5 Countries You Should Visit But Haven’t Considered Before
Today, I want to look at 5 countries you should visit but probably haven’t considered before. These are countries I personally found incredible, underrated, and not completely overrun with tourists. Each has something unique to offer, and I think these are definitely countries you should visit–even if you aren’t sure where they are on the map right now.
This micro-nation is landlocked between Switzerland and Austria. When I say “micro”, I mean it: it’s 15 mi x 7.7 mi. That’s it! You can’t fly into Liechtenstein, and trains run infrequently, so the best options are driving in or taking a train to Buchs, Switzerland / Feldkirch, Austria. From there, you can walk, get a taxi, or take a bus.
Liechtenstein has a completely open border with Switzerland and uses the Swiss Franc as its currency. It’s super safe, friendly, and beautiful. However, like Switzerland, it’s on the expensive side of European countries.
Take your pick of awesome reasons. If you’ve ever seen the movies Heidi or The Sound of Music, picture those types of mountain scenes. They’re all around you. The nature is breathtaking. There’s tons of hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. if you get high enough in the Alps during summer, you can have a snowball fight with your friends on a hot day.
Like its neighbors, there are awesome castles in Liechtenstein. In fact, they still have a royal family, which lives in Schloss Vaduz — a giant castle overlooking the capital city of Vaduz.
The best thing about Liechtenstein, for me, is being able to walk across a country. Yes, you read that correctly. Start at the Austrian border near Schaanwald / route 191. Walk straight along this main road and keep right at the main roundabout 2 hours later. The bridge into Switzerland is right in front of you. A leisurely 2 hours of walking, downhill the entire time, and you just walked across a country! Pro tip: don’t go from Switzerland to Austria (the reverse route), because it’s uphill the whole time.
You might be unaware that this country on the Red Sea exists. Sandwiched between Sudan, Ethiopia & Djibouti, Eritrea’s currency is the Nafka, which you cannot exchange anywhere else. Don’t leave the country with it, or you’re stuck with it. Also, even the exchange centers don’t want it back. Exchange a little at a time, because you can’t trade back later on. You’ll need a visa to visit, but these can be obtained easily through the mail from their Embassy in Washington, D.C. Daily flights from 3 different Star Alliance partners mean you can fly to Asmara with miles quite easily.
Eritrea was actually an Italian colony until forced to surrender it after WWII. That’s right, Italian colony in Africa. You can see evidence of Mussolini’s planning everywhere, from old Fiat signs to elderly people who learned Italian in school. Marble buildings abound. It’s fascinating to see this microcosm of Italy in a coastal African nation that shares much of its heritage with Ethiopia. Food, language, and customs are similar between the 2 nations. For a great local dish, head to Ghibabo restaurant and try the “kitcha”. Warning: it’s spicy!
However, there was also a long war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and they just reopened the border for crossings recently. The war history, including the military vehicle graveyard, is super interesting.
Because Eritrea doesn’t get a ton of visitors, they are super excited to see you. Hospitality is excellent, even if they don’t speak your language. The hotels are more expensive than I’d expected, and everything is “cash only”, which is why I sent money to myself before arriving. However, food and transportation are super cheap.
You’ve probably heard of Nepal, but you probably haven’t planned on going to this landlocked country in the Himalayas. It gets a fair number of visitors, but the majority of them are either mountain climbers or religious pilgrims, since Buddha was born in Nepal.
You can get ‘visa on arrival’ for Nepal and can even pay for it with your credit card, which is nice. Food and souvenirs are quite cheap, and there are tons of hotels in Kathmandu that you can stay at using points. It’s also easy to fly to Kathmandu KTM airport using miles; options are plentiful.
While traffic in Kathmandu has increased significantly, much of Nepal still maintains that laid-back vibe straight out of the mythical Shangri-La. There’s tons of nature to be seen. If that’s not your thing, shopping is more than just souvenirs in Kathmandu. It’s known for hand-carved statuettes, silver, and rugs.
Outside Kathmandu, you can take a 6-7 hour bus or swap it for a 20min flight on Yeti Airlines over the mountains and down to Chitwan National Park. Take a safari and look for the one-horned rhinos unique to this region, as well as tons of other animals.
Another place many people have difficulty locating on the map, this country located between Russia and Iran on the Caspian Sea has a unique blend of both cultures. Online visas are easy to obtain, and flights to the capital of Baku are super easy to find using miles. Due to its oil reserves, the country has a lot of money, but it’s still surprisingly inexpensive for visitors. Numerous hotels can be booked using points, and the cost of transportation & food is lower than what you will pay if visiting places in the nearby EU.
The architecture! Wherever these architects are studying deserves an award. The buildings are incredible. Walk around and look at the numerous styles of architecture. At night, watch the light displays on the famous Flame Towers. You can take an incline car up to the hilltop where they sit.
Also, the hospitality is incredible in Azerbaijan. Most of their visitors are there for business. Baku has a strong IT sector, and the country has a lot of oil. Tourists are not that common, and people were beyond excited that I was visiting just for fun. This is the first and only country where the passport agent stood up, shook my hand, and said, “Thank you very much for visiting my country!” Biggest smile I’ve ever seen.
You may have considered Honduras before, but I want to recommend something different. Honduras is a Central American country that is visa free for most Westerners. Despite rumors and an exaggerated reputation, avoiding the wrong places at night makes this country quite safe. In larger cities, flights and hotels using your points and miles are quite easy to find.
I have Honduras on my list of countries you should visit not because of the island Roatan, which many cruise ships go to. Instead, near the border with Guatemala, you should visit the Mayan ruins at Copán. Because of its location, you’ll need to fly to San Pedro Sula, Guatemala City, or San Salvador and then go to Copán, roughly 4 hours from any of those.
Less famous than sites like Chichen Itza in Mexico and Tikal in Guatemala, Copán has some incredible ruins from the Mayan Empire. Due to being less famous, it’s also less crowded and cheaper to visit. A 15-minute walk from Copán out to the ruins saves money, since the taxis like to price gouge tourists on this route.
Also, the local food is very cheap and delicious in Copán. I find food throughout Central America to be extremely good, and the restaurants in Copán lived up to my expectations. There’s a garden restaurant near the main square called Tipicos & Pupusas. You won’t be disappointed.
Final Thoughts On Countries You Should Visit
In my quest to visit every country, I’ve visited several places that elicited “That’s a real place?” from friends and family. These are 5 countries you should visit but probably haven’t considered before. They all have something unique to offer. Best of all, none were overrun with massive groups of tourists hitting you in the head with their selfie sticks.
I picked 5 countries that are quite different from one another and not located in the same parts of the world. Maybe you’re unfamiliar with them, but these are countries that I think you should visit for a unique experience that’s less frequented. I find that going to places with fewer visitors is more enjoyable, and the hospitality you get as a rare visitor is incredible.
Have you been to any of these? Have I changed your mind about any of them? Let me know if you’ve been to these or any other less-visited countries that you think people should check out.