There are more than 1,000 UNESCO World Heritage Sites across the globe, which means the United Nations has said there are a millennium of culturally or physically significant places to see (including buildings, cities, deserts, lakes, monuments, mountains, and islands).
What an amazing world we live in!
We love this program SO MUCH because we are a company of intrepid travelers who want to experience the best the world has to offer, sharing our favorite locations with our guests and allowing them to access these awesome places in private yacht style.
Did you know you can access nearly 100 World Heritage sites while cruising on a Windstar yacht?
So many of our itineraries provide access to UNESCO World Heritage Sites that it would be tedious to list them all here, but we may have outdone ourselves on the new Marvels of the Croatian Coast & Greece –a new 12-day cruise sail on a Venice to Athens adventure aboard Wind Star. The voyage is a tour-de-force of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with access to 11 on a single cruise – a Windstar record.
In addition to the more historically focused UNESCO sites, we also love accessing many UNESCO World Heritage Sites all over the world, like the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park on St. Kitts (experienced via scenic railway), Bahia Culebra / Playas del Coco in Costa Rica (where Windstar yacht is anchored for two days), and Surtsey on Heimaey Island, Iceland (with the volcanic island viewed via sea plane).
We recently returned from our James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise of Spain & France in June, where our guests had immediate access to seven UNESCO sites: perhaps the most impressive being Mont St. Michel, with access from the lovely port of St.-Malo (where Star Legend prettily docked right outside the historic city walls).
At Mont St. Michel, each day the tide comes in and completely envelops the medieval monastery in Normandy, France. It is considered one of the great religious sites in all of Europe, but it’s the entire structure and the winding street approaching the abbey (which was built on a granite slab 250 feet above the sea) that makes this place so special.
With a guided tour of the abbey, you get a sense of what constructing this architectural achievement was like, as well as the history of the monks and others who called this unusual place home. After the tour, guests have free time to browse the shops and have lunch
(we recommend the soufflé-like omelet at La Mère Poulard, which in the 1800s started cooking giant omelets in a wooden hearth to make travelers stay even when the impending tide beckoned them to skedaddle).
Following time on “the mont,” we returned to Star Legend along a quiet coastal road, passing small towns and traditional fishing harbors along the short journey.
Also on the same sailing, we were delighted to dock overnight in Bordeaux, which is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its plethora of 13th century cathedrals and 18th century palaces. And due to Windstar’s small ship size, we are able to sail down the Garonne River and allow our guests incredible access to the city – docking in the absolute heart of the action with amazing views of the “Port of the Moon.” Guests who venture beyond the city’s borders to the nearby Saint-Émilion on a shore excursion with Windstar can experience a breathtaking medieval village set among the vineyards that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What are your favorite World Heritage Sites? Are there any you wish Windstar would sail to? Leave them in the comments!