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20 Most Beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Posted by Maria Inês Pinto on 25/09/2014
20 Most Beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites

There are plenty of beautiful places around the world, but everyone knows that UNESCO World Heritage Sites are simply special. They are “places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy”. In short, they consist of breathtaking human constructions or natural landscapes that have been incredibly well-preserved over centuries to ensure that today we can still relish in their beauty.

If you’re looking for a new place to visit on your next holiday, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Perhaps these beautiful sites will inspire you to decide on your next destination!

1.  The Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx, Egypt: Out of 138 pyramids found throughout the country, these are the best known for being one of the largest structures ever built.

2.  The Pitons, St. Lucia: These two volcanic mountains rising out of the sea are one of the most spectacular natural sites in the Caribbean. Their contrast with the clear blue water makes for incredible photos ops.

3.  Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris: This iconic Middle Ages cathedral is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture found all around the world.

4.  Iguazu National Park (Brazil and Argentina): Set on the border between Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazu Falls are one of the newest 7 wonders of the world. This astounding natural structure is made up of 275 individual falls and cascades that span a distance of 2 km.

5.  Stonehenge, United Kingdom: One of the world’s most famous megalithic constructions, Stonehenge is one of the world’s most important relics of prehistoric times.

6.  Sydney Opera House, Australia: One of the iconic landmarks of the city of Sydney, this multi-purpose performance venue is a masterpiece of architecture and one of the most beautiful of its kind in the world.

7.  Angkor Wat, Cambodia: The world’s largest religious monument, it was first a Hindu temple in the early 12th century and then transformed into a magnificent Buddhist Temple. It is an icon of Cambodia.

8.  Venice and Its Lagoon, Italy: Internationally acclaimed for its beauty, architecture and artworks, the stunning city of Venice is actually composed of 118 small islands connected by canals and bridges. The entirety of the city in addition to the lagoon, which encircles it, have both been garnished as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

9.  Taj Mahal, India: This exquisite white marble palace was built by an emperor in memory of his late wife who passed in childbirth.

10.  Vatican City: Besides being the centre of Catholicism, Vatican City holds an impressive collection of art and historical sites unparalleled by most cities in the world.

11.  Jungfrau Region, Switzerland: The most glaciated region of the European Alps, this area is one of the premier trekking and climbing destinations in the continent. It is named after the 4,150m peak of Jungfrau.

12.  Great Wall of China: Originally built along China’s northern border for protection purposes, this incredible site is one to behold.

13.  Acropolis of Athens, Greece: This ancient citadel is set on a high rocky hilltop above the city of Athens and houses the remains of the Partheneon and other relevant historical structures.

14.  Bagan, Myanmar: Similar to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, this region is home to thousands of temples and it’s a perfect destination if you’re looking for a quiet tourist-free site to visit.

15.  Canal Ring, Amsterdam: Amsterdam’s Canal Ring has been around for over 4,000 years and is the reason why people have nicknamed Amsterdam the “Venice of the North”. The semi-circle of canals wraps around the Old Centre and flows among historic mansions and beautiful parks.

16.  Galapagos Islands, Ecuador: This archipelago of volcanic islands houses a national park and a marine reserve that offer excellent opportunities for studying the evolution of different species.

17.  Goreme National Park and Rock Sites of Cappadocia, Turkey: These incredible rock formations found throughout the Cappadocia region are an incredible monument to the ancient dwellings once inhabited for centuries.

18.  Hampi, India: The group of monuments found in this small Indian village consists of ruins of ancient Dravidian temples and palaces that stand as the last remnants of Vijayanagar kingdom.

19.  Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: This national park is most famous for its annual migration of over 1.5 million white bearded wildebeest, 250,000 zebra and numerous Nile crocodile. This astounding mix of wildlife is protected in an area over 10,000 m2 large and receives 350,000 each year.

20.  Machu Picchu, Peru: This 15th Century Inca site is located over 2,000 metres above sea level, making it accessible by bus or on various trekking trails. It is one of the most famous icons of the Inca civilisation.