Europe has a long, rich history, and luckily so much of its past can still be visited to this day in the form of UNESCO sites. Many of the most impressive and culturally important sites have been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (known more popularly as UNESCO) for a number of years – meaning they have been carefully preserved and kept intact, ready for visitors to enjoy. These sites have been chosen for a number of reasons, including their cultural or physical significance.
While there are hundreds of sites in Europe, these top 13 UNESCO sites are must-sees for your next trip to the continent:
Cinque Terre, Italy
On the Ligurian Coast of Italy lies a stunning cluster of five tiny cliff-side towns, all balanced precariously along the cliffs. The picture-perfect setting is famed for its brightly-colored houses and impressive hiking and walking trails. Declared a National Park in 1999, the area and its towns are also a UNESCO Heritage Site worth exploring. Start your journey in the second-northernmost town of Vernazza for a real Cinque Terre experience.
Jungfrau Region, Switzerland
This stunning area of Switzerland is a region that is dominated by a 13,640-foot-high peak called Jungfrau. One of the most beautiful and historic trekking destinations in Europe, the Jungfrau region is also famed for its skiing and is home to the annual Lauberhorn Ski Races. With stunning waterfalls and beautiful towns that are known for their climbing spots and impressive glaciers, this region is ideal for nature lovers, snow searchers and history buffs.
Loire Valley, France
Listed in 2000, the Loire Valley is both a historic and architectural wonder. Culturally important to the nation of France throughout its history, and in fact the rest of Europe, the Loire Valley is a river valley featuring the stunning Chateau de Chambord.
The Neolithic stone site of Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument that is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also one of the 7 wonders of the world. The stone circle is steeped in history, myth and legend, and tours of the site are vibrant and interesting. Visit during the solstice for an intriguing celebration of the year.
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
One of Northern Ireland’s most impressive sites, the Giant’s Causeway is made up of over 40,000 black basalt columns. One of the most interesting natural phenomenons in Europe, the site tells tales of giants moving between Ireland and Scotland.
Cordoba was the Spanish center of the ancient Muslim world and the UNESCO Site still reveals its past in its impressive collection of buildings, including the Great Mosque. The city was also an important Roman site and Catholic center throughout its long history. Explore the grand interiors and exteriors of some of the most majestic structures in Europe.
Overlooked by a spectacular Gothic cathedral which took over 600 years to build, Cologne in Germany is a stunning city with a picturesque skyline and some magnificent sites. Spanning the wonderful Rhine River, the city is as picturesque as they come and is today still as important culturally as it was 2,000 years ago.
This ancient French city is largely dominated by the Papal Palace, its 12th-century stone bridge, and the Episcopal Ensemble. Discover these unique sites in the midst of the stunning lavender fields which truly come alive in summer; another breathtaking UNESCO site to enjoy.
Spread across 118 islands, Venice is one of Europe’s most iconic cities and one of the most unique. Visitors and residents travel the city by waterway, navigating the canals that connect the islands at a relaxing floating pace. The city is also recognized for its exceptional maritime dominance during the 10th century and features marvelous architecture, art and, culture.
Skellig Michael, Ireland
Located off the coast of Ireland, Skellig Michael was originally used as a monastic getaway for Christian monks. The island is a little difficult to reach, but it is most definitely worth it. Just don’t expect to see too many visitors; instead you will find plenty of puffins!
The well-preserved Roman temple and old town of Evora were once dominated by the Romans and later the Portuguese kings. Discover the old Roman ruins and other impressive historic sites in this ancient city. Find more car rental locations in Portugal.
Western Fjords, Norway
The Western Fjords in Norway are just as you imagine – naturally beautiful and breathtaking. Scenic and spectacular, the Fjords rise over 1,400 m above the Norwegian Sea and the walls sink over 500 m below sea level.
Ruled by almost every Empire in Europe, from the Romans to the Greeks, Valletta is one of the only uninhabited urban sites that has been preserved and is the capital city of Malta. Within the site there are over 300 monuments, making it one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world. The winding narrow streets of the city that is known as a “fortress city” are magical and not to be missed.
Discover World Wonders with Auto Europe
Embark on a vacation to one or all of these incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe and discover endless wonderment and intrigue as you explore vast natural landscapes, incredible ancient architecture, and a variety of rare flora and fauna. Get your vacation started today when you give Auto Europe a call, at 1-888-223-5555, and reserve your rental vehicle, hotel accommodations, international airfare, or all three! Whatever your travel needs may be, Auto Europe is here to help you enjoy the trip of a lifetime.