There are a number of reasons to head abroad for an annual holiday, but for many of us the most important of them is simply the opportunity to relax and unwind. We all seem to lead such hectic lives nowadays, with work and family commitments taking up huge amounts of time and energy in any given week. It’s no wonder so many tourists do little more than sun-bathe when they go away.
However, even though the temptation to do very little on vacation is understandable, it still makes sense to do a little exploring at some point during the holiday. Many of the most popular tourist resorts in southern Europe, for example, offer stunning beach locations and a wide choice of bars and restaurants for when the evening comes around, but they are often situated close to some highly impressive, and relatively ignored, historic buildings and iconic landmarks.
Many tourists are completely unaware that they might be just a short distance away from a beautiful cathedral, perhaps, or the remains of an ancient castle that had once been of huge strategic importance. And while some visitors wouldn’t be at all bothered about this proximity, many others may come to regret their inactivity when they return home at the end of the trip.
A good case in point involves the highly popular city of Bodrum in Turkey. These days, it’s a thriving tourist location, full of people from all over the world searching for bargains in the local stores and markets and enjoying sea cruises on the many boats and ships that wait for passengers in the stunning harbour. But few visitors know this city was once one of the most important in the whole of the world.
Bodrum was once known as Halicarnassus, and was the location of one of the legendary Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. The Mausoleum of Mausolus was around 150 feet in height and was constructed more than 2,000 years ago. These days, little of the original structure remains, but the whole area is still home to a number of important historic buildings, including the impressive Bodrum Castle.
It seems a shame that so many tourists visit this stunning part of the Turquoise Coast without discovering at least a little about the fascinating history of the region. There are areas of rich significance all over Europe, so if you are on holiday and have a day or two to spare, be sure to set aside some time for exploration.
David Showell lives in the UK and works for www.carrentals.co.uk,