Do you know how many countries there are in the world?
There isn’t actually a set number for this…
It all depends on who you ask, as well as what you consider to be a country. For example, in the eyes of the USA, there are less than 200 countries in the world, whereas the United Nations would put this number closer to 241.
One of the reasons why this figure is so ambiguous is due to the micronations that spring up every once in a while. A micronation is a self-proclaimed independent state – basically, a new country in the making. These micronations are created for a variety of different reasons, with everything from the need to increase tourism to political reasons being behind some of the most successful micronations out there.
Want to add a truly unique destination to your travel list?
Here are five micronations you’ve never heard of, but will probably want to visit very soon!
1) Ladonia, Sweden
Back in the 1990’s, Swedish artist Lars Vilks was going through a court battle with local authorities.
Because Vilks created two 75-tonne sculptures from driftwood in a secluded nature reserve. It was two years before these sculptures were discovered, with authorities then demanding that the sculptures be removed. After multiple court hearings, all of which Vilks lost, he eventually managed to declare the area surrounding his sculptures as an independent, sovereign country, which he named Ladonia.
Ladonia is currently ruled by its own government, headed up by its Queen and an elected president. While the micronation doesn’t actually have any permanent residents, there are currently over 22,000 Ladonian citizens located in over 50 countries around the world, each one standing behind the ideals that Ladonia represents.
Wondering what these ideals exactly are?
Here are just a few of these things that Ladonia stands for:
- Tax-free living
- Freedom from the government
- A government that everybody can participate in
- Freedom of expression
Although Ladonia may only consist of one square kilometer of land, the micronation welcomes around 40,000 visitors each year.
What is there to do in Ladonia?
Visit the sculptures, of course!
This remote spot can usually only be accessed by foot, but the well-worn path is marked all the way, making it relatively easy for first-time visitors to find the sculptures.
If you happen to be visiting on a very calm day, you may be able to book yourself in for a boat trip to Ladonia from Arild, although this is never guaranteed.
There are a few other historic sites dotted around Ladonia, from the stone and concrete National Library to the small cave where prehistoric human remains were once discovered. Granted, your visit to Ladonia may not take very long, but it will definitely be an eye-opening experience!
2) The Conch Republic, Florida Keys, USA
Ok, so the Conch Republic may be more of a tongue-in-cheek micronation, but it is still deserving of a mention!
This parcel of land lies between the officially defined boundaries of Monroe Country and Dade County, with Key West being designated as the micronation’s capital.
The Conch Republic was declared a micronation in 1982, and while it may only be promoted now as a way to boost local tourism, there was actually a better reason behind its creation…
It all dates back to the roadblock set up by the United States Border Patrol in 1982, causing frustrating inconveniences to people traveling in and out of Key West. Although the city complained, it was ignored, leading to the mayor declaring the Conch Republic an independent nation as a form of protest.
Wondering how big the Conch Republic is?
Officially, it is just two miles long and four miles wide, although many surrounding areas are now also including themselves in the micronation’s boundary because, as mentioned earlier, it is great for tourism. While the Conch Republic may not be that large, it is home to more than 25,000 permanent residents, welcoming in thousands more visitors each year.
What is there to do in the Conch Republic?
The best time to visit is around April 23rd, as this is Independence Day for the micronation. A week-long festival is held each year, with numerous Key West businesses taking part.
Of course, just about any other time of year will still provide you with a memorable experience. A few of the activities you can try here include:
- Dolphin encounters
- Tours on a glass bottom boat
- Watersports, including para-sailing, jetskiing and kayaking
- Sunset cruises
- Fishing trips
- Visiting the many local bars, cafes and restaurants
Don’t forget to also pay a visit to our OROGOLD Key West store for a VIP facial, product demonstrations, and customized skin care advice.
Wondering if you would need a special passport to visit the Conch Republic?
No, as it is still a part of the USA. While the micronation does sell passports through their website, these are just souvenirs, and should not be viewed as official travel documents.
3) Naminara Republic, South Korea
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South Korea is home to a few different micronations, one of which is Naminara Republic. Although this micronation was officially created in 2006, the other Korean micronations do not recognize it.
Because Naminara Republic was created solely as a way to boost cultural tourism on the island of Nami. As opposed to the other Korean micronations that are centered around independence, profit is a big motivating factor behind Naminara Republic.
Still, this does not mean that it is any less worthy of a visit. Naminara Republic has its own flag, coins, stamps and insignia. Everyone who visits the micronation also has to purchase a local passport on arrival.
What is there to do in Naminara Republic?
With cultural tourism being the micronation’s main focus, there are numerous cultural attractions set up around the area for visitors to explore. Imagination and creativity is celebrated and promoted here, as is the environment and natural diversity.
Several of the streets around Naminara Republic have been lined with majestic trees, including:
- Tulip Tree Lane
- Cherry Tree Lane
- Gingko Tree Lane
- Metasequoia Lane
- Reed Woods Lane
Animals are also allowed to roam freely around Naminara Republic, and you will likely come across everything from squirrels and rabbits to turkeys and geese as you explore the island.
Wondering if Naminara Republic is suitable for kids?
Most definitely! From the Fairy Tale Village to the Imaginary Playground, your children will not only find plenty to do here, but will also likely really thrive.
To really make the most of your visit, book yourself into Hotel Jeonggwanru for a night. Each room in this boutique hotel has been designed by a different artist, craftsman, writer and even singers, offering up some truly creative luxury.
4) Seborga, Italy
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If you would prefer to visit a micronation that is steeped in a fascinating history, Seborga is the place to go. This micronation stretches out for 3,500 acres, making it larger than some of the others on this list. It sits near to the border between Italy and France, and is known for its rich heritage.
Wondering how Seborga became a micronation?
It all comes down a sale that took place in 1729, with the area that is Seborga today never being registered, meaning that it found its way into a legal loophole. This went unnoticed for quite a while, until the 1960s when locals voted for independence, as well as for a new prince of Seborga.
Although the micronation is ruled by a monarchy, this is not a hereditary one, meaning that new people are voted in every seven years.
As you know, Italy loves its sports, and Seborga is no different…
Although the micronation has their own Olympic committee, this isn’t actually recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Their soccer team lies unrecognized too, although they still play matches against other micronations and small nations.
Just like many of the other micronations on this list, Seborga boasts its own national anthem, postage stamps, flag and currency, which is accepted as a form of payment throughout the village.
Curious about Seborga’s population?
Around 300 people currently live in Seborga, but many more visit the micronation each year.
What is there to do in Seborga?
When people visit Seborga, they usually expect it to be a peaceful, laid-back village, but the intense tranquillity here will still really surprise you. It is unusually calm, especially if you are used to life in the big city. The streets here are so quiet that you may even hear your voice echo as you wander through them.
As mentioned above, Seborga is packed with history, and there are a few historical sites that you should definitely not miss out on:
- Museo Strumenti Musicali Seborga – this museum showcases historic musical instruments that date all the way back to the 18th century
- Chiesa San Martino – a baroque church from the 17th century
- Piazza San Martino – the village’s central square, which dates back to Medieval times
Keep in mind that there are only a couple of restaurants in Seborga, as well as just a couple of bed and breakfasts. Fortunately, since this is such a quiet part of the world, last minute bookings are often possible.
5) Principality of Sealand, UK
The British government built a number of fortress islands during the second world war, as a way to protect themselves. Many of these fortresses were actually illegal, meaning that once the war was over, they should have been destroyed. However, several were simply abandoned instead, one of which became home to a local radio station in the early 60’s, as a way to get around broadcasting restrictions.
A Major from the army created the radio station, and also lived on the island, continuously battling with the government over his rights to do so. So, the Major found another fortress that lay just three miles outside of British waters, and, in 1966, declared this to be the independent state of Sealand.
Of course, Sealand has its own anthem, flag, postage stamps and currency, all of which you can find out more about on the micronation’s website.
What is there to do in Sealand?
Before delving into the activities that Sealand offers, it is worth noting that this is not always an easy micronation to visit. You need a special visa in order to access the island, and the micronation is not currently accepting new applications. However, it would still be worth contacting them privately to see if they can help.
If you do manage to gain access to the island, here are a few of the things you can look forward to:
- The incredible views of England’s coast
- A tour of the fortress, which includes a chapel, engine room and jail
- A workout at the island’s tiny gym
How do you get to Sealand?
Usually by boat, but the island also has a helipad that needs to be booked in advance.
Now, if you really love your time in Sealand…
The micronation offers the public the opportunity to purchase a noble rank, such as the title of Lord, Lady, Duke Duchess, Sir or Dame. Many celebrities have actually gotten in on the game too, with the following all holding noble ranks from Sealand:
- Ed Sheeran
- George Stroumboulopoulos
- Jeremy Clarkson
- Ralf Little
Whether you are looking for somewhere quirky and unusual to visit, or simply want a passport stamp that none of your friends have, these micronations will definitely not disappoint. From the hustle and bustle of the Conch Republic to the eerie calm of Seborga, each of these destinations will truly take you into a completely different world.