History Trips in the Sunshine: Sun, Sea and Sites


It’s a classic holiday dilemma. You want to see historic sites, but you also want somewhere that offers you sun, sea and relaxation. But where in the world can you combine these things to have history trips in the sunshine? In this article, we count down the top ten resorts that offer you both sites of historic interest and a glowing tan.  

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic Sea”, Dubrovnik mixes beachside glamour with medieval wonders such as Fort Lovrijenac. This UNESCO-listed resort offers an array of historic sites including Dubrovnik Cathedral, numerous churches, monuments and even one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. Don’t miss out on taking a tour along the stunning Dubrovnik City Walls.

Marseille, France
In addition to boasting many of its own sites, the coastal city of Marseille is the perfect place from which to take history trips to some of France’s fantastic Ancient Roman sites. Within the city itself are the ancient Marseille Roman Docks, the ruins at Jardin des Vestiges and two great forts. What’s more, Arles and Nimes are within driving distance, meaning that there’s no shortage of historic sites to see and things to do. Both of these places offer a plethora of ancient sites such as La Maison Carée in Nimes and the Arles Amphitheatre to name just a few.

Sorrento, Italy
Stunning cliffs and beaches, stylish surroundings and ancient sites are in abundance in Sorrento and nearby towns in the region of Campania. The Ancient Roman sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae and Villa Poppea are within easy reach of this holiday hotspot. It is also within driving distance of Naples, with its many sites such as Catacombe di San Gennaro, Naples Cathedral, San Lorenzo Maggiore and the famous Naples National Archaeological Museum.

Canakkale, Turkey
For those interested in World War I, Canakkale in Turkey is a great place for a holiday in the sun. Located just a ferry ride away from the Gallipoli Peninsula, Canakkale is a launching spot from which to follow in the footsteps of one of the fiercest episodes of the First World War – the Gallipoli Campaign. Furthermore, just 30km away is the ancient archaeological site of Troy, said to be the location of the Trojan War and setting of Homer’s Iliad.

Heraklion, Crete
Crete is known for its beautiful beaches and even for its clubbing scene in Malia, but this Greek island is also brimming with historic sites. Top of the list are the ancient sites of Knossos and Gortyna, both full of fascinating ruins.

Paphos, Cyprus
Visitors to Paphos are spoilt for choice when it comes to historic sites, all within easy distance of its medieval harbour. From the Bronze Age ruins of Palaipafos to the Roman sites of Nea Paphos and exploring the underground wonders of the Tombs of the Kings, there is no shortage of things to see. For those wishing to venture slightly further afield, check out Kourion, an fantastic historic site containing mostly Ancient Roman ruins.

Barcelona, Spain
Home of the iconic La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona is usually associated with the works of Gaudi. However, the historic sites of this coastal city don’t stop with those created by this famous architect, but also extend to ancient and modern history sites including a Roman Necropolis, a Roman villa, Spanish Civil War tunnels and several history museums.

Kos, Greece
Birthplace of Hippocrates, the Greek father of medicine, Kos is home to the ancient Asklepieion, the health sanctuary where his teachings were put into practice. While this site is just outside the main town, the centre is dotted with a plethora of ancient sites, many of which are free to enter. Furthermore, the stunning medieval Kos Castle, built by the Knights Hospitaller to defend from the Ottomans, is also within the town, offering another perspective of this tiny island’s history.

Cairo, Egypt
It may not be coastal, but it doesn’t get any hotter than Cairo. Furthermore, with its world-renowned Ancient Egyptian pyramids and museums, it is one of the best resorts in the world to see historic sites. In addition to the more touristy sites such as Giza, Saqqara and Dahshur, there are also the quieter Abusir Pyramids.

Tunis, Tunisia
Within easy reach of the holiday resort of Hammamet, Tunis has a wealth of historic sites to explore. Alongside the archaeological treasures of the Bardo Museum, Tunis is home to the historic Medina of Tunis housing a series of medieval sites, mostly dating back to the Berber Dynasties. Just 15km away from Tunis is Carthage, one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites and formerly an ancient superpower.

These are just some of the fantastic options for history trips in the sunshine. For more great historic sites around the world as well as further details about these sites, visit our explore page.