Sunday, March 23, 2014

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Travel Goal

If you follow this blog for awhile you'll start to see that I have many travel goals that I'd like to accomplish in my lifetime and along with these goals comes another favourite of mine to keep up with these goals...lots and lots of lists!

I've been tossing around a goal to visit a certain number of UNESCO sites for awhile but wasn't really sure how many there were all together {981} or just how many I have visited to date {only 16!} so this weekend I decided to find the official list, set my goal and start tracking it. Please visit my permanent UNESCO Sites page to stay up-to-date on my progress.

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. 

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 January 2014, 981 sites are listed: 759 cultural, 193 natural, and 29 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.

For the full list and an interactive map you can visit the World Heritage Sites List. Each 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!

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:



STATS {Last Updated March 2014}

Number of Sites Visited: 16

% of Total Sites Visited: 1.6%

% of Sites Visited to Meet my Goal of 500:  3.2%


  1. This sounds like an awesome goal - and I'd say you have a solid start (certainly more than a lot of people)! I just ordered a World Heritage Site map so I could mark them off as I come across them. I know it constantly updates, but it's a fun & visual inspiration :)

    1. Thanks so much! I really like having things like this to aspire to. Where did you order the map from?

    2. I actually got it from the World Heritage website ( It's a great deal, but seems to take a while for delivery (just fyi).