Exploring 10 Best Historical Places to Visit in Europe
Planning a visit to your favorite European destinations may sound like an easy task, but you will be surprised to learn how many relatively unknown tourist destinations there are to visit.
While it is definitely a good idea to pay attention to the most popular tourist spots such as Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, there are many less popular and less crowded attractions that are guaranteed to take your breath away. We are here to present you with a brief description of 10 of the best historical places to visit in Europe and, hopefully, the information below will help you make your next European trip even more breathtaking.
THE RILA MONASTERY
Situated in the Bulgarian Rila Mountain, near the country’s capital, this is one of the most impressive Orthodox monasteries not just in Bulgaria, but in the Balkans as a whole. The monastery played a key role in the preservation of Bulgaria’s culture and religion during the 500 years, where the country was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. According to historical sources, the Rila Monastery was first built in the 10th century, but most of the architecture seen there today dates back to the end of the 19th century.
The small Italian city of Urbino dates back to the 15th century, and you would be surprised to learn that little has changed since this period. The Urbino city was ruled by Federico de Montefeltro between 1444 and 1482, and the region developed very rapidly during this period. Today, the Renaissance city is home to several beautiful churches, the Albornoz Fortress, and the Ducal Palace. There are also several other Romanesque and Baroque buildings in the region that are worth seeing. Last but not least, Urbino is home to Raphael, a famous painter, and a lot of Renaissance paintings can be found in the local attractions.
Bornholm is a small island situated next to Denmark. In the past, it was controlled by several countries, including Germany, the Soviet Union, and Sweden, but nowadays, it is part of Denmark. Despite its small size, the island is home to many historical artifacts such as the 300 wooden houses that were donated to Denmark after World War II. Furthermore, visitors of Bornholm will be able to see several medieval churches, the remains of a sun temple, and structures that date back to the Iron Age.
BÉGUINAGES OF FLANDERS
The Béguinages are women who opted to devote themselves to God entirely, but they did not pledge to live as hermits, away from the rest of the world. To achieve this, they constructed miniature towns, the first of which appeared in the 1200s. The Béguinages of Flanders is one of these small towns, and most of it has been preserved to this very day. It is found in Belgium, and it is considered to be an important historical monument related to women’s’ history. Today, visitors of the Béguinages of Flanders can see many of the miniature houses in their original form, as well as churches and beautiful courtyards. Nowadays, there are just 20-30 similar towns preserved, but the Béguinages of Flanders is certainly the most majestic of them.
The Alhambra is an important historical, religious, and cultural landmark situated in the Southern part of Spain and, more specifically, in Granada. The complex was first built by the local Emirs and Sultans around the 13th century, and it was later restored and expanded by the Holy Emperor Charles V. Today, it attracts tourists with its breathtaking architecture, ornaments, fountains, archways, gardens, and interior decorations.
BAVARIA’S ROMANTIC ROAD
Also known as Romantische Strasse, this road offers a long trip that will take visitors through some of the most beautiful cities in Germany. In the past, it was used as a trade route that took traders between North and South Germany. Nowadays, it is visited annually by hundreds of thousands of tourists who can observe medieval walled cities, picturesque towns, and the magnificent Neuschwanstein castle.
The Alfama is an old and preserved part found in the city of Lisbon. The structures in it date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, and visitors will be able to enjoy the beautiful architecture of churches, houses, courtyards, gardens, and even pay a visit to the royal tombs situated in the Monastery of Sao Vincente de Forа.
Every visitor to Europe has probably heard of the magnificent lakes that can be found in Italy. However, there are many other beautiful lakes that you can pay a visit to on your trip – one of them is found in Slovenia and is called Lake Bled. Not only does it offer beautiful nature, but it is also home to the church of Assumption of Mary that can be found on a small island in the middle of the lake. The structure was built in the 17th century, and it has been preserved to this very day – in fact, many foreign and Slovenian couples opt to hold their weddings there.
Buthrotum is a place situated in northern Albania. It is home to what was once a significant city during Greek and Roman times – today, it is mostly ruins, but it is still preserved enough to reveal the beauty that this city once boasted. Buthrotum was once used as a colony for veterans (a purpose assigned by Caesar) and was later expanded during the ruling of Augustus.
WIELICZKA SALT MINE
Typically, mines are not considered to be a tourist attraction but believe us when we tell you that the Wieliczka Salt Mine is different. This place has been in exploitation since the 13th century, and it was officially closed for work in 1996. It is now home to the artistic work of thousands of miners who successfully carved statues, sculptures, and a gigantic cathedral that can be found under the ground. The Wieliczka Salt mine has been home to concerts, meetings of writers and artists, and many other cultural events.