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My Journey To Visit All 197 Countries in the World!

My Journey To Visit All 197 Countries in the World!

This article is dedicated to my journey to visit all 197 countries in the world with a live update of the latest place he's visited.

Eurovision geek. Currency collector. Hobbies from a young age that turned me into a travel nerd!

It all started when I was collecting stamps as a child. I would greedily harvest stamps off envelopes that friends and family would send me. Throughout the years, I connected with hundreds of fellow stamp collectors worldwide, learning about their countries and cultures. That's where my passion for travel started.

Gay couple travel book Nomadic Boys Out in the World

If I couldn't sound any more nerdy, I confess I'm also a HUGE Eurovision geek. I blame my family. We Cypriots LOVE to follow the Eurovision Song Contest and vote religiously (usually for Cyprus and Greece). So, every May growing up we'd all gather and watch the Scandis, Soviet Bloc, and Balkan countries giving ‘douze points’ to each other…the point is, thanks to Eurovision, I would dream of venturing to places like North Macedonia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan from a young age.

Today, I get all my travel inspiration from historical fiction. I love reading books like Wolf of the Plains by Conn Iggulden about the Genghis Khan dynasty or watching series like Vikings and Marco Polo on Netflix.

Throughout my late teens and twenties, I traveled whenever I could. This also coincided with my coming out as gay. Travel gave me the courage and confidence to be myself.

Stefan with giant door at the Paro Dzong in Bhutan.
[Insert poignant coming out the closet caption here]…taken at the Paro Dzong in Bhutan

I met Seby in 2009. We instantly clicked.

“I want to discover the world!” he told me on our first date at Le Beaujolais bar in Leicester Square.

“I'll go with you!” I replied to the person who would become my life partner.

I've been to a fair number of countries and one of my life goals is to one day be able to say I've covered the entire globe, having visited every country (and every continent). Seby is not as interested in achieving this, which is why some of these trips are done solo, and others together.

This article is dedicated to my journey to visit all 197 countries with a live update of the latest new places I've visited.

Heads up: We just wanted to let you know that this post contains affiliate links. That means if you book something through one of those links, we'll get a small commission, at no extra cost to you. It helps us keep our blog going – so thank you in advance for your support! ♥

Gay couple with the Welcome to Montenegro sign in Kotor.
Montenegro welcoming us in Kotor

How many countries are there in the world?

Some say 193 because that's the official number of States that are members of the United Nations. Others say 195 because of the 2 UN Observer States – Palestine and Vatican City. This seems to be the most accepted number by sites like Worldometer. By contrast, FIFA (football/soccer!) goes further and recognizes 211 ‘affiliate associations'.

Others say 197 to include Kosovo and Taiwan because enough nations officially recognize them as sovereign nations.

So I've gone with 197 because that seems to be the consensus from fellow online travel geeks and makes the most sense. To be clear, I've not included non-sovereign states like Hong Kong, Gibraltar, Wales, or Aruba.

The 197 includes:

  • 193 UN Member States: this covers every country. The latest member was South Sudan in 2011.
  • 2 UN Observer States: Palestine and the Vatican City (aka the Holy See).
  • Kosovo: recognized by over 100 UN States including the USA and most EU nations.
  • Taiwan: recognized by 11 UN States, and the Vatican City. Most countries avoid the issue to prevent upsetting China.
Nomadic Boys by the rainbow crossing of Tapei
Taiwan is famous for being the most gay friendly nation in Asia

Organizing each country by continent

I've listed each country below, organized by each continent in order of size: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Oceania. I have used the UN breakdown for each continent, which has also classified each member state into a distinct sub-section.

1. ASIA: 28/49

Asia is massive, with 49 countries. I've followed the UN classification and broken them down into geographical sub-regions. Note that North Asia only includes Russia and given that most of its population is on the European side of the country it has been classified as East Europe.

Interesting article to check out is our guide to the most gay friendly nations in Asia and our gay travel to Asia page.

Note that most of the Middle East is included in this section in West Asia. We have a page dedicated to gay travel to the Middle East as well as a fascinating article about the most gay friendly Arab countries.

  • Central Asia: 0/5 – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
  • East Asia: 4/6 – China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan.
  • Southeast Asia: 9/11 – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam.
  • South Asia: 5/9 – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.
  • West Asia: 10/18 – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Syria, Türkiye, UAE, Yemen.
Gay couple wearing ghos at the Tiger's Nest Monastery in Bhutan.
A gho, my Seby, and a stunning monastery behind me. Life is complete 🙂 Taken at the Tiger's Nest Monastery in Bhutan

2. AFRICA: 4/54

I have a lot of work to do in Africa, having only visited Tunisia, Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa to date. There are 54 UN members in Africa, organized below by sub-region. But we've written about our trip to Egypt and our more gay trip to Cape Town and Johanessburg.

  • North Africa: 2/6 – Algeria, Egypt, LibyaMorocco, Sudan, Tunisia.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: 1/18 – Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
  • Central Africa: 0/9 – Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe.
  • West Africa: 0/16 – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo.
  • South Africa: 1/5 – Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa.
Gay couple dancing wearing their Caraci Clothing African jackets in Johannesburg.
Proudly showing off our beautiful African inspired hand made jackets by Caraci Clothing on the Johannesburg rooftops


North America is broken down into 3 parts by the UN: North, Central, and the Caribbean. Our article about gay friendly countries in the Caribbean is an interesting compliment to this section as is our page dedicated to gay travel to North America.

  • North America: 2/2 – Canada, USA.
  • Central America: 4/8 – Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama.
  • Caribbean: 3/13 – Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago.
Fierte Canada Pride in Montreal
Proudly attending the first Fierte Canada Pride in Montreal


South America is easy because the countries are large and few.

There are 12 UN countries in South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela. We think you should check out our guide to the best gay Pride events in Latin America as well as our page about gay travel to South America.

Gay couple trekking in Patagonia watching the mountains in the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.
Trekking in Patagonia together. Taken at Torres del Paine in Chile

5. ANTARCTICA: 0 countries!

Antarctica doesn't count as a country even though it's its own standalone continent.

Instead, seven nations have claimed their stake in it: New Zealand, Australia, France, Norway, the United Kingdom, Chile, and Argentina.

It is my ultimate Travel Bucket List DREAM to visit Antarctica one day and to be able to say I've visited all 7 continents on our planet! We have a fascinating guide to the best gay tours to Antarctica, which we hope to sail on one day very soon!

Out Adventures offers a gay Antarctica cruise that's the perfect mix of luxury, relaxation, excitement and excursions!
Photo courtesy of our friends at Out Adventures who we hope to visit Antarctica with one day!

6. EUROPE: 44/45

My home region and the place I've traveled the most in. The UN stats break categorize Europe into 4 distinct geographical areas for its 44 members. The 45th nation on the list is Kosovo. The only country on the continent that eludes me is Belarus. For more check out our guide to gay travel to Europe.

  • East Europe: 9/10 – Belarus, Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine.
  • North Europe: 10/10 – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, UK.
  • South Europe: 16/16 – Albania, Andorra, Bosnia, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Vatican City (Holy See).
  • West Europe: 9/9 – Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Switzerland.
Amsterdam one of the gayest cities in the world
Glorious Amsterdam: one of our favorite gay cities in Europe

7. OCEANIA: 2/14

Home to skippy, Kylie, the Hobbits – and a bunch of other Pacific nations I've not yet explored! The UN subdivides them into the following 4 groups:

  • Australia and New Zealand: 2/2 – self-explanatory which these 2 countries are.
  • Melanesia: 0/4 – Fiji, Papa New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu.
  • Micronesia: 0/5 – Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau.
  • Polynesia: 0/3 – Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu.
Gay couple on Ben Lomond trek in South Island in New Zealand.
Trekking in New Zealand, absolutely EPIC!

My live update of the countries I've visited: 96/197

I've set these out in the chronological order I visited them. As a British/Greek Cypriot, I have a base in London, Greece, and Cyprus, so these 3 countries are more like my ground zero which I've visited all my life and continue to visit today. The same applies to France, which has become my adopted nation through Seby, who is from Lyon.

  1. UK: 1982-present day
  2. Cyprus: 1984-present day
  3. Greece: 1987-present day
  4. France: 1994-present day
  5. Netherlands: 2001, 2012, 2018
  6. Belgium: 2001, 2012, 2022
  7. Spain: 2001, 2007, 2013, 2016, 2019, 2022, 2023, 2024
  8. Portugal: 2001, 2024
  9. Ireland: 2002
  10. Tunisia: 2002
  11. Turkey: 2004
  12. Peru: 2005, 2016, 2017
  13. Bolivia 2005
  14. Chile: 2005, 2016, 2017
  15. Argentina: 2005, 2016, 2017
  16. Brazil: 2005
  17. Paraguay: 2005, 2016
  18. Uruguay: 2005, 2016
  19. Poland: 2006, 2007
  20. Czech Republic: 2006
  21. Slovakia: 2006
  22. Austria: 2006
  23. Hungary: 2006
  24. Croatia: 2006, 2022
  25. Bosnia: 2006
  26. Slovenia: 2006
  27. Italy: 2006, 2010, 2018, 2022, 2023, 2024
  28. Vatican City: 2006, 2022
  29. Kenya: 2006
  30. Germany: 2007, 2016, 2023
  31. Latvia: 2007, 2014
  32. USA: 2008, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2022, 2023
  33. Cuba: 2008
  34. Guatemala: 2008
  35. Mexico: 2008, 2017
  36. Norway: 2008
  37. Russia: 2008, 2014
  38. Israel: 2009
  39. Palestine: 2009
  40. Sweden: 2009, 2022
  41. Denmark: 2009, 2022
  42. Ukraine: 2010
  43. Monaco: 2010
  44. Finland: 2010
  45. Estonia: 2010
  46. Thailand: 2012, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023, 2024
  47. Bulgaria: 2012
  48. Serbia: 2012
  49. North Macedonia: 2012
  50. Japan: 2013, 2016, 2020
  51. Lithuania: 2014
  52. Mongolia: 2014
  53. China: 2014
  54. Nepal: 2014
  55. India: 2014
  56. Sri Lanka: 2014, 2016
  57. The Maldives: 2014
  58. Myanmar: 2015
  59. Laos: 2015
  60. Cambodia: 2015
  61. Vietnam: 2015
  62. Malaysia: 2015
  63. Singapore: 2015, 2024
  64. Indonesia: 2015, 2024
  65. The Philippines: 2015
  66. United Arab Emirates: 2015
  67. Andorra: 2016
  68. Ecuador: 2016, 2017
  69. Colombia: 2017, 2019
  70. Canada: 2017, 2018
  71. Panama: 2017
  72. El Salvador: 2017
  73. Lebanon: 2018
  74. Romania: 2019
  75. Moldova: 2019
  76. Georgia: 2019
  77. Malta: 2018, 2019, 2023
  78. Taiwan: 2019
  79. Luxembourg: 2020
  80. Switzerland: 2020
  81. Liechtenstein: 2020
  82. Bahamas: 2020, 2021
  83. Dominican Republic: 2020
  84. Iceland: 2022
  85. Jordan: 2022
  86. Kosovo: 2022
  87. Albania: 2022, 2023
  88. Montenegro: 2022
  89. South Africa: 2022
  90. San Marino: 2022, 2023
  91. Egypt: 2023
  92. Australia: 2023, 2024
  93. New Zealand: 2023
  94. Qatar: 2023
  95. Armenia: 2023
  96. Bhutan: 2024
Gay couple in front of small plane bound for Lady Elliot Island.
Ready to fly to our next destination…where will the wind take us?

Where am I traveling to next?

Where will my next thirst trap be taken? All going well, my next trip will be to Azerbaijan in July 2024, which will be my country #97…

Interesting fact about Azerbaijan, they won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011 with Ell and Nikki and the song Running Scared. Although my favorite Azeri song is Hold Me by hunk Farid Mammadov…

Follow my personal Instagram for more.

Stefan shirtless in Mount Cook celebrating gay Pride in New Zealand.
Now where will my next thirst trap be taken?

Read more travel adventures like this in our book!

We've published our very own gay travel book called, ‘Out in the World'. It has all our practical safety tips, first-hand advice, and travel stories from some of our favorite destinations.

We hope it inspires you to have a fun and safe trip!

Click on the book to order:

Gay couple travel book Nomadic Boys Out in the World

For more inspiration:

Stefan Arestis

Hey everyone, I'm Stefan, the curly-haired Greek flavor behind the gay travel blog Nomadic Boys. Together with my other half, I have explored more than 90 countries across 5 continents. What I love most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, learning new cultures. I've written about LGBTQ travel in numerous online publications such as Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times and Pink News as well as for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Check my full bio here.