By Rachael Funk
Are you dreaming, scheming, and wanderlusting for your next big trip? Before you decide where to go next, check out these bucket-list UNESCO World Heritage sites!
1. Budapest, Hungary
A city where the past is palpable, Budapest delivers wonder in spades. Indulge in Hungarian cuisine, hot springs, and history in this exciting city, where the nightlife is as energetic as the day.
2. Trentino Dolomites, Italy
Nestled in the Italian Alps, the splendor of the Dolomites is absolutely not to be missed. Proudly displaying its exceptional natural beauty, the Dolomites are among the top most attractive mountain ranges in the world. If you're planning a vacation to Italy, this is certainly a place you don't want to miss!
3. Mont-Saint-Michel, France
A mesmerizing sight rising from the bay between Normandy and Brittany, Mont-Saint-Michel is a technical and artistic wonder. The medieval monastery dates back to the 11th-Century and was one of Europe’s major pilgrimage destinations for centuries.
4. Museum Island, Germany
A cluster of five museums located on the River Spree, Museumsinsel also includes the Berliner Dom cathedral and sprawling garden grounds. Each museum on the island presents a different aspect of German history and art. Be sure to add this to your bucket list of UNESCO sites to visit!
5. Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, Peru
Towering nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, Machu Picchu is an extraordinary feat of human achievement. A relic of the Inca Empire, the giant walls, terraces, and ramps of Machu Picchu were cut into the cliffs and crags of the eastern slopes of the Andes.
6. Historic City of Toledo, Spain
Toledo boasts many beautiful churches, cathedrals, and monuments thanks to its legacy of a heterogeneous society. The city is a repository of more than 2,000 years of the art, culture, and history created by the convergence of three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
7. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Named for a landscape once thought to have been constructed by giants, Giant’s Causeway is Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travel back in time and hear the legends surrounding this gorgeous spot. This spectacular view is not one you'll want to miss during your Ireland vacation.
8. Salzburg, Austria
A melting pot for the art and cultures of northern and southern Europe, Salzburg has always drawn craftsmen and artists. Known as the “Rome of the North,” the city has captivated visitors for centuries with its sacred buildings, Italian-style plazas, and baroque beauty.
9. Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Canada
A vast stretch of protected land connecting Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho National Parks, this is the destination for nature lovers. It boasts mountains, lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, canyons, limestone caves, and even a fossil site! Make sure you put this site at the top of your things to see in Canada bucket list.
10. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Halfway between Zagreb and Zadar, the Plitvice Lakes National Parks are an incredible collection of 16 lakes, connected by waterfalls. Deep in the Croatian woodlands, this magical location has to be seen to be believed!
11. Ancient Kyoto, Japan
A destination to please all the senses, Kyoto is not only brimming with natural beauty, it offers gastronomy, art, and cultural experiences to thrill every traveler. Excellent for romance or trips with the family, Kyoto is an unforgettable experience for everyone.
12. Agra Fort, India
A Hindu fortress until it fell to Muslim rulers, Agra Fort should rank next to the Taj Mahal on your bucket list. Rich with history and architectural excellence, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is an excellent place to get to know India better.
13. City of Bath, England
Wellness travelers, classic literature aficionados, and history buffs will all delight in Bath. Gorgeous from top to bottom, this city sits on natural hot springs and has been on travel bucket lists for thousands of years.
14. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA
There is a stunning UNESCO site right here in the USA! Exceptional in its beauty and size, Great Smoky Mountains National Park holds over 3,500 plant species and almost as many trees as there are in all of Europe. The park is also home to several species of endangered animals.
15. Iguazu National Park, Brazil
Iguazu National Park conserves a significant remnant of the Atlantic Forest, 2,000 species of vascular plants, and the largest waterfall system in the world. Spanning the borders of Argentina and Brazil, the spectacular Iguazu Falls are made up of 275 individual waterfalls.
16. Yosemite National Park, USA
Renowned for its majesty, Yosemite National Park is a favorite destination for domestic travel. See how you measure up to giant Sequoias, North America’s tallest waterfall, and camp out under the spectacular night sky. This is another great UNESCO USA site to add to your bucket list during your travels around the states!
17. Chichen Itza, Mexico
Impressive in both their restoration and upkeep, the ruins of Chichen Itza are as striking as they are ancient. Shrouded in Mayan mystery, even the best-traveled may find their breath stolen by these intriguing wonders, as well as the natural beauty that surrounds.
18. Valletta, Malta
Described by UNESCO as “one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world,” Valletta is a treasure trove of history to discover. Tapped as the European Capital of Culture for 2018, you can be confident you’ll run out of vacation time before you run out of things to do here.
19. Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina
Argentina’s tremendous glacial landscape holds some of the largest and most accessible glaciers in the world. Federally protected for more than 80 years, this magnificent park will blow you away with its powerful ice caps and flowing water.
20. Historic Centre of Quebec, Canada
The only North American city to have preserved its ramparts, you will feel like you’ve stepped back in time as soon as you enter the city. Visit the religious and administrative center in the Upper Town or delve into the urban delights of the Lower Town.
21. Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakesh, Morocco
Morocco’s “Jewel of the South,” Marrakesh, is an ancient city constantly reinvigorated with modernity. Jemaa el-Fnaa is one of the main cultural spaces in the city and a symbol of Marrakesh since its founding in the 11th century.
22. San Juan National Historic Site, Puerto Rico
La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico were built between the 16th and 20th centuries to protect the city and Bay of San Juan. These fortifications illustrate the transfer and adaptation of technology from Europe to America.
23. Pergamon, Turkey
Escape to Turkey’s Aegean region and explore the places heralded for comprising the center of learning in ages past. Walk the sloping streets of this expansive city and marvel at its multi-cultural heritage.
24. Angkor, Cambodia
One of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia, Angkor’s UNESCO World Heritage designation covers over 150 square miles holding the remains of former Khmer Empires, the famous Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon temples, and centuries of Khmer history.
25. Lord Howe Island, Australia
A string of Australian islands formed by volcanic activity, this is the place to go if you are yearning for a secluded island paradise. Discover truly pristine beaches, palm forests, and, of course, reefs beyond compare.