Whoever visits the old content, no matter how many times, likely wants to discover at least one of the many beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe. Some of them are well known, but there are plenty still under the radar.
Although I visited quite a few Unesco sites in Europe and around the world, there’s a multitude I still have to discover. That’s why I asked fellow travel bloggers to recommend Europe World Heritage Sites they consider unique. The result is a list of landmarks including unmissable UNESCO sites in Europe, some of which I’m pretty sure you may never have heard of. I certainly hadn’t.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southern Europe
The Dolomites, Italy
by Claudia Tavani, My Adventures Across The World
The Dolomites well deserve to be listed among Italy’s UNESCO protected sites. Ascribed in 2009, this mountain chain spreads across the regions of Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli and Veneto, in north-eastern Italy, with 18 peaks above 3000 meters. The Dolomites are home to a variety of ecosystems and unique wildlife.
Those visiting the Dolomites usually remain mesmerized by the beauty of the landscape. Picture breathtaking views of mountain peaks and glaciers; sheer cliffs that call to be climbed; deep, long valleys; fairytale-like forests; boisterous rivers and endless meadows.
Scattered around the side of the mountains and the valleys there are small cities and scenic villages perfect for a lazy stroll, and where you can enjoy local hospitality: food in this part of the country is rich, comforting and simply mouthwatering, and you can pair it with crispy, fruity wines.
Needless to say, the Dolomites call for adventure sports. Winter is a great season to visit, as the mountains get covered in snow and you can go skiing or snowboarding.
During the spring and summer months, the Dolomites are all about hiking. There are hundreds of trails of varying length and difficulty, many of which suitable also to families with children. Some trails are easy to reach and to follow and can be completed within a few hours. Others require an expert guide and – for the most challenging ones – days of walking, going from one mountain hut to the other.
Last but not least, the Dolomites are home to an incredible cultural and musical event – I Suoni delle Dolomiti (“Sounds of the Dolomites”) whereby between June and July concerts are held at different times of day (look out for sunrise concerts for a truly special atmosphere) in the open, nature being the perfect amplifier for the music played.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
by Lori Sorrentino, Travlinmad
To the south of Naples, Italy is the Sorrentine Peninsula with the scenic and historic Amalfi Coast, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Facing the deep blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the coast is a patchwork of citrus and olive groves and vineyards set against the black rock of the mountainsides that seem to tumble into the sea. There are beaches, small bays, scenic overlooks, and ancient ruins all along the coast.
Perhaps the biggest reasons that the Amalfi Coast draws crowds are the charming towns perched along the coastline and high in the hills. Luxe and colourful Positano has long been the jewel of the Amalfi Coast and the Italians’ choice for a holiday. They’ll tell you there are so many things to do in Positano that you just have to visit, at least once.
Praiano has clusters of white houses, and the dome of its church is covered with bright, colourful majolica tiles. The town of Atrani farther along the coast doesn’t get many tourists and remains authentic, making it well worth a visit to experience a local unchanged coastal town. Then there is Amalfi itself for which the coast is named. Established in the 4th century BC Amalfi was long the seaport for trading goods between the East and the West. The Duomo Sant’Andrea Apostolo, with its incredible staircase and cloister, is one of the most visited cathedrals on the coast.
350 meters (1148 feet) above Amalfi is charming Ravello, another gem overlooking the coast. Visitors should spend the day strolling the town and visit Villa Cimbrone with its spectacular gardens.
We recommend basing yourself in Positano to take advantage of the “topless” buses that travel back and forth to Amalfi and up to Ravello throughout the day.
If you don’t feel like visiting the Amalfi coast by yourself or you’re short of time, you can joy a group tour. There are excellent days excursions to Amalfi from Naples, with one also including a visit to the Roman town of Pompeii. Furthermore, although it’s more of a rush, you can also take a day trip from Rome to Amalfi and the stunning coastline.
by Angela Corrias, Rome Actually
It was so hard to declare a single monument as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Rome, that the whole city centre, the Vatican and Saint Paul Outside the Walls Basilica were enlisted in 1980.
Visiting the archaeological sites of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Imperial Fora, up to the Circus Maximus, and the Caracalla Baths is the best way to get an idea of how Rome was founded and how its great civilisation started from its very heart. These are not the only relics from imperial times, but the best starting point to understand how was life in Rome thousands of years ago.
Rome city centre wasn’t listed by UNESCO only for its historical vestiges, but also for the stunning artwork from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Anyone visiting Rome for the first time can’t miss places like Piazza Navona, the beautiful square built on top of Domitian Stadium, the Pantheon, ancient temple of all gods, Piazza del Popolo near Villa Borghese park, Piazza di Spagna (the Spanish Steps) and important basilicas like San Giovanni in Laterano, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Paolo Fuori Le Mura.
One day, or at least half a day, should be devoted to the Vatican City, the world’s smallest country nestled between Prati and Trionfale neighbourhoods. Places like St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, the Vatican Museums that include the famous Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Gardens and the fascinating necropolis underneath St. Peter’s Basilica are strictly linked to the history of Christianity, its development and centuries of artwork commissioned by the popes and donated by kings and leaders from all over the world.
It’s been said that a lifetime is not enough to see and appreciate everything that Rome has to offer. What better reason to come again and discover more about the Eternal City.
Read also: 3 Days in Rome: How to Plan a Unique Trip to the Eternal City
by Izzy & Phil, The Gap Decaders
Assisi is a glorious, spectacular and beautiful homage to religion. Deep in the Umbrian hills of Italy, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the birth and burial place of St Francis, founder of the Franciscan order of monks and patron saint of Italy.
This historic site includes the buildings of the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi along with at least nine other important religious buildings. Constructed in the creamy stone local to the area, this town of steep twisting alleys and attractive squares is full of pilgrims (and tourists) wending their way towards the imposing and dramatic Basilica, which hugs the western flank of Monte Subasio and can be seen from miles around.
You don’t need to be religious to immerse yourself in Assisi’s churches, castles, art and culture. The Basilica is a must-see, along with the simple yet beautiful Eremo delle Carceri where St Francis retreated to pray. You should also visit the 14th century Rocca Maggiore, a castle which sits at the highest point in Assisi and affords spectacular views of the quintessential Italian countryside.
You need an overnight stay or at least a full day in Assisi to fully soak up the unique and beguiling atmosphere. It will be very busy in July and August, we would recommend June or September for the perfect weather and quieter attractions. Make sure you dress appropriately, covering your knees and shoulders on entering churches.
Eat at Hosteria Nova Baccanale Cafe in the upper part of town. The food here is simple, showcasing local flavours such as wild boar and truffle alongside a good wine list. They sometimes have live music which adds the ambience of this family-run eatery.
Stay at Nun Assisi, with its immaculate modern bedrooms, tranquil lavender-filled gardens and sleek spa in the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre. You will be well looked after in this converted monastery, which, like Assisi itself, is chock-full of history, atmosphere and charm.
Assisi, and the Umbria region, are beautiful and worth a dedicated trip. You can, however, get a taste of this unique area on a day trip to Assisi and Orvieto from Rome.
by Halef and Michael, The Round The World Guys
Matera is a beautiful and ancient city in southern Italy’s Basilicata region. The historic areas here are the two Sassi – Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano. Both are surrounded by the more modern part of the city.
People have been living in Matera for over 7000 years, and you can see some of the evidence of it in Matera’s many prehistoric caves dwellings. Each cave extends into limestone cliffs and boulders. Matera is the third-oldest continually-inhabited settlement in the world.
Life was not easy for the people of Matera. Sassi di Matera was condemned by the government as unfit for human habitation, and the city was evacuated in the mid-1950s. Thankfully, much-needed restoration in the 1980s turned Matera into a beautiful place to live for both residents and tourists.
UNESCO granted the city World Heritage Site in 1993. In 2019, Matera was chosen as a European Capital of Culture. You might even recognize the city as the set of a few popular movies, including Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and the James Bond film, No Time to Die.
Be ready with a pair of good walking shoes, as well as plenty of energy and curiosity. Everywhere you walk in Sassi di Matera, you will find something interesting. And that’s the best way to enjoy the city – wandering around and getting lost along the narrow pathways.
Valley of the Temples, Agrigento, Italy
by Katy Clarke, Untold Italy
Just two hours from Palermo or Catania you will find one of the most fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sicily. The Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples) is a series of Ancient Greek temples dating back over 2 millennia and were built on the site of the former city of Akragas.
Once a thriving city with a population of half a million people, Akragas stood for 1000 years. When the Greeks were defeated in Sicily in 406AD, the city was abandoned and forgotten for centuries. The site was revitalised in the 19th century and has undergone research and restoration ever since.
You can spend several hours exploring the Valley of the Temples but don’t expect a valley. The site is located on a ridge with stunning views out over the Mediterranean. The most impressive temple still standing is the imposing Temple of Concordia. It stands almost 17 meters high and was first built in around 440BC. It features 78 columns decorated with flutes or ridges in the Doric style. Start at one end of the 2.5-kilometre long site and follow the main trail past temples, dwellings and even the city’s baths. Other points of interest include an ancient necropolis and burial ground.
Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen as the ridge is exposed to the elements. The best way to get to Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples is by car. Or, for a more relaxing experience, you could join a guided tour from Catania.
The Real Alcazar in Seville, Spain
by Alison Nicholson, Alison in Andalucia
Seville is one of Andalucia’s most beautiful cities with the Real Alcazar being the jewel in its crown.
The Moors started building the Alcazar in the 10th century. It was finished several hundred years later by the Christians who had conquered Seville. Additions and restoration works were carried out over the years. Therefore, the current structure is a unique blend of architectural styles which was recognised by UNESCO in 1987 when the Alcazar was granted World Heritage status.
Entering the Alcazar through the iconic Lion’s Gate is like to step back in time. Archways with intricate carvings lead to courtyards and patios. Walls adorned with frescoes and decorated with typical Andalucian ceramic tiles and extensive gardens where you can wander with the scent of orange blossom hanging in the air.
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you’ll recognise parts of the Alcazar as the fictional Water Gardens of Dorne, including the Baths of Lady Maria de Padilla beneath the Patio del Crucero which shouldn’t be missed.
There’s a small café in the grounds where you can have a beer or coffee on the terrace while you enjoy your surroundings – usually with a peacock or two at your feet.
I would recommend to buy skip the line tickets to the Alcazar in advance online, since when you’ll arrive at the entrance, you’ll see two queues. The shorter queue is for those who already have their tickets. So why waste time waiting in line when you could be inside enjoying all that the Alcazar has to offer?
by Paulina, Paulina on the Road
Cordoba is probably one of the most beautiful places to visit in Spain. Why? Because it reunites the best that offer touristy towns such as Granada or Seville, but still, Cordoba isn’t inundated with tourist masses.
Only a few are aware that the historical city centre of Cordoba is declared UNESCO World Heritage. Why? Because during the period of emperor Augustus, the splendour of Cordoba rivalled with the one of Constantinople, Baghdad and Damascus. At that time, Cordoba counted over 300 mosques and palaces!
This made the city very attractive for philosophers and writers. Without any exaggeration, Cordoba was at that time the cultural capital of the Western world.
Located in the heart of Andalucia province, Cordoba is very easy to reach and thus one of the best day trips from Malaga.
I recommend visiting during spring or autumn, as temperatures can rais up to 40°C in summer. Some of the best things to do in Cordoba are visiting the majestic cathedral, the patios with flowers and eat salmorejo, a typical cold soup from Cordoba.
Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias, Spain
by Christina, Travel2next.com
Located in northern Spain and between stunning mountains and the coastline, Oviedo is the capital of the Asturias principality. A city with a rich history, founded in AD 761, it’s not surprising that the Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias are one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage sites in Spain.
What makes this World Heritage site worth visiting is its unique history. Although it was tiny, the Kingdom of Asturias played a considerable role in the history of the Iberian Peninsula. It was a significant hub for Christianity during the 9th century and walking around Oviedo reveals a legacy of stunning pre-Romanesque palaces and churches that draws crowds of visitors each year.
Some of the most beautiful examples of Asturian architecture are Santa María del Naranco, which was formerly a Ramiran royal residence that became a church. Also see Santa Cristina de Lena, San Miguel de Lillo and the Cathedral of Cámara Santa.
This World Heritage site also has an impressive Middle Ages hydraulic engineering structure, La Foncalada, which was based on a Roman model.
One of the things to do in Oviedo is to go on a walking tour of the city’s plazas, where you will see many interesting sculptures. Take a photo with La Regenta (the regent’s wife) by Mauro Álvarez in Plaza de Alfonso II el Casto, which is in front of the Cathedral of San Salvador.
The best way to explore Oviedo on foot and fortunately, along the way, you’ll find many excellent local restaurants that serve excellent food. Look for fresh seafood, local sausages and cider.
by Vanda, The Yogi Wanderer
For such a small country, Malta features an impressive total of 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: six megalithic temples, the hypogeum, and the fortified city of Valletta.
Valletta was built in the 16th century by the Order of the Knights of St John as the new Maltese capital. It was added to the UNESCO list in 1980 due to its Renaissance urban plan, remarkable Baroque architecture, and rich history. In fact, wandering around the beautiful city of Valletta is like travelling back in time to an age of knights and castles.
Valletta is also the smallest capital in the European Union, which makes it perfect for exploring by foot. Make sure to save at least one day to see all the city has to offer – and it’s not little despite its tiny size.
Some of the best things to do in Valletta include admiring the stunning views from the Upper Barrakka Gardens, visiting the majestic St John’s Co-cathedral, and taking a tour in the typical Maltese gondola, the dghajsa.
History buffs and art lovers should not miss Valletta’s world-class museums, from the Grand Master’s Palace to the MUZA National Museum of Art, the National Museum of Archeology, or the National War Museum.
Valletta is also a paradise for shoppers and foodies alike, with Republic and Merchant Streets being the epicentre of the city’s commercial activity and gastronomic scene.
In recent years, the Maltese capital has also emerged as an eclectic and sophisticated nightlife destination, with many new pubs, cafés, and wine and jazz bars opening around the city.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Eastern Europe
The old city of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
by Rai, A Rai of Light
Mostar, a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina located along the Neretva River, is known for its amazing Stari Most or better known as the Old Bridge.
This medieval arched bridge, constructed in the mid sixteen century, was entirely destroyed in the Bosnian war when it was targeted by intentional artillery fire due to its strategic and cultural importance in the city. It has been reconstructed and reopened in 2004 and today serves as a cultural and economic centre of the city.
In 2005 the bridge and the area surrounding it were enlisted on the UNESCO World heritage, serving as the cultural and economic centre of Herzegovina. Standing at a height of 42 meters, the old bridge is also known for another unique tradition of young men jumping off from the bridges’ highest point diving into the water below. They have been doing so ever since the bridge was built, and this act gathers crowds who view the spectacle with delight.
The Old Bridge Area is a vibrant, tourist place and market with many restaurants, souvenir shops. It is a beautiful place to spend a few hours and learn about the history of the city. Other interesting features in the area include a small bazaar, an Ottoman house, and a small mosque open to the public.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, historic Trogir, and the old city of Dubrovnik, Croatia
by Zach & Julie Ruhl, Ruhls of the Road
Croatia is a wildly beautiful country from top to bottom. In this beautiful country are, among other things, 3 of the most incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Plitvice Lakes National Park, the historic city of Trogir, and the old city of Dubrovnik.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is perhaps one of the most unique and visually stunning places on earth. The park is full of hundreds of waterfalls and cascading lakes with clear mountain water. Many trails in the park lead to stunning overlooks, and there is a network of boardwalks that go over the water!
Trogir is a Croatian coastal city that is a must-see for a few reasons. First off, there are over 1,000 islands off this coast. Furthermore, there are many tours from Trogir that hop from island to island. On top of that, the seafood in this town is so fresh and delicious you will not believe it. Finally, the people in Trogir are so darn friendly that you will feel right at home! Maybe you won’t want to leave…
On the southern tip of Croatia is the walled city of Dubrovnik. Old Town Dubrovnik, known in popular culture as King’s Landing in Game of Thrones, is perhaps the most famous site in Croatia, and for a good reason. Dubrovnik is full of walking tours that share the vivid and storied past of this city. The walls have still never been conquered in an attack even once! And they have been attacked consistently since the wall was built in the 13th century! Take a tour of Old Town Dubrovnik and walk the walls and see how impressive they are for yourself!
All in all, Croatia is a must-visit country, one of the most underrated countries in Europe. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Trogir, and Old Town Dubrovnik are three incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites that will make your trip unforgettable.
by Nick Kembel, Spiritual Travels
The Old Town (Stari Grad) of Kotor in the Balkan nation of Montenegro is a walled medieval city that is about as charming as it gets. The town occupies a strategic position on the visually magnificent Bay of Kotor and thus has been conquered by a long list of foreign forces going back to Roman times.
Composed of glistening cobblestone pedestrian lanes and a high concentration of churches, Stari Grad is small enough that you can cover all of it in a few hours. Still, getting lost once or twice in the maze of alleyways is practically inevitable. All roads seem to eventually lead to the mighty Cathedral of St. Tryphon, which dates to 1166 but has been rebuilt several times after major earthquakes.
No visit to Kotor is complete without hiking up to Saint John’s Fortress. The 1.5-hour return trail follows a portion of the Old City wall that snakes up the mountain backing the town. From the fortress ruins, visitors enjoy an unparalleled view over the Bay of Kotor.
The finishing touch is Kotor’s reasonably priced local cuisine (think great seafood, pizza, cheese, wine, and beer) served on tables set up in atmospheric lanes and plazas. Cat lovers should note that the town is swamped with felines, and there’s even a museum dedicated to them.
Kotor is not the undiscovered Adriatic gem it once was. Daily cruise ships unload thousands of passengers in the old town, clogging its streets. However, it’s still not as bad as more popular Dubrovnik a few hours north along the coast in Croatia.
To beat the worst crowds but still enjoy good weather, come in the shoulder season (May-June or September-October). Be sure to spend the night, and you may find the streets pleasantly crowd-free after the day-trippers leave.
by Stephanie Craig, Sofia Adventures
One of the most majestic UNESCO World History Sites that I have had the privilege of seeing in person is Meteora, the collection of medieval Greek Orthodox Monasteries perched high atop rock columns. Dating back to as early as the eleventh century, the monasteries are true marvels of architecture, engineering, and artistic achievements. It’s almost impossible to believe that these feats were even possible with the technology available at the time they were built.
Highlights include stops at the Monasteries of the Great Meteoron and St. Stephen while seeing the Monasteries of Varlaam, and Roussenou from afar was one of my favourite things about visiting the site. You can tour Meteora from Athens or Thessaloniki as a day trip (though it’s a very long day!). Alternatively, you can stay in the nearby town of Kalambaka for a few days and see the area at a slower pace. This is the best option for anyone looking to hike in the area. Guided tours do not have time for additional hikes if you also need to spend hours coming in from the cities by train or bus.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Scandinavia
by Sam Weatherley, Memories and Mayhem.
Geirangerfjord is one of Norway’s most popular tourist sites. UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site in 2005, and it’s easy to see why. There is an almost magical feel to Geirangerfjord with its filled with sparkling blue water. It’s no wonder that Disney got inspiration for Frozen from the Fjord.
Bordered on both sides by huge mountains that seem to float on the water, the best way to view the Fjord is by boat. Sailing up the Fjord gives visitors the best views of the two famous waterfalls. The Seven Sisters waterfall and the Suitor waterfall face each other. Folklore says that the Suitor is trying to woo the Sisters. A little further up the Fjord is Bridal Veil, named for the way the waterfalls over the rocks behind it.
The small town of Geiranger sits at the end of the Geirangerfjord, where the Geirangelva river empties into the Fjord. Although the town is small, there is plenty to do on a day trip.
Visitors will enjoy the small shopping area. With traditional shops, cafés, and a bakery, you’ll get a lovely taste of Norway. For those that enjoy a little exercise, the Waterfall Walk takes visitors up 300+ steps and offers beautiful views of the Fjord.
To experience even more spectacular views head to the Geiranger Skywalk. Situated 1500m above sea-level, the mountain air will invigorate you as you take in the scenery.
This beautiful area really demonstrates why Geirangerfjord is the jewel of Norway. Adrenaline junkies can take advantage of helicopter tours or hire little electric cars to zip around the winding mountain roads. And of course, the best way to maximize those views is to take a boat trip. There are many on offer in the town, with everything from gentle tour boats to the superfast rib boats.
However you choose to spend your time, you won’t be disappointed with a visit to Geirangerfjord.
Kronborg Castle, Denmark
by Derek Hartman, Everything Copenhagen
One of Denmark’s most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites lies 40 minutes north of Copenhagen. Kronborg Castle sits at a strategic waterway between Denmark and Sweden where the North Sea and the Baltic meet. Control of that waterway, known as The Sound, has been a source of wealth for Denmark over the centuries. At the time Kronborg was built, Denmark held most of the lands in Southern Sweden. This fortified palace enabled Denmark to collect a Sound Fee from every ship entering the Baltic Sea.
Inside the well-preserved castle, you can tour the Royal Apartments of King Frederik II and his loving wife, Queen Sofie. The opulent Grand Ballroom was the largest in Northern Europe at the time of Kronborg’s construction. Visitors also enjoy exploring the subterranean level of Kronborg where castle staff lived, and prisoners were held. The ramparts, cannons, gun towers, and barracks are also available to visitors. The pristine chapel at Kronborg Castle is breathtaking and a must-see attraction at Kronborg. Guided tours of Kronborg are held daily, and they are included in entrance fees.
This remnant of Denmark’s Golden Age has an even more interesting history, and it comes from literature. Kronborg Castle is the setting for one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Hamlet. Most people are familiar with the famous line, “There’s something rotten in the state of Denmark.” The setting was likely inspired when a London acting troupe, of which Shakespeare was a member, visited Kronborg Castle. It’s unclear if Shakespeare himself visited the castle, but he offered a very detailed description of the grounds.
Whether you’re retracing Hamlet or Danish military and commercial history, Kronborg is a fascinating destination and a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, Finland
by Piritta Paija, Bizarre Globe Hopper
Suomenlinna Sea Fortress is a unique place that stands in front of Helsinki in the Gulf of Finland as the last line of defense of the capital city of Finland. The building of this island sea fortress made of stone began already in the mid-18th century. During its time, it has served in defense of three different realms, Russia, Sweden, and Finland.
Suomenlinna was added to the Unesco World Heritage list in 1991. Today, this unique monument of military architecture is a place where the locals go for day trips in summer or winter alike to spend a memorable day in the middle of history. There are several museums where you can get to know the past of Suomenlinna/Sveaborg. Or you can just spend your day strolling around the walls and bastions all over the island. Or you can have an adventure walking in some of the tunnels dug in the earth.
At Christmas, a lot of Christmas-themed happenings are arranged in the area. In the summertime, Suomenlinna is a popular place to go and have a picnic or a refreshing swim in the sea.
Nowadays, there are also a small number of people living permanently in Suomenlinna. Still, mostly this charming, little fortress island is inhabited by day visitors of all ages. Suomenlinna is definitely a must-see place when you’re visiting in Helsinki, especially during Christmas time, it’s one-of-a-kind with a unique atmosphere.
You can get to Suomenlinna by a ferry from Kauppatori in Helsinki, and it takes only about 15 minutes. The boat runs every day from Monday to Sunday and also on most of the public holidays. There are public ferries as well as private companies’ ferries. However, I’d recommend just to take the public ferry. They are much cheaper, and they run more frequently.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the British Isles
The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
by Sinead Camplin, Map Made Memories
The Giant’s Causeway is situated on the beautiful north coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. The iconic geometric rocks and towering basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway are world famous. The Causeway consists of three short promontories stretching into the sea, centred in one location within a dramatic and scenic section of coastline. An estimated 40,000 lava formed rocks slope downwards, eventually disappearing into the turbulent Irish sea. It is easy to see how the legend of the Causeway as a pathway for giants came to be. It is a short paved walk from the Visitors Centre to the Causeway itself, or alternatively, you can catch a small, fee-paying electric bus. There are two trails to explore the Causeway Coast, and you are permitted to walk and climb on the rocks – though be wary of the uneven ground. Plus, signs and lifebuoys hint at the danger of getting too close to the crashing waves.
The two trails are of differing length and wind around the Causeway Coast. Along them, you can take in the best views and interesting sights such as the impressive Organ Pipes and the huge rock which is aptly named ‘The Giant’s Boot.’ I would recommend walking the longer Red Route which leads to a viewpoint towards The Giants Chimneys (a 100-metre high tower of rock). You’ll have the chance to get close to the unusual red layered laterite rock that forms these Antrim cliffs. There is a fee-paying, grass-roofed Visitors Centre at the car park with interesting exhibits about the formation of the Causeway. Still, you do not have to pay to access the Causeway itself. The Giants Causeway is a stunning and atmospheric UNESCO site to visit.
The Giant’s Causeway and the surrounding area are simply breathtaking and well worth spending a few days. However, in case you have limited time, you can also visit what I consider one of the most unique UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe on a day trip from Dublin. I recommend the