While the European continent certainly offers a confluence of unmissable food and culture, curious travelers can also enjoy a rich dose of history at countless landmarks and significant sites. For history teachers seeking inspiration for their lesson plans, a trip to Europe offers the opportunity to gain an intimate understanding of the founding of democracy, the Renaissance, or the second world war.
While every European country is imbued with centuries of history, these five cities are particularly rich in must-see attractions for teachers traveling to or across the continent.
1. Rome, Italy
Let’s start with the basics, since there’s no other capital city quite so jam-packed with ancient and modern significance as the Eternal City.
From the Pantheon to the Roman Forum, remnants of Rome’s ancient empire provide a compelling glimpse of what once was. As the home of the Holy See, the city boasts a plethora of monuments to its deeply-held Catholic heritage, making great art and architecture accessible to Rome’s steady stream of tourists.
2. Nimes, France
Given the Roman Empire’s astonishing breadth, it’s no surprise that traces of its influence are still found far outside of Rome. For Francophiles seeking a bit of history, there are some fantastic Roman ruins on display in the quiet, charming town of Nimes in the south of France.
With its well-preserved arena and easy access to Arles, Orange, and Avignon, Nimes is the perfect destination for exploring France’s ancient and medieval history. Its Mediterranean climate also means consistently pleasant weather, prime for romping through the city’s well-preserved amphitheater.
3. Budapest, Hungary
Located at the center of the European continent, the Hungarian capital features numerous interesting landmarks through which to explore its storied history.
Catch a glimpse of Budapest’s medieval influences at Buda Castle and Mathias Church. For a more modern perspective, visit the House of Terror to see the harrowing effects of fascist and communist regimes on the nation over the past 70 years. Finally, Budapest’s incredible Parliament Building, which borders the Danube River, is considered one of the great buildings of Europe.
4. Prague, Czech Republic
With its world-renowned spires and castles, this storybook city preserves the look and feel of its Medieval heyday.
Prague Castle, a UNESCO world heritage site visible from all angles in the city, should be a top priority for any history buff. A large compound full of galleries, museums, and various royal sites, Prague Castle offers an illuminating glimpse into the city’s medieval past. After seeing the castle’s unmissable collection of relics, meander through Prague’s quaint and captivating streets to the Old Town Hall. On each hour, catch a show from the Horologe, the oldest operating astronomical clock in the world.
5. Athens, Greece
Last but not least, the Greek capital — affectionately called the “cradle of civilization” — is a must-visit for any history lover. The past is a palpable presence in modern-day Athens; even the subway stations are mini museums, housing exhibits of artifacts excavated during construction.
From the Parthenon to the Ancient Agora, Athens’ well-preserved ruins give visitors an immersive look back in time. Don’t miss the city’s new Acropolis Museum, which artfully highlights the centuries-long history of the famous temple up on the hill.
If you’re looking to infuse your next trip with a bit of cultural and political history, Europe is hard to beat. Book your vacation today, renew your passport, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime. Come September, you’ll be able to infuse every textbook lesson with a dash of living history.
This article originally appeared on Travel Daily News.