14 March 2018 by Anna Staford
When it comes to our holidays, us Brits can be creatures of habit, sticking to our old favourites like the sunshine and golden sandy beaches of Spain, Greece, France and Portugal. We even enjoy ‘staycations’ in amazing destinations like Cornwall, Devon and The Lakes, to name but a few.
While all beautiful, there are still so many countries in Europe that just don’t seem to get the love that they deserve. If you’re fed up of battling through hordes of tourists to grab a decent spot in the sunshine, or you simply want to try something new for your next holiday, why not consider one of the following 5 countries?
Here are 5 of the least-visited countries in Europe, along with 5 reasons why you may wish to consider visiting each one.
When most people think of holidays, they think of sun, sea and sandy beaches. If you’re not a fan of hot temperatures, or if you simply feel like a change of scenery, Iceland is a truly stunning part of the world. Once you visit Iceland, you’ll know why it’s frequently called ‘a trip of a lifetime’. Iceland scenery is like something out of a fantasy epic, which is why Hollywood studios frequently use this location for filming. It can be pretty cold all year round, and during the winter there isn’t much daylight to be had, but it’s definitely worth it for some truly unique sites such as the glacier and lava caves like the Leiðarendi cave to marvel at the fascinating rock formations and natural ice sculptures. And the Aurora Borealis, or northern lights. This phenomenon is a must on your bucket list. Or try the Hot Springs and warm up in a huge natural hot tub outdoors. Being a volcanic island, Iceland is full of hot springs and pools to explore and unwind.
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People often think that they’ll struggle to find travel insurance for EU residents when it comes to less visited locations like Belarus, but in reality it’s easy. Located in Eastern Europe, Belarus is landlocked and has some of the most amazing architecture in Europe. With castles and Stalinist-inspired fortifications and architecture making up the KGB headquarters situated in Minsk, you can’t help but marvel at the skill and craftmanship that must have gone into creating these unique buildings. Or if you are a nature lover, check out some of the best primeval forests in Europe. Including the Unesco World Heritage Site Belavezhskaya Pushcha National Park which is reputed to be the longest established wildlife refuge in Europe.
San Marino is one of the smallest and least-visited countries in Europe. In fact, back in 2016, it was literally the least-visited country in all of Europe, and we just can’t understand why that is. The Republic of San Marino, landlocked and surrounded by Italy, is a reminder of the bygone city-states of Europe and said to be the world oldest surviving Republic. The majestic Mount Titano, part of the Appennine’s, overlooks the San Marino's landscape and with its amazing weather, stunning natural surroundings and irresistible cuisine it’s incredible that it sees less than 65,000 visitors each year.
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For those of you who can appreciate a country’s historic background, San Marino is perfect. With Medieval castles, fortresses, and settlements, and buildings dating back 100’s of years, San Marino is a history buff’s dream come true.
When it comes to size, Liechtenstein proves that you don’t always have to be big to be beautiful. Liechtenstein is only 61.78 sq miles in size, but please don’t let this put you off. Situated between Austria and Switzerland, the country is smaller than many cities in the world. If you enjoy Alpine forests and mountains, and quintessentially chocolate box villages, Liechtenstein is the perfect weekend getaway.
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Luxembourg nestles snuggly between Belgium, France, and Germany, and is surprisingly, often overlooked. If you wish to explore Europe and stray off of the beaten track however, Luxembourg is well worth a visit. It’s only 84KM in length, making it much smaller than many of its European neighbours and it is relatively unexplored by tourists. In 2011, Luxembourg had the second highest per capita GDP in the entire world thanks to its successful development as a banking and finance centre. Luxemburg city, thank tot its natural geography and location, has consistently throughout history been of strategic military significance and you can still see much of this history today fortifications dating back to the 10th century and 12th century.
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If you value your peace and quiet, and can appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors, this is the perfect destination for you. If you’re ever in Luxembourg city, be sure to stop off at one of the many delis and cafes and throw together a continental picnic to enjoy out in the lush green countryside.
So, there you have it. 5 great reasons to visit 5 of the least-visited countries in Europe. All steeped in history, beautiful and safe to explore. Before you pack your bags, make sure to visit the FCO website on health and safety abroad, www.gov.uk/travelaware, and take out travel insurance, to help give you additional peace of mind for your trip.