The League of Nations

 

As I’ve been to every country in the world, I often get asked where my favourite places are. So here is my utterly (and irreverently) subjective list of my favourite 101 nations in the world.

It’s difficult to construct a list like this, as there are some things that drive me nuts about even my most favourite countries and some things I love about countries that drive me nuts. But take heart, if your country is anywhere in this list I would heartily recommend it as a place to see before you die…!

Rank

Country

Comments/Justification

1

England

Oh pretty England, you have no idea just how lucky you are.

2

Palau

If you’re looking for a secret tropical island paradise, it doesn’t get any better than this. Shh… don’t tell everyone or they’ll ruin it!

3

Egypt

Pyramids, pharaohs, temples, tombs and sphinxes: Egypt should be on everybody’s lists of places to see before they die. Just don’t let the touts get to you – laugh and shrug them off.

4

Bolivia

Salt plains, silver mines, jungle adventures, prisons run by the prisoners, the most dangerous road in the world: Bolivia is the nearest thing a backpacker will get to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate
Factory.

5

Thailand

Just the right mix of excitement, danger, beaches and cheap drinks. Dip me in chocolate and throw me to the ladyboys!

6

Madagascar

The countryside is gorgeous, the seafood is cheap, the women are stunning, they have lemurs that dance and everybody wears hats. What’s not to love?!

7

Iran

A surprisingly high entry considering how awful the government is, but the overwhelming hospitality of the people left me gobsmacked. I would return in a shot.

8

Ethiopia

Amazing landscapes, fascinating history, lovely people and THE BEST food in Africa conspire to make Ethiopia one of my top picks in the world.

9

Australia

Australia, over the last few months I’ve made my peace with you. Back into my top ten you go old friend.

10

United States of America

It’s easy to rag on the USA for being LOUD and ANNOYING (like me!). But I’m gonna give it a place in my top ten simply because of all the great TV, films, music and pornography it gives the world. And for also inventing the Internet. And TV. And Rock n’ Roll. And bikinis. THANK YOU.

11

Seychelles

The most laid-back spot in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles
managed to charm the pants off me. And Takamaka Rum is TO DIE FOR!!

12

Tuvalu

A sweet little country, sadly about to get wiped off the map thanks to Man-Made Climate Change. If you know anybody who thinks Global Warming is a hoax, please send them to Tuvalu – with any luck, they won’t know how to swim.

13

Spain

Tapas! Beer! Siesta! Tapas! Beer! Fiesta!

14

Azerbaijan

Oh come on, how could I not love a country called ‘Azerbaijan’? Best name for a country ever.

15

Nepal

I love Nepal. It’s an infinitely more chillaxed version of India and serves as the gateway to the rooftop of the world. Nice!

16

Uzbekistan

Another surprise entry considering the architecture is dreadful, the government require you to declare the colour of your underwear and the biggest banknote is worth tuppence, but again, it’s the amazing hospitality of the people that left me spellbound.

17

Italy

Brimming with history, exquisite beauty and a countryside that will take your breath away. The scran ain’t half bad neither…

18

Greece

The birthplace of Homer, Plato, Herodotus and democracy. Go in spring for the wildflowers. Lovely!!

19

Scotland

Whisky, haggis, Burns, rolling hills, that red-haired sexpot from Doctor Who… thinking about it, I don’t think there is anything about Scotland that I don’t like. Except maybe Alex Salmond. And George Galloway. And those total dicks who wear ‘anyone but England’ t-shirts at the World Cup.

20

India

As infuriating as it is colourful, India has to rank as the nuttiest place in the Alpha Quadrant. But that’s what makes it so much fun to visit! Plus they have the Taj Mahal. Now how about some Chai?

21

Colombia

Beautiful beyond words. And that’s jus’ the ladieeees.

22

France

Being a typical Brit, I love to rip on the French, but even I have to admit France is a spectacular country and whatever they’re cookin’, I want some.

23

El Salvador

More fun than you can shake a stick at and my top pick for Central America.

24

The Philippines

Amazing place, amazing people, cheap beer. That’s three thumbs up from me.

25

Sri Lanka

Ancient cities, beautiful beaches and all the tea you can eat. A wonderful place. Would score higher if the men would keep their hands to themselves.

26

New Zealand

NZ gave me such a warm welcome that it’s now back in my top 20 and what those meanies said in Dubai is forgotten about. Kinda 😉

27

Cambodia

Oh come on: where else on Earth can you blow up a cow with a bazooka (allegedly)?!

28

Fiji

I spent a good deal of time in Fiji and with Fijians. I love the kava, I love the people, I love the spirit. I’ll be back!!!

29

Croatia

Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Hvar: STUNNING. Just stunning. If you’re looking for a European holiday by the sea that isn’t going to cost you a kidney, Croatia is hard to top.

30

Samoa

I fell in love with Samoa from the start, truly a place for an artist in search of tranquillity.

31

Ecuador

The old city in Quito is simply exquisite, and Ecuador is possibly the last place on Earth where you can still legally ride on the roof of a train.

32

Denmark

Me and Denmark go back a long way and I love the bones of the place. If you can get to the Roskilde festival before you die, I humbly suggest you do so.

33

Tonga

Tonga may be small, but it’s a place with a big heart and a fascinating Viking-like history.

34

South Korea

Ignoring their fetish for fermented cabbage for a moment, South Korea is undoubtedly one of the most fun and welcoming places on the planet. Ironic that north of the border should be one of the least.

35

Vanuatu

A beautiful South Pacific paradise and home to the crazy land-divers of Pentecost Island. What’s not to love?

36

Eritrea

One of my favourite places in sub-Saharan Africa – heartbreaking, beautiful, stoic.

37

Kyrgyzstan

A magical place set in the mountains of the Pamir ranges with the
warmest hospitality you could imagine. And once you learn how to spell ‘Kyrgyzstan’ correctly you feel super-smart!

38

Vietnam

Frenetic, frantic and fun… and so goddamn cheap it makes my eyes water. 50 cents a beer? That’ll do nicely!!

39

Iceland

Select Sigur Ros on your iPod and go climb a volcano in the land of the midnight sun. You won’t regret it.

40

Rwanda

Rwanda has picked itself up and dusted itself down since the 90s. It’s one of the few African states for whom I am hopeful for the future – and one of the few places on Earth you can see mountain gorillas in their natural environment.

41

Brazil

I was in Brazil for the 2002 World Cup final. It was a hell of a party. My favourite Portuguese-speaking nation by a mile.

42

Papua New Guinea

A difficult place to love, but all kinds of awesome in a really f—ked up way.

43

Burma

Tourists used to be advised to stay away from Burma as their money propped up the military junta, but with Aung San Suu Kyi now an elected official, it’s high time we gave this beautiful place another
look.

44

Guatemala

Jungles, dancing, drinking, Mayan ruins… more wonderful Central Americana.

45

Morocco

Probably one of the least stressed-out Islamic nations (possibly on account of all the kif), coupled with history and traditions that stretch back millennia, Morocco a slice of North Africa you’d be a fool to ignore.

46

Germany

Okay, so they’ve got some historical baggage and their taste in music leaves a lot to be desired, but they’re one of the few nations in the world to be rebuilding classic buildings and they love their beer, so Germany gets a big thumbs up from me.

47

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso means ‘The Land of Honest Men’. And the capital is Ouagadougou, pronounced ‘Waggadoogoo’. What’s not to love?

48

South Africa

Ignore what the embittered expats say! South Africa is simply incredible!!

49

Malta

A beautiful blessed isle filled with some of the bravest people in the world. Love it.

50

Japan

Pokemon! Manga! Bukkake! Japan, you ROCK MY WORLD!!!

51

Ireland

Doesn’t matter where I go in the world, there’s ALWAYS an Irish bar! You just can’t escape the craic… but why would you want to?

52

Turkey

I can’t help but love Turkey – great food, ancient ruins and things that make you go woo!!

53

Peru

Hop on board your flying condor and go join the trail of the Mysterious Cities of Gold

54

Kiribati

One of the main things I love about Kiribati is that it is pronounced ‘kiri-bas’, seemingly with the intention of giving pedants like myself something to do. Although only 1% of it is land, Kiribati is the width of Australia and it straddles all four hemispheres. How cool is THAT?

55

Sweden

Mmm… Sweden… Why do naughty thoughts pop into my head? I’m sure that’s a good thing though.

56

Cuba

A beautiful island filled with beautiful people and beautiful cars. If you can go, go.

57

Marshall Islands

Although some of these paradise atolls were trashed by the Yanks testing their nuclear bombs, what remains is still well worth a visit. Its position slap bang in the middle of the Pacific Ocean made it the farthest reach of The Odyssey Expedition.

58

Indonesia

I had a great time in Indonesia – painting Jakarta red, too many nights out in Bali, travelling on the Pelni ferries… and the seafood in West Papua was the best in the world.

59

Malaysia

A quieter version of Thailand, but once the drink starts flowing it can live it up with the best of them.

60

Jamaica

I only set one foot in Jamaica, but it gets a high placement thanks to its wonderful musical tradition.

61

Wales

My next door neighbour and although familiarity can sometimes breed contempt, in the case of Wales, the more I see of it the more I love.

62

Jordan

Worth it just for Petra – The rose red city hewn from the rock of ages past – like nowhere else on Earth.

63

Slovenia

Ljubljana – as unforgettable as it is unpronounceable

64

Oman

Oman is my favourite of the Arabian peninsular countries. It’s cheap, laid-back and surprisingly fun.

65

Guyana

A welcome break from the ham and cheese sandwiches of Latin America

66

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nothing compares with Mostar on a sunny day.

67

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is the part of the Caribbean that dances to a
spicy Latin beat and came as a welcome break from the fried chicken of the West Indies!

68

Swaziland

A beautiful interior, not too big, not to small. Safe and stable, an African country I wouldn’t hesitate to return to.

69

Laos

Jump on your inflatable donut and head downstream. More fun than you can shake a stick at!

70

Poland

I first visited Poland when I was 11 years old, less than a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall. A truly cracking place, although their cuisine leaves a lot to be desired!

71

Saõ Tomé and Principé

It’s sometimes the forgotten places of Earth that turn out to be the most friendly and beautiful.

72

Montenegro

CHECK IT OUT! The new Croatia. Get there before it becomes popular and secure them bragging rights.

73

The Netherlands

I don’t smoke pot and miserable Russian prostitutes aren’t really my thing, but, trust me – there IS more to The Netherlands.

74

Taiwan

Taiwan is a great place full of wonderful people. However, somebody there (who was NOT Taiwanese) stole my hat, so I can’t put it any higher, sorry.

75

Czech Republic

Is Prague my favourite Central European city? I better Czech…

76

Canada

I get a warm fuzzy feeling when I think of Canada – big coats and hot chocolate. Lovely. It should be in my top 20, but it gets marked down for inflicting Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Avril Latrine, Alanis
Morrissette and Justin GODDAMN Bieber on the world. Why Canada Why?

77

Solomon Islands

A really great place that not many people have been to, the Solomon
Islands are an all-to-often overlooked gem of the South Pacific.

78

Sierra Leone

One place in the world where you’ll be made to feel proud for being British. I’ll definitely be coming back one day.

79

Tunisia

Egypt’s quieter, more sensible little brother. Gets extra points for doubling as Tattooine in Star Wars.

80

Romania

Romania is great. Hell, they’ve got Dracula’s Castle, what more do you need?

81

Namibia

A welcome respite from the lunacy that is West and Central Africa.

82

Micronesia

I’ve only been to one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia, but what I saw I liked. I liked a lot.

83

Lebanon

Do your best to avoid Hezbollah and I guarantee you an awesome time in Lebanon…awesome kebabs and mountains that cascade down to the sea. Nice!

84

China

Yeah, the government is a dictatorship and facebook is banned, but the history is vast and fascinating, the calligraphy is beautiful and damn the food is good.

85

Ghana

The people I warmed to most in West Africa were all from Ghana.
Would have been nice to hit the interior.

86

Bulgaria

More stunning Eastern European landscapes. Gets extra points for being named after a womble.

87

Lesotho

A magical land hidden away in the mountains of South Africa, well recommended.

88

The Gambia

A ridiculous little place filled with some of the coolest people on the planet. I loved every second of it.

89

Kuwait

Booze may be outlawed, but there is ALWAYS a house party to go to. I love house parties.

90

Austria

All together now: Ooooooh VIENNA!!

91

Mexico

Sadly embroiled in a massive Drug War at the moment (which killed more people in 2010 than were killed in Afghanistan or Iraq), but stay away from the ‘no-go’ zones and you should have a great time.

92

St. Kitts and Nevis

Really really cool people, a nice sleepy place hidden away in the Caribbean.

93

Gabon

I may not like the ruling dynasty, but hanging out with the Bwiti Tribe made the slog through Nigeria and Cameroon all worth while.

94

Kenya

Kenya is the giant of East Africa, a land that is a rich and varied as it’s people are warm and welcoming. Plus they’ve got a seriously nifty flag.

95

Lithuania

Vilnius is a beautiful little gem, well worth the EasyJet ticket.

96

Singapore

I never really took to Singapore before, but then I spent a week there in 2012 and must confess to rather falling in love with the place.

97

Mauritius

Wonderful place – check out my name on the wall in The Keg and Marlin pub down by the Waterfront!!

98

Georgia

A really cool place – Tbilisi has some stunning architecture hidden amongst the soviet tat and the people are great. Just don’t propose a toast using a pint of beer…!

99

Bhutan

The last great mysterious mountain kingdom. Respect!

100

Tanzania

The only place on Earth you’ll see Masai warriors in their full get-up working as bouncers outside an Irish Bar. That alone makes it worth the trip.

101

Uganda

There is a city in Uganda called Jinja. That is all you need to know.

 

 

18 thoughts on “The League of Nations”

  1. yey my country made it in ! (Bulgaria) I’m sure you missed loads thouggh like the rose fields, mountains, coast.. etc 🙂

  2. Hi Graham
    Well done on a great idea – very interesting! I just wanted to diplomatically point out that the bikini was invented in France. The TV and the Internet were invented by the British.
    All the best!
    Ewa

    1. We Brits like to claim TV and the Internet, but really the CRT was Farnsworth in America, and the Internet was the American military – but it was a Brit who came up with the World Wide Web and Logie Baird’s contribution to TV transmission is not to be sniffed at. Bikini: I’ll check on that one and get back to you!!

  3. Poland and bad cuisine? What? Is this your 11 year-old self recollecting this or have you gone since? Poland has delicious food, which is not much different than Bavarian food or Russian. Mmm….pierogi, schnitzel, potato pancakes!

      1. As a Welsh Ex-pat living very close (Slovakia). You are spot on. Central/Eastern European food is 20% potatoes 30%fatty meat 30% Smoked cheese and the rest is pure salt. Not great.

    1. As I looked back over the trip, I began to feel uncomfortable with listing countries that I didn’t spend any quality time in – plus the opportunity to be vindictive for rather arbitrary reasons (ie. I meet a single mean Kiwi and New Zealand goes to the bottom) was a bit too much of a temptation for me!!

      1. But then how come places like Bhutan and Jamaica still make it in?

        I see your point but I enjoyed seeing the whole list. 🙂

  4. What about the former British colony of Americaland. Is there some clever and witty reason that they dont earn a place in the list, or is it a test ooh do i win a badge?

    1. USA is in the list.
      But I guess Graham decided he is going to hold a grudge over Guam and not only make them last, but make them completely invisible.

  5. Just letting you know the San Marino grand Prix isnt even held on San Marino soil so they cant be held responsible for Senna death

  6. Nice, I was hoping for an update of this list.

    Shame that my country (Australia), has dropped considerably. 🙁

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