Countries with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites

by | Mar 3, 2018 | Latest Posts, UNESCO Sites | 2 comments

This post may contain compensated links. Find more info in our disclosure policy.

As at 2018, there are 1,073 UNESCO World Heritage Sites dotted across the globe and something we often research when planning upcoming trips is which countries have the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world!

With 53 sites Italy takes the crown as the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites, closely followed by China with 52. Europe dominates in the top 10 UNESCO countries with an impressive 215 sites across Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the UK. In total, there are 13 countries with over 20 UNESCO sites so if, like us, you are on a mission to visit every UNESCO in the world these countries are a good place to start!

Which countries have the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

1 | Italy: 53 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Italy takes the crown as the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. As the birthplace of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance it has an abundance of culture: 48 of its 53 sites are cultural and 5 are natural.

Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in Italy: 13 of the 53 UNESCO Sites

Our favourite UNESCO sites in Italy: Venice, the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie which houses the Da Vinci masterpiece The Last Supper, the Colosseum and Pompeii

UNESCO site we most want to visit in Italy: The Dolomites

The Colosseum

Pompeii

2 | China: 52 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

A late starter to the UNESCO game, China has powered up the UNESCO ranks with 52 sites now listed. When excluding UNESCOs shared with other countries, China is the country with the highest number of unique sites.

Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in China: 3 of the 52 UNESCO sites

Our favourite UNESCO sites in China: The Great Wall of China

UNESCO site we most want to visit in China: Wulingyuan

The Great Wall of China

3 | Spain: 46 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Europe still dominates the UNESCO listings with 5 of the top 10 countries with the most UNESCOs being based in Europe. Spain has a compelling mix of culture and a diverse range of stunning natural landscapes and boasts 46 UNESCOs.

Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in Spain: 21 of the 46 UNESCO sites

Our favourite UNESCO sites in Spain: Poblet Monastery, Santiago de Compostela, Works of Anton Gaudi, and Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona

UNESCO site we most want to visit in Spain: Ibiza

Parque Güell, one of Gaudi’s work

Hospital de Sant Pau

 

 

4 | France: 43 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

History, culture and well preserved sites make France number 4 in the list of countries with the most UNESCO sites. France has 43 sites: 39 cultural, 3 natural and one mixed.

Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in France: 17 of the 43 UNESCO sites

Our favourite UNESCO sites in France: Mont-Saint-Michel, Versailles, Vézelay, Champagne and Provins

UNESCO site we most want to visit in France: Gulf of Porto

Mont Saint Michel

Versailles

 

5 | Germany: 42 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Stunning monuments, parks, cities and palaces throughout Germany help secure its spot as one of the most UNESCO heavy countries in the world with 42 sites.

Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in Germany: 14 of the 42 UNESCO sites

Our favourite UNESCO sites in Germany: Bamberg and Cologne Catherdral

UNESCO site we most want to visit in Germany: Hamburg Wadden Sea

 

 

6 | India: 36 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

India has a rich culture and an abundance of art and architecture and it is home to 36 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the 6th most UNESCO listed country in the world and the UNESCO jewel of Asia.

Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in India: 0 of the 36 UNESCO sites

UNESCO site we most want to visit in India: Taj Mahal

7 | Mexico: 34 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

A mix of nature and culture mean Mexico has been awarded 34 UNESCO World Heritage Site listings, the highest number in South America and the 7th in the world.

Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in Mexico: 2 of the 34 UNESCO sites

Our favourite UNESCO sites in Mexico: Xochimilco and Teotihuacan

UNESCO site we most want to visit in Mexico: Uxmal and the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

Teotihuacan

Xochimilco

 

8 | UK: 31 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The UK has an impressive 31 UNESCO World Heritage Sites with 28 located on the mainland and 3 in its overseas territories. The UK is home to some of the hardest to reach UNESCOs – Gough and Inaccessible Islands are part of the Tristian a Cunha archipelago, the most remote archipelago in the world while Henderson Island is part of the Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific and is remote, only accessible by boat and requires permission from the Pitcairn Island Council to visit.

Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in the UK: 18 of the 31 UNESCO sites

Our favourite UNESCO sites in the UK: Giant’s Causeway, Bath, Blenheim Palace

UNESCO site we most want to visit in the UK: St Kilda

Giant’s Causeway

9 | Russia: 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Russia is number 9 with 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Its forests, mountains, volcanoes and lakes mean it has the fourth highest number of natural sites in the world with 11 natural sites and its intricate history has resulted in 17 fascinating cultural sights.

Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in Russia: 0 of the 28 UNESCO sites

UNESCO site we want to visit the most in Russia: Western Caucasus, Wrangel Island and the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow

10 | USA: 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The United States is due to withdraw from UNESCO at the end of 2018 so its time on the list might be limited. At the moment it’s the 10th most UNESCO rich country with 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites listed.

Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in the USA: 5 of the 31 UNESCO sites

Our favourite UNESCO sites in the USA: The Grand Canyon and Yosemite

UNESCO site we most want to visit in the USA: Glacier Bay National Park

Grand Canyon

Iran, Brazil and Japan also have over 20 UNESCO each

Brazil, Iran and Japan each boast 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites within their borders making them a rich choice for UNESCO hunters.

Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in Iran, Brazil and Japan: Iran 0, Japan 10 and Brazil 1 of the 21 UNESCO sites in each country

Our favourite UNESCO Brazil and Japan: Christ the Redeemer in Brazil and Shirakawa-go, Nikko and Mount Koya in Japan

UNESCO site we most want to visit in Iran, Brazil and Japan: the Ogasawara Islands in Japan, Soltaniyeh and Bam in Iran and Iguazú Falls in Brazil

Mount Koya, Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range, Japan

Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer, Brazil

2 Comments

  1. Juber Mujawar

    Why don’t u want to come to India? Is there any problem?U western media never praise India for anything!

    Reply
    • Elaine McArdle

      Hi Juber

      We would love to visit India and it’s on our list of places to go! We have an 8month old so will likely wait until he is a little older and able to enjoy it.

      Elaine

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Get to know Elaine and Dave!

Learn more about us!

Planning a trip?

Where do you want to go?!

RESOURCES

How to start a travel blog Learn how to travel more Our Photography Gear!

Like Travel and Photography?

Join our 175,000 monthly readers for inspiration!

You have Successfully Subscribed!