Explore Europe's UNESCO World Heritage Highlights
UNESCO was established by the United Nations soon after WWII with the aims of promoting world peace and security through education, the sciences, and culture. A large part of the organization's work is focused on protecting places and traditions of significant cultural or natural value.
What is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be anything from an ancient ruin to a relatively modern building; a whole old city or a small village, an island, mountain, or lake. What unites all of the places listed is that they either signify an accomplishment of humanity, serve as evidence of intellectual history on our planet, or are a place of great natural beauty. On a superficial level, you could view a UNESCO listing as a seal of approval that a place is interesting enough to be worth visiting. That certainly depends on your own interests, and if you've seen one Greek temple in Sicily you might not need to see them all, even if it is the one the UNESCO logo is based on. Other sites, like the old walled city of Dubrovnik, might give you a reason to come back time and again.
And Intangible Cultural Heritage?
Besides places, since 2008 UNESCO has set out to document and provide protection to traditions and events. These can be anything from a style of singing, a craft, a sport, or a festival.
The continent with the most UNESCO World Heritage list entries is…
Europe has by far the lion's share of the entries on UNESCO's World Heritage Sites list, and many of the Intangible Cultural Heritage entries too. It's not surprising when you consider the wealth of sites related to the Roman and Greek civilizations throughout southern Europe, but there are more recent sites, like the 1920s functionalist architecture milestone Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic.
JayWay: your partners on your UNESCO quest
Our own coverage map includes the majority of Europe's UNESCO sites, making us ideally placed to craft custom journeys including them. Whether you're on a quest to visit all the UNESCO sites in the world, or just casually interested, we'll plan an unforgettable trip featuring all the most outstanding UNESCO sites and traditions in, around, and in-between the destinations you're visiting. Our local staff and guides in the countries you visit will be excited to introduce you to the sites and traditions that shape their identity.
UNESCO Itineraries you can follow
Below you'll find several sample itineraries we've created that focus on the UNESCO highlights of our destinations. Stay in UNESCO-listed old towns and explore on walking tours with local expert guides. We'll include day trips or stops in-between destinations to visit even more of each country's UNESCO highlights.