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The 48 least visited destinations in the world

guadeloupe pixabay benibeny
UK residents made just 2,420 visits to Guadeloupe’s breathtaking archipelago in 2016.
Pixabay/benibeny

If you really want to impress with your holiday snaps, you’ll need to venture further afield than sunny Spain or the USA, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).Brits made 70.8 million visits overseas in 2016, with 49% of all trips taking them to either Spain, France, Italy, the Republic of Ireland, or the USA.

Spain was named the UK’s favourite holiday destination by a landslide, accounting for 14.7 million overseas trips and over a fifth of all international travel in 2016.

With British holidays getting increasingly predictable, Business Insider has compiled a list of the 48 locations that were least visited by UK residents in 2016, according to the latest Travel Trends report from the ONS.

Passengers arriving and departing from the UK were surveyed on the main country they visited as part of their trip in order to produce the data, which was scaled up to represent national figures.

The report does not take into account instances where multiple destinations were visited as part of one trip. In these cases, only the country visited for the longest period was included in the data.

The ONS data includes locations which the Foreign Office currently warns against visiting, as explained in each entry, however travellers can still aspire to visit if they become more peaceful.

Scroll on to discover the 48 least visited destinations that should be on every seasoned globetrotter’s bucket list, ranked in descending order by the number of visits made by UK residents in 2016 — as well as a hand-picked list of must-visit attractions from each place.

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48. Cameroon — 7,172 visits.

Cameroon has its fair share of museums, waterfalls, lakes, safari lodges, and national parks.

For a great picture opportunity, meet the chimpanzees at the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Centre just outside the city of Edéa.

47. Brunei — 6,610 visits.

47. Brunei — 6,610 visits.
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, Brunei.
Flickr/bvi4092

This small country on the island of Borneo features breathtaking beaches, stunning mosques, and regal riverboats.

Take a water tour of the gorgeous art galleries, museums, and historic architecture in Kampong Ayer — a district in the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan.

46. Republic of Congo-Brazzaville — 5,603 visits.

Despite the former French colony declaring independence in 1960, the Republic of Congo’s capital city of Brazzaville still has obvious French influences.

Just outside of the capital, witness the choppy waters of the Congo River Rapids against the rocky, stark landscape. Alternatively, head to Point-Noire — a port city known for its expansive beaches and nearby rainforest.

45. Uzbekistan — 5,361 visits.

Uzbekistan’s rich and fascinating national history dates back to first century B.C. As a result, the country has many museums, galleries, and historic sites across its major cities that are all worth seeing.

Head to Bukhara — the ancient Silk Road city — to see the stunning citadel, visit Samarkand to explore ancient tombs, and take a trip to Urgench for desert tours and historic sites.

44. Faroe Islands — 5,356 visits.

The stunning cluster of 18 volcanic islands features chocolate box fishing villages, flawless hiking routes, and snow-capped cliffs. With so much beauty, it’s a surprise only 5,356 Brits ventured to the self-governing nation off the coast of Denmark last year.

Stay in Tórshavn — one of the smallest capital cities in the world with only 20,000 inhabitants — only a short drive from stunning natural sites perfect for hiking and the ideal background for your tourist snaps.

43. Eritrea — 5,014 visits.

Eritrea’s culture amalgamates ethnicities, religions, beliefs, and all types of people into one of the most diverse populations in Africa, according to Lonely Planet.

Tour the deserts and archaeological sites surrounding Eritrea’s capital Asmara. Afterwards, venture into the art-deco city for the Medebar Market’s eclectic wears and the small independent boutiques and pastry shops lining the streets.

Need to cool off? Take off on a scuba diving expedition in the Dahlak Archipelago.

42. Ivory Coast — 4,992 visits.

The Ivory Coast’s combination of French-feel cities and perfectly-preserved wildlife make for a varied and diverse national rhythm. Head to Abidjan, the country’s largest urban area, for the eclectic street food scene and the gorgeous botanical gardens of The Plateau.

Later in your stay, head out to Comoé National Park— just one of the nation’s eight national parks — with chimpanzees, hippopotami, and crocodiles all amongst its residents.

41. Democratic Republic of Congo — 4,898 visits.

41. Democratic Republic of Congo — 4,898 visits.Flickr/UK Department For International Development

Despite the Democratic Republic of Congo’s towering volcanoes and numerous gorilla reserves, only 4,898 British travellers ventured to the striking African country last year.

Due to serious clashes between groups within the country, the UK government has seriously advised against all travel to the region for the time being.

Once it becomes more peaceful, visitors should aspire to see the famous Virunga National Park to come face to face with gorillas, and head to the Lake Kivu for hiking, fishing, and one of only three African lakes that sees volcanic activity bubble its waters.

40. Bolivia — 4,544 visits.

Thanks to Bolivia’s distinct lack of travellers passing through, large expanses of the nation’s stunning natural sites and wildlife remain largely untouched by human destruction.

Rough Guides reported that Bolivia is one of South America’s safest and least expensive nations for travellers. Visitors can trek through the Andes, venture into the Amazon basin, and visit ancient Incan ruins.

39. Namibia — 4,334 visits.

39. Namibia — 4,334 visits.Shutterstock/SAPhotog

Namibia’s low population density and stunning landscapes make for a fantastic destination to road trip through the wilderness.

Kolmanskop, an abandoned mining town once the site for diamond excavation and bustling casinos, is not to be missed. Take a tour through the abandoned school, ballroom, and homes. Dry storms blow gusts of sand into the buildings’ shells, creating an eery yet picture-perfect landscape and fantastic photo opportunity.

38. Mongolia — 4,232 visits.

Mongolia’s rich cultural history includes the likes of Buddhist monasteries, volcanoes, ancient settlements, reindeer, and hot springs.

Make sure to visit the nation’s capital of Ulaanbaatar — originally a nomadic Buddhist hub — where globalisation and commerce rub shoulders with ancient cultures and art. Don’t miss the city’s bustling nightlife scene and the Buddhist monastery ruins.

37. Gabon — 4,073 visits.

37. Gabon — 4,073 visits.Shutterstock/openfinal

One of west Africa’s richer nations, Gabon, has largely been able to conserve its rich biodiversity and rainforest.

White sand beaches, rivers, and national parks make up the majority of the country outside of the Gabon’s two bustling, bohemian cities — Libreville and Port-Gentil. Prepare to carve your own way around this country due to the limited tourist trade.

36. Guatemala — 4,036 visits.

36. Guatemala — 4,036 visits.
Pyramid ruins in Tikal.
Flickr/Dennis Jarvis

With layers of history and endless natural sites, Guatemala boasts Mayan ruins, Spanish colonial architecture, and enough natural phenomena and breathtaking views to keep you occupied for weeks.

Must-sees include Tikal National Park— an ancient Mayan citadel in the middle of the rainforest — and the beaches and snorkelling spots in the riverside town of Livingston.

35. Rwanda — 3,859 visits.

This mountainous nation in east Africa is packed with national parks and experiences that will get bring you face to face with the continent’s wildlife.

Trek with gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, meet 12 other species of primate and spot 300 species of bird in Nyungwe National Park, then join forces with the locals on Sundays when you can participate in the city-wide community service project in the capital of Kigali — a bustling hub known for its cleanliness and hospitality.

34. Macau — 3,713 visits.

This autonomous Chinese region boasts enough glitz and glam to rival any party city, as well as ancient temples and historic customs, and the European flare brought over from Portugal until it was decolonised in 1999.

Nicknamed the “Las Vegas” of Asia, this cultural melting pot boasts sky-high viewing platforms, laser shows, ancient ruins, and even an Eiffel Tower experience. Don’t miss Largo de Senado for a true taste of what the autonomous region was like under Portugal’s rule.

33. Monaco — 3,478 visits.

Perched on the mountainside overlooking the Mediterranean, Monaco has been a hub for high-fliers and a backdrop for business since the early 20th century thanks to the South of France’s sunshine, glamorous backdrop fuelled by casinos and the Formula One Grand Prix, and its status as a tax-free haven.

Head to Monte Carlo to go yacht-spotting, then take to the Prince’s Palace for the best view in the country.

32. Martinique — 3,217 visits.

This French island in the Caribbean boasts hilly landscapes, outstanding beaches, and the narrow streets of Fort-de-France — a creative hub filled with culture and street art.

Venture to La Savane for the public gardens that tell the Caribbean’s botanical history. Lounge in the open areas and enjoy a local picnic of accra — fritters filled with salt fish or prawns — and Fricassée de chatrou — small octopuses stewed with onion, tomato, and fresh lemon.

31. Venezuela — 3,201 visits.

With 40% of the country’s land occupied by national parks and reserves, Venezuela offers a plethora of natural sites, views, and wildlife often unexplored by the British traveller.

Fish for piranhas in the Orinoco, discover unfamiliar wildlife in the rainforest of the largely unpopulated state of Amazonas, and trek to the summit of Angel Falls— the world’s tallest waterfall.

30. Dominica — 3,116 visits.

30. Dominica — 3,116 visits.
Scott’s Head, Dominica.
Flickr/Liam Quinn

Self-dubbed a “nature island,” Dominica defies the stereotypes of Caribbean island parties and beaches.

This lush, green landscape is home to a “boiling” lake, hot springs, snorkelling reefs, sea turtles, eco-hotels, innumerable hiking trails, and a volcano.

Dominica’s thick vegetation and stunning sites were badly damaged in Hurricane Maria in September — the strongest hurricane on record to hit the nation. Visitors and locals can enrol in rebuilding and conservation networks that help to return the nation to its previous, peaceful state, making now the perfect time to visit Dominica and make a difference.

29. Laos — 3,032 visits.

Laos has retained the traditional charm of a southeast Asian nation amidst the quickly developing and globalising region — not least due to the spiritual hubs and temples across the small country.

With strong community values and an atmosphere that embraces anyone passing through, many visitors say that the locals are primarily responsible for making Laos so welcoming and enjoyable.

28. Puerto Rico — 2,959 visits.

An official US commonwealth with historic ties to Spain, this stunning island in the Caribbean Sea features influences from all three cultures, including stunning Spanish architecture, benefits from the US economy, and the glorious Caribbean sunshine.

Delve into El Yunque— the only subtropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service, — zip-line through the lush landscape at 93 miles per hour on the world’s longest zip wire, and venture to one of the nation’s three bioluminescent bays to watch the waters come to life as the sun sets.

27. Belize — 2,874 visits.

Sandwiched between Mexico’s sunshine and Guatemala’s culture, it’s a wonder that Belize doesn’t attract more than 2,800 British tourists each year. With the lowest population density in Central America, Belize offers the vibe of an uninhabited paradise.

Most of the country’s tourist trade comes from the US, so there’s plenty of opportunity for excursions including caving, kayaking, snorkelling, and scuba diving, as well as opportunities to absorb and learn about the Mayan and Creole cultures that have long occupied the country.

26. Botswana — 2,869 visits.

Hailed as one of the greatest safari destinations in Africa by Lonely Planet, Botswana offers approximately 355 different safari tours, according to safaribookings.com.

Jump on a houseboat and watch elephants in Chobe National Park, gaze at Kalahari lions across the dunes at Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, or meet meerkats in Nxai Pan National Park.

25. Turks and Caicos Islands — 2,809 visits.

25. Turks and Caicos Islands — 2,809 visits.
Dragon Cay, Middle Caicos.
Flickr/Tim Sackton

This collection of around 100 named islands, including nine inhabited islands, attracted just 2,809 British tourists last year despite its dazzling sunshine, Caribbean waters, and luxurious tourist facilities.

The Turks and Caicos Islands have one of the lowest rainfall rates in the Caribbean, according to the nation’s tourism website, and are home to luxury holiday resorts with a small fishing town feel. Must-sees include the plethora of water sports opportunities — including kayaking and paddle boarding — and excursions to the Karst caves across the islands.

24. Guinea Bissau — 2,536 visits.

24. Guinea Bissau — 2,536 visits.Shutterstock/Anton_Ivanov

This tiny east African country is home to loud jokes, flavoursome food, and roaring hospitality.

Visit the Bissagos Islands for turtles, hippopotamuses, and nature reserves. To get a real taste of the Bissau-Guinean culture, head to the capital city of Bissau where the welcoming hospitality and nightlife scene will make you feel like a local.

23. Guadeloupe — 2,420 visits.

Guadeloupe’s archipelago, made of five islands, attracted just 2,420 British visitors last year, making it one of the lesser visited Caribbean nations.

Visit the island of Base-Terre for tropical vegetation and Guedeloupe National Park, hop over to Grande-Terre for white sandy beaches, and sail to one of the world’s most beautiful bays in Les Saintes.

22. Liberia — 2,230 visits.

After the civil war and ebola crisis in the early 2000s and 2014 left the country economically stretched, recently lifted travel restrictions on Liberia’s borders have driven a spike in the tourism trade.

Head to the capital city of Monrovia for bustling nightlife and trendy museum network, check out Robertsport for long, interrupted stretches of beach and surfing opportunities, or venture to Sapo National Park to discover the Liberian rainforest, including pygmy hippos and forest elephants that call it home.

21. Fiji — 2,145 visits.

21. Fiji — 2,145 visits.
An unoccupied islet, just one of Fiji’s 330 islands and 500 islets, in the Koro Sea.
Flickr/Chris Isherwood

Expansive tropical reefs surrounding Fiji’s 330 islands and 500 islets offer a multitude of snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities.

While internal politics within the country have seen a reduction in tourism in recent years, the industry has responded by lowering prices for rural resorts and attractions away from the country’s large cities, according to the Tourism Students’ Virtual Conference.

20. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines — 2,091 visits.

20. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines — 2,091 visits.Shutterstock/Peter Krocka

Just 118 miles from the significantly more popular tourist destination Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ 32 stunning Caribbean islands are decked out with luxurious yacht harbours and chic private islands that attract a highly elite tourist circle.

Volcanic landscapes compliment the white sand beaches across the islands. Whale-watch from Bequia, or, if you’re after something more active, check out the kitesurfing and snorkelling excursions based on Union Island.

19. Nicaragua — 1,807 visits.

19. Nicaragua — 1,807 visits.Shutterstock/Elizabeth Winterbourne

Despite being the largest country in Central America, Nicaragua holds some of the region’s lowest tourism figures, according to Rough Guides.

Head to Granada for Spanish colonial landmarks that have survived multiple natural disasters and pirate invasions. The lakeside city’s restaurant scene houses a strong farm-to-table mentality, meaning that you’ll always be eating and supporting local trade. The perimeter of nearby Lake Granada makes for a beautiful hiking trail.

18. Uruguay — 1,783 visits.

18. Uruguay — 1,783 visits.Shutterstock/ernestovdp

Uruguay’s small colonial towns and independent vineyards make for the perfect tranquil destination for a South American escape.

Head to Montevideo for quality steakhouses, the bustling port market, and the Carnival Museum that celebrates the carnival’s festivities all year round.

17. Djibouti — 1,593 visits.

Djibouti packs some incredible natural phenomena that make a fantastic backdrop for an active holiday.

Check out Ardoukoba’s volcanic formations, Lake Assal — the saltiest body of water in the world — and the nomadic settlements that line Lake Abbe.

16. Kyrgyzstan — 1,531 visits.

This central Asian nation has been dubbed “Asia’s Switzerland” thanks to its soaring mountain ranges, icy glaciers, and pine forests.

Lakes and grassy plains make up the vast majority of Kyrgyzstan’s breathtaking landscape alongside the snow-capped mountain ranges. Must-sees include the skiing and hiking trails in Karakol, and the gorgeous markets and historical landmarks of Osh.

15. Yemen — 1,240 visits.

15. Yemen — 1,240 visits.
Sana’a Old Town, Yemen.
Flickr/Dan

The US Department of State and the UK Government both advise travellers to refrain from visiting Yemen due to the ongoing conflict and heightened tensions within the country at the moment.

Yemen’s incredible and varied history can still be admired from afar, though, with the Queen of Sheba once calling the Arab nation her home.

14. Papua New Guinea — 1,175 visits.

Papua New Guinea’s diverse heritage and landscape offers a variety of activities, day trips, and excursions for visitors.

Relax on the expansive beaches and snorkel in the spectacular coral reefs. Further inland, trek to the awe-inspiring granite Mount Wilhelm and learn about the nation’s many indigenous and tribal cultures in Port Moresby’s multiple museums.

13. Mozambique — 1,045 visits.

Life in Mozambique tends to gravitate towards the coastline. Picture-perfect beaches, fishing destinations, and water sports academies dot the shores. Further out, offshore marine parks and coral reefs are just a short boat ride away.

The famous Tofo beach — so famous it looks like something from the front of a postcard — isn’t to be missed.

12. French Polynesia — 1,013 visits.

12. French Polynesia — 1,013 visits.
Huaine Island, French Polynesia.
Flickr/dany13

This cluster of islands in the South Pacific offers laid-back island living at its finest.

Stay in a traditional bungalow suspended over the water, trek to the summits of the nation’s multiple waterfalls, and dive into the deep blue lagoons of Taha’a, Vaitape, and Fakarava.

11. Suriname — 981 visits.

Suriname’s dense tropical rainforest and colonial Dutch architecture add to the rich and diverse cultural history of the South American nation.

Take a river tour through the rainforest to understand the true scale of the nation’s natural sights and wildlife. The capital city of Paramaribo’s regal colonial architecture and towering palm gardens add a stark contrast, and can easily be squeezed into your visit.

10. Burkina Faso — 975 visits.

10. Burkina Faso — 975 visits.Shutterstock/FrdoGn

Despite not having many major tourist attractions, Burkina Faso’s wildly varied music and arts scene makes for a truly individual West African holiday experience.

Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso are must-see cities for the music-loving adventurer. Wild jazz bars and intimate live music venues are open late into the evening. Locals known for their welcoming mentality make each party feel like a private function with tourists as the guests of honour.

If late nights and loud music aren’t your style, head to the peaceful Pendjari National Park and Nature Reserve to spy cheetahs and elephants lazily enjoying the African sunshine.

9. British Virgin Islands — 886 visits.

9. British Virgin Islands — 886 visits.
Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
Pixabay/Taschengeld

With its protected waters and excellent port and dock facilities across the islands, the British Virgin Islands is one of the best sailing locations in the world, according to the Telegraph.

After the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma in September, the nation’s tourism bureau is encouraging tourists to continue visiting — and the trade is needed now more than ever.

Many private hotels are only accessible by boat, adding to the “hidden getaway” feel of the islands. Be sure to head to Loblolly Bay for fresh lobster and the best spot to watch wild flamingoes come and go.

8. Paraguay — 839 visits.

8. Paraguay — 839 visits.Flickr/nicogranada

The perfect South American country for an authentic regional experience that escapes the usual tourist trail, Paraguay offers vast natural wilderness, rich indigenous histories, and stunning colonial sites.

Head to the nation’s more developed cities, including the capital Asunción, for gorgeous piazzas, boulevards, and glamour. Alternatively, branch out into the suburban and rural districts for exotic forests, sleepy colonial settlements, and sensational wildlife.

7. Chad — 725 visits.

7. Chad — 725 visits.
The palace of the village of Gaoui’s former sultan, just east of N’Djamena, Chad.
Flickr/David Stanley

With almost all locals living rurally and only one major city in the whole country, life in Chad is about embracing and bearing witness to the country’s awe-inspiring natural elements.

The Sahara Desert and Lake Chad are both must-see sites when the country is safe for travelling visitors — which, unfortunately, it currently isn’t. Once stability resumes, ancient cave paintings in the Sahara’s caverns become a favourite amongst visitors.

6. Kiribati — 620 visits.

6. Kiribati — 620 visits.Wikimedia Commons

Located just south of Hawaii, Kiribati’s islets and atolls are largely overlooked by British travellers despite their idyllic landscape, clear waters, and the plethora of water sports opportunities and wildlife sanctuaries.

Head to Kiritimati for a prime surfing spot, and the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to marvel at the incredible array of sea life that the Pacific Ocean is home to.

5. Armenia — 527 visits.

5. Armenia — 527 visits.
Yerevan market, Armenia.
Flickr/Arthur Chapman

Armenia is one of the world’s oldest countries, with the extensive history to prove it.

Zorats Karer, also known as “The Stone Army,” is one of the country’s oldest landmarks. The scattered rocks have many legends surrounding them, including a story which claims that the rocks are the ruins of stone houses built by giants for their dwarf labourers. Another legend claims that an entire army is buried beneath the circle. Whichever tale you believe, the circle has to be seen to be believed.

4. Togo — 518 visits.

4. Togo — 518 visits.Flickr/Julius Cruickshank

Togo’s melting pot of cultures and backdrops makes for a varied and diverse holiday destination too often overlooked by British travellers.

Head to the lively, party-centric capital of Lomé for eccentric nightlife, the Grand Marché bazaar, Fetish Market, and stunning beaches. There’s also the Koutammakou settlement — home to 17th century clay huts that resemble a fortress on the side of the hill from afar.

3. Benin — 357 visits.

Villages on stilts, historic voodoo culture, and herbal remedies all add to modern-day Benin. Each settlement and village has its own distinct feel, so travelling around to get a greater understanding of the nation as a whole is encouraged.

Parc National de la Pendjari, a wilderness reserve in the north, has been hailed by Lonely Planet as one of the best places in Africa to see the local wildlife. Lions, elephants, and cheetahs are among the hundreds of species that call the park home.

2. Swaziland — 298 visits.

Despite only attracting 298 British visitors last year, Swaziland is arguably the best nation in the world when it comes to the quality and quantity of its wilderness reserves.

Trek to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary for a breathtaking view of “Heaven Valley” and Nyonyane Mountain, with opportunities to camp onsite. Alternatively, Hlane Royal National Park is known for its lions and storks. Once the sun goes down and the reserves close their gates, head to the gold-mining-town of Piggs Peak for a night at the casino.

1. San Marino — 223 visits.

The least visited country in the world by UK tourists, with only 223 visitors in 2016, is San Marino. This autonomous microstate located in the Italian mountains has a population of only 33,000 according to World Bank.

Visitors don’t need a passport to travel through San Marino, and many tourists like to pick up luxury goods in the region due to the lower levels of tax on many items.

Must-sees include the capital — also called San Marino, made up of a medieval walled town with picturesque winding streets complete with cobblestones and small-town charm — and the Three Towers — fortress-like turrets dating from the 11th century.

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