7 of the world’s least visited countries and how to visit them

It may take a little more effort to get there, but these exotic and authentic destinations will certainly reward you for your efforts. Here’s our pick of favourite countries with the fewest visitors..

Jessica Reid
20 July 2022

At Wanderlust, we’re always on the search for the road less travelled. So we thought, what could be more ‘off-the-beaten-track’ than the world’s least visited countries?

From the remote Pacific Islands to one of Europe’s smallest nation, here we pick some of our favourite less-well-travelled destinations from around the world and what you can expect to find when you get there.

1. Nauru

Nauru is the third smallest country in the world (Shutterstock)

Annual visitors: 200

How to get there: Nauru Airlines operates from Brisbane, Australia or Suva, Fiji, among other surrounding islands.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the smallest Pacific nation is the world’s least visited country. Nauru is just 21 square kilometres, taking just 30 minutes to drive around the entire kidney-bean shaped island, or it can be walked in less than a day. Its 10,000 residents are extremely family-orientated and food-loving.

There’s not much to do in Nauru; it’s so small it doesn’t even have a capital. Those who do make the effort can admire the island’s natural beauty, including Buada Lagoon and Anibare Bay, or visit WWII sights in Yaren, such as the Japanese Guns, bunkers and pillboxes.

2. Tuvalu

Aerial view of Tuvalu (Shutterstock)

Annual visitors: 3,000

How to get there: Fiji Airways operate one flight per week from Fiji. Kiriabti Airways sometimes operates flights too.

With a population of just 12,000 people, Tuvaluis so remote, most of the time the locals (and its few visitors) use the airport strip as a public park, playing games of football or volleyball, or tearing up the tarmac on motorbikes. Although a paradise island, the accessibility is the biggest reason for its lack of visitors, with only one flight in and out every week.

Those who do venture across to this Pacific nation are rewarded with some special activities only possible in this part of the world. Go cave diving and discover evidence of human life from more than 8,000 years ago; visit the Philatelic Bureau on Fongafale and see Tuvalu’s huge collection of postal stamps; watch the locals play a game of Te Amo, or perhaps rent a scooter and get lost in this wild, relatively untouched part of the world.

3. São Tomé & Príncipe

Pico Cão Grande in Sao Tome and Principe (Shutterstock)

Annual visitors: 34,000

How to get there: TAP Air Portugal operates flights with top stops in Lisbon and Accra.

Few people have heard of this tiny African island floating in the Gulf of Guinea, but tourists have rapidly grown in the past decade. In 2010, São Tomé & Príncipe had just 8,000 visitors, with this number more than quadrupling. But it’s getting the recognition that it deserves.

The island was discovered by the Portuguese in the 15th century, whom it belonged until 1975. Once a thriving cocoa producer, those visiting now can expect to have one of the best eco-friendly adventures among a jungle environment and with superb beaches. The smaller island in the double act (Principe) has just 7,000 residents, but should not be missed.

4. Djibouti

Lake Assal (Shutterstock)

Annual visitors: 53,000

How to get there: Most people change at Ethiopia for flights to Djibouti, but international airlines also operate from Paris, Dubai, Doha and Istanbuk.

Tucked between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia on the Horn of Africa, Djibouti is an often-forgotten gem with one of the coolest – or strangest – landscapes in the world, which you are likely to have all to yourself.

Home to the lowest point in Africa and the third lowest point in the world, the saltwater body of water Lac Assal is fascinating to visit. There’s also volcanoes, hot springs, and rock canyons to be discovered, plus the chance to spot whale sharks. For a more urban side, head to the capital of Djibouti City.

5. Dominica

Dominica is often called ‘Nature Island’ (Shutterstock)

Annual visitors: 75,000

How to get there: Fly to another Caribbean island (usually Barbados) and get a connecting flight or ferry.

Pronounced Dom-in-ee-ka, this Caribbean island is truly a hidden gem. Compared to its neighbouring paradise islands, it receives relatively few overnight visitors. Perhaps this is due to its mostly volcanic landscape surrounded by untouched rainforest. But its beauty is mainly down to being largely undeveloped, and why it’s known as the ‘Nature Island’.

Being at one with nature, there’s plenty of outdoor activities to take part in. Go on epic jungle hikes, snorkel for tropical fish in the bubbling Champagne Reef, visit the unusual Boiling Lake and meet the indigenous Kalinago population who live here.

6. Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein has a scattering of hilltop castles and forts (Shutterstock)

Annual visitors: 99,000

How to get there: There is no airport. Fly into neighbouring Switzerland and Austria and arrive by bus.

Sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland, Liechtenstein receives more visitors than it has residents (with a population of only 38,000).

At just 160 square kilometres wide, you’d be forgiven for thinking there can’t be much here to explore – but Lichtenstein should not be brushed aside. Enchanting castles can be found dotted across the mountainous landscape, with superb hiking and cycling trails linking up the country’s quaint towns and villages.

There’s many cultural attractions too, with a collection of interesting museums and contemporary art galleries within the capital of Veduz.

7. Guyana

Kaieteur Falls in Guyana (Shutterstock)

Annual visitors: 315,000

How to get there: Flights to Georgetown, Guyana’s capital, usually include a stop at Bridgetown, Barbados.

Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, you might think this is a slight imposter on our list. But Guyana is South America’s least visited country – for now. Its visitor numbers are growing, and we think its only a matter of time before it will be on every traveller’s radar.

The capital of Georgetown has Dutch and British heritage, spoiling it with stunning colonial buildings. But the Caribbean influence makes it a melting pot of culture.

Beyond the city, the nature here is on a scale like no other – and we mean literally. Home to the world’s largest single drop waterfall in terms of water volume, Kaieteur Falls is truly spectacular to see, and one of the world’s great wonders to see without the crowds. The wildlife is also vast; from giant river otters, to 900 species of tropical birds.

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