Unesco World Heritage Sites

The Alhambra a UNESCO World Hertitage site In Andalucia © Michelle Chaplow
The Alhambra - a UNESCO World Hertitage site In Andalucia.



A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place (either a natural feature, such as a forest, mountain, lake or desert; or a manmade item, such as a monument, building or city) that is listed by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as of special cultural, historical, architectural or physical significance, and outstanding universal value, which should be conserved for the common heritage of humanity. The programme was founded in 1972. Some sites are eligible for special funding.



Andalucia has seven World Heritage sites inscribed on the list - five cultural, one natural, and one both cultural and natural.

Most of the cultural sites are located in cities or towns: the three great Muslim centres of power, Granada, Seville and Cordoba; and Ubeda and Baeza.

These are, namely: Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín (Granada); Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias (Seville); the Historic City Centre of Cordoba (including the Mezquita); the Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza; 68 items of cave art in Almeria, Granada and Jaen provinces, which is included in Rock Art of the Mediterranean Basin on the Iberian Peninsula; and Madinat al-Zahra.

The natural World Heritage Site is Doñana National Park in Huelva province, while the most recently listed site (2016) is the combined cultural and natural site of the Antequera Dolmens in Malaga. Close to Andalucia, on the Rock of Gibraltar, is the Gorham's Cave Complex, added at the same time.

There are currently 911 UNESCO World Heritage sites, with Italy having the most (45). Spain has 46 sites in total: 40 cultural, three natural and two mixed sites. The Spanish for "World Heritage" is Patrimonio Mundial. The list is maintained by the International World Heritage Programme, administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 state parties (countries) which are elected by their General Assembly for a four-year term.

Just outside Antequera you can visit three 5000-year-old dolmens: Menga Dolmen (the largest in Europe) and Viera Dolmen, which are both located just outside the town, while El Romeral Dolmen is a… More →

Madinat al-Zahra was declared a UNESCO world heratige site on 1st July 2018. We are in the year 400 of the Hegira, 1010 AD of our era. On the southern slopes of Jebel al-Arus, the Bride's Mountain… More →

Flamenco is a passionate and seductive art form, a mysterious and misunderstood culture that has been burning in Andalucía for nearly five hundred years, and today flamenco has thousands of… More →

Andalucía is a region with a surprising number and variety of natural caves. Some of these are well-known and open to the public, such as those situated in Nerja, La Pileta and Ardales, but there… More →

68 separate cave paintings in Velez-Blanco and Maria, Almeria; Almaciles and Huescar, Granada; Quesada, Pontones, Santiago de la Espada, Segura de la Sierra, Santisteban del Puerto and… More →

Doñana National Park in Andalusia occupies the right bank of the Guadalquivir river at its estuary on the Atlantic Ocean. It is notable for the great diversity of its biotopes, especially lagoons… More →

The urban morphology of the two small cities of Úbeda and Baeza in southern Spain dates back to the Moorish ninth century and to the Reconquista in the 13th century. An important development took… More →

Cordoba's period of greatest glory began in the 8th century after the Moorish conquest, when some 300 mosques and innumerable palaces and public buildings were built to rival the splendours of… More →

Together these three buildings form a remarkable monumental complex in the heart of Seville. The cathedral and the Alcázar - dating from the Reconquest of 1248 to the 16th century and imbued with… More →

The Alhambra: the most romantic building in the world, and Spain's top tourist attraction (book tickets well in advance), full of exquisitely decorated palaces with hidden courtyards. Exhibitions… More →


As well as buildings and natural features, UNESCO now has a list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (Patrimonio Inmaterial de la Humanidad), which encompasses cultural traditions, practices and crafts, specifically “oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.” These are defined as being traditional, contemporary and living; inclusive; representative; and community-based.

Flamenco is a passionate and seductive art form, a mysterious and misunderstood culture that has been burning in Andalucía for nearly five hundred years, and today flamenco has thousands of… More →

Great news for Andalucia the patios entered into the perfect UNESCO Category: Social spaces promoting human contact and cultural exchange; promoting cultural diversity. As well as the historic… More →

The Mediterranean Diet is classified by employing ten principles, which include using olive oil; eating plenty of fruit and vegetables (plus legumes and nuts); bread and grains; fresh, local,… More →


A Tentative List is an inventory of those properties which each country intends to consider for nomination. Spain has 33 on this list and includes the following Andalucia sites.


These are distributed across 31 countries in the region.

The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves covers internationally-designated protected areas, known as biosphere reserves, that are meant to demonstrate a balanced relationship between man and nature (e.g. encourage sustainable development).

In 2010 there were 564 biosphere reserves in 109 countries. In Andalucia there are eight namely.