13 Dec UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Travel Bloggers share their Favorites
Liz and I are nuts for history, culture, architecture…and nature’s beauty. That’s why we love travel! And for us, UNESCO World Heritage Sites are some of the most beautiful and amazing places to visit all around the world. While we’ve been fortunate to visit many UNESCO sites, there are still many on our bucket list for the future. So we reached out to some of the top travel bloggers to ask them to share their favorite UNESCO World Heritage Site with us, and why. We also asked them to share one of their best photos of their chosen site from their Instagram account. It’s a big list we’ve compiled here, but we are so happy to see such enthusiasm for these amazing sites. So enjoy this huge list of some of the top UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world from top travel bloggers!
1 @UNESCO site down, 11 to go! This was about an hour ago at the Old Town of #Quedlinburg #Germany — so quiet and charming at 5AM. @rodrigofernandezt and I are on our way to #Dessau right now for site 2. Stay tuned for the upcoming marathon over the next 23 hours!!! . PS – What are the odds that the Cubs go to game 7 of the World Series during the ONLY time that I can’t watch?!?!? I’ll be somewhere in northern Holland during the game, trying to find #Beemster Polder for our 11th site…. I’m not planning any travels next year in late October/early November!!
Just two weeks ago, I finished a Guinness World Record attempt to visit the “most UNESCO World Heritage Sites within 24 hours.” My buddy and I set the record by visiting 12 sites across Germany and Holland — and it was one of the most adrenaline-filled and bizarre 24 hours of of my life!
I always had a love for visiting UNESCO sites (I had been to about 90 of them before the world record), and I was thrilled when Guinness Book accepted my request for this record (see list here of all UNESCO sites I’ve been to). We started our record at 5AM in the old town of Quedlinburg, Germany, then hit 7 sites in Germany finishing in Berlin, before flying to Amsterdam and doing 5 sites in the Netherlands overnight. We were only allowed to travel by public transportation (airplane, bus, train) and the occasional taxi.
My favorite UNESCO site on this trip was the Mill Network at Kinderdijk in southern Holland. Basically, it’s a small area with 19 windmills built in the 17th Century, and they are still in perfect shape today. You can walk up and down the narrow canal and admire the wildmills towering over you. I was there at 3AM, so it was very dark outside, but I could still feel the presence of them as I walked by! Truly a site to see.
The photo that I have included here is in the old city of Quedlinburg, Germany (the start of our journey). It’s a town of about 5,000 people in the heartland of Germany, and it was so quiet at 9PM when I took this photo that I could hear a pin drop from 100 feet away!
Some other of my favorite UNESCO sites that I’ve visited are the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal.
Yesterday we went hiking on the Root Glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. We had crampons and the full gear for glacial exploring. All around us we saw the beauty of the Wrangell mountains. This is an image of Castle Peak which I took as we were walking in the glacier. Today we are off to Anchorage for the Adventure Travel World Summit and tomorrow I visit my 45th US National Park: Kenai Fjords.
A photo posted by Gary Arndt (@everythingeverywhere) on
The world heritage site of Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek is a massive, contiguous swath of land in western North America which covers two US National Parks, a Canadian National Park, and a provincial park in British Columbia. Together they are the largest protected area in the world. The site contains the tallest mountains in North America outside of the Alaska Range, the world’s largest non-polar ice field, and some of the world’s most stunning glaciers.
Because the site consists of four different parks, visiting can be done in any number of ways. Icefield sightseeing tours of Kluane National Park can be done out of Haines Junction, Yukon. Glacier hiking Wrangell-St. Elias National Park can be done from McCarthy, Alaska. Glacier day cruises of Glacier Bay National Park can be done from Gustavus, Alaska, or from many cruise ships which travel Alaska’s Inside Passage. Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park is mostly wilderness with little in the way of formal visitor services.
A Galapagos Sea Lion strikes his pose. #galapagos #ecuador #galapagosislands #southamerica #travel #galapagosisland #beautiful #instatravel #paradise #vacation #travelling #traveling #photooftheday #instagood #allyouneedisecuador #summer #picoftheday #photos #moment #instapassport #view #tourist #travelgram #tourism #travelingram #photo #gopro #sealion #wildlifephotography
A photo posted by Green Global Travel (@green_global_travel) on
Named the first UNESCO Site in 1978, this incredible archipelago of volcanic islands 563 miles off the coast of Ecuador ranks among the world’s finest destinations for wildlife lovers. Its landscapes are remarkably diverse, from the lush green flora of the Santa Cruz highlands (where the Galapagos Tortoise roams wild) to the harsh, alien lava fields on Bartolomé. It’s also home to some of the world’s most fascinating endemic species, from ocean-feeding Marine Iguanas to comical Blue-Footed Boobies and diminutive Galapagos Penguins. This is the only place in the world where wildlife has virtually no fear of humans: Curious Galapagos Sea Lions swim right up to you, and birds such as the Flightless Cormorant nest right beside marked hiking trails. In short, it’s truly a must-see for anyone who loves nature.
Historic Town of Sukhothai (Thailand) – Peanuts or Pretzels Travel
Sukhothai, Thailand was a pleasant surprise for us while traveling in between Chiang Mai and Bangkok. It takes a bit of effort to get to as it is located a couple hours or so off the main path between these two big cities in Thailand. But it’s well worth the side trip!
Sukhothai is a place we feel everyone traveling through Thailand should make time for. Being that it is off the normal tourist trek, it is a place that at times feels like you are the only people exploring this ancient city. Spending 3 days here, many people rent bicycles to ride around the massive complex of temples; however, we rented a motorbike to get around the huge historic area because it gave us more time to roam around each temple complex and do a bit of Geocaching throughout. While the bicycles are more quiet and relaxing, the motorbike felt more adventurous and let us enjoy the wind in our face while on the way to temples further away from the historic center.
This historic old town is not only known for its awesome UNESCO Historical park, but it also known for its Sukhothai Noodles, which we ate every single day while we were there. We loved Sukhothai because the crowds were much smaller than at places like Angkor Wat – and it was much more beautiful than Ayutthaya near Bangkok. We highly recommend it to visitors and plan on coming back to enjoy the ruins again one day in the future.
In Ilulissat, Greenland you’ll find the world’s most active calving glacier. Located on the western side of the country, it’s the third largest settlement in Greenland. Home to one of the northernmost UNESCO World Heritage Sites on earth, a trip here takes you along a boardwalk through the Arctic Tundra out to the spectacular Ilulissat Icefjord. Filled with massive icebergs reaching 10 stories high, the icefjord is a wasteland of ice waiting to break free of the shallow bay to float out to sea. Ilusissat is where icebergs are born. These gigantic pieces of Ice float out to the Arctic Ocean eventually making their way all the way down to the eastern coast of the United States.
The Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier moves at a rate of 20-35 m (65-115 ft) per day creating 35 billions tonnes of icebergs each year. If ice is something you are fascinated by, this is the place to be. We spent hours listening colossal ice chunks crash into the water from our perch high on a hill safe from the tsunamis created on the shore by rolling icebergs and falling ice slabs from the glacier itself.
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Not many people make it to Osh Kyrgyzstan, but if you do, you will be treated to the one and only UNESCO Heritage site in the whole country. Sulaiman Too Sacred Mountain is the craggy center piece of the city, overpowering the landscape and sitting as a place marker allowing you to orient yourself to it’s position. It is thusly named as legend has it that Solomon himself climbed the mountain and even more obscurely some historians content that the mountain marks his actual gravesite. The mountain has over a hundred different sets of petroglyph markings and sites of worship that both Muslim and non-Muslim pilgrims have flocked to for centuries. The City of Osh marks the half way point on the Silk Road between Europe and China, therefore Sulaiman Too was the beacon for travellers and traders. Today, you can make the steep 20-minute climb to the top for fantastic views of the city and the Alay mountains. Make sure to visit the various cult sites in the mountain: slide down the rock on the southern edge to cure your back pains, climb into Fertility Cave to bless yourself with offspring and pray to that certain rock to ensure longevity.
Matera is one of the oldest towns in the world and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. Moreover, two years ago it was declared the Italian host of The European Capital of Culture for 2019!
The Sassi of Matera (The Stones of Matera) is a particular area comprised of about 1,500 ancient dwellings carved out of the steep honey-coloured tufa stone slopes. In the past they surrounded today’s centre of the town and created a “ghetto”, where artisans and farmers lived in harsh conditions with no running water and electricity.
The city of Matera got a proper attention from the government only after Carlo Levi’s published the memoir “Christ Stopped at Eboli,” in 1945. Thanks to the book, the Italian Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi took an action and about 16,000 peasants and artisans were relocated to more modern neighbourhoods. Cave dwellings were left abandoned.
You can climb up the hills with dwellings via nearby hiking trails to get some stunning views, or you can just get lost in the labyrinth of the streets of the old town.
This is my favourite photo from Hiroshima. It was on the top of my list of places to go in Japan & it didn’t disappoint. I took this from the Peace Museum & you can see the Cenotaph, Flame of Peace & the A-Bomb Dome at the rear. On the blog today I uploaded a post on my experience taking my 11 year old to Hiroshima, the link is in the bio or at www.our3kidsvtheworld.com. #hiroshima #hiroshimapeacememorialpark #flameofpeace #cenotaph #abombdome. . . . . . #Travelwithkids #familytravel #exploringtheworld #wanderlust #travelbug #globetrotter #travelforlife #travelmoments #travelhunting #travelinspiration #travelblogger
I had the opportunity to visit Japan last month on a girls trip and Hiroshima was always going to be on the itinerary. I was travelling with my mother (she’s 76 years old) and clearly remembers when the bomb went off, also travelling with me were my sister and my 11 year old daughter. We decided to do Hiroshima in a day trip from Osaka and whilst setting a cracking pace I’m still glad we did it. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The Atomic Bomb Dome is the only remaining structure from before the atomic bomb hit on the 6th August 1945. There are a number of other memorials within this park including the Children’s Memorial, the Eternal Flame, the Cenotaph and the Hiroshima Memorial Museum. It’s very hard to visit this area and not be deeply touched by what you are confronted with. It is believed that the morning the bomb was dropped 130,000 people died instantly and it has been estimated that the likely number was in excess of 400,000 lives lost in total. It’s unfathomable.
The main message you receive from visiting, is that the world should never see something like this again. I had an American lady stop me and thank me for bring my daughter, she said ‘we all need to learn from this’. I wholeheartedly agree with her, the whole world learnt a very valuable lesson on that day and preserving this area will ensure that generations for years to come will understand the total devastation weapons like this can cause. The Eternal Flame will be burning at Hiroshima until the final nuclear weapon has been destroyed. I for one, certainly hope I am around to see the flame extinguished.
The Singapore Botanical Gardens’ entrance is sight to remember. Flagged by a large, well-curated souvenir store and an al fresco dining area where you can choose between local delicacies as well as western cuisine. It’s not an overly ambitious entrance to a park, yet our memory of it is accentuated by tall, evenly, spaced trees reaching sky high.
The gardens started in 1822, developed by Sir Stamford Raffles, the first Englishman who set foot in Singapore. As a naturalist, he started an experimental garden in Fort Canning. Soon the British government took over and it grew in the 19th century.
Today, the gardens is managed by National Parks Board of Singapore. As a country that prides itself on being a ‘garden city’, the Botanical Gardens plays a significant role indeed. It is not only a UNESCO world heritage site, but also a place where every primary school kid goes for an excursion at least once, and where people gather to escape stresses the city. With more than 150 years of history, it continues to grow and become known worldwide, following its country’s progresses.
When it comes to UNESCO World Heritage sites, there are so many incredible options to choose from, but I need to talk about one of my absolute favorite places in the world — Komodo National Park!
This gorgeous area in Indonesia is composed of three main islands: Rinca, Komodo, and Padar, as well as countless smaller ones. It’s home to over 5700 of the infamously dangerous Komodo Dragon, but that’s only a small reason why you should visit.
The scenery you’ll find while sailing through this stunning archipelago will leave you speechless, but the marine biodiversity found here will have you questioning if the view is better above or below the water.
I’ve been to Komodo National park twice now, and I’m always recommending this to people who are looking for an affordable destination that’s truly gorgeous.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China’s Hunan province has the esteemed recognition of becoming one of China’s first natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The sandstone pinnacles that make up the area are so unique and iconic that they were used as the inspiration for James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar, hence Zhangjiajie’s alternative name, the Avatar Mountains. Some of these monoliths reach over 300m tall and have tufts of ancient forest growing from the top. Besides the beautiful mountains, one of the best things to do in this UNESCO site is simply hike along the many trails and escape the hordes of domestic tourists.
Imagine a room full of tall pillars with red and white arches overhead, stretching out as far as the eye can see, visitors speaking in hushed voices and the echoes of the organ playing a beautiful melody. At its very centre, the dome of a Renaissance cathedral reaches for the sky. This is the Mezquita or The Mosque – Cathedral of Córdoba. The building was used by Muslims and Christians as a place of worship at one time or another, and sometimes even at the same time. On one hand, you have the cathedral and on the other, you have a mihrab on the southern wall denoting the direction of Mecca. This interesting mix of religion makes a trip to the Mezquita a fascinating experience and one not to miss if you’re in the Andalucia region of Spain.
It was only about time that Santiago de Compostela became a Unesco World Heritage Site.
This city, located in Galicia, where rain is said to become art as it embellishes the stone with its reflections and moss everywhere (more than half of the year it rains), is not only a mecca for pilgrims on the world famous Santiago’s Way but also a lively urbe full of university students and tourists all year round.
From its old town to more contemporary constructions like the recently opened Cidade da Cultura (Culture city), it has a lot to offer in terms of culture, things to do and see and, of course, great food to taste!
Put it on your list of places you should visit before you die now and you won’t regret it!
For more unbelievable beautiful places in Galicia, check out what the top Galician bloggers have to say about the must see places in the region here.
Domodossola is an archetypal Italian village, yet a quite unknown village near the Swiss border in the Piedmont region. Mattarella Hill, which overlooks Domodossola is a UNESCO site and is the most northerly of the holy mountains. The Sacro Monte Calvario consists of 15 chapels that represent the long road of the Cross. In effect there are 15 ‘stations of the cross’ leading up this long and winding and steep road. Totally worth a visit because this is a village that most people just pass through on their way from Zermatt to Milan.
One of my favorite UNESCO heritage sites in Trinidad Cuba. Trinidad and the nearby Valle de los Ingenious become a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1988. Every traveler to Cuba should head to Trinidad, it is the most picturesque Cuban town. One of the best things to do is just get lost in the city, wander around the side streets and see how the local Cubans live. Skip the hotel and stay with a local family in a Casa Particulars, plus it’s usually only $25 a night. Head to Plaza Mayor in Old Town Trinidad for nightly live salsa band at the Casa de la Musica. It’s best enjoyed with a tasty mojito in your hand! Every evening in Trinidad Plaza Mayor, right next to the cathedral they have a live salsa band. There are some amazing hikes, waterfalls, outdoor activities in Valle de los Ingenious that can’t be missed.
The town of Luang Prabang was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1995 because of the incredibly well preserved architecture that combined European colonial developments from the 19th and 20th century with traditional Laotian structures. Walking in the small urban center one has the feeling of having stepped back in time. The various temples can be seen in the same bright splendour of their time and traditions such the alms giving or the night markets are as vibrant and authentic as they once were.
Don’t miss the opportunity to float silently on the Mekong River which practically encircles the city, and enjoy Southeast Asia’s most refreshing cuisine.
Antigua is a colonial city in Guatemala and has been an UNESCO Heritage site since 1979. The city is located in the highlands of Guatemala and is surrounded by not only one but three gigantic volcanoes. One of the volcanoes, Volcano Fuego is active and at night you can see the lava all the way from Antigua. If you are bold enough you can also join a two day hike to the top of Fuego for a more up close experience. Alternatively, if climbing an active volcano isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other things to do in Antigua. For example, you can walk around town and admire the well-preserved Spanish Baroque architecture, taste some authentic Mayan chocolate at the chocolate museums or even visit a Chicken bus factory. Antigua is by far one of favorite cities in Central America.
• HOT BRIDGE • This is the ‘it’ bridge. The reason I stayed in Bosnia longer – to see the Stari Most in Mostar! The most beautiful bridge in Europe is my @passionpassport contribution for #PPArchitecture2 challenge. The chief Ottoman architect, Sinan, designed the Old Bridge which *nearly* withstood the Siege of Mostar, only to topple ’93 – the symbol of Bosnia was broken. Today divers plunge from the top for entertainment and competition – Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series played here last year! Read more about it at Two Scots Abroad. Q☝️Where is your favourite bridge? Looking forward ⚡️ to seeing your #WanderingWisely tagged images this weekend
Mostar’s Stari Most (Old Bridge) has risen from the ground after severe bombing during the 90s war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Luckily for us tourists, the bridge has been reconstructed to its former beauty and protected by UNESCO. Unfortunately, we’re not the only ones who know about Mostar, this town gets very busy with visitors from Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital), Croatia and Montenegro so get there early to avoid the crowds. Mostar is no longer only known for its part in the war, it is now famous for diving, locals (and brave holiday makers) dive from the Old Bridge into the Neretva River.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia – circa 2016. . . Ah! Such a dream! Just right after my grand visit to Slovenia and after witnessing some of the best views the Balkan areas can offer, I paved my way to Croatia to visit one of its favorable views – the UNESCO world heritage site of Plitvice Lakes, a national park high up in the mountains with absolutely stunning views! Thanks a bunch to Zagreb Tours for making this happen and the wonderful Tomas, my tour guide, for sharing with me his knowledge about Plitvice and Croatia! I can’t wait to write about this beauty! . . . #ZagrebTours #visitcroatia #plitvicelakes #nationalpark #unesco #worldheritage
Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia was declared UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979 and has been a top attraction as to why tourists visit Croatia – amongst many reasons, of course.
When I was planning my Balkan escapade, I was wary about where to go if I stumble upon Croatia at one point and as my research progress, Plitvice Lakes is too beautiful to pass. Plitvice Lakes have about 16 lakes, waterfalls, and cascades. Apart from the picturesque turquoise blue water, you’ll witness, you’ll also find amazing nature during your 2-4 hours hike of all the terrains!
Apart from this, of course, Croatia on its own is a beauty and the surrounding area where Plitvice Lakes is located is also very beautiful and have something to offer. A day trip from Zagreb and back would only take up about 9 hours of your day usually starting at around 8 AM, so I would say that it is certainly worth the time!
I have to say that the hike wasn’t hard at all and your eyes will feast on Plitvice Lake’s beauty on any given day – sun or rain, it will be very beautiful!
These stunning mountains in South Africa got its nickname ‘Dragon Mountains’ due to its soaring basaltic buttresses, golden sandstone ramparts, visually captivating and spectacular arches/ cliffs and pillars which makes it look like the home of dragons.
We spend 4 days glamping in this stunning national park and were greeted with lush greenery, amazing wildlife and the stunning view of the iconic ‘Amphitheatre’ view along our every trail.
Many people may not realize that a substantial group of National Parks between Brisbane and Newcastle in Australia are listed as the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. The 50 separate reserves identified within the World Heritage Area contain extensive areas of subtropical rainforest, warm temperate rainforest and Antarctic beech cool temperate rainforest areas.
Having so far visited six National Parks which sit within the World Heritage Area I can definitely recommend that you make the effort to visit to have an amazing rainforest experience. There are many options for both short and long visits, with many scenic drives, lookouts and waterfalls, extensive bushwalking/hiking trails and camping experiences.
It’s hard not to rave about Guimarães. Known as the birthplace of Portugal, or at least its first king, the historical centre is stuffed with well-preserved architecture and monuments that range from the 15th to 19th centuries, hence the UNESCO World Heritage classification.
After peering from the castle battlements and exploring the unusual Ducal Palace, wend your way into the heart of the old town along ancient narrow streets, some of which are connected by overhead archways.
You’ll soon arrive in one of many delightful squares with plenty of outdoor seating so you can admire the surrounding architecture with a glass of vinho verde. Largo da Oliveira is the prettiest, in my opinion, thanks to the frilly Gothic arches of the Salado monument and the arches under the old council chambers. The slightly more modern Largo do Toural used to be a livestock market but is now the city’s largest square, lined with attractive 19th century buildings, and the site for many celebrations and festivities.
Old city in Zamosc is a hidden gem of Europe. It is located in Eastern Poland, close to the Ukrainian border. The town was founded in 16th century by Jan Zamoyski. What’s interesting, his family still lives there! Old city in Zamosc is called the Polish Pearl of Renaissance. The colourful, old tenement houses are one of the most beautiful buildings that we have ever seen. Most old towns in Poland are from different period, they are usually Medieval or Baroque. Zamosc is a beautiful example of Renaissance architectural style. In contrary to other cities, it was built from the scratch. That is why it’s so neat and impressive.
The word Pamukkale in Turkish translates to “Cotton Castle.” That’s exactly what the travertines in this city is, a cotton castle. Located in West Turkey are the beautiful all white travertines of Pamukkale. The terraces are carbonate minerals left by the constant water flow. The site is unlike anything I have ever seen. In the summer months many people can even take to bathing in the pools. Once you climb Pamukkale you can then wander around the ancient city of Hierapolis. Visiting this UNESCO site is like two for the price of one!
The UNESCO listed archaeological site of Butrint in southern Albania is a treat for history buffs, featuring traces of all the civilisations that have been through here, from the ancient Greeks to the Venetians. We were there on the #JayWayBalkans press trip last month. See our latest blog post for more info.
There has been a settlement at Butrint since prehistoric times but the majority of what you’ll see here dates from the Ancient Greeks and Romans, with the Greek theatre being the dominant ‘postcard shot’ but there’s also a castle, Roman baths and a Basilica to hold your attention. Legend has it that during Roman times it was a kind of retirement home for veteran soldiers. After the Romans there was a period of Byzantine rule and after that the Venetians had a colony here. Getting to Butrint from the nearby major port and beach resort of Sarande is very easy, though we much prefer staying in the smaller town of Ksamil, even closer. You can wander round at your leisure reading the information panels or hire a guide at the entrance.
The picture-perfect old town of Lviv, western Ukraine’s largest city, is considered by many to be the cultural heart of a massive and diverse country. Centered around Rynok Square, a large public square lined with renaissance, rococo, and modernist-style buildings, the UNESCO old town is always buzzing with street performers, as locals and tourists wander the shops or grab a drink or coffee in one of Lviv’s many bars and Vienna-style coffee houses. Young, hip, and a center of Ukrainians’ strengthening national identity, Lviv is both vibrant and relaxed, offering an ultra-affordable city break with a cool European vibe.
Gjirokastra (also written Gjirokastër) is one of two Ottoman-era “museum cities” in Albania that share the UNESCO honor – its more famous twin is Berat. Berat is known as the City of a Thousand Eyes, for its distinctive architecture composed of white buildings with many large windows that resemble eyes. But Gjirokastra is just as picturesque as Berat — and with just as interesting of a claim to fame. Gjirokastra is called the City of Stones for its unique architectural style, where roofs are crafted of many layers of flat stone, one on top of the other. Facades as well as streets are often paved with stone, creating a truly unique and beautiful city. Set against the backdrop of the gorgeous mountains of Albania and this “museum city” is truly a site for sore eyes.
Ouro Preto in Brasil received its UNESCO world heritage designation in 1980 because of its perfectly preserved historic centre reflecting a bygone colonial era of untold riches. The city’s ornate Portuguese colonial architecture reflects its importance during the 18th century when it was the centre of the Brasilian gold rush. The name Ouro Preto itself means black gold because the gold mined from the area was a darker hue due to the minerals contained in the soil. The gold flowing from the hills of Ouro Preto made the Portuguese crown very rich and funded its lavish lifestyle. In fact, the city was so important, that every April 21st to this day, Ouro Preto becomes the capitol of Brasil for one day.
Works of Antoni Gaudí (Barcelona, Spain) – Travel Addicts
Barcelona is one of the world’s great cities. It has it all: history, gastronomy and amazing architecture. And much of that architecture is courtesy of one man: Antoni Gaudi. He is Barcelona’s most famous son and is an absolute beloved figure in this region. Throughout Barcelona, his creative and whimsical buildings are intrinsically linked with this Catalan capital and are collectively recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gaudi’s works all have strong influence by nature and natural elements. Layered on top of this homage to the natural world, is a belief in the goodness of mankind that comes in form of Art Nouveau designs. The works of Antoni Gaudi are an important part of our world cultural heritage.
Melaka is a historical city in Malaysia which has been beautifully preserved. The entire old town area and the city center is a UNESCO world heritage site. This little city can easily be explored by foot and one can see many 16th century Portuguese and Dutch influences in its government buildings, churches, and town squares. Famous landmarks here are A’Famosa Fort, Dutch Square, Saint Paul’s Church, Christ Church, and Malacca Straits Mosque.
The power of the Serengeti is palpable from the minute you exit you’re small 12 seater Cesna and drive into the embrace of the dusty savannah. You see little sign of human civilization and your mind drifts back to something forgotten, something carnal. On game drives, the battle for life and death can be seen from less than 20 feet away. Sometimes it gets so close you can touch it…
One reason UNESCO has bestowed historic status on the Serengeti is because of the annual migration. Every year from June to October, 2 million wildebeest head north in search of greener pastures, with predators following in hot pursuit. If you find yourself near the Grumeti or Mara river, take pause. Numbering in the thousands, the wildebeest cross the river to find better feeding ground. Lurking in the current are voracious crocodiles, whose appetites far exceed what their bellies can actually hold. Sometimes they kill by instinct and let the carcasses float down river. In the same river, wildebeest mothers kick and bite to save their calves and zebras cross back and forth in search of missing harem members. Here, you realize life is both cruel and tender, expressed in a way that only nature can.
I think in every country + state I’ve been to, there has been one site or city that lays claim as my favorite, and it’s typically one that moved me on a deeper level. In Greece, that was this monastery – Hosios Loukas. It’s tucked in the foothills of Mount Helicon and something about wandering these grounds where new met old filled me with awe and inspiration. . . . #greece #visitgreece #darlingescapes #visiteurope #europe #greece #hosiosloukas #passionpassport #darlingescapes #lifeofadventure #letsgoeverywhere #traveldeeper #nomad #traveldeeper #girlmeetsglobe #traveldiary #worldnomads #travelstoke #travelblog #letsgoeverywhere #feelfreefeed #mytinyatlast #wildernessculture #travel #wander #wanderer #wanderlust #travelgram #explore
Hosios Loukas is tucked in the foothills of Mount Helicon. It was a cool, overcast spring day when I visited this monastery, but upon arriving, as if almost on cue, rays of light popped through clouds giving this gorgeous Christian site an extra-spiritual glow to it. This is amazing site is the only church known to be built during the tenth century and it was done so beautifully. Gorgeous archways look out over the rolling green hills and you can get lost in the stunning mosaics and murals that adorn the walls and ceiling inside the chapels.
Plitvicka Jezera National Park also known as Plitvice Lakes is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Croatia. Infact my sole purpose of visiting Western Europe and it was totally worth it. With over 1000 beautiful water falls, crystal clear lakes and amazing walking/ hiking paths this place is a true delight for any outdoorsy person (such as yours truly!).
With an area of over 300 whooping sq kilometers, this park offers a lot to be explored. You can even row boats, explore caves or even camp away from the bustling crowds. Perfect family travel destination and ideal for nature lovers.
The Pitons are twin volcanic mountain peaks on the Caribbean island of St Lucia. Designated a World Heritage Site in 2005, these forested peaks rise more than 700 meters above sea-level near the town Soufriere.
St Lucia’s Pitons shelter dense rainforest, bubbling thermal pools, sulphur-spewing craters, gold-sand beaches and quaint, colorful fishing villages. Cradled between these two iconic mountain peaks sits Sugar Beach —a crescent of fine sand that boasts an unparalleled setting.
The Pitons offer abundant hiking and diving opportunities for thrill-seekers and adventure-lovers. The volcanic mountains make St Lucia unique among Caribbean islands and give the country a feeling of being uprooted from the South Pacific and plopped down in the Caribbean.
Americans are starting to discover what Europeans and Canadians have known for decades: Cuba is unlike any other Caribbean destination. I loved visiting Cuba twice while it was still unexplored by most U.S. citizens, but I’m thrilled that it’s becoming easier for more people to travel there now.
What you’ve heard about Havana is true–from the abundance of classic cars to the colorful buildings to its relaxed pace. Here are a few highlights to kick of your exploration of Old Havana.
Enjoy drinks with a view at the rooftop bar at Hotel Ambos Mundos, and make sure you catch a glimpse of Ernest Hemingway’s old apartment on your way up in the elevator. Meander Old Havana’s streets–enjoying the open space of its historic plazas, perusing the shelves at pop up book stands, and people watching as kids enjoy pickup games of fútbol wherever they find space. Watch the sunset over the city from across Havana Bay at the La Cabaña Fortress, and hang around until 9:00 for the nightly cannon firing ceremony.
While the rest of the island has a lot to offer, you can’t miss taking a few days to explore the streets of Old Havana.
Walking the walls in Dubrovnik is a must-do! Just make sure you take water, wear a hat, comfy shoes, put in plenty of sun cream and do it earlier or later in the day! New post on my blog today with lots about Dubrovnik – link in bio! . . . . #croatia #dubrovnik #dubrovnikoldtown #dubrovnikcroatia #walls #gameofthrones #coast #adriatic #sea #history #picoftheday #blogger #travel #travelphotography #traveling #femaletravelbloggers #walkingthewalls #europe #clouds #wanderlust
The old city of Dubrovnik in Croatia suits its name of the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic.’ The beautiful architecture symbolising Dubrovnik’s wealth and power reflects Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque influences. Enter the city though the famous Pile gate and stroll the Stradun the limestone-paved main street and admire the beautiful buildings and fountains. Visit Dubrovnik and walk its walls – walls that have stood not only the test of time but the massive earthquake of 1667 which destroyed so many of this beautiful city. Walk the walls and admire the distinctive terracotta coloured rooftops and fall in love with a bewitchingly charming city.
Ha Long Bay (Vietnam) – 2 Food Trippers
Less than a four-hour drive from Vietnam’s bustling capital city, Halong Bay feels like a different world. At Halong Bay, thousands of karst formations jut out of the Gulf of Tonkin like miniature grassy islands, creating a surreal environment that is like no other. There’s plenty to do in Halong Bay from kayaking to hiking, but the best Halong Bay activity is to relax on a boat with a front row view of the natural beauty at this UNESCO site.
Since so many travelers have visited Halong Bay in recent years, proposed rules may limit the number of boats that sail on Halong Bay in the future. To avoid missing out on the ultimate Halong Bay experience, travelers should plan a visit sooner than later.
The ancient rock fortress that is Sigiriya Rock, known commonly as Lion Rock, is one of Sri Lanka’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This large granite rock found north of Dambulla protrudes into the skyline creating awe and beauty. What’s even better are the views found when standing a top of this monstrous rock. While on your way to the top, climbing numerous steps, you can witness paintings known as frescoes situated on the walls. You can also observe the mirror wall, which was once polished to the point the ancient king, could see himself within it. After taking in the beauty, it is time to make the ascent up some fairly precarious steps to the top. As the photo suggests the climb is worth it because the views are breathtaking. Finally, as a word of warning, arrive early to avoid the long lines that can easily occur and the hot Sri Lankan sun.
There are some Unesco sites that offer breathtaking views, others historical significance and some are just unique. But few can tick every box like Machu Picchu is able to.
To walk through a city built over 500 years ago in one of the most remote parts of the world, to sit on the top of a mountain surrounded by even greater mountains, and to try to grasp the enormity of the achievement here is almost overwhelming.
Sure everyone, including you, will be trying to take that iconic photo across the city. It’s what most of us strive to do when we finally get to one of these bucket list destinations.
But I implore you to move past the hunt for the perfect selfie and find a spot to just sit and take in the truly awe inspiring scene around you. Look at it, feel the history and just be in the moment.
You may think that to experience Machu Picchu in its full glory you have to spend days slogging it out on one of the Trails but, contrary to the view of some, this is simply not true.
This is a place where the destination is greater than the journey. No matter how you arrived here it will have been an adventure of sorts. So accept your reward.
Of the many UNESCO sites we have visited Machu Picchu is the one that managed to wildly exceed our lofty expectations. I’m sure it will for you as well.
A fresh perspective of the ancient town of Hoi An. We have been here for a while but we can never keep our eyes off its beauty. We just keep discovering new ways to love it. Have you been to Hoi An? Also check out @jonistravelling and @giakristel for more travel photos. Follow our journey around the world at www.mismatchedpassports.com. Link in our bio. #romantic #travelcouple #traveltheworld #travel #love #mismatchedpassports #explore #discover #inspire #happiness #wanderlust #backpacker #globetrotter #wanderer #travelblog #beautifuldestinations #travelphotography #photooftheday #couplestravel #instatravel #travelgram #wanderer #worldcaptures #worldtravelbook #aroundtheworld #HoiAn #Vietnam #Asia
From its wooden Chinese shophouses to its French colonial buildings to its Japanese bridge, Hoi An offers an incredible fusion of architectural styles influenced by foreign and indigenous cultures. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, the Hoi An Ancient portrays beauty like no other town in Southeast Asia. Explore old temples in the morning, wander along Hoi An’s narrow streets in the afternoon and admire lit up lanterns along the riverbanks at night. With its well-preserved old town, stunning riverine landscape and unforgettable local event like the full moon festival, Hoi An easily fits as one of the must-see destinations in Vietnam.
Shirakawa-go, a small “village of White River” hidden in Japanese mountains became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995. It was recognized as an outstanding example of a traditional way of life that has perfectly adopted to very severe environment. During the winter the snow may be 4 meters deep. That’s why traditional houses in Shirakawa-go have special, steep roofs called “gassho”, which means “hands in prayer”. Shirakawa-go is not an open air museum – it’s a real village with a community of locals living there. Maybe they don’t have to cultivate silk worms anymore, as they did in the past – now Shirakawa-go survives thanks to the tourism industry, but they still maintain traditional lifestyle based on the cooperation of neighbours and living in a multi-generation houses. The best time to visit Shirakawa-go is winter, when it’s the most beautiful and late July, when herbs and flowers are growing freely around traditional, wooden houses.
Ayutthaya, the former Thai capital just a couple of hours from Bangkok, is one of the best sets of ancient ruins in Thailand. Most of the temples and Buddha statues sit on an island surrounded by rivers and are best explored by bicycle. The ancient structures date back as far as the 14th century and have been brilliantly restored, and in a unique twist the historic elements are scattered around a bustling, modern Thai city. Highlights of Ayutthaya include a Buddha head trapped in the roots of a tree and watching the sunset at Wat Chaiwattanaram. Many people visit Ayutthaya as a day trip from Bangkok but try and spend at least one night in town so you can get an early start and beat the crowds.
Red Fort Complex (Delhi, India) – escapinglife.com
Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1648 AD. This sprawling fort complex was the capital of the erstwhile Mughal Empire, the royal residence of the emperor and in the recent past it was the seat of the British Raj in India. The name Red Fort or Lal Qila comes from the red sandstone that was used in its construction.
The Lahori Gate, serves as the main entrance to the fort. A long passageway leads you to a bazaar called the Chhatta Chowk or the covered bazaar used to be known as the Bazaar-i-Musaqqaf in earlier times. In the reign of Shah Jahan, this catered to the imperial luxury trade of silk, brocades, velvets and gold jewellery of the imperial.
There are also other major structures inside the fort such as the Naubat Khana, the Drum House, where the musicians used to announce the arrival of the emperor. Diwan-i-Aam, the Hall of Public Audience was where the emperor received the general public and at its center is a marble canopy where the throne is placed. There is a light show held at the fort premises in the night.
The architectural brilliance of the Persian inspired Mughal Empire is so evident here. All of India celebrates its Independence Day when the Prime Minister hoists the national flag and delivers his speech from its ramparts every year on August 15th.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must visit place when you are in Delhi.
Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (Hanoi, Vietnam) – Love and Road
Our #TBT is from a sunny day exploring the Citadel in Hanoi. Vietnam was intense, the noise, the flavours, the smells, the colors… One month was certainly not enough to see it all but gave us a good taste and the will to come back. . . #worldtravelbook #awesome_photographers #watchthisinstagood #roamtheplanet #ig_worldphoto #beautifuldestinations #guardiantravelsnaps #theglobewanderer #travelblogger #awesome_photographers #watchthisinstagood #roamtheplanet #ig_exquisite #ig_dynamic #ig_photostars #viajar #awesomepix #topdecker #worldtravelpics #beautifulplaces #wonderfulplaces #hanoi #vietnam #rbbviagem
Hanoi is full of history! Everywhere you walk you can see buildings that tell the country’s history, from the Chinese Dynasties to the Vietnam War. A trip to Hanoi is not complete without a visit to do The Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet Dynasty, it was nominated an Unesco Heritage site due to it’s uniqueness and beauty. Inside the walled citadel you can enjoy the gardens, visit the Hau Lau Palace, known as the Princess Palace, appreciate the design of the Doan Mon Gate and even learn about the recent war. But what makes the citadel so impressive is the history underneath the buildings, the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century.
Beside the citadel there is an excavation site where you can witness the archaeologists work. Another important piece of Vietnam’s history is the two bullet marks you can see at the Chinh Bac Mon, the northern gate of the citadel, it was caused by a cannon fired in 1882 when France was attacking the city. The citadel is only one of the historical attractions and things to do in Hanoi, and if you keep travelling around Vietnam you gonna find other stunning and important Unesco heritage sites to visit.
Today’s photo is from the beautiful Miyajima island in Hiroshima. . During yesterday’s Shichi-go-san celebrations children aged 7-5-3 attended Shinto shrines like this one across the country. For many it was their first time wearing a kimono. You can read more by clicking the link in the profile and search ‘shichi go san’. . This is Itsukushima shrine, its ‘floating’ tori gate would be one of the most photographed sites in Japan but at the peak of high tide when the whole shrine ‘floats’ on the water it’s even more impressive. Especially when you consider the origins of the shrine date back over 1400 years.
Japan has many world heritage sites but this is one of our favourites. Itsukushima is both the name of the island and the Shinto shrine that was first established there during the 6th century. Most people however will know it as Miyajima Island. It’s one of the most photographed locations in Japan, listed as one of the top three scenic sites in the country and was given UNESCO world heritage status in 1996.
The best time to visit is at high tide when the huge vermillion O-torii gate and the entire shrine building appears to briefly float on the Seto inland sea. Today you can visit the shrine and the rest of the island freely. It’s a short and comfortable short ferry trip from the mainland but through much of its history it was considered too sacred for visitors to walk on the island. Pilgrims came by boat, approaching through the tori and landing only on the shrine itself.
We’ve been a few times and there is usually something going on at the shrine, Noh theatre on the stage, a Shinto wedding in progress or another ceremony taking place. We recommend allowing a day to really explore Itsukushima shine and the rest of the island including the hiking trails and views from the top of Mt Misen.
While Belgium officially “only” has 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it actually has many more as all the belfries and beguinages are grouped together as one UNESCO site. My hometown Leuven has no less than to UNESCO beguinages, but most people only visit the biggest one. True, the Grand Beguinage is impressive with its cobblestone streets, its perfectly maintained lawns and its always peaceful ambiance, but the Small Beguinage is definitely worth a visit as well.
Did you know it consists of only one street? One perfectly maintained street with all white houses in which locals live behind colorfully painted doors, like the one you can see on the photo.