They say travel broadens the mind. But when you take an historical holiday you actually travel twice – both to a new country, and into the past. Everyone has a travel bucket list, but this post is all about my own historical travel bucket list. Hopefully it may give you some inspiration for your next trip.
I have been lucky enough to visit some amazing historical places across the globe already, including the Mayan temple of Chichen Itza in Mexico, romantic Rome and The Vatican, and the ‘Tomb Raider‘ temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. But there’s always room for more. Here’s my current travel bucket list – what’s on yours?!
Okay, so my first choice may be partly fueled by all the gorgeous scenery in Outlander. However no one can deny that Scotland is jam-packed full of history. I think that – after Wales of course – its the top destination for castle lovers (I’m not counting the Loire Valley châteaux as castles, they’re more like palaces).
Top of my list to visit is the picturesque and perfectly sited Eilean Donan Castle (pictured) in the West Highlands. Also on my list is Balmoral (because I’m a big fan of Queenie), Glamis (royal history and ghosts), Blair Castle (home of Europe’s last remaining private army), Stirling Castle (just a total and utter unit of a castle) and Linlithgow Palace (birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots).
Picture by @thegoodly
New Orleans and The Deep South
If I won the lottery tomorrow, the first thing I would do is buy a business class ticket straight to New Orleans. It just speaks to me. If I had to pick one city to represent me as a person it would be New Orleans – its full of history, not afraid of the spooky and macabre, and they like a good time!
The French Quarter – the oldest part of New Orleans – is simply iconic and reflects the rich and varied history of the city. Its a fascinating fusion of French, Spanish, Creole and American heritage. Its no coincidence that New Orleans has the highest number of historic districts of any US city.
The countryside around New Orleans is also home to numerous antebellum plantations. I want to find one and pretend I’m Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With The Wind!
Picture by @vincente.weber
Probably not the most well-known of travel destinations, Jordan is an overlooked gem. Its location – sandwiched between Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Israel and Egypt – has conspired to discourage visitors. However, Jordan is just as safe as any Western European country. Tourism has dropped off dramatically in recent years, so now may be a perfect time to visit while its (relatively) quiet.
My main reason for wanting to visit Jordan is Petra,a complete city carved into the mountain and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Other highlights include the preserved Roman works of Jerash and the healing waters of the Dead Sea.
Picture by @discoverearth
Another location that’s high on the Hisdoryan travel bucket list, the whole of the Loire Valley with its many châteaux is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is just begging to be explored.
In fact, you can’t move for chateaux. How do you choose between Château de Chenonceau – which was gifted by Henri II to his mistresse en titre Diane des Poitiers – and Château d’Usse, which inspired the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty? Do you go for size (Château de Chambord – pictured) over historical significance (Château de Blois – graced by Joan of Arc herself)? Or do you go for Amboise, and its links to the genius Leonardo Di Vinci?
Decisions, decisions. Why not have a glass of the local wine while you make your mind up?
The Romantic Road
I’ve never been keen on visiting Germany, but that all changed when I saw The Londoner‘s posts about her trip to Bavaria. She really opened my eyes to the buildings and culture in that part of the world, and I began doing a lot of research. I now have my heart set on driving The Romantic Road, a tourist route that links all the wonderful picturesque medieval towns and castles.
Top of my list to visit is the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle, a Romanasque Revival treasure sitting atop a rugged hill. Lots of castese get labelled as fairytale castles, but in the case of Neuschwanstein its true – it directly inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Neuschwanstwin also appeared in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, providing the exterior shots for Baron Bomburt’s castle.
Picture by @sennarelax
The Gulf of Naples
The Gulf of Naples is home to the two iconic UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum – vast archaeological sites preserving the excavated ruins of Roman cities which were buried under ash from an explosion at nearby Mount Vesuvius.
Now, most people have heard of Pompeii but unfortunately less people seem to know about Pompeii’s sister site Herculaneum. Its quite a surprise considering everyone I know who has visited both sites say Herculaneum is more impressive then Pompeii. However, what everyone does agree on is that the sites are huge and you really need to allow yourself as much time as possible to do them justice.
Picture by @orma_di_jo
Malta is an island that simply oozes history out of every pore. The architecture is a marvelous mix of styles reflecting the fact that many different civilizations and cultures have claimed Malta as their own while fighting over its strategic geographic location.
The island of Malta has been inhabited since approx. 5900 BC. It is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including several megalithic temples that are some of the oldest free standing structures in the entire world. It also saw a lot of action during WWII, when it was a British colony and was used as a base by the Allied Forces. Whatever period of history you are interested in, you are bound to find something in Malta.
Picture by @masha_my_life
So that’s my historical travel bucket list! And I’m determined to tick at least one destination off my list in 2019!
Have you got any plans for a historical holiday? Let me know in the comments below. Or perhaps you’ve visited somewhere that ticks all the boxes you think I should know about.