10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: There are now 1,154 sites around the world that the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) considers of outstanding value to humanity. Receiving the designation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site means that a place is naturally and/or culturally significant to the point where it needs protection for future generations. Therefore, it is a logical place to start when you are looking for an adventure that involves extraordinary natural beauty, remarkable human achievement, or evidence of our intellectual history on Earth.
1: The Galápagos Islands in Ecuador
Giant Turtle! Marine Iguana! Blue-footed boobies! Three ocean currents, extreme isolation, and volcanic activity created a melting pot of unusual land and marine species.
2: Þingvellir National Park in Iceland
Imagine passing laws and settling disputes under the high cliffs of a major rift valley. The pieces of turf and stone are made of open-air assembly (Alþing) that was found from 930 to 1798.
3: Nazca Lines in Peru
Carved from 500 BC to AD 500, giant lines depicting animals, insects, plants, and imaginary creatures remain an archaeological puzzle on Peru’s coastal plains.
4: Yosemite National Park in the United States
Five tallest waterfalls in the world! Granite Domes! Giant Sequoia Groves! Yosemite ticks both the natural and cultural boxes as the ancestral homeland for some American Indian tribes.
5: Chitwan National Park in Nepal
6: Wadi Rum Protected Area in Jordan
Petra and Wadi Rum both top Jordan’s list of protected protected sites. Petroglyphs and rock arches speak of 12,000+ years of humans interacting with their natural surroundings.
7: Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Japan
The only structure left standing when the first atomic bomb was hit, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Genbaku Dome is a living memorial to the thousands who died in 1945.
8: Mount Etna in Italy
Powerful enough to dominate any list, Mount Etna is the most active stratovolcano in the world. It has spit lava for 500,000 years and continues to teach us about volcanic landforms.
9: Medina of Fes in Morocco
Follow a local guide through any of the great gates to explore one of the world’s largest medinas, made up of 9000+ winding streets and buildings dating back to the 9th century.
10: Old Town of Corfu in Greece
Far more than a beach destination, cobbled alleyways, squares, and permanent fortresses speak to the Old Town’s storied past and a mix of Venetian, French and British influences.
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