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Kirkwall (Orkney Islands), Scotland

A thousand years or so ago, Vikings ruled the Orkney Islands, and remnants of this period can be seen in spots you can visit today, such as Kirkwall’s St. Magnus Cathedral. But here’s the thing: The Vikings were kind of late to the game! The Orkney Islands have points of interest stretching way back into prehistory, such as the village of Skara Brae, dating back 5,000 years, and the Ring of Brodgar, which can claim almost as many. But who’s counting? Practically everywhere you look in the Orkney Islands you’ll find glimpses into how folks of the past lived, such as the (comparatively) new WWII-era Italian Chapel and the Victorian-age Balfour Castle. But you should know that there’s more than just history here: The islands’ natural side is packed with wonders such as the Scapa Flow natural harbor, 1,000-foot cliffs, and amazing birdwatching opportunities.