New UNESCO World Heritage Sites To Discover in 2021

Seeker Editors

We have put together this list of the *brand new* 2021 UNESCO World Heritage list destinations across the globe, from ancient temples to elevated pottery towns. These unique sites around the world are famous for their significant history and importance to local culture. Whether you seek to uncover rare biodiversity amongst the tropical Islands of Japan, tour dynamic landscape gardens in Brazil, or discover ancient astronomical sites- these are some of the most cutting edge cultural heritage sites across the globe that made the cut for UNESCO just this year.

Tingrela, Ivindo National Park, Quanzhou, Iriomote-jima, Tokunoshima, Amami Ōshima, Suncheon Bay Nature Reserve, Kaeng Krachan National Park, Dholavira, Kakatiya Rudreshwara Ramappa Temple, Stichting Colonies of Benevolence, Cordouan Lighthouse, Nice, Mathildenhöhe, SchUM-Städte e.V., Bologna, Ljubljana, Snowdon Massif, White Sea, Lake Onega, Padua, Paseo del Prado, Roșia Montană, Kolkheti National Park, As-Salt, Transiranische Eisenbahn, Takht, Kurdistan, Hima Cultural Area, Aslantepe Ruins, Arica, Sítio Roberto Burle Marx - IPHAN, Zona Arqueológica Monumental de Chankillo, Iglesia de Atlántida

  • Tingrela, Côte d'Ivoire

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      Eight Sudanese-style mosques in Cote D’Ivoire have been designated as World Heritage Sites. The small adobes feature a distinctive Sudanese style and interpret an archaeological style that dates back to the 14th century. One of these unique mosques can be found in Tingrela, along with Kouto, Sorobango, Samatiguila, M’Bengué, Kong, and Kaouara.

  • Ivindo National Park, Gabon

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      With scenic backwater rivers, a sprawling and pristine landscape, towering cascades, and a border of lush rainforests- Ivindo National Park is an adventure waiting to happen. Explore the unique natural landscape, witness fascinating wildlife- including leopards, pangolin, and endangered chimpanzees, and make memories to last a lifetime.

  • Quanzhou, China

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      Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song-Yuan houses some of the earliest Islamic architecture in China, with impeccable preservation. Explore ancient Islamic tombs, ancient pagodas, detailed inscriptions, and more. The city of Quanzhou itself is an electric metropolis that is full of excitement and activities to enjoy.

  • Iriomote-jima, Japan

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      Iriomote-Jima is part of a chain of islands that encompass vast rainforests and the unique biodiversity of Japan. A destination *made* for explorers, witness some of the most pristine nature on the planet, traverse vast hiking trails, and witness colorful biodiversity, bordered by picturesque sandy beaches in all directions.

  • Tokunoshima, Japan

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      Tokushima is an island that encompasses vast rainforests unique to Japan. Untouched nature, rugged coastlines, and adventure lurks behind every corner at this paradise location.

  • Amami Ōshima, Japan

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      Amami Oshima Island of Japan has been designated, along with its neighboring islands, as a World Heritage Site. These tropical destinations are known to feature sparkling seawater, sandy beaches, and plenty of historical mysteries to uncover. This destination is entirely uninhabited by humans, covered with vast sprawling biodiversity and a number of endemic species that are globally endangered.

  • Suncheon Bay Nature Reserve, South Korea

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      Part of the Korean Tidal Flats that have garnered World Heritage status, Suncheonman Bay is a sprawling oasis of pale pinks and rich greens surrounded by mountains and plentiful water.

  • Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand

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      The largest national park in Thailand, Kaeng Krachan that is incredibly popular due to its proximity to tourist sites and incredible wildlife. Camping, hiking, festivities, and more, Kaeng Krachan is perfect for travelers looking to go off the beaten pathway and uncover untouched wilderness.

  • Dholavira, India

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      A fascinating array that is ideal for history buffs and archaeology nerds, Dholarvira is one of the fifth largest Harappan sites, as well as the most dominant archaeological site in India.

  • Kakatiya Rudreshwara Ramappa Temple, India

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      Rudreshwara, or more commonly known as Ramappa Temple, is a sprawling ancient temple located in the Indian village of Palampet. This temple is significant for featuring a high level of artistry in its design that has stood the test of time, featuring intricate carvings that detail dance customs and the Kakatiya culture.

  • Stichting Colonies of Benevolence, Netherlands

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      Encompassing four settlements, one in Belgium and three in The Netherlands, the Colonies of Benevolence were formed to combat poverty by creating agricultural colonies in remote locations of the country. In modern-day these quaint villages are pleasant to explore, with historical architecture decorated by the scenic value of the European countryside, flourishing forests, and all.

  • Cordouan Lighthouse, France

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      Built with white limestone by engineer Louis de Foix and later remodeled by engineer Joseph Teulere, this elegant structure has long been regarded as a masterpiece in maritime signaling. Located in a remote destination, amongst a shallow, rocky plateau, the breathtaking lighthouse is an iconic sight to see.

  • Nice in Nice, France

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      Officially classified as The Winter Resort Town Of The Riviera (we love that!) Nice has been classified as a World Heritage Site. Naturally, this paradise destination that soaks in the sun year-round, sparkling seas, and southern french culture, complete with colorful architecture, shopping, and some of the best food in Europe needs to be on your bucket list if it isn’t already.

  • Mathildenhöhe, Germany

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      This high-elevation city located in western Germany was historically known as a buzzing center of emerging arts and crafts throughout the country. A quaint town tucked away in a vast forest surrounded by scenic views, Mathildenhohe is an ideal spot for anyone seeking to embrace the intrinsic artistry of western European history, and be inspired by the fairytale-like setting.

  • SchUM-Städte e.V., Germany

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      The SchUM-Sites include an array of monuments, community centers, and cemeteries all dedicated to reflecting Jewish tradition of the middle ages and thousand-year history in the alps. These centers have long been providing a space for Jewish culture to flourish amongst non-Jewish surroundings, with all of the bright and dark elements of history highlighted, An incredibly influential institution, SchUM-Sites has contributed to Jewish language, religious studies, and architectural design.

  • Bologna, Italy

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      The Porticoes of Bologna encompasses an ensemble of Porticoes and their surroundings, touched with ancient elegance that has stood the test of time-contributing to the rustic vibe of the city, this destination is one for architecture lovers. Walking along the cobbled stone pathways that surround this spot just oozes history and well- Italy, which is now a record holder of most World Heritage Sites.

  • Ljubljana, Slovenia

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      Slovenia’s capital and largest city, Ljubljana have long been mesmerizing visitors with its authentic charm, medieval castles, quaint canals, mouthwatering cuisine, and friendly atmosphere- all nestled into the flourishing natural scenery. Some of the iconic staples of the Ljubljana skyline have been designated as World Heritage Sites. These sites designed by Jože Plečnik, including the Triple Bridge, Congress Square, and Žale Cemetery represented urban design that serves the people, a concept that intersects modernist ideas with more traditional Slovenian culture.

  • Snowdon Massif, United Kingdom

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      Snowdon Massif is one of the largest mountain ranges in North Wales, this destination is a top spot for ambitious hikers who are seeking out those incredible views that you can only find from the summit of a massive mountain.

  • White Sea

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      The Russian White Sea is a large freshwater lake that shimmers amongst picturesque greenery and enchanting Russian architecture. Take a canoe or tour the sights to see around the perimeter of this iconic destination.

  • Lake Onega

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      Lake Onega is the second largest freshwater lake in Europe, and while the vast glistening waters are absolutely gorgeous, there are *so many* exciting things to see within the perimeter of the famous lake. Tour museums, witness captivating architecture and explore a culturally diverse and unique area in the European section of Russia.

  • Padua, Italy

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      The effervescent Italian metropolis of Padua has gained recognition by UNESCO for its fourteenth-century fresco cycles, eight religious complexes that stand testament to the magnificence of fresco artworks that blossomed in the Italian renaissance. They include Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel fresco cycle, as well as Guariento di Arpo, Giusto de’ Menabuoi, Altichiero da Zevio, Jacopo Avanzi and Jacopo da Verona.

  • Paseo del Prado, Spain

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      In the heart of Madrid, Paseo del Prado is a cultural center of arts and sciences that rests in picturesque buildings that line this historic avenue. A pleasant spot in the colorful city of Madrid that any lover of arts and culture should add to their itinerary.

  • Roșia Montană, Romania

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      Located within a mountainous landscape of western Romania, the Mining Landscape of Rosja Montana features an extensive display of technically diverse gold mining techniques as used by the Romans. Amongst rich hues of green, picturesque scenery, and quaint towns, the remains of this advanced mining have been expertly detailed for any visitors.

  • Kolkheti National Park, Georgia

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      The western Georgian rainforests and wetlands are made up of several national parks including the breathtaking Kolkheti National Park. Made up of lush fauna and flora, endangered species, and miles of humid wetlands- this destination represents only a fraction of what is left of its kind, a treasured spot on this planet of biodiversity and nature that we are lucky to have the opportunity to visit.

  • As-Salt, Jordan

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      As-Salt- The Place of Tolerance and Urban Hospitality. This city was built over three closely-spaced hills and has historically been a thriving center of fortune attracting new settlers far and wide. A symbol of non-segregation, the city was home to both Muslims and Christians who were hospitable and welcoming towards each other. A beautiful destination that is steeped in a friendly and fortunate history, and spectacular culture that intertwines aspects from across the map.

  • Transiranische Eisenbahn, Iran

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      From the glimmering Caspian sea to the Persian Gulf, this famous railway passes through several climates, mountain ranges, rivers, and more. A once in a lifetime ride that has stood the test of time, complete with impeccable service, breathtaking views, and vintage flair.

  • Takht, Kurdistan, Iran

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      This World Heritage Site is labeled as the Cultural Landscape of Hawraman/Uramanat, and it encompasses a mountainous land between the Central-Eastern Valley and the Western Valley that can be found in the provinces of Kurdistan and Kermanshah of Iran. The rugged Zagros Mountains feature human habitation that has adapted over millennia, with impeccable mountain views and fascinating architecture that is one of a kind.

  • Hima Cultural Area in Najran, Saudi Arabia

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      Saudi Arabia's Hima Cultural Area features impeccable rock carvings that date back to prehistoric times. With over 7,000 years worth of inscriptions from travelers, camping armies, farmers, and more- this is a sight that is a must for any archaeology lover.

  • Aslantepe Ruins, Turkey

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      With the oldest evidence of humankind using administration, impeccable condition of structures, and plenty of guidance and trails to explore, this top spot in Malatya is a fascinating and beautiful display of ancient ruins that are ready for you to explore.

  • Arica, Chile

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      Within the perimeter of the city of Arica, there are three sites that stand testament to an ancient culture and cemeteries full of both artificially mummified bodies and those preserved through natural causes. One of the oldest sites of mummification, these sites also feature impeccable sculptures, overlooking the endless South Pacific Ocean ahead.

  • Sítio Roberto Burle Marx - IPHAN, Brazil

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      Located just west of Rio de Janeiro, this garden project features the extensive and influential work of the late Roberto Burle Max. Known to create living works of art, and even a “landscape laboratory”, this collection features over 40 years of mesmerizing work.

  • Zona Arqueológica Monumental de Chankillo, Peru

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      Chankillo Archaeoastronomical Complex is a prehistorical site located within the Casma Valley that encompasses ancient structures and a sandy desert. With a ceremonial center, observatory, and temple all found in the historical grounds- we can get some insight into the importance of astronomy, and the sun's movement for ancient civilizations.

  • Iglesia de Atlántida, Uruguay

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      The Cristo Obrero Church or as it is commonly known, Iglesia de Estación Atlántida, is a modernistic church featuring the impactful work of engineer Eladio Dieste. With a distinctive design utilizing minimal materials that features a rigid structure, fascinating elements, and the incorporation of red bricks, this church is sure to delight architecture, history, and culture lovers alike.