There is no better way to learn about history than by traveling to explore it yourself. You can be the Indiana Jones, going by yourself but especially when it comes to history, it goes without saying that make sure that you hire a local guide is the best advice for you. With an expert guide, you can learn as much about the area and the sites you are visiting as you can.
Here are 5 amazing historic holiday spots you can’t miss during your holidays all around the world.
But which ones are the ones you absolutely need to chase down for its beauty, historic significance and location?
1 | Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Anuradhapura is a capital city in the north-central province of Sri Lanka and is known for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilizations. Anuradhapura is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was a stable and economically flourishing capital during the centuries from 4th BCE to 11AD.
You can visit the famous Sigiriya rock which is an ancient rock fortress that offers beautiful panoramic views
Note about Sigiriya: In my article about my one week in Sri Lanka I also talk about it, but because I wasn’t able to climb it, I only could admire its beauty and I have sworn that I would be back for more!)
Be sure to also visit Ruwanwelisaya, a Buddhist Stupa which was built in 140 BCE. The structure is 338 meters high and houses interesting relics. There are also other ruins that you can visit such as Isurumuniya, Jetavanaramaya, Abhayagirivihāra and Kuttam Pokuna. If you are looking to have a historic holiday combined with a beach break, then Sri Lanka provides the perfect blend of fascinating history with incredible beaches to relax on.
2 | Vatican City, Rome, Italy
Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and it is a separate country that is surrounded by the city of Rome. It is the home of the Head of the Catholic Church, the Pope, and is popular for its spectacular art and architecture.
Take advantage of being in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and Go on a tour of the Vatican City, you can visit some of the most popular sites in the world and find out about the fascinating history. You can get special passes to visit that allows you to skip the line-ups and see many of the amazing treasures.
Be sure to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, probably the most beautiful cathedral in the world, the symbol of Rome and Christianity. And let’s not forget its incredible dome (Called “Cupola di San Pietro in Italian) a prominent part of the Rome skyline, and also please, please don’t get intimidated by the lines to go up on top of the dome.
It is SO WORTH THE EFFORT, trust me! Once you are up there, you don’t want to get back on the ground. Marvelous views of both Rome and the St.Peter’s plaza and on the back, the serene gardens of Vatican City.
Bonus tip: Go there in the late afternoon to admire the sunset from the dome, an experience that will leave you breathless. I did it more than 10 times when I was living in Rome! 🙂
Be sure to also visit The Sistine Chapel which has Michelangelo’s masterpiece, painted on the ceiling at The Vatican museum that is known for its art and treasures. The lines are even worse than the ones for the dome, the crowds can be annoying and some people complained that there was not enough time to admire this masterpiece.
Well, I totally get it, but when it comes to things of this magnitude, you simply have to forget everyone around you, absorb the majestic paintings like you are alone in the room and LIVE IN THE MOMENT. This is what I usually do in super touristy attractions and it truly works!
Keep an eye on the Obélisque du Vatican where the pope occasionally greets people from a tower. Be sure to take the time to stroll through the beautiful Gardens of Vatican City. After a long day of exploring and learning, you can enjoy a delicious dinner, as in addition to being a cultural hot-spot, Rome is also the perfect holiday destination for food lovers.
3 | L’Anse aux Meadows Newfoundland, Canada
L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland is a National Historic Site and is known for its Viking History. It is believed that the Viking where the first Europeans to reach Canada over 1000 years ago. You can visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site and explore the Viking History.
You can try weaving or blacksmithing, gather around the skáli (kitchen) and hear stories of the popular legends Thor, Loki, and Erik the Red. You can learn traditional Viking games such as throwing an ax spin yarn or take part in pottery. You can also step on a replica of a Viking ship the Snorri.
4 | London, England
London is the capital city of England and the history of this city stretches back to Roman times. This lovely city that hosted me for so long is a place which houses many attractions that choosing just a few one is a trying task. I’ve moved to London for six years so I know it very well and took full advantage of all its wonders!
You can visit Buckingham Palace to see where the royalty lives and see the change of the guard (which happens at certain times of the day) so make sure to be there at the right hours.
Also, you can visit other notable places right in the heart of the city such as the Tower of London, British Museum, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Palace of Westminster and the 306-meter high observation tower “The Shard” which offers stunning views of the city, especially at night of course!
There are many tours of London to choose from, so whatever you are interested in, there is the opportunity to visit with a knowledgeable guide and find out more. Be sure to take a ride on the London Eye and see the spectacular view of many of the historical sites of the city while riding in comfort on this giant modern day Ferris Wheel.
5 | Athens, Greece
Athens is the capital of Greece and is still dominated by the ancient 5th-century landmarks such as the Acropolis. You can visit Acropolis which is an ancient citadel which also houses the temple Parthenon and the Acropolis museum. You can spend your time in the Syntagma Square with its cafes, park benches, a fountain, and tree-lined walking paths.
You can visit Kolonaki if you wish to do some upscale shopping or have a fine dining experience. You can also trek or take a train to the Mt. Lycabettus which offers panoramic views of the city and If you like vintage cars you can take a stroll around the Hellenic Motor Museum which has a wide collection of vintage cars in a modern museum. If you have time, there are plenty of other excellent places to explore in Greece too.
Another place I have visited in Greece that is awesome for its historical sites is Thessaloniki, a beautiful city full of arts and ancient forts, definitely worth a visit. There is a beautiful fort right in front of the promenade and another one on top of the hill that gives you a breathtaking view of the city and the coastline!
Tip: Since you’re in there, even if this is a post about historical sites, if you also want to add a bit of wonderful beach time, head to Haldikiki, the beaches and the pristine seas will leave you speechless!
Have you ever been to any of these fabulous historical sites? There are so many more around the world if you want to add yours let me know in the comments and I will add it to the list!