If you’re starting to dream up itineraries for the coming year, don’t overlook some of the world’s most notable attractions: UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are often some of the most monumental, meaningful and historic sites you can visit; they’re well worth a trip as they rarely disappoint. As you make your travel plans for 2014, don’t miss these three places.
The cave-riddled peaks of Cappadocia have an air of whimsy, looking like they were plucked from a fairy tale with their spiraling peaks. Cappadocia is all natural, though, created from centuries of erosion and volcanic ash. The peaks hide an incredible network of caves and underground tunnels, but the best views don’t come from within – they’re gained from above. A hot-air balloon ride over the mountains of Cappadocia is a must, especially as the sun sets over the magical scenery.
You might recognize these ruins from the movie “Tomb Raider,” but there’s nothing quite like seeing the remnants of the capital of the ancient Khmer empire in person. The most famous site at this 154-square-mile park is Angkor Wat, a sprawling temple with piercing towers (gopuras) that was also one of the Khmer’s largest monuments. It would be a daunting task to try to cover the entire site in one trip, but be sure to visit Angkor Wat, the temple of Angkor Thom and the temple of Ta Prohm.
Everglades National Park, Florida
This lush and wet expanse is the largest sub-tropical wilderness reserve in all of North America, and its inhabitants comprise everything from migratory birds to alligators. The endangered manatee also calls the Everglades home, and it’s important to note the park itself is on UNESCO’s list of endangered sites. Exploring the Everglades can be done in any number of ways: Hike, hop on a motor boat or take a safari through the park.
(Main image: LWY)