updated 4/3/2008 12:27:28 PM ET 2008-04-03T16:27:28

Book by:ASAP
Travel by: Various through 2008

The deal
To stand in front of the world’s most celebrated historic sights is a travel experience of a lifetime. Nothing beats wandering through abandoned ancient cities, paying homage to gods at prehistoric temples, and meandering through age-old tombs. We scoured the globe for the most monumental of must-see historic sights and found packages to get you there for less. Choose between India’s Taj Mahal; the Acropolis of Athens in Greece; Peru’s Machu Picchu; or Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Air and hotel-inclusive deals to these stunning destinations now start at only $1,199.

Taj Mahal, India
One of the world’s most spectacular monuments is the white-marbled Taj Mahal in India’s city of Agra. A showcase of Mughal architecture (a fusion of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic styles), this wondrous mausoleum for Emperor Shah Jahan's deceased wife is a masterpiece of India’s heritage. Completed in 1648, it took 12 years to build, using the talent of masons, calligraphers, dome-builders, and carvers.

Now you can see this gorgeous beauty for a song! Friendly Planet offers an eight-day Taj Mahal Express package that starts at $1,499. This covers first-class lodging; airfare from New York; guided tours; and meals. You will tour the "Golden Triangle" of India, visiting the bustling capital of Delhi; the pink city of Jaipur with its colorful bazaars and stately palaces; and, of course, the dazzling Taj Mahal.

Acropolis, Greece
An imposing symbol of the ancient Greek civilization and its classical spirit, the Acropolis rises on a flat-topped rock 490 ft above sea level in the city of Athens. Several monuments grace this fortified area that dates back to fifth century B.C. Those include the Parthenon, a striking temple dedicated to the goddess Athena; the monumental gateway known as Propylaea; and a small Temple of Athena Nike.

This spring, you can pay tribute to the Greek gods by visiting Athens on the cheap. Virgin Vacations offers a six-night package to the Greek capital for just $1,199. This includes roundtrip airfare from New York; lodging at a midrange hotel (such as the modern and well-located Ionis hotel); and daily continental breakfast. This low price is valid for departures through May 15. Alternatively, you can wait till fall and book the same package for $1,149.

Machu Picchu, Peru
High up in the Andes mountains of Peru, at 7,875 ft above sea level, sits South America’s most famous humanmade wonder: the ancient city of Machu Picchu. Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", this complex of temples, terraced hills and lush subtropical gardens was built by the Inca Empire around 1450 but mysteriously abandoned a hundred years later at the time of the Spanish Conquest.

Discovered by an American historian in 1911, this astounding sight is now accessible to the public. You can check it out for practically peanuts with the Latin Destinations special we found, priced from $1,295 for June departures. The deal covers air from Miami; domestic flight to Cuzco; all transfers; and a seven-day stay in Lima and Cuzco, with a day trip to Machu Picchu. Lodging is split between two nights in the capital of Lima and three nights in Cuzco.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Spreading over some 38 square miles of lush jungle in western Cambodia, the temple complex of Angkor Wat was constructed between 9th and 13th centuries as the capital of the powerful Khmer Empire. Built for King Suryavarman II as his state temple and capital city, this fantastic compound of moats, temples, passageways, shrines and palaces is a stupendous testament to Khmer architecture, art and civilization.

Virgin Vacations makes it affordable to check out the intricate bass reliefs, elaborate carvings and impressive stone engravings of the Angkor temples. Their six-night Singapore and Angkor Wat package starts at $1,659 with airfare from L.A. or San Francisco; lodging (three nights in Siem Reap, the gateway to the Angkor temples, and three nights in Singapore); sightseeing (full-day tour of Angkor temples and a half-day tour of Singapore); the flight between Siem Reap and Singapore; and daily breakfast.

The dollars
The rates for the above packages are per person, based on double occupancy. For the Taj Mahal deal, the only available departures at this low price are in September but if you book by April 25 you will save $1,000 per couple! After that date, the price rises to $1,899. The Athens package goes up in price by $300 for later departures so you’re saving a chunk by avoiding the peak season in late spring and summer. The Peru special is excellently priced, as airfare only could cost you up to $1,000, let alone the domestic flights and lodging. The Singapore and Cambodia package is valid for departures through June 5 and again between August 21 and September 14. On other 2008 dates, this package, with the same inclusions, goes up to $2,279.

The catch
Be prepared to share these historic wonders with hordes of other visitors.

ShermansTravelis a guide to top travel deals and destinations. Sign up for Sherman's Top 25 e-newsletter which features the best editor-screened deals from hundreds of travel providers and is delivered to over 4 million subscribers, free, each week. ShermansTravel also publishes trip ideas and travel features to inspire, guide, and go.


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