Adventurous Natural UNESCO Sites
Collected by Maggie Fuller, AFAR Staff
Grab your hiking boots because there’s no other way to experience these UNESCO sites than to get moving. With so many amazing cultural heritage sites on the UNESCO list, the natural sites often get overshadowed. But from hiking Machu Picchu to camping in Wadi Rum, the journey IS the experience and the awe-inspiring surroundings are the icing on the cake.
Praza do Obradoiro, s/n, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
The Camino de Santiago de Compostela is a journey; a test of will and fortitude; and most of all, a uniquely personal experience. Taking some time out of your life to walk along these historic and sacred trails will leave you exhilarated and...
Strada Micurà de Rü, 48, 39036 Badia BZ, Italy
Shuffling onto my balcony at Lagació Mountain Residencein Alta Badia armed with a cup of steaminglatte, I found an electric-green carpet spread before me. Plush with pines and dotted with medieval churches and tinyrifugi(mountain huts)clustered in...
Namche VDC 56000, Nepal
En route from Namche Bazaar, Nepal, we stopped to visit the Tenzing Norgay Memorial Chorten. Norgay was a member of the first expedition team to summit Mt. Everest in 1953, along with Sir Edmund Hillary. While trekking in the Nepal Himalayas on...
44 Causeway Rd, Bushmills BT57 8SU, UK
On the Causeway Coast outside of Bushmills sits the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim. It's a curious geological formation and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the only one in Northern Ireland. Legend has it that the volcanic coast was chosen by...
Jungfraujoch, 3801 Jungfraujoch, Switzerland
The last remnants of winter were still on the ground as we awaited the final train at Kleine Scheidegg. Already the views were nothing short of magnificent: a panorama of the mighty Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains reaching up through the...
Haida Gwaii, Skeena-Queen Charlotte E, BC, Canada
Haida Gwaii (also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) is a very special (and spiritual) destination with plenty of gorgeous beaches. About 20km from the town of Masset on Tow Hill Road you can find beach access points, such as Agate Beach...
Centuries ago, the ancient Tellem people of Mali built their mud homes high up on a cliff ledge on the Bandiagara escarpment. When I first saw the Tellem cliff dwellings, I was at ground level looking up at them; they looked like several rows of...
Manawatu-Wanganui 4691, New Zealand
This huge, single-day hike is in the running for the "Best Day Hike in the World" contest. If you're spending time in Taupo on the North Island of New Zealand and you love a challenging hike with unbelievable topography, be sure to give yourself a...
Of the many ruins I've visited in Mexico, those of Calakmul have been by far the best. Why? Because this site is largely still covered in jungle. Not many tourists visit the ruins here either. Located only 22 miles from the Guatemalan border in...
The Great Wall of China runs more than 21,000 kilometers (over 13,000 miles), not as one continuous wall but rather as fortified wall sections. Some of the sections date back more than 2,500 years, though only 8.2 percent of the existing wall is...
1 Tiandu Ave, Tunxi Qu, Huangshan Shi, Anhui Sheng, China, 245000
The "sea of clouds" is best observed just before and just after sunrise at the summit of Huangshan (especially in the area of "Refreshing Terrace" and "Lion Peak"). One needs to spend the night at the summit—or preferably several nights, as the...
Ujungjaya, Sumur, Pandeglang Regency, Banten 42283, Indonesia
Ujung Kulon National Park is the natural habitat of an endangered species of Javan one-horned rhinoceros. Handeuleum is an island in this national park. You can do many activities here—canoeing, trekking, camping—and there are also lodge...
Onescukova 30, Rade Bitange 9a, Mostar 88000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
There may not be much to do in Mostar, but it sure is lovely! Quiet, peaceful, and breathtakingly beautiful, to be exact. Wander the old stone streets, take in the views of the historic bridges, and relax over an espresso. Could 48 hours possibly...
86 Yaki Point Rd, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023, USA
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic hiking destinations in the world. There are many options for day hikes—or, with advance planning, overnight treks into the canyon. Popular hikes include the South Kaibab Trail, the...
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