At Our Whole Village, we plan meaningful vacations for families who want to create lifelong memories and show their kids the world in a more conscious and intentional manner.
We help families take meaningful vacations so that they can escape everyday life, show their kids the world and make lifelong memories - with care, confidence and peace of mind.
Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
American historian Henry Glassie observed, “History is not the past but a map of the past, drawn from a particular point of view, to be useful to the modern traveler.” More than an illustrative metaphor, this quote hints at the inextricable relationship between travel and history. They cannot be untangled from one another. After all, travel connects us with the past in the tangible present. And history connects us to the past in the abstract world of ideas.
Some destinations stand head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to multi-layered, engaging history tours. Check out our top five favorite kid-friendly vacations for history buffs.
History is inescapable in Greece. The marble core of the capital city, Athens illustrates this par excellence. The literal birthplace of democracy and the ancient Hellenic city-states and empires, Greece is a nation that should be on every history buff’s bucket list. There’s no better place to start your exploration than Athens’s Acropolis and the Parthenon, symbolic of Greece’s Golden Age.
What are other best places to visit for history buffs in Greece? On the Peloponnese, visit incredible sites like the Theater at Epidaurus, which once held upwards of 13,000 to 14,000 spectators simultaneously. Despite its massive size, the theater’s acoustics are so finely honed you can hear a pin drop at the center of the amphitheater’s stage.
There are also the ancient sites of Mycenae and Tiryns. Here you’ll find the remains of 15th through 12th century B.C. Mycenaean Civilization, made famous by the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Next, encourage your kids to strive for excellence in Olympia, the site of the original Olympic Games.
Exploring the Greek Islands provides a window into other pre-classical civilizations like the Minoans, who settled in Crete and Santorini. On Rhodes, discover one of the best-preserved, walled medieval towns in Europe, and see where the Colossus of Rhodes once straddled the island’s primary port. Delos also contains countless fascinating sites allowing you to explore ancient mystery cults. Here are some more epic things to do in Greece with kids.
Among India’s most famous and captivating monuments is the Taj Mahal, a symbol of architectural splendor and eternal love. To make visiting the Taj Mahal with kids easier, get an early start to avoid crowds. Nevertheless, it’s a popular site, so be prepared to stand in line. Because no food is permitted inside, eat beforehand. Don’t be afraid to say no to selfie requests. Although some areas of the monument can feel overwhelming and crowded, you’ll also find many quiet spots perfect for kids to play and blow off a little steam.
Journeying to the Taj Mahal provides the perfect opportunity to travel the “Golden Triangle” between New Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra. In Rajasthan, you’ll find Kumbhalgarh Fort, a 15th-century structure declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. Besides incredible views and discovering the inspiring story of its creator, Rana Kumbha, the site contains the second-largest fort in the nation and the second-longest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China!
At Delhi’s National Rail Museum, check out a simulated working railway yard, a mini steam-train ride, and other life-sized exhibitions. Other historical locations within Delhi worth visiting include the National Gandhi Museum, the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace), and India Gate, dedicated to Indian soldiers killed during World War I.
At Humayun’s Tomb, explore an elaborate mausoleum enveloped in lovely gardens. And Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a Sikh house of worship, includes a kitchen where Sikh chefs feed 100,000 people for free daily! Explore our perfect family vacation to India for more ideas.
Cambodia has a rich, wondrous, and varied history that will pique your family’s curiosity. It has endured the leadership of many nations, including Vietnam and France. Yet, despite these political transformations, Cambodians have worked diligently to preserve their traditions and historical landmarks.
At the top of the list is Angkor Wat, a sprawling 12th-century temple complex that remains impressively well-preserved. Its sand-hued structures rise, forming five towers traditionally considered the home of the Hindu deities. Throughout the complex, highly detailed sculptures and friezes record religious events and everyday moments. Besides ancient history, you’ll also find more contemporary monuments and sites to explore history.
These include Bokor Hill Station, featuring a collection of dilapidated buildings that continue to echo the luxury and decadence of the French colonial period. The inescapable history of genocide in Cambodia also requires exploration. Sites like Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Choeung Ek Killing Fields bring this horrific period in the nation’s history to light.
Although you’ll want to carefully monitor the appropriateness of some material presented in the sites’ audio tours for children and teens, both locations mark a vital educational experience. Check out our Thailand and Cambodia Family Adventure for more itinerary ideas for history tours.
Mexico City is a wonderful and convenient place to begin an exploration of some of the nation’s most famous and compelling historical monuments and archaeological sites. At the National Museum of Anthropology, gain a firm footing in the ancient civilizations that once flourished in the country, from the Olmecs and Maya to the Aztecs. Next, head to Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan, the former capital of the powerful Aztec Empire.
At the Xochimilco Canals, a 40-minute drive south of Mexico City, experience the closest approximation to the pre-Columbian Valley of Mexico still in existence. This extensive canal and lake system once connected villages, and it provides an insightful glimpse into the nation’s pre-Hispanic origins. The waterways are navigated by rental boats (trajineras) with a boat captain. They navigate the canals, punctuated by artificial islands known as chinampas, with tall poles like Venetian gondoliers.
Bring snacks and drinks to keep the trip economical and free from upset stomachs. That said, some local vendors float on the water selling various street foods like pulque, micheladas, and elotes (street corn). In nearby Teotihuacan, explore the remnants of one of Mesoamerica’s largest cities, which still boasts one of the world’s tallest pyramids.
If your trip to Mexico focuses more on beachy resorts, don’t assume you can’t pack in many historical sites, too. One of our favorite locations, Chichén Itzá, is located near Playa Del Carmen. Chichén Itzá is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, yet it’s easier to reach than others like Machu Picchu.
To make a visit to these Mayan ruins more kid-friendly, consider hiring a private tour guide. That way, you can explore the site at your children’s pace, focusing on what interests your family most. Find out about more cultural activities near Mexico’s beach resorts.
Jordan is a fantastic place to visit with kids and includes myriad historical wonders. Your family will fall in love with the vibrant colors of the desert, the warm hospitality of the Bedouin culture, and the archaeological sites that let you step back in time. The crowning jewel of historical Jordan is Petra, the rose-colored capital of the Nabatean Kingdom hewn into a cliffside. This iconic location has appeared in famous movies like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
You’ll also want to plan around a visit to Amman, where you can tour a citadel dating back four millennia ago. The citadel boasts a rich history of conquest and has been occupied by various civilizations, including the Byzantines, Persians, Romans, and Greeks. You’ll also want to visit the Roman Amphitheater. With an original capacity of 6,000 spectators, the structure has been painstakingly restored and provides incredible insights into life centuries ago.
In North of Amman, you’ll find the historical city of Jerash. It contains the ruins of a walled Greco-Roman settlement known as Gerasa. What will your family see in Gerasa? A stunning semi-circle of columns remains at the Oval Plaza, attesting to the exceptional preservation of the ancient city, which once held between 20,000 and 25,000 residents.
The Temple of Artemis, the Arch of Hadrian, and North Theater offer glimpses of the area’s former Greco-Roman glory. These ruins are among the best preserved of the ancient Mediterranean world and rival anything you’ll see in Italy and Greece.
History and travel are inseparable. They also represent perfect complements for educating your children and encouraging them to broaden their horizons. Depending on your family’s interests, you’ve got many excellent potential destinations from which to choose. These include exploring Asian history in India or Cambodia, discovering Greco-Roman heritage in Greece or Jordan, or diving into the Mesoamerican legacy in Mexico.
Which of these destinations is the right starting point for your family? We’re here to help. Contact us now to learn more about the best history tours for families and to start the ball rolling on your next kid-friendly adventure.
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