Western Europe is a region that’s visited for just about every reason under the sun. Great food, great people, and some fantastical nature stops. But for lovers of history, it’s a nexus of must-see locations each telling a story that’s bound to thrill. Here, we’re going to look at some of the lesser known amongst those locations. We’re going to tell you about a few hidden spots of Europe just waiting to be explored.
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
For those of you with an anthropological fix, then Spain is one of the best countries to visit. It’s a mish-mash of styles, Roman, Iberian and Moorish. Nowhere is this more evident than Santiago de Compostela. From Basque architecture to glorious Gothic cathedrals, it was once a bulwark in a series of wars between people looking to settle. As a stronghold of Christianity, it’s become a famous place for pilgrimage. For us, it’s the wondrous mix of architecture that makes it one of the best places to visit in Spain.
Gwynedd is one of the old kingdoms of Wales before the creation of the United Kingdom. The history of Britain is one fraught with conflicts that were tribal, national and geopolitical. If you want to see what the country looked like when the many kingdoms of the islands warred with one another, then Gwynedd is where to go. The castles and walls of Gwynedd, built by King Edward, stand as one of the best-preserved examples of late 13th century defenses in the whole world.
Maastricht, the Netherlands
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, just as good a job has been done in preserving an immensely pretty old world town. Maastricht looks like the perfect place to relax and enjoy a thriving university community in a beautiful riverside town. Beneath the surface tells a deeper, darker story of fierce fighting and stalwart defense. The tunnels of Maastricht connect in a web that runs under the town, connecting fortifications that are kilometers apart. Once, they were a vital part of defending the town. Now, they’re easy to explore thanks to guided tours. Still a creepy yet riveting experience.
Recently made famous thanks to a certain movie, Bruges still remains one of the most relaxing destinations in Europe. All that despite its popularity. A town that has roots back to Roman times, it’s a time capsule of different ages. A series of canals zig-zag through a series of old houses, museums, and cathedrals. Despite the shop displays and modern infrastructure, it very much still looks like a historical setting. Known as the Venice of the North, it’s definitely worth taking a canal trip. And a stop at some of the world famous confectionary stores, too.
From seeing towns that have kept their forms for hundreds of years to castles that once dominated the history of a nation. Western Europe is a cultural and historical goldmine. Make sure some of these locations are added to your bucket list or you’ll be missing out.