The opportunity to immerse oneself in a foreign culture, to explore and experience the unique traditions, customs, and values of a different community, never gets old. For thousands of years, humans have been traveling in search of these kinds of experiences.
To this day, the desire to explore new cultures and indulge in authentic experiences has made cultural tourism a top priority for many travelers. If you’re on the hunt for memorable cultural experiences for your next vacation, keep these picks from TripAdvisor in mind.
#10 – Colombo, Sri Lanka
Perusing TripAdvisor’s top 10 travel destinations for culture may result in a few surprises. Colombo, Sri Lanka, for instance, isn’t necessarily top of mind for most people. TripAdvisor makes the argument that it should be! While Colombo serves as the main entry point to Sri Lanka for most travelers, it would be a mistake to overlook this vibrant and multifaceted city. Rather than just passing through, consider taking a train ride along the picturesque coastline to Mount Lavinia beach or venturing out to the tranquil Talangama Wetland, which many TripAdvisor visitors have praised as an ideal spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the city streets.
#9 – Seville, Spain
Is Spain on your bucket list? Skip the crowds of Barcelona and Madrid and head to Seville, home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Alcazar palace complex is an impressive medley of architectural styles, while the Cathedral is a striking masterpiece, serving as the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. The Metropol Parasol stands out as the world’s largest wooden structure, featuring an intricate design of grids and swirls, and is home to both a market and a terrace observatory.
#8 – Berlin, Germany
From its fashion and architecture to its politically charged past, Berlin is a city that exudes edge. The Berlin Wall, a poignant reminder of the postwar era’s hyper-charged atmosphere, now stands adorned with graffiti art that symbolizes social progress. Visitors can also marvel at the Weltzeituhr (World Time) Clock, crowned with a model of the solar system, before journeying back in time to dine at the historic Zur Letzten Instanz. This 16th-century restaurant was frequented by the likes of Napoleon and Beethoven.
#7 – Budapest, Hungary
If you’re looking for a spa vacation, head to Budapest – 118 springs and boreholes bring forth an impressive 15 million gallons of water on a daily basis. Known as the “city of spas,” Budapest boasts an astonishing range of bathing establishments, from the sparkling Gellert Baths to the grandiose Szechenyi Spa, a 1913 neo-baroque architectural masterpiece, and the Rudas Spa, an alluring 16th-century Turkish pool with original Ottoman designs. Often referred to as the “Queen of the Danube,” Budapest is known for its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty.
#6 – Cuba
While U.S. citizens may encounter some hurdles in visiting Cuba, travelers worldwide recognize the island’s outstanding potential for cultural exchange. Havana juxtaposes old-world architecture with contemporary culture, while a trip to the small town of Trinidad unveils other Spanish colonial designs, earning it recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also serves as a prime location for exploring the Valley of the Sugar Mills, a region once at the forefront of Cuba’s sugar industry.
#5 – Jaipur, India
Up for a colorful adventure? Head to Jaipur – also known as “The Pink City.” Visitors can spend their days discovering the City Palace, Hawa Mahal, and Amber and Jaigarh forts. For a distinctive keepsake, travelers can visit one of the city’s bustling bazaars and purchase a pair of camel-leather slippers.
#4 – Dublin, Ireland
It is commonly said that Guinness beer is best enjoyed fresh from the factory in Dublin, but what may come as a surprise is that Dublin makes for an ideal family destination. Of course, we wouldn’t recommend giving the little ones a pint, but there are plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy. For instance, you can explore the Dublin Zoo, feed the ducks in Stephen’s Green, or picnic in Phoenix Park. Those interested in literature can follow in the footsteps of renowned writers like Yeats and Joyce. At the same time, those with a taste for luxury shopping can choose from a selection of designer boutiques.
#3 – Athens, Greece
Athens is a highly accessible city with immaculate parks and streets, a state-of-the-art subway system, newly built highways, a conveniently located airport, and clearly marked signs in flawless English. More than just a stopover en route to the Greek islands, Athens boasts a wealth of sophisticated sites that reflect the pillars of Western history, including the Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, along with priceless treasures housed in the National Archaeological Museum.
#2 – Jerusalem, Israel
For centuries, Jerusalem has been a destination for religious pilgrims. Even if you don’t share their fervor, you can still appreciate the city’s rich cultural and historical significance. While it’s important to visit the major sights, be sure to set aside ample time to wander the streets and soak up the daily rhythms of this ancient, revered city.
#1 – Fes, Morocco
If medieval architecture is your thing, skip the time machine and head to Morocco instead. Explore the ancient, labyrinthine quarters of the Medina. The four grad Gates of Fes are adorned with intricate Moroccan tile work you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from. While walking is an option, you may also want to brave a taxi ride and hold on tight – the city is known for its daredevil drivers.
This article Most Culturally-Rich Destinations: Top 10 Places to Travel originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Featured Photo Credit: [@efired/DepositPhotos]
Chelsea DeAngio is a freelance writer based in Greensboro, NC. Inspired by a rootless childhood as a Navy brat, she enjoys traveling every chance she gets. Pop culture often drives her trips. Whether channeling her inner Lady Mary at Highclere Castle in the UK or noshing on nachos at Showgirls filming locations in Vegas, Chelsea is always in search of a little silver screen glitz.