I don’t really remember the first time I heard the term “UNESCO World Heritage Site,” but I know it has been since I’ve been here in Europe, and I know that everytime I plan to go somewhere I check to see if it is on the UNESCO list. Because if it is on the list, chances are – it’s going to be exceptionally cool and historical, not to mention, a great place to start a tour of any town. The good news is, I haven’t been let down yet. Although sadly, I haven’t been to many places on the list!
According to the organization’s website, UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the focus of the organization is “to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.”
There are 981 sites currently listed as meeting the criteria, of which 759 are cultural, 193 are natural and 44 are in danger (I’m guessing the six in Syria and any other war-torn country are the list!)
Currently, I’ve been to 15 in Europe (and a couple in the States, but now that I’m aware of this list – I’ll be hitting more when I get back!) As I said, each have been completely worth the visit – some I would revisit again for sure.
Here’s a look at the ones I have been to:
1. Historic City Center of Salzburg, Austria
2. Historic City Centre of Bruges, Belgium
3. Grand Place of Brussels, Belgium
4. City Center of Prague, Czech Republic
5. The Palace of Versailles, France
6. Grand Ile, Strasbourg, France
7. Banks of the Seine, Paris, France
8. Wurzburg Residence, Wurzburg, Germany
9. Trier Cathedral, Trier, Germany
10. Maulbronn Monastery, Maulbronn, Germany
11. Historic Town of Bamberg
12. Museuminsel (Museum Island), Berlin, Germany
13. Piazza del Duomo, Pisa, Italy
14. Cinque Terre, Italy
15. Jungfrau, Switzerland
I would recommend each of these places, and hopefully in a couple of months, I will have added a few more to the list!
I’m realistic about the fact that I will not be able to see all the places on the UNESCO list, but I didn’t find any harm in making a list of places that I really, really want to see:
– Austria: Historic City of Vienna
– Croatia: City of Dubrovnik, City of Split, Plitvice Lakes
– France: Mont-Saint Michel, Lyon, Loire Valley
– Germany: Cologne Cathedral, Upper Rhine River Valley
– Italy: Verona, Vincenza, Florence, Naples, Rome, Siena, Venice
– Netherlands: Canals of Amsterdam
– Norway: Bergen
– United Kingdom: Bath, Liverpool, Stonehenge, Tower of London
– Vatican City: Vatican City
Stay tuned for more UNESCO updates!