What does it take for a tour operator to get noticed these days? How about a stack full of first-hand encounters with history and several pairs of worn out shoes…
Peter Sommer walked some 2,000 miles across Turkey in the footsteps of Alexander the Great one summer in 1994 and never looked back.
After earning his PhD, the explorer-turned archaeologist and historian found a way to combine teaching with travel by directing expert-run tours through the cradles of western civilization with his successful, U.K.-based tour operation called Peter Sommer Travels.
The destinations served by Peter Sommer Travels now includes Italy, Greece and Turkey and every tour has a theme, a purpose and an expert to make all the intricacies and details of the destination come alive from centuries past.
One tour in particular may pique the interest of North American travelers. This is the company’s first-ever weeklong walking/sailing itinerary in Turkey, scheduled for May 2013.
Recognizing that American travelers often prefer weeklong journeys due to their time constrains, Peter Sommer Travels has condensed its popular two-week Walking and Cruising the Lycian Shore, creating a perfect one-week walking trip in Turkey. The Lycian Way follows 300 miles of ancient trails and mule roads, and this tour features the very best of these stretches for an average of about 5 miles of walking a day. Getting to these remote paths is via traditional hand-built Turkish gullet. It will be ever-present offshore and provide the luxurious transport, dining and accommodations for up to 24 passengers.
Walking will be complemented by fabulous swims in private coves, and archaeology finds that hide in plain sight all over these paths. The Roman roads retrace the routes of 2,000-year-old aqueducts and have supported the footsteps of travelers from Alexander the Great to modern day shepherds.
Departing May 18, 2013, the tour cost is priced at $3,100 per person double, land only, with all meals and accommodations, road transfers, crew and guide services, all entrance fees and tips on excursions included.
In-Depth in Crete
The legendary island of Crete is highlighted as another of Peter Sommer’s 2013 tours and it also caters to the time-deprived American market as a 12-day tour that takes a maximum of 16 guests.
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and its historical significance is second to none, ranging from Stone Age seafarers and Neolithic farmers to the mysterious and fascinating Bronze Age civilization of the Minoans. The island’s renowned Classical cities and the rich remains of the Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman cultures, lead us right through to its turbulent 20th century history.
As a result of its varied nature and past, Crete also claims a favored spot with food-focused travelers who appreciate its refined plays on Greek cuisine.
The Exploring Crete tour takes travelers to important ancient sites, including the famous prehistoric Minoan palaces, but also off track to explore many of Crete’s hidden gems via the tour leader, Heinrich Han, fluent in the Greek language and experienced in excavating, surveying, researching and travelling around Crete as a connoisseur of its archaeology.
The 12-day tour departs April 16, 2013, runs $4,343 per person, double, land only, inclusive.
Starring Alexander the Great
Finally, Peter Sommer has lead his intensive, 20-day signature tour In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great in the past but is trying something new in 2013 to make this journey more accessible to those who do not have a month to spare.
A new Alexander the Great tour Part One tours runs April 29-May 9, 2013, and provides the opportunity to retrace Alexander’s footsteps across Asia Minor, the first leg of his extraordinary 22,000 mile journey.
“Peter was the ideal person to help produce the 1998 ‘In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great’ TV series for the BBC/PBS. Peter had worn out 4 pairs of boots on Alexander’s trail. Who better to show how the conqueror’s story unfolded and how the locations helped mould the legend,” said David Wallace, Director, “In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great.”
The tour offers a true archaeological voyage, exploring the history and architecture of the cities on Alexander’s route, including Troy, where Alexander ran naked around Achilles’ tomb; Ephesus, one of the best preserved classical cities in the world; and Apollo’s great oracular temple at Didyma.
Similarly, in Greece, a new 11-day In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: Birth of a Legend itinerary is a condensed journey through the landmark sites of Alexander’s formative years, dominated by the rapid expansion of the Macedonian kingdom, as his father Philip II carved out vast new provinces. The itinerary explores this expanded realm, from the lakes and forests of Western Macedonia, to the rich and fertile heartland of the kingdom itself.
That tour starts in Thessaloniki, capital of Greek Macedonia and home to one of Europe’s most important archaeological museums, then continues to Aiani, an ancient Macedonian regional capital and site of one of Greece’s best-kept secrets. Mycenae, a stunning prehistoric citadel, inspired the works of Homer and in turn, Alexander himself.
Culinary highlights also abound on this tour, from the famous vintages of the wine regions at Naoussa and Nemea, to the full range of Greek cuisine, from simple and authentic tavernas serving seafood or local meat and vegetables to the heights of modern culinary achievement, always steeped in the local tradition and its basis of fresh high-quality ingredients.
Dr. Michael Metcalfe, also a scholar of Alexander and the relevant archaeological sites that surround his legend escorts The Birth of a Legend tour.
Both itineraries include accommodations, meals, airport transfers, and all entrance fees. Airfare is not included. The Footsteps of Alexander the Great tour is $4,122 per person double; pricing for Birth of a Legend, which runs April 15-25, 2013, costs $4,239.