Are you a lover of culture, heritage and history? If so, why not choose from one of these destinations for a more unique journey? There are numerous monuments and diverse histories all over the world that have yet to have their moment in the spotlight. And if you're the type of traveler who wants to get a glimpse of a country's authentic side, here's a list of 15 places just for you.
Located between Asia and Europe, Istanbul is the perfect culture trip. Here you can find magnificent religious buildings such as the world famous Blue Mosque. The Hagia Sophia was built in 537 AD and was originally a Greek Orthodox Cathedral. After the Ottoman conquest, it became an Ottoman imperial mosque and is now a museum. This is the perfect landmark to visit to appreciate Turkey's history of West meeting East.
It's hard to avoid history among Bruges' cobbled streets and medieval buildings. Head the the Markt, or Market Square, to find the Belfry of Bruges, a medieval bell tower. Head inside and climb its 366 steps to experience some incredible views of the city. The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a Roman Catholic cathedral that holds a very rare relic, a piece of cloth believed to be stained with the blood of Jesus Christ. Hundreds of people visit the cathedral just to get a glimpse of it.
Athens has been a much loved destination of choice for tourists for many years, and with its abundance of ancient ruins, it's easy to see why. The most famous of its ancient sites is the Acropolis, a hilltop temple that dates back to the 5th century. Head to the Plaka to see even more acropolises, temples and tavernas. There are also numerous museums such as the National Archaeological Museum, to help guide you through if you are not too clued up on ancient history.
In Kyoto, you can explore a world of temples and a castle that dates back to the 10th and the 12th centuries. By taking a stroll down the streets of the town, it's hard not to notice the history of the city that is shown in many different places. In the forests there are magnificent, hidden temples such as the Kiyomizu-dera. This Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a visit to the castle of Nijo and walk along its nightingale floor: wooden planks designed to make a chirping sound when walked upon.
The promenades of this city in the heart of Mexico are an invitation to admire the country's baroque colonial architecture. Look around and you'll see not only beautiful homes but castles made from pink stone. Go back in time to the period of the Spanish conquest, when invaders exploited gold mines and hunted fruitlessly for El Dorado. The historical monuments and rich local culture make this city a truly unique experience.