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 NEWSLETTER

Last year we celebrated our 27th year of trading and we would like to say a very big thank you to our clients who have been booking with us during this time. We are delighted to tell you that, even in a tough trading market, Marco Polo Travel continues to go from strength to strength. So, thank you!

Marco Polo is an independent travel agency which Polly Davies set up after backpacking in many different parts of the world and frankly we still love to travel. We feel lucky that the product we sell is the world and it still gives us a thrill to sit down with a client and discuss Madagascar, Argentina, the Azores or any other destination.

Our Core Values

We pride ourselves on offering exceptional service for discerning travellers and are passionate about what we do. Our core values are highlighted in the 10 key points below. Do consult us before choosing and booking your next holiday.

10 Reasons
We have a vast selection of travel brochures, most of which are not available through other travel agents, so if you are looking for something out of the ordinary we generally know of a tour operator that offers it. Several specialist tour operators, including ACE Cultural Tours, Flavours, Wild Frontiers, Ramblers Worldwide, Great Rail Journeys, Naturetrek and Undiscovered Destinations, which are generally direct sell, accept bookings from us because of our expertise in matching the right holiday to the right client.

We know that we have many customers who have become "clients for life" and we hope that those of you who haven't booked with us before will give us a try. With pride I can tell you that 87% of our business comes from repeat clients or referrals and we would like to thank our clients who have recommended us to their friends and family.

ArmeniaArmenia & Georgia

Go to Armenia and see the world's oldest leather shoe! This may not be the deciding factor in your decision to visit the country, but at over 5000 years old (well over 1000 years before the Great Pyramid at Giza was built) it is a significant find and displayed with pride in Yerevan's History Museum. A trip to Armenia and Georgia feels like a journey back in time because the culture and history of this region is so ancient and so rich that it is almost overwhelming. Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion, a fact reflected in its wealth of ancient churches and monasteries often hidden in verdant gorges or straddling rocky outposts.

With a long tradition of hospitality, Armenia is very welcoming with opportunities for wine-tasting, Armenian flat bread-making (lavash), walking and vocal choir recitals. Yerevan, a safe and easy city to explore on foot day or night, is an attractive mixture of architectural styles and with direct flights is feasible for a short break.

Exodus have a 14-day small-group tour of Armenia and Georgia for £2099; Explore have a 20-day small group tour of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan for £2398; Ramblers Worldwide have a new 14-day walking and cultural tour for £1979; Kirker have a 12-day tour with expert lecturer and guide for £2346; Regent Holidays have an 11-day small-group tour of Armenia for £1445, a 9-day private itinerary for £1535 or a 3-night break to Yerevan for £670, all with flights. Please call us for details on 0117 929 4123.

Kenyan Safari Experience
KenyaBelieve it or not, a long weekend on safari is a very distinct possibility these days. An overnight flight to Nairobi, a short hop across town to Wilson Airport and then a dramatic short flight will bring you to the heart of the Masai Mara in time for a mid-morning coffee. At the brown earth airstrip you will be met by your guide who will take you on one of the most exciting arrival transfers possible. The drive to your lodge or camp will take you across some of the most beautiful grassland landscapes of East Africa and by the time you have checked in to your accommodation you will probably have seen two or three of the "Big Five". You can then spend two or three days exploring this great ecosystem and all it has to offer. With a growing number of private wildlife conservancies adjoining the main game reserve, there is now the opportunity to experience all the Mara has to offer away from the crowds.

KenyaIf you have longer you could move on to another game area; perhaps the Samburu National Park and Buffalo Springs Game Conservancy. Here the landscape is more rugged while the game includes species rarely seen elsewhere such as Grevy's Zebra and reticulated giraffe.

Kenya's reputation as a premier safari destination is well founded. It offers a wide range of accommodation from comfortable lodges to small luxury tented camps, expert guides and, above all, access to some of the best game viewing in the world - not forgetting the fabulous beaches and island hideaways on the Indian Ocean Coast. Having lived and worked in Kenya we feel well qualified to assist you in choosing the safari to suit you best. Call us on 0117 929 4123 to discuss the wide array of safari options available.

For further insight into a holiday to Kenya, read Charles' Kenya Safari report in the Travellers' Tales area of our website.

New Ideas
We pride ourselves on offering the widest range of quality holiday experiences to our clients and we continually endeavour to source new products. Feel the romance of the open road, easy-rider style, and journey along evocative Route 66 across the United States on a guided motorcycle tour with US Airtours.

ideasWe know our clients particularly enjoy discovering the culture of their chosen destination and we now offer group departures with ACE Cultural tours where you explore the art, history, architecture and music with many tours featuring exclusive access to private homes, museums and collections. On the same theme, Authentic Adventures take you off the beaten track on painting, photography, walking and singing tours.

So many remote destinations have become more accessible in recent years and Wild Frontiers offer small-group tours to places which really capture the imagination - North Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the Silk Road. As real foodies at Marco Polo Travel, we love the cookery holidays, as well as pilates and painting, offered by Flavours in Tuscany, Puglia, Umbria and Sicily. Or why not indulge yourself on a wine tasting holiday with Arblaster and Clarke or Grape Escapes in the cellars of wine estates not generally open to the public and with invites into vignerons' homes.

These are just some of the new brochures we have on our shelves so pop in or give us a call for further inspiration on 0117 929 4123.

Antarctica and The Arctic
The Polar regions have never been so popular and the lure of the dramatic snowscapes and extraordinary wildlife of the Arctic and Antarctic is increasing, partly due to the centenary of Amundsen and Scott's race to the South Pole and partly because people like us who have been there come home and rave about it! It really is like visiting another planet with an incredible, unique energy and the vastness of the landscapes is awe-inspiring. You can explore isolated ice-filled bays by inflatable boat, look for polar bears and whales by sea kayak, hike or ski across the polar icecap, view massive penguin colonies, countless seabirds and gargantuan elephant seals and even do some mountaineering or camp out overnight on the ice, weather permitting. Each voyage has a polar team on board who bring it all to life with their particular in-depth knowledge such as ocean sciences, geology, polar history, ornithology and zoology.

PenguinWe recommend the small expedition ships which can get closer to the ice and wildlife. With capacity for just over 100 passengers our advice is to book early, particularly for the longer voyages that take in the Falklands and South Georgia for the King penguins and Shackleton history. Exodus has an 8-day expedition to the Arctic from £2530 or 15-day expedition to Antarctica from £5500 including flights and accommodation en route. Explore has a 9-day Arctic trip from £2645 and a 12-day Antarctic trip from £4328.

Please call us for a Polar brochure.

familyfamilyFamily Holidays
Family holidays can be tricky because it is often difficult to accommodate everyone's needs and desires. With young children a luxurious resort hotel or villa that offers childcare may be important and as children grow up perhaps more activities are called for, such as waterskiing or windsurfing. We have been successfully recommending family adventure holidays for the last ten years, where you join three or four other families either staying in one hotel and trying different activities each day such as mountain biking, trekking, canoeing and white water rafting, or moving around exploring the culture of the destination, and these are growing in popularity. Both The Adventure Company and Explore offer excellent activity weeks in the Pyrenees for £739 with flights and most meals. As parents, we have tried all sorts of different types of holiday and we can recommend family friendly hotels in Europe and further afield, as well as the best family adventure holidays, so please call us to discuss your family's needs on 0117 929 4123.

Achtung Berlin
berlinOne of Europe's most vibrant cities, Berlin is ever changing. Since the fall of the wall in 1989, it has blossomed into a metropolis of huge variety with cutting edge architecture, fascinating museums and great restaurants and watering holes. It is a city that has something for everyone. It is also a city on a grand scale and so it makes sense on day one of a short break to invest in a ticket on one of the hop-on, hop-off tourist buses. This way you can visit the main sights, get your bearings and pinpoint areas that you may want to revisit. For a lively and varied long weekend Berlin is hard to beat. It is well served by flights from London and many regional airports, including Bristol. Prices for a 3-night break including flights in low season start at £360 based on 2 people travelling.

Discover Portugal's Best Kept Secret
portugalBeyond the beautiful Algarve coast with its selection of wonderful villas and resort hotels is the lesser known Alentejo region where you can experience the real Portugal. The white sand Atlantic coastline here is pristine with picturesque whitewashed villages and historic hilltop towns crowned by medieval castles.

Spend a week in one of the historic hotels either on the coast or inland and explore the Royal City of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or the largest manmade lake in Europe amongst magnificent plains, cork forests, olive groves and sunflower fields.

With the introduction of a direct flight from Heathrow to Beja you can now fly right into the heart of the Alentejo; a week with a hotel and flights costs from £420 per person.

Please call us for a brochure on 0117 929 4123.

Easy Access Greece
Just a three-hour flight or so from the UK and you can be on the Ionian Islands of Corfu and Kefalonia. Both destinations are known for their hot spots which feature in many mass market brochures, but both islands have many more small villages, nestled round small harbours or lining pretty beaches, where the only accommodation is in studios or small guesthouses. From Corfu you can take a one-hour hydrofoil to the delightful island of Paxos, famed for its 1000 year-old olive groves.

Corfu's west coast is home to the small resort of Aghios Gordis on a lovely sandy beach with a good selection of studios and small village houses and a range of friendly restaurants. Just down the coast is the tiny resort of Maltas with a few studios and selection of restaurants - a perfect destination to get away from it all and enjoy the beach and peaceful walks.

The dramatic coastline of north Kefalonia is where you will find the upmarket resort of Fiskardo, popular with visiting yachts, and the colourful harbour town of Agia Efimia, where some properties overlook the bay.

greecePaxos is an island to which visitors are drawn time and time again.

The exquisite harbour at Lakka, tiny Loggos and the pocket-sized capital Gaios are all the best that any Greek Island can offer.

Sunvil and Greek Islands Club specialise in the quieter parts of Greece and have a wide range of studios, luxury villas and small hotels on lots of the smaller islands with flights from Gatwick, Manchester and Bristol.

Please call us for a Sunvil or Greek Islands Club brochure.

CALL US ON 0117 929 4123 TO SPEAK TO A TRAVEL ADVISOR
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 0900-1730, Sat 0930-1230 (appointments only)
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