Friday Five: Holidays for History Buffs
Welcome to our first #FridayFive! Each week we'll be compiling a list of our top five on various themes. This week, we're looking at trips which are rich in history - if there any others you would add to our list, let us know in the comments!
1. Ancient Greece
Greece is renowned as one of the great ancient civilisations, and history is particularly abundant in the Peloponnese, a peninsula to the south of the country. This region is packed with fascinating historical sites, including the Island of Poros, which was considered to be the island of Poseidon, God of the Sea. The Peloponnese boasts the ancient Theatre of Epidauros, an incredible feat of Ancient Greek engineering which seats up to 14,000 people. You can explore Ancient Nemea, where, according to Greek mythology, Hercules defeated the Nemean Lion belonging to Lady Hera.
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Recreating Hamlet in the Ancient Theatre of Epidauros[/caption]
As if that wasn't enough, the Peloponnese boasts a variety of beautiful vineyards, producing world class wines. If you'd like to combine your love of history with your love of wine, check out our Wine Routes of Ancient Greece tour
, available all year round.
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Island of Poros[/caption]
From ancient history to modern, our next history hotspot is Normandy, in northern France. This region is dotted with the indelible marks from the violence and destruction of World War II. Here you can learn about the artificial harbour at Arromanches that was created by Sir Winston Churchill for the D-Day landings. You can explore the hallowed ground of Omaha Beach, which saw of the most extensive loss of American lives during the war. Visit the artillery battery at Longues-Sur-Mer, in which German weapons sit in their concrete emplacements to this day.
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With our Normandy: Cycling the D-Day Beaches
tour, you can explore these sites at your own pace, taking your time to absorb their significance to our modern world.
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3. St Cuthbert's Way
Next we head north, up to the Scottish Borders, and head back to the 7th century. St Cuthbert's Way is a pilgrimage route beginning in the historic town of Melrose, where you can explore the magnificent ruins of Melrose Abbey, a Cistercian monastery founded in 640 by St Aidan. Follow in the footsteps of St Cuthbert, a monk with gifts of healing and insight who travelled around southern Scotland and Northumberland carrying out missionary work. This pilgrimage finishes up on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, an important centre of Celtic Christianity. This island is accessed by a causeway which only appears at low tide. The 16th century castle on the island has a rich and varied history and offers spectacular views.
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To read more about Britain's answer to the Camino, check out Alison's blog
, or if you're interested in absorbing the history and spirituality of this route yourself, have a look at our website
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4. Kumano Kodo
These ancient Japanese pilgrimage routes join the three 'Grand Shrines', or 'Kumano Sanzan'. In the 11th century, imperial pilgrims walked this route through rugged and isolated mountains, covered in lush forests and weaving through small villages. Today, you can follow in their footsteps in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, past sacred temples and soothing hot springs. The walk finishes at the Nachi shrine, a sacred site in the Buddhist and Shinto religions. The way of life in rural Japan has hardly changed for centuries, and this pilgrimage route is one of the best ways to experience traditional Japanese hospitality.
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Torii (Japanese arch)[/caption]
For information on the Kumano Kodo
, read Laura's blog
or visit our website.
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Traditional clothing on the Kumano Kodo[/caption]
5. Etruscan Tuscany
The Etruscan civilisation, which existed from 768-264 BC, left fascinating landmarks throughout Tuscany. The Vie Cave is an amazing network of roads which criss-cross the area, linking a necropolis with other ancient settlements in the area. This sleepy and authentic part of Tuscany is the perfect place to absorb the long, rich history of the region, which also bears signs of many other fascinating ages, such as the magnificent 14th century Duomo at Orvieto, and the medieval tower houses crammed onto the cliffs at Pitiligliano.
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For a walk that takes you back in time, check out our Tuscany: Etruscan Trails trip
, available from April to October.
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If you're interested in going on one of these trips, drop us an email at email@example.com
or feel free to call us at +44 (0) 141 530 4390 (UK) or +1-844-335-4871 (US toll free). For a look at our full range of walking and cycling holidays, please click here