With all the time we've spent in Croatia we've come across our fair share of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Diocletian's Palace in Split, Dubrovnik's walled Old City, and Plitvice Lakes National Park are all places we've been fortunate enough to visit repeatedly. In fact, ticking off World Heritage sites has become something of a secondary travel goal for us.
The 1972 World Heritage Convention, convened under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), was the culmination of an idea that first emerged from the rubble of World War I. The basic idea was that countries would come together to establish guidelines that would protect world heritage sites (both natural and manmade) for future generations to enjoy and learn from.
Today there are 1073 sites listed in 167 countries. The sites include the city of Valleta in Malta, Iguazu National Park on the border of Brazil and Argentina, the historic center of Naples in Italy, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Japan.
However, you don't have to grab your passport or even hop a plane to start ticking some World Heritage sites off your list. The good 'ole US of A is home to 23 different listed sites, and recently the Washington Post published a piece detailing each and every one of them.
The US-listed sites include heavy-hitters like Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, Grand Canyon National Park, and the Statue of Liberty, alongside other lesser-known (but still amazing) spots like Alaska's Kluane Lake and Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point in Louisiana.
So this summer why don't you get to work on your UNESCO World Heritage sites checklist? You certainly don't need to cross oceans, and you might even find that some of the most beautiful and important sites in the world are right around the corner!