There are more than 1,000 UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the world that all offer something different, but are equally memorable. It may seem hard to choose which one would make a good destination for you, so we’re helping you narrow things down with a list of sites that pertain to various interests.
The hiker: Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania
Kilimanjaro National Park protects the highest mountain in Africa and the largest free standing mountain in the world – Mount Kilimanjaro. A chance to trek to the summit (19,343 feet) is something that attracts roughly 25,000 hikers each year. This is because climbing Kilimanjaro can be done without ropes, technical experience and special equipment that are needed to summit most other major peaks. That doesn’t mean it’s easy though – you need to be in good shape to tackle this climb. But the views along the way and from the top, if you get there, will be worth it.
The paleontologist: Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada
Anyone interested in dinosaurs should plan a trip to Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta. One of the highlights of a visit is the opportunity to participate in a fully authentic dinosaur dig. Digs are between one and three days, and reservations are highly recommended. You can also get up close and personal with fossils through guided hikes and bus tours. There are also self-guided trails and the option to camp in the park.
The musician: Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
Musicians, or anyone with an appreciation for music, should add Sydney Opera House to their must-visit list. The architectural marvel took 16 years to build and includes a concert hall, opera and drama theaters, a playhouse and a studio. In addition to hosting some of the most renowned performers in the world, Sydney Opera House is Australia’s most recognizable building with its unique white roof shaped like a series of sails.
The animal lover: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
There’s nowhere in the world quite like the Galapagos Islands and it’s where animal lovers can get close to many species, some more recognizable than others. Many of the fascinating animals here are not found anywhere else on earth. Some of these include marine iguanas, giant tortoises, the Galapagos penguin, the Galapagos fur seal and flightless cormorants. One really interesting things about the creatures of the Galapagos Islands is that they are generally pretty friendly and don’t fear humans the way other animals might, so you can be sure to get some great photos (and maybe even make a few furry friends.)
The romantic: Verona, Italy
Is there anything more romantic than the story of Romeo and Juliet? The story of the star-crossed lovers, brought to life by the words of Shakespeare, takes place in Verona. This historic city, a World Heritage Site, fully embraces their reputation as a destination for romance. The charming streets provide a romantic backdrop for sightseeing and you can even visit Juliet’s house and gaze up at the balcony where she (fictionally) stood while Romeo declared his undying love for her.
The diver: Belize Barrier Reef System, Belize
The vast Belize Barrier Reef System is the ideal destination for scuba divers of all levels. It is comprised of seven protected areas and is the second largest reef system in the world. This reef is teeming with vibrant sea life and it’s one of the most intact, pristine reef systems in the western hemisphere. Divers and snorkelers have the chance to spot 500 species of fish as well as larger creatures like marine turtles, whale sharks and rays.
The nature-lover: Yosemite National Park, Wyoming, United States
Yellowstone National Park was the world’s first national park and is a haven for nature-lovers. The diverse park is home to 67 species of mammals including two species of bears, 16 species of fish and 322 species of bird. The park covers 3,472 square miles, 80 percent of which is covered by forest. Visitors can explore via 15 miles of boardwalk, 994 miles of backcountry trails, 92 trailheads and 301 backcountry campsites. Yosemite also has approximately 290 waterfalls and 300 geysers.
The sun-seeker: Historic area of Willemstad, Curacao
If you’re craving some sunshine you might want to think about taking a trip to the warm, sunny island of Curacao. This hidden gem in the Caribbean is home to one of the 19 World Heritage Sites in the Caribbean: the historic center of its capital, Willemstad. The city is filled with pastel-hued buildings, winding cobblestone streets and, when you’re not basking in the history and culture, you can hit the beach to soak up some sun.
The architecture buff: The works of Antoni Gaudi, Spain
Take a trip to Barcelona to discover the amazing architectural works of Antoni Gaudi, a must for anyone interested in architecture. His works were ahead of their time when they were built and they still stand apart a century later. Some of these include Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, Casa Batlló, Parc Güell (not a building by an urban park) and the most famous of Gaudi’s works, the Sagrada Famillia Cathedral, which remains a work in progress to this day.
The adventurer: Central Amazon Conservation Complex, Brazil
This protected area of the Amazon is perfect for adventurous nature-lovers looking to explore somewhere off the beaten track. The area spans nearly 23,200 square miles (that’s bigger than the country of Switzerland) and contains 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. Unique plant life and many species of birds, fish and mammals call the Amazon home. Keep in mind that it’s tricky to reach and is done not by roads but by boats of varying sizes.
Featured image: Kyle Taylor