“Embark on a Journey Through Humanity’s Masterpieces: The Top 20 Most Spectacular Cultural Landscapes Worldwide”
This article “Most Spectacular Cultural Landscapes in the World”, will look at 20 of the most beautiful cultural landscapes from around the world. These landscapes show the beauty and variety of our world, which makes it so fascinating.
As one-of-a-kind art destinations, cultural landscapes are unique and change over time. They make it look like the natural environment and the marks that people have left behind are one. People have used these amazing places for hundreds of years to tell stories, practice beliefs, and do activities that have had a huge impact on our societies.
The 20 Most Stunning Cultural Landscapes to Visit in 2023
These amazing places are not only beautiful to look at, but they are also deeply connected to the people who live there through their stories and traditions. Let’s go on an adventure through the 20 most beautiful cultural landscapes that make the world a truly amazing place.
1. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is famous for the towering limestone pillars, dense forests, and unique wildlife that can be found there.
Key Aspect: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
|Location:||Hunan Province, China|
|Area:||4,810 hectares (11,900 acres)|
|Terrain:||Sandstone pillars, cliffs, ravines, and forests|
|Must-see attractions:||Tianzi Mountain, Yuanjiajie, Golden Whip Brook.|
|Popular activities:||Hiking, sightseeing, photography, and cable car rides|
|Unique features:||Towering sandstone pillars, dense forests.|
|Cultural Significance:||Inspiring “Avatar” and reflecting Chinese harmony with nature in art and folklore.|
If you’re drawn to the allure of UNESCO-designated cultural landscapes, you’ll love our article on UNESCO Creative Cities Promoting Cultural Industries! Discover how these extraordinary landscapes combine heritage, art, and sustainability to shape our world in remarkable ways!
2. Mù Cang Chải
This beautiful cultural landscape of Mù Cang Chi in Vietnam consists of terraced rice fields that stretch for miles and miles in every direction.
Key Aspect: Mù Cang Chải
|Location:||Mù Cang Chải District, Yên Bái Province, Vietnam|
|Climate:||Subtropical monsoon climate|
|Terrain:||Mountainous with terraced rice fields|
|Must-see attractions:||Tu Lè Commune, La Pán Tẩn Commune|
|Popular activities:||Trekking, photography, visiting local villages.|
|Unique features:||The terraced rice fields are some of the most beautiful and unique in the world|
|Cultural Significance:||They are a symbol of their hard work and perseverance in the face of difficult conditions.|
3. Tamil Nadu
The state of Tamil Nadu in India is home to several of the most famous temples in the entire world. These temples include the Brihadeeswarar Temple and the Meenakshi Temple.
Key Aspect: Tamil Nadu
|Climate:||Tropical, with hot summers and warm winters|
|Terrain:||Varied, with coastal plains, hills, and plateaus|
|Must-see attractions:||Brihadeeswarar Temple, Meenakshi Temple, Thanjavur, Mahabalipuram|
|Popular activities:||Temple hopping, sightseeing, trekking, camping, bird watching|
|Unique features:||Dravidian culture, ancient temples, hill stations, backwaters, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks|
|Cultural Significance:||Tamil Nadu is the birthplace of Dravidian culture|
4. Torres del Paine National Park
This beautiful cultural landscape, a mountain range in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park that is absolutely breathtaking, complete with glaciers, lakes, and waterfalls.
Key Aspect: Torres del Paine National Park
|Location:||Magallanes and Antártica Chilena Region, Chile|
|Area:||2,422.42 km² (935.27 sq mi)|
|Climate:||Subpolar oceanic climate|
|Terrain:||Mountains, glaciers, lakes, rivers, and forests|
|Must-see attractions:||Torres del Paine mountain range, Grey Glacier, Paine Horns.|
|Popular activities:||Hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, rock climbing, and kayaking|
|Unique features:||The park is home to a variety of unique wildlife.|
|Cultural Significance:||The park is a sacred place to the indigenous Tehuelche people|
5. Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls, which are located on the border of Argentina and Brazil, are one of the largest and most impressive waterfalls in the world.
Key Aspect: Iguazu Falls
|Location:||Argentina and Brazil|
|Area:||2,754 square kilometers (1,063 sq mi)|
|Climate:||Subtropical, with hot, humid summers and mild, dry winters|
|Terrain:||The falls are made up of 275 separate waterfalls, which range in height from 65 to 269 feet|
|Must-see attractions:||Waterfalls themselves|
|Popular activities:||Hiking, boating, swimming, fishing, and birdwatching|
|Unique features:||The largest waterfall systems in the world,|
|Cultural Significance:||The falls are also a popular tourist destination, and they play an important role in the local economy.|
6. Bryce Canyon
Hoodoos are tall, slender spires of rock that are prominent features in the landscape of the national park known as Bryce Canyon in Utah.
Key Aspect: Bryce Canyon
|Location:||Utah, United States|
|Area:||56,203 acres (227.4 km2)|
|Climate:||Arid, with cold winters and warm summers|
|Must-see attractions:||Bryce Amphitheater, Thor’s Hammer, Queen’s Garden|
|Popular activities:||Hiking, camping, horseback riding, ranger-led programs, stargazing|
|Unique features:||Home to the largest collection of hoodoos in the world|
|Cultural Significance:||Sacred place by the Paiute people.|
7. Maroon Bells
The Maroon Bells are two mountains in the United States that rise to an elevation of 14,000 feet and can be seen reflecting in the waters of Maroon Lake.
Key Aspect: Maroon Bells
|Location:||White River National Forest, Colorado, USA|
|Area:||12,500 acres (5,100 hectares)|
|Climate:||Alpine, with cold, snowy winters and mild, dry summers|
|Terrain:||Rugged mountain peaks, alpine lakes, and forests|
|Must-see attractions:||Maroon Bells, Maroon Lake, Crater Lake, and Maroon Creek Trail|
|Popular activities:||Hiking, camping, fishing, photography, and wildlife watching|
|Unique features:||Two 14,000-foot peaks that are reflected in the crystal-clear waters of Maroon Lake|
|Cultural Significance:||Sacred to the Ute people|
8. Grand Canyon
A natural wonder of the world, the Grand Canyon in the United States of America features towering cliffs, deep canyons, and colorful rock formations.
Key Aspect: Grand Canyon
|Location:||Northwestern Arizona, USA|
|Area:||277.6 square miles (718.9 km2)|
|Climate:||Arid, with hot summers and cold winters.|
|Terrain:||Deep canyons, towering cliffs, and colorful rock formations.|
|Must-see attractions:||South Rim, North Rim, Grand Canyon Village, Grand Canyon Skywalk.|
|Popular activities:||Hiking, camping, rafting, mule rides, helicopter tours, scenic drives|
|Unique features:||One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World|
|Cultural Significance:||Sacred to many Native American tribes|
9. Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a mountain range in the United States that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding forests, valleys, and waterfalls.
Key Aspect: Blue Ridge Mountains
|Location:||Eastern United States, stretching from southern Pennsylvania to northern Georgia|
|Area:||34,000 square miles|
|Climate:||Generally humid continental with warm summers and cool winters|
|Terrain:||Rugged mountains with deep valleys and forests|
|Must-see attractions:||Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, and Shenandoah National Park|
|Popular activities:||Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, and Shenandoah National Park|
|Unique features:||Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic highway that runs through the heart of the mountains|
|Cultural Significance:||The Blue Ridge Mountains are home to a variety of cultures.|
10. Moraine Lake
The glacier-fed waters of Canada’s Moraine Lake give the lake its signature turquoise color, and the surrounding mountains provide a dramatic backdrop.
Key Aspect: Moraine Lake
|Location:||Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada|
|Area:||5.2 square kilometers (2.0 square miles)|
|Terrain:||Valley with ten peaks over 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) high|
|Must-see attractions:||Moraine Lake, Rockpile Trail, Lakeshore Trail.|
|Popular activities:||Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, picnicking, and photography|
|Unique features:||Turquoise waters, ten peaks over 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) high|
|Cultural Significance:||Featured on the reverse side of the Canadian twenty-dollar bill in 1969 and 1979|
11. Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, one of the most well-known waterfalls in the world, is located in both the United States and Canada. It is comprised of three distinct waterfalls that span the international boundary between the two countries.
Key Aspect: Niagara Falls
|Area:||5.1 square miles (13.2 square kilometers)|
|Climate:||Humid continental, with warm summers and cold winters|
|Terrain:||Gorge, waterfalls, river|
|Must-see attractions:||Niagara Falls State Park, Cave of the Winds|
|Popular activities:||Sightseeing, hiking, biking, boating.|
|Unique features:||One of the largest waterfalls in the world.|
|Cultural Significance:||Featured in numerous works of art and literature.|
12. Pamukkale, Denizli
Pamukkale, which is located in Denizli Province in Turkey, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is famous for the white travertine terraces and thermal pools there.
Key Aspect: Pamukkale, Denizli
|Area:||1,070 hectares (2,640 acres)|
|Climate:||Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and mild.|
|Terrain:||White travertine terraces and thermal pools|
|Must-see attractions:||The travertine terraces, the Hierapolis archaeological site|
|Popular activities:||Swimming in the thermal pools.|
|Unique features:||The thermal pools are also rich in minerals.|
|Cultural Significance:||Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.|
Arashiyama is a bamboo forest located in Kyoto, Japan. It is a popular place for a variety of outdoor activities, including walking, biking, and even boating.
Key Aspect: Arashiyama
|Area:||13.5 square kilometers|
|Terrain:||Hilly, with bamboo forests, temples, and shrines|
|Must-see attractions:||Tenryū-ji Temple, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.|
|Popular activities:||Walking, biking, boating, and visiting temples|
|Unique features:||Bamboo forest, temples and shrines, monkeys|
|Cultural Significance:||The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is one of the most iconic landscapes.|
14. Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to a number of lakes and waterfalls that flow in a cascading fashion.
Key Aspect: Plitvice Lakes National Park
|Climate:||Continental climate, with warm summers and cold winters|
|Terrain:||The Lower Lakes, the Upper Lakes, the Great Waterfall.|
|Must-see attractions:||Hiking, biking, boating, swimming|
|Popular activities:||The park’s 16 interconnected lakes and waterfalls|
|Unique features:||one of Croatia’s most popular tourist destinations|
|Cultural Significance:||UNESCO World Heritage Site|
On the shores of Lake Hallstatt and encircled by the Alps is the picturesque Austrian village of Hallstatt.
Key Aspect: Hallstatt
|Location:||Salzkammergut region of Upper Austria|
|Area:||5.55 square kilometers|
|Climate:||Alpine, with cold, snowy winters|
|Terrain:||Mountainous, with lakes and forests|
|Must-see attractions:||Hallstatt village, Lake Hallstatt, and Hallstatt Salt Mine|
|Popular activities:||Hiking, biking, boating, fishing, and skiing|
|Unique features:||A picturesque village is set on a lake surrounded by mountains|
|Cultural Significance:||UNESCO World Heritage Site|
16. Lavender fields
Rolling hills covered in lavender fields characterize the stunning landscape of Provence, which is located in southern France.
Key Aspect: Lavender fields
|Area:||Varies depending on location|
|Climate:||Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild|
|Terrain:||Rolling hills, plateaus, and valleys|
|Must-see attractions:||Valensole Plateau, Sault Plateau, and Luberon Plateau|
|Popular activities:||Hiking, biking, visiting lavender farms.|
|Unique features:||The most beautiful and iconic in the world|
|Cultural Significance:||They are a symbol of the region’s beauty and culture.|
17. Keukenhof Park
In the springtime, Keukenhof Park in the Netherlands is home to the blooming of millions of tulips, daffodils, and other types of flowers. This park is known all over the world.
Key Aspect: Keukenhof Park
|Location:||Lisse, South Holland, Netherlands|
|Area:||32 hectares (79 acres)|
|Climate:||Marine west coast climate|
|Must-see attractions:||Millions of tulips and daffodils|
|Popular activities:||Walking, biking, boating, picnicking, and photography|
|Unique features:||One of the largest and most famous flower gardens in the world|
|Cultural Significance:||It is a symbol of Dutch culture and springtime|
18. Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are a series of towering sea cliffs in Ireland that rise more than 230 meters (over 700 feet) above the Atlantic Ocean.
Key Aspect: Cliffs of Moher
|Location:||County Clare, Ireland|
|Area:||8 kilometers (5 miles) long and 214 meters (702 feet) high|
|Climate:||Temperate, with mild winters and cool summers|
|Terrain:||Sea cliffs, with grassy slopes and rocky outcrops|
|Must-see attractions:||The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, O’Brien’s Tower, and Hag’s Head|
|Popular activities:||Walking, hiking, birdwatching, and photography|
|Unique features:||The tallest and most dramatic sea cliffs in the world|
|Cultural Significance:||Popular tourist destination for centuries|
19. Kirkjufell Mountain
It is common practice to photograph Iceland’s Kirkjufell Mountain with the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall serving as a foreground element,beautiful cultural landscape. This mountain is in the shape of a cone.
Key Aspect: Kirkjufell Mountain
|Area:||150 meters (492 feet) tall|
|Must-see attractions:||Kirkjufell Mountain, Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, Grundarfjörður town|
|Popular activities:||Hiking, photography, sightseeing|
|Unique features:||Featured in many films and TV shows, including Game of Thrones.|
|Cultural Significance:||Symbol of Iceland’s natural beauty.|
Godafoss is a mighty waterfall in Iceland that is situated on the Ring Road, making it a well-known and frequently visited tourist destination.
Key Aspect: Godafoss
|Location:||Northern Iceland, on the Ring Road|
|Area:||0.1 square kilometers|
|Must-see attractions:||The waterfall itself, which is 30 meters high and 12 meters wide|
|Popular activities:||Viewing the waterfall, taking pictures, hiking|
|Unique features:||Surrounded by volcanic rock formations and lush vegetation|
|Cultural Significance:||The waterfall is a popular tourist destination.|
Do you want to capture the essence of these cultural landscapes? Don’t forget to read our essential travel photography accessories guide for tips on how to improve your photography skills and make the most of your trip! Read more here.
Finally reaching the end of our tour of these spectacular cultural landscapes, we are reminded of how wide and beautiful our world really is. From the interesting history and art of each of these places has its own story to tell. Cultural landscapes are more than just places; they are living expressions of our history, traditions, and hopes. They make us think about how important it is to protect and enjoy the variety of cultures that make our world so amazing.
What defines a cultural landscape?
A cultural landscape is a geographical area that has been altered, influenced, or shaped by human activity and is endowed with cultural, historical, or aesthetic value. It depicts the interaction between humans and their natural surroundings over time.
Are cultural landscapes restricted to historical sites?
No, cultural landscapes can include urban areas, rural landscapes, religious sites, agricultural regions, and other locations. They can be ancient or modern, displaying ongoing human interactions with the environment.
What steps are taken to preserve and protect cultural landscapes?
Cultural landscape preservation and protection efforts vary by location and may include legislation, conservation practices, community engagement, tourism management, and international agreements to protect their cultural, historical, and environmental value.