Maybe it’s your gap year, or maybe you’re having your midlife crisis in style, but whatever the reason, you’re touring the world and so good on you! I’m sure you’re going to see the Eiffel Tower, The Empire State Building, Ayers Rock, Big Ben, The Taj Mahal and all that.
I’ve compiled a little list for you to help you find some less obvious sights. The ones that are out of the way or maybe the ones you know but just wouldn’t have thought of visiting. I’ll tell you where to find them and why you should be bothering. I should also add that a great way to ensure you see all the sites this world has to offer is to do some escorted touring as it ensures that you will see everything.
When you travel under your own steam it is easy to miss great wonders like these:
The Windmills of Kinderdijk
If you find yourself in Europe, near Amsterdam, then find your way to Rotterdam (or anywhere) and travel 15km eastward (or use a satnav…) and you will come to the pastoral village of Kinderdijk, a small Dutch village found on the confluence of the rivers Lek and Noord. In the mid-1700s nineteen windmills were built along the banks to help drainage and it remains the site of the most windmills of this age today. They really are a sight to see, standing along the banks of this already beautiful landscape. It provides a perfect place for a picnic or even to watch the sun come up. Peace and tranquillity are here in abundance.
Sticking to Europe for the time being, if you head out of Kinderdijk and arrive in Germany, head to Bavaria and to the Neuschwanstein Castle, especially if you have a daughter who loves Disney. This castle is the embodiment of lavish Disney castles, most famously being the main inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty Castle (also found at the centre of Disney Paris and Disney Hong Kong). Built in the 1800s the castle was opened up to the public in 1886 and has had nearly the equivalent of the population of England visit since then. It’s a fairy-tale castle slap bang in the middle of Germany and will ensure a lifelong memory for you and your kids.
The Great Buddha
Once you’ve had enough of Europe head to Japan and find The Great Buddha (the temple is known as Kōtoku-in) in the city of Kamakura. If you’re au-fait with Japanese literature you might remember it from the Yukio Mishima classic Spring Snow where it is visited by the characters. To really get in touch with Asian tradition and culture, there are few places better than the Great Buddha. How great, you ask? Well, built in the 13th century it stands at approximately 44 feet, so that’s one big Buddha. It’s also by the coast, so a good spot for a swim or a lie around the water.
Mont St Michel
Mont St Michel, about a kilometre off the coast of Normandy (and its Cornish sister off the coast of Marazion) is a giant floating castle. On this small island stands a large castle plus smaller houses that form a village and dock area where the castle workers live. Both the French and English versions feel like something out of a fantasy novel or video game, but in the real world. If you didn’t get enough of a Disney fantasy in Bavaria, then you can finish it off here.