Across the historic World War I battlefields that run through France, Belgium, and Turkey, memorials, bunkers, and underground tunnels shine a light on the struggles faced by soldiers on all sides. Here are a few places to delve into World War I history in Europe.
World War I Sites in Belgium
Key sites of WWI interest in Belgium include the fortified city of Liege, the Lille and Flanders regions, Passchendaele, and Ypres Salient—where Allied forces clashed with those from Germany. The trenches and memorial grounds span from valley floors to mountain peaks, and cover a wide range of terrain including forests and swamps where hundreds of thousands of soldiers fought and lost their lives. Today many of these historic sites have been thoughtfully preserved in tribute to the Allied American, Australian, Canadian, and European forces.
World War I Sites in France
Perhaps the most significant WWI site in France is the Somme Valley, where the infamous Battle of the Somme was fought in 1916 and the Allies marched to victory in 1918. Somme battlefield tours take in sites of interest such as the Delville Wood Cemetery at Longueval, the Lochnagar mine crater, Pozieres, and the well-preserved trenches at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. In northern France’s Picardy region, sites including Belleau Wood, the western-front locations of Aisne and Marne, and the Museum of the Great War in Meaux attract visitors keen to learn more about the region’s WWI history.
World War I Sites in Turkey
Turkey’s northwestern city of Canakkale is the gateway to the WWI battlefields of Gallipoli, and provides a good base from which to explore. Sites of interest nearby include ANZAC Cove, Brighton Beach, and the Nek and Walker’s Ridge. Travelers can also pay their respects at memorial grounds such as Ari Burnu, the Beach Cemetery, Chunuk Bair, the Johnston’s Jolly Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, the Lone Pine Cemetery, and the Canakkale Martyrs’ Memorial.