One of the smallest and richest countries in the world, the principality doesn’t particularly need tourists. Which is a good thing as it attracts less than one per cent of the visitors of France.
Bhutan (105,000 – in 2012)
This beautiful landlocked country has deliberately tried to deter the backpacker crowds that have swamped other countries in Asia.
Republic of Moldova: 96,000
This first thing that may spring to mind at the mention of this landlocked nation is the Tony Hawks book – later turned into a film – ‘Playing the Moldovans at Tennis’. That publicity, it seems, has failed to translate into many extra visitors….
Guyana (177,000), according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation report
Often classified as part of the Caribbean, this country is part of the South American continent. It’s known for its virgin rainforests, political volatility, cricketing prowess (Clive Lloyd, the successful West Indies captain is one of the country’s best known sons), and its fading colonial capital, Georgetown.
North Korea is completely safe and totally legal to visit – even for Americans!
And yet since the country opened up to outside visitors, only a handful of people have experienced the rare gift of visiting this reclusive nation. That makes North Korea one of the least visited countries on earth – and one of the most magical places still untouched by the outside world.
Much of this area is far-flung, and hard to access, involving several flights to get there. Tuvalu has the dubious distinction of being the world’s least visited country – despite receiving the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year, and despite looking rather lovely.
Name a continent. All of them have a human history going back thousands and thousands of years. Except for the only uninhabited one. Antarctica was first discovered around 1820, and the South Pole wasn’t visited until December 14, 1911 when my fellow countryman Roald Amundsen skied in and narrowly beat British Robert Falcon Scott to it. Antarctica is still rather hard and costly to visit.
Belarus is often called “Europe’s last dictatorship,” which says pretty much everything one needs to know as to why it’s one of the least visited countries in Europe. That said, the country is perfectly safe for visitors despite its stunted political process, it’s just that there’s not a lot of iconic tourist attractions to bring in visitors. The capital, Minsk, is a charming city, though, that’s a pleasant place to pass a few days.
There were no figures available when the WTO published its report earlier in the year, but the number of visitors to San Marino was so much smaller in the previous years that we can presume the same to be the case for 2013. Mind you, this tiny micro-state may not be such a good way to escape the crowds. Last year, Telegraph Travel writer Tim Jepson wrote the following:
“Just over the border in the Emilia-Romagna region lies San Leo, with its remarkable fortress is worthwhile (San Marino, which is all crowds and souvenir shops, far less so).”
San Tome & Principe
It’s so remote you are more or less guaranteed proper peace. And there are both stunning beaches and mountains that invite for hikes and photo oportunities. Do try the street food.
Bring cash and do get your return ticket sorted before you visit. You can easily walk to the airport from Sao Tome.
By Jolyon Attwooll