With 195 countries in the world, there is no shortage of vacation destinations. Most people know about the popular countries such as France and Spain. However, it seems there are some countries that are seriously lacking in tourism. I have taken it upon myself to research the least visited countries in the world to give you some other options when planning your next getaway. To make it easier I will break this post into a series of parts containing the regions of the world as set out in the UNWTO
Northern European Region. This region includes the countries of: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It might surprise you to find out that Iceland is actually the least visited country in this region.
ICELAND — While Iceland may have the lowest number of tourists of the Northern European region, it is definitely not lacking in tourists. According to The Iceland Monitor over the past few years the number of visitors has grown. Though, it has mostly been with luxury travelers. It’s no wonder Iceland attracts luxury travelers with the Krona strong and the Euro down, the exchange rate isn’t all that great. But please don’t let this deter you from visiting this beautiful country. It is full of adventure and definitely a worthy destination. Iceland may be a bit more expensive but at least you won’t have to put up with as many crowds. IcelandTourism
Western European Region — This region includes the countries of: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, and Switzerland. Because this is a larger region with more countries I have decided to include the top three least visited countries.
Liechtenstein — This country is tiny compared to most but it has much to offer. With it’s medieval castles, hiking trails, and museums. Yes technically Liechtenstein is a principality but hey that’s just a technicality. If you are looking for a place to get away and wander through meadows with unparalleled views of Malbun, which is a part of the Swiss Alps, then this is the place for you. It truly has something for everyone. Liechtenstein Tourism
Monaco — This little principality is the second smallest in the world. Right behind the Vatican. If you are looking for a good (expensive) time, Monaco is the place to be. With the worlds lowest poverty rate and the highest number of millionaires and billionaires. So while the crowds might be down the prices are up. To avoid the high prices I suggest stay in France and just hopping over to Monaco for the day. Monaco Tourism
Luxembourg — This little country is surrounded by Belgium, France, and Germany. So, it’s no wonder it is one of the least visited countries in the Western European region. It is also the second smallest of all of the European Union states. Luxembourg has much to offer, with 6 Regions to explore, you are sure to find something worth visiting in this tiny country. Luxembourg Tourism
Central/Eastern Europe Region — This is the largest region I have covered so far. With so many small countries in this area it was a close race. So, here is a list of the countries in this region: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan. There are so many amazing countries on this list. I wish I could write about all of them. Maybe one of these days I will get around to each of these. Until then, here is a list of the three least visited countries in this region.
Republic of Moldova — While you might have heard of some of the previous countries a bit more, I bet this is one you haven’t heard much about. It is a small country between the countries of Romania and Ukraine. This little country has seen its fare share of war in the past. It was once a part of Russia all throughout history until 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. It is shedding it’s war torn appearance and becoming more popular with Europeans. With it’s beautiful countryside and famous wineries this is a great place to relax and unwind. Thanks to budget friendly flights throughout Europe more and more people are starting to discover the beauty of this little country with a troubled past. Republic of Moldova Tourism
Armenia — Is the second least visited country in the Central/Eastern European region. Armenia is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people and rich in history and culture. Being one of the oldest countries in the world and the first Christian country in the world. As far as tourism goes, it definitely has something for every budget. It is full of boutique hotels, hostels, and your regular hotels. There is plenty of affordable food and if you are looking for a real adventure, take a bus to one of the smaller villages and immerse yourself with the locals. Armenians are friendly hospitable people. I honestly don’t know why more people haven’t visited this beautiful country. Armenia Tourism
Latvia — Honestly Latvia has been on my “bucket list” for a long time. I don’t know how it could possibly be one of the least visited countries in Central/Eastern Europe. Latvia gained their independence from Russia in 1918 after WWI. After WWII they gained their independence again from the Soviet Union in 1991. It has had a slightly rough past but present day it is a democratic state looking to the future. If you really want to get a sense of what Latvia is about I suggest visiting in the Summer months when they hold Song and Dance Festivals. Enjoy the Summer Solstice celebrations with the locals and you will see how far this country has come. Latvia Tourism
South/Mediterranean Europe Region — When most people think of this region of Europe they think of places like Italy and Greece. While those are incredibly beautiful places to visit millions of people descend on those countries every year. Leaving other countries in the area feeling a little left out. There are other countries to visit in this area such as: Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia.As you can see there are many more countries that have much to offer.
San Marino — This is one of those little places you don’t hear anything about. It’s no wonder too, since it is actually a little Republic in the middle of Italy! It’s not exactly one of the many places you learned about in school. I’ve done a bit of digging to discover what I can about this tiny country and you will not be disappointed! This tiny republic is situated on the slopes of Mount Titano. On the Adriatic Sea side of Italy, and is the third smallest independent state in Europe. There are 9 towns in the country, with the town of San Marino being it’s Capital. The old town center of the town of San Marino is centered on the top of Mount Titano and there are also three fortresses atop Titano as well. With plenty of old winding stone streets to get lost in; you can easily spend a few days here. I’d say San Marnio is a place worth checking out if you are ever in that part of Italy. I may just have to put it on my “bucket list”. San Marino Tourism
Macedonia — I was honestly a little surprised Macedonia was on this list. But, it is the second least visited country in the Southern/Mediterranean region. This country is full of history dating back to 7000 and 35000 BC. It is the oldest surviving name of a country. If you are a history buff like me Macedonia should definitely be on your “bucket list”. Macedonia is an adventure lovers paradise. The country offers activities such as paragliding, horseback riding, hiking, scuba diving, mountain biking, the list just goes on. There are also three National Parks! For the History buffs there are ancient towns, monasteries, fortresses, megalithic sites, and Roman ruins. Like I said I can’t fathom why this country is not visited by more people. Macedonia Tourism
Bosnia-Herzegovina — This country like many others in this list has had a troubled past. It has been in turmoil since it was ruled by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. There have been wars, genocides, and political turmoil up until 1995. The majority of the people of this present day nation want peace. The government works every day to maintain that peace. With the country’s struggles in the past Bosnia- Herzegovina is looking toward the future with hope. The capital city is Sarajevo, walking through this old city is like walking into the past. It is surrounded by hills and mountains so you are sure to find views to inspire. With the hills and mountains around skiing is a popular sport. Don’t be afraid to visit Bosnia – Herzegovina because of it’s troubled past. They have made strides and continue to make strides in coming together as a country. This country prides it’s self on being traveler friendly. Bosnia and Herzegovina Tourism
There were some surprises on this list and some I wasn’t so surprised about. Each of these countries have many things to offer. I like to think though, that the biggest asset to any place is its people. The people make the country. I am sure you will find great hospitality in each of these modest yet amazing countries. Yes some of them have struggled throughout the centuries with war but that doesn’t mean you should rule them out. They are trying to look toward a brighter and better future. Us travelers can help them with that by visiting them and showing the world that they are a wonderful place.
Keep an eye out for part 2 of this series. It will be coming out very soon!