Like your holidays crowd-free? Consider this list your ultimate travel guide.
It names the top 10 least-visited countries around the world, as revealed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation 2023 report.
The report notes that these destinations welcome few holidaymakers for a variety of reasons, from lying in hard-to-reach corners of the globe to being ‘too small to host vast numbers of tourists’.
But they’re all worth the effort. Offering golden beaches, crystal clear waters and blissful isolation…
10. Guinea-Bissau: Annual visitors 52,000
Guinea-Bissau is the tenth least-visited country in the world. Pictured is the capital, Bissau city (top), and a beach on one of the country’s Bijagos Islands (bottom)
A beach on Guinea-Bissau’s Bijagos Islands. The country takes around 30 hours for UK travellers to reach
The lush greenery of Guinea-Bissau’s Bijagos Islands. It will take Australian and U.S travellers around 30 hours and 50 hours of flying, respectively, to reach the nation
Guinea-Bissau, the tenth least-visited country on the list, is situated on West Africa’s Atlantic coast and is known for its vast national parks and its population of rare saltwater hippos. It welcomes 52,000 visitors a year, the World Population Review reveals.
Lonely Planet says: ‘Like a microcosm of Africa, this tiny nation contains multitudes – of landscapes, peoples, cultures and plant and animal life. All of it within reach of the capital, Bissau.’
To fly there, UK travellers should expect a couple of layovers – from London to Lisbon, then to Casablanca in Morocco – before reaching final destination Guinea-Bissau, amounting to nearly 30 hours of air travel.
Meanwhile, both Australian and U.S travellers will have to fly to Lisbon, to Praia in Cape Verde and then to Guinea-Bissau. This tallies up to more than 30 hours of flying for both Australian and American holidaymakers.
9. Comoros: Annual visitors 45,000
Comoros, the ninth least-visited country in the world, welcomes 45,000 tourists per year. These images show the city of Domoni on the Comorian island of Anjouan (top) and the harbour of Grande Comore island (bottom)
The rugged coastline of Comoros’s Grande Comore island. Lonely Planet reveals the country enjoys ‘blissful’ year-round temperatures
Comoros, an archipelago of volcanic islands, is situated off the southeastern coast of Africa.
Describing these Indian Ocean islands, Lonely Planet reveals that they boast ‘blissful’ year-round temperatures, swaying palm trees and turquoise waters.
Comoros sees 45,000 tourists per year, but entering the country can prove challenging. Travellers will need a visa to enter Comoros, which can be obtained on arrival at Hahaya airport or other points of entry for $30 (£25).
According to the UK government website, there is a ‘high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals’ in the country. Although there is no recent history of terrorism in Comoros, it says ‘attacks can’t be ruled out’.
8. São Tomé and Príncipe: Annual visitors 34,900
São Tomé and Príncipe, which ranks eighth on the list, welcomes just 34,900 tourists a year. Pictured is part of the waterfront on São Tomé island (top) and Cão Grande rock on Príncipe island (bottom)
This striking picture shows the ‘pristine nature’ of Principe island in São Tomé and Príncipe. The tourist board reveals: ‘So far 700 plant species and 135 bird species have been recorded in the islands’
São Tomé and Príncipe, located on the equator in the Gulf of Guinea, has a population of around 201,800 and sees just 34,900 tourists a year.
The islands, consisting of two main islands and a number of smaller islets, lie on an alignment of once-active volcanoes.
Visitors can expect to discover ‘pristine nature, tropical beaches and peace-loving people’, the tourist board reveals, adding: ‘So far 700 plant species and 135 bird species have been recorded in the islands, many of them totally new to science and found nowhere else in the world.’
The World Travel Guide reveals that London travellers can take a 21-hour flight to the islands, with an overnight stopover in Lisbon. Travellers from New York can also fly to Lisbon and then onwards to São Tomé and Príncipe.
7. Solomon Islands: Annual visitors 29,000
Seventh on the list is the Solomon Islands archipelago, which is said to be home to ‘thousands of different plant and animal species’. These images show the capital city of Honiara, on Guadalcanal island
The Solomon Islands archipelago is made up of almost 1,000 tropical islands dotted across the southwestern Pacific.
Fancy visiting for yourself? Solomon Airlines flies from Brisbane, Australia, to Honiara, Solomon Islands’ capital, up to five times per week. UK travellers can expect a trickier journey, with stop-offs in either Brisbane or Fiji.
6. Montserrat: Annual visitors 19,300
The sixth least-visited country in the world, Montserrat (pictured) can be tricky to get to. Previously a popular destination, a volcanic eruption devastated the country
These two pictures show a view of the active volcano Mount Soufrière on Montserrat island
Montserrat takes the title of the sixth least-visited country in the world, with just 19,300 visitors per year.
The mountainous Caribbean island – which lies directly east of Central America – is part of the Lesser Antilles chain and is a British Overseas Territory.
A volcanic eruption in 1995 ravaged the island, including its capital city, Plymouth, and prompted two-thirds of its population to emigrate to other countries, Lonely Planet reveals.
There are no direct flights to Montserrat, but travellers can fly to the neighbouring island of Antigua and catch a ferry or a flight to Montserrat.
5. Micronesia: Annual visitors 18,000
The 600-plus island nation of Micronesia ranks fifth on the list. These images show the ruins of a WWII Japanese midget tank at Lelu Harbour on Kosrae island (top), and Ant Atoll, off the coast of Pohnpei island (bottom)
Welcoming just 18,000 visitors per year, the islands of Micronesia are scattered across the North Pacific Ocean, between the Marshall Islands and Palau.
The local tourist board describes it as ‘one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth’.
The 600-plus island nation, which is home to several ethnic groups, is divided into four states – Yap, Kosrae, Chuuk and Pohnpei. To experience it for yourself, you can fly from Chuuk to Brisbane, and to Guam from Cairns, but if you’re flying internationally expect a few stops along the way.
4. Kiribati: Annual visitors 12,000
Welcoming only 12,000 visitors a year, Kiribati (pictured above) is the fourth least-visited country on the map
Consisting of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, Kiribati lies between Australia and Hawaii and is the only country in the world to touch all four hemispheres.
‘Whether you’re into fishing, bird-watching, diving or surfing, this remote destination is worth the trek,’ Lonely Planet says of the remote island nation.
Just how tricky is it to reach? The World Travel Guide notes that the national airline in Kiribati is Air Kiribati, but it only operates domestic flights. Travellers can fly direct from Fiji to Tarawa, Kiribati, with Fiji Airways. Alternatively, fly from neighbouring country Nauru to Tarawa with Nauru Airlines.
International travellers can expect a long journey. From London to Tarawa, the journey can amount to 35 hours or longer.
3. Niue: Annual visitors 10,200
Niue, which ranks third on the list, is said to offer a ‘pace of life many yearn for’. Its coastal landscape is shown in the three images above
Located in the South Pacific, Niue sees only around 10,000 visitors per year.
With only 1,500 inhabitants, the tourist board says you will ‘know half of the island before you leave’. It claims there are ‘no crowds, no queues, no traffic lights and a pace of life many yearn for’.
Tourists should note there is currently only one flight to and from Niue per week – a three-hour flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Niue’s International Airport, Hannan (IUE). From November 2023 to January 2024 there will be just two flights per week.
Thankfully, once travellers have disembarked the plane, it won’t take long to get the holiday started – Niue’s main town is less than five minutes from the airport.
2. Marshall Islands: Annual visitors 6,100
The Marshall Islands, known for its ‘marine life and diving opportunities’, ranks second on the list
With around 6,000 visitors arriving each year, the Marshall Islands – consisting of 29 coral atolls and five single coral islands – is the second-least-visited country in the world.
The local tourist board notes the isles are known for their ‘marine life and diving opportunities’ with at least 160 species of coral to discover. It also has an interesting World War II history, as the country served as a Japanese base before U.S Navy bases took over.
Wondering how to get there? The World Travel Guide reveals that United Airlines flies to the city of Majuro and Kwajalein Island. Naura Airlines also flies there from Fiji.
1. Tuvalu: Annual visitors 3,700
Made up of three coral islands and six atolls, Tuvalu, shown in the images above, is the world’s least-visited country for 2023
Located 1,000km (621 miles) north of Fiji in the west-central Pacific Ocean, just below the equator, Tuvalu has been named the least-visited country in the world. It welcomes just 3,700 visitors a year.
The three coral islands and six atolls that make up the country have a total land mass of around 10 square miles, making it the fourth-smallest country in the world.
Sadly, the island – which has attracted the attention of TikTok travellers in recent years – is expected to be one of the first countries in the world wiped out by climate change, as we previously reported.
It’s tricky to reach, with no direct international flights, and only three flights a week running to the island. The main way to get to Tuvalu is by flying from Fiji, the World Travel Guide reveals. You can get direct flights to Fiji from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, each flight lasting between three to five hours.
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