Skara Brae, Orkney Islands,Scotland

Previously thought to be a Pictish village, this massive and mysterious Orcadian village on the Bay of Skaill is still being excavated—and changing everything we know about Europe’s pre-Celtic era in the process. The 5,000-year-old site predates the Egyptian pyramids.

Mystery: Even though the village was deserted thousands of years ago, the buildings at Skara Brae remain in good condition. Archaeologists don’t know why the last inhabitants left, although many theorize it was abandoned due to an apocalyptic event.

Visit: Hurtigruten’s In the Wake of the Vikings cruise calls on ports in the ancient Orkneys, as well as the Shetlands, Hebrides, and Faroes

Unusual Buildings