UNESCO and Scratching the Surface of Heritage Travel

UNESCO and Scratching the Surface of Heritage Travel

Typically on this blog, we write about places to travel and certain locations that are available for touring, cruising, or staying. We usually discuss the best places to visit — whether it be for a luxurious getaway, an adventure in some exotic place, perhaps a getaway to a resort and spa, or an educational trip where we might learn about eco-friendly travel practices or conservationism. We talk about safaris, high-end hotels, and cruising European rivers, to name a few among so many other things. 

Today we want to do something a little different. While we also want to share traveling opportunities, we also want to talk a little bit about UNESCO Heritage Sites in the process. UNESCO — the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization is a massive international agency that promotes, well education, science, and culture from around the world in an effort to “contributes to peace and security by promoting international cooperation in education, sciences, culture, communication and information. UNESCO promotes knowledge sharing and the free flow of ideas to accelerate mutual understanding and more perfect knowledge of each other’s lives.”

Now, one of the great things that UNESCO does is list places around the world that it designates as World Heritage Sites. These are places all over the world in which one can travel and learn a new facet which is the fabric of human history. There are 1,154 different sites around the world On the UNESCO World Heritage List. From Italy to Afghanistan, Australia to Argentina — in fact, there are only seven nations that do not have a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are Guyana, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, North Korea, and Bhutan. 

Of those 1,154 sites around the world, 897 are cultural, 218 are natural, and 39 are a mix of the two.  Virtuoso has some suggestions for tours in which you can go visit UNESCO Sites. Here are some of the best of both we found. 

The first one we want to mention is the 8-day UNESCO World Heritage Cities Mexico, by Journey Mexico. Here you will see the capital Mexico City, the ancient city of Teotihuacán, the Baroque city of San Miguel de Allende, then Guanajuato where you will dine at one of Mexico’s finest restaurants. After that to Michoacan where if you are there at the right time of year you can see the great migration of monarch butterflies. All that before going to Santa Clara del Cobre where you can see a former cooper mining town turned into an international artisanal hub. 

Next, we want to suggest the 17-day Treasures of Japan: UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Private Luxury Japan Tour by Artisans of Leisure — a specialty private tour company. Here you will start in Tokyo and can choose from private sushi lessons with a master chef, attending festivals, insider shopping, watching sumo wrestling, attending a kabuki performance, meeting culinary and sake experts, private martial arts lessons, and appointment to visit Ghibli Museum to do on your first full day there. Over the next few days, you will visit Nikko, Osaka, and Hiroshima (to mention of few), wherein you will visit ancient temples, visit the traditional neighborhoods of Osaka, and pay respects at the Peace Memorial. Then you will spend several days in Kyoto, the former capital, where you will have the choice to attend a private dinner with geisha entertainment, a private Zen meditation in a local Buddhist temple, meetings with local craftspeople, private ikebana (flower arranging) lessons, visiting a master swordsmith, meetings with ceramics experts, tea tastings, visits to sake breweries and tofu factories, manga drawing lessons, a visit to a private machiya (traditional merchant house), hiking to temples in the hills, attending local festivals, or private Japanese cooking classes. All of this and A LOT more before heading back to Tokyo to end this once-in-a-lifetime trip. 

Because we have limited time and space, we will leave you with one more tour at the moment. It is the Off-The-Beaten-Path Wonders in Turkey, by Turkey At Its Best, in which you will visit the ancient city of Perge, the Roman Amphitheater — Aspendos, a traditional restaurant from 1851, learn about traditional products made from roses, the ancient city of Sagalassos, and the limestone thermal springs of Pamukkale, among many other off-the-beaten-path destinations. More popular sites will include Cappadocia, Istanbul, and the archaeological mystery that is Gobeklitepe.

Now, of course, there are so many places to visit. Italy, France, and Spain are always a favorite for travelers and these countries host a plethora of places to choose from when it comes to UNESCO sites. Really, the list is too long to go into detail. We can only scratch the surface of all that there is to encounter and take wonder in. However, if you have plans for travel and think UNESCO spots are something of interest, planning a trip unique to those interests is something we can do. 

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