Great Holidays for the Amateur Historian

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

There's an amateur history buff in all of us. It's fascinating to be able to look back to the way that things once were and compare it to life today. Historical sites worldwide are some of the most visited tourist attractions. This shows the endurance of looking into the past as a pleasant pastime.

If you like your history as old as possible, there are a variety of different sites you can visit to get your fix. In fact, the choices are so varied it can be difficult to know where to start. If you've got some time to spare and your feet itching to explore, here are a few ideas of where your quest for the ancient could take you.

Machu Picchu

The ancient civilisation of the Incans lay ignored in Peruvian undergrowth for centuries. Even when it was identified, it was almost entirely by accident in the 1910s by Hiram Bingham. Since those early days, it has become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

You're going to have to be fit if you want to visit Machu Picchu. Getting to the area requires a trek through the Andes mountains. The original location was chosen for the Incans for its privacy, which is a shame for the modern traveller! If you're able to, though, it's a real glimpse into a world before its time. Just make sure you have a specialist guide to help you through the terrain.


The English monument has long been the subject of curiosity over its purpose. Ideas have included some form of devil worship to the more accepted theory of a site of religious significance. Whatever your take, there is no doubt there is nothing like getting up close and personal with this touch of the past.

While it may seem like a few stones in a field can't offer much of a day out, there is plenty to do at Stonehenge. Not only is there the monument itself, but a fabulous visitor centre showcasing the archaeological history. When planning a visit, use so you can take advantage of their expertise. There is plenty to see and do in the surrounding area.

Pompeii and Herculaneum

If you've an interest in ancient history, you probably recognise the name of Pompeii. Most people have heard of the famous disaster area. When the nearby volcano Vesuvius erupted in 79AD, it destroyed the surrounding area due to large ash deposits. This lead to the famed statues of the inhabitants of Pompeii in their death throes, forever immortalised. You can visit the area today and see the aftermath. Due to the devastation, it remains one of the best preserved Roman sites in the world.

While you are there, it is also worth visiting the nearby ruins of Herculaneum. This, too, fell victim to the eruption of Vesuvius - only the damage was far greater, as the city was effectively obliterated. Together, the two regions make it clear the devastating power of the volcano, the shadow of which they still sit in today.

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