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.
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.
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.
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.
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.