Looking for some easy-to-reach European UNESCO World Heritage sites? Explore some of the world’s most beautiful places without leaving Europe! From incredible architectural sites to secluded natural wonders, there’s something for everyone on this list of 15 easy-to-reach UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Immerse yourself in culture, history and spectacular scenery as you take in these extraordinary destinations around the continent.
We have visited all of the places listed as either part of a package holiday, a self-driven road trip around Europe or a simple hand-luggage only Ryanair or Easyjet flight.
These easy-to-reach European UNESCO World Heritage sites are not hard to find or exclusive in nature. Plus, we did it all with kids in tow! And trust me when I tell you, a visit to any of these world class sites will not disappoint!
Windmills of Kinderdijk, Netherlands – an easy-to-reach European UNESCO World Heritage site
The windmills are part of a water management network built in the 18th century. A visit will allow you have a look inside the windmills and take a boat ride along the canals which you can hop on and off at your own pace and pleasure. Kinderdijk is a wonderful day out and encapsulates the true essence of being in the Netherlands.
Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe – Germany
Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe is close to the town of Kassel in Germany. It is also very close to the fairy tale route, which is popular with tourists and runs from Hanau to Bremen.
The park is famous for its gigantic statue of Hercules, however, I most remember the amazing water features and the 500 steps to the top of the hill that offer fantastic views of the surrounding area.
Plitvice Lakes National Park – Croatia
Plitvice Lakes is a wonderful place to explore some of the most beautiful lakes and waterfalls Croatia has to offer.
The nearest town is Zadar, which is around a two hour drive away. To visit the lakes you will need to either hire a car or arrange a day trip with a local company.
The walk through the lakes and waterfalls is simply breathtaking. It’s unsurprising a visit to Plitvice Lakes is billed as one of the sites you ‘must see’ whilst in Croatia.
Top tip – make sure to take water shoes as the rocks are difficult and uncomfortable to walk on when you are in the water and the current from the waterfall is quite strong.
Acropolis – Athens
Athens is a magnificent city. One of my all-time favourite city breaks in Europe. There is so much to explore and so much to learn about one of the world’s most ancient civilisations!
The Acropolis is no exception. From every angle, high and low, the place is amazing. The Acropolis is massively iconic to the city as you can literally see it everywhere.
If you are looking for easy-to-reach European UNESCO World Heritage site, this is definitely one not to miss!
Mostar, Bosnia – an easy-to-reach European UNESCO World Heritage
We visited Mostar as part of a summer in Croatia. Trust me when I say, this is a stop not to be missed.
I loved every bit of this European UNESCO World Heritage Site. It wasn’t just because of the Stari Most and the divers that jumped off into the water below. Or the vibrant market stalls and hugly crowded cobbled streets in the boiling heat in the height of the summer.
It was, in fact, the people that made this town, just as much as the town itself. They were generous, kind and so happy. It was this that has stuck with me all these years later.
La Sagrada Familia – Spain
It is always a pleasure to visit La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. I have been a few times in my life. Most recently I visited with my own children, but I have also visited in my twenties on a girls holiday and even as a child with my own parents.
On our last visit in 2022, we couldn’t help but comment on how different the cathedral looked from when we had seen it last. The work on the cathedral, which seems to have been going on for a lifetime now, seems to be coming to a close. Whether it is or not, I have no idea. However, the cathedral is looking more and more finished in recent years. This is one of the reasons it is always a pleasure to go back.
I also love Barcelona! What a great city and so incredibly easy for us to access from the UK!
Valletta, Malta – an easy-to-reach European UNESCO World Heritage site
More people should know about Malta’s capital city of Valletta. I was blown away by this city of architecture, royal stories, history and beauty.
The view from the Upper Barrakka Gardens is stunning and the scale of everything in this walled city is simply immense.
A trip to Malta is easy to organise as there are lots of different package holidays available from the UK. This means Valletta is certainly one very easy-to-reach European UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Pompeii – Italy
Technically, I haven’t actually taken the kids to Pompeii. However, I would have no trouble doing so if we went back. And i’m sure one day we will!
The first thing to say about Pompeii is that the site is huge! I am still in awe of how big the place is and how much there is to see.
A trip to Pompeii will take you on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Some parts will fascinate and inspire you, without a doubt. Others will really test your knowledge of what you think you know about Pompeii as you struggle to understand what happened here and then wonder how it is all so well preserved. Then there are, of course, parts that will make you incredibly sad.
I do know one thing for certain, you will definitely not regret a visit to this UNESCO Heritage Site.
Old Town Nessebar, Bulgaria
On a package holiday to Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, we hopped on the local bus one day and, after a quick 20 minute journey, discovered one of the most amazing surprises. That surprise was Old Town Nessebar! We planned a day trip here, not knowing how astonishing this place was going to be!
Nessebar is on Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast. The beautiful old town sits on a promontory and is filled with ruins, cobbled streets and the most tremendous views. This is one of the lesser-known easy-to-reach European UNESCO World Heritage sites. However, it’s a ruddy good one!
Jurassic Coast, UK – easy-to-reach European UNESCO World Heritage site
The Jurassic Coast consists of 96 miles of coastline from Devon to Dorset on the British south coast. The Jurassic Coast was made a Unesco World Heritage site in 2001 and it is the only place in the world where you can see evidence of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods all in one place!
Spend your time hunting for prehistoric fossils, exploring the coastal paths and local walks, discovering the past in the many museums, having fun on the south coast’s best beaches or having a cream-tea in the local tea shop! There’s a bit of something for everyone!
Tombs of the Kings, Paphos in Cyprus
Paphos is one of the most important architectural and historical places in the world. The quality of the ruins, mosaics, palaces, fortresses and monuments are key to understanding history as far as the Neolithic times.
Not to mention, Paphos is beautiful. The beaches, the harbour, the castle, the Tomb of the Kings and the old town are not to be missed!
Paphos is one of our favourite places in Europe. This European World Heritage site is always included in package holiday offers, making it one easy-to-reach and absolutely stunning World Heritage site to visit in Europe.
El Retiro, Madrid in Spain
El Retiro park in Madrid is a new name to the UNESCO World Heritage site list. It was added in 2021. El Retiro used to belong to Spanish Royalty, but now belongs to the people.
The park has so many areas to explore. However, the best parts are Estanque Grande and Monumento a Alfonso XII on the boating lake and the Crystal Palace and its resident turtles that roam the grounds.
Dalt Vila, Ibiza in Spain – easy-to-reach European UNESCO World Heritage
Ibiza isn’t just for hardcore clubbers and sun-seekers. Ibiza is also home to one of the loveliest UNESCO World Heritage sites called Dalt Vila.
Dalt Vila is essentially a beautiful town on the top of the hill which has become an outdoor museum. Inhabited for over 2500 years, Dalt Vila has a lot of stories to tell.
We think the best thing about Dalt Vila is that is completely free to enter. You can take it in at your own pace and enjoy the views from very angle. Whether you are travelling with kids, travelling alone or in a group of friends, Dalt Vila is a charming and extremely pretty addition to any trip to Ibiza.
Canterbury Cathedral – UK
Canterbury is one of my favourite places in the UK. Because I grew up in Kent, I was lucky enough to have Canterbury on my doorstep. I took full advantage of that! Even to this day, Canterbury is the town of choice for the occasional girls trip or shopping trip. And that’s because a visit here is always so good.
One of the most special places in Canterbury is Canterbury Cathedral. Of all the cities across the world I have visited, none have a cathedral that compares to Canterbury’s. It really is a unique place to visit. I have been to Easter and Christmas services here and there is nothing quite like it.
Once you hear the story of Sir Thomas Becket, you’ll want to know more of the many stories behind this 1000 year old building.
Carcassonne, France – easy-to-reach European UNESCO World Heritage
Carcassonne is a beautiful medieval town and citadel in the Occitanie region of France, not far from Narbonne and Gruissan.
The impressive walled fortress called the Cité is home to cobbled streets and alleyways. Each filled with hotels, Churches, restaurants and boutique shops.
Throngs of tourists flock to Carcassonne all year round.
Ryanair offer flights to Carcassonne. Although a self-drive holiday down to the South of France is just as enjoyable.