UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe
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15 of The Best UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe 

This guest post on the best UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe was written by Josh Band of A Backpacker’s World who loves to share his experiences backpacking all around the world.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are often the best and most popular tourist attractions around the world.

And Europe has them in abundance. Being a continent with so much history and the Roman and Greek civilizations, there’s a lot of history to unpack.

Choosing which UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe to visit can be tricky, as there are literally hundreds. Italy has 58 on its own!

So to make your life easier, here are the 15 best UNESCO sites to visit in Europe.

Let’s get right into it!

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking.)

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe You Need to See!

1. Historic Center of Rome

The first spot on this list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe has to go to the Historic Center of Rome.

This UNESCO Site covers pretty much every single landmark in Rome such as The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and more. Rome is a literal time machine, so it makes sense to cover the whole city as a UNESCO Site!

Best UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe

Whether you’re taking a tour of the Colosseum or throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain, exploring this World Heritage Site is one of the best things to do in Rome!

Tours you might find interesting:

2. Stonehenge

Stonehenge is one of the most famous European World Heritage Sites, as it is known all around the world for its fascinating layout.

The 52 large stones making up a circular shape leave a lot of room for legends and theories. No one knows exactly how or why Stonehenge was created, but this makes it exciting to check out.


Stonehenge is not only an enigmatic place but also an important archaeological site that gives us a glimpse into the ancient world. One worth visiting for historians without a doubt. 

Tours you might find interesting:

3. Pompeii

And speaking of places for history lovers, how could a list of UNESCO Sites not include Pompeii?

Known officially as the “Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum, and Torre Annunziata”, the ruins of Pompeii make for an amazing day out. Simply walking through what used to be a busy city and imagining what life was like back then is indescribable.

Pompeii, Italy

The feeling around Pompeii is also hard to describe, and you will only understand when visiting for yourself. You can actually take Pompeii tours from Rome if you want to tick two sites off in one trip.

Nonetheless, seeing Pompeii is amazing, and how well-preserved everything is after the eruption is unbelievable. 

Tours you might find interesting:

4. Dubrovnik Old Town

Dubrovnik Old Town, located in Croatia, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is an exceptional example of a well-preserved medieval walled city.

It holds significant historical and cultural value, making it worthy of recognition and protection.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe

One of the best things to do in Dubrovnik is to simply walk along the walls. The views are amazing and if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you might recognize some parts from the series and can even take part in a Game of Thrones tour!

Tours you might find interesting:

5. Cappadocia

The first natural site of these UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe is Cappadocia, which when you see for yourself, you will understand why it’s UNESCO-protected.

Cappadocia is known for its unique rock formations, often called “fairy chimneys.” You’re bound to have seen this captivating and surreal landscape on Instagram before.


Not to mention the breathtaking sight of hot air balloons rising over the terrain which is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Turkey. It’s truly the perfect example of “a view worthy of a postcard”.

Tours you might find interesting:

6. Giant’s Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland is another example of incredible natural beauty.

To sum up the Giant’s Causeway, it’s 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. It appears to be quite a phenomenon. There are lots of myths and legends which you can learn about on the site, such as the legend of Finn McCool.

Giant's Causeway

But all in all, it’s simply impressive to see the Causeway. Not to forget that along the coast there are also other UNESCO-protected areas such as the Carrick-A-Rede Ropebridge.

The best way to see all of these in one trip is by taking a tour from Belfast

7. Palace of Versailles

If you’re a history-lover then you’ll know about the Treaty of Versailles and how it was signed in the palace.

Aside from this, the palace is one of the most famous landmarks in France that holds a lot of history itself. It’s like Buckingham Palace in London, it symbolized the power of the French monarchy.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe

On top of the palace itself being picturesque, the surrounding gardens are also as close to perfect as perfect can be. It’s the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon both inside and outside the palace. 

Tours you might find interesting:

8. The Grand Place

The Grand Place in Brussels is one of the most famous squares in all of Europe, and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Seeing the square in person is totally different from seeing pictures online. Being completely immersed in the square and seeing beautiful buildings no matter which direction you look is an experience everyone needs to do in Brussels.

Grand Place Brussels

The blend of architecture makes the Grand Place so unique and special and somehow, the Grand Place at sunset is even prettier than during the day! 

9. Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is not just any of Italy’s many famous landmarks and UNESCO Sites, but it’s definitely one of the best.

The five colorful villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore make up Cinque Terre and the famous coastal region of Italy.

Cinque Terre

The five villages are so picturesque, they’re a dream of all photographers. Walking through the villages, and taking the trail between the five is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and is on the bucket list of millions of travelers.  

Tours you might find interesting:

10. Mont-Saint-Michel 

Mont-Saint-Michel is something straight out of a fairy tale, and there’s no debating it’s one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe.

This rocky island is topped by a magnificent abbey that rises above a surrounding bay in Normandy, France. If you hadn’t seen pictures of Mont-Saint-Michel, it’s hard to believe it’s true. It’s so dramatic.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe

The site’s unique combination of natural beauty, architectural grandeur, and historical importance make it a must-visit destination! 

Tours you might find interesting:

11. Historic Center of Florence

Florence holds a special place in history as the birthplace of the Renaissance, a period of remarkable cultural and intellectual advancements.

As a result, the Historic Center of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a testament to the golden age, with its exceptionally dense concentration of art, architecture, and historical significance.


Even if you aren’t particularly into art, you’ll be able to appreciate the pieces in Florence. But if you are into art, Florence is the best UNESCO site for you, no question about it. 

12. Historic Center of Prague

Prague is one of the most underrated cities in Europe and one of the cheapest too. And just like in Rome, a large part of the city is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, the Old Royal Palace, and more are all included. It’s one of the most impressive UNESCO sites in Europe and it’s got something for everyone.

To sum up the Historic Center of Prague in one word, it would be: beautiful.

Tours you might find interesting:

13. Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines

One of the lesser-known World Heritage Sites in Europe is the Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t impressive.

Found near Kraków, the salt mines are a unique visit, and among the most famous landmarks in Poland. The mines are famous for their stunning salt-carved chapels, including the Chapel of St. Kinga, which is a marvel of artistry and devotion.

Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines

There are few places in the world like Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines, and nothing beats exploring the mines for yourself. 

Tours you might find interesting:

14. Rila Monastery

The Rila Monastery, in Bulgaria, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized for both its outstanding architectural beauty and also its cultural significance.

The monastery was founded in the 10th century and has been a spiritual and educational center for monks and scholars ever since.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe

It’s been crucial in the preservation of the Bulgarian language and culture. Visiting Rila Monastery is a very touching experience and an eye-opening one too. 

Tours you might find interesting:

15. Vatican City

Last but by no means least of these European World Heritage Sites is Vatican City. Technically speaking, this is a whole country that is a UNESCO Site, which is pretty impressive.

Vatican City

Vatican City is a state within Rome and one of the most important places in the world for Christianity as it is the home of the Pope. For tourists, it also offers the Sistine Chapel and the infamous St. Peter’s Basilica.

A trip to Rome would not be complete without visiting the Vatican!

Tours you might find interesting:

Conclusion: UNESCO World Heritage Sites Europe

And that’s a wrap! These are the best 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe.

Every single one of these sites is guaranteed to be a good day out. 

Whether you choose to visit the Colosseum or check out the Rila Monastery, you’re guaranteed a good time no matter which you pick. 

So enjoy each and every one of these Europe UNESCO World Heritage Sites, they’re some of the best in the world. 🙂

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Do you want to travel like me?
Here are some of my favorite travel tips and resources:

Flights: I prefer using CheapOair or Skyscanner to book flights. The destination everywhere feature is perfect for finding some cheap deals!

Accommodation: Booking.com is my favorite site to find some great hotel deals. I do love staying at a local place as well, thus I book an Airbnb every now and then.

Travel Insurance: There are many reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having one. I use the simple and flexible one from World Nomads to be protected against unforeseen events.

Tours: I love taking tours to explore destinations like a local. My favorite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Camera Gear: I use a Nikon D5300 camera with an 18-105 mm and a 10-20 mm wide-angle lens to take my photos.   

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  1. Thanks for presenting such a wonderful blog on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe. It highlights the historical, cultural, and natural wonders of locations. The blog will help travellers to enjoy a destination based on their preferences.

  2. What a list! I’m luck enough to have seen a few of these, but would love the visit the rest. Cinque Terre and the Fairy Chimneys are top of my list. How many amazing places there are to see and so little time. Thanks for sharing.

  3. There are so many amazing UNESCO World Heriatage Sites in Europe. I have been to a few on the list but there are so many more I need to explore!

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