Walk the world's most exquisite lands with famous heritage sites galore

Famous heritage sites such as Vatican City, the pyramids of Giza and Great Barrier Reef bare no secret to how exceptional the world can appear. And whether man-made masterpieces or natural wonders, these sites will forever stand as the globe’s greatest treasures.

Now 962 exceptional places have been declared world heritage sites from as far as Algeria to Argentina, Canada to Colombia, all revealing a sheer beauty that – thanks to UNESCO –  will remain protected throughout the world.

From the majestic architecture of La Alhambra in Granada, the south of Spain, biosphere preserves like the Serengeti and archeological sites such as Easter Island off the coast of Chile, these heritage sites are captivating not only visually, but historically, telling a tale of ancient history and past cultures. View the gallery to see for yourself…

Machu Picchu 
Set 8,000 ft above sea in the middle of one of Peru's tropical mountain forests, high enough to be within the clouds, you will find the majestic Machu Picchu. "The Lost City of the Incas", Machu Picchu – meaning old peak in the Quechua language – was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire as its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The Sacred District of Machu Picchu boasts some of the most important ruins in Central and South America such as the Intihuatana and the Temple of the Sun reasons alone to head to South America / Rex Features

Vatican City  
Often described as the one of the most beautiful cities on earth, the sacred state lies within the city limits of Rome, and with a population of around 900, it is the world's smallest state. But despite its size, the tiny city is packed with history and intrigue, with St Peter's Basilica, with its double colonnade and a circular piazza at its centre. One of its most important landmarks is the Pope's home, the Apostolic Palace, with breathtaking interiors and ceiling frescoes painted by Michelangelo / Rex Features 

La Alhambra  
Rising high above the modern town of Granada, this palace and fortress has earned its reputation as one of the most famous World Heritage sites because of its regal beauty and intricate architecture. Constructed in the 14th century by the Moorish rulers of the Emirate of Granada and Moorish poets, the gem of the south of Spain was described as 'a pearl set in emeralds' / Rex Features 

The vast plains of Serengeti National Park comprise around 1.5 million hectares of Savannah. The annual migration of some two million species that takes places in the park is one of the most impressive nature spectacles in the entire world. Animals found in the Serengeti include black rhinoceros, wild dogs and cheetahs / Rex Features 

Great Barrier Reef 
Recognised as the world's most extensive coral reef ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef is an outstanding entity and practically the entire ecosystem was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1981. Within the ecosystem there are around 2,500 individual reefs of varying sizes and shapes, and over 900 islands / Rex Features 

Easter Island 
The remote Polynesian island – one of the remotest in the world, tucked away in the South Pacific Ocean – is home to huge monumental statues, called Maoi, that weigh hundreds of tonnes and rise as high as 60ft. Created by the early Rapunui people to represent important ancestors, their history remains mysterious  / Rex Features  

Pyramids of Giza
Set your sights on the Pyramids of Giza, a complex of ancient monuments in Cairo that are the last standing of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The monuments consist of the Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure, and the Great Sphinx / Rex Features