When it comes to holidays you may think of the tried and tested destinations of Spain, Greece or Portugal, but this is your chance to break the mould and jet off to somewhere truly off the grid. We’ve put together a list of 10 obscure but beautiful countries well worth a visit:
We dare you to point at this hidden treasure on a map. Located in South Africa, the tiny nation of Lesotho has been left mostly untouched by tourists. Approximately 100 miles wide, Lesotho has a untamed, mountainous landscape and even regularly sees snow! For outdoor enthusiasts or those looking for a quiet hiking holiday, the Maluti Mountains, Katse Dam and Maletsunyane falls are all well worth a visit, regardless of the season.
Visit Lesotho’s official tourist site: http://visitlesotho.travel/
Sharing a border with Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, this Central Asian country is awash with culture and beautiful landscapes, ranging from sandy dunes to arid mountains. Sharing elements of Soviet, Middle-Eastern and East Asian architecture, the major cities of Uzbekistan are uniquely vibrant, making for a fantastic destination for lovers of culture.
Visit Uzbekistan’s official tourist site: https://mfa.uz/en/uzbekistan/330/
If you really want to escape, Kiribati, located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is the perfect desert island getaway – complete with clear blue seas and beautiful sandy beaches. With a surprisingly large population of 100,000, Kiribati is famed for its numerous fishing spots and a plethora of World War Two era artefacts, including some shipwrecks and fighter jets. To get a real sense of the island’s culture you can join the locals at the Fenua-ura and partake in several traditional Kiribati activities.
Visit Kiribati’s tourist site: http://www.kiribatitourism.gov.ki/
Kyrgyzstan is another Central Asian country that is rich in awesome landscapes and stunning cultural sites. With influence from Russia and China, the architectural design in Kyrgyzstan’s cities are real hidden gems; Karakol’s Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral, for example, is one of the finest examples of its kind. If you’re planning on visiting this vast and diverse country, exploring the beautiful Sol Kul Lake is sure to leave you in awe.
Visit Kyrgyzstan’s official tourist site: http://www.discoverkyrgyzstan.org/
Nestled in the foothills of the Eastern Alps, Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in Europe at 61 square miles. But just because it’s rarely talked about, doesn’t mean it hasn’t got loads to offer. Like its neighbours Switzerland and Austria, the people of Liechtenstein have a rich cultural heritage that is scarcely known outside of this small corner of the continent. Some of the most awe-inspiring attractions are the numerous castles, such as the Vaduz Castle or the Burg Gutenberg, which give a deep insight into the country’s history. Unsurprisingly, Liechtenstein also has many fantastic ski resorts.
Visit Lichtenstein’s official tourist site: https://tourismus.li/en/
Brunei is located in South-East Asia, bordering Indonesia, The Philippines and Malaysia and is a hub of culture, beautiful scenery and architectural design. The Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque is a particularly outstanding place to visit.
Visit Brunei’s official tourist site: http://www.bruneitourism.travel/
7. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
One of the smaller islands in the Caribbean, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a great destination for those hoping to soak up the beauty and culture of the Caribbean. With several breathtaking sights, including the Kingstown Botanical Gardens, the Vermont Nature Trail and La Soufriere Cross Country Trail, this is certainly an unforgettable destination.
Visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ official tourist site: http://discoversvg.com/
Forget about the France, Switzerland and Italy, the truly great ski resorts in Europe are hidden away in the tiny country of Andorra. Situated in the heart of the Pyrenees, Andorra has world-class spa facilities, too, perfect for sporting getaways or relaxing breaks.
Visit Andorra’s official tourist site: http://visitandorra.com/en/
One of the larger countries on this list, it’s surprising that more people haven’t heard of it. Suriname is located between French Guiana, Brazil, and Guyana, in the North-East corner of South America. Paramaribo, the capital, is a hub of activity and culture, displaying a fantastic blend of indigenous and European architecture.
Visit Suriname’s official tourist site: https://www.surinametourism.sr/
Benin is located in the West of Africa, bordered by Togo, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, with a coastline on the Gulf of Guinea. This relatively unknown nation is home to a number of beautiful locations, including Fidjrosse Beach and Parc National de la Pendjari, making it a hidden gem for culture vultures and lovers of nature.
Visit Benin’s official tourist site: http://www.beninembassy.us/benin-travel—tourism.html
What obscure countries have you been to recently? Have our suggestions peaked your interest? Let us know in the comments!