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Denmark's most traveled woman: Here are 7 of the world's best travel countries

Antarctica, Mette Ehlers - travels
Mette Ehlers Mikkelsen has visited all but one of the world's countries. Here she shares her best travel countries on each continent.
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Denmark's most traveled woman: Here are 7 of the world's best travel countries is written by Mette Ehlers Mikkelsen.

iguassu - iguazu - Brazil, Mette Ehlers - travel countries

My best travel countries

The world holds many wonderful experiences, and each continent has its own unique adventures to offer. Having visited almost every country in the world – with only one missing from the list – I have quite a few experiences with me in my suitcase from every single continent.

Still, there are some pieces that stand out from each continent. Some because of the experiences with my children, who have been on many of the trips, others have just stuck and made a big impression. My guide to you can read about traveling with teenagers here.

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In this article, I share seven of the best travel countries I've been to – one on each continent – ​​and the best experiences on each trip.

  • Bhutan - Asia - the world's largest continent
  • Bhutan - the world's largest continent
  • Bhutan - Asia - the world's largest continent

Bhutan – one of the best travel countries in Asia

Bhutan i Asia is the only country in the world that calculates the country's gross domestic product in the unit of 'happiness', and the only country with a positive contribution to the CO2 balance.

The country has just under a million inhabitants in the mighty Himalayan mountains, and they are constantly worried about becoming a part of China like Tibet, and at the same time they are nervous that so many Indians and Nepalese will come to visit that they cannot preserve their own culture. 

My girlfriend and I visit a farming family with a small farm in a village. It's just us, the family with mother, father and an adult daughter, the obligatory guide and the equally obligatory driver.

The food is strong with lots of oil, butter and rice. Not one Michelin -winning cuisine, but nourishing for a life in the mountains with cold and physical work. We eat on the floor in the living room.

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There are mattresses along the walls. Here, the family's children can each pull out their own mattress every night, because in the other rooms are the parents' bedroom, the kitchen and a room for prayer.

I imagine that my three children would protest if the one room that could be a children's room instead became a large home altar in lots of colors and two low and wide chairs where a senior monk and his helper can sit in tailoring position twice a year they come to visit. 

  • Micronesia - Oceania - the world's smallest continent - travel country
  • Micronesia - Oceania - the world's smallest continent - travel country

Micronesia - island state in the world's smallest continent Oceania

One of the many small island states in Stillehavet stands out. Here you can find a building that is so special that it has been given the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the same time, you can wander directly into the parliament, which is a simple building on one floor with one room. Nature is beautiful. You can swim in one of the most beautiful waterfalls that falls from the mountains in the middle of the island into the rainforest. It is a definite gem out here in Oceania – the world's smallest continent.

The UNESCO World Heritage site is called Nan Madol, and the place is built of large oblong and square stones. When I visit the place, I am on world tour number two.

Although I think I have seen quite a bit, I am amazed that they have dragged such large rocks so far out on the island. I do what you have to do when you want to experience it and start early in the morning, walking down a path made of wooden boards across the muddy bottom of the mangrove forest to finally get out to Nan Madol.

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It is hot and humid here. A bit slippery on the path with the mud from the wet forest floor. It looks like something where Indiana Jones is coming to visit in a moment. A place where it has been possible to steal valuable cultural objects for which collectors will pay fortunes.

First of all, however, you have to make sure you get there in time. This is done by wading through the water to the small island and not least coming back again, because the water level rises, so it is not possible to go over there already in the morning.

I have to get it all with me and get right back before I would have to swim over. It would also have been easily possible if I had remembered a plastic bag for the mobile phone with the camera.

The price to get there is settled locally. The first family whose lot I cross takes $2. The next 5 dollars. The third and final family can claim $10 per person to cross their land.

There is no national museum or treasury funding the maintenance of the site via the entrance here. In return, the funds go uncut to the locals.

  • Botswana - Africa, Mette Ehlers - travel countries

Botswana – one of the coolest travel countries in Africa


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The Okavango wetlands in the south Africa is one of the areas in the world with the most biodiversity. Here are elephants, lions, hippos, giraffes, zebras, antelopes and lots of insects, fish and birds. The wetland gets its water from Angola.

After the civil war is over and the population has increased, there is now pressure on the area north of the Okavango, which threatens the water supply for the rich wildlife. 

My three children, who were on the trip, consider it one of the most exciting and adventurous places they have experienced. The four of us were traveling together, where we drove between camp sites through one of the most fascinating travel countries Botswana and slept in small tents that we set up ourselves every night.

At the wetlands, we sailed with local guides in narrow canoes through beautiful landscapes with hippos. We got a little close to the hippos and the big male clearly marked his territory. The locals were busy keeping their distance only to have to stop when a family of elephants crossed the water on a narrower stretch. 

It is recommended to choose accommodation inside the Okavango Delta itself. Here the locals set up camp with tents under small groups of trees. It offers the best opportunities to experience wildlife up close by hiking around at dusk and again the next morning. 

One morning I woke up to someone walking around the tent and wondered why there was life in the camp so early. It was already warm and bright, so I went outside to find the small tent placed over a chair with a hole in the board over a hole in the ground. Pure luxury.

It turned out that it was a young male elephant that was walking around next to the two small tents the cubs and I were sleeping in. A small herd of young male elephants had got together before they themselves wanted to return to the herds with the females and start a family, and they like the small green area with a little shade along the water just as much as we do. 

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  • iguassu - Brazil - travel countries
  • iguassu - Brazil
  • iguassu - Brazil - travel countries

Iguazú Falls on the border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay in South America

Iguazu Falls i South America is the world's most beautiful waterfall in my eyes. It can be visited from one of my favorite travel countries Brazil, which I have visited with my children, and where you can fly to a nearby small airport and stay in the town outside the national park or inside next to the waterfall in the nice pink hotel.

It is also possible to visit the waterfall from Argentina or Paraguay, where Argentina is clearly preferable to Paraguay if you are there to visit the waterfall. From both Argentina and Brazil, there are well-maintained wooden paths with handrails that lead over the falls and out to various viewpoints.

My visit was with my two oldest children when they were just 4 and 5 years old, together with their father and my parents-in-law. It was at the end of our first circumnavigation, which lasted 8 months.

The two coolest things we did were definitely the boat trip right down to the falls where the current was strong and everything was wet. That and a helicopter ride that gave us the view we probably tried to get today via photos from a drone.

What the children think were the greatest experiences, however, was when two polar bears came running from the forest floor and stole Lærke's lollipop. Or when Nicolai raised a toucan's tongue because it looks like a dry piece of grass hanging out of the side of its beak. And then all the many butterflies that settled on our hands, feet and head.

  • Guatamala
  • Guatamala
  • Guatamala

Guatemala – one of the best travel countries in North and Central America

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Guatemala is one of the most fascinating travel countries I have visited. It is known for its rich cultural heritage, beautiful scenery, coffee production, colorful markets and friendly population, which is a mix of indigenous Mayans and mestizos. The climate is tropical on the coasts and cooler in the highlands.

I traveled solo through the countries of Central America, which geographically belongs to the North American continent. Solo travel is wonderful sometimes, because you get closer to many other travelers and to the locals when you are yourself, so others can see that you are not interrupting anything.

The Mayan culture with the temples in Tikal was the greatest experience for me. Learning about the culture while among the many temples is, as always, quite different from watching TV or reading a book.

I still remember the story along with the feeling of the heat. The fatigue and excitement when I reached the top of the tallest temple in the area. The wonderful locals I joined because they were also there as travelers and otherwise lived in Guatemala City and in Florida.

They talked about the 'Florida test' which they thought all the country's politicians should take. It is simply about whether the candidate can travel to Florida without being arrested.

All of this something that slipped into the background on the way in the minibus from the temples, where we stopped together with several others on motorbikes because there was a tapir at the edge of the forest. It stood quietly for a long time and watched us before it wandered off into the forest.

I was grateful for the wildlife as so often before. 

Estonia - The European continent - Europe - Tallinn, Mette Ehlers - travel countries

Estonia – one of my favorite travel countries in Europe

Estonia is the small neighboring country with which we have so much in common. We are small countries with large neighbors with whom we are not always completely comfortable. We lie around The Baltic Sea. According to legend, Dannebrog fell from the sky in 1219 in the Estonian capital Tallinn.

Tallinn then also means Taani Linn – or 'city of the Danes'. It is the charming Hanseatic city, Tallinn, and a large area of ​​land with many conifers and few inhabitants. The second largest city is Tartu – Estonia's answer to Aarhus – and is worth a visit. So are the small islands with old-fashioned windmills. 

I lived and worked in Estonia for two years, when I was at the Danish embassy in Tallinn. Denmark helped Estonia with economic growth and membership of EU and NATO with the aim of preventing them from suffering the same fate as Ukraine have now.

The nicest thing about my visits to the country since is either taking extended weekend visits to Tallinn with lots of culture and good food or extending the journey with a road trip to Narva in the east, where Russia and the Soviet era is alive. The children have also been involved here.

It is also great to go south to the university town of Tartu and into the forests and west to one of the islands.

In Tallinn, the old town has been renovated, and in the middle of it stands a small mountain with the small pink parliament building directly opposite a large and dominant onion-domed Russian Orthodox church. It is quite symbolic.

The symbolism continues at the foot of the mountain, where the freedom museum is located with passports, money, maps, binoculars and other symbols of freedom. In the basement you will find the statues of Lenin.

Antarctica - the last continent - travel countries, Mette Ehlers

Antarctica – the seventh and last continent 


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The seventh and final continent is Antarctica for most travelers. It is natural, because it is so far away and not least so expensive that it must be the last place you go.

Most travel to southern tip of Argentina and boards a cruise ship for 10 days sailing to a peninsula that is the closest to inhabited areas. It takes up to two days of sailing each way, and therefore the journeys should be long enough that you have time to experience something. 

I left in December 2023 with my boyfriend. It was an absolutely unique journey.

We had chosen a smaller expedition ship to be able to land on this continent that way. You can't do that with the biggest ships. We therefore sailed close to the coast, and we went ashore 6 days in a row, and later came out and sailed the following days together.

Everything is white. It is wild and magnificent. There are three kinds of penguins on the peninsula, and they breed in small and large groups on the rocks close to the water, so they are protected and at the same time close havet and thus their pantry.

One of the best things was experiencing the respect for the rules that apply in Antarctica for the protection of wildlife, so that distance from the penguins is respected, as well as the rules for how few can be on land at a time and for how long. It is nicely handled in an area that is not owned by a country.

Have a great trip to the best travel countries and to your next continent!

Here are 7 of the best travel countries in the world – one on each continent:

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About the author

Mette Ehlers Mikkelsen

Mette Ehlers Mikkelsen is the Danish woman who has traveled to the most countries. She wants to visit them all and has always brought home great experiences, even from the world's least visited countries, where it is more often the meetings with the locals than the actual attractions.

Mette is among the very few women in the world who aim to travel to all the countries of the world and actually do so. Only approx. 300 have visited all the countries of the world. In comparison, approx. 600 people have been in the room. Approx. 5.000 have climbed Mount Everest, and there are even more who have done it without oxygen than there are travelers who have visited all the countries of the world. Of the 300, only 10% are women, and of those only 4 have been mothers. When Mette travels so much with three children, it is not just in Denmark, it is unique, but globally.

Mette only needs to visit North Korea to have visited all the countries of the world. She has visited the border country between North and South Korea together with the children in the demilitarized zone. But even if the Guinness Book of Records approves it as a visit, she wants to experience the country properly, as she has with all other countries.

The children have always traveled with them. Lærke has traveled to 123 countries, while Ella and Nicolai have visited 85-90 countries. They have traveled with them since they were very small.
Nicolai and Lærke traveled with us on an 8-month round-the-world trip when they were 3-5 years old. Thus, the journeys are part of their lifestyle and identity. The journeys have developed in step with the children. The trips are customized so that all participants enjoyed it.

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