Where Has the Most UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

    A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place listed by UNESCO as being of notable cultural or physical significance – these sites range from national parks to ancient architecture to whole towns or cities. Sites are classified as ‘cultural’, ‘natural’ or ‘mixed’ sites.

    As of September 2019, there are currently 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the world. But which country has the most? That’s the question we asked upon launching our ‘UNESCO Uncovered’ project.

    Keen to find out more about the UNESCO World Heritage sites which enrich our travel experiences, we researched where to find every UNESCO World Heritage Site around the world. We analysed how many UNESCO Sites every country has, and the best countries to visit if you want to see as many UNESCO sites as possible. We also looked specifically at the countries with the most ‘cultural’ and ‘natural’ World Heritage Sites.

    As part of our ‘UNESCO Uncovered’ project we have also created an interactive map, where you can view every UNESCO Site around the globe, find out more about each of these sites, and see which ones you’ve visited yourself.

    Countries with the Most UNESCO World Heritage Sites

    When launching our ‘UNESCO Uncovered’ research, our key goal was to find out the best countries to visit if you want to see as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible.

    From our research we found China and Italy to be the countries with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites, boasting a total of 55 sites each.

    Close behind is Spain, which has total of 48 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

    Other countries packed full of UNESCO World Heritage Sites include Germany with a total of 47 UNESCO sites, France with a total of 45 sites, and India which has 38 UNESCO Sites.

    You can view the number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites every country has in the full results table below:

    CountryNumber of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
    China55
    Italy55
    Spain48
    Germany47
    France45
    India38
    Mexico35
    United Kingdom 32
    Russia29
    Iran 24
    USA24
    Japan23
    Brazil22
    Australia20
    Canada20
    Greece18
    Turkey18
    Portugal17
    Poland16
    Sweden15
    Czech Republic14
    South Korea14
    Belgium13
    Peru12
    Switzerland12
    Argentina11
    Austria10
    Bulgaria10
    Croatia10
    Denmark10
    Netherlands10
    South Africa
    10
    Colombia
    9
    Cuba
    9
    Ethiopia
    9
    Indonesia9
    Israel9
    Morocco
    9
    Hungary8
    Norway8
    Romania8
    Sri Lanka8
    Tunisia8
    Vietnam8
    Algeria7
    Bolivia 7
    Egypt7
    Finland7
    Kenya7
    Senegal7
    Slovakia7
    Ukraine7
    United Republic of Tanzania7
    Chile6
    Iraq6
    Oman6
    Pakistan6
    Philippines6
    Syria6
    Democratic Republic of the Congo5
    Ecuador5
    Jordan5
    Kazakhstan5
    Lebanon5
    Libya5
    Mongolia5
    Panama5
    Saudi Arabia5
    Serbia5
    Thailand5
    Uzbekistan5
    Zimbabwe5
    Albania4
    Belarus4
    Costa Rica4
    Côte d'Ivoire4
    Lithuania4
    Malaysia4
    Mali4
    Montenegro4
    Nepal4
    Slovenia4
    Yemen4
    Armenia3
    Azerbaijan3
    Bahrain3
    Bangladesh3
    Bosnia and Herzegovina3
    Burkina Faso3
    Cambodia3
    Cyprus3
    Georgia3
    Guatemala3
    Iceland3
    Kyrgyzstan3
    Lao3
    Madagascar3
    Malta3
    New Zealand3
    Niger3
    Palestine3
    Sudan3
    Turkmenistan3
    Uganda3
    Venezuela 3
    Afghanistan2
    Benin2
    Botswana2
    Cameroon2
    Central African Republic2
    Chad2
    North Korea2
    Estonia2
    The Gambia2
    Ghana2
    Holy See2
    Honduras2
    Ireland2
    Latvia2
    Malawi2
    Mauritania2
    Mauritius2
    Myanmar2
    Namibia2
    Nicaragua2
    Nigeria2
    Seychelles2
    Suriname2
    Tajikistan2
    Uruguay2
    Andorra1
    Angola1
    Antigua and Barbuda1
    Barbados1
    Belize1
    Cabo Verde1
    Congo1
    Dominica1
    Dominican Republic1
    El Salvador1
    Eritrea1
    Fiji1
    Gabon1
    Guinea1
    Haiti1
    Jamaica1
    Jerusalem1
    Kiribati1
    Lesotho1
    Luxembourg1
    Marshall Islands1
    Micronesia1
    Mozambique1
    North Macedonia1
    Palau1
    Papua New Guinea1
    Paraguay1
    Qatar1
    Republic of Moldova1
    Saint Kitts and Nevis1
    Saint Lucia1
    San Marino1
    Singapore1
    Solomon Islands1
    Togo1
    United Arab Emirates1
    Vanuatu1
    Zambia1

    We also had a closer look at which countries have the most cultural UNESCO Sites and which countries have the most natural UNESCO Sites. Cultural sites include landmarks such as castles, museums and churches while natural sites include natural beauty such as national parks, coastlines and islands.

    Of course some travellers are more interested in cultural sites while others are more interested in natural sites, and so we looked at these categories individually to help travellers find the countries with the most UNESCO Sites that match their interests.

    If you’re a culture vulture you’ll want to head to Italy, which is the country with the most cultural UNESCO Sites, boasting a grand total of 50 cultural UNESCO Sites. Also ranking highly for cultural sites are Germany and Spain, which both have a total of 44 and 42 cultural sites respectively, followed by France which has 39 cultural sites.

    Those who are most excited by exploring the world’s natural beauty should head to China, Australia and the USA which all came in top for natural sites. Also at the top end of the scale for natural UNESCO Sites are Russia and Canada, which have 11 and 10 natural sites respectively.

    You can view the highlights of the results of our ‘UNESCO Uncovered’ research in the infographic below:

    Methodology

    To conduct our research we used official data from UNESCO and the World Heritage Convention, listing every UNESCO World Heritage Site around the world. We then calculated how many sites were in each country and ranked these from highest to lowest. Using these rankings, we created a coloured scale which we used to shade the map.

    The official data we gathered from UNESCO and the World Heritage Convention listed which sites were cultural and which sites were natural. We looked at each of these categories individually and analysed where each of these sites were located. We then calculated which countries had the most cultural sites and which countries had the most natural sites and ranked these accordingly.

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