UNESCO has released its latest list of sites waiting to be discovered across the globe, and our travel bucket list just got longer. We had a tough time narrowing down from all 29 new places, but here are just some of the new UNESCO sites that we are itching to see soon.
Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene, Italy
Not too far outside Venice’s glimmering gondola-filled canals lies another picture-perfect Italian scene. It’s got a long name, but this UNESCO site is a Prosecco-lover’s dream. The wine variety thrives across the hilly landscape, shaped by man since the 17th century and still employing traditional techniques on small plots of vines and narrow grassy terraces. Dotted in between are thick forests, adorable villages, and rolling farmland. Did we even need to give you another reason to go to Italy?
Mist rising over the sacred Buddhist temples, stupas, and monasteries adds a touch of drama to an already serene scene. Once the capital of the regional empire, the more than 2,200 remaining structures date back to the 11th century. Frescoes and sculptures will leave you imagining how much more resplendent Bagan must have once been. Ker & Downey will plan cruise down the Irrawaddy River so you can truly witness the grandeur of this spiritual landscape.
One of the first things you will notice when you get to Jaipur is how pink it appears, earning it the name as the “Pink City.” The fortified Rajasthani city was founded in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh II with grand buildings, public squares, and wide streets, blending Hindu and Mughal architectural styles. Jaipur’s burst of color doesn’t stop at its buildings. Bright bangles clink as women in fuchsia and bold yellow saris stroll by, casually balancing baskets on their heads. Don’t miss the City Palace, displaying its blaze of orange, blue, red, and emerald green patterns like a proud peacock. It’s a sight fit for a king that your eyes will never forget.
Seowon, South Korea
South Korea is certainly steaming ahead towards the future, but one foot is still firmly in its past. There are nine seowons where the veneration of scholars and appreciation of heavenly nature was the focus between the 15th and 19th century’s Joseon Dynasty. If you want to get in touch with your inner peace, the pavilion-style buildings will help you along amid the mountains and water.
Royal Building of Mafra, Portugal
Just a short hop away from Lisbon is this sprawling site conceived by King Joao V in 1711. The king’s and queen’s palaces, a royal chapel, a Franciscan monastery, a geometric garden, and a library containing 36,000 volumes means you can easily spend heaps of time taking it all in. With all this grandeur, it is apparent that the king was showcasing the might and reach of his powerful Portuguese Empire.
Historic Center of Sheki, Azerbaijan
Tucked within the Greater Caucasus Mountains is this UNESCO-listed city, considered a silkworm breeding and trading center from the 18th to 19th centuries. It makes sense, considering Azerbaijan is one of many countries along the ancient Silk Road. The architecture is a blend of Safavid, Qadjar, and Russian with the Khan Palace the crowning glory, reflecting the wealth of this merchant trading town.
Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland
It would be impossible to count the number of glassy blue shades there are inside the ice caves, constantly shifting color as the day progresses. Blue and bright as a popsicle (and equally as chilly) these caves are sweet on the eyes. Vatnajokull National Park is one of Iceland’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Hikes are the best way to see the 10 volcanoes and huge glaciers.