15 amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe to visit

15 amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe to visit

15 UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN EUROPE TO VISIT

I have visited many of the 412  UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe and I have my favourites but I thought I would ask some travel bloggers out there what is their favourite?

So here are 15 UNESCO WH Sites in Europe as chosen by some great travel bloggers (be sure to check out their blogs and social media too!)

You make like to read about 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit in the UK


 THE HISTORIC CENTRE OF ROME, THE COLOSSEUM – ITALY

by followtheview.com


The Colosseum is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. It was used mainly for gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles, executions or mythology-based dramas. It could hold even 80 000 spectators! Even now you can attend some concerts there… like Elton John’s. Nowadays, it’s also an important place for Roman Catholics – the Scriptural Way of the Cross takes place here on Good Fridays, led by the Pope. But did you know that the Colosseum is also a symbol of the international campaign against capital punishment? Everytime a person condemned to the death penalty anywhere in the world gets their sentence changed, the facade turns yellow at night (instead of ordinary white).

Till now, it’s a landmark of Rome and an extremely popular tourist attraction in the Eternal City. To avoid the crowds, buy your ticket in advance and go there early in the morning. You will have a chance to experience the majesty and overwhelming architecture of without crowds. It’s hard to believe that the Colosseum was build almost 2000 years ago, in 72 AD… Definitely, one of the most impressive symbols of the Roman Empire.

Find more from followmyview.com on Facebook and Instagram


 SALZBURG – AUSTRIA

by travelingspud.com


Salzburg, Austria is, without a doubt, one of the most enchanting cities in all of Europe. You may have heard of it as the backdrop to the famous film, The Sound of Music, but it is much more than just the touristy locations from the movie. Salzburg is a city of splendour and has its own special charm that is not to be missed on a trip to Austria. The Baroque architecture on every corner, the endless picturesque gardens and the ornate palaces and museums makes wandering through Salzburg a rare treat. Not to mention, it is the home of the famous composer, Mozart, and has many statues and museums to commemorate his birth and legacy. Be sure to take your time in Salzburg strolling through the streets, trying Austrian cuisine, checking out the sites and, of course, soaking up the rich culture of this famous UNESCO World Heritage city.

Find more from travelingspud.com on Facebook and Instagram.


 THE OLD CITY OF SALAMANCA – SPAIN

by onlybyland.com


The Old City of Salamanca in Spain is a UNESCO world heritage site and a hidden gem.  

Anyone who has seen the movie Vantage Point will instantly recognize the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca.  The Plaza Mayor is the center of the old city but it’s not the centerpiece of the city.  In Salamanca the new cathedral is the main focal point and you can see this beautiful cathedral from almost anywhere in the old city. I would recommend photographing it from the other side of the river as this gives a perfect reflection (in the evening).

Salamanca is a university town, home of the oldest university in Spain and the third oldest university in the world.  Around the old town you’ll see many historic buildings which are part of the university campus. 

If you visit Salamanca in the summer, it’s extremely hot, so do as the Spanish do and take a siesta.  The restaurants around the old city don’t serve food until around 9pm, if you do want to eat earlier there are many tapas restaurants serving Serrano ham and cured Manchego cheese.

A stay in a hotel in the old city would be an official stay in a UNESCO world heritage site.

Find more from onlybyland.com on Facebook and Instagram.


 BRYGGEN (the old wharf) in BERGEN – NORWAY

by www.travellinn.net


The colourful row of wooden houses at the waterfront in Bergen has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1979. After the Black Death wiped out a huge part of the local population, the Hanseatic merchants established an office in Bergen to trade stock fish from the north of Norway, lasting for about 400 years.  

 The buildings served as storage, office and residence for the German tradesmen, with separate houses used for cooking and as assembly room, as any kind of fire was strictly forbidden in the other buildings.  With good reason. The area has burned down many times, and the oldest houses still standing today were rebuilt after a large fire in 1702.   

Trade is still very much alive, with many artists having workshops and shops, selling their creations.

Bryggen is an icon for Bergen, and a must see when visiting the city. Walking in the alleys between the houses, the sounds from the modern life outside are muted, and you can soak in the impressions of this old historical site.  

You can find more on Instagram and Facebook


 CONVENT OF CHRIST FROM TOMAR – PORTUGAL

by traveller.aniri.ro


On the road between Lisbon and Coimbra, just a bit over an hour of driving from Lisbon, is the small town of Tomar. Here one can find an amazing Templar stronghold, the Convent of Christ. The complex was built over several centuries starting from the 12th century and is an amazing mix of architectural styles (Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance). It was originally a Templar stronghold, a part of the defense system created to secure the border against the Moors. When the order was dissolved in the 14th century the Portuguese branch was turned into the Knights of the Order of Christ who continued adding to the complex.

The stronghold is a great place to explore in a day trip and not only by history and architecture enthusiasts. Make sure to set out plenty of time to see it properly as there are loads to explore! I loved that everywhere you turned there was a new space to discover and new stories to learn. One can explore the gardens, walk around the fortified outer walls, explore the monks quarters and quiet cloisters, admire the very ornate decorations of the church and imagine what is would have been like to live there in medieval times.

Find more from aniri on Instagram and Pinterest.


 MONT SAINT MICHEL – FRANCE

by Lou Messugo


The first time you see the Mont Saint Michel rising up out of the surrounding bay it takes your breath away as it is an exceptionally beautiful architectural site, created in perfect harmony with its natural surroundings.  The rocky outcrop that becomes an island at high tide has been a holy site since the 8th century, with the Benedictine abbey and village that encircles it built between the 11th and 16th centuries.  The whole of the “mount” together with the Bay of St Michel was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and nowadays receives 2.5 million visitors a year.  Despite this astonishing figure Mont St Michel is still a sacred site looked after by the Monastic Fraternity of Jerusalem and in among the crowds you occasionally see monks wandering around.  Inside the fortified walls, the climb to the abbey at the top is steep.  Avoid going up the main street, take a side path instead and you’ll be rewarded by sensational sweeping views of the bay and marshlands.   The abbey itself is staggeringly impressive; high above the village it’s hard to imagine a more unlikely place to find quiet gardens, cloisters and enormous vaulted spaces.

Find more from Lou Messugo on Facebook and Instagram

To find out more about all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in France check out this recent post on Lou Messugo which gives details about all the sites!


SPEICHERSTADT, HAMBURG – GERMANY

by georginadoes.co.uk


I was in Hamburg on a lads weekend for my boyfriends birthday earlier this year. After finally managed to get all the boys up and out of bed so we went into town to explore. I was pretty pleased because somehow as if by magic, we managed to come across a UNESCO site.

Speicherstadt is pretty well placed among some of Hamburgs popular tourist attractions such as the dungeons and Minature Wunderland and is the largest warehouse district in the world. Lined with tall red buildings, this place is pretty special! 

Find more from Georgina on Twitter and Instagram.


 POMPEII – ITALY

by looknwalk.info


When I started planning my 2014 trip to Italy, I had Naples on my radar. Why? Pizza, Pompeii, and Herculaneum. I ended up loving all of them.

Pompeii has been an ancient Roman city since 200 BC. But the 79 AD eruption of the Vesuvius buried the city under ash, together with the residents who didn’t manage to escape.

Nowadays, the huge ancient city is a UNESCO World Heritage site that paints the picture of Roman life. I’ve seen a lot of documentaries about it but until I’ve set foot on the site I couldn’t get a grip of how huge and interesting it was.

I spent more than 4 hours exploring the site with the booklet in hand. It is impossible to see everything but try not to skip: The Amphitheater (capable of holding 20,000 people), The Gymnasium (Great Palaestra, used for sporting activities), The Forum (the center of political life), The Temple of Apollo (the oldest part of the city), The Lupanar (or the ancient brothel), the baths, and Villa dei Misteri (interesting frescos).

Make sure to wear good walking shoes (for uneven surfaces), bring a water bottle (there are fountains through the site), wear something that you don’t mind getting dirty (you’ll spend time relaxing on the stones, trust me on this), bring snacks, and sunscreen!

Tip – this is the easiest way to get there from Naples or Amalfi Coast! 

Find more from loonknwalk.info on Facebook and Instagram.


 THE CANALS OF AMSTERDAM – THE NETHERLANDS

by wanderlustk.com


The canals of Amsterdam are famous as well as UNESCO protected since 1999! Much of the Netherlands was built on swampy land that required drainage techniques, including Amsterdam, which allowed Amsterdam to expand its borders beyond its original city borders. The Amsterdam canal ring spans 14 different canals, including Herengracht (my favorite). Along Herengracht, you’ll find the beautiful Golden-age canal houses of Amsterdam’s most wealthy residents. Some have now been converted into beautiful museums that provide access to the “secret” gardens connecting houses on the next canal over, also owned by the same owners. On major Dutch holidays, including the Pride parade, you’ll find floats on boats going up Prinsengracht canal. Whether you’re walking, biking, or cruising along the canals, Amsterdam’s canals are not to missed!

Find more from wanderlustk on Facebook and Instagram.

Amsterdam - UNESCO World Heritage sites in Europe


  EDINBURGH OLD TOWN AND NEW TOWN – SCOTLAND

by Liza from tripsget.com


Edinburgh Old Town and New Town obtained Unesco Heritage title back in 1995 and since then attracted more tourists to the beautiful capital of Scotland. The Old Town and the New Town of Edinburgh are very different: the Old Town would we what is considered “typical Edinburgh” a proper medieval district with vaults, underground streets, old cathedrals, market squared and two castles (Edinburgh castle and the Palace of the Holyroodhouse). The New Town, on the contrary, is a proper neo-classical and Georgian district with posh houses and wide straight clean streets. Both districts, the Old Town and the New Town are as different as chalk and cheese and are definitely worth visiting – the Old Town – for architecture and historical tours and the New Town – for fancy restaurants, shopping and pleasant walks, especially in Stockbridge and around the George Street. 

Find more from Liza on Instagram and  Facebook


 DROTTNINGHOLM PALACE, STOCKHOLM – SWEDEN

by nomadepicureans.com


As an Austrian I have to admit I’m somewhat picky when it comes to castles and palaces. I mean, what can possibly compare to the splendour of the Habsburg empire? Well, turns out the Swedish monarchy has their very own masterpiece: Drottningholm Palace. Inspired by the palace of Versailles and built in the 16th century, it served as the royal summer residence until well into the 18th century. Today it is the private residence of the Swedish royal family and a popular tourist attraction. It became a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 as it is one of the most well-preserved royal castles from the 16th century and representative of the period’s European architecture. The palace’s beautifully decorated rooms and reception halls transport you into a fairytale world. What makes the palace so special, though, is its beautiful gardens! You could easily spend an entire day wandering the maze, admiring the swans, and strolling through the plantations. In addition you can observe the daily change of the guards just outside the palace which is always a special treat 🙂

Find more from nomadepicureans on Facebook and Instagram


METEORA – GREECE

by meghanthetravelingteacher.com


Meteora is a place that will transport you to another world. Back in the early 800s, monks afraid of persecution began to build these elaborate monasteries on top of rock spires throughout a small area in Greece. Today, 6 of the 24 are still functioning and all are worth a visit. Most tourists come to Meteora via a tour or train from Athens which takes around 5 hours. Walking into one of the monasteries after winding up hills, walking countless stairs, and coming through the doors gives you an incredible sense of awe and wonder. So while Meteora is off the beaten path in Greece, it is definitely something you don’t want to miss!

Find more from Meghan on Instagram and Facebook


 ACROPOLIS – GREECE

by www.fillmypassport.net


One of the most iconic UNESCO Heritage sites in Europe is Greece’s Ancient Acropolis! An absolute must on any Greek vacation, the majestic Acropolis is a beautiful ancient citadel that sings between the columns with ever breeze the earth brings. Music to every historian’s ears. This monumental attraction sits atop a rocky hill with the remains left to admire. The Parthenon is the most famous and of highest historic significance.

Historians of ancient sites believe these ruins were inhabited way back in 495-429 BC with construction commencing the fifth century BC! To this day, the country continues to make every effort to preserve their most prized attraction that thousands of travellers visit yearly. Do yourself a favour and plan a sightseeing afternoon to check out the Acropolis. You will be glad you did.

Find more from fillmypassport on Facebook and Instagram


 PARIS – FRANCE

by creativetravelguide.com


When visiting Paris, you can’t ignore the beauty that is the River Seine that twirls it’s way right through the centre of the city. In the summer, a river becomes a means of transportation with its Batobuses carrying tourists along to the best sights of the city. In the winter it makes for stunning photographs and can even freeze over!

The river runs alongside popular architecture masterpieces like the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Saint Chapelle and the Eiffel Tower. A stroll along the riverside is a perfect, romantic experience no matter what the weather. The River Seine literally can’t be missed on any trip to Paris (unless you hide in your hotel room the whole time!) and is a perfect addition to the city of Love.

Find more from Creative Travel Guide on Facebook and Instagram.

Paris


 HISTORICAL COMPLEX OF SPLIT : PALACE OF DIOCLETIAN – CROATIA

by Tracy of tracystravelsintime.com


Have you ever walked into a place and fallen head over heels in love? Well that is what happened to me when we visited Split during a trip around the very beautiful country of Croatia.

The historical complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Walk in the ruins of the Palace which was built built between the late 3rd and the early 4th centuries A.D. as a retirement home for the Emperor and feel the past all around you. It is like no-where I have visited on earth – perhaps Rome comes close – but wander the city and realise that people still live within its walls! Wander the stalls in the market that can be found in the cellars of Diocletian’s palace and enter and city though one of its four gates – gold, silver, iron and brass and prepare to fall in love!


Hope you enjoyed reading about some of the amazing and beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites that can be found in Europe! Have you been to some of them? What was your favourite?

15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe to visit!

UNESCO SITES IN EUROPE

15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe to visit!


YOU MAY BE INTERESTED TO READ ABOUT MORE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN EUROPE

4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK to visit

15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK

Ironbridge Gorge

Blenheim Palace

Kew Gardens

Stonehenge

Cromford Mills

Saltaire

The Lake District

Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey

Paris

Dubrovnik

Prague

Kotor Bay

Rome

Milan

Venice

Florence

Trogir and Sibenik in Croatia

Mostar in Bosnia Herzegovina


 

48 Comments

  1. June 6, 2017 / 3:49 am

    I have visited about half of these but feel like I still a long way to go. Feel like UNESCO sites are always a good idea. #MondayEscapes

    • June 9, 2017 / 5:32 pm

      I have quite a few of these on my list too!

  2. June 6, 2017 / 6:29 am

    Thanks for featuring my piece on Mont St Michel Tracy. I’ve been to 10 of the 15, there are always so many more places to explore in this world! Lots of travel inspiration here, we always make an effort to go to UNESCO sites on our trips. (#citytripping)
    Phoebe | Lou Messugo recently posted…Afternoon at the poolMy Profile

    • June 9, 2017 / 5:31 pm

      Thanks for contributing Phoebe! Lots of great places to visit! My list only grows!

    • June 9, 2017 / 5:31 pm

      My favourite city in Europe (closely followed by Split though!)

    • June 9, 2017 / 5:30 pm

      So many beautiful UNESCO sites to visit!

  3. June 6, 2017 / 9:34 am

    Wow! This post is just packed with inspiration and information. There are so many incredible, ancient places to discover out there. You’ve also introduced me to quite a few travel bloggers out there that I hadn’t heard of. I have to say the photo of the Acropolis is breathtaking. I must go! Bergen is also on my list and now Tomar and Salamanca. Thank you for linking to #citytripping
    Elizabeth (Wander Mum) recently posted…City Tripping #79My Profile

  4. June 6, 2017 / 3:48 pm

    So many places that I haven’t been to yet! And all so gorgeous and filled with history. I miss Europe so much! I loved Edinburgh – Scotland is one of my very favourite places in the world. Excellent list! #Citytripping

  5. June 6, 2017 / 3:54 pm

    What a great collobration you have put together there. I love UNESCO world heritage sites and not was I able to relate to come of the places visited. I was also able to add a few more to my bucketlist.
    Melbtravel recently posted…A paradise awaits in Melia Zanzibar TanzaniaMy Profile

  6. June 6, 2017 / 10:17 pm

    All great choices. I have 3 of those still to do and my faves on your list I have been to are Meteora and two of my favourite European cities in Salzburg and Paris. Salamanca is high on my list. Great idea for a post.

  7. June 7, 2017 / 9:47 pm

    So much inspiration! I have to admit that I haven’t been to the most of these places, yet they all look well worth a trip. Just added a few to my list!
    Jurga recently posted…11+ Best Day Trips from AmsterdamMy Profile

    • June 9, 2017 / 5:27 pm

      Definitely lots of great UNESCO sites to visit!

  8. June 8, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    Great list Tracy! I was actually surprised how many I had been to (although not realising they were UNESCO) but one that has been on my list for a long time is Meteora in Greece – I woudd LOVE to go there. We almost got there lat year but ended up in Thassos instead, not that that was a disappointment! And I did not know that about the lights at the Colloseum in Rome – I shall look out for them changing when we’re there in September! #citytripping

  9. June 10, 2017 / 8:22 am

    It’s interesting finding out which famous places are actually UNESCO World Heritage Sites! I have visited the Acropolis and absolutely loved it there, I found a bench under a shady tree and just sat admiring the fantastic view. Pompeii is high on my list to see, I have been fascinated with its history for many years! Thanks for sharing this post, every time I read lists such as this I learn something new! #feetdotravel

  10. June 13, 2017 / 5:10 pm

    Wow, I’ve also dreamt about well-travelled life for years. I wish I could join you.

    • June 18, 2017 / 3:12 pm

      It is an interesting life thats for sure!

  11. June 14, 2017 / 6:39 am

    Love these! Acropolis looks like an amazing destination and so does Meteora. Salamanca looks like something out of a fairytale. The colours are stunning! We hope some day we do them all!

    • June 18, 2017 / 3:11 pm

      I know! I haven’t been to any of those and they look amazing!

  12. June 15, 2017 / 11:06 am

    Wow, all the places looks amazing and really worth visiting! Already visited some, but still long list to go. Never thought that there are 412 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe only, amazing!

    • June 18, 2017 / 3:10 pm

      I know – so many amazing places to visit!

  13. June 15, 2017 / 5:32 pm

    Wow, I just went on a wonderful European tour from my kitchen table! Thanks for sharing this – I enjoyed reliving memories from the few of these places I’ve visited and dreaming about the next trip across the pond to check out some of the others!! #feetdotravel
    Laura @ 48 No Interstate recently posted…Photo Tour of a Back Roads Cross-Country Road TripMy Profile

    • June 18, 2017 / 3:09 pm

      Thanks Laura – lots of amazing places to visit!

  14. June 16, 2017 / 10:05 am

    There are a couple of your list of 15 UNESCO world heritage sites in Europe that I’d really love to visit. Salzburg is one of them, it seems to be such an Instagrammable city! Pompeii is another I hope to visit in the near future, especially since watching the movie and learning about it at school. I must confess when I visited Amsterdam I didn’t realize the canals were a UNESCO site!
    James recently posted…The Lock Kitchen & Bar, Leeds – Travel Blogger ReviewMy Profile

    • June 18, 2017 / 3:09 pm

      I love both of those places – Salzburg is so beautiful and Pompeii so interesting! I didn’t know about the canals until recently either!

    • June 30, 2017 / 8:56 pm

      Lots of fab places to visit – I haven’t been to Hamburg but sounds great!

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