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Top 10

Historic landmarks

Rice terraces in the Philippines, a magical graveyard in Japan and a colourful monastery in the mountains of Bulgaria: these ten historic landmarks will take you back in time.

Discover them for yourself!

Alhambra, Spain

Royal allure in an Oriental setting

Built in 889 as a fort to protect the Moors, Alhambra developed into a palace complex and a high point in the history of Islamic art and architecture. From colourful ‘azulejos’ to Koran verses carved into wood: you won’t believe your eyes. Don’t forget to explore the palace gardens, where special concerts are held in the summer with amazing views of the city.

  • Top10 Highlights 01 Alhambra
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Rice terraces in Banaue, Philippines

    Breath-taking green oasis

    The forefathers of the Ifugao tribe needed a place to grow rice, so they carved by hand these impressive rice terraces into the steep mountain slopes. Two thousand years later, the beauty of this location has exceeded its practical significance and the sight of the green ‘stairs to heaven’ is breathtakingly beautiful.

    Top10 Highlights 02 Banaue
    Prapass Pulsub / Getty Images

    Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

    Colourful mountain monastery

    Two hours by car from Sofia in the heart of the mountains, you’ll find the Rila Monastery, famous for its architectural style (‘Bulgarian Renaissance’) and bright colours that decorate the walls and ceilings. The church is also adorned with countless colourful frescos depicting biblical scenes. There is also a museum with gifts that were given by pilgrims over the years.

    Top10 Highlights 03 Rilaklooster
    Dennis van de Water / Shutterstock

    Koyasan, Japan

    Magical temple mountain

    With no fewer than 117 temples, this mountain is sacred to the Japanese. Experience the magic of a Buddhist ceremony or learn to meditate under the guidance of a monk. In the evening, a visit to the centuries-old Okunoin graveyard is a must. A foggy path illuminated with thousands of lanterns takes you past tall cedar trees and centuries-old tombstones to the mausoleum where the powerful 9th century monk Kobo Daishi is buried. This is by far the most mysterious place in Koyasan.

    • Top10 Highlights 04 Koyasan

      Ayutthaya, Thailand

      Fascinating temples and palaces

      Once the thriving capital of the kingdom of Ayutthaya is now a national park with temple ruins, palaces and Buddha statues. Wat Phra Si Sanphet is a fairytale-like Buddhist temple with three spire towers, and the Phanan Choeng temple houses an impressive golden Buddha statue 19 metres tall. And for those fond of nature, a statue of the head of the Buddha can even be found entwined in the roots of a tree...

      Top10 Highlights 05 Ayutthaya
      Suppasit Chukittikun / Getty Images

      Ngorongoro, Tanzania

      On safari in an extinct volcano

      Ngorongoro has been officially proclaimed one of the seven wonders of Africa for good reason. The most densely populated wildlife area in the world is found in this enormous volcanic crater. Here you’ll find them all: lions, elephants and zebras. A visit to the Masai, the famous nomadic tribe that founded various villages in the area, is also possible.

      • Top10 Highlights 06 Ngorongoro
        photo by dasar / Getty Images
        Top10 Highlights 07 Oud Havana Bg

        Old Havana, Cuba

        The beating heart of the Caribbean

        Havana is synonymous with classic American cars, Cuban cigars and rum cocktails. As the former hub between colonial Europe and the ‘new’ America, Old Havana is full of colourful colonial buildings. In its narrow old streets, you can hear music on every street corner. Havana is lively and vibrant, making it the perfect place to experience the Caribbean lifestyle.

        Top10 Highlights 07 Oud Havana
        Kriangkrai Thitimakorn / Getty Images

        Fort Elmina, Ghana

        Remnants of a dark past

        Built by the Portuguese in 1483, Fort Saint George in the Ghanaian city of Elmina was the centre of the Dutch slave trade in the 17th century. Many thousands of Africans were forced onto boats for the great crossing to America. Because the fort is still in use and in good condition, visitors get a realistic impression of the harsh conditions under which people were once imprisoned here.

        • Top10 Highlights 08 Fort Elmina
          WLDavies / Getty Images

          Yellowstone National Park, United States

          The world’s oldest national park

          “Yellowstone Park is something absolutely unique in the world,” said American President Theodore Roosevelt when visiting the park in 1903. He may very well have been right. The large number of geysers and hot springs alone make the oldest national park in the world truly unique. You can kayak and fish on one of numerous lakes and rivers. Sleep in a tent among fir trees or go with a guide to spot grizzly bears and wolves living in the wild.

          Top10 Highlights 09 Yellowstone
          Photo ©Tan Yilmaz / Getty Images

          Medina, Marrakesh

          Get lost among merchants and mosques

          Pink painted walls, enthusiastic merchants selling their wares, the brightest orange apricots imaginable: the medina in Marrakesh is the vibrant centre of the city. Protected by old city walls, this is truly the place to get lost in, especially in the maze of souks as you make your way past old mosques and shops full of traditional clothing and souvenirs. The beating heart of it all is the central square of Djemaa El Fna. Open your eyes and ears and take it all in!

          • Top10 Highlights 10 Medina
            Richmatts / Getty Images

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