10 Best Travel Destinations for History Buffs
There’s something simply magical about exploring the birthplace of ancient civilizations, gazing upon sacred ruins, and seeing famed historic monuments up close. Discover the best of the ancient world with these 10 travel destinations that are perfect for history buffs.
1. Rome, Italy
Is there any city better known for its ancient civilizations and historical figures than Rome? From the rule of Julius Caesar to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, Rome has acquired historical icons like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Catacombs of San Callisto.
2. Siem Reap, Cambodia
The ancient capital of the Khmer Empire, Siem Reap has been inhabited since 800 AD. It’s best known for being the gateway to Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world and one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia.
3. Petra, Jordan
One of the world’s greatest wonders, Petra is an archeological site in Jordan's southwestern desert that dates back to 300 BC. Nicknamed the “Rose City,” visitors can explore the various tombs and temples carved into the cliffs, starting with the most striking and recognizable feature: The Treasury.
4. Cusco, Peru
The oldest living city in the Americas, Cusco flourished between 1400 and 1534, during the height of the Inca Empire. Don’t miss ancient monuments like Sacsayhuaman, Qorikancha, and Moray. And of course, the famed mountaintop citadel of Machu Picchu is just a train ride away.
5. Athens, Greece
The birthplace of Western civilization, philosophy, and democracy, Athens has a history that spans nearly 7,000 years. Trace the histories of great minds like Plato, Socrates and Aristotle, and discover the stories of the mythological immortals of Olympus.
6. Beijing, China
With more than 3,000 years of recorded history, Beijing is one of the best-preserved ancient cities in China. Venture to the Forbidden City, scale the Great Wall of China, and explore the Old Summer Palace as you uncover the histories of China’s greatest dynasties.
7. Luxor, Egypt
Ancient treasures abound in Luxor, once known as the city of Thebes. Walk in the footsteps of pharaohs as you explore the Temple of Karnak, Luxor Temple, Valley of the Kings, Tombs of the Nobles, and other Egyptian monuments from the 16th - 11th centuries BC.
8. Easter Island, Chile
Few ancient monuments are as shrouded in myth and mystery as the “moai” of Easter Island. Originally inhabited by Polynesian voyagers sometime between 700 and 1100 AD, this remote volcanic island is one of the most isolated places on the planet.
9. Varanasi, India
Mark Twain said it best: “Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend.” Nestled along the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on the planet, and holiest city in the world for Hindus.
10. Istanbul, Turkey
Previously known as Byzantium and later as Constantinople, Istanbul has been inhabited for nearly 3,000 years. Considered to be the bridge between Europe and Asia, the city has played a vital role in many historic moments over time. Don’t miss the Hagia Sophia, the Basilica Cistern, and the Sultan Ahmet Mosque.