We are all familiar with the gondolas in Venice, the blue beaches of Santorini, the Eiffel Tower, and the dispersed Roman ruins in Italy and elsewhere. But for tourists seeking a little bit of a fresh experience, it might be challenging to avoid the tourist traps and crowds of people visiting the same old places. Here is a list of lesser-known locations in Europe that promise an interesting vacation experience. Are you interested in the Second World War or in everything that has to do with the Middle Ages? It is very awe-inspiring to stand in the middle of an ancient historical site, knowing that these structures have survived their creators by thousands of years and will likely be there for centuries or millennia. While there are amazing architectural remains and ruins all over the world.
Europe is a great place to start a historical tour thanks to the sheer number of these structures, all of which are relatively close together. The sheer number of these ruins can make choosing a bit difficult, so we’ve rounded up some of the most impressive sites that you can use as a starting point for your journey around the world to ancient times.
Cologne’s Kölner Dom
From anyplace in the city, it is possible can see the former tallest structure in the world, which is 516 feet tall. It is clear that the Burj Khalifa, which is 2716 feet tall, has surpassed it as the tallest structure in the world. This honor was solely held by the Cologne Cathedral until 1884, when the Washington Monument overtook it.
The cathedral that dominates the skyline is one you really must visit, even though it is no longer the tallest structure in the world. Because it took the architects more than 600 years to complete, you sort of owe it to them.
The Cathedral started its construction in 1280, and it was finished in 1880.
This place is now public and concerts (eg the Rolling Stones) and gatherings are organised. The circus dates back to the 6th century BC. and was originally built as a race car track, but was also used for games or gladiator fights. As a result, many circuses were built in the Roman Empire that were based on this example.
Although not much remains of the original Circus Maximus, it is pleasant to stroll through the public park, especially in good weather. Admission is free and the site is open to the public all day long.
Roman Bath in England
Bath is home to one of Europe’s most exquisite ancient ruins, despite the fact that it initially appears to be a typical English town. The city’s famous Roman Baths are an amazing archaeological site worth visiting, and can be reached by train from London an hour and a half away in the west. The Roman Baths, also known as Aquae Sulis in antiquity, were built around 70 AD and are an example of how Roman and Celtic traditions coexisted. Romans used the Baths primarily as a social gathering place, but over time, they began to believe that they had curative properties. One of the most sought-after baths outside of Italy would be the Roman Baths. In the late seventeenth century, even the future Queen Anne traveled to Bath.
The béguines, or women who dedicated their life to God but were not ready to give up the world fully, founded the first beguinages in Flanders about the year 1200. They made transient vows and resided in walled neighborhoods made up of homes, churches, and courtyards. In the Low Countries, there were hundreds of these villages, but only about thirty have survived. There are still a few béguines in Leuven and Ghent today. UNESCO rates the Béguinages as important World Heritage Sites for their beautiful Flemish vernacular architecture and an important record of women’s’ history.
This is an incredible historic place and the setting makes it even more beautiful. Nestled on the flank of Mount Parnassus, Delphi has stunning views of the beautiful Phocis Valley. It’s a place that deserves a visit, even if you don’t go to the ruins. People from all over the Mediterranean came here to consult the famous oracle of Apollo. This site was also considered by the ancient Greeks to be the center or “node” of the world. Delphi is just over 2 hours northeast of Athens and well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Visit the Kokino Observatory, Macedonia
An archeological site called the Megalithic Observatory of Kokino was found in 2001. This space observatory, nevertheless, is actually one of the oldest in existence. The observatory is just a small portion of this enormous archaeological complex, which spans 5,000 square meters and is made up of two distinct platforms with a 19-meter height difference.The Kokino archaeological site is currently growing in popularity with tourists from around the world. It even recently made the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
Basilica di Santa Croce Florence
This basilica was rebuilt in 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio on the site of a former Franciscan oratory. The basilica is now the largest Franciscan church in the world. There are sixteen chapels decorated with beautiful frescoes by Giotto and Donatello. Giotto depicts the life of Saint Francis in six episodes that line the walls of the Bardi Chapel. Often attributed to Filippo Brunelleschi, the design of the Pazzi Chapel is one of the masterpieces of Florentine Renaissance architecture. The bell tower with a marble facade was added to the basilica in 1842
Take a look at the House of Anne Frank in the Netherlands
Anne Frank, a Jewish teenage girl who lived in hiding with her immediate family and a few relatives inside the building where her father used to work on the Prinsengracht, was possibly one of the most famous victims of the Holocaust. The public can now visit this now eerily famous refuge, which Anne repeatedly referred to as “The Annex” in her Diary of a Young Girl, and which is guaranteed to be one of the most significant locations associated to the tragedies of World War II.
In what is now northern Albania, not far from the Greek border, is the destroyed Greek and Roman city of Buthrotum, or Butrint in Albanian. Following Caesar’s designation of the city as a colony for veterans of the wars against Pompey the Great, the city experienced rapid growth during the subsequent period of Roman rule. These ideas were were updated by Augustus, who further expanded the city by constructing an aqueduct, forum, theater, and nymphaeum. The city doubled in size and prospered until the Later Empire, when it began to decline. As a component of the Butrint National Park, the site has been excavated and is currently accessible to tourists.
The strange prehistoric monument in County Meath, just outside of Dublin, may not seem stunning at first glance, but perhaps what would make it more impressive is the fact that it predates both Stonehenge and Egypt’s magnificent pyramids of Giza — truly amazing! The large circular mound is in fact a part of Ireland’s Ancient East and serves as the largest and most significant collection of prehistoric megalithic art in all of Europe.
In its heyday, it serviced a range of services, including astronomical and religious sites, economic functions, and burial rites. Both Newgrange’s age and its innovative design are impressive. One of Europe’s most astounding historical sites, without a doubt.
The Alhambra was initially constructed in 889 as a tiny fortress, but after being neglected for years, it wasn’t repaired for the first of many times until the 11th century. It was converted into a royal palace after this initial repair, housing Yusef I in 1333.
The Alhambra once again fell into complete disrepair during the Napoleonic era since it was frequently used as a barracks for soldiers and was occupied by vagrants during that time. After this terrible time, the renowned Alhambra was rediscovered by European researchers and travelers in the 19th century, who quickly began the repair.
Pompeii is arguably the most horrifyingly intriguing of all the archaeological sites in Italy. Pompeii, which lies 242 kilometers south of Rome, originally had 20,000 citizens and was a prosperous ancient city. It is now a well-preserved ghost town that provides visitors and archaeologists with a window into life tens of thousands of years ago.
At the base of Mount Vesuvius, a still-erupting volcano, stands Pompeii. Pompeii was buried under approximately 12 meters of ash and lava when it erupted in 79 AD. While this was unfortunate for the locals at the time, the result was that Pompeii was stuck in the past until it was rediscovered in 1748.
The Mariazell Basilica is the most well-liked pilgrimage site in Austria. The church has a 50 cm high wooden figure of the Virgin Mary with child, which is also one of the most popular shrines in all of Europe. According to legend, a monk by the name of Magnus was dispatched by his abbot to a valley where he brought a sculpture he had created of the Virgin Mary. He prayed to the Mother of Christ for assistance when he came upon a large boulder obstructing his path. When she stepped in, he set the carving on a piece of wood that is now the altar in the church.
Portugal’s Alto Douro Wine Region
Many things in life go nicely with wine, like tasty steaks, warm days, and in this instance, picturesque historical sites. Both human and natural forces have molded the Douro Valley’s scenery in northern Portugal. Through mountains that have been farmed with terraces and vineyards, the River Douro winds its way. But the Alto Douro has more than simply beauty; it also has a rich history. With more than 2,000 years of wine-making history, it claims to be among the oldest wine districts in the world. Portugal’s most well-known product, premium port wines, are available for tasting here.
Visit Latvia’s Riga
The Latvian capital’s medieval center, which is designated by UNESCO, is a reflection of the city’s illustrious past. The city was a significant commercial hub between the 13th and the 15th century. Many of the structures constructed during this era are still standing today. The cobblestone lanes that make up the city’s core are lined with craftsman-style homes, guild buildings, and churches. But there is more to Riga’s architectural treasures than just that. With colorful facades, high roofs, and maybe exclusively to Latvia, the employment of ethnographic decorative themes, its collection of Art Nouveau buildings is acknowledged as the greatest in all of Europe.