Looking for a unique travel destination? With so many countries becoming common destinations among travel fiends, their mystique may be losing its luster. Bhutan for example, is no longer a hidden gem and Paris is no longer a big deal. But visiting a country that doesn’t even exist would be niche.
Nick Middleton, travel author and Oxford University geography fellow has said there are at least 50 countries that do not even exist and are unrecognised on the world map. In his book, “An Atlas of Countries That Don’t Exist: A Compendium of Fifty Unrecognised and Largely Unnoticed States”, Middleton takes his readers on a tour of the world’s forgotten, shunned and unrecongnised corners.
Here are seven ‘countries’ that make for a great travel destination. Note: Passport not always required!
Christiania was founded in central Copenhagen by a group of Danish hippies squatting on former military barracks. Citizens of this highly democratic community were known to indulge heavily in drugs. Although the Danish government granted them use of the land in return for paying their utility bills, the mere population of 850 people have been directed by the Danish government to pay outright for the land or face eviction.
The small island is home to 57,000 people and is not recognised as an official country. Denmark allowed for the island to impose self-law on its inhabitants and according to Middleton, it may be the only island which may gain independence in his lifetime.
Although Tuva is a part of Russia, it retains many of its cultural practices from the time of the Soviet Union. It is known for its forests and termed by many as ‘Putin’s playground’, who has been photographed hunting and fishing in the rugged and largely untamed region.
Mapuche is described as the “straddling parts of Argentina and Chile”, and despite formal recognition by the Spanish empire, Mapuche people lost their territory to both nations. Mapuche is known for its textiles and craft work as well as its forests of monkey puzzle trees.
Defying the United Nations, Mayotte in the Comoros Islands rebuffed decolonisation, when it opted to stay within French control, despite its independence in 1975. Although it is densely populated with 213,000 inhabitants, it is known to be extremely bio-diverse.
The 3.5 million people of Somaliland sought independence from Somalia since 1991. Direct flights to the island are available from Nairobi and with 850 kilometers of coastline there’s no shortage of beaches. The would-be nation is an “island of tranquility, relatively speaking, compared to Somalia.
Situated close to the Italian border with Monaco, Seborga is indebted to Giorgio Carbone, once head of the flower-growers’ cooperative, who discovered the town wasn’t mentioned in documents written up at the formation of Italy. Although his followers continued his legacy, Seborgia still pays taxes to Italy. There are stunning views over the Mediterranean and plenty of olive groves.