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Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
With so much to explore around the world, from hidden gems to iconic landmarks, secret spots to world famous attractions, it’s hard knowing where to start.
The UNESCO World Heritage List is a prestigious honour awarded to sites of outstanding universal value around the world. Did you know there are 1,157 UNESCO World Heritage Sites spanning across 167 countries? We’ve picked out our top 10 for you to visit below. Our world is beautiful and there is so much for you to see, so what are you waiting for? Get out and explore!

The Acropolis, Greece

The Acropolis is an ancient citadel that stands proud in the Greek city of Athens. Situated high on a hill overlooking the city, it is perhaps one of the most significant ancient sites in the world. Dating back to the fifth century BC after battle with the Persians, the plans of Pericles came to life under the influence of Pheidias, the sculptor. It then became a place for thought and art to flourish where symbols of classical spirit and civilisation came alive.

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park is the largest national park in Croatia covering 30,000 hectares. With outstandingly beautiful landscapes, the national park is home to 16 lakes amidst forests and meadows. When the sun reflects off the water it radiates a variety of colours to make this a stunning phenomenon that should not be missed. Sit on the edge of the lake, relax, take in your surroundings and just breathe.

Historic centre of Rome, Italy

According to Roman mythology, the Eternal City was founded in 753 BC and became the capital of the mighty Roman Empire. Rome is home to a number of attractions including the Forum, the Pantheon and not to forget the Colosseum! This World Heritage site encompasses the whole historic centre within the city walls and reflects the influence of the Renaissance and Baroque periods in making this one of Italy’s most popular cities.

Chichen Itza, Mexico

One of the greatest Mayan creations on the peninsula of Yucatan in Mexico, Chichen Itza is well worth a visit. Take a deep dive into the past as you learn about the rich history of the Mayan civilisation at this sacred site. It is thought that if you clap when stood beside the iconic pyramid it creates an echo that comes back around and sounds like a bird chirping. Some specialists say it mirrors the call of the quetzal, a green and red bird that was considered holy by the Mayan people. The chirp was believed to be the voice of God.

Cultural landscape of Bali, Indonesia

The landscape in Bali is unlike anything else on Earth. Consisting of five rice terraces and water temples covering 19,500 hectares, the cultural landscape takes your breath away. This site gains honour through an ancient farming ritual dating back to the 9th century known as subak. This concept reflects the spirit, the human world and nature, also known as Tri Hita Karana. Be sure to head to the 18th century Royal Water Temple of Pura Taman Ayun on your next visit to Bali.

Cinque Terre, Italy

The Cinque Terre in Italy translates as Five Lands and is home to five of the prettiest fishing villages on the coast of Italy: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso. The steep coastal landscape and brightly coloured buildings make the Cinque Terre one of the most fascinating places in the country and can easily be reached from the lakes. Hop on the train and stop off at each of the five villages where you’ll find a distinct charm around every corner. With cafés and restaurants dotted along the coast, you can enjoy a traditional Italian meal in the most beautiful region.  
Image of Ayutthaya national park in Thailand

Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

The historic city of Ayutthaya in Thailand was founded around 1350 and was subsequently destroyed in the 18th century by the Burmese. It was one of the world’s largest cosmopolitan areas and was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom. All that’s left today is the ruins and some key highlights include the Buddhist temples of Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Mahathat and Wat Phra Sri Sanphet. The area is home to the remains of tall prang (reliquary towers) and should not be missed.

Old city of Dubrovnik, Croatia

The old city of Dubrovnik in Croatia is an absolute must see. The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik can be found on the Dalmatian coast and is home to some wonderfully beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches and palaces, despite the damage caused by an earthquake in 1667. Game of Thrones fans will be delighted here as Dubrovnik was the setting for many scenes. Take a wander down the winding streets and stop off at one of the many local restaurants or markets.

Meteora, Greece

Dating back to the 11th century, Meteora is a sandstone rock formation in Greece. Monks settled on these columns and 24 monasteries were built, home to 16th century post-Byzantine frescoes. Despite the difficult conditions, the stunning architecture symbolises the bravery of the people involved in crafting these monasteries. This breathtaking phenomenon needs to be seen to be believed. You can climb to the top, and it takes around four hours.

Mount Etna, Italy

An iconic site, Mount Etna stands proud on the east coast of Sicily in Italy. The highest island mountain in the Mediterranean, Mount Etna is the most active stratovolcano in the world. The history of this volcano can be traced back over 500,000 years and has become the most popular tourist destination in Sicily today. You can take a cable car to the top and take in the spectacular views across the island and beyond.

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