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UNESCO Sites in Europe

While tourism is one of life’s most fulfilling activities, it’s easy to go through the motions and forget the heart of the matter. Beyond satisfying natural curiosity to see and behold while religiously ticking off the bucket list, tourism is also about discovering and learning. UNESCO exists to fulfill this great purpose of imparting essential knowledge on history and culture in different parts of the world.

The cultural and natural heritage sites under UNESCO vary in many aspects, thus no single visit is similar to another. Getting the further advantage of switching between nature and culture with different visits makes for the perfectly fulfilling tourism experience. Nonetheless, having a knowledgeable travel expert is a great shot in the arm in order to help you find your way around the unknown territories.


Need to Explore from wider scope?! Delve into The Complete Guide to the UNESCO world heritage sites


The Wonder Hidden in Europe


Being the second smallest continent with 44 countries, Europe is packed to the brim with 412 UNESCO world heritage sites, some of which are the world’s top-ranking. Therefore, these UNESCO sites should be among your top priority destinations the next time you are visiting Europe. Here are reasons why you shouldn’t dare miss out:

1.    Europe owns the bragging rights of having the world’s biggest empires having sprouted from its soil.

2.    Europe is also credited as being the birthplace and springboard of western civilization.

3.    Many of Europe’s world heritage sites are like time-travel machines that are very much connected to the past. Therefore, there is so much to learn from its ancient history.

4.    Amidst the numerous world heritage sites hidden in Europe, you can rest assured there are quite a number of them you’ve never heard of. Give yourself the explorative advantage of new discoveries in your travel diary.

5.    Finally, you get to contribute towards preserving these priceless gems, hence supporting UNESCO’S core objectives


Italy is the leading European nation with the highest number of UNESCO world heritage sites; 53 of them. Following closely, with 43 UNESCO world heritage sites in each, are France and Germany. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland follows suit with 31 UNESCO world heritage sites. The Russian Federation comes fourth with 28 sites followed by Greece with 18 sites and Turkey with 17 sites.


Some of Europe’s Much Adored World Heritage Sites

Here are some of the most magnificent UNESCO world heritage sites in Europe that you should inarguably add to your bucket list:


1.    Kronborg Castle

This is the famous castle behind Shakespeare’s inspiration for Hamlet. It is quite a fun spot to explore, with the spectacular view it offers of Helsingor from its tower. In the evenings, its dungeons seem to be under an eerie spell that’s quite thrilling to the visitors. Being situated in Helsingor, Denmark, it is easy to access the castle from Copenhagen as well. 


2.    The Real Alcazar in Seville, Spain

Situated in Andalucia, the Alcazar is the gem of Seville town. It was built by the Moors in the 10th century. The building was finished several hundred years later by the Christians who conquered and took over Seville. The iconic Lion’s Gate of Alcazar ushers visitors into a medieval atmosphere characterized by ancient archways with intricate carvings opening into patios, courtyards, and gardens intoxicated with an orange blossom scent. You will also recognize some parts of the Alcazar resonating with scenes in the Game of Thrones such as the fictional Water Gardens of Dorne. A small café situated in the grounds serves good coffee, and beer as well, which you get to enjoy as you watch peacocks nearby.


3.    Old City of Dubrovnik


When thinking of magical picturesque sites, the Old City of Dubrovnik is one of them. Characterized by middle-aged walls and sun-kissed buildings, this ancient city was added to the UNESCO world heritage sites list due to its well-preserved Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic architecture. Monasteries, churches, and palaces are some of the features enclosed within the city’s walls, with some of them being well known like the Dominican Monastery. Europe’s oldest pharmacy is situated in this city too! 



4.    Goslar

Standing near the Harz Mountains in Germany, Goslar town looks like an intruder from the past with its narrow streets and half-timbered houses. Its most impressive feature is the Emperor’s Palace which several German emperors have made an aboard during summer. The best visiting season in this town is during Christmas when it opens a Christmas market that’s complete with a spectacular Christmas forest and beautiful decorations. The fairytale feeling that comes with it is simply an enigma.


5.    Acropolis, Athens

The famous Acropolis towering over Athens is one of the world’s most famous UNESCO world heritage features. Having been built in the 5th century BC, The Acropolis is a symbol of both Greece and the entire western civilization. The Parthenon, with its temple, is the most famous aspect of The Acropolis, having withstood attempts by the Persians and the Ottomans to destroy it. The temple was dedicated to the goddess Athena by the ancient Greeks.


6.    Dolomites


The Dolomites (“Dolomiti” in Italian) consist of a mountain range in Italy’s northeast that makes for such a delightful and mystical experience. They are part of the Limestone Alps, deriving their name from the carbonate rock, dolomite, which forms part of the rock pattern characteristic of this site. A leisure drive along this terrain will inspire a deep appreciation for geographical wonders.


7.    The historic center of Rome


The European list of world heritage sites cannot be complete without the famous Historic Centre of Rome. Historic and cultural gems that have stood defiantly for over 2000 years are some of the awes in this city. They include the iconic Colosseum, ancient Roman temples, the Roman Forum, the Vatican and the Pantheon. One of the greatest reasons to visit Rome is the interesting fact that while it’s a city buzzing with modern-day activities, its prominent features are solid voices speaking from the past. 


8.    Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch Region


If seeking the wonder of mountainous terrain and magnificent glaciers, then the Jungfrau-Aletsch Glacier is the spot to go visiting. It is located near Grindelwald in Central Switzerland. The snow-capped mountain peaks and glaciers make for an adventurous hiking expedition coupled with a fascinating tunnel train ride that opens into the observatory.


You’ll Be Glad You Took the Time

With UNESCO world heritage sites covering literally every country in Europe, putting one or several sites on your visiting plan is worth trying. Since there is so much to learn and discover, all you need is the guidance of seasoned travel experts to make your trip as enriching as possible.

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