Travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Episode 235

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The Amateur Traveler talks to Gary Arndt of about UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The World Heritage List includes 890 sites from around the world that are part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having “outstanding universal value”. We talk about various sites as well as how to use this list as a resource in your travels.

right click here to download (mp3)
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Show Notes

Everything Everywhere – Gary’s blog
Gary’s list of UNESCO World Heritage sites
Chris’s list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
World Heritage List KML file for Google Earth

Internet Resources

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

15 Responses to “Travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Episode 235”



I’ve only seen 13 so far (in 5 countries)! This coming Fall, I’m planning on visiting 3 more countries which will add at least 9 new sites to my list…! Slowly, but surely…!

Wes Snow


Great episode, Chris…I think it’s great that you are bringing awareness about what the UNESCO World Heritage Sites are about. I probably had been to about 30 of the sites myself before I realized the designation carried quite a bit of prestige with it.

As for myself, I counted that I have been to 56 of the sites.

My notables:
US Favorite – Yosemite National Park
Overall Favorite – Canadian Rockies Parks
Other loved: Jerusalem old city, Iguacu Falls in South America, Plitvice NP in Croatia, Norwegian fjords
Least liked: Trogir in Croatia

Darrell Hickman


Great episode. So far I have only been to 8 of these sites. I have been within 5 miles of 2 more Rideau Canal in Ottawa and Monticello in Charlottesville but can’t claim them. My most surprising site was seeing the Historic Quarter of the city of Colonia in Uruguay

David Van Valkenburgh



Enjoyed the episode. I have been to 67 of the UNESCO sites. Was most surprised that Ephessus, Turkey was not on the list (much more impressive than Troy).

Favorite places: Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, Great Barrier Reef, Marrakesh, Costiera Amalfitana, West Norwegian Fjords and of course The Banks of the Seine in Paris. Thanks for all your work on this great podcast.



Oh interesting, it does seem like Ephesus is a pretty major site. I guess that is similar to how many Roman ruins do you need on the list. But since this is the site of one of the original 7 wonders of the world…

Erik Smith


My number is 71. I found it alarming that I’ve only been to a little over half of the US ones when I’ve visited 75% of the US National Parks.

It was also funny how many I’ve visited without knowing they were on the list.



My number is 98 – my goal for 2010? Go to two more!

I have been to 22 UNESCO sites in INDIA alone! πŸ˜€

Strange how Jerusalem is separate from Israel and “Proposed by Jordan”



It looks like I’ve been to 27 of them (and I thought I was well-traveled!). I must agree with Gary & Chris that they are somewhat random in their importance (and attractiveness to tourists).



My goal is more modest than that of your guest – I want to visit 10% of the sites. Right now I’m at 71 so I’m only 18 away – but it’s a moving target!

It’s too hard to talk about the best sites, but so far the only really disappointing ones have been: Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels) (maybe if I’d gone in it’d have been more impressive); Sangiran Early Man Site (as your guest said, it’s a boring museum – though I did get on a motorcycle to a supposed ‘archaeological site’ where my guide picked out some cattle fossils for me; Kernav? Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernav?) (I went when the museum was closed – but I had 2/3 of a day to kill in Vilnius anyway)

A great resource to find geographically-close sites is the World Heritage map ( – which you had a screenshot of) – the sites show up as dots on the map.

Your guest said they add about 12 sites a year. My estimate is closer to 20-30.

Lastly, you discussed the eurocentric bias of the list, but you can’t doubt that there is more of historical value in Western Europe than in most of the world. I will also note that Mexico has plenty of World Heritage sites.

Great to hear a themed show again πŸ™‚



I have been to 12 Unesco sites, all in the U.S., France, Germany, and Austria, and including Cahokia Mounds in my home state of Illinois!

Nice episode.



I was in Porec in Croatia last month and i saw Euphrasian Basilica, great monument!



Was also in Porec in Croatia in March and saw Euphrasian Basilica, a very beautiful monument!



China has 40 listed sites, currently ranking 3rd in the world for listed sites.

One great way to travel in China is just to travel to as many listed sites as you can.



After listening to this episode, I had to go to the Unesco website and count! So far, I’ve been to 58. Many more I’d like to get to!

Babak Fakhamzadeh


For those interested, you can keep track of the World Heritage Sites you have visited, and compare your list with those of your friends, at

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