Visit 500 UNESCO Sites

Travel Goals

The official UNESCO World Heritage Centre website can be found here and there is tons of information on their site. Also for those that are curious, like me, UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is 

…a place (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance. As of July 2016, 1052 sites are listed: 814 cultural, 203 natural, and 35 mixed properties. While each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located, UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.

To be included on the list a site must be of “outstanding universal value” and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. The list of criteria can be found here.  Only countries that have signed the World Heritage Convention, pledging to protect their own natural and cultural heritage, can submit nominations for sites to be included on the list. Each year the World Heritage Committee meets to decide which sites will be added to the list. For more information on the nomination process visit here.

So now, along with my goals to visit 100 countries, all the castles of England, and various other travel & adventure goals I’ve also set a goal to visit 500 UNESCO sites in my lifetime. As sites are added each year if I’ve already visited them, before their inclusion, I’ll still allow myself to consider them one of the 500 because let’s face it, if I’m starting at 16 I’m going to need all the help I can get to reach 500! Really though, in the end, if I reach 462 or 534 the ultimate reward will be that I have visited and experienced some awesome natural and cultural sites all around our world.

For the full list and an interactive map you can visit the World Heritage Sites ListEach site on the list is also linked to further information about that site giving a description, photos, and the criteria/criterion it met to be included. It is very informative and if you’re like me I’m sure you’ll spend way too long reading about all the places you’ve been and the ones you know you’ll see. I even found a few places that I was very surprised to see made the list. Have fun checking it out!


{Last Updated November 2017}

Number of Sites Visited: 42               % of Total Sites Visited: 4%                % of Sites Visited to Meet my Goal: 8.4%

To keep this list on this page at a reasonable length I’m only going to include the places I’ve been. Eventually that might get divided up by continent but for now my list includes the following. {Each site name is linked to its entry on the official UNESCO list}