From desolate islands in the Pacific Ocean to failed states in Africa, we’re revisiting the least visited countries in the world whilst telling you how to get there as well.
Without doubt, there is no phrase more overused in travel circles than “off the beaten path/track”, but in our Lonely Planet modern world, “off the beaten track” is somewhat hard to actually achieve.
But ‘hard to achieve’ does not mean ‘impossible’; here’s our list of the world’s ten least visited countries, and how to get there.
For cheap flights to all these place, check out CheapTicket.life
Note – for this blog we’ve used data from 2017, the latest data currently available.
10) Sao Tome and Principe – 8000 visitors
This small ex-Portuguese colony that lies along the equator 225 KM west of mainland Africa and Gabon has certainly seen its fair share of trouble over the years. Sao Tome and Principe gained independence in 1975 with a socialist government that kept power until 1990, when it became one of the first countries in Africa to initiate democratic reforms. Since then it’s kinda plodded along and done its thing.
Why should you visit Sao Tome and Principe? If you like pristine beaches, world-class diving, and Portuguese architecture Sao Tome and Principe is paradise.
How can you travel to Sao Tome and Principe? Despite being an island, there are no ferries as such that service Sao Tome and Principe, but there are regular flights from Lisbon and fellow former Portuguese colonial city of Luanda.
9) Niue – 8000 visitors
Oh I can just hear the 193 club country collectors screaming at the screen now “BUT NIUE ISN’T A COUNTRY!” Niue is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand it counts as a country, and so does Greenland. Get over yourselves. Niue has a land mass of about 261 square kilometers and a population of about 1600 resident locals, with 90% of citizens actually living in New Zealand.
Why visit? It’s a secluded Pacific island paradise with great beaches, diving, and its own unique culture
How can you travel to Niue? Nice and simple! The ONLY way to fly to Niue is by flying from New Zealand. Flights are once a week in low season, and a balmy twice a week during high season. Be careful around religious holidays, as the diaspora all seem to go home for it.
8) Libya — 6250 visitors
And what to say about Libya? When the only country in the world to be better at being a failed state than you is Somalia, you could say there’s gonna be issues with attracting large numbers of tourists to your country. The fact that over 6000 people travelled to Libya is, in itself, impressive.
Why visit Libya? Roman ruins, ancient history, cool Gaddafi stuff, and not one but two rival governments to see!
How can you travel to Libya? With great difficulty since they blew up the airport in Tripoli! First everyone needs a visa, and visas are hard to get and the policies constantly change. Second, you will need to find a flight. There are currently nine airlines flying into Tripoli, with London and Cairo being top matches.
7) Marshall Islands – 6000
The Marshall Islands is a country in free association with the United States, which makes it kind of like a colony. It was also where the US of A did most of its testing of nukes, on Bikini Atoll, which is still a little bit of a bone of contention.
Why visit the Marshall Islands? The Marshall Islands – and Majuro in particular – are a really cool place with a Pacific/American blended culture, good food, islands to explore, and great beaches.
How can you travel to the Marshall Islands? The Marshall Islands is serviced by air from the United States by United, or to Tarawa, Nauru and the Solomon Islands by Nauru Airlines. Young Pioneer Tours visit here on the Least Visited Countries Tour.
6) Equatorial Guinea
When your nickname is the “North Korea of Africa”, then your marketing team might find it a struggle to attract tourists to your country. Divided into a mainland and 5 volcanic islands, the island nation is ruled with an iron fist by the president. You’ve just never heard of him because he’s America friendly.
Why visit Equatorial Guinea? It’s got great beaches, it’s cheap, and it has a batshit crazy government. Why wouldn’t you want to visit Equatorial Guinea?
How can you visit Equatorial Guinea? You will need a visa, which is very hard to obtain and very expensive at $4-500 (unless you’re American, in which case it’s technically visa-free). There are a few companies such as Young Pioneer Tours who offers tours and thus visa support. There’s actually quite a lot of flights to Equatorial Guinea, including from London, Paris, Madrid, and Frankfurt.
5) South Sudan – 5500 visitors
Oh, the sad tale of South Sudan! After 30 odd years fighting for independence from its northern neighbor, still known as Sudan, South Sudan finally gained independence in 1991 and it’s hardly been plain sailing since. Currently the country is in a bit of a civil war, a border war with Sudan, and then there’s the whole can of worms that is Darfur.
Why visit South Sudan? It’s the newest country in the world, and if you are chasing 193 you kind of have to go here. I got nothing else.
How can you travel to South Sudan? As a new country, the visa policy seems to change a lot, but generally speaking you need a visa, which will cost you about $100. Flights are from regional African airports, and companies like Young Pioneer Tours can arrange travel here.
4) Kiribati – 4000 visitors
Kiribati is one of my favourites, if not my favourite on this list. A truly great place to travel to. Sadly, though, if the world does nothing to arrest the onslaught of global warming, this will be the first country to disappear, so probably try and visit within the next 20 years.
Why visit Kiribati? It has of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and if you have more than a passing interest in World War 2 then it truly is a must. Looks a bit like the ocean planet from the Rogue One movie (which was a decent flick, but we can all agreeThe Last Jedi was better).
How can you travel to Kiribati? There’s flights to Fiji, Nauru, and the other Pacific islands serviced by Nauru Airlines. There’s also the infamous Young Pioneer Tours “Least Visited Countries Tour” that spends two days here.
3) Tuvalu – 2000 visitors
Did I say Kiribati was my favourite on this list? Actually it would be Tuvalu. Tuvalu and its capital island of Funafuti is the poster child for a laid-back Pacific Island nation. Not much goes on in Tuvalu, but you can easily spend 5 days here simply kicking it back and riding around on a scooter.
Why visit Tuvalu? Because no one else does! It’s beautiful, and you can do a whole heap of island hopping. Stay long enough and you might qualify to play for their national football team!
How can you travel to Tuvalu? There’s twice weekly flight from Fiji (meaning you have to stay about 5 days), as well as one flight per week from Tarawa in Kiribati now. Boats are not an option.
2) Somalia – 400 visitors
What can you say about Somalia? Somalia has been a failed state pretty much since 1991. Oh, and then there’s the pirates – not the Jack Sparrow type, the kill you type – oh and Islamic militants that chop off heads. Getting tourist to flock here might take a while.
Why visit Somalia? Be honest: telling people you have just been on holiday to Somalia would be pretty bad ass! Nice food too.
How can you visit Somalia? Visiting “mainland” Somalia is quite hard, but you can visit the breakaway state of Somaliland in the north with Young Pioneer Tours.
1) Nauru – 160 visitors
Nauru at 160 is one I can personally confirm, as I had visas 155-160, and saw the new year here 2017-2018. The story of Nauru – a nation formed from birdshit – is a fascinating one you can read more about here. Nauru might well be the least visited place on earth, but it actually has a lot to offer tourists, and it’s easy to send a week here.
Why visit Nauru? Duh it’s the least visited country on earth! The people are quite nice, the food is mostly Chinese, and there’s World War 2 stuff to do.
How can you visit Nauru? Most nationals need a visa, and the island is only supplied by Nauru Airlines on its island hopper service as well as with flights to Brisbane in Australia. But of course the best way to go here is to spend New Year’s Eve here on the Young Pioneer Tours Least Visited Countries Tour.