Holding your breath as you veer round hairpin bends, spellbinding landscapes sweep by in an endless panorama. Emerald-clad mountains shrouded in an ethereal mist tower over patchwork fields dotted with tiny villages. The Urubamba River snakes its way through the Sacred Valley below as you ascend the mountain and wait for the rolling clouds to reveal the magical ruins of Machu Picchu.
Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu holiday highlights
Sweeping Andean landscapes provide a spectacular backdrop for those in search of mysterious sacred sites and exciting adventures. Follow the ancient trails from the Sacred Valley of the Incas along the mighty Urubamba River, up to the mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu.
Nine miles north of Cuzco lies the stunning Sacred Valley of Urubamba, a 26 mile-long valley carved by a winding river. Once the heart of the Inca Empire, this fertile area is home to Inca ruins, colourful markets and small Andean Indian towns. Sweeping Andean landscapes provide a spectacular backdrop for those in search of mysterious sacred sites and exciting adventures.
Built in the clouds by the Incan Emperor Pachacútec in the 15th Century, Machu Picchu – known as the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ is revered for its impressive architecture, fascinating history, breathtaking setting and mysterious origin. Take a spectacular train journey to the ruins, or if you are feeling adventurous then hike the legendary Inca Trail. A trip to Peru would not be complete without discovering the awe-inspiring splendour of this legendary citadel, now officially recognised as one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’.
The picturesque town of Pisac was founded by the Spanish in 1570 and is home to adobe houses adorned with pretty blue balconies. The town's famous Sunday market is a wonderful place to explore, browse the handicraft stalls and stock up on authentic souvenirs such as alpaca wool, silver jewellery, trinkets and ceramics.
The quaint Inca town of Ollantaytambo, known locally as Ollanta, is a fascinating place to explore and serves as a fine example of Inca town planning. Boasting some of the oldest continuously-occupied buildings in South America, the town is home to some remarkably preserved Inca ruins. Huge terraces defended the moutaintop temple and fortress against attack from the Spanish conquistadors and a challenging walk up the steep terraces is rewarded with spectacular views over the valley. Transportation of the enormous stone slabs to the mountaintop site is a remarkable testament to the Incas' ingenuity and skill.
Avid trekkers can follow in the footsteps of the Incas on the legendary Inca Trail which starts in the Sacred Valley, follows winding paths past Inca ruins and ends up at magnificent Machu Picchu.