UNESCO World Heritage Sites – How Many Have You Visited?

    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.

    There are currently 1073 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.

    Remember to stick around until the end of the article to take our quiz and find out how well travelled you really are!

    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.

    You can also test your travel credentials in our interactive quiz, where you can tick off the UNESCO Sites you’ve visited so far.

    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 to be the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites, boasting a total of 52 sites.

    Close behind is Italy, which has total of 51 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

    Other countries packed full of UNESCO World Heritage Sites include Spain with a total of 46 UNESCO sites, France and Germany both with a total of 42 sites, and India which has 36 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
    China52
    Italy51
    Spain46
    France42
    Germany42
    India36
    Mexico34
    United Kingdom 31
    Russia27
    Iran 22
    USA22
    Brazil21
    Japan21
    Australia19
    Greece18
    Canada17
    Turkey17
    Poland15
    Portugal15
    Sweden15
    Belgium12
    Czech Republic12
    Peru12
    South Korea12
    Argentina11
    Denmark11
    Switzerland11
    Bulgaria10
    Croatia10
    Netherlands10
    Cuba9
    Ethiopia9
    Israel9
    Morocco9
    South Africa9
    Colombia8
    Hungary8
    Indonesia8
    Norway8
    Romania8
    Sri Lanka8
    Tunisia8
    Vietnam8
    Algeria7
    Austria7
    Bolivia 7
    Egypt7
    Finland7
    Senegal7
    Slovakia7
    Ukraine7
    Tanzania7
    Chile6
    Kenya6
    Pakistan6
    Philippines6
    Syria6
    Democratic Republic of the Congo5
    Ecuador5
    Iraq5
    Jordan5
    Kazakhstan5
    Lebanon5
    Libya5
    Panama5
    Serbia5
    Thailand5
    Uzbekistan5
    Zimbabwe5
    Belarus4
    Costa Rica4
    Lithuania4
    Malaysia4
    Mali4
    Mongolia4
    Montenegro4
    Nepal4
    Oman4
    Saudi Arabia4
    Slovenia4
    Yemen4
    Armenia3
    Bangladesh3
    Bosnia and Herzegovina3
    Cambodia3
    Côte d'Ivoire3
    Cyprus3
    Georgia3
    Guatemala3
    Kyrgyzstan3
    Madagascar3
    Malta3
    New Zealand3
    Niger3
    Palestine3
    Sudan3
    Turkmenistan3
    Uganda3
    Venezuela 3
    Afghanistan2
    Albania2
    Azerbaijan2
    Bahrain2
    Benin2
    Botswana2
    Burkina Faso2
    Cameroon2
    Central African Republic2
    Chad2
    North Korea2
    Estonia2
    Gambia 2
    Ghana2
    Honduras2
    Iceland2
    Ireland2
    Lao 2
    Latvia2
    Malawi2
    Mauritania2
    Mauritius2
    Namibia2
    Nicaragua2
    Nigeria2
    Seychelles2
    Suriname2
    Tajikistan2
    Uruguay2
    Andorra1
    Angola1
    Antigua and Barbuda1
    Barbados1
    Belize1
    Cabo Verde1
    Dominica1
    Dominican Republic1
    El Salvador1
    Eritrea1
    Fiji1
    Gabon1
    Haiti1
    Vatican City1
    Jamaica1
    Jerusalem 1
    Kiribati1
    Luxembourg1
    Marshall Islands1
    Micronesia 1
    Mozambique1
    Myanmar1
    Palau1
    Papua New Guinea1
    Paraguay1
    Qatar1
    Saint Kitts and Nevis1
    Saint Lucia1
    San Marino1
    Singapore1
    Solomon Islands1
    Macedonia1
    Togo1
    United Arab Emirates1
    Vanuatu1
    Moldova1
    Republic of Congo 1
    Côte d'Ivoire1
    Guinea1
    Lesotho1
    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 48 cultural UNESCO Sites. Also ranking highly for cultural sites are Germany and Spain, which both have a total of 40 cultural sites, followed by France which has 39 cultural sites.

    Those who are most excited by exploring the world’s natural beauty should head to Australia, China and the USA which all came in top for natural sites, each with a total of 12 natural UNESCO 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:

    UNESCO Heritage Sites Infographic

    Browse Every UNESCO Site Around the World

    Using the data which we gathered on every UNESCO site around the world, we have created an interactive UNESCO map which allows you to explore every site in further detail.

    You can search for specific sites using the name dropdown menu or the search bar. You can also filter sites by country, category and whether the site is flagged on the ‘in danger’ list. UNESCO sites which are on the danger list have been marked as requiring major assistance to conserve the site due to factors such as natural erosion, climate change or manmade interference.

    You can find out more about every UNESCO Site plotted on our map by clicking on the resource link, which will direct you to a blog post or information page we have selected as being a helpful reference for visiting this site.

    You can also view every site up-close and personal by selecting the person icon at the bottom right-hand corner of the map and dragging and dropping this on to the plot you wish to see.

    Now, get exploring!

    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.

    To create our interactive map, we plotted every site from the list of all UNESCO World Heritage sites onto a map using the geo-coordinates provided. We scoured the web to find useful resources with further information about every site and added a link to these on every map plot.

    Quiz: How Well Travelled Are You?

    Feeling inspired to visit more UNESCO Sites? Or perhaps you’re proud of how many of these wonderful landmarks you’ve already visited – maybe it’s a mixture of both.

    Find out how well travelled you really are by taking our quiz and checking off how many UNESCO Sites you’ve visited already.

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