If you are looking for a destination for your next cultural holiday or seeking out historical places to visit, Send My Bag has put together a list of the top five historical destinations in Europe. This follows on from our look at the best holiday destinations for sports lovers, and is a guide for those who prefer to spend their holidays learning about their destination’s culture and history by visiting museums, monuments and historical sites.
Athens is a fantastic destination for cultural holidays, given that it is chock-a-block with ancient ruins ‒ both Greek and Roman ‒ for visitors to admire. One of the most famous sites of ancient Greek architecture is the Acropolis. This site includes and the Propylaia ‒ the elaborate entranceway to the Acropolis. There are also Roman remains in the city, such as the Roman Agora of Athens. The Agora includes the Tower of the Winds, dating to the 1st century BC, and, unusually, some ruins of ancient public toilets! Aside from its many ancient ruins, Athens also has numerous museums on offer, where you can learn more about the rich history of Athens and Greece as a whole. Some of the top-rated museums include the National Archaeological Museum, the Epigraphical Museum (which houses thousands of inscriptions) and the Acropolis Museum.
Why not take an historical trip to Rome – known as ‘the Eternal City’ due to its history dating back the early days of civilisation. The centuries have seen many great Roman rulers come and go, from Julius Caesar, to Augustus, to Constantine, and many of them have left their mark on the city of Rome. Take the Arch of Constantine, for example, which was built by its namesake in 315AD. You will find this arch next to Rome’s most well-known landmark, the Colosseum – built in the 1st century AD by Emperor Vespasian. The Colosseum is a truly magnificent amphitheatre and a must-see when visiting Rome. Other sites that shouldn’t be missed include the Roman Forum – home to the Temple of Caesar ‒, and the Palatine Hill, where you will see the remains of the houses of Augustus and his wife.
Budapest is a picturesque city full of historical places to visit. These include the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Danube embankments and the Buda Castle District, which is also Budapest’s old town. It is in this area of the city that you will find a high concentration of sites worthy of your attention. There is not just Buda Castle, but also The Fisherman’s Bastion – a long terrace with 7 towers and numerous balconies ‒, Matthias Church, dating back to the 14th century, and the Citadel fortress. Other areas recognised by UNESCO are Heroes’ Square and Andrássy Avenue. The Square contains the Millennium Monument, which was conceived in 1895 to mark the 1000th anniversary of the Magyar conquest in 895. Andrássy Avenue was established in 1872 and contains pretty neo-Renaissance architecture.
Prague is a worthy destination for cultural holidays. It is full of stunning architecture of many styles, including Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau. Brilliant examples of Gothic architecture include the Church of Our Lady of the Snows, the Old Town Bridge Tower and Powder Gate. The Renaissance Schwarzenberg Palace is really worth a visit, as is the ornate Baroque Church of St Nicholas. A number of hotels provide excellent examples of the Art Nouveau style that was popular at the end of the 19th century, such as the Grand Hotel Europa and Hotel Pariz.
Bruges’ very quaint historical town centre makes it a fantastic destination for history lovers, especially those interested in architecture. The town’s medieval buildings and cobbled streets really give the feeling of having stepped back in time. Particular sites that you cannot miss include Burg Square, the Belfort (a bell tower affording good views of Bruges), the Markt, with its stunning buildings, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the 12th-century Stadhuis with its intricate frieze work. There are also plenty of museums to please history buffs, such as the Groeningemuseum of Flemish art, the rather creepy Torture Museum (!) and the Bruges Beer Museum.
Don’t forget that Send My Bag can send your luggage to Greece, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic or Belgium. Sending your luggage allows you to pack everything you need for your trip, while allowing you to avoid the tight luggage restrictions imposed by budget airlines, and saving you the embarrassment of excess baggage fees. To find out more about shipping your baggage, visit our ‘How it Works’ page, or select your destination from on our ‘Destinations’ page.
To find more historical places to visit in Europe, take a look at our previous posts, such as 'Best Day Trips from Berlin' and 'Best Day Trips from Paris'.
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