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The ruins of Machu Picchu are famed around the world and no trip to Peru would be complete without an excursion to this 15th century Inca citadel.
But its popularity comes with a price – the number of tourists increase every year, with June through August being the busiest months. If you are looking for worthy, breathtaking alternatives without the infamous crowd, consider these ancient ruins. We’ve also included deals for flights and exciting local tours you can take when you’re there.
Image source: Chichen Itza
These ancient Mayan ruins belong to a UNESCO World Heritage site. While not as famous as Machu Picchu, the huge stone pyramids, the great ball court and the stone carvings dating back to 600A.D. draw in over a million visitors annually.
Image source: Tikal Park
The ruins of the ancient city of Tikal are found in the heart of the Guatemalan rainforest. The largest excavated site in the American continent contains ruins of temples, palaces and dwellings.
Known as “The City of the Gods”, Teotihuacan is home to two gigantic pyramids and was one of the most powerful cultural centres in Mesoamerica. Today, it is one of the most visited ancient sites in Mexico.
Image source: Peru Tourism
Spread over the arid plains of Peru lie the mysterious Nazca Lines. Flying is the best way to see these ancient lines drawn by the Nazca culture.
The lesser known sister of Machu Picchu involves a two day trek on mules. But those who brave the journey will be rewarded with lush wilderness, sweeping mountain views and a chance to explore the ruins minus the crazy crowds.
Pisac is famed for its lively markets and ancient ruins. This hilltop Inca citadel has an impressive agricultural terracing and impressive examples of masonry.
Reminiscent of Roman amphitheatres, the ruins of Moray were built for agricultural purposes. The concentric terraces make for a perfect photo opportunity and, since it is less accessible than other places, there are no crowds.
At the tip of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, over 80 ruins of the remnants of the Inca civilization can be found. Among the most spectacular are the Chincana Ruins, with its maze of stone walls with a small well of sacred water in the middle.
Known as Japan’s Machu Picchu, the Takeda Castle is one of the most famous castles in Japan. In autumn, the castle is shrouded in fog, giving an illusion that is floating in the sky.
Image source: Intrepid Travel
Angkor Wat contains the remains of the great Khmer empire and is one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. The architecture of these ruins embodies cultural, religious and symbolic values.
Image source: English Heritage
This prehistoric monument dates back to 3000BC and is one of the wonders of the world. To date, no one knows why the site is built but it continues to draw in visitors worldwide, making it the most popular European ruins.
Image: Intrepid Travel
The historical city of Ayutthaya is characterized by large towers and monasteries which serve as an indicator of the past glories of the Siamese empire. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Luxor lies on the site of the ancient city of Thebes and is dotted with many well-preserved ruins. Explore temples, sphinx statues and funerary tombs of some of the most powerful figures in ancient Egypt.
Image source: New Grange
This 5,200 year old passage tomb is located in Ireland. Older than the Stonehenge and Egyptian pyramids, it is a place of prestige and worship and used as a burial site for dignitaries.
The burial complex atop a mountain in Turkey is home to the beheaded gods of the past. This magnificent religious sanctuary was built so that the ancient kings can be closer to the gods.
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