Which are the 22 least visited countries in the world and why?

When it comes to traveling, everyone usually talks about are the mainstream locations. You know, countries that literally live from tourism. But very rarely do we hear anyone talking about the least visited countries in the world. You probably don’t even know some of the countries that I’ll mention on this list but hopefully, this article can show you that no matter how remote, isolated or seemingly-hostile a country might appear, every country in the world has its charm and natural beauty that make it worth visiting.

How did we evaluate the least visited countries in the world?

For this article, I used news reports and international arrivals from airports. Counting tourists can be tricky because different countries use different methods of defining and counting tourists. Additionally, some people claim to be tourists to avoid the extra bureaucracy that comes with being an ex-pat or traveling for business and that makes things even more difficult.

This list doesn’t include countries that see a drop in tourism because of armed conflict. The reason for this is simple; before the war conflicts in all these countries began, some countries like Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen would host millions of visitors every year. On average, both, Syria and Iraq had 5-6 million visitors annually before the conflicts of 2011 and 2014, Libya had around 1 million visitors per year before 2011 but today, they don’t even issue visas anymore while Yemen would usually get around 800,000 tourists per year before the start of the civil war. That’s still a lot more than any other country on this list.

With that out of the way, let’s start the countdown: here are the 22 least visited countries in the world. Spoiler alert: it might come across as a surprise but communist North Korea is no longer on this list, with almost 300,000 international tourists a year. That’s almost 3.5 times more than the first country on this list.

22. Turkmenistan (90,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

As a country that refused to let go of communism even after the downfall of the Soviet Union, it’s no surprise that Turkmenistan today is one of the least visited countries in the world. Their president has created a personality cult that can rival North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. He calls himself the father of all Turkmen and there are some really crazy laws you should read before you visit.

least visited countries in the world

Why should you visit?

Turkmenistan is an exotic country with a lot of natural beauties and probably you didn’t see anything like it before. The most famous tourist attraction in the country is the Darvaza fire crater that’s more commonly known as ‘The door to hell’ and if there was a door leading to hell it would certainly look like that. Other than this, there are other interesting tourist attractions, such as the ancient city of Merv, the ancient site of Gonur Depe, and the Kow Ata Underground Lake. However, to visit any of these places or any other place in Turkmenistan, you have to be accompanied by a guide. That’s mandatory according to Turkmenistan’s legislative.

21. Chad (78,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

For a lot of you reading this article, I believe the question is already answered because, chances are, you never even heard of Chad. Chad is the 20th largest country in the world, the world’s third-largest landlocked country and largest outside of Asia, but it’s still one of the least visited countries in the world. Formally, Chad is a presidential democracy ruled by the same president for over 15 years. The country experienced two separate civil wars since the 1980s and even though things are getting better, poor tourism management and planning is the main reason why most people can’t even find Chad on a map despite the country’s relatively large size.

chad least visited countries

Why should you visit?

Even though you won’t hear a lot of things about Chad, the country actually has a lot to offer. You can experience the authentic tribal culture or see the natural wonders of Lake Chad, the Sahara Desert, and Zakouma National Park that unfortunately attracts more poachers than tourists.

20. St. Vincent and the Grenadines (78,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

Having in mind the island’s size and relative remoteness, 78,000 visitors don’t look bad at all compared to the island’s 110,000 permanent residents. However, that’s enough to put it on the list of the least visited countries in the world. The main reason why there aren’t more tourists visiting St. Vincent is the fact that there aren’t any direct flights from the US or Europe. The only way to reach the island is by flying to one of the neighboring Caribbean islands before reaching St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

st. vincent and the grenadines

Why should you visit?

The volcanic activity in the past blessed these islands with numerous black-sand beaches. Today, St. Vincent is home to some of the most beautiful black-sand beaches in the world and one of the most popular luxury destinations in the Caribbean.

19. Liechtenstein (74,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

Honestly, Liechtenstein isn’t the most exciting country in the world and there’s a lot more to see in neighboring Switzerland and Austria. Liechtenstein is a tiny country that can be covered in a day and with all budget options of international travel in Europe, it’s a bit surprising that Liechtenstein is actually one of the least visited countries in the world.

Liechtenstein

Why should you visit?

Liechtenstein is only one of two double-landlocked countries in the world with the other one being Uzbekistan. A double-landlocked country is a country that is surrounded by two or more landlocked countries. So, visiting Liechtenstein can tick that off your bucket list and the mountains are gorgeous. Lichtenstein is, after all, an Alpine country.

18. Timor-Leste (66,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

This country is so obscure, you probably don’t even know which continent it belongs to. In case you’re wondering, East Timor is located in Southeast Asia bordering the East Nusa Tenggara Province of Indonesia. Despite the boom of tourism in the region in the last couple of decades, Timor-Leste still remains one of the least visited countries in the world. There are only 2 commercial airports in the whole country and not many airlines have direct flights to Timor Leste.

timor leste

Why should you visit?

With the beautiful, pristine beaches and amazing diving spots, you can literally feel like you’re cut off from the rest of the world.

17. Djibouti (62,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

Well, many people don’t even know that a country named Djibouti exists. This is probably the biggest reason for Djibouti being one of the least visited countries in the world. The country is pretty safe, it has a lot to offer and tourism is slowly starting to kick off in Djibouti. I might not be a psychic reader but I can definitely see the number of tourists in Djibouti increasing drastically in the following years.

Djibouti

Why should you visit?

The country has three different regions, including a desert, mountains, volcanos, and stunning beaches. Can you imagine all of these on a territory of only 23,000 square kilometers? What more reasons would you need to visit?

16. Dominica (60,000 visitors per year)

Not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, Dominica is the least visited country in the Caribbean. The main reason for this is the fact that Dominica is mainly a volcanic country with only a handful of beautiful beaches even though it’s an island. This is the main reason why tourism in Dominica is growing slower than the neighboring islands and why most cruisers skip it while cruising the Caribbean. The number of international flights connecting is also quite limited.

dominica

Why should you visit?

Dominica might not have as many beautiful beaches as most neighboring countries but it has a lot of mountains, freshwater lakes, rainforests, waterfalls, hot springs, and diving spots. In other words, it has all the potential to become a popular ecotourism destination. And if that’s not enough, Dominica is the Caribbean’s first-ever long-distance hiking trail. The Waitukubuli National Trail crosses 185 kilometers of rugged terrain as it traces a line from coast to coast.

15. Sierra Leone: (58,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

The biggest problem in Sierra Leone is the infrastructure. They only have one international airport and getting from there to the capital is a tough task. It involves riding on unstable boats on rough seas, which is something not everyone can take.

least visited countries in the world

Why should you visit?

The journey will be difficult but once you get there you won’t regret it for a single second. The country of mountain lions will blow you away with its unmatched scenery, serenity, and amazing wildlife. Another good thing is that almost everyone here speaks English. However, do keep in mind that Sierra Leone was the second country after Guinea and Liberia to have an Ebola outbreak.

14. Tonga (54,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

Tonga is a remote Polynesian archipelago that consists of 169 islands, most of which are uninhabited. The nearest countries to Tonga are Nieue, Samoa, Vanuatu, and Fiji and if you ever heard about any of these countries, you’ll know how remote they are. Additionally, there are only two countries from which you can fly to Tonga; Fiji and New Zealand.

tonga

Why should you visit?

13. Guinea- Bissau (45,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

Firstly, just like a lot of other African countries, the infrastructure in Guinea-Bissau is horrible. Additionally, a lot of airlines don’t have flights here because there aren’t too many people willing to visit. TAP Portugal even suspended all their flights to Guinea Bissau after the local police forced one of their pilots to take 74 Syrian refugees to Lisbon.

Why should you visit?

If you’re looking for a country that doesn’t show a lot of signs of modern life, this is the right place for you. You also wouldn’t want to miss the Bijagos Archipelago, made of more than 20 beautiful tropical islands. You will be taken back in time by the old colonial Portuguese architecture still present in cities across the country.

12. Comoros (36,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

This unfortunate country faced 20 coups in the past 40 years in which the head of state was assassinated. Statistically, that means that there’s a coup in every 2 years. In case you’re wondering why there’s so much unrest in such a small and relatively homogenous country, here’s one theory; Comoros is the country with the highest inequality index of 61 with half of the population living with under $1.25 per day.

comoros

Why should you visit?

You can visit an active volcano, a mysterious salt lake, see enough animals to rival Noah’s Ark (even though it’s such a small island), and of course beaches. Additionally, Comoros is the world’s largest ylang-ylang manufacturer. In case you don’t know what ylang-ylang is, it’s the oil used in the creation of perfumes.

11. Sao Tome and Principe (33,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

Like a few others on this list, many people don’t know that this beautiful piece of land exists. The country’s own slogan is ‘A well-kept secret’ and I have to admit, this slogan is a great description for Sao Tome and Principe. I’m sure that if you knew about it, you would have visited much sooner.

Why should you visit?

Stunning colonial architecture, amazing fish dishes, arguably the best place in the world for whale watching, mountains, beaches, and heart-warming hospitality. And they also claim to have the world’s best dark chocolate.

Talking about unfrequented places, check out my list of the most haunted places in Europe and the most haunted islands in the world!

10. Solomon Islands (27,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

The Solomon Islands are one of the most remote former British colonies. It consists of 992 beautiful islands. Even though geographically close to Tahiti and Fiji, the Solomon Islands are a far cry away from these countries, mainly because the government hasn’t invested practically anything to improve the country’s poor infrastructure.

solomon islands least visited countries

Why should you visit?

If you’re looking for a peaceful vacation, it can’t get more peaceful than this. More than 500 of the country’s 900 islands are uninhabited, leaving you a lot of pristine islands to choose from. In addition to this, the Solomon Islands are one of the world’s best diving destinations. And it’s not just regular diving we’re talking about. The Solomon Islands experienced a lot of battles during WWII and today, it’s probably the world’s only place where you can see WWII remnants getting colonized by sea life.

If you’re into history, you should seriously consider visiting. You can also find a lot of rusty tanks and vehicles used in the war getting occupied by the lush jungles of the Solomon Islands.

9. The Federated States of Micronesia (22,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

The Federated States of Micronesia are one of the least visited countries in the world because of their location. The country is located third-way between the most remote islands in the Philippines, Hawaii, and the Eastern Coast of Australia. Technically, this country consists of hundreds of islands but only four of them are populated and getting to them isn’t easy.

micronesia

Why should you visit?

You probably expect beaches, tropical vibes, and not much more but the Federated States of Micronesia actually have a lot to offer. Did you know that this country is home to an ancient temple as old as Angkor Wat? In addition to this, the island of Chuuk is easily one of the top 10 diving spots in the world.

Fun fact: people on the island of Yap are still following their tribal culture and people on the island still walk bare-chested and wear grass skirts.

8. Kiribati (7,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

This is probably the most geographically isolated country on the list. It’s a tiny island in the middle of the Central Pacific and there are flights to Kiribati only a few times a month.

By the way, you’re mispronouncing the name. It reads Kiribass. They don’t have a letter ‘S’ in their alphabet but they do have the sound ‘s’, which spells as ‘ti’ or ‘tu’.

kiribati least visited countries

Why should you visit?

It’s a beautiful and peaceful place with some amazing diving spots and personally, I think it’s a real surprise Kiribati is one of the least visited countries in the world. Its location in the Central Pacific makes it a good starting point for island hopping in the Central Pacific.

7. Niue (6,500 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

Improving tourism is an important strategic objective for the government of Niue and to be honest, they seem to be doing their best. However, you can’t expect a lot of tourists in a country as remote as Niue.

niue
by Msdstefan CC by SA 2.0

Why should you visit?

The whole country of Niue is basically a tiny, lush coral atoll. The island is home to only 1,600 people and most of the people have moved out seeking better opportunities, making this beautiful, tiny island even more pristine. Niue is also one of the largest raised coral atolls on Earth and its rugged and cave-pocked coast makes it a perfect destination for people who want to get off the beaten track.

Need more reasons to visit Niue is also one of only a few places on Earth where you can join trained guides and swim with humpback whales.

6. Marshall Islands (6,000 visitors per year)

The Marshall Islands is a remote archipelago in the Pacific that consists of 29 coral atolls. In addition to the remoteness factors, while the Marshall Islands were a part of the US, numerous nuclear tests took place in the area known as Bikini Atoll between 1958 and 1962. This contributed to a lockdown of the islands in the area which are today known as “the most contaminated place in the world”.

marshall islands

Why should you visit?

Just how often can you see a coral atoll or even better, stay at one? True, a few of the islands are very polluted but the pictures from some of the atolls that comprise the Marshall Islands look too good to be true.

5. Tuvalu (2,700 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

Tuvalu is a remote country in the Pacific that sounds like a made-up hula-hula country but it’s actually true. There are only two flights a week that go to Tuvalu, both from Fiji. And if Fiji (that’s quite isolated too) can send only two flights a week, you can only imagine how remote Tuvalu is.

tuvalu

Why should you visit?

You can have your very own Pacific adventure, discover deserted islets, see beaches without any footprints, chill under coconut trees… You get the point. If you ever want to get away from the rest of the world, only a handful of places can compare to Tuvalu.

4. Mauritania (2,500 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania experienced three coups in the 21st century, the country chose to isolate itself from the west and cooperate with Iraq in the 1980s, and modern slavery is still a thing in Mauritania. With such a bad record under its name, it’s no wonder that Mauritania is one of the least visited countries in the world.

mauritania

Why should you visit?

Mauritania is actually the eleventh-largest country in Africa and there are actually a lot of interesting sights. The country is home to seven ancient towns that are vestiges of the country’s rich past and has some of the best places in Africa for a desert safari.

3. Equatorial Guinea (around 2,000 visitors per year)

Where are the tourists?

Similarly to other African nations, coups in Equatorial Guinea are not a rarity but there are a lot of other factors that make visiting this country even more difficult. The country’s infrastructure is decent but apparently, getting a visa is both, expensive and difficult. The country is the largest oil producer in Africa and the reachest country per capita on the Black Continent. I guess they chose to focus on oil rather than sustainable growth.

Spoiler Alert: They probably could learn a thing or two from Nauru (#1 on this list).

Equatorial Guinea

Why should you visit?

Even though Equatorial Guinea has no UNESCO Heritage sites, the capital Malabo has a very interesting Colonial quarter that’s home to the second-largest church in Africa. You’ll also find a lot of pristine, untouched beaches and if you’re lucky, you might even see nesting turtles at some of the country’s most remote beaches.

2. Somalia: 1,500 visitors per year

Where are the tourists?

The unfortunate turn of events is turning Somalia into a failed country with insurgents holding a large portion of the country under control. Governments advise their citizens against visiting, resulting in only 1,500 visits per year, which makes Somalia by far the country that has the lowest number of visitors per capita.

somalia least visited countries

Why should you visit?

If you’re an adventurist junkie or just love traveling in dodgy countries Somalia should be at the top of your bucket list. Keep in mind that there are only a few hotels in the whole country and practically no nightlife. To be fair, after 20 years of lawlessness without a Government, the country seems to be stabilizing but most governments still advise their citizens against visiting.

1. Nauru: 360 visitors per year

Where are the tourists?

Finally, we round up this list of the least visited countries in the world with Nauru. It’s the world’s third-smallest country with 13,000 people living at 21 square kilometers. The only airline that flies to Nauru is Our Airline once per week with an old Boeing plane. The whole island is a large phosphate mine and Nauru lost a lot of its natural beauty because of the mining activities that were taken without much planning for the future (sounds familiar).

Additionally, you need to obtain a visa before visiting but there are only five embassies of Nauru around the world.

nauru least visited county in the world

Why should you visit?

Nauru still has some amazing beaches and breathtaking coral reefs. And you can also say that you visited one of only two countries in the world that technically doesn’t have a capital (the other one is Switzerland). Finally, if you’re fit enough you can complete a circle around Nauru (19 km) and say that you literally ran around a country!

Are you looking to visit any of these countries? Check out CheapOair’s site for the best deals in your area. This is the discount program I used to visit a few of the countries on this list and the flights were always cheaper than usual.

Have you ever visited any of the least visited countries in the world? If no, where would you like to go first? Let me know in the comments!

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31 thoughts on “Which are the 22 least visited countries in the world and why?”

  1. What a list! I am amazed at how many of these spots I was unaware of. In the case of Somalia or other unstable lands, just a bit of greater stability and safety would spike those numbers. Let’s hope that folks get together, iron out some differences and inspire tourists to see these gems. Super post πŸ™‚

    Ryan

    Reply
    • Thank you, Ryan. I’m glad you liked it πŸ™‚ I agree, it’s really bad for some unfortunate countries like Somalia and the Central African Republic, whose tourist potential is untapped and people can’t see their beauty just because of political issues that cause the chaos surrounding them.

      Reply
      • I met a guy in Manila last month; he was from Congo Brazzaville. Awesome dude. Being detained for a bizarre reason. He noted his beautiful country but also stigmas with it. Super service you do with this post Daniel. Well done!

        Reply
  2. Great list! An additional reason to visit Guinea-Bissau is its interesting wildlife too. I’ve encountered many species up close in the east of the country (including chimpanzee) and the island of Orango in the Bijagos houses a very interesting population of hippos living in the ocean.

    Reply
    • yeah, Guinea Bissau is up there and almost made the top 15 list! πŸ˜€ Nevertheless, it sounds like an amazing place and I would love to visit some day πŸ˜€

      Reply
  3. Hi, I’m amazed that I’ve actually been to a couple of places on your list and more amazed that they are on there as they are in Europe (if any European country was on the list I would have expected Belarus because of previous visa requirements).
    Liechtenstein was beautiful and only a bus ride from Zurich in Switzerland to the capital Vaduz. Like you said not masses to see but the locals are very friendly and the scenery is superb.
    Moldova is more of a surprise to me. I found Moldova to be a fantastic place to visit and as you say very cheap. My recommendations for anyone thinking of going (and you should) are as follows:
    Stay – Weekend boutique Hotel, not the cheapest compared to others but if you fancy the splurge it’s a really quirky, friendly hotel with an excellent on site sushi restaurant
    Do – There are two days trips you should do whilst you are there, we did them as private trips with local guides which costs more but was a great experience. Having a Moldovan guide for one and a Russian guide for the other really helped to give us the different perspectives of the reigon.
    Trip 1 – Don’t miss out on visiting the breakaway region of Transdinester, it’s not as foreboding as you would think but it does feel like time has stopped still with tanks and Lenin statues just check with your guide before taking photos
    Trip 2 – The Cricovia wine tour is a must. You get driven round the James Bond Villain style tunnels on an electric car, see the various private collections that they hold but the tasting is the highlight – we effectively had five bottles between the three of us. Plus if you want to buy any even the good wine is very cheap prices.

    Reply
  4. What a wonderful article! Honestly, upper 3 are a surprise for me – I knew Bhutan has some very specific rules, but couldn’t imagine that their tourist count was so low – same for Bangladesh and Moldova. And, of course, I haven’t been to any of these countries πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing – that would be definitely interesting places for future considerations!

    Reply
  5. Very interesting! Finding out that a country is not visited a lot makes me want to go there myself, haha. Aside from passing through Liechtenstein in a train 17 years ago, I haven’t been to any of these. I would really love to visit Bhutan. Other than the fact it looks like an incredibly beautiful place, I also love that they measure happiness rather than GDP as an indicator of the country’s success.

    Reply
  6. What a brilliant idea for a post!!! I LOVE discovering stuff like this and seeing what wild place I can add to my list next. Of course I’d love to visit Bhutan if it weren’t so prohibitively expensive! I do, however, have a friend in Lietchenstien, so maybe it’s a good excuse to get there soon πŸ˜‰

    Reply

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