Visit archaeological wonders to gain insight into ancient civilizations and fire up your imagination.
Here are the world’s top five most extraordinary sites, according to global travellers.
San Juan Teotihuacán, Mexico
Climb the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacán in Mexico
The ancient city of Teotihuacán forms one of the world’s oldest architectural sites, and demonstrates the incredible technological ingenuity of its creators. This collection of pyramids and other stone structures is believed to have been built about around 100 BC, with construction continuing for several hundred years. A civilization laid out on detailed geometric and symbolic principles, its mighty Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon possess great cultural and historical significance. And climbing the steps to their summit will give you a sweeping view of the entire site. Stay at Posada Jatziri, a highly rated accommodation just a 5-minute drive from the ancient pyramids.
Take a plane tour over Nazca's vast desert carvings
In the 1930s, a strange collection of ancient geometric patterns carved into the sand were discovered in the middle of the Nazca desert. Monkeys, pelicans, and even a man with an owl’s head, some of them 100 metres tall, have baffled the world since and led to supernatural theories around their creation. The archaeological consensus is that they were created by an ancient civilization between 500 BC and 500 AD. Today they are best seen from the air and there are plenty of small plane tours operating in the area. After a day spent exploring archaeological carvings in the desert, relax in a tropical plant-shaded hammock by the outdoor pool at B&B El Jardin.
Admire remarkably-intact relics in Ancient Kórinthos
Settlement of the area around Kórinthos has been traced as far back as 5000 BC, and its ancient, archaeological sites are both abundant and still in good condition. Having been ruled by the Greek, Roman and Byzantine empires, Ancient Kórinthos is home to relics and remains from all three eras. Take a moment to admire the remarkably intact Temple of Apollo, the foundations of a large Roman basilica and the Pirini fountain, among others. Stay a 5-minute walk from the ancient city at the highly rated Pegasus Rooms.
Herculaneum is even more well-preserved by Vesuvius' eruption than Pompeii
Herculaneum is a town named after the ancient Roman city that was flattened by the same Mt Vesuvius eruption as Pompeii in AD 79. But while Pompeii was quickly crushed by volcanic ash, Ercalano was destroyed much more slowly, and was eventually buried far deeper. As a result, its buildings are even more beautifully preserved, with some original floors, furniture, mosaics, statues and frescoes having been discovered since excavation began. It's truly hard to believe that they’re over 2000 years old. And – as a lesser-known destination than neighbouring Pompeii – you can expect fewer tourists, too. Stay at the Hotel Herculaneum, located just 50 metres from the entrance to the site, and enjoy its restaurant with a ceiling covered in leafy vines and twinkling lights.
Find fortresses hidden in the jungle in Peru
Amid cloud forest and mountains in Peru, the town of Chachapoyas is a gateway to ancient archaeological treasures hidden in the tropical vegetation. Though less famous than Peru’s high-altitude citadel, Machu Picchu, Chachapoyas is equally – if not more – astonishing. Chachapoyas’ pièce de résistance is the ethereal fortress of Kuélap but many other ruins of pre-Incan buildings and cemeteries can be found while trekking through the waterfall- and wildlife-filled jungle. Stay 150 metres from the main square in Chachapoyas at La Casa de Los Balcones.