Sure, you could hop over to Paris or London or Rome for a bit of vacation and a history lesson. But wouldn't it be fun to go some place that isn't your typical tourist destination?
These 15 spots -- towns with charming medieval squares or even gorgeous old castles -- will provide all the history you want, without the big time crowds.
1. Trakai, Lithuania
This perfectly picturesque castle in Lithuania lives on a very teensy island.
2. Bath, England
3. Bruges, Belgium
Known for its Gothic architecture, this medieval settlement is now the perfect summer escape. (Yes, there are some crowds here, but it's worth it.)
4. Pingyao, China
5. Bernkastel-Kues, Germany
Bernkastel received "town status" around the ripe ole' year of 1291, and its beautiful medieval market square still stands today.
6. York, England
7. Noyers-sur-Serein, France
This medieval settlement in France lays claim to an incredibly detailed 17th century town hall, among many other beautiful historical buildings.
8. Dunnottar Castle, Scotland
9. Brasov, Romania
One of Transylvania's best preserved medieval towns, the town of Brasov is pretty much famous for one thing -- Dracula's Castle.
10. Provins, France
Around since the early Middle Ages, the town of Provins is a must-see part of France.
11. Loch Ness, Scotland
12. Sighisoara, Romania
Sighisoara is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler/Count Dracula. It also happens to be quite pretty.
13. Barga, Italy
14. Old Town of Edinburgh, Scotland
15. Mystras, Greece
Mystras was officially abandoned in 1832 , but you can still visit its medieval ruins today.