The 10 Least Visited Countries on Earth You Might Want to Visit
Since I am feeling the wanderlust a little extra lately...I decided to sit down and research for a few hours in order to create this fun post. I even learned a few things that I didn't know before. Such as where certain countries are located (never even knew a couple of these were a country if I'm being honest), what areas are safe for us solo travelers out there, or just how different governments take care of their people. Just goes to show that there is so much to explore in this beautiful world of ours!
First on the list is a country located on the island of Borneo. Brunei is incredibly safe, low in crime, and known as one of the most developed nations in Asia. They have an extremely high literacy rate, so its likely to assume you will be able to communicate with others easily here. The luscious rainforests are a sight to see, and those who visit usually water taxi around the temples and national parks. Which always elevates the experience in my opinion.
I typically like visiting places where there are less tourists, but another reason to visit this lovely country is for environmental reasons. Supporting the natural landmarks so they can make a point to focus on that side of their tourism industry more than anything else (it is known to be a large source of oil for the company Shell). If that isn't enough for you, the food is primarily a blend of Malay, Singaporean, and Indonesian foods, meaning you get more than enough of what you're paying for. This also means us vegans out there would thrive here (Indonesian food is one of my favorite influences when it comes to cooking or even food pairing).
Typical meal cost: $7
Population: approx. 429,000
Money: Brunei dollar
So this one is a little interesting. I might lose your interest when I tell you this, if you are a cheap-o backpacker like me, but I really encourage you to keep reading about this incredible country and perhaps adding it to your bucket list. The government of Bhutan has set a minimum fee of $200 per day for travelers visiting in an effort to protect Bhutan's environment and culture. This is the price for just the low season (January, February, June, July, August, & December). Yes...I know. It's a lot to take in.
But, here's the thing. This is a unique location, where time stands still. Where natural beauty is incredibly prevalent. Low in crime, the population is known to be immensely happy, with a culture you'll want to immerse yourself into. The air is crisp and clean. The views? Might just leave you completely speechless.
What's included in the fee? Your guide, transport, accommodation, food and any camping equipment you might need. Your accommodation will be at the minimum in a 3-star hotel. If you decide to upgrade it's slightly more money obviously. Another point to make is that the money goes directly to improve free education, healthcare and poverty alleviation. Makes you feel a little better right? And kind of brings some insight into how their government handles things.
Taking care of their people. What a concept.
Typical meal cost: $10 (breakfast can typically cost a little less)
Population: approx. 754,000
Sights to see - the Cliffside monasteries (Tiger's Nest), riverside palaces, the Himalayas, Jigme Dorji National Park, water rafting the Paro Chhu
This is one country I had the privilege of visiting, and I have to emphasize that it is one of the most beautiful islands I've ever been to, with remarkable greenery and local people that provide a warm and welcoming environment. There are plenty of beaches to see here, as an island off the coast of Madagascar (another great location to visit, but a little more well-known since everyone knows the movie, am I right?) The turquoise and teal colors in the water will have you loving every second at this paradise location. You'll also find rainforests with large, dramatic waterfalls. The nature and adventure are just two of the many reasons to travel here. While it isn't necessarily the cheapest destination in Africa (note: there are a lot of affordable places to travel in Africa) it's still more affordable than the usual typical locations in Europe or America. Something to think about.
Another interesting fact about this place is that they have a French influence, about 90% of the population actually speak French. This is also emphasized in the food and culture. Superb wine, and exotic flavors in the local cooking, as well as in the local architecture.
You can't really go wrong with this place.
Typical meal cost: $6-10
Population: 1.2 Million
Money: Mauritian Rupee (MUR)
Sights to see - Black River Gorges, Flic En Flac Beach, Trou Aux Biches, La Cambuse, Belle Mare Plage, Le Morne, La Cuvette Beach, etc.
Aka the Republic of Vanuatu, located in the South Pacific, southeast of the Solomon Islands, west of Fiji, is a gem of a destination (comprised of about 80 islands). It was first inhabited by Melanesian people, and seems to come straight out of a dream in my opinion. Not necessarily expensive or cheap, it stands to be fairly "normal" in pricing, if you want to do it the backpacker way I'd recommend saving money by grocery shopping.
In my opinion, the thing to do and see here is going to primarily be what you would do in Hawaii, but for a cheaper cost. Underwater scuba diving, snorkeling, warm waters, white sand. The whole nine yards. Worth the trip. Plus, not too many know about this destination.
Who doesn't love an empty beach, right?
The local food is also fairly healthy, lots of fish, veggies, plantains, fruits, and many grow things themselves, which is awesome to promote! Only thing to note - alcohol can be a bit pricier since they have to import it, but local beer is very cheap.
Typical meal cost: $5-8
Population: approx. 293,000
Money: Vanuatu vatu (VT)
Sights to see - Mount Yasur, Champagne Beach, Hideaway, Nanda Blue Hole, Million Dollar Point, Aore, Mystery Island, Millennium cave, etc.
A German-speaking country located between Austria and Switzerland. You get the most picturesque experience when it comes to the infamous Alps. Combine this with the castles, and cathedrals. Perfection.
The crisp air surrounds you as you walk around the town, you have several options when it comes to taking a hike for the day, or relaxing with some wine in hand. Modern art galleries, adventure parks, day trips to Germany or Switzerland. There are many options to choose from. It's also always a plus to experience parts of Europe without having to nudge others out of the way to get the view you want. This is a place I would recommend to outdoorsy people as well, hiking, biking, climbing, snowboarding, skiing, the options would be endless here.
While it might be a little pricey (being so close to Switzerland) I always think there are ways to make it affordable. Focus on the natural sights that are free first, grocery shop rather than eating out, staying in hostels, etc. all help with cost.
Typical meal cost: $20 USD (breakfast typically slightly less)
Population: approx. 39,000
Money: Swiss Franc (Sf)
Sights to see - Vaduz Castle, Gutenburg Castle, Kunstmuseum, St. Florin Cathedral, Fürstensteig, Burgbahnen Malbun, Cellars of Lichtenstein
Land of the "black mountains" and colorful waters. This is a destination with immense lakes, with rustic towns embedded, and luscious canyons, ravines flowing effervescently through. Located near Bosnia and Serbia, but on the coast, this is one you might want to add to the must-see list. It is known to be a fairly safe country and in my opinion, it is cheap, for Europe especially. It vaguely gives me Game of Throne vibes with the open view of houses and restaurants on the water in a vast cove.
Food at this location will mainly circle around coastal cuisine meaning lots of fish, and risotto. Most dishes will have olive oil, lemon, and garlic. There is the European influence of pastries, with of course, lots of cheese and wine to fill up on.
Typical meal cost: $6-8 USD
Population: approx. 631,000
Sights to see - Porto Montenegro (perhaps a boat ride?), Roman Mosaics, Nevidio Canyon, Lipa Cave, Our Lady of the Rocks, the Blue Cave, Bar Old Town
Fun fact for you: this is actually THE LEAST visited country in the world. Reasons? It's a tiny area comprised of nine small islands, has a high poverty rate for locals, and is sinking. Yup. Climate change is affecting this beautiful location so the government is trying to put it on the map for tourists so they can try to turn things around where they can. Located in Oceania, its known as the fourth smallest country in the world. The attraction however is its wonderful warm waters, cheap prices, and stunning wildlife. Plus you know the money spent is helping the locals (when you're aware of where you spend it).
The people here (mainly Polynesian) are known to be friendly and open. The crime rate is basically non-existent. And much like areas in Bali, it is very common to rent a motorbike and explore the island on your own (this costs next to nothing, about $10 per day). Spend the day on one of the islands laying out or swimming in the practically untouched waters. A rare thought, I know. Snorkeling is a common activity within the islands, as well as boat rides to explore the sights.
One of the more common stays here would be the eco-lodges, completely solar powered houses surrounded by nature. Many providing every nature-based activity you could possibly want.
This kind of a secluded, untouched experience might be just what you want for your next vacation.
Typical meal cost: $10-12 USD
Population: approx. 12,000
Money: Australian dollar (AD), Tuvaluan dollar (TD)
Sights to see - Funafuti, Marine Conservation Park, Nanumanga, WWII plane wreckage sights
This is the South Pacific kingdom comprised of over 170 islands, 52 inhabited. Tonga is known as the "friendly islands." It's very close to Fiji both geographically and when it comes to its waters looks very similar in my opinion. Warm, clear and full of beautiful wildlife. Also, something to note is most travelers come to Tonga to swim with whales. Southern humpback whales take shelter here in Tonga to give birth to their young. This is one of the few places in the world that you can swim with them. Talk about a bucket-list experience. I just added it to mine...
* Whale experience note: please be mindful if you do end up doing this, read up on what you should and shouldn't do, wear, bring, etc. Being aware of the natural beauty of these animals and staying cautious that we don't want to jeopardize them or make them unhappy in any way. That is crucial.
In Tonga, the traditional diet is based on fruit, seafood, taro, yams so the typical islanders food. You'll find it's probably easy to get cheaper meals if you're eating like the locals. Otherwise it'll get a bit pricier (sometimes $15 per meal as stated below).
Typical meal cost: $8-15 USD
Population: approx. 103,000
Money: Tongan pa'anga
Sights to see - Anahulu Cave, Uoleva, Tofua, Fafa Island, Hufangalupe, Pangaimotu Island
Surprising that Monaco is on this list, I know, but it is still one of the least visited, being that it can be a little pricey at times. Not just that, it is also the second smallest country in the world. Obviously known as a highly luxurious spot, Monaco can still be visited however, with a budget in mind. Nestled on the French Riviera is the perfect place to be, soak in the sun near the water and explore the history (which can be dated back to the 13th century) it is also fairly easy to meet fellow travelers in this area.
Also, note that it can be very easy to travel to other areas from this point such as a trip to Nice, or Cannes, where it is easy to find cheaper nooks for food. Fun travel story for you: I was traveling solo in Nice (loved it there) and a local couple ended up buying my dinner (and lots of wine) to welcome me to town. You never know what kindness you'll find as you travel, never rule a place out right away!
Typical meal cost: $10-30 USD (depending on how you dine)
Population: approx. 39,000
Sights to see - Monte Carlo, Musée océanographique, Prince's Palace, St. Nicholas Cathedral, Exotic Gardens, Larvotto Beach
10. San Marino
The mountainous micro-state located in north-central Italy. This country is famous for its towers peaking over the magnificent Adriatic coast. Look out over the countryside of Italy, and some days the clouds roll in and you end up feeling like it is a castle in the sky. This country is very quaint but worth the trip to experience a view like any other, giving you a different perspective of the typical Italy experience. Its history is also fascinating, being that it kept its culture alive for so long. Known to be the world's oldest surviving sovereign state.
The food is obviously the typical Italian, which let's face it is always going to sound good, no?
Typical meal cost: $5-10 USD
Population: approx. 33,000
Sights to See - Palazzo, Cava dei Balestrieri, Cesta Tower, Montale Tower, Il Mondo di Leonardo, Museum of Torture