UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe
Flanked by the sea on one side and resorts on the others lies this gem of an open-air museum. A collection of underground tombs and chambers dating all the way back to the 4th century BC. Despite the name, Tombs of the Kings, no kings were buried here, just wealthy residents of ancient Paphos. There are seven excavated tombs scattered over the rather large site. Some are cut into small hills, while others are underground, imitated the houses of the living. Not much is fenced off and there are staircases so you can descend into the tombs, which all are empty. Tombs of the Kings is, along with Paphos Archaeological Site closer to the harbour, an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Dyrehaven is a natural forest park a bit north of Copenhagen and a lovely daytrip if you fancy a walk in the woods. It was originally laid out by the Danish king Frederik III in the 17th century as a hunting ground and was later extended by other hunt-loving kings, and is now enlisted on the UNESCO's World Heritage list. Dyrehaven means 'deer garden' in Danish and, as the name indicates, it has an abundance of deers (about 2000 in total). The park is kept as a natural forest with some of the biggest trees (oaks) in the country and with an extensive network of trails favoured by runners, mountain bikers, strolling families and dating couples. If you want to enjoy nature in style (and money is no issue), horse carriages are lined up at the main red gates, ready to take you for a ride. The oldest amusement park in the world, Dyrehavsbakken, lies as an extension of the park in the south end. Here, you can enjoy a ride in a wooden roller coaster constructed in 1932, which isn't as dull as it might sound.
Stevns' Cliff is a dramatic stretch of coastline where the land breaks off at vertical cliffs, some as high as 40 metres. It's a natural oddity and a paradise for geology and fossil buffs. Each year, the sea eats away the cliffs some more, making Denmark a bit smaller than it already is. The old church at Højerup is a fine proof of that. It was built inland at the end of the 13th century, but the sea slowly ate away the cliffs. In 1928, the graveyard was swallowed by the sea, leaving the church balancing right on the edge of the cliff. Today, the church has been secured and it's possible to visit the balcony at the back where the chancel once was.
Stevns' Cliff became an UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014, due to the exceptional evidence of the meteorite crash in Mexico about 65 million years ago which extinct over 50 per cent of all life on Earth.
When people are talking about enchanting Tallinn, they are talking about Old Town. It's a neat, UNESCO-listed maze of old houses, hidden courtyards and spire-topped churches dating back to the 14th century. Large parts of the huge medieval town wall still stand with imposing gates and tall towers (one even has cannonballs embedded in the wall). The maze is made up of narrow, cobbled lanes - it can hardly become more photogenic than this. Even the occasional Russian tour group seems to fit in well. That said, there are more amber/knitting/souvenir shops than you can poke a stick at (along with a fair share of strip bars), but Old Tallinn has managed admirably to keep its charm without being tarted up or tacky.
Right off the coast of Helsinki, spread out on four tiny islands, lies the maritime fortress complex of Suomenlinna, Fortress of Finland. It was initially built in 1748 by the Swedish to protect Helsingfors (Swedish for Helsinki) against the Russians. As with other big constructions in history, the creator had big expectation to it, in this case the Swedish thought Suomenlinna to be inpenedable... but it wasn't. The Russian took it 1808 and kept it along with the rest of Finland until Finland's independence in 1917. Today people still live on Suomenlinna and it's now an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Half the fun of a visit to Mtskheta is trying to pronounce it correctly. With 5 consonants in a row, it's no easy task. But once you manage to get there, you certainly won't be disappointed. One of the oldest cites in Georgia, the historical monuments of the Mtskheta area are recognized a UNESCO world heritage site. The varying forts, churches, cathedrals and monasteries which surround the tiny town date anywhere from the 3rd century BC to as young as 1,000 years old. Easily doable as a day trip out of the capital, Tbilisi, Mtskheta is the place to get your fix of religious buildings.
Svaneti is a picture-perfect mountainous region. Here you can find traditional villages with strange soaring defensive towers set in lush valleys on a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. The alpine scenery here can easily compete with the crowded Alps. The main town in Svaneti is Mestia which can be reached by a winding mountain road or a often-cancelled flight. From here there are plenty of good trekking opportunities (pick any direction), either just day treks or, for those with the right gear, multi-days treks to, for example, the base of some of the highest peaks in Caucasus. You can also continue further to the UNESCO World Heritage enlisted town of Ushguli at the foot of Mt Shkhara (5068 m), the highest mountain in Georgia.
Svaneti is slowly but surely turning into a hot travel destination for nature lovers, trekkers and backpackers, and Mestia is already gearing up for the boom. It got a new (tiny) airport, ancient Svaneti towers are getting restored, homestays and even hotels are shooting up and the town square is getting totally rebuilt. So come to Svaneti, the sooner the better.
Berlin Modernism Housing Estates is a collection of estate houses, which were built in the 1920s in order to deal with the housing shortage after WWI. They were groundbreaking because they combined mass produced houses for people with low income with innovative architecture and urban planning. The same reasons they became an UNESCO World Heritage site. The estates are spread throughout Berlin, so it's unlikely that you will go and see all six groups. The six groups are Großsiedlung Siemensstadt (Siemensstadt Housing Estate), Siedlung Schillerpark, Großsiedlung Britz Hufeisensiedlung (Horseshoe Estate, pin on map), Weiße Stadt (White City), Wohnstadt Carl Legien and Gartenstadt Falkenberg, where Siemenstadt group is the biggest and most diverse.
Berlin is clustered with important historical buildings, but only three groups have made to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, namely Berlin Modernism Housing Estates, Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin, and the Museum Island. The Museum Island (Museumsinsel) is an small island in Berlin’s River Spree with five world class museums all built between 1824 and 1930: Altes Museum (Old Museum), Neues Museum (New Museum) which holds the iconic bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), Bode Museum and Pergamon Museum which holds the famous Pergamon Altar. During WWII the Museum Island got heavily damaged, and the Neues Museum was in ruins. Post 1945 the Museum Island was in East Germany and some reconstruction was done, but the reconstruction of Neues Museum wasn't completed until 2009.
Potsdam has always been an important and rich city and was the home for kings untill the beginning of the 20th century. During the 18th century Frederick the Great made it even more splendid by constructing Sanssouci Park. Besides flowers, terraces, and fountains, the huge park contained several palaces (including Sanssouci and the gigantic Neues Palais), temples and even a golden Chinese tea pavilion. Even more buildings were added under Frederick William IV. Sanssouci Park is, along with a group of parks and palaces in Berlin, enlisted as one UNESCO World Heritage site.