14 World Heritage sites you need to see in your lifetime


There are over 1,000 World Heritage sites protected by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). To become a World Heritage site, you must meet one of the ten following official criteria:

  • A masterpiece of human creative genius

  • Documents the exchange of human values over a period of time within a culture or advances in architecture, technology, town planning, landscape design or art

  • Preserves the unique culture of a civilization that is still living or has disappeared

  • Example of architecture, technology or landscape that depicts monumental moments in human history

  • Examples of traditional settlement that is representative of a culture, especially if it has become vulnerable to irreversible change

  • Tied to important ideas, religions, events/traditions, or literary/artistic pieces of significance

  • Nature-made wonders or of visual importance

  • Examples of major stages in earth's history

  • Examples of on-going ecological and biological importance in evolution

  • Natural habitats of endangered species and conservation

Out of these 1,000 locations, we have combed through and picked some of our favorites. While there are many more heritage sites we encourage you to explore past our list and see all that our fascinating planet has to offer.

RELATED: Learn more about some of our favorites below: