Grace on Pace

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Our 10 Favorite Historical Places

Our 10 Favorite Historical Places Around the World

Everyone views splendor in different ways. What one person considers beautiful may be completely different to another.  Our favorite historical places are, in their own right, beautiful.  Consisting of everything from individual monuments and temples to entire religious complexes, they are some of the most stunning places on earth.

Favorite Historical Places #10 – Forbidden City – Beijing, China

The Forbidden City is the best-preserved imperial palace in China, the largest ancient palatial structure in the world, and the essence and culmination of traditional Chinese architectural accomplishment.  This might explain the hoards of people itching for a peek.

Forbidden City

Favorite Historical Places #9 – Luang Prabang, Laos

According to legend the Buddha smiled when he rested in Luang Prabang for a day during his travels, prophesying that it would one day be the location of a rich and powerful city.  The spectacle of the ancient temples is apparent at first glance; the unassuming nature of the locals, given the chance, will also leave a lasting impression.

Luang Prabang

Favorite Historical Places #8 – Copán Ruins, Honduras

The Maya site of Copán is one of the most important sites of the Mayan civilization.  The lengthy inscription on the Hieroglyphic Stairway, the longest inscribed text in the Maya region, allowed archeologists to crack the ancient language.  The town of Copán, adjacent to the ruins, is a beautiful place paved with cobblestones and lined with white adobe buildings with red-tiled roofs.  Go for the ruins and stay for the town.

Copan Ruins, Honduras

Favorite Historical Places #7 – Hagia Sophia – Istanbul, Turkey

The Hagia Sophia is an architectural beauty and an important monument for both Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires. Once a church, later a mosque, and now a museum at the Turkish Republic, Hagia Sophia has always been a jewel of its time.

Hagia Sophia - Istanbul, Turkey

Favorite Historical Places #6 – Acropolis – Athens, Greece

The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols that form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bestowed by the ancient Greeks to the world.

Acropolis - Athens, Greece

Favorite Historical Places #5 – Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines

Carved out of the hillside by Ifugao tribes people 3000 years ago to provide level steps where the natives plant rice, the Banaue Rice Terraces stretch like stepping stones to the sky, with some reaching an altitude of 5000ft).  It is considered one of mankind’s greatest engineering feats.

Banaue Rice Terraces

Favorite Historical Places #4 – Bagan, Myanmar

Tucked away in central Myanmar and home to more than 2,000 temples, Bagan’s beauty and historical significance is unsurpassed.  On the banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, the site home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins in the world, many dating from the 11th and 12th centuries.

Bagan, Myanmar

Favorite Historical Places #3 – Angkor Wat – Siem Reap, Cambodia

In 1860, missionaries came across the ruins in the Cambodian jungle and discovered a lost city twice as large as Manhattan.  Angkor Wat is actually just one of more than a dozen magnificent temples in the vast metropolis of Angkor, the capital of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to the 15th centuries.  The temple complex is the largest religious monument in the world and absolutely incredible.

Angkor Wat

Favorite Historical Places #2 – Machu Picchu, Peru

An extraordinarily beautiful setting, it’s no wonder Machu Picchu is Peru’s most-visited site.  Dating to the mid-1400s, it’s a marvel of mortar-free limestone architecture perched on a high plateau in the middle of a tropical mountain forest.  Its giant walls, terraces and ramps cut into rock cliffs are the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire.

Machu Picchu

Favorite Historical Places #1 – Great Wall, China

To this day, the Great Wall continues to be the world’s largest military structure.  It is also, the greatest tourist attraction in the World and the goal of millions.  It will not disappoint.

The Great Wall of China

Our 10 Favorite Historical Places

Balkans, Peloponnese, and Dodecanese Oh My


Hedonism, Yugo’s, and Sultans

Three Weeks (August 25th – September 14th, 2010)

Beginning with an international flight to Athens, we spent a couple of days exploring the ancient Acropolis and museums, before grabbing a rental car in Piraeus. Heading north, we made a stop at the ruins of Delphi on our way to Meteora to boggle at 14th century monasteries perched on rocky cliff tops. In the afternoon, we headed to Florina for the night before making our way in the morning to the Medzhitlija border crossing to leave our rental and catch a taxi into Macedonia and the majestic monastery on Lake Ohrid. Next we grabbed our car at the border and made our way to the medieval fortress of Ioannina for the night. In the morning, we stashed our car again at the Kakavia – Ktismata Border Crossing and caught a taxi to Sarandë for a couple days on the Albanian Riviera.


Next, we drove south to do a loop of the Peloponnese. That evening, we visited the sanctuary of Ancient Olympia and stood in the stadium that hosted the first Olympic Games. We stayed overnight in the town and took in some of the excellent museums. In the morning, we grabbed breakfast in Kyparissia, spent the afternoon lazing on Voidokilia beach, and made our way into spectacular Monemvasia for a night exploring the medieval cobbled alley-ways within the walls of its medieval town. In the morning, we drove south and took the ferry to Elafonisos, spending the afternoon lazing on Simos Beach, before heading north for the night to Venetian Nafplio with its mansions, museums and lively port. The next day, we drove to ancient heavyweight Mycenae and Apollo’s temple in Corinth, before dropping the rental back in Piraeus.

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That evening, we took the evening ferry for an island hopping expedition to volcanic Santorini and the medieval island of Rhodes.

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After a speed boat to Marmaris, we headed north up the Aegean coast, to Ephesus (Efes), home to the scarce remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Our final leg north landed us in İstanbul, one of the world’s great cities, whose highlights include the Topkapı Palace, Aya Sofya and Blue Mosque.

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Budget = $2,700 / Person (Traveling with Three People)
Flight - Boston to Athens & Istanbul to Boston$2700
Car, Bus, Boat, Subway - Rental, Fuel, etc$2700
Lodging - Hostels, Hotels$2700
Activities - Entrance Fees, Bungee, Water Park, Museums, Bars, etc.$2700