Some countries such as France, Italy, USA and Thailand are well-known all over the world, attracting millions of visitors every year. We have already published several posts about the most popular and visited places including these 25 Most Visited Countries In The World or these 25 Popular Tourist Attractions You’ll Want To See For Yourself. However, impressive sites, unique architectural jewels, breathtaking natural beauties and stunning beaches do not necessarily have to be located in famous countries that everybody is familiar with. In fact, there are many countries that are unknown to most people and still have so much to offer to their potential visitors. Found on isolated tropical islands, hidden in giant mountains, or just surrounded by bigger and more popular neighbors, these countries hardly ever make it to travel brochures and tourists’ bucket lists. Take Lichtenstein for example. Did you know this country exists at all? Maybe not, but we are pretty confident you would be totally stunned by its monumental mountains, ancient castles, and clean environment. There are many more countries like this. From Brunei and Sierra Leone to Moldova and Burkina Faso, check out these 25 Unique Countries To Visit That You Didn’t Know Existed.
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Located in Micronesia in the Central Pacific, Nauru is the third smallest country by area in the world, behind only the Vatican City and Monaco. This tiny and underrated country boasts an amazing marine life, large colorful reefs, and pristine beaches, which make it a great spot for a summer vacation, scuba diving, snorkeling, and other water sports.
The main reason why tourists do not know much about Liechtenstein is its location. The little alpine country is surrounded by Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, all of which are very popular tourist destinations. Yet, Liechtenstein also has so much to offer – from stunning mountains and historic castles to one of the cleanest environments in the world.
Kyrgyzstan’s recorded history spans over 2,000 years, encompassing a variety of cultures and empires, but it was not until the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 when this amazing country gained its sovereignty. Kyrgyzstan has an incredibly beautiful and diverse landscape that offers excellent conditions for hiking, trekking, horse riding, camping, skiing etc.
With an area of just 316 sq km (122 sq mi), Malta is one of the smallest countries in the world, but this Mediterranean archipelago has a stunningly rich history as it has always been a strategically important spot. Malta boasts a warm climate, perfect beaches, unique architectural monuments, and several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
While most people know there is an island called Borneo somewhere in South East Asia, few know that island is home to the country of Brunei. A former British colony, Brunei is now a modern and developed country with one of the highest GDP’s and purchasing power parities in the world. Brunei also has a charming landscape as well as impressive architecture.
While some of its neighbors such as Fiji or New Guinea are familiar to most travelers, Vanuatu is a little-known yet stunningly beautiful country located in the South Pacific Ocean. Home to just about 250,000 people, the country boasts superb beaches, crystal clear warm waters, plentiful natural beauties, delicious exotic cuisine, and interesting cultural traditions.
Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, Georgia has an amazingly diverse landscape that attracts adventurers of all kinds. It has monumental mountains (Mount Shkhara is the country’s highest peak at 5,068 m or 16,627 ft), top-notch ski resorts, huge glaciers, complex cave systems, beautiful lakes, and much more.
While South Africa is a well-known and massively-visited country, few people know that there is actually another country located within it. With a population of just 2 million, Lesotho is completely surrounded (and overshadowed) by South Africa. However, this little African country also boasts an astonishing landscape full of wildlife.
Wedged between two European giants, Spain and France, Andorra is a micro-state located in the Pyrenees Mountains. Andorra has both excellent summer holiday resorts as well as renowned winter and ski facilities. The country is not a member of the European Union but enjoys a special relationship with it. It is also known as a tax haven.
Officially a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroe Islands is a self-governing country found between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland. It has one of the cleanest environments in Europe and boasts a beautiful landscape, rich cultural traditions, and great food.
The Dominican Republic is one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, but there is another, lesser-known country in this region with a similar name. Dominica is much smaller than the Dominican Republic, but in terms of natural beauties and picturesque beaches, it can be easily compared to its famous rival. Moreover, Dominica is a lot less crowded.
One of the largest countries on the list, Tajikistan is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. The country has been badly affected by a civil war fought between 1992 and 1997, so the living standards here are not as high as in some other countries on the list, but Tajikistan has a breathtaking landscape that every hiker would certainly enjoy.
Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered by Romania and Ukraine. With a population of about 3 million, Moldova is one of the least-visited countries in Europe, but this might change soon as more and more people are becoming interested in the country’s natural landscapes, rich history, unique architecture, and wine tours.
Kiribati is an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean that comprises 33 atolls and reef islands and one raised coral island. One of the lowest-lying countries in the world, Kiribati is predicted to become largely submerged in the following decades, so make sure to visit it soon. The country has a rich marine wildlife, beautiful reefs, and excellent beaches.
Located in the Indian Ocean between Mozambique and Madagascar, the Comoros is a little African country that consists of three major islands and many smaller islands. A former French colony, the Comoros has a tropical climate, crystal-clear and all-year-round warm waters, and an abundant wildlife with a number endemic species.
You might be familiar with the term “Benelux,” and you certainly know the first two words (countries) of the acronym – Belgium and Netherlands. However, the third country – Luxembourg – is far less known in the world. Luxembourg might be small (it has a population of just over 500,000), but it is brimming with amazing architecture jewels, museums, galleries, etc.
Sao Tomé and Principe
The second-smallest African country, Sao Tomé and Principe is a little Portuguese-speaking island nation located off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. One of Africa’s most stable, democratic, and safest countries, it has both stunning beaches and mountains as well as a delicious cuisine based on seafood and tropical fruits.
Another tropical paradise, the Marshall Islands is an island country located near the equator in the Pacific Ocean. The islands boast breathtaking marine wildlife and reefs, which makes it a great spot for diving and snorkeling. A huge part of its waters was also declared as the world’s largest shark sanctuary.
Completely surrounded by Italy, San Marino is a microstate with an area of just 61 sq km (24 sq mi) and a population of 32,000. Despite its miniature size, San Marino is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It also claims to be the world’s oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic. The Monte Titano Fortress is the most famous landmark of this tiny country.
The only country in the world to officially measure the happiness of its residents, Bhutan is a landlocked country wedged between two Asian giants, China and India. Thanks to its location in the Eastern Himalayas, the country offers excellent conditions for hiking, trekking, mountaineering, and other outdoor sports. It is also home to a number of great Buddhist temples.
Thanks to the infamous 2014 Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone is not as unknown as it used to be before, but it would be unfair to associate this little West African country with the deadly disease only. Sierra Leone also has a lot of good things to offer, ranging from some of Africa’s finest beaches to great food and friendly locals.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Located in Southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula, Bosnia and Herzegovina is way less known and touristy than its northern neighbor, Croatia, but it is just as beautiful. The country has a stunning mountainous landscape with perfect conditions for adrenaline-producing outdoor sports such as kayaking, hiking, and climbing.
When it comes to African wildlife and safaris, Burkina Faso is not among the countries that first comes to people’s minds. However, this land-locked West African country has great numbers of large mammals such as elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopards, buffaloes, etc. There are four national parks and several reserves in Burkina Faso.
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Situated in the West Indies in the Caribbean, Saint Kitts and Nevis is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, in both area and population. Home to just 55,000 people, the country is largely covered in dense tropical forests that harbor many animal and plant species. There are also many picturesque beaches in this tiny Caribbean country.
Located 570 km (350 mi) off the coast of West Africa, Cape Verde is an island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. A former colony of Portugal, Cape Verde ranks among the most developed and wealthiest African countries. It boasts a number of perfect beaches and top-notch seaside resorts.