Learning about myths and legends when travelling to a new destination is always entertaining and, according to global travellers, * folklore fans will love these historic destinations. All of which are steeped in their own unique mythology.
The ruins of Glastonbury Abbey
The town of Glastonbury is legendary in every sense of the word and has been dubbed the Occult Capital of England. The Glastonbury Cross was once believed to offer proof that the fabled King Arthur actually existed, with Glastonbury the site of his daring rescue of Guinevere.
Unfortunately Arthur’s connection to the area was made up by local monks in an attempt to raise funds after a fire damaged Glastonbury Abbey. But visitors can still check out Joseph of Arimathea’s perpetually-flowering walking stick (known as The Holy Thorn).
Those in search of more contemporary folklore can check into the George Hotel and Pilgrim’s Inn, a Grade 1 listed building originally built for guests of the Abbey and currently believed to be haunted by a ghostly monk and his ex-girlfriend.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Angkor Wat near Siem Reap in Cambodia
Siem Reap is known for its connection to Angkor Wat, the UNESCO World Heritage, 5-towered temple, covered with elaborate carvings and depicting various scenes from Hindu mythology. The carvings include the Kurukshetra War where gods and demons worked together to free the elixir of life, only to then battle each other for control of it.
A less well-known temple is Wat Preah Prom Rath. According to local legend, the temple was founded at the exact spot where a shipwrecked monk washed ashore, with the wood from his boat later carved into the city’s famous Reclining Buddha statue.
The 1920 Hotel sits at the heart of Siem Reap and has great connections to both the Angkor temples and the Wat Preah Prom Rath.
A sea view from Chiloé in Chile
The Chiloe Archipelago is a collection of small islands off the coast of Chile’s Lake District that share a unique set of myths and legends. As they’re surrounded by the sea, it only makes sense that the islands have their own ghost ship: The Caleuche, which is believed to be a sentient being and capable of sailing under water.
Keeping with the aquatic theme: The Pincoya is a beautiful creature that lives in the sea but emerges every now and then to dance along the island beaches in a robe made of seaweed.
Finally, there is The Trauco, a squat being who lives in the stumps of trees and has the power to make anyone fall in love with him. The Trauco has a statue in the Castro Municipal Park (right next to the ‘mythology corner’) and smitten guests can stay nearby at the Hotel de Castro.
The temple of Apollo in Delphi
Delphi is known as the home of Pythia, an oracle consulted throughout the classical world. Thanks to Pythia’s popularity the Ancient Greeks proclaimed Delphi to be the centre of the world, as determined by Zeus. Today the locals have (just about) accepted that Delphi is not the centre of the world, but it is a World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful cities in Greece.
Start your visit at the Sanctuary of Apollo -- the god of light, music, and prophecy -- then head up to the Castalian Spring, also known as The Spring of Delphi, where travellers traditionally purified themselves before visiting the oracle.
This route is known as The Sacred Way and ends at the hilltop temple of Apollo. Stop here to admire the views of Delphi, or check into Acropole Delphi Hotel to gaze out your window at the Delphi Gorge.
On the banks of the Ganges River
As the holiest city on the bank of India’s holiest river, and one of the world’s oldest continuously-inhabited cities, it’s hardly surprising that Varanasi is so popular among religious pilgrims and mythology masters alike. Hindu legend has it that the Ganges River poured from Heaven as time first started ticking, and at the exact moment when Lord Shiva and the Goddess Parvati walked upon the site of Varanasi.
Varanasi is also where Krishna battled his own doppelganger and where Lord Rama did penance after killing Ravana. Evidence of the importance of these myths is seen everywhere, from the city’s architecture to the paper pamphlets sold on the streets.
To dig further into the Varanasi’s history, folklore fiends should stay at the BrijRama Palace, a magnificent building considered to be one of the oldest structures in Varanasi.
** These recommendations come from the travel scientists at Booking.com. They’ve analyzed destinations endorsed for ‘mythology’, scrutinized available accommodations, shaken it all up in a test tube, and have come up with these suggestions.