Following the July 2017 addition of the Lake District in the UK, the city of Ahmedabad in India, the sacred island of Okinoshima in Japan and others to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it is inevitable that tourists will flock to the new destinations. Interestingly, a survey by travel search platform HolidayPirates , found that 59% of their users were more likely to travel to a destination if it was a UNESCO Heritage Sites.
Niamh Walsh, Senior Editor at HolidayPirates shares the ‘lesser known’ UNESCO sites to travel to in 2017, before they become tourist traps.
Mistaken Point, Canada
Not only is Mistaken Point breathtakingly beautiful, but the cliffs were also formed during the Ediacaran Period (580 million years ago) making the location the richest source of large fossils. While the fossils tell us a lot about how the world developed into what we know it as today, the story behind the naming of Mistaken Point is equally as interesting. Sailors named the cliffs after many confused them for Cape Race in the foggy weather, leading to fatalities as the ships turned North and ran into treacherous rocks.
Wadi Al-Hitan, Egypt
Egypt is notorious for the impressive and mysterious pyramids of Giza, but if you would rather travel off the beaten track, then make sure to go to Wadi Al-Hitan, which is also known as Whale Alley. The fossils found in this area are over 50 million years old and show the earliest whales – land animals that moved to the sea.
Rhaetian Railway, Italy and Switzerland
A lesser known, but absolutely magnificent and picturesque railway, located in the heart of the Alps. The Rhaetian Railway starts in Tirano, Italy, and finishes in Chur, Switzerland, taking passengers through the spectacular Alpine scenery and some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. However, it isn’t just the views of the mountains that are worth admiring, as the railway is also a wonderful example of engineering, spanning 42 tunnels and 144 viaducts and bridges, a feat, considering the mountainous terrain.
Crespi d’Adda, Italy
An alternative to popular Italian destinations like Rome and Venice, Crespi d’Adda is a must if you enjoy 20th century history and beautifully preserved Italian towns. Crespi d’Adda started as a small community which thrived around a textile company, which wasn’t uncommon for Italy in the late 19th and early 20th century as industries developed. However, what makes this little town unusual is the fact that it was created to provide the workers with all the essentials they might need to make their life better. While the company no longer exists, the town is just as it was a century ago.
Instead of heading to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, or Dubrovnik, recently made famous by the Game of Thrones franchise, why not take a trip to Trogir. Founded in the 3rd century BC, this town is incredibly old and has a wonderful mix of architecture – from Roman fortresses and churches, to examples of Renaissance and Baroque buildings, which were built during the Venetian period.
You may already be familiar with this medieval city without even knowing it, as it is a popular film set location for French, as well as British and American films. Walking across the streets of Sarlat, you will be transformed to 14th century France. We recommend visiting in March, as that is when the annual goose festival takes place, with live geese running around the streets and chefs preparing a glorious outdoor feast.
Willandra Lakes, Australia
Despite the name, this region of Australia doesn’t actually have any lakes, instead the fossil remains and sand foundations are examples of some of the earliest examples of human habitation of the Australian continent. In addition to the archaeological remains of stone tools and early abodes, Lake Mugo in the Willandra region also has, what is believed to be the world’s oldest ritual cremation site.
HolidayPirates is one of Europe’s fastest growing, free-to-use, travel search platforms and apps, providing users with the best value for money international travel deals. Since its inception in 2012, the company has grown the biggest online travel community in the world, achieved 20 million monthly page visits, 5 million app downloads, having launched services across 10 countries and 7 different languages.