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Trip Ideas

10 New World Heritage Sites You Should Have on Your Radar

Every year, UNESCO adds new wonders to its renowned World Heritage List. From a forest rich in rare species to ancient coral temples, here are 10 sites from this year’s list of 21 new inscriptions that should be on your radar.

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Hubei Shennongjia, China

Home to the Chinese giant salamander, Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys, Asian black bears, and the clouded leopard, this forest protects a menagerie of rare species. The area has also played a large role in botanical research and is a destination for international plant-collection expeditions.

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Photo Courtesy of Mistaken Point Ambassadors Inc


Mistaken Point, Canada

In Newfoundland, this fossil site spans over 10 miles along a cliffside dating back to the Ediacaran Period (580 to 560 million years ago). It's the site of the oldest known group of large fossils in the world.

RELATED: 19 Things You Can Only Do in Canada

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© Rodrigo Friscione Wyssmann


Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico

This Mexican archipelago is made up of four islands that are the volcanic peaks of a submerged mountain range. The waters around the islands of San Benedicto, Socorro, Roca Partida, and Clarion are home to abundant populations of manta rays, whales, dolphins, and sharks.

RELATED: 10 Secret Mexican Islands You Can Have All to Yourself

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© Naser Mizbani


The Lut Desert, Iran

The Lut Desert in southeast Iran is a beautiful but delicate ecosystem that's particularly susceptible to erosion due to strong winds. The desert is home to picturesque sand patterns and ridges, known as yardangs. NASA has dubbed it the hottest place on earth.

RELATED: The World's Weirdest Travel Trends, Explained

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Khangchendzonga National Park, India

Northern India's Himalayas boast jaw-dropping views of lakes, glaciers, valleys, ancient forests, and snowy mountaintops. Dare to climb to the world's third-highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga, at the center of this national park, and you may get to see them all.

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© Osamu Kataoka


Nan Madol Ceremonial Center, Micronesia

The megalithic lagoon ruins of Pohnpei's Nan Madol are a series of ancient coral temples and hand-built mangrove walls that mark a place of worship dating back to the 13th century. UNESCO has said the boulders that make up these awesome structures are in severe danger of collapse, as waterways and wild mangroves encroach upon the semi-flooded structures.

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Gorham’s Cave Complex, British Gibraltar

Anthropologists have learned about more than 100,000 years of life by studying four caverns of Jurassic limestone that make up Gorham's Cave Complex, which is Gibraltar's only UNESCO site. The caves feature Neanderthal drawings created around 20,000 years ago, and have provided groundbreaking insight about human behavior as well as information about ecological and sea-level changes.

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Philippi Archaeological Site, Greece

Athens' Parthenon only has about a century on Greece's ancient ruin city of Philippi, which lies just East of Macedonia in the Balkans. Built around 360 B.C., the ruins span Roman, Christian, Byzantine, and Ottoman civilizations. Philippi features an ancient amphitheater, four churches, Christian-period baths, a bishop's palace, and many private houses.

RELATED: 5 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Greece

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© Conjunto Arqueológico Dólmenes de Antequera


Antequera Dolmens, Spain

The megalithic burial site of Anterquera Dolmens is made up of ancient ruins within a cave network. The structure is nestled in the mountains of Andalusia, and its entrance corridor famously aligns with the rising summer solstice sun (shadowed by nearby Lover's Leap) every year.

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Read the original story: 10 New World Heritage Sites You Should Have on Your Radar (2016) by Ashley Rossi, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.



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