Machu Picchu is widely regarded as one of the world’s most impressive and best-preserved archaeological sites, known for its abundance of ruined buildings, its vast agricultural terraces and its stunning views of the surrounding mountain landscapes. This ancient lost citadel is the most popular tourist attraction in all of Peru, with many visiting the country specifically to see and explore the ruins which date right back to the 15th century. This awe-inspiring place has been designated both a cultural and a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Thought by many to have once been an important Inca ceremonial centre, the site was discovered by Hiram Bingham, an American historian, in 1911; prior to this, knowledge of this once hidden-gem was limited to a small number of local Quechua people.
The ancient city lies on a crest of the eponymous Machu Picchu mountain and has an altitude just shy of eight thousand feet above sea level. Many visitors choose to stay in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes, and from where public transport by way of train and bus will take you to up to Machu Picchu itself.
The best way to experience Machu Picchu and the surrounding area is on a trek. The Inca Trail is jutifiably famous and if you can book early enough to obtain a permit, is well worth its placce on the bucket list. For those who aren't keen trekkers, we highly recommend the reduced 2 day Inca Trail which combines a moderate day walk approaching Machu Picchu via the famous Sun Gate, with the following day spent exploring Machu Picchu itself. If permits aren't available for the Inca Trail, then there is also the option of tackling the Lares Trail and the considerably quieter and more arduous Salkantay Trail.