Category: Country Lists

7 European Countries to Visit that Are Off the Beaten Path

Europe tops the charts of continents with some of the most popular tourist destinations. Countries like Germany, France and Spain instantly pop to mind when you think of tourism in Europe. But do you know that there are lesser known European countries that are also great tourist destinations?

Most of these countries are small, or affected by adverse weather conditions, or have suffered terrible calamities in the past, but that doesn’t make them any less appealing as tourist destinations. Here are seven unique European countries you should seriously consider visiting:

Unique European Countries

  1. Estonia

Estonia, which once formed part of the Soviet Union, is now only beginning to attract the attention of tourists. Travelers are now appreciating the raw, unspoiled beauty that this country has to offer.

The country’s capital, Tallinn, is a must- visit whenever you are in the country. The Toompea Hills that surround it are some of the most scenic and climbing them can prove to be a great adventure.

The country is also blessed with many lush forests, particularly in Tartu, south of the country. Rocky beaches and beautiful lakes also form a vast part of the country’s water bodies. There are also lots of other attractions which make this country a great destination.

  1. Albania

Albania may be a small country, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. The long coastline and beautiful beaches are trademark attractions of the country.

Ottoman architecture also adds to the ancient beauty of the country. But what also sets Albania apart from other countries is its booming music culture. By visiting the country you will definitely enjoy yourself.

  1. Latvia

This little known country is also one you should aim at visiting. Each of its many towns has something unique to offer tourists.

Take for instance the somewhat small town of Kuldiga. It is acknowledged by visitors and locals alike as the country’s most romantic town.

You can also engage in various activities in this country, such as bob- sleighing. There are also various parks to visit such as the famous Gauja National Park.

  1. Armenia

Armenia boasts a rich history and a beautiful landscape. Its national symbol is Mt. Ararat, which is a much cherished natural feature in the country.

The country was the first to declare Christianity as it national religion. The mountain is particularly important as it is mentioned in the Bible. It is the mountain where Noah’s Ark landed.

The Yerevan City is a must- visit when you are in the country. Also, make a point of visiting the numerous beautiful monasteries that dot the country.

  1. Serbia

Serbia has something for everyone: whether you like having fun in cities or simply spending time in quiet rural areas. If your idea of a perfect destination is a city with a booming nightlife and a lot of music, then Belgrade, the country’s capital, is a must- visit for you.

Alternatively, you can also visit the lovely countryside for some peace and quiet. You should also explore the country’s various parks and fortresses: you will not be disappointed.

  1. Iceland

Given that it is almost always freezing in Iceland, you would be well advised to visit during summer. On the downside however, it is always extremely crowded during summer so you may not enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

There are a lot of attractions in Iceland. You can see the beautiful rugged landscape if you explore the interior of the country.

  1. Belarus

Belarus may not be on your bucket list of places to visit but it sure should be. This little known country is bursting with plenty of Mother Nature’s beauty.

The landlocked country has plenty of forests. In fact, they make up nearly 40% of the country. Visiting the various forests will give you a chance to see wildlife, even some rare animal species.

Minsk, the country’s capital, is also abounding with attractions. There are dancing lights and water fountains almost everywhere you go. You can also learn rich history lessons from the National Museum located in the capital.

Although these unusual European countries may not be riding a wave of popularity, they are still worth a visit. The next time you are looking for a European travel destination, pick any of them. You will not be disappointed because these countries offer an opportunity to discover the best of Europe.

9 Insanely Dangerous Countries to Travel To

There are particular countries that are feared by many tourists. In fact there are some who swear that they simply can’t visit these destinations. Most such countries have one thing in common: they are plagued by some calamity of sorts.

War, terrorism, civil unrest and crime are all reasons why some countries belong to the tourist’s blacklist. Often, citizens in these countries are wallowing in dire poverty which increases their propensity to engage in crime so as to sustain their basic needs.

But most such countries also have a lot to offer travellers. Save for the safety concerns, there is a lot to see and learn from here. This is what makes them tempting and ideal for adventure seekers.

If you are only careful about the places you visit in these countries, you may end up having the experience of a lifetime.

Here are some of the most dangerous countries to travel to in the world, and what makes them viable destinations:

Dangerous Countries to Travel To

  1. Estonia

Estonia is as famous for its ancient structures as it is famous for crime. It is blesses by nature with beautiful scenery, great natural features and extremely clean water. Water sports are the order of the day in most Estonian tourist destinations.

What makes it dangerous are the high levels of crime in the country. The two greatest concerns for travellers should be pick pockets and getting robbed.

You should be wary of strangers who get too close to you. Also, be on the lookout for people who may be following you. There is no telling what they can do if they eventually corner you when you are alone and vulnerable.

  1. Iraq

Most people the world over associate Iraq with terrorism and extremism, and they are not wrong in their assumptions. Iraq is one of the most war torn countries in the world, and has been so for decades.

Given that the Iraqis are not particularly in good terms with Americans, American citizens have good reason to fear visiting the country. Why, there are some acts of violence that have been proven to be targeted at American travellers to Iraq.

  1. Afghanistan

Afghanistan map

This is yet another Asian country that has remained war- torn for ages. It is because of the unceasing war that the country’s economy is in ruins and the tourism industry is almost non- existent.

Taliban attacks and kidnapping are the order of the day in the country. The volatile political climate in the country is a real cause for concern for people who want to visit.

But all is not that gloomy. Although crime is rampant here, you might be relieved to learn that it rarely ever targeted specifically at tourists and if you stay in main population centers, rather than the outskirts you can increase your chances of travelling safely.

For the adventurous souls who aren’t afraid to explore places others won’t, Afghanistan has a lot to offer. The changing landscape in particular is very intriguing. Mountains, lakes, deserts- Afghanistan has it all.

  1. Yemen

Like Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism makes many afraid to visit Yemen. It is common to see armed groups strutting around in many parts of the country. This sight can inspire untold fear in the heart of any tourist.

But if you strain to see beyond the face of war that taints the country, you will realize that the Yemenis are a warm and friendly people with a vibrant culture. There is truly a lot one can learn about humanity and kindness from these resilient people who have gone through it all.

  1. Pakistan

Yet another country plagued by terrorism, Pakistan may not rank as a favorite destination for most people. Even sadder is the fact that sometimes these acts of terror are targeted at foreigners.

However, in the more peaceful parts of the country, you will get to experience the beauty of nature at its best. You can also engage in countless adventures and water sports.

  1. North Korea

This might not be a hotbed of terror, and neither is crime a concern for any tourists, but the lack of freedom that pervades this country is almost unbearable. This can be largely attributed to the lack of peace between North and South Korea.

You may not have to worry about your safety while here, but you have to put up with the lack of privacy accorded to foreigners. Basically your every move is watched and stepping out of line can have disastrous consequences.

  1. El Salvador

El Salvador’s beauty lies in the rich culture of its natives, the ancient ruins and the raw beauty that nature has endowed it with. Sounds like a perfect destination, doesn’t it? So why did it make it to this list?

The danger in visiting the country is the high crime rate. Kidnapping is quite common, as are organized gangs that walk around brandishing guns.

  1. Burkina Faso

This Western African country was one of the most peaceful countries in the region until recent times. Now, it features on the list of some of the most volatile and poorest countries in the continent.

Political unrest has robbed the country of what little it had in terms of financial prosperity. However, very few countries can boast a culture as rich and music as vibrant as this one does.

  1. Chad

Chad is often associated with the desert, which is no surprise since part of it forms the Sahara. Dry winds and sand are common place here. It is a haven for those who want to experience the beauty of desert life in all its goodness.

However, Boko Haram activities in the country have impeded tourism here. It is also common for tourists to get kidnapped in exchange for ransom.

Even though most of these countries may appear to be extremely dangerous, it can be extremely rewarding to visit them. You need to be vigilant and to ensure that you have a well-conversed tour guide in order to enjoy your trip. Additionally, make sure that you only visit parts of the country that are safe. For the daring souls that decide to visit these countries, stay safe!