Top UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit before you die

Founded to spread peace and cultural acceptance in the wake of World War Two, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has been preserving world heritage for over 40 years. Since the initial 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites were announced in 1978, over a thousand more locations have been added to the list.

But what is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Chosen for their cultural, scientific and educational contribution to the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is determined to preserve and protect important world locations.

Today, UNESCO sites rank high on the must-see lists of many travellers. Countries with UNESCO World Heritage Sites are inundated with an almost endless stream of international tourists.

Regardless of the tourists, UNESCO sites are worth making a once-in-a-lifetime journey for. Our list of the top UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit before you die spans the globe, as does our fleet of aircraft. With 187 countries served by VistaJet, see the best UNESCO World Heritage Sites with ease.

The Old City of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Old City of Mostar, with its charming Ottoman-era architecture and abundant nature, has been restored since the air strikes of the Yugoslav wars. In 2005, this picturesque location was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, firmly planting Bosnia and Herzegovina on the international tourism map.

Frequently topping the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit in Europe, the Old City of Mostar can be reached via a short car journey from nearby Croatia or a scenic train ride from Sarajevo. Take in sights such as the Stari Most bridge, and Blagaj Tekke monastery.

Uluru National Park, Australia

Standing resolute in the heart of Australia, Uluru is an unmissable UNESCO World Heritage Site for the intrepid traveller Down Under. A sacred monument of the Anangu people, Uluru has bewildered geologists for generations due to its unorthodox sediment deposits and location in an otherwise flat desert.

Hiking up and photography of Uluru is no longer permitted. Elsewhere in the National Park there are trails and outback adventures to satisfy your wanderlust. Nearby Alice Springs has the closest airport. For real adventure, travel by car from Sydney or Melbourne on a four-day outback road trip.

Lalibela, Ethiopia

Listed among the first 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978, Lalibela’s rock-hewn churches continue to draw pilgrims from across east Africa as they have for nearly a millennium. Located in the country’s highlands, Lalibela regularly tops the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ethiopia.

Each of the sunken chapels were chiselled – allegedly by angels – from monolithic rocks. The largest, Bet Medhane Alem, stands at nearly 12 meters tall and remains a place of religious devotion. Only a 90-minute flight from Addis Ababa, reaching this remote site could not be easier.

Ravenna, Italy

As a country with the joint-highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Italy spoils its visitors with abundant history. The Emilia Romagna city of Ravenna has no less than eight. Formerly the capital of the Western Roman Empire, all of Ravenna’s UNESCO Cultural Heritage Sites date from the fifth and sixth centuries.

Kaleidoscopic mosaics adorn the interior of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, which was built for the sister of Emperor Honorius in. Ravenna’s location allows visitors to absorb the Adriatic coast and indulge in fine cuisine and Sangiovese wine. A train ride whisks you straight from Bologna to Ravenna in no time at all.

Tsodilo Hills, Botswana

Dubbed the ‘Louvre of the Desert’, Botswana’s Tsoldilo Hills feature rock paintings dating back more than 20,000 years. Viewed as the site of first creation by the San people, the rocks at Tsodilo Hills have been daubed with nearly 4,500 paintings that include figures, animals and geometric patterns.

Located in the Kalahari Desert in the north-west of Botswana, Tsodilo is a four-hour 4WD trip from the village of Shakawe, which is roughly 230 miles from Maun. The site was inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2001. As one of the more remote UNESCO sites, hordes of tourists rarely make it to Tsodilo.

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