Don't call us nerds, but when on tour, we're always guzzling up guidebooks, so South Korea's unofficial history town sends us a little bit hysterical. Gyeongju, known as the "museum without walls", is a pocket-sized city crammed with ancient sites and historic buildings dating back to the seventh-century Silla Kingdom. Swoon. Museum tickets aren't needed; you can spot swooping hanok rooftops at every turn, and, right in the city centre, the public Tumuli Park coddles numerous vast, grassy hillocks that are the burial grounds of past kings and queens. Head out east to explore the Unesco-protected Bulguksa temple, a historic collection of pagodas, shrines and buildings that have stood here since the sixth century, and are still in use by the country's largest Buddhist order, the Yogye. Elsewhere, you'll find East Asia's oldest astronomical observatory, Cheomseongdae, sitting squatly (they didn't build high back then) in another free-to-visit city park.
Where to stay: Hwangnidanjam