Steeped in history and filled with ancient treasures, old towns enable you to step back in time and enjoy a taste of the past. From the dark and winding alleyways of Vieux Nice to the multifaceted appeal of Edinburgh’s Old Town, these destinations all make for an incredible short getaway.
Old Town, Edinburgh, Scotland
While Edinburgh’s Old Town may not be large, it more than makes up for this with the immense amount of history that surrounds it. Human occupation in Edinburgh dates back to the Bronze Age, and there are buildings here that were built in the 11th and 12th century. The historical ambiance here is rich, with just about everywhere you walk having been previously traveled by everyone from royalty to invading armies. For those who want to pick up some one-of-a-kind items to take home, there are plenty of vintage and antique stores to be found in Edinburgh’s Old Town, a couple of which offer the largest selection of antiques in Scotland.
Old Town, Chicago, USA
Chicago’s Old Town was originally settled in the mid 19th century, and was the first area of the city to be gentrified just over 40 years ago. This historic neighborhood is packed with culture, from the Old Town Triangle Art Center to the Old Town Art Fair, which is the oldest in the country and is held each year in June. What sets Chicago’s Old Town apart from many other areas is the way in which its Victorian-era buildings house unique boutiques rather than mainstream chain stores, selling everything from specialty books to local antiques.
Kota Tua, Jakarta, Indonesia
Kota Tua Jakarta, otherwise known as Jakarta Old Town, is an area that comprises of the city’s original downtown area, which was originally settled by the Dutch in the 16th century. While the area could definitely have benefited from a stricter preservation program, there is still an abundance of European heritage to be seen when wandering around the busy streets, from the former warehouses of the Dutch East India Company, which today house museums, shops and restaurants, to the Batavia Café, which was built in 1850 in colonial style.
Vieux Nice, Nice, France
Old Town Nice, known as Vieux Nice to locals, is an area whose layout has hardly changed since the 1700’s, and while it may now be filled with trendy boutiques and bars, its original spirit still stands strong, making it one of the most fiercely independent parts of Nice. The focal point of Nice’s Old Town has always been, and still is to this day, Cours Saleya, which is a huge market square that is constantly abuzz with activity. From deliciously scented food markets to colorful flower markets to vintage flea markets, this is a spot that will always entertain.
A region’s Old Town is an area that has managed to beautifully preserve its history, heritage, identity and heart, and can provide a unique insight into the wider region. From the antique shops of Old Town Edinburgh to the buzzing markets of Vieux Nice, these destinations boast a charm and ambiance that simply cannot be recreated in newer parts of the city.