1131 of 1154 WHS have been reviewed by our community.


Primeval Beech Forests

Adrian Turtschi Germany - 22-Jun-22

Primeval Beech Forests

Grumsin Beech Forest, June 2022

The forest can be visited as a half-day trip from Berlin via public transport. As other reviewers have pointed out the actual UNESCO-listed property is “verboten” to be visited on your own – there are paid official guided tours available, which require pre-booking well in advance. There are four official signposted hike trails which pass through the buffer zone and touch the borders of the core forest areas, but do not enter or cross it.

Even though Grumsin is close to Metropolis Berlin the area of the forest is very rural and the main access road to the little hamlet of Grumsin proper [...]

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Warsaw

James Bowyer United Kingdom - 20-Jun-22

Warsaw

It isn’t too difficult to imagine a world in which the reconstruction of Warsaw after World War II was done in such a way to make the city centre indistinguishable from every other concrete jungle in eastern Europe. Indeed, large swathes of the city seems to be done in the stereotypical brutalist style with wide streets and a fair amount of greenery between the tower blocks, which was no doubt supposed to be highly efficient but doesn’t make for the most interesting visiting experience. For my visit, I was staying near the university on the southwest side of the city but it was straightforward to head into the city centre on the excellent tram network that I made use of most nights. There was also an underground metro although I had very little experience with that

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Copán

Digits Ireland - 20-Jun-22

Copán

With my brother’s wife being from Honduras, it was a certainty we would have to visit the country during our Central America trip in the summer of 2016.


Like others, we crossed into Honduras from Guatemala at the El Florido crossing (our driver’s taking of various other border crossings between Guatemala and El Salvador raised some eyebrows elsewhere) and overnighted in Copan Ruinas at the Hotel Magdalena. A five minute drive early in the morning brought us to the wooded trail to the ruins, the colours of the macaws flashing between the trees. 

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Victoria Falls

Eric PK France - 19-Jun-22

I was there in early June 2022. I visited the Zimbabwean side both walking and helicopter.

First thing to know is that the falls vary dramatically depending on the rain. June was right after the end of the rainy season and there was a LOT of water in the falls. There are about 15 view points, numbered from the east (farthest from Zambia) and only the first 4 or 5 were usable to see the magnificent falls. The others were a mix of fog & rain where you can't see much. From the pictures at the entrance of the park, there are much less water in September / October. 

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L'Anse aux Meadows

Els Slots The Netherlands - 20-Jun-22

L

Sometimes you think it is all a hoax. That the Canadian Tourist Board has made up this “Meeting of Two Worlds” site on the northwestern tip of Newfoundland to pull tourists to an economically disadvantaged part of the country. For WH travellers it is even worse, as L’Anse Aux Meadows has to be combined in one itinerary with Mistaken Point which lies completely on the opposite site of the island on its southeastern tip. The distance between them is 1150 kilometers.

The conclusion that this wasn’t an indigenous camp but one inhabited by early European navigators is attributed to the discovery of iron objects and a particular pin used in Scandinavia to hold together clothes (pictured)

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Blog WHS Visits

WHS #798: Mistaken Point

Along with Red Bay in Labrador, Mistaken Point is the hardest-to-reach World Heritage Site of the 10 in Eastern Canada. Located in the far southeastern corner of the island of Newfoundland, it can only be visited with a prearranged tour. I reserved 4 weeks in advance by e-mail and was given a choice between two time slots on my preferred day. Fortunately, the tours rarely get cancelled ("about 5 times a year") as bad weather does not deter the Newfoundlanders, they are only called off when the waves are so high that they cover the fossils or it gets dangerous. The day before the visit, I drove from Deer Lake in the West to St. John's, the largest city in the East (which takes 6.5 hours). Then it's a further 2 hours to the South via the “Irish Loop”, a coastal road across the Avalon Peninsula past many villages of Irish origin.

12 people showed up for the 10.30 a.m. tour, all Canadians except me. We were then invited to follow our guides by car in convoy towards the starting point of the trail towards the fossils. Do they do it this way to discourage illegal entry? The entrance (just a rope across a path) and parking lot aren’t exactly hidden, but they don’t advertise it either. You could find the exact location on Google Maps of course but it is not signposted from the road. Also, when we parked our cars, we had to put a sign with the text “Tour” behind the windscreen: the police(?) apparently do check on illegal visitors.

Above the cliffs, a narrow strip of peat has been designated as a buffer zone, with a sign referring to the Ecological Reserve every few hundred meters. Besides tourists who go on a tour like this (about 1000 per year), local people with a special permit are also allowed to enter the area. They may hunt and pick berries there; the bakeapple (cloudberry) is popular for making jam.

The 3km trail is easy, and a wooden bridge was even recently built to help you across a little stream. It rained heavily at the start of our visit, but fortunately, the sky cleared when we got to the fossils. These are best seen on two flat, horizontal coastal rocks. You are allowed to walk on the rocks, as long as you take off your shoes and leave behind other items such as a backpack or hiking poles. They don’t hand out slippers or free socks anymore – instead, the trip confirmation e-mail said: “bring a spare pair of socks”! In the end, I didn’t even need them, as the rocks had dried up enough to stay dry with some clever positioning of your feet.

We were given laminated papers with examples of what the various fossils look like, and the guide pointed out the most important ones. Some look like leaves, or like the ferns you see in Joggins. However, they are all small organisms with no shells, bones, or other hard parts. Compared to Miguasha and Joggins, relatively few fossils have been removed here. This is probably because they were discovered so late (1967) – but still, until the 1980s the area was unprotected and 200-250 fossils have disappeared into museum collections. You can still see in a few places that a piece is missing. Sometimes also a boulder has fallen on top of them, you can see the damage. Erosion however is the main cause that more and more fossils are lost.

Visiting Mistaken Point will also introduce you to the charming Avalon Peninsula. It is recommended to drive the full Irish Loop (as mentioned above). There are gas stations along the way but hardly anywhere to buy food or drinks (so bring your own). There seem to be more amenities on the east side of the loop than on the western side. Not to be missed there as well is Witless Bay Ecological Reserve – home to hundreds of thousands of breeding seabirds at its islands. I joined a very satisfying 1.5-hour boat tour here and saw more common murres than I had ever seen together in my life, as well as loads of puffins and we had good views of both minke and humpback whales.

Els - 26 June 2022

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