Top 10 Least Known Countries In The World
Top 10 Least Known Countries In The World -
Table of Content - Least Known Countries

Going to Europe, going to America, 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?

But stray from the well-worn tourist trails, and you'll discover another travel story entirely. In much of the world, there are places that are eager to welcome tourists -- and when practiced sustainably, where tourism can even help alleviate poverty.

The contrast between the most- and least-visited places is stark. In 2017, nearly 87 million international tourists arrived in France. That same year, a mere 2,000 international tourists visited the South Pacific country of Tuvalu, where it's easy to find a beach -- or even an entire island -- to yourself.

Here are The World’s Least Visited and Least Known Countries.

Interesting Facts about the world’s Least – Known Countries?

1. Nauru has the most overweight population in the world with over 95% of its population overweight.

2. The Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean are the most endangered island nation and have the highest risk of flooding due to climate change.

3. Prince Phillip, husband to the British Queen, is worshipped by villagers of Yaohnanen on Tanna Island in Vanuatu. Followers of the Prince Philip Movement believe the Duke descended from one of their spirit ancestors and in 2016 will visit them and – if they are lucky – take up residence among them.

4. In French Polynesia, Tematangi Atoll is the antipode of Mecca. This means that Muslims wishing to pray on the island can kneel and face any direction as they would theoretically always be facing Mecca.

5. A large proportion of roads in Guam are made of a coral/oil mixture, as the island doesn’t have a supply of natural sand. During wet weather the oil tends to float to the surface of the roads making them dangerous. Because of this, the speed limit on most of the island is just 35mph.

6. Papua New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse country in the world with 851 individual languages listed. Of these, 839 are living and 12 are extinct. English is its official language, though only 1-2% of the population actually speak it.

7. San Marino is the oldest state in world with a history dating back to 301AD. It is also the only state with more cars than humans with 1,263 road motor vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants.

8. Niger has the most youthful population in the world. In 2013, over half of Niger’s population (50.09%) was under the age of 14. At the other end of the scale are Germany and Japan where just 13% of the population is under 14.

9. Kiribati is the only country in the world to fall into all four hemispheres, straddling the equator and extending into the eastern and western hemispheres. Kiribati was also the first country to see the dawn of the third millennium on 1st January 2000.

10. Comoros is the only state with membership of the African Union, Francophonie, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Arab League (where it’s the southernmost and only member entirely within the Southern Hemisphere) and the Indian Ocean Commission. A bit confused about its national identity, maybe?

11. Fiji is the only country other than India with Hindi as an official language. Native Fijians make up 54% of the population. Under British rule, Indian labourers were brought to Fiji to work on sugarcane crops. Descendants of these labourers are called Indo-Fijians and today they account for around 40% of the population.

12. Transsexual people, known as Fa’afafine, are a third gender officially recognised and accepted in Samoa since at least the early 20th century.

13. Liberia is one of only two countries in Africa that were not colonised by the European powers. The other is Ethiopia.

14. Making its second appearance on this list, Nauru does not have an official capital but Yaren is the largest settlement and the seat of parliament.

15. Red Star OS is the official and only operating system used in North Korea. It is based on Linux and was developed by the Korean Computer Center. It looks remarkably similar to Apple’s early versions of Mac OS X.

16. The tiny island nation Niue only has a population 1,190 but is the world’s first and only wifi nation (i.e. with nationwide free access to wifi provided to citizens by the government).

17. Bhutan is the only country to measure happiness instead of GDP (Gross Domestic Produce). The GNH (Gross National Happiness) concept, used in Bhutan since 1972, has inspired a modern political happiness movement and in 2011 the UN General Assembly placed “happiness” on the global development agenda, adopting it unanimously.

18. Bhutan is also a country where paintings of phallic penises are commonplace. The Bhutanese believe the immodest image of an erect penis helps fertility, offers protection from evil and dispels spiteful gossip. The murals can be spotted painted on the walls of their homes and hanging from the eaves of their houses.

19. Lesotho, San Marino and Vatican City are the only sovereign states in the world landlocked by a single country on all sides, making them enclaves. Lesotho is landlocked by South Africa, the others by Italy.

20. For a long time, Tuvalu was unable to join the United Nations because it couldn’t afford the $100,000 entrance fee. When domain names were first distributed to countries, Tuvalu received the desirable abbreviation of .tv. In 2000, the country negotiated a 12-year $50m lease contract for its domain, and again in 2011. It has used the profits to put electricity on outer islands, create scholarships and finally join the UN.

21. There are 22 countries in the world that do not have an army, the large majority comprising tiny island states or enclaves. Incidentally, this doesn’t include the Vatican City, which has the Swiss Guard as a military corps.

22. Despite the beautiful game’s popularity in Greenland, the country can’t join FIFA (the international governing body of football) because the extreme weather conditions mean grass cannot grow there. In 2006, they were allowed to participate in two World Cup qualifying games. They lost both.

23. For the third and final time, Nauru makes an appearance on the list. The country makes more money than its GDP by recognising breakaway and disputed countries. A state aiming for sovereignty can only be taken seriously if it is recognised by other UN member states (the more, the better). In 2009, Nauru recognised Russian-backed Abkhazia and South Ossetia in exchange for $50m in Russian aid. There have been other controversial examples involving Kosovo and Taiwan.

24. Lichtenstein and Uzbekistan are the only countries in the world that are doubly landlocked. The first is locked by Switzerland and Austria, the second by Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan all of which are landlocked themselves.

25. In 2018, Swaziland changed its name to ‘the Kingdom of Eswatini’. King Mswati III renamed the country from announced the official change in a stadium during celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Swazi independence from British rule.

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What are the Least – Known Countries in the World?

1. Tuvalu

Photo: Timeless Tuvalu
Photo: Timeless Tuvalu

Tuvalu is an island country in the west-central Pacific Ocean. It sits about halfway between Australia and Hawaii. Its neighbours include Kiribati, to the north, and Fiji, to the south. It is made up of a chain of 9 small coral islands. The islands are low lying. Many have large lagoons and are surrounded by coral reefs.

With more than 100 tiny islands scattered across the South Pacific, the country of Tuvalu is among the world's most isolated nations.

Only the main island, Funafuti, has an airport. From there, travelers continue to the outlying communities by passenger ferry. Free from the crowds that fill beaches in popular destinations like Fiji, these islands are an untouristed haven where you can watch flying fish skim the water, spend a lazy afternoon in a hammock or snorkel candy-hued coral reefs.

If you're planning a trip to Tuvalu, don't wait: The waves that lap Tuvalu's stilt houses have long been seen as an existential threat here, since rising seas could swamp the low-lying country.

Why go: Stroll powdered sugar beaches at risk from rising sea levels.

International tourist arrivals in 2017: 2,000

2. Kiribati

Photo: Globalization Partners
Photo: Globalization Partners

Kiribati is an island country in the central Pacific Ocean, made up of 33 islands. Only 20 of these are inhabited. Although the land area is small, the islands are scattered widely. Most of the islands are very low-lying atolls (ring-shaped coral reefs). Kiribati is home to the South Pacific’s largest marine reserve.

In fact, Kiribati is the only country in the world to fall into all four hemispheres, straddling the equator and extending into the eastern and western hemispheres. It was also the first country to see the dawn of the third millennium on 1st January 2000.

How to reach Kiribati: Fiji Airways fly from Nadi in Fiji. Air Kiribati offers some international flights via Solomon Airlines, as well as a number of domestic flights.

Scatter-shot atolls and lagoons barely peek above the central Pacific waters in Kiribati, whose islands and atolls cluster into three groups: the Gilbert, Phoenix and Line Islands.

It's hard to overstate the isolation of these faraway isles -- neighboring Fiji is relatively close at 1,394 miles away -- and few travelers make the journey here. Those that do, however, will be treated to a rich tradition of hospitality. While not every visitor will secure an invitation to a traditional feast, or botaki, many have.

If you're lucky enough to attend, you might see dancers in pandanus skirts, listen to drums beating out a traditional rhythm then dine on breadfruit, taro and sprouted coconut.

Why go: Experience a botaki in an open-air maneaba, or meeting house.

International tourist arrivals in 2016: 6,000

3. Marshall Islands

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

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.

How to reach Marshall Islands: United Airlines fly from Hawaii. Air Marshall provides some domestic flights, but check before flying as flights have been grounded in the past.

Bombs and bathing suits put these Pacific isles on the world's radar -- bikinis were named for the United States' nuclear testing on the Marshall Islands' Bikini Atoll.

Decades later the island is still radioactive, as is the test site at Enewetak Atoll, but the waters surrounding Bikini Atoll have become one of the world's most spectacular scuba diving sites.

There are more than a dozen shipwrecks on the seafloor near Bikini Atoll. Make your first dive to see the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, which was present at the Battle of Iwo Jima before the US military used the ship for nuclear target practice. Divers will find deck guns blooming into colorful coral reefs, and schools of fish threading between bombs still strapped to the ship's metal decks.

Why go: Scuba dive into a ship graveyard transformed into an eerie underwater playground.

International tourist arrivals in 2017: 6,000

4. Guinea – Bissau

Photo: Nations Online Project
Photo: Nations Online Project

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.

Just next door to Sierra Leone is Guinea, whose wildly scenic highlands are among west Africa's most spectacular places to hike.

Powerful rivers flow from the forests of Fouta Djallon, where an afternoon snack can mean plucking an avocado or mango from a nearby tree.

Join a Pular-speaking guide for a memorable trek through the rocky landscape for the chance to meet local people as you spend each night in a highland village. You'll be rewarded with rain-flush waterfalls, sharp canyons and a memorable taste of Guinean hospitality.

Why go: Tone your quads on a culture-bridging hike through the mountains.

International tourist arrivals in 2016: 60,000

5. Montserrat

Photo: Novo - monde
Photo: Novo - monde

Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. It is part of the Leeward Islands, the northern portion of the Lesser Antilles chain of the West Indies. Montserrat is about 16 km (10 mi) long and 11 km (7 mi) wide, with roughly 40 km (25 mi) of coastline. It is nicknamed "The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean" both for its resemblance to coastal Ireland and for the Irish ancestry of many of its inhabitants. Montserrat is the only non-fully sovereign full member of the Caribbean Community and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.

On 18 July 1995, the previously dormant Soufrière Hills volcano, in the southern part of the island, became active. Eruptions destroyed Montserrat's Georgian era capital city of Plymouth. Between 1995 and 2000, two-thirds of the island's population was forced to flee, primarily to the United Kingdom, leaving fewer than 1,200 people on the island in 1997 (rising to nearly 5,000 by 2016). The volcanic activity continues, mostly affecting the vicinity of Plymouth, including its docking facilities, and the eastern side of the island around the former W. H. Bramble Airport, the remnants of which were buried by flows from volcanic activity on 11 February 2010.

An exclusion zone, encompassing the southern half of the island to as far north as parts of the Belham Valley, was imposed because of the size of the existing volcanic dome and the resulting potential for pyroclastic activity. Visitors are generally not permitted entry into the exclusion zone, but a view of the destruction of Plymouth can be seen from the top of Garibaldi Hill in Isles Bay. Relatively quiet since early 2010, the volcano continues to be closely monitored by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

In 2015, it was announced that planning would begin on a new town and port at Little Bay on the northwest coast of the island. While additional plans proceeded, the centre of government and businesses was moved to Brades. After a number of delays, including Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in early 2020, in June 2022, ground was broken on the Little Bay Port Development Project, a £28 million project funded by the UK and the Caribbean Development Bank.

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6. Niue

Photo: Culture Trip
Photo: Culture Trip

Laidback, friendly and unremittingly beautiful, tiny Niue is an idyllic retreat from the modern world.

The island nation’s rugged coastline, crystal clear waters and coral reefs offer excellent diving, snorkelling and whale watching. Birdwatchers are also well catered for: parakeets, white-tailed terns and other exotic birds and butterflies can be spotted darting among hibiscus and orchids.

Despite its remote location in the South Pacific, Niue is rarely short of visitors, with regular flights from Auckland bringing planeloads of sun-seeking Kiwis. At the same time however, there are only a handful of hotels, so it never feels crowded – sometimes it’s easy to imagine you have the island all to yourself.

Arrive between July and October, and you can not only witness the annual humpback whale migration, but even join them for a swim. And if your trip doesn’t coincide with these gentle cetaceans, spinner dolphin pods are resident year-round.

The island is literally the tip of an undersea mountain, so head offshore and the land plunges rapidly into the deep. You can hook marlin, wahoo and skipjack tuna without having to sail miles from the coast.

Directly beneath the water’s surface, snorkellers and divers can explore an underwater paradise of hidden caves and chasms rife with colourful sea creatures. And above water, Niue’s limestone caves conceal fossils, secret passageways and ancient burial places, while alluring trails lead you through tropical rainforest to secluded sandy coves. There’s even room for nine holes of golf.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, sign up to the Rally of the Rock, an annual bike ride that takes Lycra-clad participants through a mixture of bush tracks and paved roads.

Whatever you do in Niue, it’s usually not long before you’ve got to know half the island’s population, who make sure you have the time of your life.

7. American Samoa

Photo: Britannica
Photo: Britannica

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.

Why go: Hang with the endangered fruit bats of the National Park of American Samoa.

International tourist arrivals in 2017: 20,000

8. Comoros

Photo: Lonely Planet
Photo: Lonely Planet

Not your typical tropical island getaway, Comoros may lay claim to sandy shores, limpid oceans and colourful coral reefs, but the archipelago’s greatest asset is its fascinating culture, which fuses together the most colourful elements of Africa and Arabia.

Floating between Mozambique and Madagascar, the archipelago has long been a crossroads between civilisations and most Comorians are of mixed Afro-Arab descent. A blend of Swahili and traditional Islamic influences pervade the islands giving them a calm and phlegmatic atmosphere that guarantees a hospitable welcome.

The four main islands that comprise sleepy Comoros do not share the tourist infrastructure of the Seychelles or Mauritius (with the exception of Mayotte), but they do share the warm seas, deserted beaches and stunning hiking that these destinations are renowned for.

Most travellers enter the country via the capital, Moroni, which nestles on the island of Grande Comore and hums with the atmosphere and traditional customs of a long-forgotten outpost. Men drink tea beneath whitewashed buildings in the Arab Quarter, as they have done for decades, while women in brightly coloured East African fabrics smile shyly from ornate doorways.

Also known as the Perfume Islands, the smell of vanilla, cloves and other spices is ever-present in Comoros, and locals are proud to produce more Ylang-Ylang essence for the perfume industry than anywhere else.

Leave fragrant Moroni behind and trek to the summit of Mount Karthala, also on Grande Comore. The archipelago’s highest peak, at just under 2,400m (7,800ft), this lofty vantage point happens to be one of the region’s most active volcanoes. The views are exquisite.

For a taste of France pay a visit to Mayotte, which, due to a quirk in colonial history is now governed from Paris. Arguably the most developed of the islands, it has a distinctly Gallic air, adding more depth to these already characterful islands.

9. Solomon Islands

Photo: The Guardian
Photo: The Guardian

Solomon Islands (Pijin: Solomon Aelan) is a sovereign country consisting of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in Oceania, to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu. It has a land area of 28,400 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi), and a population of 652,858. Its capital, Honiara, is located on the largest island, Guadalcanal. The country takes its name from the Solomon Islands archipelago, which is a collection of Melanesian islands that also includes the North Solomon Islands (a part of Papua New Guinea), but excludes outlying islands, such as the Santa Cruz Islands and Rennell and Bellona.

The islands have been settled since at least some time between 30,000 and 28,800 BCE, with later waves of migrants, notably the Lapita people, mixing and producing the modern indigenous Solomon Islanders population. In 1568, the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to visit them, naming them the Islas Salomón. Mendaña returned decades later, in 1595, and another Spanish expedition, led by Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, visited the Solomons in 1606. Britain defined its area of interest in the Solomon Islands archipelago in June 1893, when Captain Gibson, R.N., of HMS Curacoa, declared the southern Solomon Islands a British protectorate. During World War II, the Solomon Islands campaign (1942–1945) saw fierce fighting between the United States, British Commonwealth forces and the Empire of Japan, including the Battle of Guadalcanal.

The official name of the then-British administration was changed from the "British Solomon Islands Protectorate" to "The Solomon Islands" in 1975, and self-government was achieved the following year. Independence was obtained, and the name changed to just "Solomon Islands" (without the definite article), in 1978. At independence, Solomon Islands became a constitutional monarchy. The Queen of Solomon Islands is Elizabeth II, represented by the Governor-General.

10. Djibouti

Photo: Euromoney
Photo: Euromoney

Perched at the confluence of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Djibouti has a strategic location -- but the landscape itself can seem otherworldly.

White-salt beaches ring the hyper-saline Lake Assal, steam pours from the Ardoukoba Volcano and camels graze amidst lunar towers in Lake Abbé.

There, travelers can spot bubble gum-colored flamingos that lend the otherwise desolate scene a rococo flourish. It's a testament to human ingenuity that the nomadic Afar people have carved a life in this harsh environment, leading their flocks to graze on widely scattered pockets of marsh grass.

Why go: Have an off-planet experience without the costly space flight.

International tourist arrivals in 2010: 51,000

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