One of the most awe-inspiring things to see when traveling the globe on a culinary tour are ancient sites that have stood the test of time (in some way or another). They’re also sites that you truly can’t see anywhere else in the world.
While our cooking vacations are very much focused on food and cooking, naturally, we also love the draw of stepping into the past and experiencing these impressive sites firsthand. That’s why so many of our culinary vacation packages feature visiting local points of interest. And if you’re craving ancient sites, here are some of the top destinations to visit on our culinary tours.
Some sites are known for their mythology, rather than their ruins and mythology. Dikteon Cave is one of those places, as its the stuff of legend.
According to Greek mythology, the god of Zeus was born in this cave, and it’s a popular destination. You can see it, along with Knossos Palace — considered Europe’s oldest city — during our Cooking and Traditions of Crete culinary vacation in Greece.
For another peek into ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, head to Turkey, where you can see Ephesus. This ancient city once was home to 300,000 people and dates back to the 10th century BC. And today, it’s amphitheater can still hold 24,000 people. The ruins visitors can see is also pretty incredible, from the gladiators’ graveyard, to a variety of temples, including the Temple of Artemis, which is considered a one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Visit it, along with other historic sites, during our Cuisine of the Sultans culinary vacation in Turkey.
For one of the largest complexes that dates back to the time of the ancient Romans, head to the vibrant and diverse land of Croatia on a culinary tour of the Dalmatian Coast. In the city of Split, you’ll discover the impressive Diolcletian’s palace, which is actually a combination of Greek and Byzantine styles. As a sea fortress as well an imperial city/palace, its sheer size alone is impressive, as it spans more than seven acres. You might also recognize a few sites inside the palace as you go, as the palace was a part of the set for the popular HBO series Game of Thrones. Walk the ancient paths during a Culinary Adventure on the Croatian Coast.
To see one of the largest religious complexes in the world and one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, go to Cambodia on one of our Cambodia culinary vacations. Angkor is a park that was constructed over the course of centuries, and features remarkable temples, such as Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. During our Cooking and Culture in Vietnam and Cambodia trip, visitors not only get to experience a sunset while standing atop the terraces of ancient temple, but get an entire day exploring the crown jewel, Angkor Wat, winding your way through galleries and courtyards, and visiting the central sanctuary, all of which is decorated with intricate stone carvings. The day also includes time at the city of Angkor Thom as well as Ta Prohm, where very little of the jungle has been cleared, making it even more magical.
While Machu Picchu is on many people’s bucket lists, it’s not the only incredible site into Peru. Head into subtropical northern Peru, where vestiges of the lost civilization of Chachapoya are awe-inspiring. One of their remote archaeological sites is Karajia, which is only accessible by foot or horseback. When you approach this ancient wonder during our culinary tours of Peru, you’ll discover some mysterious sarcophagi — final resting place of these ancient people — carved into the rock. See it first hand with our Culinary Journey into the Amazon vacation package.
Check out more of our favorite alternative destinations.
While this blog focused mostly on exotic destinations, don’t overlook France and Italy! Spend the day discovering the ancient city of Pompeii in Italy on our cooking vacations in Italy, or exploring the Colosseum in Rome. Further south, visit the Roman ruins in Agrigento, Sicily. And over in France, ruins dot the countryside and the smaller cities, like the Pont du Gard in Provence, France.
What’s the most memorable ancient site you’ve ever visited?
By Liz Hall
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