Whilst the temptation with travel can be to tick off as many countries as possible, for many it’s the thrill of returning to a treasured destination that tops their personal wish list. Responding to clients’ requests for itineraries that take them back to a favourite country or region to discover its lesser-known parts, specialist tour operator Voyages Jules Verne has further developed its Secrets collection – a tempting array of short breaks and longer holidays (from four to 17 nights) that do just that.
NEW to the Secrets collection for 2015 are:
- Secret Vietnam: Journey away from Vietnam’s main cities and resorts to discover the delightful people, characterful villages and dramatic mountain scenery of its more rural reaches. Travel south through the DMZ (Demilitarised Zone) and the Ho Chi Minh Trail to the extensive Vinh Moc wartime tunnels, visit the Imperial City and tombs at Hoi An, and onwards to picturesque Sapa – close to the Chinese border and in an area known locally as the ‘Tonkinese Alps’ which is also home to tribes such as the Black, Flower and Red Hmong, named after their distinctive dress. Departing 25 October and 1 & 15 November 2015, and 17 & 31 January, 11 & 25 February and 10 March 2016, the price is from £1,745 pp*.
- Secret Lapland: By contrast, this four-night trip takes travellers to a land of striking white winter landscapes where - weather conditions permitting - the Aurora Borealis may put on an unforgettable display. Accommodation is in three and four-star hotels (one night each in Luosto and Saariselkä, two in Nellim) although avid Northern Lights enthusiasts can choose to upgrade to an ‘Aurora Bubble’, settling down within its warmed glass walls to observe the Lights throughout the night. Other highlights include visits to an amethyst mine by snowcat, an insight into Sámi culture and heritage and a trip to a reindeer farm. Departing 24 November 2015 and 12, 20 & 26 January, 11 & 23 February and 12 April 2016, the price is from £1,295 pp*. Aurora Bubble supplement is £145 pp for an overnight stay. Two-night Helsinki extension available, from £350 pp.
… as well as four itineraries that are a real treat for Italophiles:
- Secret Rome: Afour-night stay in the Italian capital that explores the ‘Rome of the Popes’, city of Tiber and ‘Roman Rome’, with optional excursions including a visit to Castel St. Angelo (Hadrian’s Mausoleum), the Renaissance Villa Farnese and Le Case Romane del Celio (the ancient house of a Roman senator). Accommodation is at Casa per Ferie, an atmospheric convent guest house run by the Sisters of the Order of St. Joseph that sits in an enviable location, overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica. Departing 23 July, 17 September, 1 October, 12 November and 3 December 2015, the price is from £425 pp*. No single supplement applies on certain dates. Four-star hotel upgrade available, from £145 pp. Four-night Florence extension available (selected dates) from £345 pp.
- Secret Naples: Explore the palaces, castles, churches, catacombs and gardens of the ‘Kingdom of Naples’ during this seven-night trip that also spends time on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Ischia. While in Naples, enjoy a walking tour of the historic centre, visits to the old fishing village of Borgo Marinari, the fortified castle on Megaride island and the 14th century complex of Cerosa of San Martino, as well as private tour of the San Gennaro catacombs. On Ischia, a visit to La Mortella (the enchanting garden of the late Sir William Walton and Lady Walton), wine tasting at Giardini del Mediterraneo and tickets to the ‘Luchini Visconti Forever’ exhibition are among the treats in store. Departing 9 & 23 September and 14 October 2015, the price is from £875 pp*.
- Return to Secret Italy: Introduced by Voyages Jules Verne following the overwhelming success of its Secret Italy tour, this seven-night holiday is based in the pretty medieval town of Assisi, from which day trips by private taxi – accompanied by art historian, Roy Grant – uncover Italy’s rich cultural heritage, with visits to Orvieto, Ravenna and Perugia, as well as the beautiful garden at Villa La Force, created by Iris Origo. There’s also a free day for independent exploration followed by an evening at your host’s home for a buffet supper and Umbrian wine tasting. Departing 3 June, 26 August & 7 October 2015, the price is from £1,345 pp* based on accommodation at the three-star historic Hotel Dei Priori, in the heart of Assisi (formerly a 15th century palazzo). Hotel upgrade available, from £145 pp.
- Secret Sicily: This seven-night tour explores Sicily’s cultural and natural heritage in the footsteps of the popular TV series, Inspector Montalbano. Blending visits to UNESCO World Heritage Baroque towns including Noto, Caltagirone, Modica, Ragusa and Scicli with wine and olive oil tasting, and spectacular sightseeing, the itinerary also includes a private visit to a palazzo in Acireale, and a tour by private appointment with a specialist guide in Ragusa Ibla of the ‘Circolo di Conversazione’ club, the Donnafugata theatre and the private garden of Palazzo Arezzo-Bertini. Departing 31 August, 7, 14, 21 & 28 September and 5 & 19 October 2015, the price is from £975 pp* including two nights’ accommodation each in Acireale and Noto, and three in Ragusa. Two-night Catania extension available for £125 pp.
The Secrets collection also includes:
- Secret Balkans: Montenegro’s hidden gems reveal themselves during this eight-night journey, by boat and train, which also visits Albania, Croatia and Serbia. Departing 30 May, 19 September and 3 & 17 October 2015, the price is from £1,025 pp*.
- Secret Burma: Sailing on small Pandaw vessels that allow exclusive access by water to parts of Burma barely accessible by road, this 11 or 12-night itinerary cruises the remote Chindwin river, as it flows from the Himalayas through north-west Burma to join the Irrawaddy near Mandalay. Departing 8 July, 5 August, 7 & 28 October and 25 November 2015, the price is from £3,295 pp*.
- Secret India:This fascinating 14-night tour visits Karnataka, a region studded with an impressive array of temples, royal enclosures and intriguing historic sites. Visit the former British hill station of Ooty, tea and coffee plantations, cave temples, elephant stables and a Tibetan monastery, ride on the Nilgiri ‘Toy Train’, enjoy jungle safaris in Bandipur National Park and visit palaces galore. Departing 9 & 23 October, 6 & 20 November and 4 & 18 December 2015, and 8, 15, 22 & 29 January, 5, 12, 19 & 26 February, 4 & 11 March and 15 April 2016, the price is from £1,695 pp*.
- Secret Moldavia: Blending the less-visited north eastern part of Romania with fascinating, and still relatively unexplored Moldova, this week-long tour spends two nights each in Iasi and Radauti, and three in Chisinau. Departing 20 June, 8 August, 5 & 19 September and 10 October 2015, the price is from £895 pp*.
- Secret North Cyprus: Turkish Northern Cyprus remains relatively untouched by large-scale tourist development, making it the perfect place in which to enjoy quiet sandy beaches, characterful villages and hidden historic sites. Based in Kyrenia, this is a seven-night holiday. Departing 28 September, 26 October & 21 December 2015, the price is from £925 pp*.
- Secret Pousadas: A seven-night journey through Portugal’s beautiful unspoilt Alentejo region, staying in historic Pousadas throughout. Departing 27 June, 8 August, 26 September & 24 October 2015, the price is from £975 pp*. Two-night Cascais extension available from £245 pp.
- Secret Tanzania: Starting with a safari off the beaten track in Saadani National Park followed by further wildlife spotting in Selous Game Reserve, this 11 or 12-night holiday finishes in style, spending two nights at the prestigious Zanzibar Serena Inn. Departing 1 June, 6 July, 23 August, 6 & 20 September, 4 & 18 October, 1, 15 & 29 November and 6 December 2015, and 24 & 31 January and 14 February 2016, the price is from £2,695 pp*. No single supplement applies on certain dates. Five-night Zanzibar extension available, from £575 pp.
*According to the itinerary chosen, prices are based on two sharing (no single supplement on selected tours/departures – subject to availability) and include air travel, taxes, transfers, accommodation, some meals, a sightseeing programme and the services of guides and local representatives.
Booking with the best
Voyages Jules Verne offers 37 years’ experience of creating innovative and carefully assembled itineraries that cover a variety of themes and special interests, each underpinned by quality and value for money. All its arrangements are fully bonded with ABTA and ATOL, allowing clients to book with complete confidence. This is further affirmed by VJV’s Price Guarantee, which ensures that the price quoted to a client at the time of booking will be the price they pay.
Voyages Jules Verne was placed among the top ten UK holiday companies in a 2014 survey of Which? Travel magazine readers. Achieving an overall customer service score of 84%, VJV performed consistently against a set of criteria that included ease of booking, value for money and overall holiday quality, scoring five stars out of a possible five for the description of its holidays matching the reality.
Voyages Jules Verne has been nominated as a finalist in the Best Tour Operator category at the inaugural Silver Travel Awards - recognising travel companies which provide the best service, value and facilities for mature holiday makers - the winners of which will be announced on 4 June 2015.
To book, or to order a copy of the new Secrets mini-brochure, which contains further details of a selection of the tours listed above, call Voyages Jules Verne on 0845 166 7035, visit the website at www.vjv.com or view it online here.
To view VJV’s main World of Wonders brochure, spanning worldwide departures until April 2016, please click here.
Ends 21 May 2015
Press: For further information, contact Karen Carpenter at Travel PR on 020 8891 4440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. At Voyages Jules Verne, contact Prini Patel on 020 7616 1094 or email email@example.com.