyu are traditional Japanese accommodations featuring futons set atop tatami mats on the floor. The Eko-in and Henjoko-In are typical temple inns, with simple rooms, rice-paper sliding doors, and traditional Japanese-style shared bathrooms. Take the high-speed train back to Osaka and transfer to the airport for your flight home.

    Later, travel to Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum featuring traditional farmhouses and buildings from the region. Sit down to a traditional kaiseki dinner at our ryokan. Begin the day by exploring Meiji Jingu, a shrine dedicated to the spirit of Emperor Meiji. Then make new Japanese friends during a taiko drumming lesson. Visit the Hakone Open-Air Museum and walk among the masterpieces of modern and contemporary sculpture.

    Return to Tokyo for dinner this evening. Ride the bullet train to Kyoto. Explore the temples of the Higashiyama district, then enjoy a festive evening of karaoke. Spend the next day discovering ancient Nara. Wander amid the gardens of Nara Park, home to herds of freely roaming deer. Explore Kyoto by bicycle or on a guided walk and visit two of its geisha districts. Visit the Imperial Palace Park and its gardens where nobles once strolled. Don a kimono for a Japanese tea ceremony, then take part in a calligraphy lesson with a local master.

    Airfare to Tokyo and return from Osaka is not included in the expedition cost. Discover the ancient roots of taiko in Japanese religion and folklore, and watch a lively demonstration by expert percussionists. Then pick up a pair of bachi drumsticks to try your hand at drumming. Many excursions will take place in historic buildings, temples, and gardens, where walking surfaces are uneven. All accommodations are modern, comfortable, and family friendly. Wat Hanchey, and meet the friendly residents of Angkor Ban on a village stroll.

    Jahan through Day Upon arrival on Day 3, settle into our riverside hotel. Rise early to watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat, a 12th-century Khmer temple. Ride a tuk-tuk, or motorized rickshaw, to the walled city of Angkor Thom to see the Bayon Temple and the Terrace of the Elephants. Travel to the Mekong River, stopping for a picnic in Kampong Cham. Embark the Jahan and catch the sunset on deck before a welcome dinner. The next day, see an eighth-century temple at. Tonight, witness an apsara dance performance. Then enjoy a relaxing day on the river, crossing into Vietnam in the afternoon.

    In the evening, gather for a gala dinner aboard the Jahan. Please note: If departing from outside the U. See the description, photo, and deck plan for the Jahan on page International airfare to Siem Reap and return from Ho Chi Minh City, or vice versa, is not included in the expedition cost. Art historian Paula Swart will join the January 14 departure. This trip is operated in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions. Have a private dinner at the former residence of U. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. Anchor at Kampong Chhnang and visit a village known for traditional pottery.

    Glimpse a unique way of life in the floating villages of Tonle Sap, and in Kampong Tralach, ride oxcarts to a welcoming community. After visiting the temples of Pelkor Chode, travel to Shigatse. Explore Tashilunpo Monastery and, if you wish, hike up to the Chak La pass. Tashi Choe Ta. Four Points by Sheraton Lhasa. Drive to Shigatse, stopping in small villages and taking in rugged landscapes along the way.

    Continue the drive to Lhasa the following day. Enjoy a final evening in Tibet, with dinner overlooking the floodlit Potala Palace weather permitting. Fly to Nepal this morning. Walk through the heart of Kathmandu, and visit the 2,yearold shrine at Swayambhunath. The next day, explore the ancient temples and palaces of Bhaktapur, the enormous Buddhist stupa of Bodhnath, and the Hindu temple of Pashupatinath. The following day, depart for your flight home. Airfare to Beijing and return from Kathmandu, and airfare within Asia, are not included in the expedition cost.

    Maximum group size: 30 16 on photo departures. Mountaineer Peter Hillary will join the May 20 and October 13, departures. Read his bio on our website. Visit our website for details and for the National Geographic photographer leading this departure. Above: Perched on a hilltop in the Lhasa Valley, the immense Potala Palace was built as the winter palace of the Dalai Lama in the seventh century.

    Travel to Eagle Valley, and hike across this lush chasm that cuts through the foothills of the Altai Mountains.

    Then visit the local natural history museum. At Havtsgait Valley, hike to a hilltop site of ancient rock drawings. Drive to the Khongoryn Els, a mile stretch of rippling sand dunes, and ride a camel at sunset. Arrive in Ulaanbaatar and transfer to our hotel. The next day, visit Gandan Monastery and the National Museum. Gather for a welcome dinner. Tuushin Hotel. Explore the area on hikes or an optional horseback ride, and visit with a nomadic family. Enjoy traditional Mongolian khoomi, or throat singing. Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Anthropologist and writer Carroll Dunham will join the August 5 departure.

    Spend your days exploring the wild geology of the desert and learning the culture of its nomads, then return to the serenity of your stunning, handcrafted dwelling. National Geographic guests have the opportunity to join the chef for a cooking class or take a night walk with an astronomy expert. Fly to the mystical Gobi desert and spend several days discovering the wildlife and landscapes of. Visit the National Textile Museum, then return to Paro and settle back into our hotel. Enjoy a festive farewell dinner. Travel to Phobjikha, one of the largest wintering sites for the endangered black-necked crane.

    Visit the Gangtey Goemba temple complex during the annual Crane Festival. As a National Geographic guest, you'll have a special invitation to participate in Mahayana Buddhist rituals with local monks. A National Geographic expert and expedition leader will accompany this trip. Historian Bill Jones will join the March departure.

    After a special Buddhist blessing ceremony, journey to Punakha and visit the Chimi Lhakhang temple. Travel to Thimphu via the scenic Dochu La pass. Get a behind-the-scenes perspective on Bhutan during a banquet with local dignitaries and professionals. As indicated in the Dates section above, one departure of this expedition is designated as a Bhutan Photography Expedition and is limited to 16 travelers. Later, explore the many nature trails of the Danum Valley.

    Seek out rare species, including the Bornean gibbon, clouded leopard, and maroon langur. Walk jungle canopy bridges, hike to a waterfall, and set out on guided night hikes. Explore the enormous Deer Cave, harboring unusual flora and limestone formations. Venture into Clearwater Cave and the Cave of the Winds, and visit a village of the forest-dwelling Penan people.

    Set out to explore jungle waterways by electric boat, in search of orangutans, pygmy. Cruise jungle waterways in search of rare orangutans, pygmy elephants, and proboscis monkeys. Walk the elevated boardwalks that weave through the tropical landscapes of the lodge property, and meet one-on-one with the in-house orangutan expert— an experience specially arranged for National Geographic guests. Travelers should be in good health and comfortable standing for extended periods of time and walking up to four miles a day.

    Daily activities include visits to conservation centers, walking tours, river and land safaris, and easy hikes. At Gunung Mulu National Park, we will be hiking through cave and forest passages with uneven terrain. This expedition includes several long river transfers to and from lodges approximately two hours.

    This evening, climb aboard our luxury train and set off on our journey across Russia. Learn about the flora and fauna of the region, and see artifacts from the indigenous tribes of the Goldi and the Gilyak. Arrive in Vladivostok and check in to our hotel. Meet fellow travelers at a welcome dinner this evening. Hotel Hyundai Meals: D.

    Get acquainted. As the train slips past rolling hills and Siberian villages of log houses, relax with a book, attend a talk by our expert, or simply watch remote and ever changing countryside pass by. On our second day on board, we enter the sweeping Mongolian steppe. Then head to nearby GorkhiTerelj National Park to enjoy the alpine scenery, watch a demonstration of Mongolian horseback riding, and visit a traditional ger felt tent.

    This evening, enjoy dinner and a performance of Mongolian throat singing and traditional dance before we reboard our train and continue on our way back into Russia. The train rolls through the valley of the Selenge River, which flows into Lake Baikal. Pay a visit to a village of Old Believers, a group descended from 17th-century religious exiles whose fascinating culture has changed little over the centuries.

    Watch a performance of their unique choral music. Above: A cluster of whimsical domes are the signature of St. Airfare to Vladivostok and return from Moscow is not included in the expedition cost. Our train route hugs the rocky shores and passes through 33 tunnels. Take in spectacular views from the train, and stop for a barbecue lunch on the shore. In the afternoon, explore the village of Listvyanka and join a family for tea in their home. Spend today in Irkutsk, an important Siberian outpost established by the Cossacks in In the early 19th century, many Russian artists, officers, and nobles were exiled here for their involvement in the Decembrist revolt.

    Stop for a private bell-ringing performance, and then enjoy a private concert and champagne reception at the Decembrist House Museum. Enjoy a day to relax on board, taking in stunning scenery as the vast Siberian taiga unfurls. Today, explore Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, perched on the banks of the Volga River. Pay a visit to the Kazan Conservatory and enjoy a concert performed by its students. Historian George Munro has lived and studied in the former Soviet Union and travels to Russia regularly to pursue his research. He will join both departures. Disembark in Moscow, and check in to our hotel before an afternoon city tour.

    After dinner at a local restaurant, take a guided stroll through Red Square at night. The following morning, explore the legendary Kremlin. Visit St. After lunch, head to the Monument to the Conquerors of Space, which sweeps some feet into the sky. Delve into the history of space exploration at the recently updated Memorial Museum of Astronautics, and enjoy a specially arranged talk by a Russian cosmonaut.

    Silver Class cabins measure 60 square feet, and Gold Class cabins measure 77 square feet. There is a lounge car for daytime relaxation and socializing. The restaurant car serves fine local cuisine, made from the freshest ingredients and complemented with wines from around the world. National Geographic has reserved 16 compartments on both departures. See our website for additional train details and photos. Start the day with a walk through the village of Zermatt. This afternoon, ride the gondola up to Schwarzsee or Furi for a walk through the spectacular Zmutt Glacier Valley.

    Later, return to Zermatt by gondola. Ambitious hikers can also hike to Zmutt, a hamlet of weathered chalets, and continue to Zermatt on foot. Hotel National Zermatt Meals: B. Check in to our hotel and gather for a welcome dinner tonight. Hotel National Zermatt Meals: D. Climb aboard the Gornergrat Bahn cogwheel railway, the highest train in Europe, and ascend to a summit far above Zermatt to experience one of the best viewpoints in the Alps.

    Hike down past Alpine lakes to Riffelberg, where we will catch the train back to Zermatt. Pay a visit to the Matterhorn Museum, where a local mountaineer and Alpine historian will recount stories of early attempts to conquer the Matterhorn and other climbing adventures. Enjoy the elegant atmosphere of the train as we soak up magnificent vistas of skyscraping, glacier-glazed peaks on our way to the Upper Engadin Valley.

    Disembark in St. Moritz and take a short drive to our hotel in Pontresina. Set out on a walking tour of Pontresina and discover local lore that dates back to prehistory. Later this morning, travel to St. Moritz by local train, and visit the Segantini Museum, dedicated to the Alpine artist Giovanni Segantini. After lunch on your own, take the rest of the afternoon to explore the picturesque valley of St. Moritz before returning to Pontresina. Sporthotel Pontresina Meals: B. Today, board the legendary Bernina Express, the highest mountain railway in the Alps, to the heart of Italian-speaking Switzerland.

    Descend to the town. Above: The Glacier Express rounds the curve of the Landwasser Viaduct, some feet above the valley floor. Pastel-hued villages and fishing skiffs line the shores of Lake Como. Return to Pontresina via the Bernina Express late this afternoon.

    A spectacular drive through Alpine valleys brings us into the Italian Lake District today. The countryside is dotted with villas in hues of terra-cotta, pink, ocher, and gold, and strewn with tropical vegetation and lush gardens. Our destination is the lovely village of Moltrasio, perched on the western shore of the vast and beautiful Lake Como. Settle into an art nouveau resort and spa overlooking Lake Como. Visit the grand gardens of Villa Monastero, first founded in the 12th century as a Cistercian monastery. Travel writer Teresa Fisher is the author of several books on Switzerland and Italy.

    She will join the September 9 departure. Continue to the delightful town of Bellagio and explore at leisure. Spend the day exploring the treasures of Lake Como. Board a private ferry for a picturesque ride across the lake to Varenna. Behold a panorama of colorful waterside villages and. Activities include city walking tours, train rides through beautiful landscapes, and options for hiking. Guests should be able to walk several miles per day, sometimes over steep, hilly, or uneven terrain. We will be traveling at elevations ranging from 5, to 10, feet throughout the trip.

    Cruise to Vienna, arriving in time for a private evening concert in the gilded halls of the Palais Liechtenstein. Choose from among several excursions the following day. Alternatively, visit Bratislava for a guided tour of its old town. There is also the option for a tour and tasting at a local winery. Spend the next day in Salzburg, featured prominently in The Sound of Music. Set out on a walking tour that includes visits to the Royal Palace and Matthias Church.

    If you wish, set out on a guided hike to Lions Rock in the Buda Hills. Above: Passengers line the sundeck for unparalleled views of the spectacular Hungarian Parliament. Performers bring The Sound of Music to life in Salzburg.

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    Medieval strongholds like Marksburg Castle stand as a testament to the historical significance of the Rhine. Or choose to ride along the Romantic Road to the postcardperfect town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Spend a day taking in spectacular scenery along the Main River as we drift to our next destination. Or set out on a hike through the vineyards surrounding town.

    This evening, feast on medieval fare and local wines at enchanting Marksburg Castle. The next day, disembark in Cologne, a mosaic of Romanesque churches, modernist museums, and Gothic spires. Tour the city and its twin-towered cathedral, enjoy a guided visit to the Neanderthal Museum in nearby Mettmann, or stay on board for a tasting experience featuring western German cuisine. See timeless Amsterdam from the water during a canal cruise, and hear from our guide about its history as a center for art and seafaring trade.

    Alternatively, enjoy a guided visit through the Rijksmuseum, opt for a bike ride through the outskirts of the city, or head to Zaanse Schans in the countryside to see historic rural houses and iconic Dutch windmills. Depart for home on our final day. See the Scenic Ruby description, photo, and deck plan on page and Scenic Opal on our website. Airfare to Budapest and return from Amsterdam, or vice versa, is not included in the expedition cost.

    Award-winning travel and editorial photographer Susan Seubert has photographed more than 30 feature stories for National Geographic Traveler. Mark and Susan will join the September 24, departure. Choose from a variety of excursions suited to a range of activity levels from short walking tours to options for extended hiking and biking. Later, enjoy a private concert at a Baroque palace. Spend the day exploring the ancient Roman city of Koblenz, or venture to Cochem and discover this fairy-tale city on a guided tour.

    Alternatively, you may visit a winery or go biking. This evening, set sail. Alternatively, journey to Mittelbergheim and sample some of the wines for which the Alsace region is known. Or take a funicular up the hill, then hike back to town. Alternatively, explore the World Heritage site of Grube Messel, which was featured in a National Geographic magazine article. Then head to Edam and sample some of the round cheese for which the village is famous. Geographer and Dutch native Jan Nijman will join the July 30, departure. Find the photographer who will also join this trip on our website.

    Alternatively, hike through picturesque vineyards. Arrive in Budapest, embark the Scenic Amber, and enjoy a welcome dinner on board. Alternatively, explore Budapest through the lens of its Jewish history, hike the Buda Hills, or venture to the charming riverfront town of Szentendre. Cruise to Vienna, arriving for a private evening concert in the Palais Liechtenstein. Alternatively, travel to Bratislava. Stroll the storybook streets of Salzburg's Old Town, and visit Schloss Mirabell and its manicured gardens.

    Or venture to the historic salt mines outside Salzburg. Cruise the Danube to visit magical towns from Nuremberg to Vienna, and witness the customs that are unique to each port of call. Take in choral music and the spicy-scented air while browsing stalls. Explore charming towns like Regensburg and Melk, and see the halls of grand castles decked with tinsel and garlands.

    Visit our website for details. Above: A spectacular beacon on the banks of the Danube, Budapest's neo-Gothic Parliament emits a golden glow at dusk. See the Scenic Amber description, photo, and deck plan on our website. Airfare to Budapest and return from Nuremberg is not included in the expedition cost. Award-winning travel and editorial photographer Susan Seubert pictured left and Dutch native and art historian Paula Swart will join the July 19, departure.

    Arrive in Bordeaux and embark the Scenic Diamond.

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    The next morning, cruise to Libourne, and take a cooking class along the way. Alternatively, go biking through the vineyards and stop for wine-tastings along the way. Opt to explore it on foot, walking to historic wine estates. Cruise south to Cadillac and take part in a cooking class before a performance by local entertainers. Spend the next day in the Sauternes region, known for its dessert wines.

    After an evening cruise, attend a musical performance. The next day, go bird-watching with a conservationist in the Teich Bird Reserve. Dock in Bourg tonight. Sail into Blaye this evening. Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport or train station for your journey home. Award-winning travel writer Don George pictured left and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jay Dickman will join the August 26, departure. Dock at Antwerp and continue to Brugge, known for its Gothic architecture and picturesque market squares linked by cobbled streets and canals.

    Alternatively, stay in Antwerp and explore this stylish city. Alternatively, visit the Netherlands Open Air Museum, or go biking in nearby Hoge Veluwe National Park and hear about the local ecology from a park ranger. Discover the busy port city of Rotterdam, or visit a pottery factory and museum in Delft. Alternatively, explore the World Heritage site of Kinderdijk-Elshout, where 19 windmills were built around to drain the polders—the marshy lowlands that were reclaimed through the use of dikes.

    Or explore the charming village of Veere on foot or by bicycle. Explore the fishing village of Volendam. Then head to Edam and sample the round cheese for which the city is famed. Alternatively, discover Hoorn on foot with a guide or by bike. This evening, join local residents for a special dinner, enjoying traditional food, friendly conversation, and insights into life in the Netherlands.

    Disembark our ship the next day, and transfer to the airport for your flight home. See the Scenic Opal description, photo, and deck plan on our website. Prolific National Geographic magazine photographer Sisse Brimberg pictured left and geographer and Dutch native Jan Nijman will join the April 24, departure. Tarouca, tour the elegant town of Lamego, or visit Mateus Palace. Enjoy a day to relax on board as we sail toward Spain. Arrive in Porto and embark the Scenic Azure. Later, begin your cruise along the Douro. Choose from among several excursions as we continue our exploration of the Douro Valley.

    Drive to Provesende, perched high above the river. Sail back to Porto in time for a private concert. The next day, cruise to the Douro Estuary, and set out on a walking tour to a nature reserve harboring an array of birds. Transfer to the airport on our final morning. See the Scenic Azure description, photo, and deck plan on page Editorial and travel photographer Gianluca Colla pictured left and author and educator Tim Weed will join the September 23, departure. Add a three-day pre-trip extension to Lisbon or a three-day post-trip extension to Madrid.

    Cross into Spain and take in the Renaissance splendor of Salamanca on a guided city tour. Enjoy lunch in town, with live entertainment from flamenco dancers. Alternatively, opt to canoe the Sabor River, or visit the Casa Painova estate to taste their almond and olive products.

    Tonight, local musicians perform traditional Portuguese songs on board. Continue to Toulouse. La Roseraie or Le Centenaire. Used by humans for more than 80, years, these superimposed caves have yielded tens of thousands of artifacts. Cross into Spain en route to Santillana del Mar. The next day, view some of the oldest artistic representations in history on a visit to El Castillo Cave, where the paintings date back at least 40, years.

    Parador de Santillana Gil Blas. Continue to Bilbao and meet archaeologist and National Geographic grantee Dr. Ana Cristina Pinto-Llona for an examination of Atapuerca, where the oldest known hominin fossil remains in Europe have been unearthed. Airfare to Bordeaux and return from Bilbao is not included in the expedition cost. Paleoanthropologist and National Geographic grantee Chris Stringer will join the October departure. Some caves require crouching. Travelers can choose not to participate in some cave visits if they wish.

    Above: At the Altamira Museum in northern Spain, visitors get an up-close view of the breathtaking images found at the Cave of Altamira. Travel into the Chianti region and stop at the renowned Badia a Coltibuono winery for lunch and a tasting, then head to the medieval hamlet of Gargonza. Settle into the 13th-century castello of the Guicciardini family, and opt to join the chef for a cooking lesson. Soak up the medieval flavor of Siena on a walking tour and hike the scenic landscapes near Gargonza. Arrive in Venice and transfer by motorboat to our hotel overlooking the Grand Canal.

    Meet a local artisan to learn the science of traditional gondola construction, and access the private collections of Scuola Grande di San Rocco during an after-hours visit. Venezia Palazzo Barocci. Board a train to Florence, and take a walking tour of its historic center. The following morning, an art historian guides us through the Uffizi Gallery.

    Continue to Rome. Here, meet archaeologist Dr. Valerie Higgins, an expert in Roman archaeology who recently appeared in the popular National Geographic documentary series The Story of God. The next day, take in the grandeur of Vatican City with an early morning visit to its museums and the Sistine Chapel before they open to the public. Then visit St. Toast our Italian sojourn at a farewell dinner. Airfare to Venice and return from Rome is not included in the expedition cost.

    Writer, traveler, and broadcaster Tim Jepson will join the October departure. Activities include city walking tours and motor coach transfers between 2—5 hours. Travelers should be comfortable navigating uneven terrain, narrow paths, and cobblestoned streets. In Pisa, climb the leaning tower that has made the city famous, and take in amazing views from the top. Continue to Levanto, located on the Ligurian coast. Benvenuti in Italia! Later, gather for a welcome dinner. Hotel Della Conciliazione Meals: D. After searching for ingredients in medieval Trastevere, head to a pizza-making party.

    Take a short train ride to Riomaggiore, one of the villages of the Cinque Terre. Visit Manarola, then cruise to Vernazza. In Monterosso al Mare, savor gelato and focaccia. Make pasta at a family farm near Parma. In Venice, venture into the crypt on an afterhours tour of Basilica di San Marco. Team up with new Italian friends for a city treasure hunt.

    Try maskmaking at an artisan studio, and enjoy a gondola ride. Enjoy a farewell dinner. The next day, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Venice Palazzo Giovanelli Meals: Day Airfare to Rome and return from Venice is not included in the expedition cost. Families will team up with their new friends and follow clues in Italian and English—learning about local legends, famous artists, and other historic highlights of the city.

    Some sites, such as St. Arrive in Athens and transfer to our hotel. Begin the following day at the New Acropolis Museum, then visit the Acropolis. Explore the ancient Agora with a professor of classical archaeology. Visit the National Archaeological Museum. Travel south to see the Temple of Apollo and the Roman Forum with an American archaeologist who excavates the site.

    At Mycenae, discover an ancient grave circle, the royal palace, and the Tomb of Agamemnon. Visit an olive oil press in the village of Lygourio, then. Discover the mountain villages of Arcadia on our way to Olympia. Explore this evocative collection of ancient temples, altars, and a stadium, and visit the archaeological museum. Enjoy a wine tasting of local varietals before dinner. Depart the Peloponnese for mainland Greece. Arrive at the sanctuary of Delphi. Travel to Piraeus to view a mural by the Greek artist iNO. Return to Athens, and depart for the airport the next day. Venture into chapels and courtyards adorned with beautiful frescoes.

    The next day, stop at the mountain pass of Thermopylae, on the way to Athens. In the evening, enjoy a reception with a local expert to discuss the political and economic landscape of contemporary Greece. Grand Meteora Hotel;. Above: Perched atop a sandstone pinnacle, the Roussanou Monastery of Meteora appears to float among the clouds. Transfer to our hotel and join a guided storytelling walk before gathering for a welcome dinner.

    The next day, tour the Acropolis and visit the New Acropolis Museum. At the Athens Olympic Stadium, participate in Olympic-themed activities. Athens Hilton Hotel. Discover a treasure trove of ancient artifacts at the Archaeological Museum. Discover Mycenae with a local archaeologist. Walk through the magnificent Lions Gate, and learn about a civilization once thought to be mythical. En route to Athens, stop to view the Corinth Canal.

    Then fly to Santorini. Explore Fira, famous for its whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches built into the hillsides. Santorini Palace Hotel. Drive across the Rion-Antirion Bridge to Olympia. Check in to our hotel and enjoy lunch and time to relax before our Greek cooking and dance lessons this evening. Visit a pottery studio to learn the art of making ceramics by hand. Later, join local Greek children for a private sailing adventure with a sunset dinner on board. Learn about ongoing archeological work at Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement buried by ash. This evening, gather for a farewell dinner.

    Enjoy the day with your new friends, playing games on the beach and swimming in the warm waters of the Aegean. Many excursions will take place in historic buildings, temples, and outdoor archeological sites where walking surfaces are uneven. Transfers by private coach are between 2—3 hours. Accommodations are family friendly—and many have pools.

    Later, visit the hilltop fortress-castle called Palamidi. Amphytrion Hotel. Hutton for his wife, Marjorie Merriweather Post. Wander through the market to the Ethnographic Museum. Visit the New Acropolis Museum, then transfer to Piraeus and set sail aboard our elegant tall ship. Round the southern coast of the Peloponnesus peninsula, enjoying a full day of sailing. This tiny islet was created by anglers dropping rocks from their rowboats. Explore medieval Kotor this afternoon. Dubrovnik is regarded as one of the best preserved medieval towns in the world.

    Spend the day exploring the Old City, and enjoy a performance of traditional Croatian klapa music. Explore Hvar the next day, taking a tour inside the delightful walled city. International airfare to Athens and return from Dubrovnik, or vice versa, is not included in the expedition cost. National Geographic expert Grace Fielder will join the June 7, departure.

    Delos is the mythological birthplace of the ancient Greek twin gods Artemis and Apollo. Visit the main village, perched in the mountains, and see its beautiful domed churches and windmills. Explore the dazzling white monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, clinging to a cliff face above the sea. Arrive in Athens after an overnight flight and visit the New Acropolis Museum. Travel to Piraeus and settle into your cabin. Enjoy a glorious day of sailing among the idyllic isles of the Cyclades. Incomparable Santorini is an island archipelago formed from a single volcanic cone that erupted in the second millennium B.

    After lunch, visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri. See the Sea Cloud description, photo, and deck plan on page A diverse team of experts, including an expedition leader, a photo instructor, and naturalists, will accompany this trip. National Geographic expert Chad Cohen will join the August 31, departure. After lunch, explore the city center with a guide. This afternoon, team up with new French friends and design your own delicious pastry with the guidance of the boulanger of a local bakery.

    The next day, drive to a family-run lavender farm and join the owners for a guided tour of the distillery, where we get a close-up look at how perfumes and oils are drawn from these vivid purple flowers. Then head into the fragrant fields to collect sprigs for your own lavender sachet keepsake. Grand Avignon Hotel. Enjoy a special welcome cruise along the river Seine in a glass-enclosed boat. The next day, delve into the medieval heart of Paris with a guide, stepping into Sainte-Chapelle and Notre Dame cathedral.

    Then explore the Louvre Museum on a tour designed for families, or explore the city on your own. Then ride up this iconic monument for views over the city.

    2 Week Route 66 Itinerary: The Ultimate American Road Trip

    The afternoon and evening are free to enjoy the sights and flavors of Paris on your own. Travel into the Languedoc region and explore one of the most magnificent ancient sites in southern France: the Roman aqueduct known as the Pont du Gard. Walk atop this architectural wonder, then kayak the calm waters beneath it.

    Airfare to Paris and return from Marseille is not included in the expedition cost. Work together to make delicious French specialties, then design and bake your very own pastry. In our chef hats and aprons, we'll get to know our new French friends and learn the words for your favorite foods in French. Sightseeing in cities and smaller villages involves walking on crowded streets with uneven footing. From here, follow a varied trail through Alpine vegetation to Mont de la Saxe and Rifugio Bertone, where we take in sweeping views.

    A short, steep climb leads to a crest overlooking the pinnacles of Mont Blanc. We begin our hike from our hotel, entering the forest to reach a steep trail. Pass through farmlands on our way to the Grand Balcon, which affords fabulous views of the Chamonix Aiguilles. Traverse below these towering peaks and return to Chamonix by cog railway. Our next ascent skirts the Bionnassay Glacier to Col du Tricot. Wind our way to Miage before descending to the picturesque village of Les Contamines-Montjoie.

    Follow the Bovine route, named for the cattle that graze in these meadows. Return to Chamonix for a farewell dinner, and depart from Geneva the next day. Single rooms are not available; all travelers will be paired with a same-gender roommate when a roommate is available. We will stay nine nights in hotels, lodges, and simple inns, combining ideal locations and local alpine charm. Pay a visit to the German war cemetery at La Cambe.

    Arrive in London and visit the Churchill War Rooms, an underground bunker from which Winston Churchill directed the British war effort. The next day, travel to Bletchley Park, and discover the story behind the Enigma code breakers, who successfully deciphered the encryption used by the Wehrmacht. Return to central London to explore the H. Belfast, now part of the Imperial War Museum. Then visit the Airbourne. Explore the dramatic Pointe du Hoc, where U. Rangers scaled cliffs some feet high in order to destroy key German gun positions. Walk along cliff-top pathways, still cratered by mortar blasts, and venture into concrete bunkers used by the Germans.

    Travel to Arromanches, where the Mulberry Harbour still rises out of the surf. The following day, at the American Military Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, pay your respects to the fallen heroes by laying a wreath during a private ceremony. In the afternoon, drive to Paris and gather for a farewell dinner.

    Above: Remnants of the Mulberry Harbour known as Port Winston, built to transport supplies to Allied forces, can still be seen on the shores of Arromanches, Normandy. The itinerary shown describes the June 2 departures, which are one day longer than the other departures in order to include special remembrance ceremonies on Day 5.

    Airfare to London and return from Paris is not included in the expedition cost. Author and historian Tim Mulligan will join one of the June 2 anniversary departures as well as the September 15 departure. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to battlegrounds and museums, and strolls along bluffs and beaches. Enter Yorkshire Dales National Park near charming Orton, passing a prehistoric stone circle along the way.

    Hike along the River Swale, discovering waterfalls and enchanting hamlets tucked among the dales.


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    Stops along this leg of the journey include the market town of Kirkby Stephen as well as the ruins of Easby Abbey, Mount Grace Priory, and an 11th-century Norman castle. Meet our guide at Penrith train station for the transfer to our hotel in Cleator. Ennerdale Country House Hotel. Our journey kicks off with a coast-to-coast tradition: dipping a toe in the Irish Sea. Then set off along the sandstone cliffs of St. Spend the next three days hiking amid the glassy waters and craggy mountains of Lake District National Park. Descend to Great Fryup Head, an important region during the 19th-century iron ore boom, and continue along an old trade route to Grosmont.

    On our final day of hiking, walk through Scarry Wood up to the gorgeous waterfall of Falling Foss. During hikes, vehicle support is provided at various points along the way. We will stay in comfortable and simple family-run inns that offer true English hospitality. Above: Travelers take in majestic views of the North Sea as they walk along the cliff-lined coast. Continue to the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. Venture into Duart Castle, and take a ferry to the island of Iona. Visit the medieval abbey ruins, and stroll through the royal graveyard where generations of Scottish kings are buried.

    Continue to charming Tobermory. Lord of the Glens for the entire voyage Meals: Day 2: D. See the prehistoric standing stones of Clava Cairns. Later, set sail on the Caledonian Canal. Enter Loch Ness and learn about its legendary monster. Moor at Fort Augustus for a kayaking or hiking excursion. Glide down the tree-lined canal known as Laggan Avenue, or hike or bike along the towpath.

    Sail to the isle of Eigg, and get a sense of daily life on this tiny island community. Look for marine mammals, including Atlantic seals, minke whales, dolphins, and a variety of seabirds. Alternatively, visit the Isle of Rum, home of the lavish Kinloch Castle. Cruise on to the town of Inverie, and enjoy a drink at the most remote pub in the British Isles. Continue to the Isle of Skye. At the Museum of the Isles, trace the legacy of the 1,year-old Clan Donald.

    Disembark in Kyle of Lochalsh, and transfer to the Inverness airport for your return flight home. The extensions on the July 29 and all August departures include the Military Tattoo, while the other extensions include a special evening celebrating Scottish music and culture. See the Lord of the Glens description, photo, and deck plan on our website. National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson will join the June 17 departure. Above: A stone footbridge links the tiny tidal island of Eilean Donan and its historic castle to the mainland.

    Arrive in Dublin. Drive to Kilkenny and explore the medieval center and Kilkenny Castle. The Dylan Hotel; Pembroke Kilkenny. Meet the chocolatiers at Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory, then tour coastal Galway. Ashford Castle.