Top UNESCO World Heritage sites

How many of these top UNESCO World Heritage sites have you visited?

Here are some of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world.

1) The great barrier reef – Australia

The worlds biggest coral reef system is a popular tourist destination. The reef spans 1400 miles and can be seen from outer space.

UNESCO World Heritage site
“Coral Outcrop Flynn Reef” by Toby Hudson – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

2) Machu Picchu – Peru

Dating back to 1450, the Incan city was rediscovered in 1914. The stunning views are worth the trek through the Andes.

UNESCO world heritage site
Machu Picchu – by Martin St-Amant (S23678) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

3) Petra – Jordan

The ancient city of Petra is carved out of the rose coloured stone on the slopes of Jebel al-Madhbah. It is also featured in ‘Indiana Jones Temple of Doom’.

Petra Unesco world heritage
“Al Khazneh” by Bernard Gagnon – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

4) Tulum – Mexico

These ancient ruins of a Mayan sea port are located on the coast of the Yucatan peninsula and popular with tourists from the surrounding Riviera Maya.
More about Tulum

Tulum Unesco world heritage
Ruins by the sea, Tulum Mexico – Tara Bruton

5) Venice and it’s Lagoon – Italy

The floating city is made up of 117 islands all connected by bridges. The canals, lagoon and history of art and music makes this one of the romantic cities in the world.
More about venice

Unesco world heritage
Venice Lagoon – Tara Bruton

6) Yellowstone National Park – USA

With almost 3500 square miles of canyons, lakes, forests, rivers and mountain ranges, you can spot wildlife and see the most famous Old faithful Geyser.

Yellowstone Unesco world heritage
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA, black bears, 2001″ by Brian W. Schaller – Own work. Licensed under FAL via Wikimedia Commons –

 7) Potala Palace – Tibet, China

The former home of  the Dalai Lama in Lhasa. Built on the ‘Red mountain’ in 1645 as a seat of government today it is a museum.

Unesco world heritage
“布达拉宫” by Coolmanjackey – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

8) Old city of Jerusalem – Israel

Visited on pilgrimage by Christians, Muslims and Jews for its religious sites, it is a city of significance for may spiritual groups.

Old city of Jerusalem Unesco world heritage
“Tankizyya “by Deror avi – Own work. Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons

9) Palace and Park of Fontainebleau – France

One of the largest Royal Chateaux originally a medieval castle that had been home to French royalty until Napoleon III.

Palace of Fontainebleau unesco world heritage
“Chateau Fontainebleau”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

10) Abu Simbel – Egypt

The temples of Pharoh Ramesses II and Queen Nefertari dating back to 1264BC and located near the border with Sudan.

Abu Simbel Unesco world heritage
“Abu Simbel Temple” by Than217 at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

11) Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens- Austria

This beautiful former summer residence for the imperial family can be found in Vienna. Explore the gardens and marvel at the architecture.

Unesco world heritage
“Schloss Schönbrunn Wien by Thomas Wolf, – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Wikimedia Commons

12) Vatican City

Home to Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine chapel and St Peters Basilica and ruled by absolute monarchy of the Holy See. Crowds gather in the square for an audience with the Pope when he is in Rome.
More about Vatican city

Unesco world heritage
Vatican city Tara Bruton

13) Angkor complex – Cambodia

With over a thousand temples on the site this massive complex, the most visited include Angkor Wat and Bayon. Also famous for its inclusion in the Tomb Raider film starring Angelina Jolie.

Angkor Wat at sunrise Unesco World Heritage
Angkor Wat at sunrise – Tara Bruton

14) The great wall of China – China

Stretching over 13,000 miles  the wall was built to protect the empires against invasion. Most of the remaining wall today dates from the Ming dynasty.

Unesco world heritage
The Great Wall of China – Tara Bruton

15) Bagan city – Myanmar (Burma)

Bagan is spirit of history in Myanmar. Over 2000 temples and pagodas remain on the plains and are visited by an increasing amount of tourists each year.
More about Bagan

Bagan Unesco world heritage
“Ruins of Bagan,” by Nicholas Kenrick – Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

16) Acropolis of Athens – Greece

Ancient buildings including the Parthenon looking down from the rocks onto the city of Athens. A site of archaeological significance.

Athens Unesco world heritage
“The Parthenon in Athens” by Steve Swayne -.Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

17) Taj Mahal – India

Visited by 3 million people a year, the building was commissioned in 1632 as a tomb for the Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
More about the Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal Unesco world heritage
“Taj Mahal (Edited)” by Yann; edited by Jim Cartar – Edited version of File:Taj Mahal, Agra, India.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

18) Chichen Itza – Mexico

Dominated by El Castillo, Chichen Itza was one of the largest ancient Mayan cities. Crowds gather at the spring and autumn equinox to watch the shadow snake slither down the pyramid.

Chichen Itza Unesco World heritage
Chichen Itza, Mexico – Tara Bruton

19) Rapa Nui National Park – Easter Island

Here stand 887 monolithic statues called ‘Moai’ carved by the Rapa Nui people and placed around the island. The tallest being almost 33 ft high.
More about Rpa Nui National Park

Easter Island Unesco world heritage
“Ahu-Akivi-1” by Ian Sewell – Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

20) Pyramids of Giza – Egypt

The great pyramid is the only one of the seven ancient wonders of the world that still remains today.
More about the Pyramids of Giza

“Kheops-Pyramid” by Nina – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons –

21) Mont St Michel – France

Previously a prison during the French revolution, this island is home to the monastery of the same name and is the attraction for tourists today
More about Mont St Michel

Le Mont Saint-Michel Unesco world heritage
“Mont St Michel” by Diliff – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –

22) Copan – Hondoras

Mayan ruins in the Copan valley comprise of a main complex, containing the acropolis and plazas surrounded by several secondary complexes.
More about Copan

Unesco world heritage
“CPN WEST COURT” by Talk2winik – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –

23) Banaue Rice Terraces – Philippines

The locals call these terraces the eighth wonder of the world. Built over 2000 years ago they were once completely abandoned by locals but are now being worked once more.

Unesco world heritage
“Banaue-Rice-Terraces” by Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / CC-BY-SA-3.0. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

24) Serengeti National Park – Tanzania

A vast national park in the heart of Africa where the largest and longest annual migration happens. The plains, savanna, forests and woodlands are home to a diverse range of wildlife including ‘the big five’

Serengiti Unesco World heritage
“Serengeti-African-Elephants” by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

25) Galápagos Islands – Ecuador

This national park and biological marine reserve was famously studied by Charles Darwin and where both land and marine Iguanas can be found.
More about the Galapagos Islands

Unesco world heritage
“Galapagos iguana” by Datune at en.wikipedia – Own workTransferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Plenty of amazing places to add to your travel bucket list! Tell me how many you have visited and which was your favourite?

4 Responses

    • travelgeektara

      I’ve managed 7 but this just tempts me to book more trips 🙂

  1. Vetaretus-6

    I’ve only been to few on the list but I’ve seen some that are not on the list you should note for future visits 😀 I’ve left my website if you’re curious which sites I mean! great article btw! I want to make a list out of it and travel from one unesco spot to the next 🙂 also learned about some new places I haven’t heard of! Keep the good stuff up!

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