Is discovering more of Europe on your agenda this World Heritage Day?
There’s nowhere like Europe for engaging with history. Packed with hundreds of hidden gems, each country across the continent has the amazing potential to make you feel as though you’ve been transported back in time.
We’ve put together five suggestions for how to celebrate World Heritage Day this April 18 – each of which is, of course, coupled with a local historic hotel from our Collection to take your trip to the next level.
1. See the UNESCO World Heritage Sites near Carlingford, Ireland
Carlingford is at the intersection of two out of three of Ireland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are Newgrange and Knowth, prehistoric passage tombs that predate the pyramids, and the famous Giant’s Causeway – a striking landscape filled with roughly 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. If those weren’t enough to entice you to Ireland this year, the mediaeval town of Carlingford is well worth exploring, too. Before venturing into the town itself, learn all about its heritage at the Carlingford Heritage Centre, which showcases the area’s exciting past.
For where to stay this World Heritage Day, look no further than gorgeous Ghan House. Built in 1727, the country house is a great base from which to explore several of Ireland’s most stunning historic sites. You’ll love the locally-sourced food on offer at its AA restaurant as well: ranging from local Carlingford oysters, to lamb and beef from the neighbouring Cooley and Mourne Mountains.
2. Explore gorgeous architecture in Taormina, Italy
A visit to Taormina simply isn’t complete without stopping by the Greek-Roman Theatre, Sicily’s second largest theatre of Greek origins. Originally built by the Greeks, it was then restored and extended by the Romans: their dual efforts making it into the remarkable feat of architecture it is today. Speaking of great architecture, don’t miss an excursion to the Duomo di Taormina during your stay in the city – a cathedral with an unforgettable aesthetic impact. Outside, you’ll spot battlements, Corinthian columns and more, whereas inside you’ll find plenty to admire in its chapels and exquisite paintings.
Some of the best views in Taormina are doubtlessly found at Hotel Villa Schuler. This converted mansion stares out over the Ionian Sea, and is surrounded by its own subtropical botanic gardens. Close off at least one of your evenings with a drink on their Rooftop Terrace, where you can watch the sun go down over glistening waters.
3. Dive into a world of art in Hertogenbosch and Eindhoven, The Netherlands
The exciting city of Hertogenbosch is a dream location for art lovers… in fact, it’s the birthplace of the renowned artist, Hieronymus Bosch! Honour his creative legacy with a trip to the Jheronimus Bosch Art Centre, which deftly highlights the unique mind of this historic figure throughout several exhibits. You can even see a reconstruction of Bosch’s workspace, here! The city of Eindhoven is another must-see locale for your art-centric adventure in the Netherlands, too. Dubbed ‘the design capital of Holland’, the colourful metropolis is overflowing with creative quirks that’ll provide more than a little inspiration this World Heritage Day.
Back in Hertogenbosch, Golden Tulip Hotel Central promises a brilliant hotel experience. Each of its suites have been decorated in their own, individual style, and perfected down to the finest detail. You’ll never feel far from the heart of the action at this beautiful spot either, which neighbours the bustling market square.
4. Embrace mesmerising history in Tuscany, Italy
Immersing yourself in culture is an easy feat in history-packed Tuscany. Beyond the exceptional views of rolling green hills that the area has become famous for, it’s also home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the perfectly-preserved historic town centres of Florence, Siena, and San Gimignano.
Right in the middle of all three, you’ll find Villa le Barone. This stunning hotel is built on a former defence tower, and with history firmly at its heart, it’s a superb hotel from which to celebrate World Heritage Day: particularly as, this year, guests who book for April 18 will be given a historic treat! They’ll be gifted with a copy of the riveting book, A Farm in Chianti – written by the Marchesa Marie Blanche Viviani della Robbia – which describes life at an agricultural estate between the two world wars. It’s a fascinating read for culture lovers.
5. Examine the fruits of nature on the island of Brac, Croatia
Couple World Heritage Day sightseeing with some heart-pumping exercise by hiking the Vidova Gora this April. It’s the highest mountain in the Adriatic, and while taking in the astonishing azure panoramas and scenes of nature as you make your way up the trail, you’ll also see sights including the likes of old churches, monumental crosses and centuries-old monasteries. If that sounds up your street, you’ll also love the island of Brač museum, which is one of the most-visited museums annually in Croatia.
After working those legs, a spot of luxury will definitely be in order. Book yourself a room at Puteus Palace to enjoy incredible hospitality, rooms and food – the pillars of every great hotel stay. This property has an interesting past you’ll be sure to want to get to know, too… did you know that it once functioned as a palace?