Greece Travel Secrets lists Greece's UNESCO World Heritage Sites from the first, Bassae, to the latest, Zagori, plus the Acropolis, Delphi, Mycenae and more.
How many UNESCO World Heritage Sites there are in the whole of Greece? A quick look at the UNESCO website shows that there are 18 of them. Reading down the list made us appreciate how lucky we’ve been to have seen almost all of them, in our years of travel around Greece.
The first to be included on the list, which began in 1978, was the remarkable Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae (or Vassae). This was added in 1986. It’s in a remote spot in the Peloponnese, and we were fortunate enough to see it while researching a guidebook to Mainland Greece. It’s covered in a huge canopy to protect it during restoration work, but you can peek inside it. See our full page about the Temple of Bassae.
The Acropolis in Athens was added to the list in 1987. We’ll never forget our first visit to Athens, and to the Acropolis. We had lunch at a taverna in the back streets of the Plaka. When we left we asked the owner how to get to the Acropolis, which isn’t straightforward if you come from the Plaka side. He gave us directions, and then said, with a laugh: ‘I must go and see it myself some time. I’ve never been!’
Delphi was also added to UNESCO’s list in 1987. Nor will we ever forget our first visit to Delphi, on the same research trip when we visited Bassae. We're sure no-one ever forgets their first sight of Delphi, and the magnificent views all around. No wonder the Ancient Greeks thought it was the centre of the universe. We stayed in the nearby mountain town of Arachova, rather than in Delphi itself, and we highly recommend it.
This was added in 1988, along with Meteora, Epidavros, Mount Athos, and the Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki. See our Walk In the Old Town of Rhodes, which you can download as a PDF to print out.
In 1992 UNESCO recognised the ancient sites of Pythagoreion and Heraion on Samos.
In 1996 the Archaeological Site and Royal Tombs at Vergina joined the list.
1999 saw three more places in Greece added to UNESCO’s list. They were the archaeological sites of Mycenae and Tiryns, along with the Historic Centre (Chorá), the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian, and the Cave of the Apocalypse all on Patmos.
2007 was the year that the lovely Old Town of Corfu was added to UNESCO’s list. Anyone who’s spent time wandering round its streets will understand that. As with Rhodes Old Town, we’ve devised a Walk in Old Corfu Town that you can download as a PDF.
The most recent addition to UNESCO’s list in Greece was in 2016, when the archaeological site of Philippi was included. And yes, we went there on our Mainland Greece research trip.
Added in September 2023, the area of Zagori (or Zagoria) has been included for its architectural treasures, including the mix of Byzantine and Ottoman styles.