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31 Leading Cultural Tourism Destinations for Unique Cultural Trips

As a Cultural traveler, I always look for unique cultural experiences wherever I travel. Do you also believe in cultural travel or immersive travel? That being so, this round-up of the very best cultural tourism destinations in the world is sure to help you plan a soulful cultural trip.

Cultural Tourism: Introduction

I’m a sucker for meaningful travel experiences. Beach vacations don’t excite me as much as cultural trips.

What exactly is a cultural trip?

To put it simply, a cultural trip is a trip with a purpose or a goal.

It’s about experiencing, understanding, appreciating, embracing, and preserving different cultures and traditions worldwide.

It’s about getting off the beaten path & stepping out of your comfort zone.

It’s about meeting natives and forming meaningful connections.

It’s about eating local delicacies and staying in homestays.

It’s about being a part of cultural events, local festivals, and rituals.

It’s about gaining knowledge or learning a new skill.

It’s about volunteering and helping local communities thrive.

It’s about challenging preconceptions and bringing in fresh perspectives.

It’s about traveling slowly, sensibly, sustainably, and responsibly, not leaving footprints, and treading a little lighter on the planet.

It’s about not just thinking about yourself but caring about the world @ large.

Culturally immersive travel is all the more important in present times to deal with the dynamic challenges of globalization and multiculturalism.

Cultural tourism is vital in preserving culture and heritage to build a beautiful world and we, as travelers, have a social responsibility to make a positive impact on the local economy, environment, and communities whenever and wherever we travel and inspire others to do that too.

To get on with it, I collaborated with seasoned cultural travelers to bring together this guide to the best cultural destinations in the world that include exciting cultural countries that put forward experiential cultural travel experiences.

Cultural Tourism Destinations for the Best Cultural Experiences in the World

Needless to say, you can have a culturally immersive travel experience anywhere and everywhere in the world.

Each destination has a culture different than yours waiting to be explored and thus, it’s tough to choose a few, however, I’ve cherry-picked the countries that catch the eye for their strong culture and heritage and intrigue a cultural tourist.

Top Cultural Tourist Destinations in Asia


Nele van Hout from The Navigatio

Beautiful red torii of peace gate on the water at Hakone Shrine © The Navigatio

Japan is one of the most unique and culture-rich countries in the world. It’s counted as one of the leading cultural destinations in the world for a reason.

Being an island, Japan was isolated from other countries for centuries, allowing it to develop its very own unique customs and traditions.

While many influences from outside are now being introduced in the Country, Japan remains a travel destination like no other.

Japan is known as a country of many contrasts. The hyper-modern side can be enjoyed in big metropolitan cities like Tokyo, where you can play video games in arcades, be checked into a hotel by a robot, sing karaoke or ride the fastest train in the world (the Shinkansen).

But it’s the traditional side where Japan really differentiates itself from the rest of the world. When visiting, you can dress up in traditional wear, the kimono, before heading over to temples there were built over a thousand years ago – some of the most famous ones can even be found inside the big cities.

In Kyoto, the cultural capital of Japan, you can still find geishas to this day – these are women dressed in kimonos wearing unique white make-up who specialize in tea ceremonies and performance arts.

Here, you can (must) also take part in an official tea ceremony. Matcha (Japanese green tea) plays a big role in Japanese culture and Kyoto is the perfect place to learn about it.

When in Japan, you should consider staying in a ryokan for at least one night. This is a traditional Japanese inn, usually equipt with tatami floors (traditional straw floors) and sometimes they even have an onsen (Japanese hot springs).

They can be found all across the country, but the city of Hakone has a lot of them, including onsen. Some even come with a view of the majestic Mount Fuji.


De Wet & Jin of the Museum of Wander

A traditional Chinese guardian lion (Fu Dog) at the Gate of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City in Beijing.

One of the top choices for cultural trips around the world, few places can compete with the cultural magnificence of China.

The country has a rich and diverse history that spans over 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest continuous civilizations in the world.

The staggering wealth of cultural heritage scattered across the country can make deciding where to go in China challenging. Whether looking for historical landmarks, tea culture, fantastic food, ancient and modern art, traditional medicine, minority cultures, or unique cultural experiences, China delivers like a few others.

First-time visitors to China can experience the best of Chinese culture and history in the capital, Beijing. Besides seeing the famous historical landmarks like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, and the Summer Palace, they’ll also have many opportunities for a slice of authentic Beijing life.

Join the rest of Beijing and ride a bike along the wide and leafy bike lanes, or head to one of the parks to see people play chess, practice calligraphy or opera singing, or do ballroom dancing.  

No visit to China is complete without indulging in its incredible cuisine. In Beijing, that means Peking duck. For the best roast duck in Beijing, you must not miss Quanjude restaurant.

Art lovers, collectors, or those looking for a unique souvenir from China should visit Beijing’s antique market. Panjiayuan Antique Market is home to hundreds of vendors dealing in authentic Chinese antiques and replicas – the fun is finding the difference and bargaining until the price is right.

While Beijing has accommodations to suit every budget and taste, staying in a traditional hutong courtyard hotel is best if you want to immerse yourself in the real Beijing. The Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel in the Dongcheng district is the perfect base to see and experience the local side of Beijing.


The spiritual capital of India, Varanasi on the banks of the holy River Ganges.

One of the oldest civilizations in the world, India has a rich, vibrant, and diverse cultural legacy that makes it the ultimate cultural tourism destination.

Over the centuries, India has been invaded several times by diverse rulers leaving an indelible mark on its cultural fabric. You can see and feel the influence of diverse cultures in architecture, traditional customs, food, dance, music, festivities, and languages. It, without a doubt, is one of the best places for culture in the world.

The Indian cultural heritage, values, and traditions have shaped the history of Asia and the world for that matter.

From ancient temples and royal palaces to majestic forts and historical monuments, the plethora of heritage sites in India showcases the cultural vitality of the country.

Each Indian state with its distinctive cultural heritage deserves a special place among beautiful cultural destinations in India, however, some states and cities take a lead for their cultural and historic stature on the world stage like Varanasi, Jaipur, Delhi, Amritsar, Madurai, Hampi, Mysore, Khajuraho, Kochi, and Rishikesh.

Among the various destinations for cultural tourism in India, Varanasi (Benaras or Kashi) is indeed the symbol of Indian culture. “Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together,” penned Mark Twain.

One of the oldest living cities in the world, this sacred city on the banks of the Holy River Ganges is where people from across the world come to attain moksha (salvation). Its ancient temples, historic ghats, and revered Ganga Aarti offer unmissable cultural experiences. Without a doubt, Varanasi is one of the best cultural cities in the world.

With magnificent palaces, invincible forts, folk music, colorful festivals, and fairs – the royal cities of Rajasthan narrate the grandeur of erstwhile royals.

The unique temples of Tamil Nadu have great mythological and historical significance in Indian culture. The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is the epitome of beauty and architecture and a must-visit for cultural buffs.

Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Madhya Pradesh beautifully mirrors the art and creativity of ancient India. One of a kind in the world!

Kerala is a melting pot of different cultures and traditions. You can sense the Arab, Chinese, and European influences, especially in Fort Kochi. You can visit Kerala Kathakali Centre to witness traditional dances such as the Kathakali or the classic martial arts form of Kalaripayattu. Art lovers can plan around Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the biggest contemporary art festival in Asia.

No cultural trip to India is complete without taking part in one of the colorful Indian festivals. Holi and Diwali are hit among cultural tourists. And of course, gorging on traditional Indian food is part and parcel of an immersive travel experience in India.

The Mughal monuments of Delhi, the Golden Temple of Amritsar, the Indo-Portuguese architecture of Goa, the Awadhi heritage of Lucknow, the artistic and literary heritage of Kolkata, the historic temples of Bhubaneswar, the Buddhist pilgrimage of Bodh Gaya, ancient ruins of Hampi, palaces and pilgrim sites of Mysore, and on and on – India is your answer to culture fix.

And how can I talk about Indian culture and not mention its ancient healing traditions – Yoga and Ayurveda that make India a leader in holistic wellness? From Rishikesh and Narendra Nagar to Kottayam, Allepey, Palakkad, and Mysore – there are endless Yoga and Ayurveda Ashrams & Resorts in India.

For an immersive Indian culture experience, book a stay at one of the unique heritage hotels or local homestays or wellness retreats in India.


Ami Bhat of Thrilling Travel

Monks at Taktsang Monastery, Paro in Bhutan

Known for its commitment to Gross National Happiness, Bhutan is a place where you will find how well-balanced the concepts of well-being and spiritual values are alongside economic development. The small landlocked country located in the eastern Himalayas is a perfect combination of culture, heritage, and nature.

The history of Bhutan dates back to the 8th century when Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava, introduced Buddhism to the region. The country’s early history is characterized by the establishment of local chieftaincies, with the emergence of the Wangchuck dynasty in the early 20th century leading to the unification of the country.

It was in 2008, the country made the transition to a constitutional monarchy, with the king remaining the head of state but with a democratically elected government.

Every major town in Bhutan has a central Dzong (fort) which is not just a center of governance but also, a religious and cultural hot spot. A visit here not only allows you to appreciate the traditional Bhutanese architecture but gets you familiarized with the key customs and traditions of the country.

Besides these, there are several ancient monasteries and temples like Taktsang Monastery, Chimi Lhakhang (the fertility temple), and the Gangtey Monastery that one can visit.

No cultural experience is complete without a taste of the local meals. Bhutanese cuisine is known for its spiciness and use of chilies, and traditional dishes include ema datshi (chilies and cheese), phaksha paa (pork with vegetables), and momos (dumplings).

It is highly recommended that one experiences a stay in one of their traditional villages located in peaceful valleys like the Haa Valley and Phobjikha Valley. There are several farmhouses that provide authentic experiences including traditional stone baths.


Kaitlyn from Carry On Only

The ancient town of Hội An in Vietnam © Carry On Only

Vietnam is an ideal destination in South East Asia for those who wish to experience a diverse and fascinating culture. It’s a beautiful country brimming with endless cultural tourism attractions and thus, offers some of the best cultural vacations in the world.

The history of Vietnam is complex and includes significant events such as a 1000-year-long period of Chinese rule over northern and central Vietnam, a 1st century AD rebellion led by the Trung Sisters against Chinese domination, successful defense against Mongol invasion, French colonization during the 19th century, and the widely known Vietnam War.

Vietnam has a wide range of attractions that would interest culture buffs. These include the My Son Sanctuary, Cu Chi Tunnels, The Ancient Town of Hoi An (which features the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum, War Remnants Museum and the Independence Palace in Ho Chi Minh City, the imperial city of Hue, Bac Ha Market in Lao Cai, Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi, and floating markets along the Mekong Delta.

If you want to have a complete cultural experience, then choosing a Homestay in the Sapa area is the optimal way to do it. You can get an authentic taste of the daily life of the Black Hmong by staying in The Little Hmong House.

Vietnamese locals are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality towards tourists, making it easy for visitors to connect with them and learn about their vibrant culture and way of life.

If you want to experience a magnificent culture, visiting Vietnam is a must-do on your bucket list!


Alex and Leah of Alex and Lean on Tour

Monks at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

If you’re looking for an explosion of culture, look no further than Cambodia, one of the very best cultural places in the world.

The country has endless cultural attractions that you absolutely must visit. Whether it’s the famous sunset at Angkor Wat near Siem Reap or lesser-known gems such as the Battambang Bamboo train, there’s so much to experience in Cambodia.

Angkor Wat is an absolute must-visit for anyone traveling to Cambodia. The region has tons of temples, all representing something different about Cambodian culture. 

If you’re looking to explore off the traditional touristy track, make sure to visit Battambang and stay at the beautiful Sanctuary Villa which fully blends into the environment perfectly yet still has amazing facilities!

Similarly, if you love the hustle and bustle of a city that has an abundance of great food places, Phnom Penh’s the place to be. Full of every food imaginable 

Cambodia has a very fraught history and has only recently managed to dispose of the Khmer Rouge. This truly horrific regime attempted to restructure Cambodian society which ended up slaughtering millions of innocent people in prison and killing fields. It’s still a very poor country so make sure to be conscious and respectful when you visit! 

If you’re looking to relax Cambodian-style then why not also visit the beautiful Koh Rong islands in the southwest? You’ll have the chance to swim in the turquoise sea by day and bio-illuminant plankton by night!

Sri Lanka

Dotti from Travel Oasis

Traditional ceremony at Dambulla Cave Temple in Sri Lanka © Travel Oasis

Sri Lanka is a fabulous destination for culture lovers. This little island is overflowing with cultural attractions due to its extensive history dating back millennia. 

The most obvious place to get a cultural fix in Sri Lanka is the cultural triangle. This region, in the center of the country, is where the Sinhalese civilization was born. It’s also where the bulk of Sri Lanka’s cultural attractions are: the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, Mihintale, the Dambulla cave temples, and the famous rock citadel of Sigiriya.

The largest of these is Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s first capital. It was one of the ancient world’s great metropolises at the time, with monasteries, massive dagobas, elaborate palaces, and water tanks. Many of these monuments still remain, not only as popular tourist attractions but as important Buddhist religious sites, so it’s common to see pilgrims paying visits. 

Just south of the cultural triangle is Kandy, the second-largest city in the country. Kandy is known as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka due to housing the famous Temple of the Tooth. This temple, which is open to the public, is said to hold a tooth from the Buddha and is of utmost importance to Buddhists worldwide. 

In the north of Sri Lanka is Jaffna, home to the majority of the country’s Tamil population. Jaffna is a great place to experience Sri Lanka’s Hindu culture, with shrines peppered throughout the region. The most famous is Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, which dates back to the 13th century. 

There’s no better place to stay than Ceylonima Home Stay in Anuradhapura. Run by an incredibly welcoming family who goes out of their way to provide the best experience for their guests. From giving local tips to informal cooking classes in their own kitchen, this is a cultural experience not to miss. 


Emily from Emixglobe 

Historis street of Jiufen in Taiwan © Emixglobe

With a long history of colonialism blended with rich aboriginal culture, Taiwan has an extremely colorful fusion of cultural heritage unique from all its East Asian counterparts.

One of the best ways to experience the various forms of Taiwanese culture is to visit the many historic streets scattered throughout Taiwan. Each historic street has its own unique history and culture associated with it.

From these streets, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of how Taiwanese people have lived throughout the centuries; from well-preserved buildings left from the Japanese colonial period to the fascinating and unique Hakka culture of Taiwan.

Some of the most beautiful and notable historic streets in Taiwan include Jiufen and Lukang Old Street, both dating back to the Qing dynasty.

Jiufen was once a prosperous mining town and many have speculated it to be the inspiration for Ghibli’s spirited away due to striking similarities. Lukang used to be the second most prominent town in Taiwan and an important seaport rich in Hakka culture.

The Aboriginal culture is also an important part of Taiwanese culture. The Aborigines have lived in Taiwan for 6000 years, and there are officially 16 recognized tribes in Taiwan, each with its own unique language and culture.

The best way to experience the Aboriginal culture is to take their villages and immerse yourself in their daily way of life and participate in festivals and events.

South Korea

Mayi from SecretMoona

Beautiful ornamental roof of Deoksugung Palace in Seoul, South korea © SecretMoona

In recent years, South Korea has undergone tremendous cultural change. Thus when considering the country, we often think of K-Pop, K-Drama, K-Food, and high-tech.

But South Korea also offers something for those interested in history and culture.  A trip to South Korea is an invitation to discover 5,000 years of history, art, and culture.

Here, Chinese and Japanese influences can be seen in the rich heritage, but Korean culture displays a particular style. Starting with Seoul, a bubbling capital where futuristic architecture brushes shoulders with ancient palaces.

You can explore Bukchon Hanok Village. Surrounded by Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and Jongmyo Shrine, Bukchon Hanok Village is home to hundreds of traditional houses called hanok, which date back to the Joseon Dynasty.

After the capital, I invite you to visit the other major places: Busan, the maritime, Gyeongju, the historic, Andong, the traditional…

The historical treasures of Gyeongju, in particular, will take you back in time. As the ancient capital of the kingdom of Silla and often referred to as ‘the museum without walls,’ the city displays neither tall buildings nor modern architecture.

While there, explore the city’s royal past at Tumuli Park, a peaceful park full of tumuli (large round grassy tombs), and visit the Gyeongju National Museum. As an important cultural center, it preserves and exhibits Silla’s rich history and culture.

Other must-sees are Cheomseongdae, the oldest astronomical observatory in Asia, and the Bulguksa Temple. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bulguksa Temple is home to the oldest cave temple in the country.

If you want to experience monastic life firsthand, you can stay there as part of a temple stay program and learn sunmudo, a traditional Buddhist Korean martial art, among other things. 

Another place to explore South Korea’s cultural and historical sights is Andong. The town is known for its traditional culture, and the main attraction is the Hahoe Folk Village, a Unesco World Heritage site.

The village has large tile-roofed residences, thatched roofs houses, and old pavilions. Stroll through the narrow streets, visit the traditional houses, and explore the Hahoe Mask Museum, with its intriguing collection of Korean and international masks.


Caroline of Veggie Wayfarer

UNESCO World Heritage City of Khiva in Uzbekistan

A colorful treasure trove for cultural aficionados is located along the silk road in Central Asia. Uzbekistan was once at the very heart of trade between East and West, it comes therefore as no surprise that modern-day Uzbek culture is an eclectic mix of different civilizations which is reflected in the country’s architecture, music, and even cuisine.

Originally inhabited by nomadic tribes, and later ruled by a myriad of empires and kingdoms including the Samanids, Timurids, and the Khanate of Bukhara. The country was folded into the Soviet Union in the 20th century but regained its independence in 1991.

Luckily the gargantuan tiled mosques and traditional architecture were carefully preserved despite being depictions of an outlawed religion.

Hospitality is of the utmost importance in Uzbek culture, being invited into someone’s home for a meal or a cup of tea is a common occurrence, although you might want to brush up on your Uzbek before attending.

While tourism in Uzbekistan has gained momentum in recent years, it still remains a wonderfully authentic place to visit.

Start your trip by exploring Samarkand, with the majestic Registan Square being an absolute must-visit. Next hop on a train to Bukhara and stay with a local family at the Komil Bukhara Boutique Hotel.

End your cultural trip to Uzbekistan with little Khiva, which once held the largest slave market in all of Central Asia and was rivaled only by Bukhara in importance.

The night train from Khiva to Tashkent will bring you back to the capital, where all international airfare departs from.


Carine from We Did It Our Way

The oldest church in the world, Etchmiadzin Vagharshapat in Armenia

Armenia, a small country in the Caucasus, is a beautiful place with a long history & rich culture. Armenia has been on maps since the Bronze Age under different dynasties and kingdoms.

Being the first Christian nation, adopting the religion in 301 AD, many of the cultural sites in Armenia are churches.

With over 4,000 to choose from, the most notable ones are the Holy City of Etchmiadzin, where the Armenian equivalent of the pope resides, and Khor Virap, where the father of Christianity in Armenia was held captive for years.

But there’s more to do in Armenia than visit churches! Visit the Genocide Museum to learn about the horrific genocide perpetrated by the Turks in 1915. The Areni-1 Caves, are archaeological digs where there are relics that pin Armenia as one of the birthplaces of wine-making.

The world’s oldest leather shoe was also found here, currently kept at the History Museum of Armenia in Yerevan, where there are many other museums.

Other amazing places to visit in Armenia are the Garni temple, the only pagan temple in the country, dating back to the 1st century.

Karahunj, or Zorats Karer, is suspected to be the oldest astronomical observatory in the world. Khndzoresk is an old village that has been built into the side of the mountain, with caves and ruins to explore.

Almost every night, you can attend a concert or dance show in Yerevan or Gyumri. There are also a ton of festivals and events happening almost every weekend.

A great heritage hotel is the Tufenkian Old Dilijan Guest Rooms in Dilijan. They kept the allure of the architecture of the 1800s when the city of Dilijan was known as a blossoming center of culture, commerce, and cuisine.

There are also plenty of homestays to choose from. Just be careful as your hosts will likely feed you constantly, just a little sign of how much they appreciate you! 

For these reasons and so many others, Armenia is a great place to visit for culture buffs. In 2 weeks, you can easily take in the best sights in the country.

Best Cultural Travel Destinations in Europe


Raksha Nagaraj of Solopassport

Georgian wine with fresh bread, cheese, and cherry tomatoes!

Located at the eastern end of the Black Sea between Russia and Armenia, Georgia is a transcontinental country belonging to both Europe and Asia.

As per Georgia’s history, the country has gone through many political changes/rulers, including the rule of the Soviet Union and it was declared independent (again) in 1991.

Georgia is especially famous for its wine culture, as the country is the oldest wine-making country in the world that dates back to 6000 years B.C.

With more than 80% of the population practicing Orthodox Christianity, Georgia is one of the most traditional and religious countries to visit.

Georgia was also the site of the Golden Fleece sought by Jason and the Argonauts in the Greek mythological tale of Argonautica. There are many medieval churches around the country, including UNESCO World Heritage sites Jvari Monastery and Bagrati Cathedral.

In fact, Georgia’s language, Mkhedruli script (alphabets), and dance are also recognized by UNESCO.

What makes the Georgians stand out is their hospitality and their respect for women. They believe that guests are Gods and make everyone feel at home and comfortable. The food in Georgia is also unique and they love their wine.

Their culture is best observed during their feast/festival called supra. During the feast, the role of the tamada/toastmaster is significant, and the culture of drinking the wine bottoms up irrespective of how big the glass/drinking horns called khantsi is.

One of the best ways to enjoy Georgian culture is by staying at a local hotel or homestay. Musmore Boutique Hotel, situated close to Liberty Square, is a budgeted hotel run by locals and is a great opportunity to interact and learn from them. The guests can also taste and try the local cuisine at the hotel.


Tamar of World by Weekend

Dark Church in Goreme Open Air Museum in Cappadocia, Turkey © World by Weekend

If you’re looking for a travel destination rich in cultural heritage, then look no further than Turkey (Türkiye). One of the best cultural vacation destinations, Turkey has been at a cultural crossroads for millennia, giving the country its unique east-meets-west mix of cultures.

While visiting Turkey you’ll have the opportunity to explore ancient Greek ruins, explore Byzantine rock churches, and see the world’s best examples of Ottoman architecture.

Culture buffs should be sure to visit Istanbul, where Europe and Asia collide into one mega-city. Current-day Istanbul was the seat of power for the Ottoman sultans, who ruled for 600 years and whose empire spanned across southern Europe and the Middle East.

You can learn about the Ottoman Empire by visiting Topkapi and Dolmabahçe Palaces. While touring these two stunning palaces you will enter former bedrooms, private prayer rooms, and grand rooms for entertaining, giving you a sense of the lavish lifestyle of the sultans.

Turkey’s cultural significance, however, extends far beyond the busy streets of Istanbul. The ancient city of Ephesus, near current-day Izmir, was once an important Roman city and home to roughly a quarter of a million people.

The city was most famous for the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Today, the temple is in ruins aside from one free-standing column. However, the ancient city of Ephesus still contains many exemplary well-preserved ruins, making it a must-visit for travelers interested in ancient history.

Not to be overlooked by culture buffs visiting Turkey is the region of Cappadocia. Nearly 2,000 years ago, this picturesque land of fairy chimneys became home to early Christian settlers.

The settlers built churches into the rocks, chiseling out the rooms by hand. They also painted beautiful religious frescoes on the walls and ceilings, many of which can still be viewed today. The best place to see these Byzantine Christian creations is the Goreme Open Air Museum, which contains 15 rock churches.

For a unique and immersive accommodation experience in Cappadocia, be sure to stay at a cave hotel. Traditionally, many inhabitants of the valley resided in cave dwellings carved into the rocks. Today, you can experience this traditional local lifestyle, without the risk of erosion, by staying in a cave yourself!


Cris from LooknWalk

Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Located in Southern Europe, La Bella Italia, together with Greece, is considered the birthplace of Western civilization. Home to 53 cultural and 5 natural UNESCO Heritage sites, as well as 14 traditions recognized as intangible cultural heritage, the largest number in the world, Italy is a must on your itinerary if you are a culture buff.

Between historical sites, art museums, and colorful traditions, your trip to Italy will be an immersive experience of its history and culture.

Italy’s history span eons. Rome started its life as a small village in the 8th century BC. It grew into a republic, then an empire, spanning the entire Mediterranean basin, going as far north as Scotland and as far east as Mesopotamia and Arabia.

Reminders of this period dot Rome’s streets. Decades of war and the changes happening in nearby territories, eventually lead to the emergence of modern Italy.

When the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed in 1861, its capital was Turin. It took 9 more years until Rome became the capital. But it wasn’t until after World War II that Italy became a republic again (1946).

Today, it’s one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and most travelers choose to discover Rome’s cultural and historical heritage.

Without a doubt, your cultural itinerary in Italy should start with visiting Rome’s Colosseum. And while you are here, tour the Vatican’s Museums, and go on a day trip to explore the ancient city of Pompeii.

If you are also into art, plan a trip to Florence, home to a large concentration of world-famous masterpieces. Visit the Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and Palazzo Vecchio. And while in the area, make sure to also check out Pisa with its famous Leaning Tower.

No cultural exploration of Italy is complete without getting to know its cuisine. Learn to make pizza in Naples or discover the secrets of orecchiette in Puglia.

When it comes to accommodation, farm stays will allow you to get immersed in the Italian lifestyle. Agriturismo Podere Campriano in the heart of Chianti, close to both Florence and Siena, is a family-owned farm that produces fantastic wine and olive oil. Aside from wonderful accommodations, they also offer cooking classes and wine tours.


Elle of Only in Germany

Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany

Dating back thousands of years, Germany or Deutschland was a pagan nation and an important center of the Holy Roman Empire. It played a significant part in the history of Europe.

Germany is a hub for culture enthusiasts, with museums, art houses, and collection centers scattered across the country. All these places narrate the story of Germany and have significant cultural importance. They are perfect for witnessing the magic of art, history, and culture.

If you are a culture enthusiast, Berlin, the capital city of Germany is one of the best cities to visit in Germany.

The Pergamon Museum on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Museum Island in Berlin houses long-buried treasures and monumental works worldwide, including Greek and Roman collections.

The Museum Brandhorst in Munich is the central venue for contemporary art, showcasing masterpieces from all over the world from the 1960s to the present.

With a host of musical theaters, opera houses, and live venues, Munich is a hub for performing arts and cultures. One must plan an evening catching traditional and classical performances at Deutsches Theater in Munich to get a dose of culture.

The Hamburg Art Hall is characterized by striking architecture, such as a historical staircase, study hall, or the atrium of the Gallery of Contemporary Art. It houses more than 150 works, including Meister Bertram and Caspar David Friedrich, and also offers a virtual tour. 

The Museum Ludwig in Cologne covers major approaches in contemporary art and the 20th century. It boasts the most extensive pop art collection in Europe, the third biggest Picasso collection in the world, one of the best collections of German Expressionism, and one of the most important collections of photography. 

The Ruhr Museum in Essen is located in the former coal preparation plant of the Zollverein colliery and provides information about the coal age to its visitors, focusing on the technical, historical, and cultural dimensions of the coal cage. Visitors can take a virtual tour of the museum and understand its history and its significance in real time. 

Germany’s museums have preserved culturally and historically significant memorabilia with the utmost care, allowing visitors to cherish a sneak peek into the world and era that went by.

Apart from museums and art galleries, palaces, castles, cathedrals, and monuments also display Germany’s rich cultural heritage. The world-famous cathedral in Cologne is a beautiful reminder of Germany’s glorious past.


Milijana from World Travel Connector

Cathedral of Santiago De Compostela in Spain © World Travel Connector

Spain is one of the top countries in the world for its rich cultural heritage. 

Spain has 49 World Heritage sites! Only Italy, China, and Germany have more World Heritage sites than Spain. 

The cultural heritage of Spain goes back to prehistoric times. The Cave of Altamira near Santillana del Mar in northern Spain and its paleolithic cave painting is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

But, the highest number of World Heritage Sites in Spain is related to medieval Spain. 

The Old Cities of Santiago de Compostela, Avila, Salamanca, Toledo, and the historic center of Cordoba are among the prettiest places in Spain and are World Heritage Sites. Gorgeous Seville is among the most beautiful cities in Spain as well.

UNESCO declared Seville’s Cathedral, Alcázar, and Archivo de Indias a UNESCO World Heritage site, too. Besides that, UNESCO’s protected Alhambra Place in Granada is the most visited site in Spain. The Alhambra Palace receives 2 million visitors a year. 

For a highly culturally immersive experience, Spain visitors can sleep in Paradors (historic buildings converted into luxury hotels). The first Parador in Spain was the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela. 

However, hiking Camino de Santiago is the top culturally immersive experience in Spain to seek for. Most of the mentioned World Heritage sites are on the Camino de Santiago routes. Camino de Santiago, or St James Way, is among the most famous world pilgrimage and hiking trails.

Camino de Santiago is a net of medieval routes across Spain and Europe that lead to the tomb of Apostle James the Greater in Santiago Cathedral in Spain. UNESCO proclaimed the French Route and Routes of Northern Spain of Camino de Santiago a World Heritage Site.

Camino pilgrims visit historical places. Those places hold the finest examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture in Europe. In the last decade, over 200,000 pilgrims hiked Camino de Santiago.

So, if you seek one of the top culturally immersive experiences in a lifetime, prepare your Camino de Santiago packing list and head to Spain! 


Aixoise from All About Aix

This post first appeared on Travel Melodies, please read the originial post: here

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31 Leading Cultural Tourism Destinations for Unique Cultural Trips


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