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Cultural Tours

Our cultural tours offer something different. The destinations are often unusual, and our itineraries show you facets of that country rarely experienced by other visitors. Learn about the culture and history and gain real insight into contemporary life in each destination, with rewarding detours from the well-trodden tourist trail. You will travel with other open-minded, intelligent and questioning people. We also make sure that you have a lot of fun on what we hope will be the best holiday you have ever had.

Picture from the Midwifery in Iceland - FULL tour.

Midwifery in Iceland - FULL

24 June - 2 July 2017

** This tour has been designed so that it can be joined after the ICM 2017 Midwives Congress in Toronto ** Iceland is a magical island humming with energy and natural phenomena that turn everyday experiences - a walk, a drive, a dip in a pool - into something that will take your breath away. Its beauty comes from a vast volcanic landscape where mighty forces shape the earth: geysers and glooping mudflats, rumbling volcanoes swathed in ice and glaciers grinding their way through mountains. A rich cultural life, which celebrates a literary legacy that stretches from medieval sagas to contemporary thrillers by way of Nobel Prize winners, also encompasses live music and Nordic style.

As well its wonderful culture and landscapes, the local people are welcoming and creative and have a progressive, egalitarian sensibility. Here, midwives are known as ljosmodir, or 'Mothers of Light', which reflects the status that midwives have always held in Iceland, where formal midwifery training first began back in 1761. Although medicalisation has increased since the years when homebirths were around 70% (in the 1950s-60s), it is now steadily increasing again, and breastfeeding rates are among the highest in the world.

Experience the beauty and culture of this remarkable island while gaining insight into its midwifery and maternal services through a wide ranging professional programme, led by Professor Nicky Leap. 

Picture from the Yunnan, South West China and Tibet tour.

Take a journey from remote south west China, an area of incredible diversity in both landscapes and ethnic groups, each with their own dress, cuisine, beliefs and languages. Visit spectacular Lugu Lake in the remote northwest plateau of Yunnan, home of the extraordinary matrilineal Mosuo people. The Mosuo community were largely sequestered from the outside world until recently and their ancient, unique traditions and culture are still intact. Cross the mountains into Tibet, a land that is, above all, uplifting – both spiritually and physically. It is a land where the devotional dominates art, culture, architecture and politics on every level, and where Buddhism has settled more firmly than in any other country. Located on the “Roof of the World”, encompassing the highest points on the earth, it offers extraordinary landscapes and an almost otherworldly sense of tranquillity. Little travelled, wild and sparsely populated, this tour to the remote, fascinating province of Yunnan and extraordinary Tibet is for the culturally curious.

Picture from the History of Medicine Cruise in the Mediterranean tour.

History, medicine and culture intertwine on this journey through the Mediterranean. Travel amidst some of the richest culture and history in the world with Natasha McEnroe, Director of the Florence Nightingale Museum in London, and Simon Chaplin, Director of Culture and Society at the Wellcome Trust in London, from Lisbon to southern Spain and Gibraltar, up to Valencia and Barcelona, to the south of France and the French Riveria to Monaco, along the Cinque Terra coast in Italy to finish in Rome. Take a journey with visits and talks that encompass thousands of years of medical history on board the elegant 5-star Aegean Odyssey.

Cruise to a wide variety of fascinating destinations on board the intimate and stylish Aegean Odyssey in the company of like-minded people. Hear about the history of the Mediterranean on this cruise, and the important role it played in the history of Western medicine with a range of shore visits and talks as you cruise in boutique luxury through some of the Mediterranean's loveliest landscapes and towns.

Throughout the tour Natasha McEnroe, Simon Chaplin and the ship’s resident speakers will give a wide range of enlightening talks on subjects including the history of medicine in the area (see itinerary for details). A number of these talks will be private to Jon Baines Tours participants. There will also be a wide range of specialist shore visits, all of which are private to our group.

Picture from the Cuisine & Culture Cruise in the Mediterranean tour.

The culture, history and geography of a country shape its cuisine, as surely as waves and wind mould a landscape. On this cruise through the Mediterranean you will learn about some of the distinctive regional cuisines of Spain, France and Italy, while also examining the culture and circumstances that have shaped these countries, their people and their rituals around food and wine. 

Travel with respected food writer and restaurant critic, John Lethlean, and cordon bleu chef and writer, Kate Lethlean, through the stunning landscapes of the Mediterranean as they share their expert knowledge and convivial company on this gastronomic and cultural exploration of the Mediterranean. 

Picture from the Dental Cruise Along the Danube tour.

Dental Cruise Along the Danube

7 - 15 September 2017

A river cruise is like no other travel experience. The leisurely pace and the quietness of the ship create a tranquility unmatched by any other form of transport. Watch centuries of civilisation and stunning landscape unfold before your eyes as you drift along the Danube aboard the elegant Amadeus Princess. Enjoy the riches of culture, Gothic and Baroque architecture and spectacular river, lake and mountain scenery. This is Europe at its most magnificent and you will experience its sophistication, culture and charm first hand.