Our goal to visit every UNESCO World Heritage Site in the World!

by | Oct 10, 2018 | Latest Posts, UNESCO Sites

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As of 2018 there are 1092 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world and we’re on a mission to visit them all! We started our UNESCO journey in 2015 and have since visited 260 UNESCO World Heritage Sites across the globe.

 

Deadvlei, Namib Sand Sea UNESCO, Namibia

 

Why do we visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

 

To us UNESCO World Heritage sites represent some of the world’s greatest treasures. Our obsession with UNESCO sites began accidentally when, over time, we found ourselves referring to the list for inspiration whenever we were planning a trip. While some of the sites like Petra, Sydney Opera House and the Statue of Liberty are world famous there are many are hidden gems which we wouldn’t otherwise have been aware of. Mount Koya in Japan, My Son in Vietnam and the Archaeological Site of Aigai in Greece were all sites we visited due to their UNESCO designation and are among some of the most incredible things we’ve seen on our travels.

Of course not all UNESCO sites are equal and, while it’s easy to understand their cultural or natural significance, there are some that are quite an effort to get to and don’t have much to see when you do make it!

Okunoin Cemetry, Mount Koya, Japan

 

What is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site that is listed by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). To be included on the World Heritage List the site must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten natural and cultural selection criteria. The list began in 1978 when 12 sites from Canada, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Poland, Germany, Senegal and the US were inscribed to the list.

The first 12 UNESCO to be inscribed

 

How many UNESCO World Heritage Site sites are in there in the world?

 

As of 2018 there are 1092 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world.

The list is revised every year – in 2018 20 new sites were added, in 2017 26 new sites were added and in 2016 21 new sites were inscribed to the list. 54 of the 1092 sites are listed as in danger meaning that they are experiencing conditions which threaten the characteristics for which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List. To date, only two sites have been delisted – these were the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman and the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany.

 

Can you visit every UNESCO in the world?

 

It’s extremely difficult!

Some sites are considered inaccessible and almost impossible to reach: for example, Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn Islands, is one of the most remote places in the world. Visiting the island requires special permission from the Pitcairn Island Council and there are no flights, cruises or cargo ships which travel to the islands.

Other countries are experiencing extreme conflicts which make the possibility of visiting unlikely: only time will tell whether countries such as Yemen and Syria will recover for tourism purposes in our lifetime.

 

Our journey to visit every UNESCO in the world: current total 260

 

As of October 2018 we’ve visited the following UNESCO sites, listed by country:

 

Australia

  • Sydney Opera House

 

Sydney Opera House and Bridge, Australia

 

Austria

  • Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg
  • City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg
  • Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps

 

Belgium

Check out a detailed guide to the Belgium UNESCO sites here

  • Flemish Béguinages
  • La Grand-Place, Brussels
  • The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainaut)
  • Belfries of Belgium and France
  • Historic Centre of Brugge
  • Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels)
  • Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons)
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai
  • Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex
  • Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe
  • Stoclet House
  • Major Mining Sites of Wallonia
  • The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement

 

Historic Centre of Bruges from the Belfry Tower

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Check out a detailed guide to the Bosnia and Herzegovina UNESCO sites here

 

Deep in thought at the Stari Most Bridge, Mostar

 

Botswana

 

Feeling tiny next to an elephant skeleton in the Okavango Delta

 

Brazil

  • Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea

 

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

 

Bulgaria

  • Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo

 

Rock hewn Church, Ivano

 

Cambodia

 

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

 

China

  • Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang
  • The Great Wall
  • Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing

 

Croatia

Check out our detailed guide to the Croatia UNESCO sites here

  • Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian
  • Old City of Dubrovnik
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Poreč
  • Historic City of Trogir
  • The Cathedral of St James in Šibenik
  • Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe
  • Stari Grad Plain
  • Stećci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards

 

Diocletian’s Palace, Split

 

Czechia

  • Historic Centre of Prague

 

Denmark

  • Roskilde Cathedral
  • Kronborg Castle
  • Stevns Klint
  • The par force hunting landscape in North Zealand

 

The stunning Stevns Klint, Denmark

 

Egypt

 

Estonia

  • Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn
  • Struve Geodetic Arc

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn

 

Ethiopia

  • Tiya

 

Tiya, Ethopia

 

France

  • Chartres Cathedral
  • Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay
  • Palace and Park of Versailles
  • Vézelay, Church and Hill
  • Amiens Cathedral
  • Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay
  • Palace and Park of Fontainebleau
  • Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi and Palace of Tau, Reims
  • Paris, Banks of the Seine
  • Bourges Cathedral
  • The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes
  • Provins, Town of Medieval Fairs
  • Le Havre, the City Rebuilt by Auguste Perret
  • Fortifications of Vauban
  • Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars
  • The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement

 

Mont-Saint-Michel, France

 

 

Georgia

  • Gelati Monastery
  • Historical Monuments of Mtskheta
  • Upper Svaneti
  •  

 

 

Germany

  • Aachen Cathedral
  • Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Brühl
  • Cologne Cathedral
  • Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin
  • Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch
  • Maulbronn Monastery Complex
  • Monastic Island of Reichenau
  • Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski
  • Pilgrimage Church of Wies
  • Speyer Cathedral
  • Town of Bamberg
  • Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square
  • Messel P