Archaeology vacations travel guide


Dating is big in the world of archaeology, with some finds using absolute dating techniques and others using relative dating techniques. Whichever dating you opt for, what we know for sure is that there is a lot of love out there for understanding the ancient influences on a place – a growing desire to delve into the DNA of destinations. Think of our archaeology vacations travel guide, therefore, as a dating profile to some of the world’s greatest spots, where travelers not only seek to explore how a place looks, but also the epic stories, colossal constructions and immovable feasts for eyes that can get hearts pounding. From Petra to the Parthenon to the Pyramids, expert archaeology leader guides bring you into worlds where there are no age requirements when it comes to wanderlust. In fact, the older the better.
Archaeology vacations are...

not just about going back in time, but also slowing down time so that you can dig and delve, hear the stories and breathe it all in.
Archaeology vacations aren’t...

just about ancient culture. Many combine history with hiking, dramatic sites with desert sands. Old stories with new ones.

Getting around the rocks


Forget any image you have of archaeology vacations being like grown up school trips, packed into steamed up coaches with boring guides. Archaeology rocks these days, and vacation providers are offering trips that get you pedalling up mountains, sailing across the Aegean or down the Nile on a traditional felucca. Just as the great buildings and sites that we visit were informed by the landscapes they were built in, so too can your vacations.

Pedal around the Peloponnese

Pedalling is very Peloponnese, and you can go on an archaeology vacation that is tailored to your needs. This way you can cycle around places like Nafplion on the coast, taking in sites such as the Venetian Palamidi fortress, or around Mycenae, where the ancient citadel is said to be the mythological King Agamemnon’s home. The beauty here, as you cycle from one ancient village is far from a myth though; it’s just sheer magic.

Go under canvas in Jordan

An hour and a half from Petra is the protected area known as Wadi Rum, or as the Bedouin call it, “Valley of the Moon”. This is southern Jordan’s desert, rich in Bedouin culture and highly protected for its natural and cultural heritage. Trips to Jordan nearly always include a night under the stars in this idyllic, isolated spot, staying with the Bedouin in one of their camps. Gazing starward, you will lose track of which century you are in altogether.

Wash off the dust at the beach

Archaeology lovers may happily walk and walk in order to get to grips with the greats, but many also love a bit of blissing out at the beach as much as anyone else. Downtime on archaeology vacations includes snorkelling in the Red Sea in Jordan; or in Greece, spend a week exploring the ancient sites in and around Athens, followed by a few days on the volcanic island of Santorini. Ancient fishing villages and coves are omnipresent in Greece’s Peloponnese and, on an archaeology vacation in Naples, the Amalfi coast boasts a bevy of bays.

Sail around Greece

Immerse yourself both in history and the Med by seeing the ancient sites of the Peloponnese Peninsula in Greece by going on a small ship cruise. Traveling with maximum 50 passengers, all staying in cabins overlooking the water, you can visit sites such as Olympia, Delphi, Epidaurus, Nafplion, Mycenae and many more, with an expert local guide.

Best time to go on an archaeology vacations


When I saw Petra lit by over a thousand candles, I could have stayed there all night. At one point I couldn’t tell the stars and the candles apart.

Archaeology vacations are usually small group tours, so your tour operator will choose the best times to go on an archaeology vacation to avoid extreme temperatures as you will be out and about all day, They also know when the local expert guides are available. On top of their tips, here are some pointers to help you choose the best time to go on an archaeology vacation in some of our history hot spots.

The vast majority of Jordan is desert, and so scorching during summer months. Most archaeology trips bow out of July and August. For many, the best time to visit Jordan on an archaeology vacation is March-May, with early spring bringing green valleys and temperatures in the teens. January is cool, with temperatures between 5°C-10°C. Winter in the Desert Loop can be cold and dry, so bring plenty of layers, especially if camping out.

Although the Peloponnese is pushing for perfection when it comes to climate, archaeology vacations don’t tend to happen in January and February. Hiking through ancient Arcadia when the wildflowers come out in spring, or when the olive harvests are happening in autumn, adds the perfect aroma to any archaeological trip. Some archaeology trips avoid the height of summer heat completely.

Similarly in Egypt, many archaeology tours avoid the peak summer season, due to heat and crowds. Temperatures start to dip a little in September and cruise ship crowds dissipate around October. Between then and February, you will need a jacket or a long sleeved top to keep warm. It also gets windy during March and April due to the 'Khamsin' wind. During the month of Ramadan (dates vary each year) some sites and shops close early.

In Egypt, if you time your trip to Abu Simbel Temples for the eves of Oct 22nd or Feb 22nd, you’’ see people gather to watch the sun illuminating three out of its four statues, leaving Ptah, God of Darkness, in the shadows.
Photo credits: [Top box: Pocholo Calapre] [Helpdesk: Randy Connolly] [From bikes to boats: David Stanley] [Pedal around the Peloponnese: Benjamin Vander Steen] [Go under canvas in Jordan: Guillaume Baviere] [Sail around Greece : Greg Schechter]
Written by Catherine Mack
Jordan archaeology holiday, Beyond Petra

Jordan archaeology vacation, Beyond Petra

World famous monuments & breathtaking desert scenery

From US $2125 12 Days ex flights
Archaeology vacation in Greece

Archaeology vacation in Greece

A small-group archaeology tour of Greece

From 1150 8 Days ex flights
Highlights of Ancient Greece vacation

Highlights of Ancient Greece vacation

A cycling adventure around the 'island of serendipity'.

From US $2015 9 Days ex flights
Guatemala rafting & archaeology vacation

Guatemala rafting & archaeology vacation

Stunning rafting & archaeology adventure in Guatemala

From US $4295 10 Days ex flights
Armenia archaeological tour

Armenia archaeological tour

Explore the main archaeological sites of Armenia

From £1189 9 Days ex flights
Greece self drive vacations, Vikos' Unesco Geopark

Greece self drive vacations, Vikos' Unesco Geopark

Self drive through Athens, Parthenon & Delphi

From 970 11 Days ex flights
Ancient Greece & beach vacation, small group

Ancient Greece & beach vacation, small group

10 days Classic Greece and Santorini

From £1049 10 days ex flights
Greece biking vacation, archaeology tour

Greece biking vacation, archaeology tour

Music Greek history and the Greek seaside beauty by bike!

From 720 8 Days ex flights
Southern Greece and the Peloponnese hiking holiday

Southern Greece and the Peloponnese hiking vacation

Exciting mountains and sea vacations in Southern Greece!

From 1300 12 Days ex flights
Photo credits: [Page banner: ]