Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites from the comfort of your home

Whether it’s an ancient archaeological site, city brimming with historical significance or a region of outstanding natural beauty, we’ve pulled together a list of our favourite UNESCO World Heritage Sites that can be visited from the comfort of your own home.

What does UNESCO mean?

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to protect and preserve landmarks or areas, selected which have been carefully selected as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, which is legally protected by international treaties.

We’ve pulled together a list of our favourite UNESCO World Heritage Sites that can be visited from the comfort of your own home.

 

ITALY - THE DOLOMITES MOUNTAINS

The Dolomites mountains

Anyone who has visited the Dolomite Mountains before will tell you instantly what a breathtakingly beautiful area they are. And for that very reason, the mountain range has been rewarded a UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

What makes this UNESCO worthy?

The enormous vertical walls, sheer cliffs and high density of narrow, deep and long valleys. The enormous rock monoliths stick up out of the surface of the earth and form one of the most iconic and unique skylines in the world.

Apart from sitting back and admiring the view, tucking into some delicious Italian food and drink while you’re at it, there is plenty of buzz and activity happening across the Dolomite region with some fabulous walking trails and cycling routes.

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NORWAY - GEIRANGER FJORD

Geiranger Fjord

The deep blue UNESCO-protected Geirangerfjord is surrounded by majestic, snow-covered mountain peaks, wild waterfalls and lush, green vegetation.

What makes this UNESCO worthy?

This fjord is an outstanding creation of mother nature. The area’s unique natural surroundings were created during a succession of ice ages, when glaciers carved out deep fjords and shaped the high mountains.  Also home to Europe’s deepest lake which you can find along the shores of Nordfjord. The scenery here is just mesmerizing.

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ICELAND - VATNAJÖKULL NATIONAL PARK

Vatnajökull National Park

Vatnajokull National Park encompasses an enormous area in south Iceland and was officially formed in 2008 by joining together Jokulsargljufur and Skaftafell National Parks. You can tick off many of Iceland’s wonders in this area alone.

What makes this UNESCO worthy?

It is the largest National Park in Europe. It covers an area of 12,000 square kilometres (4,600 sq miles). The unique qualities of Vatnajökull National Park are primarily its variety of landscape features. The combined forces of rivers, glacial ice, and volcanic and geothermal activity create a landscape that seems almost surreal.

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AUSTRIA - HISTORIC CENTRE OF THE CITY OF SALZBURG

Salzburg

Full to the brim with art galleries, gardens and museums. The 'Sound of Music' with Julie Andrews was filmed here 50 years ago and music still remains a huge part of the city.

What makes this UNESCO worthy?

Salzburg's famous Baroque architecture gave the city its UNESCO status, with thanks to Italian architects Vincenzo Scamozzi and Santini Solari. This highly decorative and theatrical style has been preserved since the early 17th century. While many cities in Austria, Germany and Eastern Europe saw their heritage and history suffer in the hands of war, Salzburg has withstood the test of time and after WWII it became an independent city-state.

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SLOVENIA - ŠKOCJAN CAVES REGIONAL PARK

Škocjan Caves Regional Park

Perhaps the most stunning natural feature you may ever visit. The Škocjan Caves sit in south-western Slovenia and stretch for around 6km deep underground and are formed by thousands of years of subterranean rivers and waters flowing through the limestone rock turning the enormous caverns into works of art.

What makes this UNESCO worthy?

The protected area of 413 hectares conserves an exceptional limestone cave system which comprises one of the world's largest known underground river canyons. The canyon's enormous Martel Chamber, exceeds two million cubic meters in volume. The Skocjan Caves are also home to the extremely rare and endangered ‘Human Fish’. Technically a breed of cave salamander, the Human Fish is born and spends its life in the pitch black rock pools deep underground and has evolved over thousands of years to be blind and have milky pale skin... in times gone by, people thought that they were baby dragons!

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SWITZERLAND - THE BERNINA EXPRESS RAILWAY

Bernina Express Railway

The Bernina Express train route takes you through incredible alpine landscapes and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The railway is unique, blending ideally with the alpine landscapes around the Albula and Bernina Passes. Trains run in both directions, from Chur, Davos, or St. Moritz in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy and takes 4 hours from start to finish. It’s the journey of a lifetime.

What makes this UNESCO worthy?

The route was given UNESCO title due to its engineering, architecture, and harmony with the environment. The train negotiates the 55 tunnels, 196 bridges and inclines of up 7392 feet above sea level with ease.

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