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Least visited destinations throughout the world

  • 1/ Max Pixel

    Least visited destinations throughout the world

    For ardent globetrotters, each new passport stamp brings along a thrill and a rush of excitement. But there are still a few destinations that even the most expeditious travelers might not have on their radar. Using data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization's 2017 Annual Report, we’ve rounded up the world’s least-visited countries and territories across the globe and given you a reason to check out each one—whether you’re craving remote rainforests, historic ruins, or a truly unique cultural encounter that few travellers have had the chance to experience.

  • 2/ Optimist on the Run/Wikipedia

    #35. Eritrea

    Estimated Visitors: 142,000                

    Despite a challenging political climate, Eritrea rewards adventurous travelers with its many charms. From the Art Deco capital of Asmara to its beaches along the Red Sea, Eritrea (which earned its independence from Ethiopia in 1991) is an inspiring destination for travelers looking for adventure. 

  • 3/ Ethan Daniels // Shutterstock

    #34. Palau

    Estimated Visitors: 138,000

    This teeny-tiny Micronesian archipelago doesn’t draw in big crowds, but those who take the plunge inevitably fall in love. Divers call it the “underwater Serengeti” for its incredibly diverse sea life, but landlubbers will enjoy archaeological sites, such as the Badrulchau Stone Monoliths.

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    #33. Niger

    Estimated Visitors: 135,000

    Niger has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons—the risk of terrorism in this African republic is high—but those who have been lucky to visit in more peaceful times have discovered a country that still hangs on to its ancient caravan routes. The Aïr Mountains house ancient rock art and villages within oases, while the Ténéré Desert’s impressive dunes are home to deserted medieval settlements.  

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    #32. The Gambia

    Estimated Visitors: 135,000                

    Nestled within Senegal, The Gambia is the smallest country within mainland Africa. Despite that, the country’s brief coastline has golden, palm-lined sands and its Kiang West National Park and Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve are home to diverse and abundant wildlife. It’s not uncommon to come across monkeys, hyenas, leopards, hippos, and rare birds.        

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    #31. Grenada

    Estimated Visitors: 135,000        

    Lush and vibrant Grenada is also known as the “Spice Island” for the abundant nutmeg it produces. The volcanic island is home to picturesque beaches, rainforests, a crater lake, and natural hot springs.     

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    #30. Samoa

    Estimated Visitors: 134,000

    Samoa consists of two main islands (Savai’i and Upolu), with four smaller islands surrounding them. The country’s stunningly beautiful landscape consists of idyllic reef-bordered beaches and a rugged rainforest interior. Surrounding islands are either uninhabited (and ready for exploration!) or home to small villages.

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    #29. Burundi

    Estimated Visitors: 131,000        

    Burundians are proud of their country and rightfully so. Despite a difficult past and recent unrest in the wake of the 2015 election, the country is an impressive mix of soaring mountains and diverse wildlife. It’s bordered by Lake Tanganyika, the second-oldest freshwater lake in the world.  

  • 9/ Max Pixel

    #28. Bangladesh

    Estimated Visitors: 125,000        

    Known for its awe-inspiring lush greenery, Bangladesh is home to more than 700 rivers. In fact, most locals traverse the country by boat—and you should too. Visit the mangrove forests and tigers at Sundarbans National Park before stopping in Dhaka, the country’s 17th-century capital city.

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    #27. Central African Republic

    Estimated Visitors: 121,000                

    Sadly, what was once among the world’s best destinations for gorilla and elephant trekking is now largely off-limits to Western travelers, due to an ongoing civil war and political strife. 

  • 11/ Hurghea Constantin // Shutterstock

    #26. Moldova

    Estimated Visitors: 121,000                

    Even though it was once called “the world’s most unhappy country,” Moldova is thriving, as recent visitors have discovered that this Eastern European nation has plenty of charms. Visitors can taste wineries outside of its capital, Chișinău, and explore the ancient monastic ruins of Orheiul Vechi. 

  • 12/ afcone/Flickr

    #25. Chad

    Estimated Visitors: 120,000                

    Chad, situated in the heart of the Saharan desert, is a challenging place to visit—but can be worth the adventure. Unfortunately, recent political unrest and the displacement of refugees from Darfur have made the country unsafe, but when accessible, visitors can explore the historic capital of N'Djamena, Lake Chad, and the iconic sand dunes in Mao.      

  • 13/ Nesnad/Wikimedia Commons

    #24. St. Kitts & Nevis

    Estimated Visitors: 114,000                

    St. Kitts & Nevis holds the title of smallest sovereign state in the western hemisphere, but it’s still worth your time to visit. The largest island, St. Kitts, is home to the volcano Mount Liamuiga, as well as rainforest hiking trails and plenty of beaches with great snorkeling.  

  • 14/ Bahnfrend/Wikimedia Commons

    #23. New Caledonia

    Estimated Visitors: 105,000        

    Comprised of dozens of islands in the South Pacific, New Caledonia has an unexpectedly chic capital, Nouméa, as well as white-sand beaches and a massive reef, Grand Terre—a top destination for scuba divers.

  • 15/ Phillip Capper/Flickr

    #22. Vanuatu

    Estimated Visitors: 95,000        

    Vanuatu consists of approximately 80 islands in the South Pacific. Divers flock to the tiny country for the opportunity to explore underwater sites such as the World War II-era wreck of the SS President Coolidge.

  • 16/ David Broad/Wikimedia Commons

    #21. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

    Estimated Visitors: 79,000                

    The lack of tourism on these Caribbean islands makes for a delightful beach vacation. There are many different islands worth exploring, and an affordable ferry system makes it easy to do so—whether you enjoy ogling the yachts at Bequia or relaxing on Princess Margaret Beach.      

  • 17/ Stefan Krasowski/Flickr

    #20. Anguilla

    Estimated Visitors: 79,000

    If you like stretches of long sandy beaches without another soul in sight, or sipping rum punch as you overlook the seaside, you’ll love Anguilla. The island has largely recovered from fall 2017’s destructive hurricane season.

  • 18/ Konstantin Krismer / Wikimedia Commons

    #19. Dominica

    Estimated Visitors: 78,000        

    Dominica might not match your first thought of a Caribbean island—you won’t find many sandy shores here. But if your idea of a good time is world-class diving and exploring hiking trails around a volcano, you’ll love your visit to the “Nature Isle.”      

  • 19/ Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ/Flickr

    #18. Timor-Leste

    Estimated Visitors: 72,000        

    Newly independent from Indonesia, Asia’s youngest country is a melting pot of history, as it was once occupied by the Portuguese. The island’s surrounding reefs are home to incredible biodiversity, and visitors to the mountains can try locally grown coffee or take a visit to remote local villages.

  • 20/ Pxhere

    #17. Liechtenstein

    Estimated Visitors: 69,000                

    This tiny European nation (the sixth-smallest in the world by area) has all of the charms of its neighbors, Austria and Switzerland—alpine landscapes, medieval castles, and loads of trails to explore.     

  • 21/ Max Pixel

    #16. Djibouti

    Estimated Visitors: 63,000        

    If you enjoy vibrant landscapes, you’ll love this teeny-tiny African country. Djibouti is home to everything from dormant volcanoes to salt lakes and splendid canyons. Adventurous types can even dive with whale sharks in the Gulf of Tadjoura.    

  • 22/ Sarah Keleman Garber/Flickr

    #15. Tonga

    Estimated Visitors: 61,000        

    Tonga is home to more than 170 islands but has a population of just 107,000. Resorts here are low-key; those who don’t mind a slower pace to their vacations will relish in the nation’s gorgeous beaches, hiking trails, and miles of untouched coastline.                                                                                                            

  • 23/ Zhukov Oleg // Shutterstock

    #14. San Marino

    Estimated Visitors: 60,000

    This European microstate is ensconced within Italy, occupying just 23 square miles. It’s also among the world’s oldest republics. Architecture buffs will fall in love with Monte Titano’s medieval walled town, as well as the Three Towers, its neighboring 11th-century citadels.

  • 24/ Annie Spratt/Good Free Photos

    #13. Sierra Leone

    Estimated Visitors: 54,000        

    Intrepid travelers consider Sierra Leone their go-to African beach holiday, and rightfully so. The country’s palm-fringed beaches and golden sands make for prime relaxation, but adventurous visitors can head north to where its mountains and rainforest are home to diverse animal life.

                                                                                                    

  • 25/ Francofranco56/Wikimedia Commons

    #12. Guinea-Bissau

    Estimated Visitors: 44,000

    Despite the challenges Guinea-Bissau has faced—civil wars, and decades of colonization by the Portuguese—the resilient country is a must-see for anyone interested in incredible biodiversity. The Arquipélago dos Bijagós is home to waters loaded with fish, as well as mangroves and wetlands that house everything from hippos to rare bird species. 

  • 26/ Julien Harneis/Wikimedia Commons

    #11. Guinea

    Estimated Visitors: 35,000

    Guinea made news a few years ago during 2014’s horrific Ebola outbreak, but the country was declared Ebola-free in 2016 and ready for exploration. Off-road explorers will love driving rocky, untamed roads and washed-out creek beds, while land explorers can visit chimpanzees in the the dense rainforest.

  • 27/ Haryamouji/Wikimedia Commons

    #10. Comoros

    Estimated Visitors: 24,000

    This archipelago off of Africa’s Eastern coast comes from the Arabic word for “moon.” Tucked between Mozambique and Madagascar, the islands have incredible biodiversity and are well-known for their exports—including vanilla, cloves, and perfume essence.

  • 28/ Erin Magee/DFAT/Wikimedia Commons

    #9. Federated States of Micronesia

    Estimated Visitors: 24,000        

    Micronesia is comprised of more than 600 islands spread across the Pacific Ocean. Even though they’re difficult to get to, intrepid travelers flock to the expanse thanks to picturesque diving opportunities, palm-lined beaches, and ancient ruins—including Nan Madol, a sunken basalt temple and burial ground.

                                                           

  • 29/ Stefan Krasowski/Flickr

    #8. Solomon Islands

    Estimated Visitors: 22,000        

    Outdoorsy eco-tourists will love the largely untouched Solomon Islands. Unlike some of its ritzy South Pacific neighbors, you won’t find luxurious resorts or pristine beaches here—but you will find perfect reefs, extinct volcanoes, and World War II relics.  

  • 30/ Max Pixel

    #7. American Samoa

    Estimated Visitors: 20,000

    When you think of the South Pacific, the image conjured in your mind is likely one of American Samoa. The remote islands paint the picture of a dream Polynesian getaway, with bucolic beaches and lush rainforests.     

  • 31/ Max Pixel

    #6. Marshall Islands

    Estimated Visitors: 10,000                

    The Marshall Islands are just one of two countries in the world made up of coral atolls—meaning that the entire country is at risk due to climate change. The islands may soon become uninhabitable, making a visit to this easy-going nation a must before it’s too late.   

  • 32/ David Stanley/Flickr

    #5. Montserrat

    Estimated Visitors: 9,000                

    Montserrat was devastated by a volcanic eruption in 1995, and the southern part of the island is still recovering in many ways. Even though the volcano is still active, the Caribbean country is incredibly safe, with wonderful hiking and bird-watching that’s among the best in the region.

  • 33/ tn_photography/Wikimedia Commons

    #4. Niue

    Estimated Visitors: 8,000

    It’s unlikely that you’ve even heard of Niue, and even more unlikely that you’ve ever visited. Just 8,000 foreigners visit the South Pacific island nation each year, but those who do can enjoy cave exploration, kayaking, hiking, and snorkeling.

  • 34/ Maria Cartas/Flickr

    #3. São Tomé and Príncipe

    Estimated Visitors: 8,000

    Africa’s second-smallest country has a rich plantation history, but has suffered economic collapse since declaring independence from Portugal in 1975. Despite this, it remains an incredibly safe and vibrant place to visit, with ample opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and jungle exploration. 

  • 35/ KevGuy4101/Flickr

    #2. Kiribati

    Estimated Visitors: 5,000        

    Unlike Tahiti or Hawaii, visitors to Kiribati have to be prepared to rough it a bit. Those who do will be rewarded with some of the world’s best diving, birdwatching, and surfing. The islands are sadly at risk of disappearing due to climate change, making a visit now all the more important. 

  • 36/ Pxhere

    #1. Tuvalu

    Estimated Visitors: 2,000

    With a population of just 11,000 and only 2,000 visitors each year, Tuvalu ranks number one on the list of least-visited countries. It’s not for lack of attractions though—Tuvalu’s nine islands offer incredibly secluded beaches and World War II-era sites, as well as the Funafuti Conservation Area, home to abundant tropical fish and sea turtles.

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