Blog Post


At World Monuments Fund (WMF), we celebrate tourism as a pillar of cultural preservation and economic development while recognizing the challenges that it can bring to popular destinations and surrounding communities. In our work around the world, we strive for a sustainable ecosystem in which heritage, people, environment, and local economy are combined to respond effectively to local needs.

One way tourists can be more sustainable is to optimize their travel footprint by selecting lesser-known places to explore during their travels.

From picturesque hikes in Wales to a sacred city near the Nile River, we have selected 5 must-see locations you should consider visiting on your next trip to Egypt, Portugal, Mexico, France, or the UK.


1 - Abydos, Egypt

Detail of hieroglyph reliefs in the Temple of Seti I at Abydos, Egypt.

We know the pyramids and Luxor Temple tend to be top-of-mind destinations to anyone considering a trip to Egypt but we believe no one should skip visiting Abydos.

The prominent sacred city located on the west bank of the Nile River is one of the oldest and most important archeological sites of ancient Egypt, occupied from as early as 3300 BCE. It was the royal burial ground for Egypt’s first pharaohs and later, the center of worship for the cult of Osiris, god of the underworld. The temple of Seti I is one of the most beautiful in the country, and its surrounding areas house a vast complex of cemeteries that have been sacred burial locations since before Egyptian history and past Roman times.


2 - Marine Stations, Lisbon, Portugal

In the touristy Belém area near downtown Lisbon, you can find popular destinations like the Jerónimos Monastery, the Belém Tower, and the worldwide famous Pastéis de Belém pastries. Located within a 10-minute drive from that area are the historic Marine Stations of Alcântara and Rocha do Conde de Óbidos.

Designed in the 1940s by the architect Porfírio Pardal Monteiro as part of a major urbanization plan, they are one of the most outstanding examples of modernist architecture of the era. Featuring 14 mural paintings by artist José de Almada Negreiros, they showcase the greatness of the Portuguese nation and its numerous achievements to all those passing through the port.


3 - Atzompa Archeological Site, Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico

Mexico is known for its impressive architectural remains, including Monte Albán in the Oaxaca Valley, one of the most significant archeological zones in Mesoamerica and a top destination for tourists. But when visiting Monte Albán, many people don’t realize that another outstanding archeological site, Atzompa, is a very short distance away.

Once a residential outpost northeast of the main city of Monte Albán, it features monumental residential architecture, several ballcourts, tombs, and unique funerary buildings with well-conserved pre-Hispanic mural paintings. Need an extra incentive to visit? The ticket to Monte Albán includes an entrance to the site.


4 - Church of Saint-Eustache, Paris, France

Interior view of the church and its famed Great Organ, 2019. Photo credit: Louis Robiche/Paroisse Saint-Eustache.

Paris is a wonderful destination to go to year-round and its churches are always worth a visit.

When thinking about exploring religious sites in Paris, many immediately think of Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre. However, we highly recommend visiting the beautiful Church of Saint-Eustache, an imposing Gothic masterpiece located next to Les Halles, Paris’s historic marketplace. The architectural masterpiece features early French Renaissance and Romanesque artistic elements as well as richly decorated interiors.


5 - Strata Florida - Wales, United Kingdom

Famous for offering stunning hikes and having more than 600 castles built throughout its land, Wales is also home to Strata Florida, located in a picturesque area of Ceredigion between the Cambrian Mountains and the sea.

A former Cistercian Abbey, Strata Florida was founded in 1164 as a major center for Welsh cultural and political identity on an ancient site of regional Iron Age and Celtic importance. Sometimes known as the “Westminster Abbey of Wales,” this is a place where members of Rhys’ royal dynasty are buried and where key early literary and historical texts in the Welsh language were created. After WMF partnered with the Strata Florida Trust in 2016 to conserve the ancient buildings and implement activities to create a sustainable community asset, the site was selected by The Prince’s Foundation in 2018 as a heritage project to be supported in celebration of the Prince of Wales’s 70th birthday, now King Charles III.



Practical Information

Marine Stations (Gares Marítimas), Lisbon

Atzompa, Mexico

Saint-Eustache, Paris

Strata Florida, Wales


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