Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

 

Did you know that there are now more than 900 UNESCO World Heritage Sites? According to Tripadvisor, the top 10 – as rated by their users, I assume - are:

1. Taj Mahal, India
2. Petra / Wasi Muda, Jordan
3. Palmyra, Syria
4. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA
5. Abu Simbel, Egypt
6. Prambanan Temples, Indonesia
7. City of Venice, Italy
8. Siena, Italy
9. Easter Island, Chile
10. Trentino Dolomites, Italy

Once again, Italy have fared well as they did in Tripadvisor’s top 10 destinations in Europe.  But are there any UNESCO World Heritage Sites that you would have expected to make the top 10 but didn’t? Please share your thoughts with us by posting a comment.

Comments (18)

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  1. Monty Dobson says:

    I can’t say I disagree with the article, but want to point you to a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site 5 miles from St. Louis Missouri. The Cahokia Mounds Museum is on the site of a Native American city that had a population of about 35,000 in AD1200. To put that in perspective, Paris and London had about 10,000-12,000 people at the time! There site is here: http://cahokiamounds.org/
    And I have a promo for a documentary on the site here: http://www.montysworldonline.com
    A magnificent place that will challenge your perception of life in pre-contact America.

  2. Gary Arndt says:

    I have been to 7 of the 10 on that list and 123 in the world. I can think of a bunch which are better than Sienna.

    I think the TripAdvisor ratings are more a function of where people go, rather than what is good. Most people probably couldn’t name more than a dozen or so sites off the top of their head.

  3. John says:

    Does TripAdvisor collate the information for listings of multiple sites, for example the belfries of Northern France / Belgium or the chateaux of the Loire Valley? A UNESCO World Heritage Listing is made to protect a manmade or natural feature. It is not primarily about tourism, of course if a site is listed it usually has some unique qualities and tourists are attracted to the site.
    Is it strange the Blaenavon didn’t make the Top 10? On the previous posts on Top 10′s there was a discussion of what makes a site “the Best”. This has to be purely subjective as we all want different things out of our visits. There is a growing market for Industrial Heritage but it will never gain mass market recognition, in the way that the sites on this list do. So what Gary is saying is correct. The sites above are heavily advertised and sold as packages and as a result get lots of visitors.

  4. Kay says:

    I’ve been to some on the list.

    The Taj Mahal – I found it somewhat boring unless you’re really into architecture. There’s no life or excitement about it. Just crowds of people gawping at this big tomb. It’s more interesting to view it from the nearby fort.

    Petra – loved every minute of this one. It’s a definite must for anyone’s wish list (unless it’s changed since I was there). Try not to get ripped off by the guys with horses and camels, though.

    I’ve been to a couple of the others and can’t think of what to say, good or bad. Yeah, they were that memorable.

    Heritage sites I liked would include Angkor Wat in Cambodia and George Town, Penang. Both wonderful for photographers, but otherwise I don’t know if it would be worth travelling all way to go there for a holiday.

    As was said earlier, TripAdviser is for toursits, and a reflection of what tourists want to do. Well said.

    By the way, I also disliked visiting the pyramids at Giza.

  5. Nick P says:

    Personally I found the list to be uninsprining – as Gary says – more just a list of where more people have been (or possibly aspire to going to) rather than a list of what really is spectacular – although by the same token I conceed this is totally subjective.

    My tenpeneth contribution……

    The Taj is IMHO overated – I was underwhelmed by it!

    My picks would be…..

    The Angkor complex (not just Angkor Wat itself)
    Machu Picchu
    Chichen Itza
    The Great Wall of China
    Ouro Preto
    The Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela
    Fatehpur Sikri
    Borobudur
    Medina of Marrakesh
    Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras
    Ancient City of Sigiriya
    Tower of London
    Hoi An Ancient Town

  6. irene says:

    quite surprised by some on the list thought things like the sydney opera house, machu picchu, angkor and the great wall of china would have been on there! wonder what their criteria is?

  7. Petra is truly incredible. I’ve visited twice and each time it’s mind blowing.

  8. autobus says:

    It is not primarily about tourism, of course if a site is listed it usually has some unique qualities and tourists are attracted to the site.
    Is it strange the Blaenavon didn’t make the Top 10? On the previous posts on Top 10’s there was a discussion of what makes a site “the Best”. This has to be purely subjective as we all want different things out of our visits. There is a growing market for Industrial Heritage but it will never gain mass market recognition, in the way that the sites on this list do. So what Gary is saying is correct. The sites above are heavily advertised and sold as packages and as a result get lots of visitors.

  9. irene says:

    Petra is high up my wish list, everyone raves about it and i can’t wait to go!

  10. Aurora says:

    I have been lucky enough to visit 3 places on this list. My favourite is Grand Canyon National Park, it felt like a very spiritual place to me.

    We travelled there on the Grand Canyon Railway, which in itself was a wonderful experience. I would certainly recommend that everyone should visit Grand Canyon National Park once in their life.

  11. Emily M says:

    Good to see the Grand Canyon high on the list, it’s spectacular, I felt like I was looking at a painting when I was there. I was even more blown away by Bryce canyon and always wish it could make these lists.

  12. Karen Scammell says:

    I would love to go to the Grand Canyon. Haven’t been to any on this list … :( yet!

  13. Kylie Martin says:

    Wow, I have been to none of these places, is that bad? Thankfully I am going to Las Vegas this year and making a plan to go to the Grand Canyon. Thats one off the list. Not to keen on Taj Mahal, looks very crowded on documentaries.

  14. Aurora says:

    Kylie just a tip for the Grand Canyon, try and visit Grand Canyon National Park rather than the West Rim with the Skywalk. Although the National Park is a bit further from Las Vegas, you will have a better experience. I hope you have a wonderful time.

  15. I would give links to TA a no follow as they do with their links:-)

  16. Any attempt to rate a top ten World Heritage Site will definitely be open to questioning and criticism. Surveys to create such a list is often influenced by factors that may unfairly change the result.

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  18. Rossana says:

    I am lucky enough to work in one of the most beautiful UNESCO heritage site: The Val d’Orcia and I think is a must see place for everyone. The rolling hills that change colors every season, the sheep that seems to draw abstract forms in the fields, the cypresses and the olive trees, the red poppies that colors the golden fields of wheat. Every time I go there there’s something different that take my breath away and I can say it is the same for our guests that just keep coming back year after year.

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