Did you know there are currently a total of 1,092 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world? They are not only the testimony of the past but also a reminder of our duty to protect the world’s historical and natural values. And while they're all significant, some are arguably more impressive than others. According to Cntraveler, these are the top 15 places you just shouldn’t miss.
La Grand-Place Square, Brussels, Belgium
Considered as one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, The Grand Place is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels. This place has nearly 40 luxurious Gothic-style buildings built from the 14th to 17th centuries, among which City Hall is the most famous. Day or night, The Grand Place is always packed with people sitting on the stones chatting and drinking, overlooking the glowing Gothic tower of the town hall.
Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Located on the North Island of New Zealand, Tongariro National Park has been acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site of mixed cultural and natural values. Within the park is a 20km long walking path across the Tongariro Alpine Range that takes visitors through Lake Emeral and Mount Tongariro. The beautiful green lake in the park generates its unique colors from volcanic minerals that dissolve in water.
The Angkor Geopark consists of 12 temples and a series of smaller structures. This place is home to the magnificent Angkor Wat, one of Cambodia's popular tourist attractions. Immerse yourself in splendid Khmer architecture and appreciate all of the wonderful treasures this heritage site holds within her.
Socotra archipelago, Yemen
Located in the Indian Ocean, this isolated archipelago consists of 4 islands with hundreds of unique species that makes it similar to a mysterious alien place. The Dracaena cinnabari trees not only have a quirky shape but also the red sap that gives it another name: Dragon's Blood Tree.
Wulingyuan Scenic Area, China
Wulingyuan is a scenic and historical site in the Wulingyuan District of south-central China. It is noted for more than 3000 sandstone pillars and peaks along with many attractive streams, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. It also features 40 caves and a natural bridge called Bridge Across the Sky, which is one of the world’s highest natural bridges.
Galápagos archipelago, Ecuador
Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona, Spain
This famous musical theater is a typical example of Catalan modernism, reflected in the intricate, curved motifs of the famous architect Llúis Domènech I Montaner. Thanks to stained glass walls and inverted skylights, natural light illuminates the entire building during the day, creating an incredibly gorgeous scene. Today, more than half a million people a year attend musical performances in Palau that range from symphonic and chamber music to jazz and Cançó (Catalan song).
Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Yosemite National Park in beautiful Mariposa County welcomes you to experience this majestic park in all four seasons. Everything here is beautiful when spring arrives, especially in April and May in the Yosemite valley. The waterfall is full of snow, the forest is full of flowers, and the wild animals are roaming to feed themselves. 3-4 million visitors flock to the park each year with many fascinating activities such as picnicking, hiking, camping, fishing, etc.
Taj Mahal, India
Widely considered as the most beautiful building in the world, Taj Mahal is located in the historic city of Agra. Shah Jahan said about the Taj that it made "the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes". That is why every year, visitors numbering more than the entire population of Agra pass through the magnificent gates to catch a glimpse of this breathtaking monument.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Designated a World Heritage Site in 1994, Halong Bay is a vision of ethereal beauty and, unsurprisingly, northern Vietnam's number one tourist attraction. From the Halong Bay Cruise boat, you can admire thousands of big and small islands, emerge from the crystal blue water of the bay, making you feel lost in a surreal world.
Historical Monuments of Mtskheta, Georgia
The Historic churches of Mtskheta, former capital of Georgia, are outstanding examples of medieval religious architecture in the Caucasus. They show the high artistic and cultural level attained by this ancient kingdom. Sadly, the lack of conservation attention has made this architecture a name in UNESCO "risk" list.
Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina
The Los Glaciares National Park is an area of exceptional natural beauty, with rugged, towering mountains and numerous glacial lakes, including Lake Argentino. Nowadays, the Park welcomes a great number of tourists from all around the world, offering multiple choices to visit it almost all year-round.
Very few hot springs around the world can compete with the magnificence of Pamukkale's 17 pools. The quiet water reflects the clear Aegean sky, overlooking the Turkish city of Denizli.
Canals of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Often referred to as the “Venice of the North”, Amsterdam's central Canal District was designated a World Heritage Site in 2010. The 17th-century canals make Amsterdam a powerful trading area and one of Europe's cultural centers.
This UNESCO heritage site is the ancient business district of Bergen, and the only business district preserved since the Hanseatic period. Bryggen Pier is the inspiration for the design of the city of Arendelle in Frozen, and it is still used today with many bustling offices, shops, and restaurants.