We all have different goals for our vacations; whether we want to relax, adventure, or explore, we always learn something along the way. Travel lets us experience different wonders, cultures, food, beauty, and history from around the world. There’s history everywhere, but history buffs will especially love these destinations.
Of course, Rome is at the top of this classical history minor’s wish list! Like many other history buffs, visiting the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, Circus Maximus, and the Roman catacombs is the ultimate dream vacation. More than just ancient history, Rome is home to several more modern historic sites of importance like the Trevi Fountain, Sistine Chapel, and the Altare della Patria monument. There are countless historic landmarks in Rome, and in addition to several museums, one can enjoy delicious wine and food, excellent shopping, and much much more.
A trip to see the Great Pyramids should be on every history buff’s bucket list. Located right on the Nile, Cairo is home to the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, ancient mosques like Ibn Tulun, and museums full of ancient Egyptian artifacts and treasures. Visiting the Pharaonic Village just outside of Cairo’s city centre is as close to time-travelling as any history buff could dream.
Note: Until further notice, the Government of Canada recommends that no non-essential travel to Egypt be undertaken due to the security situation. Check the advisory for the latest updates.
Massachusetts is home to tons of colonial and maritime history, and while you’d be hard pressed to pick one event that took place in that state that captured the public imagination more than any other the Salem Witch trials of 1692 would certainly be a contender. Check out the Witch House to see the place where the trials took place, participate in a walking tour that explains the history of Salem’s ‘witches’, maritime lore, architecture, and heritage sites. If you’re also a literary buff, The House of the Seven Gables is a must-see. This house inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story of the same name and is where he was born. In addition to local legends and history, Salem offers all its visitors exquisite seafood, beautiful architecture to ogle at, museums, haunted and historic tours, and many other things to see and do. Salem is a guaranteed educational and informative dream destination for the American history buff.
Athens was the heart of Ancient Greece and the birthplace of democracy. There is classical history everywhere in the city! Seeing the Parthenon, the Acropolis of Athens, the Theatre of Dionysus, the Temple of Athena Nike, and several other ancient sites is a dream come true for the ancient Greek enthusiast or archaeology buff. You could even take a day trip to visit the Oracle at Delphi! Athens also has great food, several museums, walking, biking, and bus tours, lots of greenspace and beautiful hiking trails, and so much more to do.
Germany’s capital is one of the best cities in the world in which to learn about modern history. Berlin is more of a teaching city than an ancient relic city like others on this list. It’s a great place to learn about World War One, World War Two, the Cold War, and of course, the fall of the Berlin Wall. There are tons of museums in Berlin – including an entire island! There are traditional museums like the Jewish Museum of Berlin as well as Photoautomats spread throughout the city. Photoautomats are converted photo booths that actually work (for €2). The project began in 2004 as an initiative to get people to discover and explore the city. If you want to travel without a guide or itinerary, just follow the map of Photoautomats! The Brandenburg Gate is another must-see. It was once the divide between East and West Berlin but is now a symbol of unity since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Be sure to check out the Berlin Wall’s East Side gallery to see some amazing street art on the only remaining stretch of standing wall.
This over 3,000-year-old city is a must-see for every history buff. It is one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the world. It’s most famous attraction is, of course, the Great Wall of China. Construction on the Great Wall began in 770 BC which makes it an obvious attraction for history lovers. Although it spans across China, it is best preserved in Beijing. Aside from the big, obvious wall staring you in the face, the next stop for history lovers in Beijing is the Forbidden City which was an imperial palace from the Qing Dynasty to the Ming Dynasty. The Summer Palace is an almost 300-acre park with lots of greenspace, tea-houses, mansions, temples, and ancient pavilions. This spot was once a summer retreat for emperors but is now a popular tourist attraction. Aside from the many historical sites that Beijing has to offer, there are also several museums, shopping malls, flea markets, and both natural and architectural beauty to see.
Machu Picchu is a mysterious, well-hidden, and marvellous city in Peru. Construction began on the small, elite city in 1430 AD and it was either hidden or missed by the Spanish conquistadors (only being brought to the attention of the outside world in 1911), so it is well-preserved. You can walk by yourself or take a tour of the city. However, keep in mind that so much of Machu Picchu is still a mystery so consider any “facts” you hear as imaginative rumors. Pay attention to the architecture and stonework – it is incredibly sophisticated for its time. Check out the main temples, the carved sundial, and the beauty of the area. Machu Picchu is the perfect destination for history buffs who love to hike. Behind the city is the Wayna Picchu Mountain just waiting to be climbed! Although it is a steep ascent, there are some stone steps along the way and a cave you have to pass through. The hike itself is beautiful, and the view is breathtaking – making the effort well worth it.
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