- 1 Roman Colosseum, Italy
- 2 Venice, Italy
- 3 Vatican City
- 4 Lascaux and Lascaux II, France
- 5 Stonehenge, England
- 6 Rila Monastery, Bulgaria
- 7 Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
- 8 Acropolis of Athens, Greece
- 9 Cappadocia, Turkey
- 10 Hierapolis-Pamukkale, Turkey
- 11 Taj Mahal, India
- 12 Borobudur, Indonesia
- 13 Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand
- 14 Great Wall of China
- 15 Leshan Giant Buddha, China
- 16 Terracotta Army, China
- 17 Wulingyuan, China
- 18 Bagan, Myanmar
- 19 Angkor Wat, Cambodia
- 20 Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
- 21 Abu Simbel, Egypt
- 22 Petra, Jordan
- 23 Bam, Iran
- 24 Mayan Ruins of Tikal, Guatemala
- 25 Chichen Itza, Mexico
- 26 Easter Island
- 27 Machu Picchu, Peru
- 28 Mesa Verde, USA
Here are the places worth visiting, at least one of them for a lifetime. We start from Europe and go to Asia, Africa, South America, and North America. The following historical sites are destinations, after visiting which you will remain more spiritually enriched:
Roman Colosseum, Italy
The Roman Colosseum is one of the most well-known sites in the world. This is the largest building left from Roman times. Its impressive presence in the heart of modern Rome is a testament to the city’s astonishing history and the achievements of the Roman Empire.
People that see the Colosseum for the first time cannot help but get fascinated by the appearance. Construction began in 72 AD, and today the Colosseum in Rome remains one of the largest tourist attractions in the world, making millions of tourists to come only to see it.
Address: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
Venice – the city on the water, is one of the most desired destinations, consisting of more than 118 islands. The canals of this extraordinary city are not the only landmark – Venice is filled with fascinating art and architecture: the Basilica of St. Mark, the Doge’s Palace, the bridge and market of Rialto. Venice is the only pedestrian city in the world, so you will have to use your own feet or taking a boat. It will be a different but fascinating journey that you will remember.
The Vatican is the smallest country in the world, but of incomparable importance. The Catholic holy city is not only the home of the pope, but it also contains lots of very valuable works of art, as well as other evidence of many years of important history. The Vatican City is characterized by Baroque and Renaissance art and architecture, which are exhibited in one of the largest religious buildings in the world, the famous St. Peter’s Basilica.
Lascaux and Lascaux II, France
The Lascaux Cave in the Dordogne region of France is famous for its unusual cave paintings, considered one of the most exquisite in the world from the Paleolithic period. The images are over 17,000 years old and are mostly animals that are thought to have once lived there. The amazing paintings were discovered in 1940 and later recreated in a neighboring location known as Lascaux II, an exact reproduction of the original, located 200 meters from it to protect the original site from damage.
Address: Lieu-dit Lascaux, 24290 Montignac, France
This prehistoric, mysterious monument is one of the most visited landmarks in Britain. It is located near the town of Salisbury and can be easily visited with a day trip from London. It is believed that the monument was built between 3000-1500 BC, but to this day there is no concrete data on its origin or purpose. For this reason, there are all sorts of versions of its origin, including of a religious nature, as well as hypotheses related to astronomy. The stones arranged in a ring have a mystical charm, especially during the summer and winter solstices, when the light from sunrise and sunset is equal to the stones.
Address: Salisbury SP4 7DE, United Kingdom
Rila Monastery, Bulgaria
Bulgaria is known for its many UNESCO World Heritage sites. One of them is the amazing Rila Monastery. It dates from the 10th century and was the home and tomb of St. John of Rila. It is currently the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria, inhabited by about 60 monks. Both the exterior and the interior are impressive: colorful domes, stylish colonnades, unique frescoes, and extraordinary architecture, which annually attracts tourists from all over the world.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
If you adore nature and want to fully enjoy waterfalls, lakes, and caves, many different species of animals, birds, and trees visit one of the best national parks in Europe. Its 16 lakes are known for their variety of colors, which vary depending on the angle of the sun and the organisms and minerals growing in the water. It is a relaxing and invigorating place where you will feel comfortable.
Acropolis of Athens, Greece
Just a few steps from modern Athens, the Acropolis is a powerful sight that shines against the Mediterranean sun during the day and is spectacularly lit in the evening. This landmark for Greece is an inspiring view, towering over the city of Athens, standing on top of a hill. The Acropolis is a remarkable monument of ancient Greece, dating from 5-4 century BC, the largest structure there is the Parthenon, a symbol of the extensive history of this Balkan country.
Cappadocia is an amazing geological land composed of natural cone-shaped rock formations. As if in a fairy tale, there you will see caves, cave churches, striking landscapes, and even underground cities. To take Cappadocia from above, in its fullness, book a hot air balloon trip. There you will be able to observe a beautiful sunrise against the background of the uniqueness of the place.
Translated from Turkish, “Pamukkale” means “cotton palace”. The place is composed of mineral “forests”, terraced pools, and petrified waterfalls. At the end of the 2nd century BC, the Attalid kings of Pergamon established the thermal SPA of Hierapolis to use its hot springs. Today, you can see the ruins of temples, baths, theaters, and other structures. Pammukale is a combination of history and impressive views, for which the place is deservedly in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Taj Mahal, India
This impressive temple is famous for its meeting place for lovers. The Taj Mahal is one of the most notable places in the world and an attraction for millions of tourists. The ivory mausoleum was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for the tomb of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The place is a symbol of Indian history, but not only. The Taj Mahal is a favorite place to propose marriage and live a romantic date, not only for local people.
Borobudur is one of the most important Buddhist sites in the world and is also among the most famous landmarks of Indonesia, under the auspices of UNESCO World Heritage. It is located in a tropical setting, with mountains and volcanoes. This place is both visually stunning and soothing.
The massive temple complex is located on the island of Java, near Yogyakarta. It is believed to have been built in the 700s, but the site has been left probably due to volcanic activity in the area. Only centuries later, in 1800, was it discovered by the British and subsequently rebuilt.
Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand
The island city of Ayutthaya in Thailand is one of the places in the world worth visiting. Founded in 1351 by King Ramathibodi I, it became the second capital of Siam. Today in the historic park Ayutthaya there are ruins, 289 hectares of which the park has received UNESCO status because of the unique Thai art. Among the many buildings, you can see there are the Buddhist temples Wat Mahathat, Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, and Wat Ratchaburana.
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China stretches for almost 6,000 kilometers, making its way through forests and mountains. Every visitor can choose a day trip or an organized, multi-day trip to the site. Some sections of the wall have been restored, but others do need repair. This historic world site has long attracts and inspires for adventures, as well as for making film sets, as it is a massive wall connecting tooth walls and watchtowers. The Great Wall of China has been built for centuries, with the oldest sections dating back to the 7th century BC.
Leshan Giant Buddha, China
The Leshan Giant Buddha is a huge, massive statue carved from a wall of red sandstone rock. It is 71 meters high and is the tallest stone Buddha in the world. Created in the 8th century, the statue overlooks the confluence of the Mingjiang, Dadu, and Qingyi rivers. Perhaps, it has been built with the thought that it would provide calm waters for the boats that sailed on this waterway.
Today’s visitors are given the opportunity to see the Leshan Giant Buddha from a very close distance, below or up to the head.
Terracotta Army, China
This site is truly incomparable. During the reign of Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the terracotta army was made up of thousands of huge warriors, each with a different face, standing in lines. The place was accidentally discovered by a local farmer who has been just digging for a well in the 70s of the 20th century. Terracotta warriors are believed to date back to the third century BC, and about 700,000 workers participated in the creation. It is estimated that there are about 8,000 terracotta warriors.
Wulingyuan is best known for more than 3,000 narrow peaks and pillars of quartzite sandstone. Many of them are over 200 meters high, which is a stunning view, but if you are lucky enough to see this place, you will find that you will like everything there: among the high peaks, there are lakes, rivers, streams, waterfalls, and two natural bridges, as well as about 40 caves. Wulingyuan is also known to be home to many endangered animal and plant species.
Viewed from above and from the side, these many ancient temples stretch across the landscape of Bagan so that you feel like you are in the setting of a fairy tale. This area is known for the largest concentration of Buddhist temples in the world. Most of them were built in the 1000s and 1100s.
At present, only some of these temples have been restored, while others are in the form of ruins. Each of them differs in size and level of sophistication, creating an impressive combination of structures. Once there, you will want to continue exploring this historic site. Conveniently, you can tour the area either with old bicycles, or with a horse and cart for rent, or ride a hot air balloon. The most civilized option is to rent a taxi. Whichever way you choose, you will get satisfied.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Before its fall in the 15th century, Angkor Wat was the largest city in the world. At the moment, the complex that remains is huge and you may want to spend at least a few days there. Angkor Wat is now known for being the largest religious monument in the world, and in the jungle, but not only that makes the Angkor complex one of the world heritage sites.
This stunning composition was built by the Khmers in the 12th century, and the structure is a unique combination of excavated and unexcavated temples in various shapes, sizes, and states of decay. Some of them have a slightly frightening appearance, as they are almost completely engulfed in trees and roots, and huge stone faces peek in all directions.
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Some say that if there are five places in the world that you should visit in your lifetime, one of them is the Egyptian pyramids. The Pyramids of Giza, located outside the capital Cairo, is an alien view rising from nowhere, just from the flat desert landscape. The sight of the Sphinx, meeting him in person, on the spot, cannot be forgotten.
The pyramids are still a mystery to researchers. They are known to have been built as tombs for the pharaohs, the largest of which dates from 2560-2540 BC. They are in fact as ancient as it is difficult to imagine the human mind, as their ideal structure cannot be explained. Today, these huge monoliths are declared as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Abu Simbel, Egypt
Abu Simbel is a tiny village with beautiful views of the desert and the lake. Its fame is due to the two huge temples, each of which is impressive. One of them contains four statues of Ramses, more than 20 meters high. Another one is the temple of Hathor which is one of the best-preserved complexes in Egypt.
Petra is an important tourist attraction in Jordan. Located in a mountainous area with limited access, it is a narrow rock gorge leading to a stone town with houses carved into sandstone walls. This ancient capital city of the Nabataeans dates back to the 4th or 5th century BC. It was discovered by the Western world in the early 1800s, and has been called the “pink city” because of the color of the rock, as well as the “carved city”.
Bam is a place famous for the creation of cotton and silk garments. Dating back to the 6th century Achaemenid Empire, it is located in an oasis. The lives of the local people depended on the underground irrigation canals, which are defined as one of the oldest in Iran. In Bam, you will see many historical structures, but the symbol is Arg-e Bam – the largest adobe building in the world. The technique of applying mud has been used in the past, and this majestic creation is proof of the will, talent, and diligence of the people.
Mayan Ruins of Tikal, Guatemala
The ancient Mayan city of Tikal is located in northern Guatemala and is one of the most strategic archaeological sites in Central America. The site was opened in the mid-1800s and opened to tourists in the 1950s. Research excavations continue to this day, but the ruins are part of a national park that has the status of a nature reserve.
Mayan Ruins of Tikal is surrounded by jungle, with more than 3,000 structures of the city, which existed between 600 BC and 900 AD. You can see ancient pyramids, temples, squares, and foundations of various buildings which testify to a society of at least tens of thousands of people.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
The ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza is located in the jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. This important Mayan city was a significant center from the 7th to the 13th century, and for some time was the capital.
Today, this historic world heritage site is one of the best restored Mayan sites in Mexico, revealing Mayan culture. The huge pyramid is the most recognizable symbol of Chichen Itza, but apart from it, the site is full of many ruins to see.
Easter Island is owned by Chile. It is located in the South Pacific Ocean and is famous for the hundreds of giant statues called Moais that dot the entire landscape. The Easter Island was discovered by European explorers in 1722, exactly on Easter day, which is why it is called Easter.
The statues are believed to have been created by the local people of Rapa Nui, who are believed to have inhabited the island from the 12th century onwards. Some of the mysterious massive figures are partially removed, while others stand upright, some are on a platform, and others are mostly in the ground. Their heights vary from one to 20 meters, and each figure is unique. According to one theory, the statues have a religious purpose.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Breathtaking for its majesty, this sacred place for the Incas is one of the testimonies of a once-powerful empire. Built high in the Andes above the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca city that stretches along steep walls on each side of the mountain. Its structure is in the form of terraced steps, which are hidden from view through the rocky edges in the valley below.
You can choose a guide, a multi-day hike and a camping trip along the famous Inca trail, or you can use a modern bus from the small town of Aguas Calientes, which can be reached by train from Cusco or the Sacred Valley. Many tourists come across Peru just to enjoy the vision of Machu Picchu and to feel special energy here.
Mesa Verde, USA
Mesa Verde is one of the most visually stunning archeological sites in the United States. It contains some of the best-preserved Indian ruins, the most interesting places being the dwellings of the rocks, hidden in the walls of the canyon.
The native ancient people called Puebloan have inhabited this area, in what is now Colorado, for hundreds of years. They lived on top of the plateau between the 6th and 12th centuries, and then in the dwellings of the rocks until the end of the 13th century. The plateau can be toured by car, and the more adventurous visitors can make an excursion with a guide through some of the dwellings on the rocks, personally climbing the stairs and exploring the site closely.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites are increasing in number, but you should always keep in mind the above, from which you will learn a lot, combining travel, relaxation, learning, and entertainment.