If you’ve spent a little time reading through our blogs or reading some of our port descriptions, you’ll no doubt have seen the phrase ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ crop up a number of times. The clue’s in the name, but for the uninitiated, the World Heritage List is a collection of 981 areas or buildings of “cultural and national heritage” destined by the World Heritage Committee to be of “outstanding universal value”.
Because a Six Star cruise can take you to some of the world’s most exotic locations, there’s a good chance you’ll see at least one of these historic sites when you travel, whether it’s a renowned archaeological site, an ancient city or a beautiful national park. With that in mind, here’s a look at six of the best UNESCO World Heritage Sites it’s possible to see on a Six Star Cruise.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
One of the Earth’s most renowned areas of natural beauty, The Great Barrier Reef is a feature on a number of luxury cruise line itineraries which explore Australia and the South Pacific. The whole of the reef’s coral ecosystem, which is the largest in the world, has been a World Heritage Site since 1981 and in it you can find the world’s largest collection of reefs and 1,500 species of fish and around 240 species of birds.
Perfect for: Nature lovers, diving enthusiasts, photographers
Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A popular starting or ending point for many a South American Cruise, Rio De Janeiro is one of the world’s legendary cities, and extensive areas of it constitute one of Brazil’s many World Heritage Sites. Sat across Corcovado Mountain, the city’s most recognisable landmark, the Statue of Christ the Redeemer is part of the designated area, as are the beautiful landscapes around Copacabana Bay. Rio’s Botanical Gardens and the Tijuca National Park are areas of natural beauty which are also part of the designated area, meaning that whichever excursions you choose while in the city, you’re sure to experience some of this truly memorable World Heritage Site.
Perfect for: Nature lovers, sun worshippers, architectural enthusiasts
The Great Wall, China
One of history’s most iconic constructions and one the planet’s most recognisable landmarks, the Great Wall dates back to the third century BC and extends over 4,500 miles across China from East to West. On a Six Star Cruise around the Far East, one of the best ways to visit the wall for yourself is to select an itinerary which calls at Beijing and book an excursion to the section of the wall which is nearby. It took over a million people to build this ancient barrier, erected to protect the country from invading barbarians and as far as World Heritage Sites go, it’s one of the most famous and a definite must-see.
Perfect for: Architectural enthusiasts, history buffs
Historic Centre of Tallinn, Estonia
A mainstay on any luxury voyage which explores the historic capitals of the Baltics, Tallinn is Estonia’s ancient capital and dates back to the 13th century, when it was the site of a castle built by an order of crusading knights. It’s historic medieval centre is host to a great number of well-preserved buildings, such as churches, guilds and merchant’s houses, offering visitors a captivating journey back through the history of the place, once one of Europe’s most significant trading cities.
Perfect for: History buffs, photographers, architectural enthusiasts
West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord
Luxury cruises around the coast of Norway are a popular choice because of the blend of ancient historical sites and ones of outstanding natural beauty. However, there’s one World Heritage Site which offers the very best of what the country’s most famous for. Though the Nærøyfjord lies further inland, many lines offer excursions to the Geirangerfjord and both fjords are among the world’s deepest and longest, and renowned for their outstanding beauty, crystalline rock walls, waterfalls, rivers and forests.
Perfect for: Nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts
Works of Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain
Antoni was one of history’s true architectural giants and there’s no better place to witness a wealth of his finest works than Barcelona; a popular port of call on a number of Mediterranean and World cruises. Personal and striking, Gaudi’s architecture is everywhere in this iconic Spanish city, but the most famous example of it is his unfinished and otherworldly masterpiece, the Church of the Sacred Family, one of the world’s most iconic cathedrals. The Nativity façade and the crypt are the specific areas of the church which are designated World Heritage Sites, and others in and around the city include Guell Palace, Guell Park and Casa Batllo.
Perfect for: Architectural enthusiasts, art lovers
By Simon Brotherton