Ever dreamt of exploring hidden gems off the beaten path?
In a world where everyone talks about famous spots, let’s discover the quiet, less-traveled countries that are waiting for you. From the peaceful scenes in Nauru to the special charm of Sao Tomé and Príncipe, these hidden treasures are often forgotten.
Come along as we reveal the stories of the world’s least visited countries and find out why they should be the next stops on your adventure journey.
- From the serene landscapes of Nauru to the eco-friendly adventures in São Tomé and Príncipe, these off-the-beaten-path destinations offer unforgettable experiences.
- Tuvalu, Kiribati, Turkmenistan, and other least-visited nations provide opportunities for adventure but face challenges like remote locations and limited infrastructure.
- Factors such as political issues, small size, or the perception of danger contribute to these countries being less popular.
The Least Visited Countries in the World
When it comes to travel, some countries remain untouched by the masses. The following countries may not be on everyone’s itinerary, but they hold treasures waiting to be discovered.
Some lesser-known countries, like Naurui, may not be on everyone’s travel list, but they’re worth considering. It’s located northeast of Australia and is a four-hour flight from Brisbane.
Nauru has two hotels, and renting a car is a good idea to explore. You can visit Command Ridge for World War II history or go to Anibare Bay for beautiful beaches and coral reefs. Keep in mind that you need a tourist visa obtained by mail before traveling to Nauru.
Tuvalu is the least-visited place globally, with only about 3,700 visitors in 2019. Despite its crystal-blue waters and palm-lined beaches, getting to Tuvalu is not always easy, with the only international airport having flights twice a week and delays being common.
The Pacific islands, including Tuvalu, face challenges due to their remote locations and limited infrastructure. Tuvalu is also facing a threat from climate change, with rising sea levels.
Kiribati, pronounced as ‘kiri-bas,’ is a group of islands in the Pacific. It’s unique because it’s the only country in the world that touches all four hemispheres. People enjoy fishing, surfing, exploring World War II-era sites, and underwater activities like diving and snorkeling in the Phoenix Island Marine Protected Area, which is the biggest protected marine area globally.
Bird watching is also popular. Kiribati has 33 islands, islets, and atolls to explore. The country is less developed, and the Kiribati National Tourism Office says it’s a great place for adventurous travelers who want to go off the beaten path and understand a country, not just visit it.
Sao Tomé and Principe
Not many know about this small African island in the Gulf of Guinea, but more tourists are going there now. From 2010 to 2019, tourist arrivals rose from 8,000 to 34,900. It used to be owned by the Portuguese until 1975 and was known for producing cocoa.
Now, visitors can have a great eco-friendly adventure in the jungle and enjoy beautiful beaches. The smaller island, Principe, with only 7,000 residents, is also worth visiting.
Turkmenistan, in Central Asia, is known as one of the mysterious countries on the Silk Road. This ancient trade route was crucial for silk and spice exchange. Despite its rich history, Turkmenistan is the least explored of the five ‘Stans, with less than 10,000 tourism-related visitors per year.
The capital, Ashgabat, has impressive white marble buildings with gold-lacquered domes, exotic mosques, bazaars, and palaces to explore. Getting a tourist visa might be a bit challenging, but it’s because you need to enter Turkmenistan as part of a guided tour. The tour operator will take care of the visa for you.
This is Why Nobody Visits
There are different reasons why some countries are not as popular as others. Some islands in the Pacific are far away, making them expensive and time-consuming to visit. Other countries may be nearby but costly or lack interesting things to see.
Some places are not well set up for tourists, making visits tricky. Some countries are just too small for many visitors. Also, some places might be seen as unsafe, like North Korea, or truly dangerous due to political problems, like Somalia.
The number of visitors doesn’t always reflect how good a country is to visit. Except for genuinely dangerous places, less-visited countries are often seen as beautiful, less crowded, more natural, and sometimes cheaper than popular destinations.
This is Why You Should Visit These Countries
The least-visited countries are usually special because they have unique cultures, beautiful landscapes, and amazing wildlife. The above examples, like Tuvalu and Nauru, each have their own charm. These countries are not as popular because they’re a bit different or have some rules that make people hesitant to go.
But visiting them can give you unique cultural experiences, beautiful nature, and affordable travel options. It also helps local communities and is good for sustainable tourism. Just make sure to research and be careful when visiting any country.
These Are the Most Visited Countries in the World
In contrast to the least-visited nations, here are examples of popular tourist destinations worldwide
France, the world’s top tourist spot for over 30 years, boasts iconic attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and Disneyland Paris. Its lush countryside features storybook villages, mountains, vineyards, and castles. Paris, the most visited city in Europe, welcomed 38 million tourists in 2019, offering a blend of urban and scenic delights.
Spain, a vibrant tourist destination, offers Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the Guggenheim Museum, the Alhambra, Europe’s largest aquarium, Gran Canaria’s beaches, and La Rambla. El Teide, an ancient volcano in Tenerife, invites hikers to explore the Parque Nacional del Teide. Spain blends rich culture with natural wonders for visitors.
The United States is popular for tourism, studying, and working with top universities and big tech companies. Must-visit places include national parks like Grand Canyon and Yellowstone and cities like New York and San Francisco. Add beautiful locations like Lake Tahoe and Kaua’i to your travel list.
Turkey, where East meets West, combines captivating sites like Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace with archaeological wonders like Ephesus and Cappadocia. Natural beauty abounds with famous beaches, mineral pools at Pamukkale, and the Mediterranean coastline. Turkey offers a diverse blend of history and stunning landscapes for visitors to explore.
Italy, a top destination, is favored for holidays and celebrity weddings near Lake Como. Polignano a Mare is recommended for its welcoming charm. Naples and its surroundings offer unique experiences. Enjoy horseback riding in Rome, serene treks near Brescia, and the breathtaking Plemmirio marine area in Syracuse. Italy boasts the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
While Nauru holds the title of the world’s smallest island nation, its limited accessibility makes it one of the least crowded places on Earth.
A National Geographic article tags San Marino as the least-visited country in Europe. It is a tiny landlocked country encircled by Italy, with an area of only 23.6 square miles.
Contrary to their popularity, these lesser-known countries are often incredibly welcoming. However, misconceptions and a lack of awareness contribute to the lower number of visitors