For a history buff, there is no continent quite as diverse and full of wonder as Europe. Known quite literally as 'The Old Continent', ours is a continent that has seen the rise and fall of some of the greatest and most powerful empires on earth, and what they have left in their wake is truly majestic and fascinating.
If your favourite part of any holiday is stepping back in time and experiencing ancient cultures, these are not only the best destinations in Europe but the best historical destinations in the world, from which you can get your next great holiday fix. Read on to discover more.
The seat of the Roman empire, Rome was hundreds of years ahead of its time when it came to culture and architecture, which is why so much of it still stands today, thousands of years later. The entire city is bristling with history, but at its centre, you’ll find the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. The latter are the ruins of the old Roman city centre and boast some of the best-preserved Roman architecture in the world. The former, meanwhile, is one of the true wonders of the world and doesn’t need any introduction.
The Louvre isn’t just a fantastic art museum, it’s also an incredible stop for history fans. The museum itself is more 200-years-old and boasts works by historical figures such as Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci. Paris also contains the world-famous Notre Dame cathedral (which is currently being rebuilt after the tragic fire last year) and the iconic Eiffel Tower. Real explorers, however, might want to visit the Catacombs below the city, where the remains of millions of Parisians are stored in a monumental tunnel network. Whilst you’re in town, consider a river cruise down the Seine and you’ll also learn a great deal about the history of the city and its illustrious river.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
While it might be notorious among bohemian travellers of all ages, Amsterdam is also a hotspot for history buffs. The canals of the city provide ample opportunities for history tours, as well as many art museums full of important historic and modern works, but one real draw is Anne Frank’s house. Now a museum dedicated to Frank and other victims of the Holocaust, visitors can book to visit the house where Frank and her family hid from the Nazi occupation during WWII. A harrowing but necessary experience. Perhaps not one of the most popular European destinations for history buffs, but certainly one of the most rewarding.
Ancient Greece is responsible for so much that we take for granted today. So it would be churlish to pass up an opportunity to pay your respects as a historian. Athens is the city where the modern concepts of visual art, architecture, philosophy and democracy were born. The Acropolis alone is more than worth the journey, as it contains the iconic Parthenon, which remains a shining beacon to the potential of art, culture and democracy to create something truly, exceptionally worthwhile.