You’d think the question “How many countries are there in the world?” would be an easy one to answer. But it’s not – the answer wholly depends on who you ask.
Ask the United Nations for instance, and they’ll tell you there are 193. That is, all of the states on the planet it recognises as sovereign except for the Vatican City.
Ask others and they’ll tell you that their homeland, their “nation”, deserves recognition. There are places out there that exist – in the International Relations sense of the word – only in the eyes of their people.
Grab your passport and adventure beyond the “international community” (behind the yellow fringe, as photographed by M Glasgow) with a trip to one of these unrecognised states and disputed territories.
Transnistria – or Trans-Dniestr – is a small sliver of land between the River Dniester and Moldova’s border with Ukraine that has declared independence from Moldova since 1990.
The island of Taiwan sits 112 miles off the coast of China. Comparable in size to the Netherlands (or, for our readers in the US, Maryland), and with a population 23 million people, it is one of the most densely populated places in the world.
Sovereignty is disputed between the multi-party democracy that governs the island and the People’s Republic of China. According to the UN, it’s officially part of China.
UK visitors can enter for 90 days without a visa (US visitors can enter for 30 days without a visa).
There are two strips of land within Israel – known as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – that are described as the Palestinian territories or occupied Palestinian territories.
Palestine is accessible by land via Israel or Jordan. No visa is required to enter Palestine on the basis that the traveller already possesses the necessary visa for Israel or Jordan.
Somaliland is a breakaway state from the anarchic war-torn Somalia. The territory is seeking self-determination as the Republic of Somaliland.
Travellers are advised to avoid Somaliland due to the high levels of crime and violence that blight the region.
Under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, all claims of sovereignty have been put on hold. UK visitors must apply for a permit before travelling (and US visitors must apply for a permit too – before travelling).
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…