Countries With The Most UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Italy, China, Spain, and France have 53, 52, 46, and 43 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, respectively.

Before we get into the countries with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites, let's look at what is required for a site to be one. There are six criteria for cultural sites which are:

  • Represents a masterpiece of human creative genius.
  • Exhibits an important interchange of human values.
  • Bears a unique testimony to a cultural tradition of a civilization.
  • Is an outstanding example of a architectural or technological ensemble throughout history.
  • Is an outstanding example of traditional human settlement or interaction with the environment.
  • Is tangibly associated with traditions, ideas, beliefs, and works of universal significance.

There are four criteria for natural sites which are:

  • Contains superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty.
  • Has outstanding examples that represent the major stages of earth's history.
  • Is an outstanding example of significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of land and sea communities of plants and animals.
  • Contains the most important natural habitats for conservation of biological diversity.

Countries with the Most UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The top ten countries with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites all have their own unique reasons as to why they are in the top ten.


The United States has many cultural sites mostly thanks to a rich indigenous history. These sites include places such as Taos Pueblo. It also has some sites from the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the Statue of Liberty. Most notably, the United States has some of the most natural World Heritage Sites due to its vast size, varied climates, and national parks. These include sites including the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. Some of the cultural sites in Italy include the Villa Romana del Casale and the Castel del Monte.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Housing UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Having a World Heritage Site can be a major benefit to the economy and tourism industries of the countries that have them. World Heritage Sites are usually major draws for tourists when visiting a country. This means more money that the countries are taking in from the tourist visiting and spending their money. However, there can be drawbacks, as having a great deal of UNESCO sites has the home country having to spend large sums of money in the upkeep and repairing of these sites. This can create a balance between how much money a country puts towards its historical sites, especially in hard economic times.

Countries With The Most UNESCO World Heritage Sites

RankCountryCultural World Heritage SitesNatural World Heritage SitesMixed World Heritage SitesTotal Number
8United Kingdom426131
10United States1210123

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