World Heritage Sites
Unearth a cultural or natural gem on your next trip with our pick of World Heritage Sites guaranteed to give you itchy feet.
From Geirangerfjord to the Great Barrier Reef, over 930 sites of cultural or natural splendour have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since it was founded 40 years ago. That’s quite a travel wishlist. Fortunately, we can arrange trips that include many of the most sensational sites. Here’s a selection to get you started.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Dabble your toes on a day-trip or take the plunge on a four- or five-night cruise, either way the Great Barrier Reef will take your breath away. This big daddy of World Heritage Sites covers over 20,000 sq km, with over 2900 reefs in what is possibly the richest area of faunal divesity in the world.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia
The heart and soul of Australia’s Red Centre, the mystical monolith of Uluru and the nearby cluster of 36 rocky domes known as Kata Tjuta are deeply entwined in Aboroginal spiritual beliefs. Hike around the base, watch Uluru smoulder in the sunset and then stay up for some unforgettable star-gazing.
Sydney Opera House, Australia
A true 20th century architechtural masterpeice, Australia’s famous landmark is a great urban sculpture set in a remarkable waterscape. Get up close to this iconic attraction on a relaxing harbour cruise, a guided bike tour or take a leisurely stroll and soak up the city’s chilled out atmosphere.
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks
No less than seven national and provincial parks rub shoulders in this mighty meringue-whip of snow-clad peaks, glaciers and icefields. Irresistable for first-time visitors, the Canadian Rockies are easily slipped into a self-drive or escorted holiday. Don’t miss canoeing on Lake Louise or riding the Banff Gondola.
Historic District of Old Quebec, Canada
Founded by French explorer Champlain in the early 17th century, Quebec is one of the world’s best examples of a fortified colonial city. Stroll the Terrasse Dufferin, delve into the Lower Town to relax in cafes, then plan a gentle assault on the old city walls and historic battlefield of the Plains of Abraham.
Kluane/Wrangell-St Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek
Straddling the border betweeen Canada (Yukon Territory and British Columbia) and the United States (Alaska), these parks comprise an impressive collection of glaciers, high peaks and the world’s largest non-polar icefield. Grizzly bears and caribou call this spectacular landscape home.
Finland & Iceland
Fortress of Suomenlinna, Finland
Built in the mid-18th century by Sweden, this impressive maritime fortress clings to a group of rocky islands at the entrance to Helsinki’s harbour. A district of the capital city, Suomenlinna has a population of 800 and is an intriguing collection of walls, guns and cannon barrels, tunnels and a submarine!
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Established in 930AD, Iceland’s Althing, an open-air assembly that laid down laws and settled disputes, took place at this site until 1798. Archaeological remains can still be seen, making this a compelling cultural diversion in a country where natural wonders steal the show. It is part of a must-see trio known as the Golden Circle.
Sub-Antarctic Islands, New Zealand
Seldom visited, never forgotten, these five far-flung island groups are home to one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife anywhere in the world. With huge numbers of pelagic seabirds and penguins, these islands are extremely important. So set your compass south and head off on an expedition voyage.
Te Wahipounamu, New Zealand
A majestic chunk of wilderness, carved by glaciers and cloaked in ancient forests, Te Wahipounamu includes four of South Island’s most enigmatic national parks: Westland, Mt Aspiring, Fiordland and Aoraki/Mt Cook. Go hiking, horse riding, sea kayaking and jet boating then snuggle up in a wilderness lodge.
Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
The first ‘cultural landscape’ to be awarded World Heritage status, the mountains have a cultural and religious significance for the Maori people. Hailed as one of the greatest one-day walks in the world, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing grapples with a stunning landscape of red-rust craters, black deserts and emerald lakes.
Bryggen, Bergen, Norway
Bergen’s ancient wharf and Hanseatic quarter, Bryggen has been the nerve centre of the city for hundreds of years. Ravaged by many fires, the characteristic wooden houses have been restored and reconstructed using traditional techniques. Soak up the atmopshere with a stroll through the narrow alleyways.
Geirangerfjord and Naeroyfjord, Norway
Part of the 500km-long Norwegian Fjords and among the world’s longest and deepest fjords, with sheer walls rising up to 1400m from the sea’s surface, Geirangerfjord and Naeroyfjord are head-spinningly beautiful, laced with waterfalls and stippled with pristine forests.
Urnes Stave Church, Norway
The wooden church of Urnes, in a spectacular setting beside Sognefjord, built in 1150 is an outstanding example of traditional Scandinavian wooden architecture. Although there are many stave churches in Norway, Urnes is the only one with World Heritage status. Well worth a visit when travelling around Sognefjord.
Royal Palace of Drottningholm, Stockholm, Sweden
When it comes to cultural World Heritage Sites, Sweden excels, but for sheer exuberance, nothing compares to Versailles-style Drottningholm, an 18th-century royal residence (complete with castle, theatre, Chinese pavillion and gardens) on Lovon Island in Lake Malaren, just outside Stockholm.
Rock carvings in Tanum, Sweden
The rock carvings in Tanum are a unique artistic achievement not only for their rich and varied motifs but also for their cultural and chronological unity. They reveal the life and beliefs of people in Europe during the Bronze Age and are remarkable for their large numbers and outstanding quality.
Can’t decide? Ask our experienced and knowledgeable team
If you would like to discuss the best holiday option to suit you, please contact our team of travel specialists. With first hand experience they can provide information and advice to help you choose.