Young Pioneer Tours

Review of the Top 10 Hardest Countries to Visit in 2024

The 10 hardest countries to visit often have restrictions for travellers based on their passports and have high requirements to be eligible to enter the country. While certain passports make it easier for people to visit specific countries visa-free, some countries still make it difficult for almost everybody to visit. Below are the top 10 most difficult places to travel to in 2024, rated by Visa Guide. 


It is no surprise that Russia made the list of the hardest countries to visit considering it has been at war for the last two years. Russia has rolled out a new e-visa system to streamline visa processes, with reports that visa acceptance can be completed in as little as a 3-business day turnaround. However, the e-visa only encompasses 55 nationalities and excludes big Western nations such as Australia, America and the United Kingdom. While you may not be initially planning to travel to Russia, many have opted to visit Russia’s largest exclave in the heart of Europe – Kaliningrad – and yes, you do need a Russian visa to visit. However, with enough preparation and time, a Russian visa is still possible for many nationalities to enjoy tourism. 


Cuba is often considered an outcast – it still has a socialist political system and has suffered under sanctions for the past couple of decades. The Carribean island has seen unique tourism, with many tourists fascinated by the political and revolutionary history as much as the warm weather and tropical lifestyle. While for most nationalities, entering Cuba is no issue (Nationals of 18 countries can travel to Cuba without a visa or a tourist card), Americans are prohibited from visiting Cuba for tourism or vacationing purposes (although, there are ways around this). Entering Cuba, you need to have a valid passport and a tourism card – often supplied by your airline. For this reason, we don’t really agree with the Cuba being a part of this list and we have been providing tours to Cuba for years. 

hardest countries to visit cuba


Iran is notoriously strict and time consuming to get a visa for – particularly for UK, USA and Canadian nationals. While many nationalities can get a visa on arrival, the previously mentioned citizens need to apply for a visa at their closest consulate (for Americans, they need to visit or send their application to the Pakistani embassy in Washington DC) and the whole process can take up to three months to organize. There is a list of 39 countries who can enter Iran visa free – 33 of which were added in December last year, indicating a willingness to engage in expanding their tourism sector. With Iran, it is best to get in quick and secure a spot on an organized tour to ensure you don’t miss out on the visa deadline! 

Our next Hidden Iran tour will run from October 30 – November 6 


Turkmenistan is renowned for its strict entrance policy and its high rate for rejecting visas based on a range of unknown factors. This country that is largely isolated from the rest of the world, is a fascinating place to visit. To get to Turkmenistan, you need visa support and a letter of invitation and need to apply timely for a higher chance at being accepted. Newly reopened from the inward turn from the COVID-19 pandemic, visiting Turkmenistan is a unique experience whether you combine with the other Central Asian Stans, visit in the summer months, for Independence Day celebrations, or for a special New Years trip! 

hardest countries to visit turmenistan


Chad is amongst other African nations that create timely and difficult processes for obtaining visas, rightfully earning a spot on the list of the hardest countries to visit. The main issue for travelling to Chad is finding your nearest consulate to apply at. There are only 22 foreign Chad consulates worldwide, meaning that you may not have a consulate in your country (or region – there are no Chad consulates in the Pacific, South America or the Caribbean). 


Bhutan has been slow to accommodate tourists as it is a very environmentally concerned country, highlighting the importance of high value and low impact tourism. To enter Bhutan, you need prearranged accommodation, permits to visit east of the capital and daily tourism taxes, making it a unique tourism model, however visa-wise Bhutan isn’t too difficult. It is hard due to its inaccessibility including price and the need for a tour company, as well as plans prearranged. But do not worry, all logistics are handled by YPT for our upcoming Bangladesh, Bhutan & Nepal: Unexplored South Asia Tour where all meals, accommodation and the visa fee for Bhutan are included in the price. 

hardest countries to visit bhutan

Western Sahara

Western Sahara is on the list of the hardest countries to visit as it still is a contentious area, offering visa-free travel to only 6 nationals who hold diplomatic passports. However, some have stated they have entered visa-free through Morocco. We are currently planning a tour here…

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian visas have become increasingly easier over the last few years thanks to a Royal push to increase tourism to the giant Gulf state. Many nationalities are eligible for a quick (but pricey) e-visa which has made Saudi Arabia never more accessible. YPT also provides visa support for our upcoming Saudi Arabia Autumn Tour

top 10 hardest countries to visit


Securing a visa is not difficult to enter Somalia, however, you will need to prearrange a security detail for the duration of your trip. You only require a Letter of Invitation which is included in YPT’s visa on arrival support with all our Somalia Tours. While Somalia doesn’t really deserve a spot on the hardest countries to visit because of its straightforward visa system, in country is a different story.

North Korea

When reading this article, you could expect North Korea to top the list of the hardest countries to visit in 2024. There are thousands of people waiting for North Korea to reopen for tourism and we receive questions daily. The country has been closed to tourism since COVID-19 and has only recently allowed a 100 Russians access to the country. There is extreme fascination with visiting one of the most ‘hermit’ countries in the world and getting a visa is a very stringent process – with no doubt a lot of COVID backlog slowing down the process. American nationals are still banned by the US government for travel to North Korea but right now there is no indication as to exactly when the country will reopen for tourists.

hardest countries to visit north korea

How to get to the Top 10 Hardest Countries to Visit

While these destinations can seem daunting to travel to and to organize, YPT has many international tours covering most of the hardest countries to visit and can often assist with visa applications! Check out all our upcoming group tours worldwide or inquire about an independent tour of your choosing.  

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