World’s most underwhelming UNESCO sites

Aug 25,2015

If you’re planning to visit some of the earthly wonders on the UNESCO World Heritage List, we’ve sieved out a couple that might be worth skipping.

The UNESCO’s World Heritage List is a carefully curated, highly regarded list of the world’s most respected cultural and natural treasures. There’s no denying that travellers can use it as a guide to see some truly impressive and awe-inspiring locations worldwide.

In some cases however, especially on last minute getaways where every hour counts, you really want to make sure the places you visit are worthy of your time. Not every World Heritage Site is as exciting as the next, so if you’re time-strapped, you might be better off giving these a pass and finding something truly special to do on your next holiday.

Don’t See: Stonehenge

You’ve probably heard about this being one of the Seven Medieval Wonders of the World, but if you’re visiting London or the greater UK, don’t bother making the trek out. Besides being a field with big prehistoric rocks, there’s not much to see or do once you’ve revelled in your surroundings and taken some photos to prove you’ve been there.

See: What London’s Mayfair Has to Offer

Rocks aside, stay in the city and get to know London’s exciting Mayfair neighbourhood. Settle in for an elegant and proper English afternoon tea – complete with delicate finger sandwiches, scones and clotted cream – at the Millennium Hotel London Mayfair. Afterwards, go on a leisurely stroll through Hyde Park to Kensington Palace, check out the area’s luxury shopping scene or take in a show at the hip theatre district of the West End.

Don’t See: Independence Hall

If you’re an American history buff and are planning a trip to the States, it stands to reason that Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where both the US Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed, may pique your interest. But whereas Independence Hall is just one building commemorating the USA’s break from Mother England, there’s one US city that stands head and shoulders above the rest for memorialising and showcasing the American Revolution: Boston.

See: Boston’s Freedom Trail

Unlike Independence Hall, which you can see only by timed tour, the Freedom Trail is a self-guided tour that lets you explore at your own pace. The four kilometre walk is marked by red bricks or red lines painted along Boston’s footpaths and wends its way around the downtown area of this celebrated city. It includes famous landmarks such as The Paul Revere House, the Bunker Hill Monument, the USS Constitution battleship, Old North Church, Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre and Faneuil Hall Marketplace – to name a few. When you’re done taking in the sights and sounds, rest your feet at The Millennium Bostonian Hotel Boston, where you’re also steps away the historic Boston Harbor.

Don’t See: Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin

Photo by Guillaume Baviere / CC BY 2.0

France itself has more than 40 UNESCO World Heritage sites, many of them worthwhile and plenty an easy day trip from Paris. But unless you’re a mining history enthusiast – and is that really why you travel to France? – the Nord-Pas de Calais, is not one of them. Though it’s only a two-hour drive north of the City of Love, there’s not much to love about the site’s giant slag heaps, abandoned mining facilities and museum.

See: Champagne

Instead, turn your hire car two hours south of Paris to the houses, hillsides and cellars of the beloved region of bubbles, Champagne – also another of France’s World Heritage-listed sites. The area is renowned for its artisanal method of producing sparkling wines. Explore the vineyards of Reims and Epernay, tour production sites and underground cellars, and visit the famed Champagne houses for educational and entertaining insights into what makes this locale so special.

And, of course, at the end of your day trip, bring a bottle of bubbles back to your Paris hotel and toast that you made the right choice on your trip to France. Santé!

Looking for other UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are worth seeing? Here are four to uncover.


Millennium & Copthorne Hotels holds successful film night

Save more, travel often