17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites That Will Leave You Speechless

Peru Travel

Avid travelers will know that the world is full of wonders. Whether it’s the natural land formations that call you most or the ancient towns and historic temples that offer a timeless experience, these UNESCO World Heritage Sites will leave you speechless.

They commemorate the vast heritage of our planet and are also unique insights into the past.

1. Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

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Have you ever heard of Cinque Terre? It’s a stunning stretch of shoreline along Italy’s eastern Riviera. Made up of five centuries-old villages, visitors can expect dramatic cliffs, rugged landscapes, and colorful towns alongside buzzing harbors, seafood specialties, and mesmerizing vineyard views.

Finally, the Sentiero Azzurro trail connects the villages and is perfect for hiking fans.

2. Meteora Monasteries, Greece

meteora monasteries greece

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These gorgeous cliff-top monasteries are from the 14th century. Out of the 24 originally existing, only six remain open to visitors. It’s incredible to picture the monks who once occupied them. But history aside, the site also boasts a rewarding hike that leads to breathtaking sandstone views.

3. Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

salt flats bolivia

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Idyllic, pristine, and simply mesmerizing – you can expect nothing less from the world’s largest salt flat. Cacti-studded islets also call the landscape home. Opt for a trip between December and April to witness Uyuni’s famous mirror effect.

4. Great Wall of China, China

great wall of china badaling

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Stretching a mighty 13,171 miles, this celebrated structure is the first and last of its kind. Unfortunately, less than 10% of the epic pathway remains intact. Hence, there’s no better reason to start planning your trip today.

5. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

great barrier reef australia

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Home to the not-so-funny clown fish Marvin, ditzy Dory, little Nemo and Co., the Great Barrier Reef is legendary. This underwater world promises vibrance, unique creatures, and excitement aplenty.

6. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

halong bay vietnam

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Ask any backpacker who’s been to Southeast Asia, and the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay will almost certainly be a highlight. Towering limestone islands also dot the bay. Whether you explore by boat, snorkel, or kayak, this is a backdrop you won’t forget.

7. Easter Island, Chile

easter island statues chile

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Remember that scene from Night at the Museum, where Dum Dum wants Gum Gum? Now, picture a faraway island full of those very same statues. They’re called moai, and you can find them on Easter Island, though there is still much mystery over their history.

8. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

plitvice lakes croatia

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A world away from the Game of Thrones buzz in cities like Dubrovnik, this Croatian paradise promises calm. Several terraced lakes connect pouring cascades. Meanwhile, a maze of wooden walkways winds through turquoise streams.

9. Alhambra of Granada, Spain

alhambra granada spain

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This striking masterpiece has quite the story. At once a fortress and palace, it’s one of the best-preserved examples of Islamic architecture from the Moorish world. Prepare for a whirlwind of courtyards, intricate geometric patterns, and columned arcades.

10. Taj Mahal, India

taj mahal india

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Universally admired and a new World Wonder, Agra’s iconic ivory-white monument is easy to romanticize. It still conjures up images of hazy summers, with its marble columns and a grand dome-like no other.

11. Petra, Jordan

petra jordan ancient ruin

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Half-carved into the rock, this majestic temple holds many ancient treasures. Learn the history of the Nabataeans – a silent civilization. Discover what other secrets this sandstone city has in store.

12. Machu Picchu, Peru

Huayna Picchu, Peru

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A UNESCO site that needs no introduction, you may be wondering, does Machu Picchu live up to the hype? I can safely say from experience that it warrants a visit. Add a hike up Machu Picchu Mountain to really take in the view.

13. Ziggurat of Ur, Iraq

ziggurat of ur iraq

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The secrets of Mesopotamia lie in Ur, and this ancient fortification is no exception. Embrace the history and culture of a lost world from this highly misunderstood destination. Iraq is, after all, the cradle of civilization.

14. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

angkor wat cambodia

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Step into a Buddhist complex like no other, where tree roots and sacred spaces weave as one. Meander through these timeless temples. The ambiance is sweet and serene, with a spiritual twang.

15. Karnak, Egypt

karnak temple egypt

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Rich in history and vast in legend, the Karnak Temple Complex is believed to be the spot where creation was born. Get up close and personal with different hieroglyphs. Take in the many imposing statues that adorn.

16. Gjirokaster, Albania

Gjirokaster

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Do you fancy a cobblestone fairytale town tucked atop a valley? In my humble opinion, Albania holds the key. Gjirokaster blends Ottoman history, Cold War bunkers, and divine local dishes. Opt for the beautiful Boutique Hotel Musee for a truly immersive stay.

17. Samarkand, Uzbekistan

samarkand uzbekistan

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Soaring turquoise domes, madrasas, and mausoleums await you in Samarkand. Once a central hub of the Old Silk Road, this ancient city is known for its craft production. It continues to stand, ornate, majolica-covered, and ripe with adventure.

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Visiting London, UK

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Can you measure happiness? To what extent does the location we live in affect our mood?

The World Population Review tries to determine the world’s happiest countries every year. It analyzes life expectancy, social support, freedom of choice, population generosity, perceptions of corruption, and GDP per capita. Here are the countries ranked highest in happiness.

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15 Tourist Traps That Are Totally Worth Visiting

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Tourist traps are a place that attracts ample visitors where prices are often unconventionally high. The transformation of an attraction from “off the beaten path” to a “tourist trap” can be fun and memorable.

Some sites have become so commercialized that the experience feels somewhat tainted. However, there are still those that retain their original charm. If they weren’t remarkable, they wouldn’t be so popular. Here are 15 tourist traps around the world still worth visiting.

15 Tourist Traps That Are Totally Worth Visiting

Where indicated, some images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.

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Mariam Amini

Hi, I’m Mariam! I’m a London-born Afghan and freelance writer interested in culture, travel, and well-being. Following three years of full-time backpacking, I’m pursuing my Masters in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London. My main goal is to shed light on the richness of my country and champion better representation for marginalized communities.