Explore cities stuck in time for the past hundreds of years. Discover lost worlds as you walk through narrow medieval roads, ancient palaces, gothic cathedrals, and much more. Sometimes the road less taken is by far the most breathtaking.
Famous for its' untouched Medieval architecture, San Gimignano is a small town in Tuscany. San Gimignano has many high rising towers built over the centuries as defensive fortifications with the oldest dating back almost 1000 years! Climb up one of these towers for a 360-degree view of the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Only 1 hour from Florence by bus, this town is a must-see if you’re in Italy.
Also in Tuscany, Siena is famous for its hilly roads and pristine renaissance architecture. Each hill offers different, dramatic views of the city. Home to Italian banking, Siena was able to capitalize on its wealth during the renaissance and invest heavily in its architecture. Most notably, the Siena Cathedral and Piazza del Campo. The Siena cathedral easily rivals any other in Italy with its beautiful frescoes and gold detailing. The Piazza del Campo hosts a biannual horse race where viewers from all over the world gather to watch. Climb into the Torre del Mangia to get an aerial view of the piazza, the city, and its surrounding countryside.
One of the oldest cities in Egypt and one of its holiest sites, the lost city of Abydos is a city that will transport you 4000 years back in time. Here lie countless Egyptian pharaohs, being one of the earliest places they were entombed. The entire city was built as a holy place, where one could both worship and be inspired by the gods. Because of this, some of ancient Egypt’s most incredible architecture is located here.
The Ruins of Angkor
Lost in time until the 19th century, this recently rediscovered metropolis was the heart of Khmer civilization for over 500 years. This ancient megacity features a vast network of temples and palaces. Because of its location deep within the Cambodian jungle, after the citys’ abandonment in the 15th century, it became quickly lost in time and overtaken by nature. During this time, various trees have been able to grow in and around the ruins, making it one of the most recognizable features of the Angkor temples. These trees wrap themselves around the temple walls as they grow, both preserving and overtaking the beautiful architecture. Nomads who wish to visit the ruins of Angkor should fly into Siam Reap, where they can get a temporary Visa and can easily visit the ruins.
Built on 117 small Islands by refugees escaping barbarian invasions, Venice grew into a economic and military powerhouse in the Renaissance. This power and wealth enabled it to invest heavily in its’ infrastructure and architecture. Most notably, its’ canals. These canals are the defining characteristic of the city and for hundreds of years, has been used as a fast and efficient means to transport people and products into and across the city. Travel along the grand canal as you discover some of the most beautiful buildings in the world such as St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, and Piazza San Marco, made almost entirely of marble. It’s recommended to visit Venice in the summer because during the rainy season the city tends to flood a lot.
One of the oldest towns in China, Dali is famous for its well preserved buildings. Among these include traditional style Chinese houses, Pagodas, and Temples. Most of the architecture, including the pagodas, were created over 1000 years ago, with limited renovations and repairs to keep them intact. Although off the beaten track, Dali is a town you won’t want to miss during your visit to China.
Founded in 823, the small French town of Colmar remains relatively untouched. Colmar’s attractions include Little Venice, a street of medieval houses built around the Lauch river. Saint Martin’s Church, a pristine example of Gothic architecture built over 800 years ago, and The House of Heads, designed architect Albert Schmidt “owes its name to the 106 heads or grotesque masks that decorate a rich façade”. Admire the charm of this small French city during your next trip to France.
The ancient metropolis of Teotihuacan is the best preserved example of ancient Aztec architecture in the world. Its’ name means “The place where God was created” and rightly so. This holy city was the biggest city in ancient America. Huge temples and monuments are located throughout the entire city such as the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon and the Great Temple of Quetzacoatl. Located only 25 miles north from Mexico City, Teotihuacan will take your breath away.
Untouched by World War 2, Prague has a rich history and beautiful architectural masterpieces. St. Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle are among the most notable. Built in 930AD, this historic cathedral towers above the city and served as inspiration for many gothic cathedrals to come in central Europe. Prague Castle is a huge castle complex built in 880 AD. The castle complex surrounds St. Vitus Cathedral, is lined with beautiful gardens, and contain terraces for sight seeing. Another memorable sight in Prague is the Charles Bridge. Built over the Vitava river, the Charles Bridge has monuments and statues lining the bridge and is a great spot to relax and admire the beauty of the city.
The best preserved medieval town in Germany, Rothenburg ob der Tauber contains a historic town centre, town walls, a town hall, and a beautiful gothic church. The old town offers a relaxed atmosphere with classic Bavarian style shops on every corner. Visitors can stroll the medieval town walls for a great view of the serene countryside or a peaceful stroll. The Rothenberg town hall sits in the main square and features a spire overlooking the city. This was and still is the heart of Rothenberg. St. Jacobs church is a great example of Gothic architecture and is the spiritual center of the city.
Situated on a small island, the town of Mont Saint-Michel has remained relatively untouched since the medieval ages. This town has an iconic church sitting on the top of the island and can be seen from miles away. The Abbaye du Mont Saint Michel features a spectacular courtyard and 360-degree views of the surrounding ocean and French coast. Walk down the church on narrow medieval streets flanked by beautiful houses on both sides to the historic fortifications of the island. Originally built for defensive purposes, you can now walk on the wall around the island for a complete tour of Mont St Michel.