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Travel Advice: The Best UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Gina Narramore

Gina Narramore



If you’re looking to book a holiday and need some inspiration, then take a look at our selection of some of the best UNESCO World Heritages Sites to help you plan what could be the trip of a lifetime. 

Your retirement can be the perfect opportunity for you to travel and see the world. While you can choose to visit your favourite locations from holidays gone by, why not treat this as an opportunity to do something really special?

UNESCO World Heritage Sites can provide you with everything from breath-taking sights to once in a lifetime experiences. However, with over 1,000 listed locations around the world, picking the right one can be tricky.

This is where our latest post can help, as we’ve scoured the online listings to create a list of what we consider to be some of the world’s best UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The banks of the Seine, Paris

Many of the incredible attractions in Paris are dotted in close proximity along the banks of the river Seine. In fact, so many are located here that a stretch of the river running through city’s centre has earned a place on the UNESCO list.

Best bit: The fact that you have the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Cathedral Notre-Dame, the Petit Palais and many more fascinating French historical buildings so close together along the river.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

When it comes to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Australia certainly has its fair share. While it might be famed for the Great Barrier Reef or the Sydney Opera House, one of the country’s true gems is the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

This sprawling landscape is traditionally owned by the Anangu Aboriginal people and remains relatively untouched by modern developments. However, there are still plenty of visitor centres, designated trails and public viewing areas. Many of these have also been refurbished in the last 10 years thanks to investment from the Australian government.

Best bit: Uluru (also known as ‘Ayres Rock’) and the Kata Tjuta (also known as ‘Mount Olga’) are the two main draws, and these astonishing rock formations showcase some of Mother Nature’s finest work.

The Waterfront, Liverpool, UK

If you’d prefer something closer to home that’s a little more urbanised, there many UK UNESCO sites to choose from. The city of Liverpool, for instance, has UNESCO status thanks to The Beatles and its important maritime history.

Best bit: It’s with the nautical side of things where we make our recommendation, as Liverpool’s Waterfront is a hub of culture overlooking the impressive riverside. Here you can find plenty of places to eat and drink as well as incredible museums and regular shows and exhibitions.

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Much like Australia, the list of UNESCO sites in the USA is also quite lengthy, but California’s Yosemite National Park deserves an honourable mention. It might not be as famous as its American counterpart Yellowstone, but it’s certainly its equal when it comes to natural beauty, awe-inspiring views and enjoyable activities.

Best bit: The view from Glacier Point is an absolute must. There’s the option to climb this yourself and follow the trail to the viewing areas, but the team at the park also run regular bus trips for tourists.

Angkor Wat, Angkor, Cambodia

The Angkor Wat temple complex is one of the most impressive UNESCO sites Cambodia has to offer and is the world’s largest religious monument.

You’ll find this impressive structure nestled in the heart of the Siem Reap Province in the Angkor Archaeological Park. However, regular tours and excursions are available, so you don’t need to worry about how you can reach this relatively remote piece of religious history.

Best bit: The main temple (also known as the ‘central structure’) was built in the 12th century and is unlike anything you will have ever seen before. Here you’ll discover looming towers and an archaic interior that features beautiful sculptures and intricate detailing built into stone walls. 

Speicherstadt, Hamburg, Germany

Last but not least is Hamburg’s UNESCO site, namely the Speicherstadt – or ‘City of Warehouses’ – in the HafenCity quarter near the city’s port. This impressive collection of Gothic Revival style buildings is famous for being constructed in the 1800s on timber foundations. But beyond the fascinating architecture, the area is now a top tourist hotspot, with everything from museums to harbour tours and even a giant model railway.

Best bit: You can explore the series of canals that run through the centre of the Speicherstadt. We recommend doing this at night as the canals are illuminated by 800 different spotlights.

Whether you’re looking to head abroad or stay in the UK, these UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be great choices for your retirement holidays.

Some new sights and sounds can see you meeting new people and can be a welcome change to your daily routine.

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