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The Top Most Adventure-Worthy UNESCO Heritage Sites

By: Joe Sills

These UNESCO World Heritage sites will take you off of the beaten path and reward you with a world of adventure free of tourists.

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Photo: Joe Sills

The Farther the Better

UNESCO World Heritage sites represent the most incredible places on Earth including jaw-dropping natural wonders, the remains of ancient civilizations and sites almost too surreal to believe. Some, like the Roman Colosseum or the Eiffel Tower are teeming with tourists. But these far-flung UNESCO sites will keep you largely away from the crowds and free to enjoy new adventures off the beaten path.

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Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam

Miles of sticky mud, river crossings laden with leeches and jungle-made rice wine await travelers brave enough to venture into central Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Thanks to an abundance of unexploded ordinance left by the US Air Force, you’ll need a guide like Oxalis Adventures to navigate through the park; but your reward is an overnight stay in one of the largest cave systems on the planet. Oh, and did we mention spring rolls?

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Tasmanian Wilderness, Australia

Take a trip to the edge of the world and then keep going. That's how you get to Tasmania. Towering gum trees, breathtaking waterfalls, hundreds of miles of hiking trails and the lingering legend of the Tasmanian Tiger make this land of the lost a must-see for outdoor adventurers. The best way to see the island? A flight to Hobart followed by a hike from its beaches to its alpine forests on the 40-mile Overland Track.

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Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

Skellig Michael, Ireland

Imagine scaling 600 feet above the North Atlantic on an island shrouded in mystery and mist. Hikers trekking to the ancient hidden monastery at Skellig Michael may find themselves asking for guidance from above while climbing this isolated crag. The site served as the Jedi refuge of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, the ruins of a real-life temple compound await those who venture to the top. Casey's Tours provides landing expeditions departing from the village of Portmagee.

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