Whether your perfect holiday is exploring a bustling city or taking a faraway trip to distant lands, there are hundreds of fascinating and historical sights to discover around the world. Here are some of my favourite UNESCO World Heritage Sites you can visit on your holiday, for that cultural break away from the beach.
1) Paphos, Cyprus
Stretches of golden sand, picturesque harbours, and quaint villages puts Paphos top of my holiday destination list. You may not have realised, but this sunny Cypriot resort was crowned its UNESCO status back in the 1980s. Visit the Mosaics at The House of Dionysos and the 4th century Tombs of the Kings. Just a short drive or walk from Paphos’ old harbour, you can see well-preserved ruins, columns, mosaics, underground tombs and chambers.
2) Old Town, Corfu
Take time away from the beach and pay a visit to Corfu’s charming Old Town. Dating back to the 5th century, navigate around the old fortresses and through the Venetian and Byzantine architecture. Enjoy the romantic atmosphere of the street-side cafés and watch the world go by. Take in the beauty of the unmissable St. Spyridon Church, with its giant bell tower, striking roof and lavish interior.
3) Angkor Wat, Cambodia
A trip to Cambodia isn’t complete without a visit to Angkor Wat. Not only is it a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s also the largest religious monument in the world. Angkor Wat was once a Hindu place of worship but is now mainly used by Buddhists. Visit its well-preserved ruins and marvel over its stunning architecture to get a great insight into the life of the past.
4) Budapest, Hungary
You don’t have to venture far to explore a World Heritage Site; the city of Budapest was given its UNESCO listing in the late 1980s and is only a short flight away from London. With loads to see and do, some of the top must-sees are the historic Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue. And of course, you can’t visit Budapest without spending an evening with a couple of drinks in one of its famous ruin bars.
5) Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Take a day trip from your holiday in Split to visit the scenic Plitvice Lakes National Park. Stroll around this natural paradise and discover waterfalls, shimmering blue lakes and greenery in abundance. This huge park can take up to six hours to walk around, but you can take a boat or bus ride to both ends of the park for a shorter trip. Visit this stunning setting in either the morning or late afternoon as the Croatian sun can get quite hot in the peak of the day.
Which UNESCO World Heritage Sites do you recommend? Let me know in the comments below.