25 UNESCO Sites to Put on Your Bucket List

By Rachael Funk

Though some people can (and do!) achieve full-time travel, many of us plan for months or even years for the next big trip. Before you decide where to go next, check out these gorgeous bucket list UNESCO World Heritage sites!

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Giant’s Causeway • Northern Ireland, UK

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.

Uluru National Park • Australia

A trip to Uluru National Park is sure to be awe-inspiring, to say the least. A region of deep cultural significance, this is a must-see for anyone who is revitalized by quiet majesty, connection with nature, and wide open spaces.

Petra • Jordan

To get in touch with the ancient history of the East, a trip to Petra is a must. A beloved travel destination, you can tour the Royal Tombs, be dwarfed by the gorge of the Siq, and marvel at the Hellenistic facade of the Treasury.

Angkor Wat • Cambodia

Unsurpassed in grandeur and beauty, Angkor Wat is an impressive testament to the importance of spirituality. This temple complex is the largest religious monument in the world and has been dubbed the heart and soul of Cambodia.

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!

Old Havana • Cuba

A breathtakingly colorful city, Old Havana is gorgeous all year round. Stuffed with colonial buildings, places to see live music, and five historical plazas to explore, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is thrilling from arrival to departure.

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!

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.

Te Wahipounamu • New Zealand

Standing in the southwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island, this landscape will ignite a spirit of adventure in any traveler. Here, you can traverse fiords, scale daunting cliffs, swim in lakes, and chase some waterfalls.

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.

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.

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.

The Pantanal • Brazil

The pulchritude of the Pantanal is almost unreal. The largest inland wetland on the planet, it offers the highest concentration of wildlife in South America. If you want to take a walk on the wild side, there’s no better place to do it.

Old City of Bern • Switzerland

City tours, a medieval townscape, and exquisite views of the Alps await in the Old City of Bern. With 11 UNESCO World Culture Heritage sites in the area, you can check off a whole section of your bucket list here!

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.

Mir Castle Complex • Belarus

Step into a fairytale in Belarus! Construction on this castle began in the 15th century and extended so long, you can find Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance influences within the complex.

Pergamon • Turkey

Escape to Turkey’s Aegean region and explore the places heralded for comprising the the center of learning in ages past. Walk the sloping streets of this expansive city and marvel at its multi-cultural heritage.

Abu Simbel • Egypt

A less-visited part of Egypt where you can tour ancient temples and avoid the crowds, Abu Simbel is a laid back town where you can take your time to enjoy the sites without being jostled by waves of tourists.

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.

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.

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.

Leshan Giant Buddha • China

The entirety of the Mount Emei Scenic Area (including the Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area) is a masterpiece to behold. The place where Buddhism was first established in China, this sacred site is a wonderland of spirituality and scenic beauty.

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.

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.

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.

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