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

by | Oct 12, 2017 | Latest Posts, UNESCO Sites

As of 2017 there are 1073 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 199 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 2017 there are 1073 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world.

The list is revised every year – in 2017 26 new sites were added and in 2016 21 new sites were inscribed to the list. 54 of the 1073 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 199

 

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

 

Germany

  • Aachen Cathedral
  • Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Brühl
  • Cologne Cathedral
  • Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin

 

Colossal church, Museum Island, Berlin

 

Greece

Check out our detailed guide to the Greece UNESCO sites here

 

  • Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae
  • Acropolis, Athens
  • Archaeological Site of Delphi
  • Medieval City of Rhodes
  • Meteora
  • Mount Athos
  • Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessalonika
  • Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus
  • Archaeological Site of Mystras
  • Archaeological Site of Olympia
  • Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios
  • Archaeological Site of Aigai (modern name Vergina)
  • Archaeological Sites of Mycenae and Tiryns
  • Archaeological Site of Philippi

 

Meteora moments, Greece

 

Holy See

  • Vatican City

 

On top of the world at the top of St Peters Dome, Vatican

Buda Castle

 

Ireland

Check out our detailed guide to the Ireland UNESCO sites here

  • Brú na Bóinne – Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne
  • Skellig Michael

 

Skellig Michael, Ireland

 

Israel

  • Masada

 

Italy

  • Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci
  • Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura
  • Venice and its Lagoon
  • City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto
  • Crespi d’Adda
  • Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata
  • Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua
  • Costiera Amalfitana
  • Villa Adriana (Tivoli)
  • City of Verona
  • Villa d’Este, Tivoli

 

Dawn breaking in Venice, Italy

 

Japan

 

The Golden Pavillion, Kyoto, Japan

 

Jerusalem (Site proposed by Jordan)

  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls

 

The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem

 

Jordan

  • Petra
  • Quseir Amra
  • Um er-Rasas (Kastrom Mefa’a)
  • Wadi Rum Protected Area

 

The Monastery at Petra

 

Latvia

  • Historic Centre of Riga

 

House of the Blackheads, Riga

 

Lesotho

 

Looking back at the Sani Pass, South Africa/Lesotho

 

Lithuania

  • Vilnius Historic Centre

 

Town Hall, Vilnius

 

Luxembourg

  • City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications

 

Luxembourg

Malta

  • City of Valletta
  • Megalithic Temples of Malta
  • Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum

 

Valetta views, Malta

 

Mexico

Montenegro

  • Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor
  • Durmitor National Park
  • Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar

Morocco

 

Jamaa el Fna, Marrakesh’s Medina

 

Namibia

  • Namib Sand Sea

 

Deadvlei, Namib Sand Sea

 

Netherlands

  • Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao
  • Seventeenth-Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht

 

Canals of Amsterdam

 

New Zealand

  • Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand
  • Tongariro National Park

 

Milford Sound, Te Wahipounamu, New Zealand

 

Norway

Check out our detailed guide to the UNESCO sites in Norway here

 

The mining town of Roros, Norway

Silver star marking the birthplace of Jesus, Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

 

Poland

  • Historic Centre of Kraków
  • Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines
  • Auschwitz Birkenau
  • Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park
  • Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska

 

Krakow at night, Poland

 

Portugal

Check out our detailed guide to the Portugal UNESCO sites here

  • Monastery of Batalha
  • Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon
  • Historic Centre of Évora
  • Monastery of Alcobaça
  • Cultural Landscape of Sintra
  • Historic Centre of Oporto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar
  • University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia

 

Tower of Belem, Lisbon

 

Romania

  • Monastery of Horezu
  • Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania
  • Historic Centre of Sighişoara

 

Horezu Monastery, Romania

Slovakia

  • Vlkolínec
  • Wooden Churches of the Slovak part of the Carpathian Mountain Area

 

Slovenia

  • Škocjan Caves
  • Heritage of Mercury, Almadén and Idrija

Touring the Skocjan Caves, Slovenia

South Africa

  • Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa
  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park
  • Cape Floral Region Protected Areas
  • Maloti-Drakensberg Park

 

Cape Floral Region, South Africa

Spain

  • Burgos Cathedral
  • Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid
  • Works of Antoni Gaudí
  • Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain
  • Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias
  • Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches
  • Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct
  • Santiago de Compostela (Old Town)
  • Old City of Salamanca
  • Poblet Monastery
  • Routes of Santiago de Compostela: Camino Francés and Routes of Northern Spain
  • Las Médulas
  • Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona
  • San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries
  • University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares
  • Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco
  • Archaeological Site of Atapuerca
  • Roman Walls of Lugo
  • Aranjuez Cultural Landscape
  • Vizcaya Bridge
  • Tower of Hercules

Las Médulas, Spain

Ayutthaya, Thailand

 

Turkey

 

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

  • Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast
  • Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites
  • Frontiers of the Roman Empire
  • Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church
  • Tower of London
  • Old and New Towns of Edinburgh
  • Maritime Greenwich
  • New Lanark
  • The Forth Bridge

 

The Forth Bridge, Edinburgh

 

United States of America

The Grand Canyon, USA

Hue, Vietnam

 

Zambia/ Zimbabwe

 

The mighty Victoria Falls

1 Comment

  1. Egypt,Petra and Japan all have caught my attention! Look’s like I’m going to be making some plans for future years!

    Thanks for the advice too, will be subscribing immediately!

    Reply

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