Must-Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Collected by Bryan Kitch , AFAR Contributor
UNESCO was created in 1945 as a means to help ensure the preservation of our natural, cultural, and intellectual heritage. Of the more than 1,000 awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage sites, these should be at the top of your list.
Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India
The Taj Mahal is referred to as "the jewel of Muslim art in India,” by UNESCO in its listing on the World Heritage Site registry. The Mughal ruler Shah Jahan had the truly magnificent white marble...
Prinsengracht, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Beyond tulips, windmills, and weed, Amsterdam's global image is entwined with water. The Canal Ring (Grachtengordel) is made up of 165 fluid channels developed during the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age. In the ensuing years, the water network has...
Praça do Império 1400-206 Lisboa, 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugal
Jerónimos Monastery, also known as the Hieronymites Monastery, or Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Portuguese, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lisbon. This stunning building took 100 years to build and it's no wonder once you experience the level of...
Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Crowds may swarm upon it daily from sunrise onwards, but exposure hasn’t dulled the impact of the largest religious monument in the world. Commissioned by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century as the centerpiece of the mighty Khmer empire,...
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Jaipur is capital and the largest city of the largest state Rajasthan in India. The city is stood at the foot of the sprawling 300 year old hilltop Amber fort just on the outskirt of the city. Jaipur is also called the pink city due to its pink...
Bahnhofstrasse 25, 7002 Chur, Switzerland
I didn’t even realize that the Bernina Express scenic train journey was on the UNESCO World Heritage list until I arrived at the small northern Italian town of Tirano to start the trip. There are several different routes from which travelers may...
Lasseter Hwy, Uluru NT 0872, Australia
Uluru, or Ayer’s Rock as many know it, is one of the most recognized landmarks anywhere in the world. This strange giant rock in the middle of the Australian Outback has long kindled imaginations, going back millennia. It may be an important...
Misiones Province, Argentina
Certain things in life are simply impossible to adequately capture in a mere photograph. Iguazú Falls is definitely one of them, and above is my best effort to convey the epic expanse of 'The Devil's Throat.' Situated on the border of Brazil and...
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...
381 01 Český Krumlov, Czechia
Cesky Krumlov is located in southern Czech Republic and has a delightful town bound by an oxbow in the Vltava River. Opposite the town lies Cesky Krumlov Castle, which allows the visitor to experience an "on top of the world" view over the...
50170 Mont Saint-Michel, France
It's safe to say there’s nothing in the world quite like this magical island, topped by a medieval monastery that rises out of the bay like a heavenly apparition. It’s said that, early in the 8th century, a bishop in nearby Avranches...
Vrijdagmarkt 22-23, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
I'll be the first to admit, a museum of printing didn't sound terribly exciting to me, at first. Antwerp Belgium's Plantin-Moretus Museum certainly changed my mind. This is the only museum on the UNESCO World Heritage list and the recognition is...
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Sněmovní nám. 1, 767 01 Kroměříž, Czechia
I found Kroměříž when it was almost too late. I had been living in another small city in the Czech Republic for 15 months and, as soon as I realized I really would be leaving, panic set in and I started looking for a new place to settle. That's...
Sockenvägen, 122 33 Stockholm, Sweden
On All Saints’ Day (Helgons dag), people come out in full force with thousands of candles, flowers, and other mementos in hand to pay respect to departed loved ones and honor the dead at Skogskyrkogården (“Woodland Cemetary”), one of Stockholm's...
Via San Giovanni Vecchio, 89, 75100 Matera MT, Italy
I'm not one to skip breakfast, especially in Italy, where thoughts of cappuccino, pastries, and local ham tend to rouse me early from slumber. But on my first morning at the Hotel Sant’Angelo, in the old quarter of Matera, I was having a hard time...
Bilal Eroğlu Caddesi, Mezarlık Sk. No:8, 50180 Göreme/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
If you only get to ride in a hot air balloon once in your life, do it over Cappadocia, Turkey. Amazing. Cappadocia is surreal when seen from any angle. The region is peppered with strange pointy stone spires that rise up toward the sky, in pastel...
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