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UNESCO World Heritage Sites ideas

Across our programmes we offer a range of properties that provide convenient access to sites inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Have you always wanted to visit the Colosseum or the Acropolis; to discover historical villages such as Modica and Scicli in Sicily or to visit the rock carvings at Vitlycke in Sweden? Or maybe it is the cultural landscape of the Fjords that fascinates you? Look no further as Sunvil can take you there.

Sintra, Portugal:

To the west of the Portuguese capital is the elegant town of Sintra, once the holiday haunt of Europe’s nobility. Included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, Sintra boasts several manor houses and palaces and its environs are ideal for keen walkers, with forests and hillside trails to explore.

For your visit to Sintra we suggest Hotel Lawrence

Verona, Italy:
The city of Verona is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a historical delight. Founded in the 1st century BC, it boasts many Roman remains, market squares and frescoed buildings. From Friday 20 June until Sunday 07 September 2014 the Arena di Verona will be the setting for the annual opera festival and Aida, Turandot, Carmen and Madame Butterfly will all be performed in this atmospheric theatre.

For your visit to Verona we suggest  Hotel Aurora

Roros, Norway:
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Roros, snuggled deep in the mountains 2-hours from Trondheim, has a distinct and unique magical atmosphere. It is one of Europe’s oldest preserved wooden towns, and at every turn red-timber houses pay homage to the copper industry that bought wealth to the region. Roros, was recently the inspiration for the Disney film ‘Frozen’.

For your visit to Roros we suggest Hotel Roros

The Acropolis, Athens
Needs no introduction! We can arrange short breaks to Athens, or an overnight or two in conjunction with our holidays to Andros, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Hydra and Spetses, or with our Hidden Greece fly-drives. Athens can also be visited for the day as part of an organised coach excursion with guide from Tolon.

For your visit to Acropolis we suggest Herodion

Ancient Phillippi, Thassos, Greece:

Founded by King Phillip 2nd of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great, in 356 BC, the site houses the remains of the earliest Christian churches in Europe, the Acropolis of Philippi, historic mosaics, Roman baths and part of the original Via Egnatia road that runs across the entire country – you can see chariot tracks and games such as hopscotch that the Romans carved into the stones.

Chora and the the Monastery of St John, Patmos
Patmos is reputed to be where St John the Theologian wrote both his Gospel and the Apocalypse. A monastery dedicated to the ‘beloved disciple’ was founded there in the late 10th century and dominates the island. The old settlement of Chorá below contains many religious and secular buildings. Our holidays to Patmos are via Samos with a ferry connection.

For your visit to Chora and the the Monastery of St John we suggest Patmos Garden

Medieval City of Rhodes
The Order of St John of Jerusalem occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523 and set about transforming the city into a stronghold. It subsequently came under Turkish and Italian rule. With the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Great Hospital and the Street of the Knights, the Upper Town is one of the most beautiful urban ensembles of the Gothic period. In the Lower Town, Gothic architecture coexists with mosques, public baths and other buildings dating from the Ottoman period.

For your visit to the Medieval City of Rhodes we suggest Nikos-Takis Fashion Hotel

Corfu Old Town
The Old Town of Corfu is located in a strategic position at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea, and has its roots in the 8th century BC. The three Venetian forts of the town were used for centuries to defend the maritime trading interests of the Republic of Venice against the Ottoman Empire. The mainly neoclassical housing stock of the Old Town is partly from the Venetian period, partly the 19th century when the town was under British rule. Corfu Old Town can be easily visited from our resort of Agios Gordis on the island’s west coast by local bus, organised tour or rental car.

For your visit to Corfu Old Town we suggest Villa George

Pythagorion and Heraion, Samos

Many civilizations have inhabited this small Aegean island, near Asia Minor, since the 3rd millennium B.C. The remains of Pythagorion, an ancient fortified port with Greek and Roman monuments and a spectacular tunnel-aqueduct, as well as the Heraion, temple of the Samian Hera, can still be seen.

For your visit to Pythagorion and Heraion we suggest Dias Studios

Epidavros, Mycenae and Tyrins (north Peloponnese)

All within striking distance of Tolon and Nafplion, where we have a wide range of holiday accommodation. Epidavros was the centre of a healing cult and dates from the 6th century BC. Its famous amphitheatre dates from 4BC and performances still take place every July and August. Going back even further Mycenae and Tiryns were two of the most important cities of Mycenean Greece, which flourished between the 15th and 12th centuries BC.  

For your visit to Epidavros we suggest Lido Apartments

Other Greek UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Olympia, Delphi and Meteora can be included as part of a Hidden Greece fly-drive itinerary. The holy island of Delos can be visited for the day from Mykonos. Those staying at Olymbiada in Halkidiki can view the monasteries of Mount Athos from a day cruise along the western coast of the Holy Mountain.

Butrint, Albania

Ancient Buthrotum. Important and impressive Greco-Roman city, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, south of Saranda on a bluff of land half-circled by a large lake. Inhabited continuously from the 7th C BC until abandoned in 18th C. Impressive cyclopean walls and deep well within the gate, reminiscent of Mycenae – but most excavated remains are Roman.

Gjirokaster, Albania

This fascinating and historic small town is also on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Largely medieval, with some lovely architecture to admire reflecting the town’s wealthy past, it is built on a hill overlooking valley and mountains. Excellent views from the large castle above, which houses a weapons museum! Some good restaurants in the narrow cobbled lanes of the old town.

Berat, Albania

Another member of the UNESCO club, Berat is called ‘the town of a thousand eyes’ because of the many-windowed old houses that crowd above the river Osrum and up the hill. High along the ridge is a 14th C citadel, its walls enclosing no fewer that fourteen small painted churches (hence the presence of the famous Onufri icon museum). The Turkish influence may be seen in the town’s three mosques and tekke, also worth visiting.

Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Cartagena, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was founded in 1533 and was the main gateway out of South America for the gold and jewels pillaged by the Spanish Conquistadors; it was, therefore, heavily fortified.  Located to the north of Colombia on the Caribbean Coast, Cartagena is the most romantic, vibrant, colourful and beautiful city in South America.  A rich historical legacy, excellent boutique hotels and restaurants and an electric mix of Spanish, African and Caribbean cultures make Cartagena perhaps Colombia's premier tourist attraction.  So yes, it is a city for the tourist, but you will never tire of exploring the colourful squares, labyrinthine, flower- bedecked streets, quaint corners, the pastel coloured houses of the colonial nobility and the beautiful churches. Cartagena must also be the world's capital of beautiful doors and antique brass door knockers, which can be found for sale in antique shops in the town.
Built by slaves in 1536, the fortress of San Felipe de Barajas is the largest and most sophisticated fort built by Spain in the Americas and is a UNESCO World Heritage monument in its own right. In 1741 the British, under Admiral Vernon, failed to take Cartagena, much to the embarrassment of the Crown at the time – but, in the early days, Francis Drake plundered and ransacked the city.
There is much to do in and around Cartagena other than people watch from the numerous cafés.  A sight not to be missed is the Caribbean sunset from the ramparts of the old town.  The sea and grey sand beaches around the city are not particularly exciting, so take a day trip for snorkelling and sunbathing to the 27 offshore coral islands with their white sand beaches and crystal clear waters that make up the national park of the Rosario archipelago.

For your visit to Cartagena de Indias we suggest Hotel Alfiz

Coffee Axis zone, Colombia

It is a one hour flight from Bogotá to either Manizales, Pereira or Armenia, the three cities which form the axis of one of the most beautiful and fertile regions in Colombia.  Here the pre-Colombia culture runs deeper than the Spanish legacy.  Such is the importance of this region that it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This landscape of dark green coffee fields, vast valleys and towering snow capped mountain peaks is where age old haciendas cultivate the famous Arabica coffee beans. Colombia is synonymous with coffee - arguably the best coffee in the world.  There are over half a million coffee farmers in Colombia which produces 12% of the world's production.  Orchids flourish in the area and hummingbirds abound - a veritable paradise. The area is classed as a tropical Andean forest and is at a height of between 1,300 and 1,700 metres.
The three cities are all different. Manizales represents culture with its museums and monuments, Armenia was completely reconstructed after the 1999 earthquake and Pereira known for its nightlife and gastronomy -  the 'City Without Doors' as nobody here is treated as an outsider.
At least three to four nights are required in the coffee zone based in either Pereira or Armenia. As well as guided tours of the cities, there are fascinating tours of coffee haciendas for a full explanation of the growing and processing methods and visits to traditional colonial towns like Filandia and Salento in the Valle Del Cocora which forms part of the Parque Nacional de Los Nevados. Colombia's national tree, the Quindian wax palm grows here. These palms can reach a height of 60m and are the tallest in the world.

For your visit to the Coffee Axis zone we suggest Hacienda San Jose
Quito, Ecuador

Designated by UNESCO in 1978 as the first city worthy to be a World Heritage site.  Located in the lush green Guapulo valley and surrounded by towering volcanoes, at an altitude of 2850m - it is the second highest city in Latin America.  Quito’s magnificent historic quarter, boasts some of the continent’s best-preserved and most beautiful Spanish colonial architecture, all in a compact area that’s easily explored on foot.  Quito enjoys a spring like climate throughout the year.  Quito combines the Spanish colonial charm of the old city with its wrought-iron balconies, pastel coloured buildings, narrow rambling streets and cobbled plazas with the bustling broad avenues and commercial activity of the new city to the north.  Just outside the city there is a large monument and museum to mark the Equatorial line.   

There is a swish cable car that transports passengers up the slopes of Volcan Pichincha above the capital.  Quichua-speaking women queue for buses in traditional clothing with metres of beads strung tightly around their necks, and children are carried on their mothers’ backs in securely wrapped blankets.  

For your visit to Quito we suggest Casa Gangotena

Peninsula Valdes, Argentina

A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, Peninsula Valdes is one of the most significant marine reserves in the world. Along the 400km coastline, wildlife observation is stunning: sea lions, elephant seals, Magellan penguins and dolphins can all be spotted up close. There is abundant bird life with plenty of eagles, owls and lesser rheas, while on land, where winds are generally strong, the flat wilderness is home to the Patagonian hare, grey fox and guanacos. The biggest draw, however, is the endangered southern right whale. Best time to visit is between mid-June and mid-December, with the peak season between September and October, when the 12m long and more than 27 tonnes weighing whales breed and bear young here, and whale-watching excursions by inflatable Zodiac-style rafts depart daily. While most travellers visit Peninsula Valdes on a long (10-12 hour) day trip from the port town of Puerto Madryn, a two hour flight from Buenos Aires and the gateway to the narrow isthmus by which the peninsula is attached to the eastern Patagonian coast, the best way to explore the area is by hiring a car. It allows you to decide how much time you would like to spend wildlife-watching, and offers the opportunity to stay at an estancia.

For your visit to we Peninsula Valdes suggest Faro Punta Delgada Estancia

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