15 incredible places like Machu Picchu you need to explore

Explore the world’s most magnificent ancient ruins that aren’t Machu Picchu.

Last updated:

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.

15 places like Machu Picchu

ChichenItza

Image source: Chichen Itza

1. Chichen Itza, Mexico

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.

  • Ruin highlights: El Castillo, Great Ball Court, Tzompantli, eagles and the jaguars, Ossario
  • Nearby things to do: Party in Cancun, swim with whale sharks at Isla Holbox, hang out in Playa de Carmen

Compare flights to Cancun


Tikal

Image source: Tikal Park

2. Tikal, Guatemala

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.

  • Ruin highlights: Temple One, Central Acropolis, Pyramid Five, Three and the Lost World
  • Nearby things to do: See the ceramic museum, watch sunrise and sunsets from the ruins, hike up a volcano

Compare flights to Guatemala


Teotihuacan

3. Teotihuacan, Mexico

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.

  • Ruin highlights: Pyramid of the Sun, Temple of Quetzalcoatl, Pyramid of the Moon, Avenue of the Dead, Teotihuacan Art
  • Nearby things to do: Hot air balloon ride over the ruins, botanical garden, learn more about the culture at the museums

Compare flights to Mexico City


Image source: Peru Tourism

4. Nazca Lines, Peru

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.

  • Ruin highlights: Zoomorphic (animals), figures, phytomorphic (plants and vegetables) and geometric designs
  • Nearby things to do: Mummies at Chauchilla cemetery, walk the Pardeones ruins, explore the desert

Compare flights to Peru


Choquequirao

5. Choquequirao, Peru

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.

  • Ruin highlights: White rocks in the shape of the llama, large structures with strong walls, places of worship and to store food
  • Nearby hotspots to visit: Visit the historical city of Cuzco, check out the view from The Sacred Valley of the Incas, visit the terraces of Moray

Compare flights to Peru


Pisac

6. Pisac, Peru

Pisac is famed for its lively markets and ancient ruins. This hilltop Inca citadel has an impressive agricultural terracing and impressive examples of masonry.

  • Ruin highlights: Agricultural terracing, Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Moon, Qorihuayrachina, Qanchisracay
  • Nearby things to do: Shop at the Pisac markets for artisan and antique goods

Compare flights to Peru


Moray

7. Moray, Peru

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.

  • Ruin highlights: Concentric agricultural terraces that look like giant craters
  • Nearby things to do: The small town of San Sebastian, visit the Church of San Pedro of Andahuaylillas and Paucartambo

Compare flights to Peru


IslaDelSol.Bolivia.Shutterstock

8. Isla del Sol, Bolivia

At the tip of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, over 80 ruins of the remnants of the Inca civilisation 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.

  • Ruin highlights Face of Viracocha, Refuge of the Sun, Refuge of the Moon, Footprints of the Sun, Labyrinth
  • Nearby things to do: Visit Copacabana, check out the panoramic views of Lake Titicaca, stay in Yumani

Search flights to La Paz


TakedaCastle

9. Takeda Castle, Japan

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.

  • Ruin highlights: North part (Kita Senjo), the South part (Minami Senjo), the West part (Hanayashiki) and the Centre where the highest spot (Tenshudai)
  • Nearby things to do: Hike up Mount Rokko, relax at the Arima Onsen, visit museums in Kobe

Search flights to Osaka


Image source: Intrepid Travel

10. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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.

  • Ruin highlights: Statue of Vishnu, galleries, bas-relief decorations, temples and towers
  • Nearby things to do: Head to Siam Reap, visit the National Museum, shop at the Old Market

Compare flights to Siem Reap


Stonehenge

Image source: English Heritage

11. Stonehenge, England

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.

  • Ruin highlights: Ring of standing stones, Neolithic houses, explore the ancient landscapes, visit the museums and exhibitions
  • Nearby things to do: Explore Avebury Complex, Wiltshire town and villages, water-based activities on the Kennet and Avon Canal

Browse flights to London


Ayutthaya.Intrepid

Image: Intrepid Travel

12. Ayutthaya, Thailand

The historical city of Ayutthaya is characterised 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.

  • Ruin highlights: Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit, Wat Phra Mahathat, Phet Fortress, Phra Chedi Suriyothai
  • Nearby things to do: Shop in Bangkok, explore Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, visit the Royal Palace ruins

Compare flights to Bangkok


Luxor.Egypt.Shutterstock

13. Luxor, Egypt

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.

  • Ruin highlights: East Bank Ruins, West Bank Ruins, The Valleys, City of Temples, Tombs of the Nobles
  • Nearby things to do: Luxor museum, relax on Banana Island, visit the Temple of Horus

Compare flights to Luxor


Newgrange

Image source: New Grange

14. Newgrange, Ireland

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.

  • Ruin highlights: Mound and passage tombs, Neolithic rock art, illumination by winter solstice sun, Knowth, Dowth
  • Nearby things to do: Hill of Tara, Trim Castle, Duleek Abbey

Search flights to Dublin


MountNemrut

15. Mount Nemrut, Turkey

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.

  • Ruin highlights: Well preserved statue heads of kings, ancient heroes and animals
  • Nearby things to do: Tigris River Roman Bridge, Diyarbakır city walls, town of Elbistan

Compare flights to Turkey


Ready to fly? Book using these travel coupons and deals:

Voyagin Voyagin

New Year sale: Extra $30 off with code

Available for travel on select dates in 2020. Destinations include Japan, Singapore, Bali, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea. Minimum spend of $350 applies. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Asia flights from $135 return with Scoot

Available for travel on select dates from 30 March - 30 May 2020. Destinations include Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, Philippines and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

Asia flights from $386 return

Available on select travel dates from January - December 2020. Sample fare is Melbourne-Bali with Malindo Air. Other destinations include Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, India and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Wotif Wotif

Up to 40% off worldwide hotels + Extra 8% off with code

Available on select hotels on any travel date, as long as it's booked by 31 January. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Hawaii, Thailand and more.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Trafalgar Tours Trafalgar Tours

Up to 15% off worldwide tours

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include Scotland, Peru, Italy, Mexico, USA, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Chile, Argentina, Egypt, Morocco and more. T&C's apply.

Last verified

Contiki Contiki

Up to 25% off last-minute tours worldwide

Book a range of last-minute Contiki tours, from week-long jaunts to month-long journeys, to destinations including Italy, France, Germany, Iceland, Greece, Vietnam, Thailand, USA, Canada and more.

Last verified

Otel.com Otel.com

Extra 9% off hotel bookings

Valid on select hotel stays worldwide like Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Thailand, USA, Europe and more on all dates, including over holidays like Easter, Christmas and New Year's Eve. Some restrictions apply.

Last verified

Skiddoo Skiddoo

Lunar New Year sale: Asia flights from $248 return

Available on select dates from 24 January - 1 September 2020. Sample fare is Perth-Bali with Air Asia. Other destinations include Singapore, Philippines, China, Taipei, Thailand and Japan.

Last verified

Deal ends

Anantara Anantara

Up to 40% off on advance purchase

Available for stay until 31 March 2021. Destinations include Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman and more. T&C's apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

STA Travel STA Travel

Up to 25% off worldwide tours

Available on select travel dates in 2020. Destinations include Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, North America and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Tucan Travel Tucan Travel

Up to 50% off worldwide tours

Available for travel on select dates. Destinations include Africa, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Singapore, India and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Lastminute.com.au Lastminute.com.au

Up to 40% off worldwide hotels

Available on select travel from January - February 2020. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, Hawaii and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Up to 70% off holidays

Book holidays to Thailand, Bali, Fiji, Maldives, Vietnam and across Australia at up to 70% off, plus earn 1 Qantas point per $1 spent. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Thailand flights from $310 return with Scoot

Available for flights on select dates from February - May 2020. Sample fare is Perth-Krabi. Other destination includes Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Last verified

Deal ends

Voyagin Voyagin

Extra $10 off with code

Available for travel on select dates in 2020. Destinations include Japan, Singapore, Bali, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea. Minimum spend of $130 applies. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Voyagin Voyagin

Extra $5 off with code

Available for travel on select dates in 2020. Destinations include Japan, Singapore, Bali, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea. Minimum spend of $80 applies. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

TourAmigo TourAmigo

Up to 45% off tours with Travel Talk

Available for travel on select 2020 dates. Destinations include Portugal, India, Egypt, Turkey, Bulgaria and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Wendy Wu Tours Wendy Wu Tours

Up to $1,880 off Asia tours for solo travellers

Available for travel on select dates. Destinations include China, India, Myanmar and Peru. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Emirates Emirates

Mexico flights from $1,849 return

Available for travel from 4 February - 30 November 2020. Sample fare departs from Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

Last verified

Deal ends

Destination International Destination International

8 days Egypt Nile River cruise from $899

Available on select dates from February - June 2020. Package include 5-star Nile river cruise, accommodation, on board meals, transfers and guide. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Destination International Destination International

15% off small group tours

Available on select dates in 2020 with an average of 15-22 travellers per group. Destinations include Morocco, Galpagos, Tanzania, Mexico, Croatia and more.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Wendy Wu Tours Wendy Wu Tours

Up to $600 off hotel with flights packages in Asia

Available for travel on select dates in 2020. Destinations include India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Tucan Travel Tucan Travel

Up to 50% off Central America tours

Available on select travel from January 2020 - December 2021. Destinations include Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico and Cuba.

Last verified

Deal ends

Tucan Travel Tucan Travel

Up to 50% off Asia tours

Available on select travel from January - December 2020. Destinations include Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Tucan Travel Tucan Travel

Up to 50% off South America tours

Available on select travel from January 2020 - March 2021. Destinations include Peru, Brazil, Easter Island, Galapagos, Chile and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Cruise Direct Cruise Direct

Free WiFi + drinks + 10% off excursions with MSC Cruises

Available on select 2020 travel dates. Destinations include Caribbean, Bahamas, Jamaica, Virgin Island, Mexico, Belize and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Cheap Flights Cheap Flights

Thailand flights from $309 return

Available on select dates from January - November 2020. Sample fare is Perth-Phuket with Scoot. Destinations include Bangkok, Krabi and Chiang Mai.

Last verified

Deal ends

TourRadar TourRadar

Up to 55% off Latin America tours

Available on select travels from January - December 2020. Destinations include Cusco, Mexico, Machu Picchu, Cuba, Belize and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

TourRadar TourRadar

Up to 53% off Asia tours

Available on select travels from January - December 2020. Destinations include Cambodia, Vietnam, New Delhi, Thailand, Laos and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Contiki Contiki

Up to 10% off Latin America tours

Available for travel on select 2020 dates. Destinations include Buenos Aires, Mexico, Rio de Janeiro and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Contiki Contiki

Up to 15% off Asia tours

Available for travel April - December 2020. Destinations include Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Phuket, Laos, Kyoto, Osaka, Cambodia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Travel Talk Travel Talk

Buy 2 for the price of 1 on worldwide tours

Available on select tours and departures. Destinations include Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Africa and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Travel Talk Travel Talk

Up to 45% off for solo travelers on worldwide tours

Available on select tours and departures. Destinations include Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Africa and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 10% off South America tours

Available for travel 19-28 March 2020. Destinations include Ecuador, Peru and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Trafalgar Tours Trafalgar Tours

Up to 7.5% off Latin America tours

Available on select 2020 dates. Destinations include Peru, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 25% off Peru tours

Available for travel until 26 April 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 25% off tours with code

Available on select tours until 31 October 2020. Destinations include India, Africa, Italy, Norway, Peru, Costa Rica and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

TourAmigo TourAmigo

Up to 54% off tours with On The Go Tours

Available for travel on select 2020 dates. Destinations include Peru, Bolivia, China, Russia, Vietnam and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

7-night Caribbean and Mexico cruise from $855

Departing on 30 October 2020 with MSC Seaside. Package includes meals, drinks, onboard entertainment and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Cudo Cudo

Thailand: 4-night getaway from $999

Available on travel date until 20 December 2020. Package includes accommodation in Centara Grand, meals, aromatherapy and more. Valid for 2 persons and 1 child aged 11 years and under. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Related Posts

Latest travel offers

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site