For many, Europe is a bucket list location to visit. The continent has had an immeasurable influence on global culture without losing its own identity. Despite high costs related to transportation and lodging, some 538 million tourists traveled around Europe with 139 million arriving from other continents (according to Delano).
Unsurprisingly, historically rich areas draw the most attention from travelers. Many come with organized itineraries, ready to touch base with the history they grew up learning about in school. As such, tourists can easily find cultural and historical tours wherever they touch down.
However, some travelers may prefer to build a schedule with specific types of history in mind. Some prefer to stick to Rome and Greece to catch up on ancient living, while others may prefer to explore Georgian or Victorian English destinations.
For those looking to add historically relevant locations that are still active, check out the list below. It includes five of Europe’s oldest destinations still open to tourists today.
Casino di Venezia
Italy, est. 1638
As one of the oldest surviving sectors of entertainment, casinos old and new can be found just about anywhere. However, Europe has some of the oldest running establishments that are still open to the public.
Those headed to Germany can stop at the Kurhaus of Baden-Baden, established back in 1834, while those headed to Belgium can check out the Casino de Spa, established in 1763. Those with sports betting in mind can head to Aintree, England, which is home to the oldest active horse racing track in the world.
Thermae Bath Spa
England, est. AD 70
Bath is one of the earliest and most intriguing cross-cultural locations in Europe. The city of bath is located near thermal hot springs, where archeologists have found traces of human civilization that date back to 8000 BC.
Roman occupiers developed the first baths around 70 AD. The area remained active throughout the Middle Ages before regaining popularity in the late 1700s and 1800s. Those interested in expanding their spa options can also check out Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic, founded around 1350 AD.
Teatro di San Carlo
Italy, est. 1737
This storied opera house is one of the oldest continuous entertainment venues in the world. Travelers will be treated to breathtaking views inside the theatre. Though originally considered too large to house opera shows, the gold decorations, extravagant upholstery, and attention to detail makes it one of the most celebrated creations to stem from the Renaissance.
Similarly breathtaking theatres were constructed in Italy around the same time, including the La Scala in Milan (1778) and the La Fenice in Venice (1774).
Zum Roten Bären
Germany, est. 1120
Hotels may have gone the way of major chains like Hilton and Mariott, but Europe has more than a handful of long-lasting, unique lodging locations. This location, which translates to ‘To the red bear’, was first constructed before the town of Freiburg developed around it.
The hotel and its pub/restaurant is where locals would gather during times of disaster and upheaval for the past seven centuries. Those looking to stay at this hotel of living history will have a truly unique experience. Nearby locations include the Grand Hôtel du Louvre (1855) or the rural paradors, where spiritual pilgrims have been staying in northern Spain since 1499.
Sobrino de Botín
Spain, est. 1725
Even with high numbers of tourists, it isn’t difficult to find quality food in Europe. As a cultural marker of each region, locals are proud to showcase their culinary identities. As such, old restaurants and shops dot most areas.
Those headed to Spain’s capital can check out Sobrino de Botín, established in 1725 (though the cellar dates back to 1590). The restaurant also has ties to the world of romance art; painter Francisco de Goya worked at the restaurant while building his career.
On the menu, travelers will find specialties that date back centuries. There’s roast suckling pig and chicken broth soup that comes with sherry and garlic, known as cochinillo asado and sopa de ajo, respectively.