10 Undiscovered Countries To Visit In 2018

With 2017 now a distant memory, it’s time to start thinking about which exciting part of the world to venture to next. For me, this usually involves throwing a dart at the board to see where I might end up, but in 2018 I already have some must-see places that I’d like to visit.

I’ve compiled a list of undiscovered countries that I believe will be big in 2018, so what you waiting for, grab your passport and let’s check them out!

Photo © Travelgeekuk.com

Albania is one of those places that few people would choose to visit on holiday, why you ask? I have no idea! It’s one of the cheapest places to explore in Europe, it’s incredibly cheap, there’s great food, good wine and they even have miles and miles of beaches. Although it has been a fledgling destination for a good number of years I still don’t believe it has reached its peak tourism point yet.

  • Currency – Albanian Lek (ALL) exchange rate; 149LEK to £1
  • When to visit – March to September
  • Top Tip – Don’t just visit Tirana, get out and explore the mountainous Northern region or the beaches of the South
  • Must-see Destination – Theth, if you’re looking for a unique place to visit, it is here.
  • Visa Required for U.K citizens – No visa required

Looking for more information about Albania, check out my travel itinerary, or maybe you fancy something a bit more off-the-beaten track, if so, then you must visit Theth.

Photo © Travelgeekuk.com

After years of saying I wanted to visit, I was finally able to get to Laos in 2017. Although in some areas I found it overrun by tourists, you can thankfully still find peace and quiet – for now. If you wish to see this country before it changes I’d recommend doing it ASAP as China is building a high-speed railway that will cut through most of the country. Luang Prabang is one my favourite places, incredibly laid back, quaint, peaceful and excellent food to try, including kaiphean – a type of Mekong river weed that’s deep-friend (tastes better than it sounds).

  • Currency – Laotian Kip (LAK) exchange rate; 11,150KIP to £1
  • When to visit – November to January
  • Top Tip – Tourism is starting to take off in Laos, try to visit somewhere sustainable and off-the-beaten track, such as the Gibbon Experience in Huay Xai 
  • Must-see Destination – Luang Prabang – it feels like you’ve stepped back in time!
  • Visa Required for U.K citizens – A visa is required and costs $35, you can get it at any airport or points of entry into the country
Image © Government of St. Helena

You can’t really get a more off-the-beaten track place than St. Helena, previously only accessible by the mail ship; once every three weeks this took a mighty five and a half days to arrive. Thankfully you are now able to now fly with Airlink to this British Overseas Territory in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. Will tourism take off? That is the big question, but I’m in no doubt that it will most definitely increase arrival numbers. St. Helena is a bit like a lost paradise – it boasts an unspoiled natural environment including a rainforest and a random desert! Napoleon even died here…

  • Currency – Saint Helenian Pound (SHP) exchange rate; 1SHP to £1
  • When to visit – November to March (hot and sunny)
  • Top Tip – Go birdwatching to spot the only endemic Saint Helena bird species left called the wirebird
  • Must-see Destination – Jamestown to discover its past with Napoleon and the East India Trading Company
  • Visa Required for U.K citizens – Entry permit on arrival when proof of medical insurance is provided
Image © Shutterstock

Taiwan is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, with new high-speed trains making it easy to get around the country and explore the unspoiled nature. Thankfully, unlike several other S.E Asian destinations, Taiwan is still affordable and can be done on a budget, although in theory it isn’t “undiscovered” it’s somewhere that I believe you should check out, I’m going to be heading there in late 2018.

  • Currency – Taiwan New Dollar (TWD) exchange rate; TW$40 to £1
  • When to visit – October to April
  • Top Tip – It is probably best to leave the political discussions including topics around China at the door before entering
  • Must-see Destination – Taroko Gorge 
  • Visa Required for U.K citizens – No visa required
Photo © Travelgeekuk.com

Although Iceland is still one of my favourite places that I’ve visited, travellers and tourists alike are now starting to seek an alternative but similar destination. You can still see the Aurora Borealis, but as the Faroes are much smaller and less crowded there’s less light pollution meaning you’ll have a greater chance of seeing them. When I visited in 2017 I didn’t realise how amazing their under-sea road tunnels were, they are in the process of even building one with a roundabout that will link three road junctions up ready to open in 2020.

  • Currency – Danish Kronur (DKK) exchange rate; 8.4DKK to £1
  • When to visit – Although many places close down for Winter, this destination is good all year-round
  • Top Tip – Fly with the national airline; Atlantic Airways for that unique Faroese experience or hire a car and make sure you drive through one of their many under-sea tunnels
  • Must-see Destination – Gasadalur or Vidareidi
  • Visa Required for U.K citizens – No visa required

Click here to find out more about my trip to the Faroe Islands after visiting in 2017.

Image © Shutterstock

Oman is one of the safest and friendliest destinations in the whole of the Middle East, although this isn’t difficult it definitely helps it to stand out against the rest. As one of only a handful of currencies that are stronger than the Great British Pound and United States Dollar, Oman isn’t cheap, nor is it undiscovered but I’ve included it in my list as it’s often underrated and for a small country there’s a hell of a lot to see and do.

  • Currency – Omani Rial (OMR) exchange rate; 0.5OMR to £1
  • When to visit – October to March (Winter, but still 30 degrees) 
  • Top Tip – If you plan on visiting for only a couple of days, extend it a bit longer and stay for a week, believe me you’ll want to see everything
  • Must-see Destination – Wahiba Sands 
  • Visa Required for U.K citizens – No visa required
Image © Shutterstock

Although this country also featured on my list in 2016, I’ve still sadly not made it to this beautiful country. However, my desire is growing stronger and stronger every year, especially now that the Ebola epidemic is thankfully over. Why would you visit? Well, there’s a substantial wildlife sanctuary, an abundance of fabulous sandy beaches and you can even learn about the country’s former slave trade past on Bunce Island.

  • Currency – Sierra Leonean Leone (SLL) exchange rate; 10,300SLL to £1
  • When to visit – September to December
  • Top Tip – Expect electricity to not be available 24/7, therefore bring fully-charged cameras/phones etc
  • Must-see Destination – Banana Islands
  • Visa Required for U.K citizens – Visa required – currently £109, view more information about countries requiring visas here
Photo © Travelgeekuk.com

With a successful visa-free year under their belt, Belarus must have discovered the benefits of loosening the red-tape as their five-day visa on arrival has now been extended to ten days when you visit certain destinations. Nestled on the far Eastern European border, this country often gets referred as the “last dictatorship”, having just visited I can safely say that it’s still very Soviet but this adds to its charm. Where else can you buy a bottle of vodka for £1?!

  • Currency – Belarusian Ruble (BYN) exchange rate; 2.7BYN to £1
  • When to visit – May to September, although wintertime is when it’s most beautiful 
  • Top Tip – Ensure you have medical insurance before you arrive, they will request to see it on arrival and if you don’t have any you’ll be asked to purchase a rather expensive one for the duration of your stay
  • Must-see Destination – Although Minsk is the capital, I really liked Brest; a forward-thinking city on the border with Poland
  • Visa Required for U.K citizens – Not required for stays of 5 days (soon to be 10)
Photo © Travelgeekuk.com

Although neighbouring Morocco sees more than 10 million tourists per year, Algeria barely sees a small fraction of this. Sadly it’s likely due to the visa requirements, but don’t let that put you off as once you are there Africa’s biggest country is absolutely amazing. With the Mediterranean north and the Saharan south, you will have an incredible adventure wherever you explore.

  • Currency – Algerian Dinar (DZD) exchange rate; 155 Dinar to £1
  • When to visit – The biggest country in Africa experiences vastly varying temperatures, I visited in August (the hottest time) and surprisingly it wasn’t too bad
  • Top Tip – If you are travelling beyond Algiers, especially south, take a guide or a translator if you cannot speak French or Arabic as the police will be very suspicious of why you are there and what you are looking for (it happened to me) 
  • Must-see Destination – Timimoun; very similar to Timbuktu with its water towers
  • Visa Required for U.K citizens – Yes, unfortunately this will likely be the most complicated part of visiting Algeria but thankfully you can read how to apply here.

Unsure how to obtain an Algerian visa, read more here or discover my suggested travel itinerary throughout this Saharan giant.

Image © Shutterstock

A surprising addition, mostly off-the-beaten track except for a few hardy travellers but a growing number are quickly discovering why this country is now a must-see. Although images of poverty, floods and deprivation are typically the only depiction you’ll see of Bangladesh, I’ve been wanting to visit for a number of years and I’m hoping 2018 will be the one!

  • Currency – Bangladeshi Taka (BDT) exchange rate; 111BDT to £1
  • When to visit – October to February (Coldest months)
  • Top Tip – Make sure you get all of your vaccinations before you go
  • Must-see Destination – Cox’s Bazar – the worlds longest beach 
  • Visa Required for U.K citizens – Visa is required and costs £78, can be bought upfront or on arrival for the purpose of tourism

Further Information

If you’d like to read my recommendations for 20172016 and 2015 click on the year to discover unique adventures.

If you’d like to discover more photographs and information from any of my trips please feel free to ask me any questions. You can visit my Facebook page and please don’t forget to ‘Like’ Travel Geek UK.

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