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WHS Hotspots

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Author elsslots
#1 | Posted: 17 Jul 2011 06:02 
I have rearranged the WHS Hotspot connections, so it becomes easier to see what we already have. This also brings some extra possibilities for adding explanations to these connections, so please from now on when you suggest a new Hotspot:
- add the name of the centre
- when using sites that are part of the serial nomination, name the specific subsite
- name the hotspot after the centre if this is a well-known city; otherwise, when there are several similar cities or is no major city, name it after the region

Author elsslots
#2 | Posted: 18 Jul 2011 06:49 | Edited by: elsslots 
Now we can see these hotspots more clearly, possible errors come to light. Especially in the distance that can be covered in a day on a return trip from a center.

I'll start with Northwestern Spain.
Proposed center was: Santiago de Compostela

Included WHS:
- Asturian Monuments
- Las Medulas
- Roman Walls of Lugo
- Route of Santiago de Compostela
- Santiago de Compostela
- Tower of Hercules

I've been to this region myself, and I can say that even with a rental car it is not possible to go and come back to Oviedo (Asturian Monuments) from Santiago in a single day. The landscape is very mountainous, you cannot travel large distances in that area in a day.

So my proposal would be: either name Santiago the center, and drop the Asturian Monuments. Or name Oviedo the center, and drop Santiago. Both can link to the Route of Santiago de Compostela, as that holds several places in between Oviedo and Santiago.


Author meltwaterfalls
#3 | Posted: 18 Jul 2011 07:34 
You could make Lugo the centre and have all of them. With a hire car I think all would be viable, with a bit of luck you could do them all by bus or train, there and back from Lugo.

If you do it from Oviedo the Northern Spanish Cave art can be included as well, (there are a few minor sites that are viewable from Lugo) Tito Bustillio is easily visitable from Oviedo as a day trip. Altamira can be seen on a very long return trip, but think that would be stretching it a little.

Author JonasK
#4 | Posted: 18 Jul 2011 13:22 
I would like to suggest a WHS Hotspot "Central Germany" including 9 sites on a car journey of 613 km (according to

You can start the journey at any of the sites, since it is a circle:

Included WHS would be:

Historic Town of Goslar (Part of Rammelsberg and Goslar)
Luther's birthplace / The house in which Luther died in Eisleben (Part of Luther Memorials)
Classical Weimar
Bauhaus sites in Weimar
Hainich (Part of Primeval Beech Forests) near Mülverstedt
Wartburg Castle near Eisenach
Fagus Factory in Alfeld
Hildesheim Cathedral and Church

All the sites except Hainich are easily accessable by car. For Hainich you have to walk about 2 km from Mülverstedt. So the tour should be possible at one day. What do you think?

Author winterkjm
#5 | Posted: 18 Jul 2011 14:10 
Nine sites that are possible to visit in one day? Crazy! It is entirely different in the United States. Living in Los Angeles I can drive 5-6 hrs northeast to the Grand Canyon WHS, or I can drive 5hrs north to the Yosemite WHS. The Redwoods WHS is about 10 hrs drive north of LA, while the nearest WHS sites in Mexico are also about 10hrs south in Baja California. Mesa Verde WHS is 16 hrs drive northeast from LA, while Chaco Canyon WHS is 18 hrs.

These are the 6-7 nearest WHS to LA!!! For someone who wants to visit many WHS, LA is not good starting point!

Author Solivagant
#6 | Posted: 18 Jul 2011 16:04 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Hi JonasK, Welcome.
Slightly different "rules" from the "Hot spot" which of course is envisaging day trips out and back - but you have suggested an interesting "game" nevertheless. My record in a single day was based on part of your route on the way back from Poland - Wittenberg, Dessau, Quedlinburg and Goslar. Only 4 but you have to allow some time to see them!!!

I guess we could have a game to see the largest number of sites which could be encompassed within a particular circular distance (400 kms to allow for sightseeing?). We have already on this site recognised that 5 could be visited on straight line "Fun Run" of around 28 kms! age=0#msg3253

I think Brussels would have to be included in any such trip.
My suggestion
Antwerp (Plantin Moretus)
Malines (Beguinages)
Brussels (Grand Place)
Brussels (Stoclet)
Brussels (Horta)
La Louviere (4 Lifts)
Spiennes (Flint mines)
Tournai Cathedral
Tournai (Belfry)
363 kms on Google Maps plus a bit for a bit of travelling in Brussels . 10 sites!!!
No doubt it can be improved upon!

Author JonasK
#7 | Posted: 18 Jul 2011 17:14 | Edited by: JonasK 

Yes, of course, you have to allow enough time everywhere and I would not advise to do that trip. It just was an idea arisen from my misunderstanding of a "Hotspot"... I just checked my personal "record", which seems to be 7 sites in the UK at one day (but I only saw 3 of them for the first time that day and just drove past some of the rest).

Back to the "Hotspot"-connection:
Is there any more precise rule? For example if you put Kassel in Germany as a centre and if you allow a 4-hour-drive (one way) to the respective site, a "Germany"-Hotspot would cover more than 30 sites!!

...and winterkijm: Yes, we are lucky here in Europe! But from several other points of view, LA is a good place to live at, isnt it!?!

Author winterkjm
#8 | Posted: 18 Jul 2011 18:19 | Edited by: winterkjm 
LA is great, a fun and interesting city in many different ways than most Euorpean cities. (It may even get a WHS in the Frank Lloyd Wright built Hollyhock House) LA is at least a great base for visiting US national parks (since there are 8 in California alone!)

It is hard to visit many WHS if you have a full-time job in the US! There are never ever any paid vacations!! LOL! I have only visited 35 WHS, and about 25 tentative WHS. Only 7 are in Europe, which I visited when I studied a semester in Scotland. (I also knew little of Unesco at the time, so I wasn't exactly seeking WHS when travelling) Most of the WHS I have visited are in Korea (10), China (8), United States (6), and Peru. So I have done a bit of travelling, but if I lived in Europe it would not be too difficult (even while working) to visit 30-40 WHS a year! Maybe one day...

One another note in line with this forum topic.

The United States may qualify for its first WHS Hotspot if the Petrified Forest National Park succeeds in getting inscribed in the next couple years.

Four Corners Hotspot

Starting Point:
Mesa Verde National Park
Chaco Canyon National Historic Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Petrified Forest National Park

Pueblo de Taos is in the same general region, but I think is too far to be included.

It is not too difficult to visit any two of these sites (if you start early), but three would be very difficult and not enjoyable, and visiting all 4 may be impossible even with an extremely brief visit.

Author elsslots
#9 | Posted: 18 Jul 2011 23:38 
Is there any more precise rule?

The precise rule is that the WHS should be possible to visit from a center on return day trips.

So if Kassel is the center, which sites could be visited on a day trip with the use of a car?
Let's say within a circle of 2.5-3 hours drive. (you have to drive back to the center at the same day).

Author Solivagant
#10 | Posted: 19 Jul 2011 03:20 | Edited by: Solivagant 
We had this debate back in May 2008 (see early "Out of in Doubt" topics). The trouble is that driving 2.5hrs on an autobahn could take one 400kms away so we could have a diameter of up to 800 kms from a central point.

This "Connection" was intended to be of practical use to highlight where people could/would/should genuinely go to as a destination in order to see a number of WHS (There was also an "interest" factor as to where clusters of sites existed - but a "cluster" needs to remain such in order to be of genuine interest!). Els originally specified the "UNESCO" map circle which I seem to remember was about 250kms in diameter but we also recognised problems with local transport, frontiers etc which could lower this figure as well as the possibility in developed countries that a distance of only 125 kms radius from a centre was possibly a bit low - for instance someone staying in London might easily think of a day return trip to Stonehenge and Bath. You can even do both on a coach trip in a day between 8.45am and 7pm and Bath alone is 185kms from London in a country with relatively low motorway speed limits (112kph) -

Alternatively we could base the maximum distance on what can be done by public transport from a centre but it is a fact that many/most of us are likely to have a car - but there are also practical considerations like fuel costs which anyone planning trips would take into account. A drive of 2.5 hours each way plus 2-3 hours to see a site plus an hour or so for refreshments etc is a perfectly reasonable day trip but I would suggest that we regard 200 kms each way as the reasonable distance which should be covered for the purpose of a "Hot Spot" Connection both for time and cost reasons - yes, much greater distances could be done and, I suppose if someone has come from the other side of the world, and driving 400 kms each way in a day is the ONLY way they are going to be able to see a particular site then they would do it (as would I!).

Just to clarify 1 thing and avoid possible misunderstandings - as far as I am aware and have always thought - it isn't necessary to be able to visit ALL the sites in the Hotspot in ONE day - rather EACH of them should be within a day return trip. So 5 sites in a Hotspot COULD mean up to 5 separate day trips (though this is unlikely since several may easily be seen in 1 day). Correct??

Author meltwaterfalls
#11 | Posted: 19 Jul 2011 06:02 
Just to clarify 1 thing and avoid possible misunderstandings - as far as I am aware and have always thought - it isn't necessary to be able to visit ALL the sites in the Hotspot in ONE day - rather EACH of them should be within a day return trip. So 5 sites in a Hotspot COULD mean up to 5 separate day trips (though this is unlikely since several may easily be seen in 1 day). Correct??

That was how I always understood it.

The 'there and back in a day' does cause a few problems though, especially in Europe, as the transport infrastructure is very dense.

I will leave these out from a hotspot but as an example all of these are perfectly visitable in a day trip from London, if you get the flights or Eurostar booking correct, in fact they probably work out cheaper than visiting some of the sites in southern England.

Pretty much every Belgian site is in range. Though the 4 Lifts and Spieness Flint mines are a slight logisitical problem as they are not as easy to get to by train. Luxembourg and Kinderdijk could be squeezed in as well, at a push. In fact it is probably quicker and easier to get to Brussels than it is to most English cites and depending on when you book the tickets, it could even be cheaper.

The sites surrounding Paris (perhaps Provins is pushing it), and the Vauban site (Arras) Amiens are also in range from Lille.
With TGV connections Reims, Nancy and perhaps Lyon though the costs start to go up considerably then.

Then a selection using budget flights:
Berlin, 3 sites, the Housing estate at Falkenburg is right next to Schonfeld airport the 'budget' terminus of Berlin
Bremen, a very easy trip as the airport is very close to the city centre
Volkingen, a bit of a stretch but I did it from Dusseldorf Weeze, but Dortmund is also doable.
Amsterdam + Beemster and Defence Line (though flights are never that cheap) The Dutch train system is very efficient from Schipol so a lot of others are viable.
Jelling Mounds, within range of Billund Airport, all in the trip cost me just over £50
Valencia, I did this one in shock at the price of a return train ticket from London. It actually worked out cheaper to go to Valencia than Bath, though I did stay on for longer.
Tarragona, right next to Reus airport
Bru na Boinne, lots of cheap flights to Dublin, courtesy of Mr O'Leary
There are plenty of others when you look.
When I lived in Dublin, it was even easier to do these international day trips as the airport is closer to the city centre.

Sorry winterkjm, but I guess the weather is a little warmer in LA so that can be a consolation.

Author Solivagant
#12 | Posted: 19 Jul 2011 08:36 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I will leave these out from a hotspot but as an example all of these are perfectly visitable in a day trip from London, if you get the flights or Eurostar booking correct, in fact they probably work out cheaper than visiting some of the sites in southern England.

Nice examples meltwaterfalls!
I see that for £75 (£1 less than the official cost of a day coach trip from London to Bath, Stonehenge and Salisbury!!) I could, this September, go out from London to take the 08.15 flight from Luton - arrive in Warsaw at 11.25. Go into the Old City (25 minutes by bus) giving 2 hours sightseeing and then travel back out to catch the 17.40 flight arriving in Luton at 19.10 to travel on into London itself. So Warsaw can be added to the destinations accessible in a day return from London!

I think the emphasis of our definition ought to be on the word "spot" in "Hot spot"! This Connection is (or should be) primarily about sites grouped relatively closely together rather than about the limits of the ingenuity and endurance of WHS enthusiasts in getting to ever further away sites from a central point and back in a day!

Rule 1 should be about how close they need to be. My suggestion as above is 200 kms at max and perhaps could be less
Rule 2 should be about whether they can be got and back inside a day "practically" or need to be excluded even though they pass Rule 1

Author Solivagant
#13 | Posted: 27 Jul 2011 16:00 | Edited by: Solivagant 
It may indeed be possible to visit Warsaw from London and back in a day but there seems to be rather too much optimism creeping into the assignment of WHS to Hot spots. It is always possible of course that road upgrading since my last visit or the creation of a magic carpet bus service makes possible that which was not but these doubtful inclusions have caught my eye. I would be interested to hear how they can be achieved
a. Coastal Gambia Hot spot from Kololi to Goree .
I don't see how Goree can be visited in a day from there. Kololi is south of the Gambia river. Dakar is 280 kms from Barra on the north side of the river (first ferry 7 am and last at 7pm?) So say, up to 5+ hours from there including a frontier. Goree is another 20 minute ferry ride once one has reached the terminal through the horrendous Dakar traffic and connected to a scheduled departure (every 60 or 90 minutes). Yes, in theory it can probably be done with a dedicated car and getting on the first ferry (though I wouldn't bank on getting back in time for the last one!!)
b. Yucatan Hotspot Sian Ka'an.
This hot spot has no "Centre" yet but with the other Hot Spot sites at Uxmal, Campeche and Chichen Itza in can't be too far from Merida which is 308kms each way from Sian Ka'an. Merida to Campeche is 173kms and to move the centre to say the little town of Tekax knocks the Sian Ka'an distance down to c 200 kms but pushes the Campeche distance up to about the same! And Sian Ka'an isn't a colonial city which can be seen in a couple of hours but an enormous reserve which really needs a full day.
It just doesn't seem to "add" any value to identify hotspots like these

Author meltwaterfalls
#14 | Posted: 27 Jul 2011 16:27 
Coastal Gambia Hot spot from Kololi to Goree .

I would second the pessimism on this hotspot. Perhaps from Kaolack (Senegal) all those site are viewable within a day.
The Senegambian Stone Circles really are a push from Kololi (as I found out myself) 12 -15 hour round trip, and I did that as a more manageable trip than the one to Dakar, especially when you factor in the trip by boat out to Goree. Theoretically it may be possible, but I don't think I would like to do it.

Author elsslots
#15 | Posted: 27 Jul 2011 23:24 
I've deleted them both (Yucatan and Coastal Gambia)

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