Every year, UNESCO meets to determine the next round of places that will be added to the organization's coveted list of World Heritage Sites. To qualify, a place or structure must have great cultural, historical, and/or natural significance - say, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, or Machu Picchu in Peru. This year's committee named a whopping 29 new spots, including Italy’s Prosecco region, India’s colorful Jaipur City, and eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings across the U.S. Below, you’ll find 14 of the most interesting places on the list. Each is as beautiful and diverse as the next - so get your passports ready.
Paraty and Ilha Grand, Brazil
The coastal town of Paraty and nearby island of Ilha Grande are our go-tos for exploring beyond Rio de Janeiro and São Paolo (Paraty is in the middle the two major cities, about four hours from each). The two offer pretty different experiences: Paraty is a charming, 17th-century colonial-style town, with white-washed buildings decorated with colorful trim, while Ilha Grande is a minimally developed, car-free island. But both offer incredible biodiversity: A visit to this UNESCO World Heritage site will likely include howler monkey, sloth, jaguar, caiman, and peccary spottings.
The capital of the ancient Burmese empire, Bagan is Myanmar’s version of Angkor Wat - with a fraction of the tourists. Filled with 13th- and 15th-century Buddhist temples, monasteries, and stupas, it offers a glimpse of the once-powerful Bagan empire. Today, you can get the best views at sunrise in one of the hot air balloons that float over the area. And if the few tourists are still too much for you, head to Kyaukgu Umin, a nearby monument that’s stunning and much quieter.