7 UNESCO sites perfect for a walking holiday

Our friends at KE Adventure Travel are based in the Lake District – the world’s newest UNESCO world heritage site and they say their surroundings help inspire them to create the best adventure holidays. We asked them to pick out their 7 favourite walking holidays, perfect for Trail readers, which get you to see the world’s most amazing UNESCO sites.

Leaving just one question: which one will you tick off in 2018?

1. The rock hewn churches and Simien Mountains of Ethiopia

Join KE’s 13 day walking holiday through some of the finest mountain scenery in Africa – the Simien Mountains plus summit Ethiopia’s highest peak – Ras Dashen (4620m)

UNESCO? Not only will you trek through the UNESCO listed Simien Mountains, you will also visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lalibela – fascinating Medieval monolithic churches carved out of rock.

>> Ethiopian Simien Mountains Explorer

2. The most amazing creation of the Inca Empire – Machu Picchu

After acclimatising in colour city of Cusco, spend 8 unforgettable days trekking along the famous Inca Trail which was created four centuries ago and arrive at Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate.

UNESCO? Arguably one of the greatest artistic, architectural achievement anywhere in the world, Machu Picchu was built in the fifteenth century at more than 2,400m above sea level. It was not until 1911 that the site was publicised to the outside world.

>> The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

3. The mighty Kilimanjaro, known as the ‘roof of Africa’

Summit success on Kilimanjaro is all about acclimatisation. With 8 days on the mountain this is the itinerary to choose if you are able to afford that extra time and prefer a relatively little-trekking route.

UNESCO? A now extinct volcano, Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa at almost 6000m and stands in isolation with its snowy peak even visible from the savannah. Kilimanjaro and its surrounding National Park in UNESCO protected.

>> Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route

4. The hidden Rila Monastery, high in the Bulgarian Rila Mountains

Traverse the spectacular Marble Ridge, summit the big four – Vihren, Kotelo, Maliovitsa and Musala and enjoy day walks off the beaten track in Bulgaria.

UNESCO? A perfect example of Bulgarian Renaissance, the Rila Monastery was built on the site of the 10th century holy site. The monastery sits high in the Rila Mountains and it’s remote location meant Bulgarian culture could be kept secret and alive during the 480 years of Ottoman rule.

>> Ridges and summits of Bulgaria

5. The ancient Persian city of Persepolis, almost destroyed by Alexander the Great

Over 15 days, join this cultural and trekking tour where you will summit Iran's highest peak Damavand (5671m) and explore the Persian cities of Shiraz, Persepolis and Isfahan.

UNESCO? The city of Persians and home to the Achaemenid Empire (550 – 300BC),  Alexander the Great razed it to the ground where it lay hidden under sand for centuries. It was rediscovered in the 1930s and the quality of the architecture makes it an impressive archaeological site.

>> Mount Damavand and the Pearls of Persia

6. Red scenes of Wadi Rum and the 2300 year old city of Petra

In this traditional land of the Bedouin, our 5-day trek will take us on ancient trails through hidden canyons and across open rocky slopes to the summits of several of the biggest formations in Jordan.

UNESCO? Described by T.E. Lawrence as "Rum the magnificent... vast, echoing and God-like” Wadi Rum has UNESCO status and is made up of red-ochre sandstone. The City of Petra is Jordan’s most famous UNESCO site and is known as one of the new 7 wonders of the world.

>> Trek Wadi Rum to Petra


7. Zadar in Croatia gains UNESCO status same day as The Lake District, UK

Experience the very best trails in north Croatia on this walking holiday in an areaof outstanding natural beauty and home to the national parks of Plitvice and Krka.

UNESCO? Built by the Venetians, the fortified city walls and gates of Zadar have just gained UNESCO status. The most impressive entrance through the wall is the ‘Land Gate’ – the main entrance into the city built in 1543.

>> Walking Croatia’s Coast & Canyons