During this still-pandemic-sensitive summer, vacation planning — especially for memorable escapes from the to-do list — can be tricky. If you’re looking for the best of the best tips to navigate, light, and ease your way, consider Stellar Tour Operator Abercrombie & Kent. Looking ahead to 2023, it has just released a cleverly curated new range of luxury small-group and limited-edition Marco Polo trips, adding 15 new itineraries to Africa, Argentina and Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Namibia, Nepal and Tibet, the Peruvian Amazon and Southeast Asia. These distant adventures – A&K’s most diverse portfolio to date – are more appealing than ever. Travel with a select group, limited to 18 people (but usually fewer), led by an A&K resident tour director, who handles all on-the-go logistics and opens the doors to insider access experiences. Included are private arrival and departure transfers, premium accommodations, luggage transport between hotels, gourmet meals, breakfast in bed (on select lazy mornings), complimentary laundry service mid -journey, design your day’s personalized activities and unique intricacies. adapted to each location to make these getaways a winning choice. Key: Every A&K small group trip is guaranteed with a minimum of two guests. A group of family members or friends can also create their own private itinerary. Here, the highlights of my three favorite horizons for 2023.
Small group luxury travel
Germany: Berlin to Bavaria, 10 days. This fascinating dive into the history and culture of Germany is powerfully instructive. Hear captivating stories about World War II – as you pass through Berlin’s remarkable Reichstag building, Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie (the infamous border crossing between East and West Berlin), the Boros Bunker and the Museum of the Stasi (revealing details of East Germany’s secret police). Admire the city’s now vibrant arts scene, too. Enjoy its young and edgy vibe. Berlin is bubbling with creativity. A local artist shares his perspective on the Berlin Wall. Taste classic culinary specialties, such as currywurst (popular sausage dish).
Then move on to the countryside to be enchanted by the storybook-style town of Meissen, where world-famous porcelain is produced; attend a private concert. Visit Proschwitz Castle and its vineyards for an exclusive tasting. It is the largest private cellar in Saxony. Back to an energetic metropolis, Munich promises a vibrant Bavarian culture. In its old town, on Marienplatz, watch the enormous Rathhaus-Glockenspiel clock turn, with its 32 life-size figures and 43 bells, as it re-enacts scenarios about 16th-century Bavaria; each show lasts 15 minutes. Take part in Munich’s culinary festivities on a food quest, beer toast and traditional beer dinner. Eat a schmalznudel (Bavarian donut). Then, marvel at your guide-led wanderings through the dazzling city of Dresden, where its reconstructed post-war buildings and treasure-filled museums dazzle once again. Enjoy the powerful music of Leipzig, where legendary composer Johann Sebastian Bach lived for decades. The picturesque landscape of southern Bavaria – dotted with fairytale castles, alpine lakes, baroque buildings – amazes. As we often say in Germany, Gute reise! (Have a good trip!)
Peru: Machu Picchu and the Amazon, 11 days. In Lima, savor the spices and great flavors of Peruvian cuisine: ceviche (raw sea bass marinated in lime juice, served cold), brazier pollo (Succulent roast chicken with refreshing tangy greens huacatay sauce, with black mint and coriander in an often creamy base) and Pisco sour (a cocktail shaken with Pisco brandy, egg white, lime and simple syrup). A fun bike ride criss-crosses the city. Fly to Cusco, then board a memorable train to take in breathtaking Andean views as you approach the iconic Machu Picchu and its high perched stone walls. Walk the last stretch of the Inca Trail. Trek in the Sacred Valley, accompanied by llamas. Stroll with a guide through this ‘lost city’, built atop the Inca Empire, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Picnic, with gourmet dishes, facing spectacular landscapes.
Fly to Iquitos, then head to the green area of the village of Nauta, located near the Marañón River, one of the three main tributaries of the Amazon. Meeting with the villagers. Attend a shamanic ceremony. The wildlife-rich remoteness of the Amazon River is fascinating. It is possible to canoe, kayak and swim in these crystal clear waters, while carefully spying for pink dolphins. Three-night cruise aboard the Elegant Aria Amazon, in the middle of the rainforest, stopping every day to walk around the Pacaya-Samira National Reserve (an area incredibly rich in biodiversity). The ship’s high-tech telescope provides exceptional stargazing under an inky black night sky, shimmering with planets and constellations. Board a skiff on the Samiria River to catch paiche, a large carp-like fish. Marvel at the flora and fauna. Walk through the jungle of a tropical forest for an unforgettable adventure in contact with nature. This stay surprises and soothes.
Limited Edition Marco Polo Travels
French Gardens: Paris & the Loire, 9 Days. Get ready to Oh dear! Francophiles and flower-lovers alike will swoon over this vibrant vacation, lavished with an extravagance of gardens and chateaux, extraordinary food and wine. Its remarkable hotels particularly impress.
Land in the City of Light, stay in a five star Le Bristol Paris, a masterpiece from the Oetker collection, which houses a magnificent interior garden and masterful restaurants. Start an exhilarating rendezvous with Paris, heading to the Jardin des Plantes, founded in 1635, now considered the national botanical garden of France. Then board the TGV for the city of Tours, gateway to the heart of the Loire Valley. Indulge in private in the gardens of Château de Villandry. Settle into the Château d’Artigny & Spa, the Belle Époque château built by the famous perfumer François Coty. Engage with the owner of the grandly ornamental Château du Rivau, where a private lunch is unveiled in his “secret garden”. In nearby Chinon, site of an ancient castle that was home to both English and French royalty, take part in a workshop on the medicinal uses of plants.
Walk along the Loire and follow its tributary Cher to the inimitable Château de Chenonceau, once home to Catherine de Medici. Take part in a master class given by the château’s chief florist, winner of the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France.
Settle into the comfortable Les Sources de Cheverny dating from the 18th century. In the nearby town of Chaumont, look forward to the International Garden Festival, during which the greatest designers of gardens from around the world come together to organize themed installations at the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire; on site, visit the castle and its historic stables, then sail on a river barge. Later, luxuriate in a private dinner at Château de Troussay, an intimate gem. Then, at the lavish Palace of Versailles, a passion project of King Louis XIV, explore lavish rooms, plus some of the 2,000 acres of gardens and parks. A champagne picnic here is a pinch and feel good affair. Sleep at the Tiara Château Hôtel Mont Royal, in the lush forest of Chantilly. Then let yourself be seduced by the huge Château de Chantilly, surrounded by moats; of historical importance, this dream castle contains one of the most important art collections in France. Attend his Table du Chef workshop, which produces the famous whipped cream, invented there. Candy for candy. Welcome !
To download A&K’s inspiring PDF brochure, go here.