The Ten Least Visited Countries in Europe

 

5. Monaco with 292,000 visitors each year

The tiny city-state of Monaco may only receive 292,000 overnight visitors each year, but the visitors it does receive have a penchant for being incredibly wealthy and powerful. Think more oligarch and less backpacker. So what’s all the fuss about? Well, it’s a great place to park your yacht, the French Riviera is beautiful and the casino in Monte Carlo is the place to be seen. For less well off visitors, Monaco still has a number of attractions worth checking out; the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is a great first stop.

Monte Carlo is home to the world's most expensive real estate, as it's a playground for the rich and famous.

Monte Carlo is home to the world’s most expensive real estate, as it’s a playground for the rich and famous.

4. San Marino with 139,000 visitors each year

San Marino is so small (60 square kilometers) that it makes Liechtenstein seem massive in comparison. Its small size is precisely why it ranks so low on this list, as not many of the tourists who visit San Marino actually stay overnight (and are therefore not included in these numbers). The ones who do stay overnight can spend their time exploring the country’s nine settlements, visiting its castles and soaking up the history of the world’s oldest republic.

The Castle of San Marino is one of the country's top sights.

The Castle of San Marino is one of the country’s top sights.

3. Belarus with 119,000 visitors each year

Belarus is often called “Europe’s last dictatorship,” which says pretty much everything one needs to know as to why it’s one of the least visited countries in Europe. That said, the country is perfectly safe for visitors despite its stunted political process, it’s just that there’s not a lot of iconic tourist attractions to bring in visitors. The capital, Minsk, is a charming city, though, that’s a pleasant place to pass a few days.

The somewhat bleak architecture of Minsk belies the exciting metropolis underneath.

The somewhat bleak architecture of Minsk belies the exciting metropolis underneath.

2. Liechtenstein with 54,000 visitors each year

Liechtenstein only has a population of 36,000, so, all things considered, it’s actually doing pretty well in the tourism game. The tiny principality is only 160 square kilometers, or about the 1/5 the size of San Francisco, and is set high in the Alps between Switzerland and Austria. Vaduz, its capital city, has a few cool sights like a castle, wineries and a car-free city center. But why settle for just visiting Liechtenstein when you can rule it, too? For just $70,000 per night, travelers can rent the entire country (and rule with an iron fist). Of course, the residents remain – so it’s more of a sharing arrangement – but guests get to hob knob with the crown prince and accommodation for up to 150 guests.

Vaduz Castle is the official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein and sits on a hilltop overlooking Vaduz.

Vaduz Castle is the official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein and sits on a hilltop overlooking Vaduz.

1. Moldova with 11,000 visitors each year

And here we are at Moldova, the least visited country in all of Europe. So why does it get so few visitors? Well, a number of reasons: 1) it’s sandwiched between the Ukraine and Romania and is hard to get to; 2) it doesn’t have any iconic tourist attractions, though it does have some excellent wineries; and 3) part of the country, Transnistria, is a de-facto breakaway republic that is a throwback to the glory days of the USSR. But if you’re looking to one-up your friends in the European travel game, there’s no better destination than Moldova.

Chisinau is the sleepy capital of Moldova.

Chisinau is the sleepy capital of Moldova.

More reading suggestions from Traveler’s Digest:

  1. Ten Most Visited Countries in Europe
  2. Ten Most Visited Countries in the World
  3. Ten Most Visited Cities in the World
  4. Ten Most Visited Countries in Asia
  5. Ten Most Visited Cities in the United States

 

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