There is something about visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites that gives me, and millions of other around the world, a sense of accomplishment.
Whether you’re stood face to face with a pile of rocks wondering why exactly you came all that way to look at rocks, or staring up at an incredible statue that you’ll never forget, UNESCO sites come in all shapes and sizes.
First: A list of the UNESCO sites I have been to, some tips, and thoughts.
The Grand Palace is exactly that… grand. Its enormous size leaves the tallest of people feeling small. Perfectly positioned chocolate shops make the palace a must see when in Belgium. If not for the palace, then for the love of all things sweet.
Historic Centre of Brugge
Brugge is an enchanting little place. The jagged roofed buildings are unlike any you will see at home (unless you live there of course). The quirky small design features dotted around town are amusing and offer contant details that will enthuse your wanderlust. The market square is packed with tourists but a lovely site with yummy restaurants.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Bridge itself is beautiful, and once you understand its significance in the country’s history its beauty only grows. The old city of Mostar is generally one of the friendliest and most interesting UNESCO sites I have had the pleasure of visiting.
We visited this UNESCO site by absolute fluke. It was dark, we had just stepped off of a long bus ride, and in all honesty, the bridge was just another bridge to us. Perhaps if we knew it was a UNESCO site we may have embraced it a little more.
Another day, another mountain. I feel like you probably have to climb it to really love it.
If you’ve read my other blogs then you will know how special I found this place to be (yes it’s Game of Thrones related). Although, my favourite part was Lokrum island.
The list for France is super long with 44 sites! So I won’t put it all here. However, it turns out that we visited all of the UNESCO sites in Paris whilst there. The bulk of the sites were architectural. If I were to return I think I would aim for some of the natural sites.
As with France, Germany is packed full of UNESCO sites. As a big fan of Germany I am sure to go back for a 4th, 5th, or 6th visit! My favourite UNESCO sites so far have been
Upper Middle Rhine Valley, Cologne Cathedral ,and Dresden Elbe Valley
Ah, Roma! Beautiful buildings and ruins everywhere, yummy food around every corner. What more could you possibly want from a long weekend away?
Although my memories are distant, I still remember the lush green mountains offering an idyllic backdrop to life.
This one didn’t overwhelm me. With so many magnificent sites in Nicaragua, I am still baffled that this made the list where so many other places didn’t.
It’s hard not to appreciate the Neoclassical architecture against the blue skies. Within the building are important artworks. Don’t miss this if you’re in Nicaragua.
There is always something happening here. The atmosphere is friendly and the markets are buzzing with life, creativity, and culture.
Other than being entirely grateful that there is a lift to get you out, the mines themselves are exquisite. There are carvings, salty walls, chandeliers, and so much more.
This haunting place is a staple on the UNESCO list, reminding and informing thousands upon thousands of visitors of the past, and why it cannot be repeated.
Belem was a pleasant surprise for us. Being just a short tram journey away from Lisbon makes visiting this quaint tower relatively easy. The nearby park is large and houses a random piece of Chinese architecture. Ice cream shops make the day fly past as you relax in the shade admiring the Monastery and the Tower.
Sintra is a playground for adults. Exploring the winding streets, climbing up the hills to incredible viewpoints and old fortresses. This is well worth a day trip.
Coimbra is yet to be discovered by the vast majority of travellers. Why? I’ve not quite figured that our yet. The Fado houses here are the best in Portugal !
This Historic town is quaint, pretty and well… quiet. I understand why visually this little town is on the list, but any longer than a day here and it’s easy to take its beauty for granted as you struggle to find things to do that don’t involve booze and food.
Most people come for a day. We stayed for two, and have no regrets. If ancient architecture and chilling out is the vibe you want. This is the place.
Sukhothai reminded us of Ayutthaya. The chilled atmosphere, friendly locals, and architecture was all incredible.
Not our favourite UNESCO site, but hey – that’s another one off the list. If you love archaeology, i’m sure you will appreciate this more.
United Republic of Tanzania
Well deserving of it’s UNESCO status, the crater attracts many backpackers, families, and solo travellers alike. The animals within the crater are incredible to behold. The Masai communities are welcoming, and assist you in having an unforgettable experience.
If you’ve been in Tanzania for a while – roaming around it’s conservation areas – you may find Kilimanjaro National Park to be slightly less thrilling. That is, unless, you only really came to view Kilimanjaro. If that is the case, you’re in luck. If mountains are your thing, Kilimanjaro National Park will blow the other Parks out of the water.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
So I’ve never actually been up close with Stonehenge, but I’ve driven past it so much I refuse to pay money just to actually get out of my car. I guess if you love rocks then it’s worth the high payment fee to get in.
Bath is brilliant. Relaxed, pretty, and friendly. Definitely worth a visit around Christmas time for the huge Bath Christmas markets.
Having worked right next to this building I grew to take its enormous size and architectural brilliance for granted. Regardless, you cannot fault the design. Shame about the busy surrounding streets.
This Normal tower is well worth a walk around, especially if you are into the whole castle vibe medieval military thing.
If serenity is what you need then look no further. The dense foliage, incredible rural landscape, and wild horses make the Lake District nothing less than enchanting. You probably aren’t supposed to feed the horses…
Adding to Viet Nam’s ever increasing beauty, the Complex of Hue Monuments is well worth a trip. Explore, admire, and relax.
Kayaking, Canoeing, Swimming, Paddling, rock formations, and so much more! Ha Long Bay is an excellent half day trip. You can choose your route and select a ferry to ensure you have the experience that you want.
Did someone order a lantern? If you love the idea of slowly walking around town with the sun setting and candels flickering inside
Home to the Dark Cave, beautiful panoramic views, and incredible boat rides. This was one of the highlights of my time in Viet Nam.
Don’t pass this by without truly taking it all in. Take a full day here if you need to!
Tranquil, scenic, beautiful… Nothing less.