Quick. What crosses your mind when you think about a European vacation? If you answered, “Exploring the untouched natural beauty of southern Albania, sipping coffee in Slovenia’s quaint capital Ljubljana, and visiting the Great Wall” my retort is, “No it doesn’t, no it doesn’t, and you’re mixing up your geography like you always do.” We all know that most people visit Europe because they want to see the Eiffel Tower, Roman Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa… you know what? I’m getting bored just writing that sentence. If you are into real adventure (and you most certainly are!) why not plan a trip off the beaten path, featuring countries you have probably never heard of or think are simply figments of my whimsical imagination. Here’s a list of the 8 least-visited European countries. Aside from listing how many tourists visited in 2017, we also calculate what the number would have been if you had also visited so that you feel a bit guilty.
Number of tourists that visited in 2017: 1,281,000
That number if you had also visited: 1,281,001
Serbia, which was once the ruler of the mini empire Yugoslavia, went through some rough times after the various territories that made up the country declared independence. Here’s a super weird fact: Serbia become the first country with a McDonalds to be attacked by other countries with McDonalds (NATO in 1999). But these days, Serbia is a safe country. There are mountains and beautiful lakes to visit. While its capital Belgrade is kind of drab and grey, the Bohemian neighborhood of Dorćol is kind of a happening place.
Number of tourists that visited in 2017: 1,054,000
That number if you had also visited: 1,054,001
This baby principality sandwiched between France and Germany – has a population of a bit more than half a million and contains some of the most well preserved medieval architecture in all of Europe and the country’s capital is even one of the three official capitals of the EU. And yet, it sees very few visitors. Most likely because it is really expensive and frankly once you get beyond the nice buildings there isn’t much to do there. By the way, guess what language they speak there? If your answer is Luxembourgish, good for you!
6. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Number of tourists that visited in 2017: 770,000
That number if you had also visited: 770,001
A quarter of a century after the end of the Bosnian War that saw more than 100,000 killed (the most devastating conflict since the end of WWII), a lot of people continue to stay away due to the assumption that it’s still dangerous. But having been there myself, I found it to be a peaceful and fascinating place where Muslims and Christians alike live in harmony. It’s also super cheap and their grilled meats are as good as anywhere. You can also check out some of the 1984 Winter Olympic ruins, which were hosted in the capital Sarajevo.