15 incredible places like Machu Picchu you need to explore

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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 archeological 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


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


Image: Intrepid Travel

12. Ayutthaya, Thailand

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.

  • 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


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


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


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 Adiyaman

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

Store Discount Expiration Description Last verified Redeem
Up to 30% off Mekong River cruises

Deal expires

Valid on select journeys until 31 January 2018. Trips go through Cambodia and Vietnam.

Last verified

Up to 30% off tours worldwide

Deal expires

Valid on select tours departing before 31 January 2018, including tours over Christmas and continuing over New Year's Eve. Destinations include Peru, Chile, Argentina, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico and Cuba.

Last verified

16-day Vietnam and Cambodia tour from $1,199

Deal expires

Valid for travel until 30 September 2018. Also valid for Christmas and New Year. Includes accommodation, flight from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City, train ticket and more. T&C's apply.

Last verified

Trafalgar Tours Trafalgar Tours
Up to 10% off Asia tours

Deal expires

Valid on select 2018 tours. Destinations include India, Sri Lanka, Japan, China, Cambodia and more. T&C's apply.

Last verified

Up to $900 off Middle East and Africa tours

Coupon code expires

Valid on select dates from 1 January 2018 – 30 April 2019. Destinations include Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Kenya and more. Simply use the code at checkout for extra discount. T&C's apply.

Last verified

Show code ME****

After the store tab opens, come back to copy the code

Up to 50% off select tours: December special sale

Deal expires

Valid on select 2018 tours to Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, the Balkans, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Nepal and India. Conditions apply.

Last verified

Thailand full-day speedboat tour from $55

Deal expires

Valid for travel until 30 April 2018. Visit Phi Phi, Maya Bay and Khai Island. Includes lunch, hotel transfers and more. T&C's apply.

Last verified

5-star Asia flights from $846 return

Deal expires

Valid on select dates 19 February 2018 - 29 March 2018 with Cathay Pacific. Destinations include China and Thailand. Sample fare is Perth-Xian.

Last verified

Up to 40% off resorts worldwide

Deal expires

Valid for stays from 15 December 2017 to 15 January 2018, including Christmas and New Year's. Blackout dates and other conditions may apply. Destinations include Dubai, Maldives, Cambodia, China, Bali, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Thailand, Vietnam and more.

Last verified

Up to 40% off bookings

Deal expires

Valid for stays until 22 December 2017 at select hotels in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Maldives and more. T&C's apply.

Last verified

Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Latest Travel Offers

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • 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, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Ask a question