Penzance, United Kingdom

Mention Penzance and most people think of pirates – although Gilbert and Sullivan’s buccaneers were much more cordial than the Barbary corsairs who invaded the town during the 17th century. (They enslaved the locals and took them to North Africa.) Yet that is just one piece of Penzance’s fascinating history, which reaches back to the Bronze Age. This region of West Cornwall claims one of Europe’s most concentrated collections of prehistoric monuments, including standing stones, an Iron Age hill fort, and 5,000-year-old granite-walled tombs. Penzance also is part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage-recognized group of sites along the “Wild Tin Coast.” Ancient Romans are known to have traded for Cornish copper and tin, and Penzance was a commercial hub through the 19th century. You can get a glimpse into its mining past at the nearby Geevor Tin Mine and Botallack ruins.