Most school geography classes won't teach you about these five hidden countries ... but they should have!
These five countries have the beaches to rival the Bahamas, the skiing to rival the Swiss Alps, and the hiking to rival New Zealand - plus one important addition, fewer tourist - you can't book a trip to a place you've never heard of!
Some of these countries are smushed between many of the most popular world destinations, but still missed. Others are way off the beaten path for backpackers. One of these countries is even hidden in the middle of Italy, but chances of you hearing about it? Pretty slim! It doesn't even have defined borders to let you know you've entered a new country.
While these little known countries are sometimes a challenge to get into (some don't even have an airport), they are all worth a trip!
Squashed between two of the most well-known countries, France and Spain, is little-known Andorra. This country takes full advantage of its location in the eastern Pyrenees with seven ski resorts. The charming village of Soldeu el Tartar is the ski capital with over 55 miles of powder. Andorra is also well known for its roller hockey team
How to get there: Andorra has no airport, so those hoping to get in must take a bus from Barcelona, Spain or France's Toulouse Blagnac Airport.
For more on Andorra visit the official tourism Web site.
The Republic of Palau is an island nation in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines. Palau is a young state. It officially became independent on Oct. 1, 1994. Many of the earliest people to inhabit the island came from Polynesia and different places in Asia. Palau is known for its crystal-clear water, beaches (although the main island, Koror, has no sand beaches), and scuba diving. One of the most famous sites is called Blue corner, known for its sharks. Palau gained popularity when it was featured in the reality show Survivor, first on the Japanese edition in 2002, then in the American in 2005.
How to get there: The best way to get to Palau is by plane. There is only one airport in the country, Palau International Airport on Babeldaob Island.
3. San Marino
Surprisingly, the Republic San Marino is landlocked inside the northern central region of Italy. This country is one of the smallest in the world - its size it just over 24 square miles. The country is situated on Mt. Titano, so visiting also means a bit of a leg workout. San Marino is one of the oldest sovereign states in the world; the constitution was enacted in 1600 and is still in effect today. Two cable car gondolas bring passengers to the historical center of the city, Borgo Maggiore.
How to get there: There are no airports or train station in the country. The closest are in Rimini, a resort town on Italy's east coast. This is also where more hotels are. Getting to San Marino from Rimini is easy by bus, as there is no border control.
For more information visit San Marino Site.
Suriname, in northeastern South America, is bordered by two other little-known countries, Guyana and French Guiana, as well as Brazil to the south. The world collides in this hidden gem with populations of Indian, Javanese, African, and Chinese heritage. Visiting Suriname can feel like visiting 10 different countries in one with all the different festivals and cultures inside one country. Dutch is widely spoken here, due to colonization. If you're going to Suriname, it's for the untouched dense forests.
How to get there: Getting to Suriname may mean making a few connections. Planes drop passengers off at Johan Adolf Pengel International, but from there it takes at least an hour in a bus or taxi to the capital, Paramaribo. There are also small airstrips throughout the country that operate with local carriers.
For more information visit Suriname's Tourist Web site.
Bhutan borders Tibet, China, Nepal, India, and Bangladesh along the Himalayan Mountain Range. Visiting Bhutan differs from many countries in that all tourists must enter the country with a preplanned, guided tour. The cost of these tours is over $200 per day, making this destination not the best for budget travelers. Full time students can get a 25% discount, so make sure to bring your ID. The most popular tourist activity is trekking and meeting locals along the way. Late summer and fall are the best time to take in the Buddhist festivals, where you can see masked monks dance in vibrant costumes
How to get there: There are only two legal entry points into the country for tourists, one at the Paro Airport, and one at the border with India at Phuentsholing.
To learn more about the unknown country, visit their tourism site.