UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Europe

5 Amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites You Must See

Europe is a treasure trove of preserved cultures, arts, and natural beauty. If you’ve ever dreamed of taking in the most beautiful countries in Europe, then you’re going to want to add these UNESCO World Heritage Sites to your bucket list. These are the landmark monuments and cultural attractions that will give you a true taste of European history and culture.

What does UNESCO mean?

UNESCO stands for 'United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.' The organisation seeks to protect and preserve landmarks or areas, which have been carefully selected as having cultural, historical, scientific or other forms of significance.

Whether it's ancient history,  monuments or natural beauty you crave, we've pulled together a list of our favourite UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe.

1. Italy - The Dolomite 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 awarded 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.

Areas of The Dolomites Protected Under UNESCO

Covering an area of 142,000 hectares, the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site reaches across five Italian provinces: South Tyrol, Trentino, Belluno, Udine and Pordenone.

2. Austria - Historic Centre of The City of Salzburg

Salzburg

Salzburg, a gorgeous Austrian city surrounded by scenic alpine beauty, has been home to many great musicians, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The city is full to the brim with art gardens and museums.

The Old Town is the most visited part of Salzburg, having been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 for its Medieval and Baroque structures. Millions of people visit the city each year to experience its unique cultural offerings.

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.

3. Slovenia-Škocjan Caves Regional Park 

Škocjan Caves Regional Park

The Škocjan Caves are one of the most impressive natural wonders you might ever see. They're located in southwestern Slovenia, and formed by thousands of years of subterranean rivers and waters flowing through limestone rock to create a beautiful spectacle.

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.

4. Switzerland - The Bernina Express Railway

Bernina Express Railway

The Bernina Express Railway, which winds through the Alps along Switzerland’s southern border with Italy, is one of the most spectacular rail journeys in the world.

The journey takes about 4 hours and is an amazing journey of contrasts, with the alpine landscapes around the Albula and Bernina Passes. You'll pass through wild, verdant valleys, alongside awe-inspiring glaciers, and even lush, tropical palm trees.

The Bernina Express train line connects the charming tourist towns of Chur, Davos and St Moritz in Switzerland, and Tirano in Italy. You'll get a thrill out of breaking records as well as sightseeing on this track: it has the steepest incline in the world and is operated without gears or other aids.

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.

5. France - Chablais Global Geopark 

The Chablais UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the Haute-Savoie and Savoie regions of eastern France, between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc. 

The area is a UNESCO Global Geopark for its unique and globally significant geological heritage. Evian and Thonon are two of the lakes in the area, both famous for their mineral springs. It contains many mineral deposits, fossils and craters, making it a great place for geological research.

What makes this UNESCO worthy?

The Chablais UNESCO Global Geopark is unique because of the story it tells of 250 million years of geological history. The park's proximity to Geneva's Lac Léman and Morzine—a hub in the French Alps—makes it a popular destination for tourists and researchers alike.

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