12 Must-See World Heritage Sites

12 Must-See World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Sites are some of the most natural, unique and beautiful sites in the world. They are recognized for their international importance and are given extensive protection.

From the Parthenon in Greece to the Taj Mahal in India and Machu Picchu in Peru, these sites are located all over the world. They are each significant in their own distinctive way. They represent different cultures and past legacies, some of which have been passed on to future generations.

Art, architecture, cultural tradition, landscape, earth's history and communities of plants and animals, are some of the many guidelines for being included on the World Heritage List, according to UNESCO.

Some of the sites on this list are at risk for disappearing, while others are maintaining their structure. If you have the chance to visit these irreplaceable Must-See World Heritage Sites, don't pass it up.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world. It consists of 13 major islands, five of which are inhabited. Hurry up and head there while you still can. The Islands are extremely threatened by tourism, pollution and the rise in sea water temperature.

Parthenon, Greece

The Parthenon is a symbol of Ancient Greece and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. It is a former temple, built in the mid-5th century BC, which was dedicated to the goddess Athena. View the incredible design and sculptural appearance.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is Australia's natural wonder. This famous place is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. It is larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space. The reef's marine life comprises of over 3,000 individual reef systems, coral cays, tropical islands and stunning golden beaches.

Yellowstone National Park

Visit the world's first national park – Yellowstone National Park. It is an active super volcano with colorful hot springs, geysers and mountains to explore. Go camping, hiking, biking and view tons of wildlife.

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichen Itza is the second most visited archeological site in Mexico today. It is said to have served as a religion center of Yucatan in the past. Within Chichen Itza is the Kukulkan Pyramid, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Don't miss out on your chance to see one of the most universal cultural values in the world.

Rapa Nui, Easter Island, Chile

Easter Island is located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. It is home to approximately 400 statues. Head to the beach and relax, visit the anthropomorphic statues of Easter Island, and watch as the sun rises above the amazing formations. National Geographic says the best time to visit is January to March.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Also known as Iguassu Falls and the Iguacu Falls, this beautiful waterfall originates from the Iguazu River located on the border and forms a boundary between Argentina and Brazil. It is owned by two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Iguacu National Park in Brazil and the Iguazu National Park in Argentina. It is made up of 275 individual drops that stretch for 1.7 miles.

Taj Mahal, India

The Taj Mahal is one of India's UNESCO heritage sites. It's known as "the jewel of Muslim art in India" and as one of the most gorgeous places in in the world. Unfortunately, it looks as if you have to go see it soon. A 2010 survey revealed it is facing a major threat from pollution. "The report, compiled by India's National Environment Engineering Research Institute, shows that measures taken after previous scares that the 17th-century tomb was being irreparably damaged by air and water pollution are failing (theguardian.com)." That being said, experts believe the pollution and erosion combined could cause it to collapse.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls lies on the southern bank of the Zambezi River and is considered to be one of the greatest attractions in all of Africa. According to victoriafallstourism.org, "Victoria Falls is the only waterfall in the world with a length of more than a kilometer and a height of more than hundred meters. It is also considered to be the largest falls in the world." Also go swimming in Devil's Pool, white water rafting and view their wildlife.

Angkor, Cambodia

One of the most archaeological sites in South-East Asia is Angkor. Inside the park are the Temple of Angkor Wat and the Bayan Temple. It is said that approximately 5 million tons of sandstone was used to build the Angkor Wat. View thousands of sculptures and impressive monuments at this site.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu covers approximately 80,000 acres; it is made up of over 150 buildings – from houses to temples, sanctuaries and baths. It's a 15-century Inca site, known for its spiritual significance, which was designated as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.

Jeronimos Monastery, Portugal

Located in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is the Jeronimos Monastery. It was founded in 1501 by King Manuel.  It comprises the Monastery of the Hieronymites and the Tower of Belem. The monastery was built in memory of Prince Henry the Navigator. View the unique Manueline architecture, tombs of Portuguese royalty and incredible stonework.