By Mira Temkin
When you travel across the globe with Insight Vacations, the images you see, the exotic cuisine you taste and the places you discover become a part of you. Insight Vacations is known for premium escorted journeys with well-crafted itineraries that promote understanding of different cultures, making connections with the locals, and exploring historic sites with knowledgeable guides. Extravagant Gold Luxury vacations feature style and refinement, with the finest hotels, a range of epicurean adventures, and an authentic assortment of Signature Experiences; interesting, local experiences that provide a hands-on familiarity of a region, making the destination truly come alive.
Basque in the Glory of Northern Spain
Several years ago, I toured the Green Coast of northern Spain with Insight Vacations, which boasted beautiful scenery, dramatic landscapes and snow-covered mountains, all set against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. My most memorable stop was in Santiago de Compostela, made famous by its cathedral and the Way of St. James.
Tradition has it that the remains of St. James were found and brought to the cathedral in the town, an architectural wonder of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque design. For thousands of years, this site was a famous pilgrimage route. Today, travelers begin their spiritual journey from their front doorstep on foot, bicycle, even horseback. Many walk just for the experience, converging on the city as a celebrated accomplishment. Everywhere we went, we saw “pilgrims with backpacks.” Some stay for a day or two, others for months. Insight arranged for us to have dinner in the historic parador in the town square, (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which over time served as a hospital, prison and orphanage. With its many nooks and crannies, you could sense the history that played out here.
Celebrate India’s Distinctive Culture
Exotic India beckons with Holi, their joyous Festival of Colors. This ancient festival is one of the most anticipated celebrations in the Hindu calendar in March, and offers cultural riches, spiritual harmony and intriguing history. Insight Vacations takes you there with a range of itineraries.
“The Holi Festival provides an unusual way to usher in the spring after an unusually harsh winter,” said Phil Cappelli, President of Insight Vacations. “As the India Specialist, we are proud to offer guests the opportunity to discover India’s grand spectacle.”
Enjoy Signature Experiences like a lively rickshaw ride through Old Delhi, an exploration of India’s largest mosque, a visit to the lustrous Taj Mahal in Agra and free time to wander Jaipur’s famous bazaars. On other tours, you’ll journey to the coastal villages and ornate spiritual temples in Southern India. Signature Experiences let guests spin golden palm fibers into coil and tap them for a potent “toddy” drink. In Thekkady, you’re treated to a stay at an eco-friendly resort and joined by an expert naturalist for a cruise through the waterways of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Relax in the opulent Leela Palace in Chennai with spectacular seafront views and world-class amenities.
Discover Italy’s Best
Italy is one destination where you need the expertise of a guided tour to understand the history and background of this centuries-old treasure. In Insight’s new “Ultimate Italy” 13-day tour, you’ll visit Rome, Capri, Tuscany, Venice and other destinations with departures from April – October 2016. Signature Experiences feature exclusive Vatican City/Sistine Chapel with early access before it opens to the public. Stay at the renowned Capri Palace on the Isle of Capri where you can wander the peaceful streets in the evening after the day trippers have left the island. And, learn the secrets of Italian cuisine from a master chef with a Tuscan cooking demonstration.
Insight Vacations offers different styles of touring
For more than 35 years, Insight Vacations® has been designing the world’s finest escorted travel itineraries with 113 journeys to 36 countries in Europe as well as across North America, Morocco and Israel. You’ll enjoy The Art of Touring in Style® with business-class legroom aboard customized luxury coaches, intimate groups of 40 travelers and an experienced Tour Director who acts as “traveling concierge.”
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Luxury 5-Star South African Escape with Lion World Travel
Imagine being up close and personal with Africa’s magnificent wildlife. The elephants stalk. Lion cubs stop in the middle of the road as if they have all the time in the world. The zebras run swiftly in a herd. It all comes to life as you sit, almost breathless, in your open safari jeep. This is just one of the many amazing experiences Lion World Travel brings to travelers who seek a once-in-a-lifetime safari adventure.
New this year is the 10-day Platinum South Africa tour, which highlights a Bush Dinner under the African skies, wildlife safari and a scenic helicopter flight in Cape Town, named one of the New York Times top places to visit in 2014. Daily game drives in the Kruger National Park make you part of the untamed wilderness with accommodations at the award-winning 5-star Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa. Tour dates continue into the fall of 2015 and throughout 2016 with departures from 26 major U.S. cities.
Mira Temkin has a passion for writing and sharing her adventures across the globe. Her work has appeared in Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Lakeland Boating, Long Island Woman and more.