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7 Surprising Countries You’ll Fall in Love With 

The magic that stems from travelling in groups can only be added to by visiting places which take you all by surprise. Countries that you didn’t expect to make it to your list of favorites, but did, are those you’re most likely to recommend to others – and are places you’ll probably join them to when they visit.

Guaranteed to put a smile on your travel buddies’ faces, we’ve compiled a list of the countries that made a lasting impression on us.


India is an assault on all of the senses. It’s colorful and spiritual but chaotic and intense at the same time. That doesn’t mean you’ll love it any less. Wonder at the diversity of culture, architecture and food, and prepare for the country to make a lasting impression on you unlike no other.

india ashram via flickr

Just make sure you embrace the chaos and be at peace with things happening on Indian time. This means crowded streets, delays, traffic jams involving motorbikes, rickshaws and animals and a near constant invasion of personal space.

Experiencing India in this way is sure to give you some stories to return home with – you might have to surround yourself with people to tell, or feel slightly strange at the quietness that is your own company.


Home to Trolltunga (a rock ledge that sticks horizontally out of a mountain – see great photos here), Norway will make you feel like king – or queen – of the world.

But if the queues to get that great photo put you off, Norway has hundreds of other, less busy, picturesque spots. Chances are you’ll be stepping foot where the Vikings once did. What’s not to love about that?


With only 213,000 international visitors in 2014, according to The World Bank, Tajikistan is a less crowded destination. Although a lot of people couldn’t point it out on a map, it should nevertheless be on your radar.

Tajikistan via flickr

The landscape is covered in mountains, making it the perfect playground for climbers, trekkers and adventurers within your group.You could also opt for a rural homestay program to experience rural village life as it is.


Like Mediterranean beaches? Like Roman ruins that could rival almost anything you’d find in Rome itself? Secret Traveller say there’s “a mix of Arab, Moorish, African and European culture”, so it’s definitely the place to go.

tunisia via flickr

Go to SidiBou Said, a town in the north, to see blue and white houses or take a class at the 500-year-old pottery on Djerba Island.

The UK

Home to a variety of landscapes, cities and towns, festivals and events, there’s something for everyone in the UK. It’s relatively small too, so you can pack a lot into a trip if you plan well.

stonehenge by eileen cotter wright

And should you decide to head to the country’s capital, London, in addition to the tourist hotspots (including Big Ben, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Oxford Street), make sure you visit some of the great parks and outdoor spaces. Richmond Park, for example, is home to around 630 wild deer.

The Philippines

When Joanna reviewed a resort in the Philippines, she described how time there took all her worries away. This is a feeling you can expect from the rest of the glorious archipelago too.

winding road Philippines via flickr

It’s somewhere to visit if you and your friends need time to relax. There are miles of pristine beaches, and few other people to pester you.


Whilst Patagonia isn’t actually a country – its a distinct geographical region spanning the lower sections of Argentina and Chile –it’s most definitely somewhere that’ll grab you by the heartstrings. Writing for Telegraph Travel, South America expert Chris Moss describes it as “an archetypal landscape of the imagination.”

Aside from the established tourism mainly found in the northern lake districts of Argentina and Chile, and near national parks in both countries, wilderness still rules.

Lists like these can only get longer and longer, the more places you visit. What are the countries you love the most? How did they surprise you? Tell us below.

Pure Wander Contributor

Author Pure Wander Contributor

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Alessandra says:

    Some really good tips here as I haven’t been to many of these places and it’s always good to get some inspirations that are outside the box. Thank you for sharing!
    Alessandra <3

  • Max says:

    Hello, I’m sure you never visited Croatia. Croatia should definitely be on this list. Amazing coast and crystal blue sea (and famous Dubrovnik Old Town – the mot preserved walled town in Europe) more than 1000 of islands (and Hvar – the most famous one) and the most unique place on Earth – Plitvice lakes. Check why there are 8 UNESCO World heritages in Croatia! And everything is on few hours of driving. If you want to have real experience – be my guest! Thanks and regards…Max <3

    • Thanks Max! I haven’t been to Croatia yet but do plan to visit in 2017! I hear it’s beautiful.

      • Max says:

        O, yes it is. I’m proffesional tour guide for Croatia and Slovenia. So, please, let me know when you plan to visit my country. I’d really love to give you the real experience of Croatia. I hope you can contact me on my email.

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