Do you enjoy visiting historical places in the world? Here are the top historical places in the world to add to your bucket list. Besides the places I have traveled to, I have asked some fellow travelers for some of their recommendations of the top historical places in the world.
Historical Places in the World You Must Visit
Table of Contents
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Historical Places in Africa
Heather Cole of Conversant Traveller
If you’re in Morocco staying in the cities of either Fes or Meknes, a day trip to Volubilis is highly recommended. Founded in the 3rd century B. C. this former Roman outpost is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and can be visited independently or as part of a tour.
About 30 km north of Meknes overlooking a fertile agricultural plain, Volubilis is one of the best-preserved Roman sites in North Africa, and was once the administrative capital of the region, with streets, parliament buildings, a temple, and residences for around 20,000 inhabitants.
Today you can still see the foundations and walls of many of these structures, as well as a triumphal arch, a basilica, and some mosaics that remain incredibly vivid in color, despite centuries in the sun.
The entrance fee is 70 dirhams, or if you want a local guide it’s 120 dirhams – and as there is little information around the site it’s a good idea to have someone who can tell you what you’re looking at! A tour of Volubilis takes around an hour, or longer if you want to take lots of photos.
Be advised that there’s little to no shade so take plenty of water and a sun hat to keep you cool walking around the large site. The easiest way to reach Volubilis is by taxi, which can be arranged by your hotel. Alternatively, you can take bus no. 15 from Meknes to Moulay Idriss (a hillside town a few miles from Volubilis), and then take a taxi to the site.
The Great Pyramids of Giza
Lindsey Puls of Have Clothes, Will Travel
The Great Pyramids of Giza were created over 4,500 years ago and are one of the best places to visit in Egypt. They were registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979.
Pharaoh Khufu’s Great Pyramid is the largest pyramid and is over 480 feet tall. Khufu’s son, Pharaoh Khafre, built the second pyramid at Giza. The third of the Giza Pyramids was built by Pharaoh Menkaure. It is quite a bit smaller than the first two, but it featured a much more complex mortuary temple.
The ticket price to enter the pyramids complex is 160 Egyptian pounds. You can also use this ticket to go in and out of the complex multiple times on the same day. However, if you would like to go inside of the Great Pyramid – this requires a separate ticket that costs 360 Egyptian pounds.
Some hotels in Giza are within walking distance of the Pyramids, the Marriott Mena House is the closest hotel to the complex. However, the most popular way to visit the pyramids is by taking a tour. This is also recommended as it will help shield you from the many hawkers here.
If you decide to visit the pyramids without a guide, just know that horse and/or camel rides are NOT a requirement – you CAN walk to the pyramids and to the panoramic viewing area. A lot of hawkers will try to tell you it is illegal to walk (especially to the panoramic view). This is absolutely not true.
There are even walking paths for you to follow! Ignore these people, unless you do want to take the ride (and be sure to negotiate the price beforehand and then pay at the end).
Historical Places to Visit in Asia
Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand
Milijana Gabrić of World Travel Connector
Ayutthaya Historical Park is a world-famous UNESCO World Heritage site in Thailand, one of the most beautiful places in Thailand and one of the most visited sites in Thailand. It’s no secret, visiting magnificent Ayutthaya temples is one of the best things to do in Thailand.
Most likely you have seen photos of Ayutthaya’s Wat Mahathat temple with the famous Buddha head in a banyan tree!
The picturesque city of Ayutthaya is located in central Thailand, about 55 miles (89 km) north of Bangkok. Therefore, visiting Ayutthaya makes one of the most popular day trips from Bangkok.
The ancient city of Ayutthaya was founded in the 14 century and it was the second capital of the Kingdom of Siam. The mighty Kingdom of Ayutthaya ruled the area of today’s Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, parts of Burma, and China and lasted for over 400 years. Powerful ancient Ayutthaya was a center of global trade, diplomacy, art, and architecture.
Outstanding ancient Ayutthaya palaces, temples, and monasteries were built in a unique cosmopolitan style, which was represented in a fusion of traditional Siamese art and art influences from India, Persia, China, Japan, and Europe.
In the 18th century, Burmese burned the city of Ayutthaya, and the Siamese capital was moved to Thonburi and Bangkok.
Today renewed Ayutthaya’s palaces, temples, and monasteries remind us of powerful Ayutthaya civilization.
Some of the best Ayuttaya temples are impressive Wat Chai Watthanarm temple, intriguing Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, popular Wat Mahathat temple with the famous Buddha head in a banyan tree, beautiful Wat Ratburana, fascinating Wat Phra Si Sanphet, lovely Wat Lokayasutharam, peaceful Phra Ram temple and distinctive Wat Phu Khao Thong. Unarguably, Ayutthaya temples are a must-see in Thailand!
While there is no entrance fee to the historical park, there are entrance fees for some more popular temples (from 20 to 50 Tai Baht per temple). But, clearly, they worth every single cent!
Angor Wat Cambodia
Claire Stokes of Lifestyle & Adventure Travel Blogger
Angkor Wat, in beautiful Cambodia, is the largest religious monument in the world and was the centre of the powerful Khmer empire for several centuries. During this time, Angkor Wat was the most advanced and most impressive city in the world, with more than 750,000 people living within the temple complex.
Dating back to the 12th century, the incredible temple complex with built of sandstone blocks that were floated more than 50km along the Siem Reap River on rafts. It is believed that around 6000 elephants and more than 300,000 workers contributed to the construction of Angkor Wat.
The complex was abandoned several centuries later, and the surrounding jungle proceeded to completely cover the temples. Some European explorers later ‘re-discovered’ Angkor Wat, and it has since been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1990s.
Today, Angkor Wat is one of the most popular historical and religious sites in the world. The complex receives more than half a million visitors per year and is, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in Cambodia. It located just 7km from the heart of Siem Reap, and you can either cycle there or take a local tuk-tuk. It is recommended to join a tour with a local guide so you can really understand and learn about the historical and cultural value of Angkor Wat.
It is quite an expensive attraction to visit, unlike most others in the rest of Southeast Asia. There are three options, a one day pass ($37/£28), a three-day pass ($62/£47), or a seven-day pass ($72/£55). Luckily, the days do not have to be used consecutively, but they must be used within the specified time frame. Most visitors opt for the three-day pass, as the complex is so huge, there’s no way you can see everything in one day.
Khajuraho Temples, India
Sundeep and Bedabrata of Delhi-Fun-Dos.com
The Khajuraho temples feature among the most famous Indian monuments and UNESCO Heritage Sites. These intricately carved temples were mostly constructed between 950 and 1100 Common Era by the Chandela dynasty and are stunning evidence of the zenith art, architecture and engineering reached in that age. A trip to India is incomplete if you do not visit this gorgeous heritage of humankind.
There are many ways you can reach Khajuraho located in Chhatarpur, in the state of Madhya Pradesh. A small airport at Khajuraho has regular flights from Delhi. That apart, one can take a train and it is barely an overnight’s train journey from Delhi. The roads here are in decent condition and one can choose to drive from any city nearby. Khajuraho is a small place and taxis and auto-rickshaws would easily take you to the temples.
The Khajuraho temples, dedicated to Hindu and Jain Gods, reflect a syncretic approach towards these religions in that era. History has it that there were approximately 85 temples spread over 20 km. Of these, 25 temples spread over 6 km have survived. Most of the Hindu temples are now of historical value.
The only live shrine is the Matangeshwara Temple where a beautifully decorated large Shiva Linga is worshipped regularly. The Jain temples have experienced continuous worship over the years. Kandariya Mahadev Temple is said to be the most beautiful shrine in Khajuraho.
That said, each temple is unique in its shape, or structure, or carving details and worthy of a visit. The Western Group of temples has many big shrines in close proximity and this complex is ticketed. A light and sound show is held here in the evenings. The other temples are free for all.
While exquisite carvings of Gods, humans, musicians and dancers, warriors and sages, animals, trees and flowers adorn the temples, Khajuraho temples are known for their depiction of erotica. However, contrary to popular notion, the erotic statues here do not titillate. They show love as a singular religion, as a way of life. Such imagery makes it evident that it was a very liberated Indian society 1000 years back.
Bulguksa Temple South Korea
Erica Riley of Travels with Erica
Bulguksa Temple is one of the most important historical sites in South Korea. It was built during the Silla dynasty by King Beop-heung to wish peace and prosperity upon his people.
The temple caught fire during the Imjin War and was heavily looted from 1592-1598. It was left in its burnt state until reconstruction began in 1920.
Bulguksa is a collection of a number of smaller temples. You can walk through the grounds and learn about the importance of each temple and the role it played in the larger complex.
Bulguksa Temple was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1995, and seven of the individual temples in the complex are Korean National Treasures and protected by the government.
The temple is located about 45 minutes outside of Gyeongju. Three different buses (numbers 10, 11, and 700) go directly to Bulguksa Temple and drop you off about 100 meters from the entrance. To get back to Gyeongju, you catch the bus at the same bus stop you got off at. The bus goes in a loop so get on the return bus on the same side of the street you got off.
There is an entrance fee of 6,000 won (approximately $5USD) to visit the temple, and there are small discounts for children and seniors.
It is open from 7:30am to 5pm October through February and 9am to 5pm March through September.
Bulguksa Temple is incredibly popular all year round and gets very busy. It is best to visit the temple first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Samantha Shea Intentional Detours Travel Blog
One of the most incredible places you can visit in Lahore, Pakistan is undoubtedly the Lahore Fort. The massive citadel became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 and still remains one of the best examples of Mughal architecture in South Asia.
The fort itself has been inhabited for thousands of years, though the modern structure that you can visit today was created in the 1500s. The Mughals occupied the fortress for nearly 200 years, and the most impressive additions to its design were commissioned under Emperor Shah Jahan, the very same man who is responsible for the Taj Mahal.
Three of the most beautiful aspects of the fort include the Picture Wall, the Sheesh Mahal and the Summer Palace. The Picture Wall is adorned with huge, colorful mosaics that are widely considered to be the “greatest artistic triumph” of the entire fort. Right next to the wall, you can see the elephant steps, which were constructed to be large enough for the feet of the elephants who routinely climbed them.
The Sheesh Mahal might be the most magical piece of the site, as it’s a room entirely made up of intricate mirror and fresco work. The Summer Palace is currently undergoing reservations but is a labyrinth of underground chambers that were historically only accessible via the very exclusive Sheesh Mahal.
The Lahore Fort is located at the northern end of the Walled City of Lahore, and is extremely close to two other popular Lahori historical places: the Badshahi Mosque and the Minar-e-Pakistan. The easiest way to reach the fort is by Uber Rickshaw, which is incredibly cheap no matter where in the city you’re staying.
As for fees, the fort costs 500 rupees ($3.17) to enter, which is more than worth it to be able to say you’ve explored one of the most mesmerizing historical sites in all of Asia!
Mal of Raw Mal Roams
Borobudur Temple (Candi Borobudur in the local language) is located on the Indonesian island Java, about an hour’s drive from Yogyakarta in Magelang Regency. Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site visited by millions of tourists yearly. It is also an important place of religious worship for Indonesian Buddhists.
The temple was built in the 9th century during the rule of Sailendra dynasty and has got some Indian influences too visible in its architecture. It covers a vast area and consists of several platforms with a massive dome in the centre of the top platform.
There are 504 Buddha statues scattered around the central dome, some of them hidden inside smaller domes, and the walls of the temple are covered in beautiful, intricate carvings.
The best way to fully appreciate this religious architectural marvel is to arrive early and watch the magnificent sunrise over the lush, green forest and hills covered in early morning mist surrounding the temple. It’s one in a lifetime experience that you will not regret!
The nearest international airport to Borobudur Temple is Yogyakarta where you can fly to from main airports worldwide. I recommend staying close to the temple complex if you want to visit it during the sunrise, which is highly recommended.
The entrance is $25 for adults and £15 for children up to 10 years old. If you’re planning to see Prambanan temple in Yogyakarta, it is worthwhile to buy a combined ticket for both sites which costs $45.
Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Mariza of Hoponworld
In a city filled with historical sites, it’s not hard to see why Kyoto is a firm favorite among culture seekers. Amid the many ancient sites that dot the city, there is one temple, in particular, that should not be overlooked – Kiyomizu-Dera.
Dating back to 778 AD, Kiyomizu-Dera is arguably the most important Buddhist temple in the city and a must-visit place in Kyoto. While it wasn’t the first of Kyoto’s 17 landmarks to be crowned with UNESCO status, it certainly is one of the most impressive temples you’ll ever witness!
Besides its significant religious importance and ancient history, there is yet another reason to visit here. And, that’s the incredible views. Perched on Mount Otowa in Southern Higashiyama, you’ll get unparalleled views of the grounds blanketed with lush forests. At the same time, the city and mountains create a picture-perfect backdrop.
Although the main hall, which was surprisingly built without using a single nail, is the shining star here, there are also numerous trails to explore. These lead to several small shrines, the Koyasu Pagoda, cozy tea houses, and even a sacred waterfall where you drink from one of its three streams.
The temple’s entrance fee is ¥400 (less than USD4), and the grounds are open from 6 am to 6 pm. During spring, summer and autumn, come back at night to enjoy the special night illumination. The last entry is at 9:00 pm. You can take either bus number 100 or 206 from Kyoto Station to get there.
The best time to visit is during autumn when you can see a kaleidoscope of colors no matter which way you turn. Spring is another great time to tour the temple, as you’ll get to enjoy the traditional custom of hanami (cherry blossom viewing).
Geena Truman of Beyond the Bucket List
Catching a glowing pastel sunrise over the Buddhist temples of Bagan is on many travelers’ bucket lists & rightfully so. Watching the warm rays of sunshine light up the crumbling pagodas, the sky painted pink and gold, with hot air balloons floating in the distance is a life-changing experience. 2,500 Buddhist temples, stupas, and monuments are scattered across the small Myanmar town—more than anywhere else in the world.
The ancient stupas are the remnants of the Pagan Kingdom of 1044. The powerful capital city of Burma that rivaled the neighboring Khmer kingdom of the time. Unfortunately, after the fall of Pagan, the temples fell into disrepair and aided by the high earthquake activity of the area–many of the more than 10,000 stupas have long since vanished.
Thankfully, in 2019 Bagan became a UNESCO-Heritage site. This means that the remaining stupas in the small rural village will be protected for future generations.
The historical site of Bagan spans over three very small rural towns about 190 miles Southwest of Mandalay; Nyuang U, Old Bagan, and New Bagan. You’ll likely arrive by either train or overnight bus as it is the most common form of transportation in the country.
When you arrive in the area you’ll enter the historic cities by taxi or tuk-tuk where you’ll pay a fee of $17.50 and be issued a ticket that is valid for 5 days in the area. You will need at least 3 days to experience the many areas of Bagan and to thoroughly explore the temples. Be sure to find a scenic viewpoint for sunrise and sunset or spring for a hot air balloon ride to get the bird’s eye view.
The Great Wall of China
Erin Tracy of Traveling Thru History
The Great Wall of China is one of the best-known historic sites in the world. Located in Northern China, the Wall was built to protect China from nomadic Steppe tribes. The original Wall was built around 700BC with later dynasties adding additional sections. Over time, the various parts of the Wall were connected to create one long wall that spanned roughly 13,171 miles (21,197lm). This treasured national landmark was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
To visit the Great Wall of China, you first need to decide which section you’d like to see. The sections nearest Beijing are the easiest to visit and each have unique characteristics: Badaling has complete military structures, Mutianyu is the longest and best-restored, Juyongguan has the most-used pass along with several temples, Jinshanling has a complete defensive system, Simatai allows night tours, Shuiguan was built over a river that has since ceased flowing, Jiankou is the most wild section that should only be visited by experienced hikers, and Huanghuacheng has the greatest variety in scenery.
The best time to visit the Great Wall of China is April-May when the weather is cooler and flowers are in bloom or September-November when temperatures go back down and the leaves start changing. Most sections of the wall are open 7 am-7 pm during the warmer months and 8 am-5 pm during the cold months.
You can get to the Great Wall of China by joining a tour or hiring a private taxi. Tours can cost anywhere from CNY500-800 ($75-120 USD) and will include stops to other places. A private taxi to the Wall can be as little as CNY500 ($75 USD) per person for a group or around CNY950 ($145 USD) for one person. Entrance fees for the different sections vary from CNY25-65 ($4-10 USD).
Over 10,000 watchtowers, spaced roughly 328 feet (100M) apart. Today, you will find the Great Wall of China much smaller than it used to be at 5,500 miles ((8,851km), though no less impressive. Time and man have caused sections of the wall to disappear, though there is still plenty for you to explore on your visit.
Patti from The Savvy Globetrotter
The Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, is a must on any travel bucket list. The white marble mausoleum was completed in 1643 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as an eternal symbol of love for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and it houses both of their tombs.
The grounds, which also include a mosque and gardens, are worth exploring but make sure to capture the iconic image of the Taj reflected in the water of the pool in front of it. While this landmark is jaw-dropping from far, an up-close look reveals intricate detail that is just as impressive.
The Taj Mahal is located in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh which is approximately 206 km from New Delhi, the national capital of India. The fastest way and easiest way to reach Agra from New Delhi is by train. There is also a bus service from New Delhi but it is significantly slower. Once in Agra, you can hire a rickshaw or taxi to reach the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal attracts millions of foreign and Indian tourists so it is usually very crowded. If you want to avoid crowds and extreme heat, it is best to enter when the gates open in the morning and walk quickly all the way to the reflecting pool in front of the main building.
There is an admission fee for entry – currently 1100 rupees for most foreigner tourists but the price is lower for Indian citizens and citizens of certain countries. There is also an extra optional fee of 200 rupees for those that want to visit the inside of the main mausoleum.
Historical Places to Visit in Australia
Chris Fry of Aquarius Traveller
Ayers Rock or the Aboriginal Name “Uluru” is a red sandstone rock formation located in the centre of Australia and listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Rising 348 Metres (1142 Feet) above the surrounding desert plains, it’s no wonder that Ayers Rock (Uluru) is visited by over 300,000 tourists each year.
The site is owned by the Pitjantjatjara, the Aboriginal people of the area, known as Anangu. In 1985 the Australian Government returned ownership to them with conditions that it would be leased back to the National Park for 99 years.
Both Uluru and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) are situated inside the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and there is a fee to enter. Prices are normally for a 3-day pass which allows plenty of time to hike and see the different areas.
Being in central Australia, the easiest way to get there is flying from any major city into Alice Springs or direct into Ayers Rock Resort. As Alice Springs is still 500 kilometers away, car hire is very popular to see Uluru and the surrounding sites in the area.
With a circumference of 9.4 kilometers (5.84 miles), one of the most popular activities is hiking around and exploring the waterholes, rock caves & ancient paintings. There are both Sunset and Sunrise viewpoints, Balloon, or helicopter flights along with a 50,000 solar light bulb art display to enjoy.
Due to extreme temperatures in Outback Australia, it’s advisable to carry plenty of water and complete the hikes in the morning. Along with that, it’s always best to visit in less excessive heat from March to October. Note this does carry over the winter months and can get a little cooler in the evenings, so always good to pack layers.
Port Arthur Historic Site
Andrew Strikis of Lap of Tasmania
These days the island of Tasmania is considered one of Australia’s most beautiful holiday destinations, but travel back in time to the early 1800s and it was a very different story.
European Australia was built on the backs of thousands of convicts, sent from England to the opposite side of the world to suffer for crimes as inconsequential as stealing a loaf of bread.
These penal colonies were tough, uncompromisingly brutal places in which to survive, and Port Arthur was the worst of a bad bunch. Physical and psychological abuse were common instruments of ‘rehabilitation’, and it only took 20 years for thousands of convicts to die beneath its stunning sandstone walls.
Fast forward 200 years and an exploration of Port Arthur Historic Site is a very different experience, to the point that it is now one of Tasmania’s most popular tourist destinations.
After years of neglect, the expansive grounds have been wonderfully restored, and multiple daily tours of the UNESCO listed site reveal the stories of the ‘battlers’ who eked out a precarious existence in this convict prison and its crucial place in Tasmanian history.
A ticket to the site provides two consecutive days of access to more than 30 historic buildings, including a free guided tour and a 25-minute boat cruise around the harbor. Tickets cost AU$40 for adults and for the remainder of 2020 children can enter for free.
Getting to Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula is very easy, and makes for the perfect day trip from Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania. You can either drive yourself, passing through the gorgeous historic village of Richmond along the way or take one of the many bus tours departing central Hobart.
Historical Places to Visit in Europe
Leadenhall Market, London England
Caroline Keyzor of CK Travels
Located in London’s historic financial square mile tucked between shiny skyscrapers is Leadenhall Market – one of the city’s most beautiful and historic covered markets.
Leadenhall was originally built in the 14th century as a meat, game, and poultry market and has been rebuilt several times over the years, surviving significant historic events including the Great Fire of London and the World War blitz bombings.
The old market was last demolished in 1881 and London architect Horace Jones created a more Victorian building in its place which is the current version that stands today. The new market is made from wrought iron and glass, enclosed by walls of red brick and Portland stone, topped by an ornate roof made from timber and glass, intricately painted in green, maroon and cream. The market became listed as a Grade II* building in 1972.
Nowadays the market selling meat no longer exists but the space is filled with wine bars, restaurants, cafes and boutique shops. It is currently one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, having been used as a filming location for part of the first Harry Potter movie (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) and the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. It is also a very popular spot for Instagrammers and photographers.
The market is tucked away between Leadenhall Street, Gracechurch Street and Lime Street and is free to enter 24 hours a day (business trading hours are Monday to Friday, 7am to 11pm). Leadenhall is easily accessible from either Liverpool Street station, Monument or Bank Tube stations.
Prague Castle, Czech Republic
Veronika Primm of Travel Geekery
The Prague Castle, located in Prague’s Hradčany quarter, is a UNESCO-listed site, together with the neighborhoods lying along the Vltava River – the Old Town, the Lesser Town, and the New Town – built between the 11th and 18th centuries.
The whole complex of the Prague Castle is officially the largest coherent castle complex in the world. While the heart of it was built in the 9th century, more and more buildings were added throughout the centuries.
The resulting mix is a beautiful one. St. Vitus Cathedral built in the Gothic style is the most striking one. It occupies the small St. George’s Square and it’s a challenge to fit it all in a photo. On the other side, there’s the much smaller St. George’s Basilica with a Romanesque look. Just around the corner, you can find the charming Golden Lane, a street with uniquely small houses originally built for Prague Castle guards but mostly used to accommodate local craftsmen.
The Prague Castle turns especially magical during Christmas time, with the regular Prague Castle Christmas market being organized there. If the snow falls, as it usually does in Prague winter, the atmosphere is fairytale-like.
It is possible to visit the castle complex and just stroll around – such a visit is free, you only need to wait to get through the security frames. Full admission to the Prague Castle costs 250 CZK ($11) and includes an entry to the Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Golden Lane. Additionally, you can go explore the South Tower with magnificent views for 150 CZK ($7).
You can’t overlook the Prague Castle, since it sticks out proudly on Prague’s cityscape. It’s easy to walk to from the city center, or you can take a tram – no. 22 and 23 get the closest. The closest metro stop is called Malostranská.
Skara Brae, Orkney Scotland
Suzanne of Meandering Wild
Skara Brae is a Neolithic village located on the shore of the Orkney Islands. Inhabited in about 3100BC, about 4500 years ago it was in use before the Pyramids in Giza and Stonehenge were thought about.
In 1850 a large storm blew away the sand dunes revealing the remains of the village. It is believed that there would have been 10-12 homes in the village although more may have been lost to the sea over time.
The houses are fairly intact and the central hearth (fireplace), bed boxes, and stone dressers can all still be seen in the houses. The turf roofs are missing but reconstruction in the adjacent museum gives an idea of how it would have felt inside the houses.
This village is a UNESCO world heritage site known as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney and includes the nearby Ring of Brodgar, Stones of Stenness, and the Maes Howe burial mound. All of the areas was an important centre in the Neolithic period with evidence of a number of villages as well as ritual and ceremonial sites.
Skara Brae is easy to find on the west coast of Orkney mainland. It is about 40 minutes drive from Kirkwall, the capital of the islands and there is ample parking. All of the tours of Orkney visit Skara Brae if you want to visit as part of a tour. There is an entry fee which includes a fantastic information center as well as the site itself. In the summer months, the entry fee includes Skaill House where the landowner who discovered the village lived.
Delphi in Greece
Dave of Dave’s Travel Pages
Delphi is one of the most famous landmarks in Greece. Originally a sanctuary site, it was considered by ancient Greeks to be the navel or center of the world. Pilgrims would visit from far and wide in order to pay their respects to the Gods and seek divine guidance from the Oracle at Delphi.
Today, the Archaeological SIte of Delphi is classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is most commonly visited on a day trip from Athens. Whilst it is possible to take a public bus from Athens to the modern town of Delphi which is a short walk away from the site, it is probably easier to take an organized tour. Another option would be to stay overnight in the town of Delphi, which would give you as much time as you like exploring the ancient ruins and soaking up the vibes of the site.
At the time of writing, the entrance fee for Delphi, which includes both the informative museum and the site itself costs 12 Euro. If you’re visiting Delphi independently, you might find it better to visit the museum before the site. If you’ve taken the tour, then a guide will be explaining most of the highlights and history along the way.
The archaeological site of Delphi is quite big and has several different sections. Set on the lower slope of Mount Parnassus it has a great location, and you can see why this was a spiritual center in the Ancient Greek World.
Highlights of visiting Delphi in Greece include the famous Temple of Apollo, the Theatre and the Stadium. An area that often gets overlooked but you should definitely walk the extra distance to is the Temple of Athena Pronaia. Delphi is definitely a destination to add to your must see list of historical places!
Moscow Metro in Russia
Ellis of Backpack Adventures
The moscow metro is maybe not the most ancient of historical places to visit in this world. It opened as recently as 1935 and is thus less than a 100 years old. Yet, in its short existence it developed into a relic of Russia’s Soviet past. There is no other place in Moscow that represents the communist ideology of that time so well.
Moscow’s metro was built by Stalin and it was one of his most prestigious projects. He did not only want an efficient system to transport laborers from A to B in a crowded city, but the metro stations were to become the palaces of the people as well. A place that impressed people and portrayed soviet ideology at the same time.
Stalin took great care in designing each station. There is lots of marble, lofty ceilings with chandeliers and beautiful mosaics. Each station has its own style and is a unique work of art. Common themes are the agricultural and industrial achievements of the Soviet Union and the Great Patriotic war.
The Moscow Metro also reflect the period of the cold war. Some are built as deep as possible to also act like a nuclear bomb shelter with thick blast doors that will close in case of an attack. Nowadays the Moscow metro is one of the busiest metro networks in the world with more than 7 million travelers a day.
The most beautiful stations built by Stalin are along the historic brown, green and blue lines. You can explore the metro with a guide, but it is also easy to go on your own. A self-guided Moscow metro tour will cost you less than a dollar and could take between 4 to 5 hours.
Tower of London, England
Nichola of Family Hotel Expert
The Tower of London is situated in the heart of the city, is officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace, and has a strategic position on the banks of the River Thames. A UNESCO World Heritage Site the castle was first built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and the middle, original part of the Tower is still there.
This building has seen such a varied life, from prison, torture chamber, Royal Palace. From the time of its inception, it was one of the most important buildings in the UK and controlling it was seen as being key to keeping control over the UK.
Indeed even today the ravens that roam the grounds are seen as being a marker as to the success of the building – legend has it that if the ravens leave the kingdom will fall so at least seven still remain on the grounds. Today you can see so much of the history of the UK here at the Tower of London.
Perhaps the most evocative building is the Bloody Tower where the 15th-century princes were imprisoned and disappeared from. Today you can see the site in the White Tower where their bones were discovered in the 17th century. For a less gruesome sight, you can see the Crown Jewels and this priceless collection of sparkling gems that have been used by the Royal Family through the ages.
Getting to the Tower of London is very straightforward – take the underground to Tower Hill Station or take a boat trip up the Thames to arrive as many prisoners would have. There are some great London hotels for families to stay nearby which is useful as you’ll want to spend as long as possible here, there is so much to see.
Colosseum in Rome
Jiayi of The Diary of a Nomad
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy is undoubtedly one of the most incredible historical places to visit on earth. This majestic monument is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre or Colosseo in Italian.
It is located in the historic center of Rome, at the Colosseo stop on Metro Line B. It’s also easily reachable by foot from other tourist attractions in Rome such as the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. For an extra special experience, visit the Colosseum on one of the many Rome by night tours to see it splendidly lit up in the dark. It’s a sight you won’t forget!
With almost 2,000 years of history, the Colosseum was the symbol of entertainment for the ancient Roman Empire: over 50,000 people at once watched the gladiator games in this oval amphitheater.
The gladiators themselves were marginalized people in Roman society — slaves, prisoners of war, or criminals. Occasionally, they could fight for their freedom. But mostly, they fought for fame and glory; many of them actually went through special training to become the best fighters. Gladiators in the Colosseum not only fought each other, but also exotic animals such as tigers, bears, and rhinos.
The Colosseum hosted gladiator games for over 500 years, and during this span of time, over 500,000 gladiators and 1 million wild animals have lost their lives. Today, you can see part of this monument still standing, as it has been damaged by earthquakes and WWII bombings since the 6th century.
A ticket to the Colosseum also includes entrance to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. A regular ticket costs €16, but EU citizens aged 18-25 only need to pay €2. Entry to the Colosseum is free for anyone under the age of 18.
Monique at Trip Anthropologist
There are few places in the world with so many UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites as the Acropolis of Athens in the center of Greece. The Acropolis is one of three UNESCO sites in Greece.
UNESCO describes the monuments constructed during the Classical era in Greece (from the mid-fifth century BCE) atop the Acropolis as together a “unique monument of thought and the arts” and “the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world.”
The main buildings built during this period in Greece are monuments to their patron goddess, Athena, and celebrate democracy. They include the Parthenon, one of the most visited sites in the world.
The Parthenon is a double Doric column pavilion and still has the friezes along with its pediments of Greek mythology. The other key monuments are the Erechtheon, the Propylaea, and the temple of Athena Nike and, like the Parthenon, they are UNESCO sites not to be missed.
The Acropolis towers above the capital of Greece, Athena, but it is also surrounded by it. The most common way of arriving at the Acropolis is to take the metro to Acropoli Station and walk up the hill to the entrance. Thissio and Monastiraki are also stops on the metro close to the Acropolis.
The Acropolis entrance fees and opening hours change according to the season. General admission for adults is €20 per ticket but this is reduced to €10 from 1 November until 31 March. Other reductions occur for seniors, students, and children. There are also a half dozen or so dates throughout the year when admission is free.
Sydney Richardson of A World in Reach
Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in England, is one of the most popular historical places to visit in the United Kingdom.
Stonehenge, along with the stone circles at Avebury and the surrounding sites, are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stonehenge is the most sophisticated stone circle in the world, with each stone being around 13 feet tall and weighing approximately 25 tons. The stones are considered an architectural marvel, and the mystery surrounding their existence has captivated visitors for ages.
Stonehenge is located in Wiltshire, a short drive outside of Salisbury. It can be easily visited on a day trip, either by taking public transportation or going on a guided tour of Stonehenge from London. Standard admission for adults is £21.10 (without a donation to the National Trust), and discounts for students and senior citizens are available. On off-peak days, prices are also a bit cheaper. You can also opt to pay a bit more in order to make a donation to the National Trust, the foundation that maintains Stonehenge and other historic sights around the United Kingdom.
When exploring Stonehenge, make sure to spend some time at the Visitor Center Museum to learn a bit more about the monument’s history. The museum has exhibits detailing the theories on the Stone Circle’s origin and purpose. It also has information on what life was like during the Bronze Age, when Stonehenge was believed to have been constructed. Then, when you set your eyes on the Stone Circle for the first time, you’ll have a greater appreciation for the historical and architectural marvel.
Old Town Dubrovnik in Croatia
Mayuri of To Someplace New
Dubrovnik is the showstopper of Croatia. Known as the ‘Pearl of Adriatic’, Dubrovnik is a stunning destination. If you are a Games of Thrones fan, you will know why!
The old city of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was recognized in 1979, due to the historical city walls, and its preservation. The unique stone walls were built in the 16th century, as a fortification and for providing protection to the Republic of Ragusa.
The entire old town of Dubrovnik looks like a stage, the remnants of the old Republic are well preserved and is a perfect destination for beach, history, and photography lovers. For your Dubrovnik itinerary, you must include a tour of the old town and explore the stunning architecture of the Rector’s Palace, Blaise Church, Dubrovnik Cathedral, Sponza Palace, Old Franciscan Monastery, Luza Square, and more.
Of course, you must also walk the walls of the old city, and soak in views of the Adriatic Sea. The Dubrovnik City Walls are located inside the old town, and there is an entry fee of $35 USD.
You can enter the old town, without any fee, and many of the attractions listed above can be explored for free from outside. From the old town, you can embark on one or many of the island tours to discover the old Republic and their ways of living.
Beaches are also quite popular in Dubrovnik. It is a popular summer destination, so book accommodation in advance, or choose an off-season month to beat the crowds!
Historial Places to Visit in Latin America
Macchu Pichu, Peru
Campbell & Alya of Stingy Nomads
Machu Picchu is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world with thousands of tourists visiting it every day. The combination of the beautiful elaborated stonework and the breathtaking location of the ruins on the top of the mountain makes Machu Picchu one of the world’s most impressive historical sites. The ruins are located in the Peruvian Andes at 2340 m above sea level, about 200 km from Cusco. Aguas Calientes is the closest to the ruins town that most visitors use as a gateway to Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu was built as an Inca citadel in the middle of the 15th century. A hundred years later for unknown reasons, the Incas abandoned Machu Picchu. For the next three centuries, the ruins were lost to the world until in 1911 the expedition of Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu.
There are different ways of getting to the ruins. The easiest and fastest is to take a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and from there take a shuttle bus all the way to the ruins. For adventure lovers hiking to Machu Picchu is a great alternative. There are two trekking routes that lead to the Inca ruins; the famous Inca Trail and the less popular Salkantay trek. The ruins are open daily from 6am to 5.30 pm. Visits are done in two shifts from 6 am to 12 pm and from 12 pm to 5.30 pm. It’s important to book a ticket in advance only 2500 people per day are allowed at the ruins. The admission fee is US$70.
Due to its important historical and cultural meaning in 1983 Machu Picchu was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. In 2006 the Inca ruins were voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Historical Places to Visit in the Middle East
Ucman of Brown Boy Travels
Petra is world-famous and for good reason. The desert around seems like a barren place but Petra defies all logic and our perception of our ancestors as inferior to us in technology and innovation. It is grand, beautiful, elegant and a marvel of engineering. We still haven’t been able to get even close to this level of ingenuity. The best part is that our ancestors worked with nature and not against it to create this marvel.
Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and standing for some 24 centuries now located in Jordan some 4 hours away from the capital Amman. This massive city spans some 45 sq km area and it was built by Nabateans. Their trade of frankincense was so profitable they decided to show it off by building the grand city.
Petra starts with a canyon around 2km long called the Siq. It ends with the most famous vision of Petra; the Treasury. A further walk will reveal multiple tombs and houses built within the mountains. The tombs of kings are high on top of a mountain and beneath it is the main avenue that takes you to the palace of the princess.
The grandeur of Petra is thoroughly impressive even after 24 centuries and you have to wonder the amount of effort that gave birth to the beautiful city ever.
The walk to the end of Petra will lead you to the monastery through hundreds of steps that will test your resolve but the reward is generous. The Bedouin stalls with souvenirs and local merchandise line the entire way Petra is a true marvel in every sense of the word. It will leave you in awe and wonder for the rest of your life but you cannot do it without some sturdy shoes, sunscreen, and a big bottle of water or two. You can find the entrance and opening times on the official website of petra.
Historical Places to Visit in North America
Quebec City, Canada
Rachael Brown of A City Girl Outside
Romantically European cobblestoned streets and quintessentially French buildings make up the town of Quebec City. The capital of the province of Quebec is like a little slice of Europe in Canada. Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico and became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985.
Quebec City was first settled in 1535 by Jacques Cartier with the first permanent settlement being established in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain. The area eventually became a fur-trading post.
There are many points of interest in Quebec City. The Chateau Frontenac is Quebec City’s most famous landmark. This majestic hotel sits atop the lower city on a hill and is considered the most photographed hotel in the world. One of the best views of this famous hotel is from the Rue du Cul-de-Sac, a quaint street with the Chateau towering above. A beautiful time to visit Quebec City is in December.
The Plains of Abraham is another important and historical landmark in Canada within Quebec City. This was the site of the Battle of Quebec in 1759 where the British defeated the French, one of the reasons Quebec is still part of Canada today. This area is beautiful to take a walk in any season and is free to visit.
The best way to get to Quebec City is by flying into Montreal International Airport and either renting a car or taking the bus. Quebec City itself isn’t great for parking and is very easy to get around on foot, so taking the bus is the best option. It is around a 2-hour journey from Montreal.
First African Baptist Church, Savannah USA
Erin Clarkson of Savannah First Timer’s Guide
First African Baptist Church is a National Historic Landmark, a recognized stop along the Underground Railroad, and one of the best tours in Savannah!
The church was organized in 1773, and the building that currently serves as the sanctuary was completed in 1859. It was constructed entirely by freed and enslaved men and women — purchased at their own expense and built during their “free time”. The building is a true testament to their tenacity and strong desire towards creating a place of worship to call their own.
Many of the original details of the building remain intact and contain hidden symbolism that was recognized within the Underground Railroad community. For example, the ceiling of the sanctuary forms a nine-patch quilt pattern, which indicates it was a safe harbor for enslaved families seeking their freedom. The upstairs loft still contains the original pews, and the original light fixtures can be seen throughout the church.
Downstairs in the fellowship hall, tour guides will point out a series of holes punched in the floor in a diamond-shaped pattern. Although the holes appear decorative, they were actually air holes placed there to allow air to circulate for enslaved individuals hiding out in the shallow lower level of the church.
Overall, the tour provides incredible insight into the lives of African Americans during the time of slavery and the Civil War in the Deep South. If you’re planning a trip, spring and fall are two of the best times to visit Savannah.
First African Baptist Church is located at 23 Montgomery Street, which is in the Historic District, and tours cost $10 or less. Plan to spend an hour and a half touring the main sanctuary, the loft, the fellowship hall, and the archives room.
Independence Hall Philadelphia, USA
Derek and Mike of Robe Trotting
America’s most historical destination is the wonderful city of Philadelphia. Among the countless Philadelphia historical sites is the most important building in the country’s history – Independence Hall. It’s the building where both the American Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and signed. Some of the greatest Americans in history walked the halls of the building and its legacy lives on through the nation itself.
The building was constructed and opened in 1753, at the time it served as the Pennsylvania State House, the seat of Pennsylvania’s colonial government. It was selected as the meeting place of the Second Continental Congress of the former colonies.
Independence Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage site and tourists can visit the building daily. It’s free and open to the public, however a guided tour must be booked online or in the nearby Independence Visitors Center. The tour is led by a park ranger and lasts about 45 minutes depending on the season.
Independence Hall is located on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets. The brick building is the cornerstone of Independence National Historical Park. The park includes other famous American landmarks like the Liberty Bell and the President’s Mansion where George Washington and John Adams lived while Philadelphia was the nation’s capital from 1790-1800.
The area around Independence Hall is full of landmarks and historical attractions, so you could easily spend an entire day exploring Old City Philadelphia and still only see the highlights.
Holly of Globeblogging
Located just forty kilometers outside of Mexico City, the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan is the location of one of the largest pyramids in the world that is outside of Egypt. Built between the 1st and 7th century AD, at its peak, it was estimated to have a population exceeding 125,000 people. The significance of the ancient city was recognized with UNESCO status in 1987.
The Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon sit on the edges of Teotihuacan. The larger of the two, the Pyramid of the Sun, is the only one able to be climbed and it is an immensely popular tourist attraction. From the summit, it offers exceptional views of the city ruins below and across to the Pyramid of the Moon.
There is no shelter on or around the pyramid so visitors are advised to aim for a morning arrival to not only beat the crowds but the intensity of the Mexican sun as they climb the steep stairs to the top.
While there are a number of tour options available that include a visit to Teotihuacan, the catch is they often involve a number of other things as well so check the itinerary carefully. An alternative is to arrange a private tour. A bus from Mexico City to Teotihuacan runs approximately every half hour for the cost of 50 pesos one way.
Alternatively, Uber’s are quite accessible in Mexico City and will cost around 500 pesos each way depending on surge prices, making it a good alternative if there are a couple of you. If you are not on an organized tour, entry to Teotihuacan will cost 75 pesos.
Old Havana, Cuba
Carley Rojas Avila of Home to Havana
Havana is one of the most recognizable and unique cities in the world thanks in part to its historical center, and the many layers of history it has to discover. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Havana’s old city, and fortresses are truly impressive, and travel to Cuba is not complete without spending time exploring them.
Founded in 1519 by the Spanish, Old Havana quickly became one of the most important ports in the New World for its strategic location, building up numerous forts to protect the city. Most notable among them are Castillo de la Real Fuerza and Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro, some of the oldest and largest stone forts in the western hemisphere, and an important part of the city’s UNESCO designation. They also provide visitors an incredible view across the entrance to the harbor of the rest of the city.
While several of the fortresses have small entrance fees, most of Old Havana is best experienced for free by wandering its streets and taking in its old buildings and plazas. Old Havana’s most famous and beautifully restored plazas include the Plaza Vieja, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza de la Catedral, and Plaza del Cristo. Each has its own historical churches and museums to explore as well.
Part of what makes Old Havana so impressive and remarkable to visit it not just its historic center as a monument to history, but how daily life continues here. Old Havana is very much a living and breathing neighborhood.
Venturing out through its streets you’ll see street vendors selling sweets and produce, shops repairing old cars, and primary schools with parents dropping their kids off for school in their pressed uniforms. This new layer of history being made every day makes a visit even more unique and unforgettable.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Daria Bachmann of The Discovery Nut
Located in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. An ancient Mayan city,(and one of the largest cities in the Yucatán Peninsula at the time), Chichen Itza is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.
While this popular spot for tourists is dominated by the big pyramid called El Castillo, there are many other remains of the ancient Mayan City in Chichen Itza that deserve your attention such as a well-preserved market, Ball Court for the Mesoamerican game called Pok a Tok, and a Temple of Warriors.
What’s interesting is that El Caracol, one of the buildings in the complex was used to gauge the movements of the sun and planets. Mayans followed astrology which can be seen in many of their ancient cities around Yucatán including Chichen Itza.
There are several theories about when the construction of Chichen Itza occurred. However, it’s been determined that most buildings in this city had been built between 400 and 600 AD. Some argue that Chichen Itza dates as far back as 1500 years ago.
Chichen Itza is located 120 miles away from Cancun, about 95 miles from Tulum and about 45 kilometers to Valladolid.
It’s a popular day trip for tourists who come to the Yucatán Peninsula and is visited by millions of people from all over the world. The entrance to Chichen Itza costs $497 Mexican Pesos and doesn’t include guided tours. You can hire a guide on-site for a separate fee to learn more about the history of this place and its role in the Mexican culture.