Top Ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain

Spain is home to a staggering 45 UNESCO World Heritage sites, third in number behind Italy and China.

The prestigious UNESCO title is awarded to sites that are considered to be of historic or cultural importance and therefore their conservation and promotion is maintained by funding received from UNESCO. They are also legally protected under the Geneva Convention.

Within the region of Andalusia are some of the most world renowned UNESCO sites which are well worth a visit, such as the cities of Seville, Cordoba and Granada which are all steeped in history and offer fantastic examples of Moorish architecture. Andalusia is also home to the Doñana Nature Reserve which also has UNESCO World Heritage status.

Below is a list of what are considered to be the Top Ten UNESCO World Heritage sites in Spain:

 1. The Alhambra, Granada

Alcazaba at the Alhambra

A perfect example of Moorish architecture, the Alhambra is Spain's most visited tourist site, welcoming more than 2.5 million people each year.

The Alhambra fortress is the former residence of the Moorish emirs who ruled this part of Spain during the 13th and 14th centuries.

2. Teide National Park, Tenerife

Teide

Situated on the island of Tenerife, Teide National Park features the Teide-Pico Viejo stratovolcano that, standing at 3,718m tall, is the highest peak on Spanish soil.

Rising 7,500m from the ocean floor, it is regarded as the world's third tallest volcanic structure. This national park is a must-visit during your stay in Tenerife.

3. Historic City of Cordoba, Cordoba

La Mezquita Cordoba

The city of Cordoba is considered to be a historical ensemble of extraordinary value.

The "Mezquita" - the Grand Mosque - which is now a cathedral, is regarded as the most emblematic monument of Islamic religious architecture.

4. Altamira Caves, Cantabria

Cueva de Altamira - Cantabria

The exceptionally well preserved Altamira caves in Cantabria offer the finest example of Palaeolithic cave art in Europe dating back to between 35,000 and 11,000 B.C.

5. Works of Gaudi, Barcelona

Park Güell - Barcelona

Seven properties which were built by architect Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) in the Catalan capital of Barcelona and other works of Gaudi around the city, are recognised by UNESCO for their "eclectic, as well as very personal style which was given free rein in the design of gardens, sculptures and decorative arts, as well as architecture". Rent an apartment in Barcelona city centre and discover all of Gaudi's masterpieces.

6. Tower of Hercules or Farum Brigantium, A Coruña

La Coruna - Hercules Tower

This lighthouse and landmark has stood at the entrance of A Coruña harbour in north-western Spain since it was built in the late 1st century A.D. by the Romans who originally named it Farum Brigantium.

It was renamed the Tower of Hercules at the beginning of the 20th century and it is the only lighthouse of Greco-Roman antiquity to have retained its structural integrity and continued use up until today.

 7. Cathedral, Alcazar and the Archive of the Indies, Seville

Royal Alcazar, Seville, Spain

Together, these buildings form a remarkable monumental complex in the heart of Seville.

The Cathedral and the Alcazar, according to UNESCO, are an "exceptional testimony to the civilisation of the Almohads as well as that of Christian Andalusia", while the General Archive of the Indies contains "valuable documents from the archives of the colonies in the Americas".

8. Biodiversity and Culture, Ibiza

Ibiza biodiversity & culture

The Balearic island of Ibiza is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its biodiversity and culture.

It is recognised as providing "an excellent example of the interaction between the marine and coastal ecosystems...and preserves considerable evidence of its long history". Stay in a villa in Ibiza and discover the other side of the famous party island.

9. Camino de Santiago, Santiago

Camino de Santiago

The 791km route from the French-Spanish border was, and still is, extremely popular among Christian pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostela.

10. Historic Centre of Toledo, Toledo

Toledo

The city of Toledo is steeped in more than 2,000 years of history and is a great example of the harmony of three major religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

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