New UNESCO World Heritage Sites You Must Visit

You’ve likely heard of the UNESCO World Heritage sites before. What you might not know is that each year the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization will add new sites to their list. The goal is to protect these sites, which are chosen for their universal value to humanity.

This means that the list is ever changing, and there are likely some places you have never heard of before that have now been designated world heritage sites. All of these are worth the trip – so take a look at some of the most recent incredible sites that have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list recently.

The Temples of Koh Ker, Cambodia

The ruins of Koh Ker
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Knyazeva Maria

Koh Ker was the capital of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia between the years of 928 to 944 CE. Many temples are still standing and make for a fascinating destination to visit. From shrines decorated with paintings and detained sculptures, there is so much to see at this ancient site. Plus, Koh Ker is home to the only seven-tiered pyramid in Southeast Asia called Ptasat Thom. By adding Koh Ker to the UNESCO World Heritage list, this incredible site will be preserved forever!

Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

The Harenna Escarpment. Bale Mountains National Park. Ethiopia.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roger de la Harpe

Bale Mountains National Park is located in Ethiopia. The stunning park was added as a World Heritage Site last year thanks to its unique biodiversity. The mountains and rivers also supply water to millions of people in Ethiopia, making it an important place to protect. Visit this beautiful location to see some of the best views in all of Africa.

Odzala Kokoua, Republic of Congo

African forest elephant and the Lekoli River
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roger de la Harpe

Odzala Kokoua National Park in the Republic of the Congo has about 100 mammal species. With one of the most diverse primate populations in the world, it is no wonder why this beautiful location was added to the World Heritage List. Safeguarding this park has been deemed essential to helping many endangered animal species survive. If you want to experience life in the rainforest and see some incredible animals in their natural habitat, this is a great place to visit.

Old Town of Kuldīga, Latvia

Street with old houses in Latvian Kuldīga Old Town
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Henk Vrieselaar

Kuldīga is located in western Latvia and is a fascinating town that was built between the 16th and 18th centuries. The town is a great example of architecture of the time and has been wonderfully preserved. You will feel like you are stepping back in time as you walk down the winding streets past the stone buildings.

Viking Ring Fortresses, Denmark

Fyrkat viking ring fortress in Denmark
Image Credit: Shutterstock / trabantos

Five incredible Viking ring fortresses have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List this year. Each fortress was strategically located near important land and sea routes. Each one also used the natural landscape as part of the defensive nature of the fortress. Not only are these ring fortresses interesting to learn about, but they are also beautiful to visit. Visit them all as each one is a unique experience.

Anticosti, Canada

Sea Shore in Summer in Anticosti Island, Quebec, Canada
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alexandre Laprise

Anticosti is the largest island in Quebec and home to the best-preserved fossil record of marine life. The fossils cover over 10 million years of Earth’s history and have taught scientists so much about animal life on Earth. This important palaeontological location will now be protected forever thanks to UNESCO. Plus, it is a breathtaking place to visit thanks to the stunning natural landscape.

Evaporitic Karst and Caves of Northern Apennines, Italy

Summerhill Force over Gibson Cave, on Bow Lee Beck
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dave Head

With over 900 caves in a small area, this Italian site is quite incredible. The caves have been studied and documented since the 16th century. They are also some of the deepest gypsum caves in the world. Visiting the caves and traveling into the depths of the earth is both exciting and adventurous.

Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda

Colobus monkey in Rwanda
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Zaruba Ondrej

This Central African Rainforest contains some of the most important natural habitats for a number of species. The Eastern Chimpanzee, Golden Monkey, and Horseshoe Hill Bat are just a few of the mammals that live in this forest and are considered to be endangered. There are also seven bird species that are globally threatened which still thrive in this park. It has been deemed one of the most important sites for bird conservation in Africa. Plus, it is simply a stunning location to visit that needs to be preserved!

Djerba, Tunisia

Tunisia. Djerba island. Guellala
Image Credit: Shutterstock / BTWImages

Djerba Island in Tunisia is a perfect example of how people adapt and evolve based on their environment. The island evolved as people naturally created tightly clustered neighborhoods that were completely self-sustainable. The settlements in Djerba demonstrate how people learn to survive and adjust based on their surroundings. The area is widely studied and also a fantastic, quiet but gorgeous vacation destination.

Old Tea Foresest of Jingmai Mountain, China

Yunnan Jingmai Mountain, Ancient Village
Image Credit: Shutterstock / HelloRF Zcool

Jingmai Mountain in Pu’er China is the home to old, dense tea forests and traditional villages. The old tea trees are quite a sight to see and visiting this new UNESCO World Heritage Site will teach you quite a bit about the culture of tea. From traditional tea ceremonies to festivities related to the Tea Ancestor, you will find lots to experience if you visit this incredible spot.

Köç Yolu Transhumance Route, Azerbaijan

Ancient alpine village Khinalig in Azerbaijan
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vastram

High up in the mountains of Azerbaijan is the Khinalig village. This spot is home to the semi-nomadic Khinalig people whose lifestyle revolves around the change of summer and winter. The transhumance route that the people have followed for centuries is an exquisite network of pastures, camping sites, and mosques. It shows the sustainability of the nomadic lifestyle despite extreme conditions. It is quite the site to see!

Amanda Bochain

Amanda Bochain

Author: Amanda Bochain


Amanda is a professional pastry chef with a bachelor’s degree from The Culinary Institute of America. She has worked in the hospitality field for over 18 years including owning and operating a bakery cafe that specializes in wedding cakes.

Amanda loves traveling, discovering secret vacation destinations and, of course, trying new local cuisines. She loves gardening, running and eating ice cream for breakfast. She has three kids, ages 8, 5 and 3, who are her official recipe taste testers.

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