View across Machu Picchu, Peru

• culture • scenery • hiking • history • adventure

The former Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, now a historic sanctuary, is one of those bucket-list places that you’ll never forget. Situated 70 miles northeast of the city of Cusco, the temple ruins and many terraces form a captivating spectacle atop the mountaintop on which they stand. Once a thriving hub of Inca culture, the site has now been designated as being of special significance in terms of cultural heritage.

The Intimachay section of the Machu Picchu complex contains a structure which was used to track summer and winter solstices and the motion cycles of the moon. Nearby, at Huayna Picchu, a similar ancient observatory performed the same function, which illustrates that the Inca practice of observing celestial phenomena with specially-designed instruments was commonplace.