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Must-see UNESCO sites in Europe, vol. 2UNESCO sites in Europe
In our first article on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe, we recommended our favourite listed sites in Belgium, France and Germany. But of course, it doesn’t stop there: some of Europe’s most enchanting cultural and nature spots can be found in the countries of Croatia, Spain and Italy… Keep your “to visit” list ready, here are some more places you don’t want to miss!
CROATIAN COAST – The Old City of Dubrovnik, a destination on the bucket list of many, joined the UNESCO list in 1979. Set in the Adriatic Sea, the city boasts many historic buildings, such as St Blaise’s Church, the 31-metre-high bell tower and the Sponza Palace. The walls of Dubrovnik, spanning 2 kilometres around the city, have even been used as a filming location for the popular series Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik can’t be reached by train, but you can easily travel there by bus departing from Split train station.
The historical complex with the Palace of Diocletian in Split is another Heritage site. This massive ancient palace was built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian and today makes up about half of the old town of Split. This site, too, may look familiar to fans of Game of Thrones ;-)
PLITVICE – Plitvice Lakes National Park in northern Dalmatia is home to 16 lakes. Linked together by waterfalls, the lakes create a panorama of around a hundred waterfalls on an incline of approximately 130 metres. Venture on to the small pontoons for the most spectacular views of the waterfalls.
ANDALUSIA – In the old town of Córdoba, you’ll find countless traces of Roman, Arabic and Christian times. Top sights include the columns of the Roman temple, the Episcopal Palace, the former Grand Mosque, the Alcázar gardens and the Puerta del Puente. Also in Andalusia, in Granada, don’t miss a visit to the incredible Alhambra, a palace and fortress complex which Moorish poets described as ‘a pearl set in emeralds’. Admire the royal complex, stroll around the Hall of the Ambassadors and wander about the lush Court of the Lions.
BARCELONA – Scattered around the city, you’ll find Modernist works by the architect Antoni Gaudí, who made his mark on Barcelona unlike anyone else. UNESCO listed designs here include those in Park Güell, Palau Güell and the Sagrada Família. Another inscribed property in Barcelona is the Palau de la Música Catalana, a concert hall built in the early 1900s.
With 51 inscribed properties, Italy’s the country with the most World Heritage Sites worldwide. Indeed, you can’t say Italy without thinking of culture and nature… which is exactly what you’ll get when you visit the following locations.
VENICE – Some say it’s the most romantic place in the world… and UNESCO seems to appreciate Venice, as well, as a part of the city and the Venetian Lagoon have been added to the World Heritage list. Admire Venice’s rich and diverse architectural styles, take a gondola ride or taste a fresh seafood dish… Venice won’t disappoint.
FLORENCE – Florence has become a symbol of theItalian Renaissance, boasting impressive architecture all over the city: the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi and Pitti Palace, etc. No wonder that the historic city centre is World Heritage. Cross the famous Ponte Vecchio on to the Boboli Gardens, observe locals and tourists alike on the Piazza del Duomo and take in all the amazing views…
NAPLES – There’s a saying “See Naples and die”; there’s really no better way to describe just how lovely this region is. The historic city centre of Naples is UNESCO listed, as is the archaeological area of Pompei in the Province of Naples, one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions with over 2.5 million visitors each year.
Across Europe by rail
SNCB International's extensive range of services means that you can choose from over 1,000 destinations in Europe. Book your journeys with Thalys, Eurostar, TGV®, ICE and other international trains online.
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* Unless expressly stated otherwise, all fares quoted are per person/per leg (VAT included) based on an online reservation for a 2nd class return from Brussels. Please note, terms and conditions apply. Tip: As the number of seats at the lowest fares on Thalys, Eurostar, TGV® and ICE trains is limited, we recommend that you book your trip as early as possible. Most international trains allow reservations to be made from 3 to 4 months before the date of departure (or from 6 months for Eurostar and ICE).
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