To commemorate International Day of Peace on Sunday, September 21, I wanted to share with you three historical travel destinations that have left imprints on this traveller’s heart. While each place has a not-so-bright past in war times, I’d like to take you on a tour of their beautiful, peaceful sides.

Crete, Greece

Your historical travel tour begins on the island of Crete.

There have been countless battles fought in Greece including the Battle of Crete in 1941, where Germany launched the largest airborne attack on the Allies.

historical travel destinations
Koules Venetian fortress, Heraklion

The island of Crete was a significant port for the country; as result, you’ll find walls built to protect it from invaders.

historical travel tours
This ancient port was walled to prevent invasions

Modern day Crete had a different vibe than the other Grecian Islands I was lucky enough to explore; I felt like I was a bit off the tourist trail.

historical travel destinations
Heraklion, Crete’s largest city and capital

The people were welcoming, the culture vibrant, and the best part: we didn’t have to wait to get in, when visiting attractions!

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Knossos Palace, just outside of modern day Heraklion

In my opinion, Knossos Palace was the most interesting attraction the island had to offer. In its time, it was one of the most lavish and luxurious palaces around. If you go, make sure to take a guided tour. The guides have fantastic and sordid stories of the aristocrats who inhabited the palace and they can go into great detail about the architecture of Knossos.

Füssen, Germany

While it’s very important to acknowledge the history, I don’t want to dwell on the negative things that happened in Germany during war times either.

So instead, I’d like to share Füssen with you. In this quaint Bavarian town, you’ll find Neuschwanstein Castle, “New Swan Castle”. Does it look vaguely familiar? That’s probably because Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle was inspired by Neuschwanstein!

This view of the landscape near Neuschwanstein Castle is a treasured historical destinations
The Lech River flows past Füssen, providing spectacular vistas like this—seen here from Neuschwanstein Castle
historical travel tours
Neuschwanstein Castle

As you can see, thanks to its fairy tale façade and phenomenal views, the castle is worth the day trip from Munich.

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The façade of Neuschwanstein Castle inspired Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland
Suspension Bridge in Fussen Germany
Check out this view from the bridge built into the cliffs that rise above the Castle

Versailles, France

The Treaty of Versailles peace treaty helped end World War I, between Germany and France. The treaty was signed in the Hall of Mirrors inside the Palace of Versailles, just outside of Paris. For a brief history, check out this video, produced by Chateau de Versailles.

historical travel destinations
The Palace of Versailles]

My favourite part of this UNESCO World Heritage Site isn’t inside the Palace of Versailles—but its gardens! The lawns go as far as the eye can see.

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The lush lawns of Versailles

Pack a picnic and plan to spend the day meandering in and out of the many gardens. Water features, fountains and statues are scattered all around the palace’s 800 hectares.

Visit the garden of Versailles to see this beautiful sculpture of a woman lying.
One of the many statues and sculptures in the Gardens of Versailles]

This statue even comes to life as an impressive water feature. The fountains still use the same network of hydraulics from the 18th century—pretty impressive indeed!

historical travel tours
This statue doubles as a beautiful water feature

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick tour of European landmarks! If you’re looking for a read on US historical travel tours, check out Boston’s Freedom Trail: Heart of the American Revolution.

And as always, protect yourself with trip insurance. Whether you’re travelling to Europe or the US, ensure you’re covered with insurance that fits your needs.

Peaceful travels,


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Historical Landmarks in Europe

Sep 18 2014