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Top 15: NEW Trips for 2020

Posted on 9/3/2019 12:01:00 PM in The Buzz

On our new adventure to Ethiopia—and on every O.A.T. adventure—our small group size allows us to engage in meaningful interactions with local people, from village markets to private homes

We regularly introduce new destinations to satisfy the wanderlust of our most experienced travelers—and to inspire others to join us for the first time. From O.A.T. Small Group Adventures by both land and sea to comfortably paced vacations with Grand Circle Travel, our newest journeys span the globe from the Arctic to the Antarctic, Africa to Alaska, and beyond.

1. Ethiopia: Cultural Discoveries in an Ancient Land17-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Foothills of Mount Kenya: Safari Drives & Nature Hikes—7 nights; Post-trip: Alexandria & Cairo, Egypt—4 nights

Small Groups: 8-16 travelers (average of 14)

Journey to the Horn of Africa and discover the enchanting landscapes and timeless ruins of Ethiopia—home to early Christianity and a powerful kingdom that once rivaled ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire. Meet “Lucy,” mankind’s earliest ancestor, in Addis Ababa, the sprawling Ethiopian capital. Discover the massive stone obelisks of Aksum, legendary home of the Queen of Sheba. Witness the living history of Lalibela, where pilgrims worship in sunken churches carved from solid rock centuries ago. Explore the ancient stone castles of Gondar, Ethiopia’s former royal capital; and visit mystical monasteries dotting the islands of Lake Tana—source of the Blue Nile. And marvel at the breathtaking landscapes and jagged peaks of the Simien Mountains.

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2. Ancient Egypt & the Nile River16-day O.A.T. Small Ship Adventure

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Jerusalem, Petra & Amman—8 nights; Post-trip: Alexandria & Cairo, Egypt—4 nights

Small Groups: 20-25 travelers (average 22)

When you journey to Egypt and ply the legendary waters of the Nile on this Small Ship Adventure, you’ll experience a land of superlatives. In Giza, stand in the 4,500-year-old shadow of the only Wonder of the Ancient World that still remains. A stone's throw away, in the necropolis of Sakkara, witness the oldest pyramid on Earth stair-stepping up from the sand as a testament to the ingenuity of the 27th century BC. In Luxor, "the world's largest open-air museum," amble among the 200 acres of Karnak Temple, the largest temple complex outside of Asia. There, and on the opposite bank of the Nile, marvel at the grand monuments immortalizing Queen Hatshepsut—Egypt's longest-serving female ruler.

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3. Rwanda: Mountain Gorillas in the Land of a Thousand Hills11-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Uganda: The Pearl of Africa—5 nights; Post-trip: Tanzania Safari: Manyara, Ngorongoro & the Serengeti—6 nights

Small Groups: 8-13 travelers (average of 12)

Welcome to Rwanda, land of a thousand hills—a country that emerged from a devastating genocide a little more than two decades ago as one of Africa’s most magical travel destinations. Go for jungle treks into the mist-shrouded slopes of Rwanda’s Virunga Volcanoes to witness the antics of golden monkeys and to stare down one of mankind’s closest relatives during an intimate encounter with one of the world’s last habituated populations of mountain gorillas. Seek out the “Big Five” during game-viewing drives at Akagera National Park, a protected area in eastern Rwanda that is considered Africa’s best-kept safari secret.

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4. Scotland’s Legends & Lochs: From Glasgow to Edinburgh15-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: The Hebrides: The Isles of Skye, Harris & Lewis—6 nights; Post-trip: Southern England: Bath & Windsor—5 nights

Small Groups: 8-16 travelers (average of 14)

Rolling hills dotted with castles and churches overlook picturesque lochs ... winding cobbled streets hug stacks of stone buildings ... unspoiled Isles reveal secluded beaches and verdant pastures ... these settings have provided the background for Scotland's rich history, which is the stuff of legends. It's here that the Protestant Reformation changed the religious landscape of the country; where the beloved sport of golf originated; and where kings and queens shaped Scotland's politics. As we trace the coast of Scotland all the way down to its capital city, we'll get an intimate glimpse into the country's past, and we'll meet the warm, inviting locals that call Scotland home along the way.

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5. French Impressions: From the Loire Valley to Lyon & Paris17-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Normandy & Paris—6 nights; Post-trip: Bilbao & the Basque Country—4 nights

Small Groups: 8-16 travelers (average of 14)

France is many things to many people, and on this O.A.T. adventure you'll experience the many sides of La Republique. Beginning in Angers, gateway to the Loire Valley, you'll immerse yourself in French history and culture. Explore fairytale-like chateaux that conjure courtly duels, stroll the cobbled lanes of medieval hilltop towns and fortifications, and visit the setting of a World War II tragedy for a glimpse into a dark moment in France's history. Along the way, you'll do—and dine—as the French do: Venture to the countryside for a day on a rural farm, where you'll see how local specialties are produced, and eat your way through Lyon, France's culinary epicenter. Cap it all off in undeniably chic Paris, discovering the city as you've never seen it before.

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6. A South Pacific Odyssey: Australia, the Outback & New Zealand30-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Tasmania: Australia’s Natural Heritage—6 nights; Post-trip: New Zealand’s Bay of Islands—4 nights

Small Groups: 8-16 travelers (average of 14)

Australia and New Zealand are lands of stark natural and cultural contrasts. In Australia, dive into the controversial history of the country's original residents, the "First Peoples of Australia"—and in New Zealand, let the Maoris show you their ancient traditions. Thanks to the small group size, expert Trip Experience Leaders will connect you with these locals and give you an authentic and in-depth look at what daily life is like in the South Pacific. Equally as fascinating as the local cultures of Australia and New Zealand is the mosaic of landscapes. Visit modern cities from Sydney to Christchurch, remote sites sacred to Australia's "First Peoples" and Maori people like Uluru and Rotorua, and natural wonders from the Milford Sound to the Great Barrier Reef and the Outback.

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7. Turkey’s Magical Hideaways17-day O.A.T. Small Ship Adventure

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Azerbaijan: Baku & the Land of Fire—6 nights; Post-trip: Northwest Turkey: Kazdaglari, Canakkale & Istanbul—6 nights

Small Groups: 8-14 travelers (average of 12)

Discover multicultural treasures on a journey from the palaces and grand mosques of exotic Istanbul to the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia, a geologic wonderland in the Turkish heartland. Walk in the footsteps of saints and legionnaires in Ephesus, and then witness the cliff-top beauty of Antalya. Plus, you’ll ply the enchanting waters of the Turquoise Coast for four nights aboard a private 14-passenger gulet-style yacht—a modern version of the traditional wooden-hulled sailing vessels that plied the Aegean for centuries—where you can swim in translucent waters, witness Lycian tombs hewn into the cliffs, and visit a hidden bay where Marc Antony built baths for Cleopatra.

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8. Arctic Expedition: Untamed Norway & Svalbard16-day O.A.T. Small Ship Adventure

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Reykjavik & the Golden Circle, Iceland—6 nights; Post-trip: Copenhagen, Denmark—4 nights

Small Groups: 20-25 travelers (average 22)

The Arctic was once a place that only the bravest explorers competed to see. Today, you can be one of the lucky few to cross it off your list when you set sail aboard the 150-passenger M/V Hondius and journey north into the frozen wilderness. Your adventure starts in Oslo, Norway, where nature and art are higher laws. Then, fly to Longyearbyen in the Svalbard archipelago, and spend ten nights cruising among ice floes, alongside pods of beluga whales, and past the breeding grounds of guillemots and Atlantic puffins. With your Trip Experience Leader and knowledgeable Expedition Team by your side, revel in the thrill of discovery when you breathe in the crisp, pure air and marvel at the neon colors that the midnight sun paints the sky during the summer solstice, when it doesn’t set for a six-month period.

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9. Turkish Coastal Voyage: Greek Islands, Istanbul & Athens15-day O.A.T. Small Ship Adventure

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Ankara & Cappadocia, Turkey—5 nights; Post-trip: Athens & Crete—6 nights

Small Groups: 20-25 travelers (average 22)

Join us on a unique Turkish coast and Greek island cruise that sails the legendary waters of the Aegean—Homer's "wine-dark sea"—and captures all the glory of mythic heroes of the past. Discover the enchantment and scenic beauty of the Greek islands dotting Turkey's breathtaking Aegean coastline on a week-long cruise aboard a private 50-passenger O.A.T. small ship. Along the way, you and your fellow travelers will explore classical ruins, delve into ancient legends, and immerse yourselves in the charm and traditions of life in the Greek Islands.

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10. Antarctic Circle Expedition: Journey through Antarctica17-day O.A.T. Small Ship Adventure

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Bariloche, Argentina: Patagonian Andes & Lakes—3 nights; Post-trip: Iguassu Falls, Argentina & Brazil—5 nights

Small Groups: 20-25 travelers (average 22)

For the most intrepid explorers, a voyage to the seventh continent is a travel milestone. In this truly unspoiled land, majestic blue icebergs rise from a seemingly endless ocean, whales glide beneath the frosty waters, and leopard seals haul themselves up onto the shifting pack ice. On this two-departure-only expedition, you'll experience all of these highlights in pursuit of the ultimate Antarctic travel goal: crossing the Antarctic Circle. With 12 nights aboard the 98-passenger M/V Corinthian, you'll cruise even farther south to a region of Antarctica that few travelers ever see.

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11. Egypt & the Eternal Nile by Private, Classic River-Yacht16-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Jerusalem, Israel—4 nights; Pre-trip: NEW Jordan: Amman & Petra—5 nights; Post-trip: Alexandra, Egypt—5 nights

Small Groups: 8-16 travelers (average of 14)

Journey back to the days of the pharaohs and experience the romance of the golden age of travel with five nights aboard an elegant classic river-yacht—exclusive to our small group—as we slowly drift along the fabled waters of the Nile. Discover ancient Egypt’s enduring legacy, from the treasures of Tutankhamen in Cairo and great temples of Luxor to the remote Valley of the Kings and tranquil enchantment of Aswan. And our small group size also means we get to enjoy many personal interactions with the people of Egypt, from modern-day Nubians in Abu Simbel to fishermen and fellaheen (farmers) along the Nile.

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12. Alaskan Discovery: Denali National Park & the Kenai Fjords11-day Grand Circle Travel Tour

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Juneau, Alaska—3 nights; Post-trip: Valdez, Alaska—3 nights

Explore in groups of no more than 42 travelers

"The Last Frontier" is a land of unspoiled beauty. It's where you can find verdant fields of green that seemingly blend into mighty mountainous backdrops ... where seas of blue, filled with dancing seals and whales, are encompassed by gleaming glaciers ... and where quiet towns are nestled within vast forests. But while Alaska boasts spectacular landscapes, it is so much more than that. A fascinating heritage and rich history beckon to be discovered as well. When you join us on this Grand Circle Tour, you'll not only discover the majesty of Alaska's natural setting during explorations of Denali and Kenai Fjords National Parks, but you'll also feel the warm spirit of America's 49th state as locals eagerly await to share their traditions with you.

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13. Across the Andes: Chile’s Atacama Desert & Argentina’s Northwest16-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Santiago & Easter Island, Chile—5 nights; Post-trip: Buenos Aires & Coastal Uruguay—6 nights

Small Groups: 8-16 travelers (average of 14)

Journey with O.A.T. to discover the unexplored corners of Chile and Argentina—fiery canyons, rainbow-hued mountains, fields of towering cacti, and salt flats that stretch as far as the eye can see. In Chile, we’ll witness the world’s driest desert: the mighty Atacama, where wind-carved rock formations and pink-plumed flamingoes lend a surreal quality to the parched landscape. Then we’ll cross the Andes Mountains through a dramatic highland pass that takes us into Argentina’s little-known northwest provinces. Here, we’ll explore picturesque adobe towns, immerse ourselves in Argentina’s unique Andean culture, and sample some of the country’s finest wines in blossoming Cafayate.

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14. Cultural Capitals & Ancient Heritage: Mexico City to Oaxaca12-day Grand Circle Travel Tour

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Mexico’s Colonial Highlands: San Miguel de Allende & Queretaro—5 nights; Post-trip: The Yucatan Peninsula: Campeche & Merida—5 nights

Explore in groups of no more than 42 travelers

Journey south with us to reveal a complex and colorful cultural tapestry woven over time by ancient civilizations, colonial conquerors, proud revolutionaries, and more. Begin your journey in Mexico City—the country’s cosmopolitan heart, built upon the ruins of the Aztec capital, and now one of the largest cities in the world. Then immerse yourself in Mexico’s colonial history in Puebla, admiring its elegant architecture, gilded churches, and tantalizing cuisine, before ending your journey in Oaxaca, where you'll experience the city's deep indigenous roots, captivating contemporary art, and vibrant modern culture.

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15. Central Europe’s Past & Present: Berlin to Prague14-day Grand Circle Travel Tour

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Hamburg, Germany—3 nights; Post-trip: Highlights of Poland: Krakow & Warsaw—5 nights

Explore in groups of no more than 42 travelers

Discover the timeless charm of Berlin, with time to explore this historic city on your own and on an included tour. Visit the Wittenberg church where Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses and discover Leipzig, where he famously debated the Catholic church ... explore the magnificent Bastei rock formation located in the mountains of Swiss Saxony ... witness Dresden’s stunning renewal—still in progress since the end of World War II ... cruise down the scenic Elbe River in a 19th-century steam boat ... and round out your trip in Prague, featuring an included city tour of the iconic town squares where you'll witness the Old-World charm of the surrounding medieval architecture.

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