Discovering ancient wonders

Travel back in time to the ancient wonders of Cyprus, Turkey, Spain and Montserrat.

Tourists Visit Site Of The World's Oldest Structures At Gobekli Tepe

Eastern Turkey is full of ancient wonders. From Lake Van to Gaziantep a journey of 700 kilometres lasting six days you will encounter mosques, churches and monuments galore, says Anthony Sattin in the Financial Times. At Gobekli Tepe, "we were out of time". Not because the trip had reached its final destination, but because "we had left recorded history" behind. This small, recently discovered site is "among the most startling monuments... on Earth".

It was here, 7,000 years before Egypt's pyramids, that hunter-gatherers built what has been called the first temple. It consists of 20 circles of limestone pillars, some with carvings of human and animal figures. "I was here six years ago, before the publicity," says Sattin, when Klaus Schmidt, the archaeologist who excavated the site, was still alive. Then, there was an open hillside. Now, there are fences, car parks, a new visitors' centre, walkways and a huge canopy. "None of this detracts from the wonder of the place."

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

(A similar 13-day trip in June 2020 costs £2,895,

Ruins amid luxury

That's because, "on the outskirts of the thriving town of Limassol, with the Mediterranean Sea lapping at its back gate, the Amara occupies the site of the ancient city of Amathus". You can still see the ruins, including an ancient wall that was unearthed during the hotel's construction. It is now on show in the hotel's "impressive" spa.

Advertisement - Article continues below

(From £338,

Casa-Palacio de Carmona

Carmona's defensive gate, the Puerta de Sevilla, was built around 220BC. It was incorporated centuries later into an Arab alczar (fortress). Beyond it lies a necropolis, with excavated urns and statues. The high white walls of the churches, convents and palaces lend the Carmona its beauty. "Few towns are better suited to aimless wandering."

Stay at the Casa-Palacio de Carmona. It is a "spectacular, eccentric" 17th-century palace constructed by a conquistador after his return from Peru. (From €98,

Montserrat: the Pompeii of the Caribbean

Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat © Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In 1995, the Soufrire Hills volcano erupted in Montserrat and buried the capital, Plymouth, under a thick layer of ash. The island is therefore known as "the Pompeii of the Caribbean". It is now "one of the less-trodden spots for dark tourism" the trend of visiting areas marked by disaster, says Emma Featherstone in The Daily Telegraph. But given that tours of Plymouth are run by local guides, some of whom lived through the eruptions, "our visit didn't feel too voyeuristic". Montserrat Springs Hotel on Richmond Hill is one stop on the tour. It was once "the most luxurious" on the island, says Featherstone. Wearing foam masks, "we picked our way through the remains of a formerly plush reception area and headed out to the swimming pool, now overgrown with weeds". Guests were no longer to be seen "revelling in the views of Soufrire Hills and Plymouth below".

($159 as part of a cruise offered by Windstar,



Travel & holidays

Where to go in 2020

Broaden your horizons in the new year with a visit to these travel destinations.
17 Jan 2020
Travel & holidays

Take the waters at a spa in Tuscany

The pleasures of a trip to Tuscany taken out of season make up for the lack of summer sun, says Natasha Langan.
27 Dec 2019
Travel & holidays

Three great Christmas markets in Britain

Get out and enjoy the festive spirit at Christmas markets around the country. Chris Carter picks three of the best.
20 Dec 2019
Travel & holidays

The Francis Hotel: an oasis of calm in Bath

Bath's Francis Hotel is a tourist destination in its own right, says Nicole Garcia Merida.
13 Dec 2019

Most Popular

Share tips

Class acts going cheap: buy into Europe’s best bargains

Value investing appears to be making a comeback, while shares on this side of the Atlantic are more appealing on metrics such as price/earnings ratios…
16 Jan 2020

Currency Corner: how is the New Zealand dollar doing against its US counterpart?

The New Zealand dollar has been doing well against the US dollar in recent months, but has started to wobble a little. Is it still a buy? Dominic Fris…
20 Jan 2020
Share tips

Share tips of the week

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
17 Jan 2020
House prices

UK house prices may be heading for a Boris bounce

The latest survey of estate agents and surveyors from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is "unambiguously positive" – suggesting house pric…
16 Jan 2020