Culture and Luxury – experiencing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Style
Legally protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Heritage Sites are considered to be areas or landmarks of especially noteworthy natural beauty and cultural, scientific or historical significance. There are over 1,150 worldwide and their preservation and protection are of vital importance, owing to their perceived value to humanity.
At Blend Group we have identified ten of the most spectacular World Heritage Sites that can be enjoyed in bespoke luxury, which we will set out across two editions in the coming month. Here are the first five on our list.
The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador:
Located around 1,000 km from Ecuador’s mainland, this stunning archipelago is home to one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems, due to its geographical location at the meeting point of three different ocean currents. As a result, the Galapagos Islands are one of the most coveted destinations for marine exploration and diving. The vast and unique wildlife and flora and fauna, which can be found on the archipelago, famously inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, following his visit in 1835. Exclusive accommodation and expeditions allow the exploration of this fascinating, bucket-list destination in absolute luxury.
This list would be incomplete without Italian representation, as the Southern European nation holds the enviable record of the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the first established was the historic centre of Florence. An amalgamation of culture, history and art provides Tuscany’s capital with unrivalled charm and beauty. Famous pioneering residents over the years have included; Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Machiavelli, meaning the city has always been at the forefront of artistic creation and a meeting place of great minds. The stunning 5* Four Seasons Hotel is located in the heart of the city and provides an ideal base for experiencing all that Florence has to offer, whilst relaxing in complete luxury.
Regarded as one of the world’s most spectacular landscapes, the lunar-style formation of Cappadocia was forged by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. The honeycombed hills and towering boulders create visually striking imagery, whilst the region boasts a wealth of history and enchanting culture. Luxury expeditions and excursions are aplenty, including; dawn hot air balloon rides, horseback expeditions, jeep safaris and vineyard visits. Numerous luxury hotel options are available, with a particular favourite of Blend Group’s being the Alia Cave Hotel – a boutique accommodation that offers a lavish and serene setting, promoting ultimate relaxation.
Located in the Judaean Mountains, in between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, Jerusalem is one of the oldest and most historically relevant cities in the world. Considered to be holy by three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – its symbolic importance is undeniable and has contributed to its complex and contested history. Today its walled ‘Old City’ is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its cultural and religious significance, not to mention its architectural splendour. Jerusalem can be experienced in bespoke luxury, with the regal Kind David Jerusalem Hotel offering majestic views of the Old City and great access to the lively city centre.
Machu Picchu, Peru:
The 15th Century Inca Citadel is one of the world’s most recognisable sites. A truly unique and awe-inspiring location, Machu Picchu is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The site’s surrounding mystique, contributed to by the fact that it was never discovered by Spanish colonisers, makes it an intriguing and rewarding destination. Visitors are struck by its architectural genius and left astounded as to how its construction was ever possible on such a landscape, in such a period of time. There are many ways to experience this wonder and Blend Group can ensure that you do so in the most luxurious comfort possible. A favourite accommodation of ours is the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, which offers stunning accommodation and is the only hotel located adjacent to the citadel.
Please feel free to contact us here if you are interested in booking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to any of these incredible destinations, or indeed any other UNESCO World Heritage Site that takes your fancy.