With 1,073 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore, it’s hard to choose which ones to visit. Luckily, Tripadvisor has done the hard job for us and compiled the top ten best UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage sites across the globe, according to their reviewers.
Which site will you visit first?
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Image via Flickr by Chris
Whilst one could be in danger of being ‘templed out’ due to the sheer number of them in Siem Reap, Angkor Wat should not be missed and is best toured with a knowledgeable guide to provide you with fascinating facts on the building process, history of it and Cambodia generally. The best views are at dawn or dusk, when the crowds have gone and the lighting reveals its true majesty. You can find tours on TripAdvisor which include either a sunrise or sunset visit with a private guide from AUD$51, or even take a helicopter tour over this famed site, discovering the ancient constructions from above, and which includes a dinner and traditional dancer performance.
Taj Mahal, India
Image via Wikipedia by Yann
Prepared to be wowed when you see it for the first time. Over 8 million people per year visit this great mausoleum, a true monument to love, constructed by the Shah Jahan while mourning the death of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. On TripAdvisor you can find hundreds of tours and experiences to visit this mesmerising site, from a private tour with guide and visit at sunset or sunrise, for AUD$54 on TripAdvisor, to a visit including a home cooked meal at a local home in Agra.
Great Wall of China, Mutianyu
Image via Wikimedia Commons by Jakub Hałun
In 1368 AD, Mutianyu Great Wall was built by Xu Da who was the main general for Zhuyuanzhang in the Great Wall ruins of Northern Qi Dynasty. Linked to Gubeikou in the east and Juyongguan in the west, the section of the Great Wall is the military hub defending the capitol since ancient times. You can hire a tour to visit on TripAdvisor from as little as AUD$32.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Image via Pixabay by Poswiecie
Whether you visit it during the day travelling from Aguascalientes, or engage in the full experience hiking the 5-day Inca Trail, you will be left speechless arriving at one of humanity´s most stunning landmarks: A 15th century Inca citadel located on a mountain ridge 2400 metres above sea level. Tours on TripAdvisor start off at AUD$39, with this guided tour from Aguascalientes, to this exclusive luxury train ride reliving the golden age of train travel aboard the elegant Belmond Hiram Bingham train, including food and drinks.
Iguazu National Park, Brazil/Argentina
Image via Pixabay by Ralfskysegel
This massive forested park, with rare species of birds, pumas, tapirs, monkeys and other wildlife is best known for housing the world’s largest and most extraordinary waterfalls – the Iguacu Falls – that extend for miles. Ask an Argentinian and they will say their side is the best; ask a Brazilian and they will say it’s theirs! Make your own conclusions taking this tour of BOTH sides for the Iguazu Falls for just AUD$90 on TripAdvisor.
Sassi of Matera, Italy
Image via Pxhere
The Sassi is breathtaking in its scale. History is literally carved into its landscape, from Neolithic times until the present day. It may look at first glance like an abandoned ancient town with buildings piled high on top of each other. But as you begin to explore its cobbled alleyways and steep winding streets you discover stories of human endeavor stretching back through the centuries – from caves turned into homes, to 13th century frescoes to the magnificent gilded Cathedral. You can discover the fascinating site with a walking tour, from AUD$60 on TripAdvisor, or if you prefer to get a global view of the region, you can also purchase a Puglia Full day tour, including not just Matera, but also Bar, Trulli of Alberobello and Castel del Monte.
Auschwitz Birkenau, Poland
Image via Wikimedia Commons via Grippenn
Established by the Nazis in 1940, Auschwitz-Birkenau has become a symbol of terror, genocide and the Holocaust. Although the exact number of victims is unknown, many Jews, Poles and gypsies died here. The museum consists of two parts: Auschwitz I, the first and oldest camp (the number of prisoners fluctuated around 15,000, sometimes rising above 20,000) and Auschwitz II, Birkenau (which held more than 90,000 prisoners in 1944). Tours range from AUD$37, departing from Krakow.
Old City of Jerusalem, Israel
Image via Pixabay by Buecherwurm
Characterised by narrow, winding streets and alleyways, this ancient part of the city is filled with shrines and attractions holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims including the Western Wall, Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Tours star off in TripAdvisor for as little as AUD$14 for this Underground Tour, or authentic ways to appreciate the history of Jerusalem like this Palm Sunday experience, including a mass at Bethpage and Via Dolorosa procession.
Historic areas of Istanbul, Turkey
Image via Wikimedia Commons by Moyan Brenn
This World Heritage Site includes structures such as the Sarayburnu, the Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Hagia Irene, Zeyrek Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, Little Hagia Sophia and the Walls of Constantinople. Head back in time and discover the old world of the Sultanahmet area during this full-day small-group guided walking tour on TripAdvisor, exploring Hagia Sophia Museum and the Blue Mosque, which exemplify why Istanbul is the city where east meets west. Enjoy a walk through the famous Topkapi Palace, where Sultans roamed and harems flourished, spend time observing the Hagia Irene’s Byzantine architecture and stroll through the Grand Bazaar to witness handicrafts created by local artists.
Historic Krakow, Poland
Image via Wikipedia by Andrzej Otrębski
The 13th century merchants town is home to Europe’s largest market square and offers numerous historical houses, palaces and churches with magnificent interiors, 14th century fortifications, ancient synagogues, Jagiellonian University and the Gothic cathedral where the kings of Poland were buried. Walking tours start from AUD$26 on TripAdvisor or, if you are the lazy kind, check out a tour onSegway, bike, or electric car from AUD$34.
To see a full list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, visit the UNESCO website.
Which is your favourite UNESCO site?