From natural phenomena to ancient ruins, certain sites around the world simply take your breath away. Many of these awe-inspiring places meet the World Heritage Committee’s cultural or environmental criteria for protection as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Read on to find out which five World Heritage sites we’d love to explore up close.
Site No. 1418: Mount Fuji, Japan
Recently inscribed as a World Heritage site in 2013, Mount Fuji has inspired artists, poets and religious pilgrims for hundreds of years. Rising to 12,388 feet, Japan’s highest mountain is still an active stratovolcano, although it hasn’t erupted since the early 1700s.
Site No. 273: City of Cuzco, Peru
This imperial city of the ancient Incans was both an important religious and political center throughout the 15th and 16th centuries. Today, Cuzco is recognized as both an urban and architectural achievement.
Site No. 509: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
These magnificent, powerful waterfalls raise an iridescent mist that can be seen from over 12 miles away. Called the “Smoke That Thunders” by native people, Victoria Falls is the world’s largest curtain of falling water and truly incredible to see in person.
Site No. 80: Mont Saint-Michel, France
The island monastery of Mont Saint-Michel on the historic Normandy coastline is one of the most striking sights in France. This Gothic-style abbey was built to withstand the strong tides of the surrounding bay and is worth a visit not only for its unique location, but also for its dramatic architecture.
Site No. 699: Old City of Luxembourg
The capital of the tiny country that bears the same name, Luxembourg City is a medieval gem in the heart of Europe. It was a fortress city until 1867 due to its central location and though some walls were demolished, many elements of fortification can still be seen in its winding streets today.
Which World Heritage sites would you like to visit? Let us know in the comments below!