Top 20 Most Spectacular Cultural Landscapes in the World

Cultural Landscapes

“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)
Climate:Humid subtropical
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
Area: 328 km2
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

Location: Southern India
Area: 130,058 km²
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
Terrain: Sedimentary rock
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

Location: Niagara Gorge
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

Location: Turkey
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.

13. Arashiyama

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

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Area: 13.5 square kilometers
Climate:Humid subtropical
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

Location: Central Croatia
Area: 300 km²
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

15. Hallstatt

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

Location: Provence, France
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
Terrain: Sandy plain
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

Location: Grundarfjörður, Iceland
Area: 150 meters (492 feet) tall
Climate:Subpolar oceanic
Terrain: Cone-shaped mountain
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.

20. Godafoss

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
Terrain: Volcanic plateau
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.

Originally posted 2023-09-28 02:35:04.


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