As at 2020, there are 1,1121 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 55 sites Italy takes the crown as the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites alongside China. Europe dominates in the top 10 UNESCO countries with an impressive 226 sites across Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the UK. In total, there are 15 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!
This list reflects the latest count of countries with the most UNESCO World Heritage sites. It includes the 29 sites granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2019.
Countries with the most UNESCO sites: while this list is only intended to cover the countries with the most UNESCO sites it is worth noting that there are smaller countries with a high concentration of sites. If your goal is to visit as many sites as possible in a short space of time we’ve managed to visit 13 in Belgium during a three day visit, 14 during a week long South Korea road trip and ticked off hundreds while exploring Europe on a series of road trips.
Which countries have the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites?
1 | Italy: 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Italy and China take the crown as the countries with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. As the birthplace of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance, Italy has an abundance of culture: 50 of its 55 sites are cultural and 5 are natural.
Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in Italy: 29 of the 55 UNESCO Sites
Our favorite UNESCO sites in Italy: Venice, the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie which houses the Da Vinci masterpiece The Last Supper, the Colosseum, Val D’Orica and Pompeii.
UNESCO site we most want to visit in Italy: The Dolomites
2 | China: 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
A late starter to the UNESCO game, China has powered up the UNESCO ranks with 55 sites now listed. When excluding UNESCO sites 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 55 UNESCO sites
Our favorite UNESCO sites in China: The Great Wall of China
UNESCO site we most want to visit in China: Wulingyuan
3 | Spain: 48 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 48 UNESCOs.
Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in Spain: 21 of the 48 UNESCO sites
Our favorite 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
4 | Germany: 46 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 46 sites.
Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in Germany: 14 of the 46 UNESCO sites
Our favorite UNESCO sites in Germany: Bamberg and Cologne Cathedral
UNESCO site we most want to visit in Germany: Hamburg Wadden Sea
5 | France: 45 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
History, culture and well-preserved sites make France number 5 in the list of countries with the most UNESCO sites. France has 45 sites: 39 cultural, 5 natural and one mixed.
Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in France: 17 of the 45 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
6 | India: 37 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
India has a rich culture and an abundance of art and architecture and it is home to 38 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 37 UNESCO sites
UNESCO site we most want to visit in India: Taj Mahal
7 | Mexico: 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
A mix of nature and culture mean Mexico has been awarded 35 UNESCO World Heritage Site listings, the highest number in the Americas and the 7th in the world.
Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in Mexico: 5 of the 35 UNESCO sites
Our favorite UNESCO sites in Mexico: Xochimilco, Teotihuacan, Chichen Itza, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
UNESCO site we most want to visit in Mexico: Campeche and Oaxaca
8 | UK: 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The UK has an impressive 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites with 29 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. Henderson Island is part of the Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific and is remote, only accessible by boat and requires explicit permission from the Pitcairn Island Council to visit.
Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in the UK: 18 of the 32 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
9 | Russia: 29 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Russia is number 9 with 29 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 18 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 | Iran and USA: 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The United States is due to withdraw from UNESCO so its time on the list might be limited. At the moment it’s the joint 10th most UNESCO rich country alongside Iran with 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites listed.
Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in the USA: 8 of the 23 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
Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in Iran: 0 of the 23 UNESCO sites
UNESCO site we most want to visit in Iran: Soltaniyeh and Bam in Iran
Brazil and Japan also have over 20 UNESCO each
Brazil and Japan boast 22 and 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites within their borders respectively making them a rich choice for UNESCO hunters.
Number of UNESCO sites we’ve visited in Brazil and Japan: Japan 10 and Brazil 1 of the 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 Brazil and Japan: the Ogasawara Islands in Japan and Iguazú Falls in Brazil