20 Least Popular Countries That You Don't Want to Visit in the World
|Top 20 Least Popular Countries That You Don't Want to Visit in the World|
There are many things to consider when picking a vacation spot. You must consider what type of vacation you want, whether it's adventurous, sightseeing, or relaxing, your budget, and your desired location. The world is massive, and there are endless places to explore.
Some of the most popular countries to visit are France, Spain, and the United States. Bangkok, Thailand, is the most-visited city globally, with about 22 million visitors a year. Paris, France, is the second-most visited city globally, with over 17.4 international visitors annually.
Going to Europe, going to America, and exploring Africa is the dream of many people. It is invaluable for many people to see new places and discover new cultures. But there is one thing: these places attract a lot of tourists every year in terms of the number of tourists. What about the other countries where tourists don’t come, maybe you’ll hear the name for the first time?
The Least-Visited Country in the World
According to Far & Wide, Tuvalu is the least-visited country globally. This tiny island nation of just 12,000 people only sees about 2,000 visitors annually.
Travelers should be aware that there is one international airport in Tuvalu. Fiji Airways flies in and out every Tuesday and Thursday; however, this service tends to be inconsistent, and visitors run the risk of being stuck for a few extra days.
Other Least-Visited Countries
The Marshall Islands are the second-least visited country, seeing about 6,000 visitors annually. These volcanic islands are located in the Pacific between the Philippines and Hawaii and boast pure, white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and diverse marine life and flora. Perhaps travelers are hesitant to travel to the Marshall Islands because of previous nuclear testing. Some of the islands are off-limits where testing took place.
Montserrat is another island nation with very few visitors. Montserrat was once a popular destination; however, a volcanic eruption in 1995 left much of the island destroyed. The island is still recovering today and sees about 8,000 annual visitors. Travelers can reach the island via plane or ferry from Antigua. Most visitors only take day trips to the island, but it looks like tourism will be picking up again in the coming years.
Located in the South Pacific, Niue is regarded as one of the world's smallest nations. The tiny island sees about 10,000 visitors a year. Niue isn't actually an island; it's a raised coral atoll. Unlike other island nations, Niue is not for a relaxing beach vacation. It caters to adventurous travelers looking to hike, swim, climb, and snorkel. Despite its small size and remoteness, Niue I set the world's first Wifi nation, offering free wireless internet to all residents. Travelers should be aware that there's only one flight to and from Niue per week.
Why are these countries the least visited countries in the world?
The list is made up primarily of countries falling into one of four categories:
- Tiny islands in the South Pacific like Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands. Why? They’re expensive to get to.
- Countries that are currently, or have recently been, war zones like Yemen and Afghanisan. Why? Because they’re dangerous.
- Small African countries that people have never heard of like Eritrea and Comoros. Why? Difficult to get to, and people have never heard of them.
- Police States like North Korea and Turkmenistan. Why? Perceived as dangerous (they’re not) and difficult to get visas.
Top 20 Least Popular Countries That You Don't Want to Visit in the World
6. Equatorial Guinea
7. South Sudan
8. Marshal Islands
12. American Samoa
13. Solomo Islands
15. São Tomé and Príncipe
17. Sierra Leone
Annual Visitors: 2000 visitors
In the South Pacific, the tropical island nation of Tuvalu consists of nine islands and coral atolls. Just 800 people visited Tuvalu in 2017, many exploring its main island, Funafuti. Twice-weekly flights come in from Nadi, Fiji. Since the island receives so few arrivals, there are no visitor centers or tour guides. Rent a motorbike and explore on your own. It's helpful that most locals speak English and all signs are in English. Take a day trip by boat to the Funafuti Conservation Area for swimming and snorkeling amidst a variety of exotic tropical fish. A tourist visa is required but can be secured upon arrival in Tuvalu.
This peaceful nation has no army and is an idyllic spot to disappear to where you can discover Polynesian culture and tradition away from the resorts. Visitors that do make it here are astounded by the underwater sights they encounter on diving and snorkelling expeditions around its coral reefs and crystal-clear lagoons. Yachting between the little islands is another fantastic way to pass the time.
Annual Visitors:: 200 VISITORS
Many of us have far-flung destinations, like Japan and Australia, on our bucket lists. But what about Nauru or Kiribati? They may be among the least-visited countries in the world, but they deserve a second look. Gunnar Garfors, a 43-year-old world traveler, recommends the following travel buried treasure for your next trip.
The tiny nation of Nauru is the smallest island country in the world. In 2017, just 130 visitors ventured to explore this island, making it the least-visited country in the world. Nauru sits northeast of Australia and is a four-hour direct flight from Brisbane. There are just two hotels on the island and a rental car is recommended to get around. Visit Command Ridge, the highest point on the island, which has a rusty Japanese outpost from World War II. Or head to Anibare Bay for white sandy beaches, coral reefs and fish curry. A tourist visa is required and must be obtained by mail before you travel to Nauru.
Annual Visitors: 6,000 visitors
Although Kiribati’s 33 atolls cover an area of only 811 sq kilometers. They span 3.5 million kilometers of the Pacific Ocean. Western culture has reached the islands, but its impact is rather small. Locals use cars, surf the Internet and meet in bars, but most of them still live traditionally. Time passes slowly; lagoons are turquoise, palm trees sway gently, everything’s warm and lovely – it’s a perfect place to relax. Unfortunately, just like Tuvalu, Kiribati’s threatened by the rising sea level. If climate keeps changing, the country might be the first one to disappear entirely. The situation’s getting so bad that the government even started looking for a land where the residents of Kiribati could move to in the future.
Annual Visitors: 1000
Often seen as the most dangerous country in the world to visit. The country is pretty much a failed state, and the country is now essentially divided into 3 nations – Somaliland, Puntland and Somalia proper.
Somaliland in the north is a self-declared country, and while many people visit Somaliland and count it as visiting Somalia, it’s a little disingenuous considering Somaliland has its own currency, government, flag etc. Including Somaliland, Somalia would be third on the least visited countries in the world list, but visiting Somaliland ISN’T visiting Somalia, so we don’t count it. If we consider truly visiting Somalia, then there are less than 100 visitors to Somalia every year. More like 20 or so.
Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are in the Horn of Africa. But your trip will start, and be centered around Mogadishu. Here you can visit local markets, the scene of Black Hack Down (eeek), and a few of the other cultural sights. It’s all very on edge, and subject to change. Your armed guards will keep you right, and you’ll sleep in a safe compound overnight. And it’s all very, very expensive.
Annual Visitors: less than 500
A country embroiled in a civil war, adjacent to Saudi Arabia. Friendly and warm hosts but a country decimated by more powerful countries and their respective agendas. Historically, it was under Ethiopian, then Persian rule. And then under the Ottomans, and finally the British. Until independence in 1990.
The civil war (a proxy war between Iran and Saudi) has ruined the country, it’s a humanitarian crisis and the world has turned its back. Yemen used to be an amazing tourist destination, and now it’s almost inaccessible. Previously Sanaa was a gem of a destination. The old city in Sanaa is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one I dream of visiting.
And then, of course, the real gem of Yemen, Socotra. Which, thankfully, is still safe and accessible. Join me in 2022 if you’re keen – [email protected] for more info.
6. Equatorial Guinea
Annual Visitors: less than 1,000
Guinea-Bissau on the west coast of Africa is bordered by Senegal to the north, Guinea to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It gained independence in 1974 after years of guerrilla war against Portuguese colonialists.
Political instability has stunted economic development, but Bissau-Guineans persevere, says Lonely Planet: “The jokes, like the music, are loud but tender. The bowls of grilled oysters are served with a sauce spicy enough to give a kick, but not so strong as to mask the bitterness.”
The few tourists who do visit will likely stop at Arquipélago dos Bijagós, a labyrinth of 88 tropical islands and islets declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1996. The area is home to hippos, monkeys, chimps and buffaloes. Fish thrive in protected waters and hundreds of bird species reside in its wetlands and mangroves.
7. South Sudan
Annual Visitors: 5500
South Sudan is the 5th among the least known countries in the world, and according to 2017 estimates, 5,500 tourists visited the country.
There is a civil war in the country, and being there as a tourist is not something that every person can want. Although there is a civil war, people are as warm as possible. Photography is prohibited in this country. For this reason, you need to keep your phone in good condition or take a very secret picture.
8. Marshal Islands
Annual Visitors: 6,000
The Marshall Islands comprises 29 coral atolls with over 1,000 islands and islets just north of the equator. So untrodden is this pacific paradise, Lonely Planet’s Marshall Islands page is currently empty.
Situated about halfway between Hawaii and Australia, residents rely heavily on fishing but are not allowed to fish for shark. In 2011, the government reserved an area of nearly 2,000,000 sq km (772,000 sq mi) as a shark sanctuary, establishing the largest in the world.
United Airlines fly from Hawaii. Air Marshall provides some domestic flights, but check before flying as flights have been grounded in the past.
Annual Visitors: 8000
Velvety green hills pinch towards the rim of Montserrat's Soufrière Hills volcano, whose incendiary force has shaped the landscape of this Caribbean island.
Much of Montserrat was overshadowed by volcanic eruptions in the 1990s, when the capital city of Plymouth was buried under a deep layer of ash and volcanic stone. Now, visitors come by plane or ferry from the nearby island of Antigua to see the fallout of the volcano's furious power.
Tours of Plymouth reveal a 17th-century church turned gray with ash and the ruins of a once-grand hotel.
Annual Visitors: 8700
Turkmenistan is the 8th least visited country in the world, and according to 2017 estimates, the country has been visited by 8,700 tourists.
Turkmenistan was a country that hosted hundreds of thousands of tourists before 2000. But the country’s tight policies have pushed the country towards becoming North Korea. Although life in the country is easy for the citizens of Turkmenistan, this is not the case for foreign visitors. As a country that prefers to live within itself because of its political stance, Turkmenistan imposes some rules on its visitors. It is forbidden to take photos in the capital, to drink alcohol and cigarettes in open areas and to go out after 23.00 at night.
Annual Visitors: 10000
If your image of a Polynesian island is all gentle waves and soft sand, think again: Niue's rugged and cave-pocked coast is etched in sharp coral.
From July through October, humpback whales use Niue as a warm-water nursery, lolling close enough to the island to be spotted from shore. During those months, the sound of the whales' songs and slapping tails can be heard above the sea breeze.
Here, visitors can even join trained guides to swim with the humpback whales, one of the few places on earth where it's possible.
12. American Samoa
Annual Visitors: 20000
Steeply pitched islands drop towards crystalline water in American Samoa, a South Pacific island group northeast of Fiji that's the only US territory in the Southern Hemisphere.
Whether you're skimming Pago Pago Harbor in an outrigger canoe or casting a line for hefty tuna and marlin, there are endless ways to explore the sea here. To find the treasures hidden in the dense forest canopy, head to the National Park of American Samoa for a trek through fruit bat country.
The Samoan fruit bat has a wingspan of up to three feet, and the fuzzy mammals can be spotted dangling from trees or swooping through the air in search of fresh fruit and nectar.
13. Solomo Islands
Annual Visitors: 26,000
The Solomon Islands comprise six major islands and over 900 smaller ones scattered across the Pacific Ocean.
The country has a wildly turbulent history ranging from fierce fighting during World War II to intense ethnic violence in the late 90s and early 2000s, but is now calmer and more open to tourism.
Situated east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu, the country is not a luxury beach destination, but offers an authentic Melanesian experience set amid lush mangroves, expansive lagoons and emerald forests.
Annual Visitors: 28000
Cupped in the ocean between Madagascar and Mozambique, Comoros has the kind of clear water and pale beaches that draw travelers to the Seychelles -- but with few tourists and little development.
There's something in the air here, too. Often called the "Perfume Isles," the islands of Comoros have been cultivating aromatic plants for making scents since the French colonial era.
Now, the blossoms of the ylang-ylang tree infuse the breeze with an evocative aroma, mixing with cloves, bergamot, jasmine, vanilla and lemongrass to intoxicating effect.
15. São Tomé and Príncipe
Annual Visitors: 29000
Making up a nearly equatorial nation in west Africa's Gulf of Guinea, the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe are packed with endemic plants and animals.
In the lush jungle that has overtaken former coffee plantations here, travelers might find begonias growing high as a house, hundreds of orchid species and birds in every hue.
For a nature-lover's introduction to this biodiversity hotspot, start by flying into the main island of São Tomé then continue by small plane to tiny Príncipe. The volcanic island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and new species are discovered here on a regular basis, from reed frogs to owls.
Peer carefully into the foliage, and you may spot a blooming flower or furtive creature that's yet to be documented by scientists.
Annual Visitors: 51,000
This tiny east African nation lies on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. Its strategic position by the Suez Canal made it a bustling trading post but it’s yet to be a big hitter on the tourism scene.
The vast saline Lake Assal is just one of the surreal sights of the country’s spectacular and extreme landscapes that range from rugged mountains and low desert plains to pristine coral reefs. It sits on the Afar Triple Junction – a meeting point for three of the Earth's tectonic plates. Djibouti’s undeveloped beaches are appealing too, as are its waters – it’s one of the best places in the world to swim alongside gentle giants of the deep whale sharks.
17. Sierra Leone
Annual Visitors: 54,000
Sierra Leone may have relatively few visitors compared with other African nations but with just 39,000 tourists visiting in 2010 and 54,000 in 2016, it’s growing as a holiday destination as it leaves behind its war-torn past and the scars of the Ebola outbreak heal. And for good reason – its undeveloped coastline boasts the best beaches in West Africa. Island hopping is a fantastic way to enjoy some of the country’s gorgeous coast. Start at the Banana Islands, a short hop from capital Freetown’s harbor.
The west African nation also has a lot going for it from a tourism point of view beyond its palm-fringed beaches. It has a fascinating history and culture in abundance, while its national parks and lush rainforests are home to an array of wildlife including chimpanzees, elephants, the rare pygmy hippo, bongo antelope and Gola malimbe birds.
Annual Visitors: 68,000
Gorgeous beaches, amazing marine life, lots of lovely laid-back beach bars are some of Anguilla's highlights, but it's surprisingly low on tourist numbers. That could be because there are no direct flights to Anguilla from the UK, despite it being a British Overseas Territory. Sadly, the numbers have taken a dent since 2016 (when there were 79,000 visitors) as Anguilla was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma. Despite that, it’s well on its way to recovery with lots of hotels and resorts open for business.
The tiny island in the lesser Antilles is only 16 miles long by 3 wide but leaves a big impression on those lucky enough to holiday here. With plenty of exclusive resorts and villas, it’s become something of a celebrity hangout – Robert De Niro, Paul McCartney and Justin Bieber have all escaped here. However, there are lots of options for those on a more average budget too. It also punches above its weight on the food scene with sensational seafood and over 100 places to eat.
Annual Visitors: 63,000
NOT to be confused with the Dominican Republic, Dominica is very much its own country within the Caribbean. With a population of under 70,000 it’s not so surprising that lots of people don’t know about Dominica, but if you’re looking for a Caribbean nation not spoiled by American cruise ship tourism, then Dominica is the place.
It was the final country in the Caribbean to be colonized by Europe, and they were the first Caribbean nation to have a female leader, who led for 15 years. Good stuff.
It’s much cheaper to travel here than in the Americanised nations like the Bahamas, Baradados etc The main thing to see or do in Dominica is the epic Waitukubuli National Trail, all 184km of it! They also have the Morne Trois Pitons National Park (a UNESCO world heritage site) and a charming capital, Roseau. Endless hiking and waterfalls dotted around too.
Annual Visitors: 79000
German-speaking Liechtenstein is just 62 square miles and sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland. Despite its medieval castles, alpine villages and lush valleys, only 79,000 visitors opted to explore Liechtenstein (though it’s worth noting that this is nearly double its population). Nature lovers, hike the Historical Eschnerberg Trail or along Prince’s Way, both of which boast some of the best mountainous scenery in the country (technically, it’s a principality). The capital, Valduz, is home to modern and contemporary art galleries. Situated in the middle of Europe, it’s easy to get to Liechtenstein by train from Zurich. A tourist visa is not required for stays of less than 90 days.