Some unusual passport stamps to collect on your travels from breakaway republics to the northernmost and southernmost post offices
It may be unfashionable, but I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to travel. I pass the Seven Summits, the highest mountain on every continent (four down, three to go); I have a list of countries I’ve visited (94 and counting!); and I keep track of landmarks like the highest, lowest, and driest places I’ve visited.
I’m also quite proud of my passports (past and present) filled with the various stamps I’ve collected. Standard entry and exit stamps for most countries are fairly common.
Unusual passport stamps of the world
However, outside of the usual destinations, there are some unusual (and brag-worthy) passport stamps you can collect on your travels, including micro-states, geographic landmarks, inaccessible lands, and a variety of historical landmarks. As such, we’ve compiled a list of unusual passport stamps that you can collect on your travels.
1. Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, Germany
A symbol of the Cold War and a divided Europe, Berlin’s Charlie Crossing was the most famous border crossing between East and West Berlin during its 28-year active life.
The checkpoint has not been used since the official reunification of Germany in October 1990. Today, tourists can visit the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie museum and have a variety of unofficial passport stamps to choose from for between €1 and €3.
2. El Fin del Mundo, Ushuaia, Argentina
It is not called the end of the world for nothing. We visited the southernmost part of Argentina twice. Ushuaia is not the southernmost population on the continent (that would be Puerto Williams on the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego), but it is the most dramatic.
The windswept town has a picturesque setting between the Martial Mountains and the rugged seas of the Beagle Channel. Visit the seaside tourist information center to choose from several passport stamps.
3 Republic of San Marino
Last year we visited San Marino on an extended European rail trip and couldn’t resist getting our passport stamped. Apart from the Vatican (where you can’t stamp your passport), San Marino is the smallest country in Europe and the fifth largest in the world. The Republic of San Marino is an enclaved microstate just over 60 km2: in size.
Surrounded by Italy on all sides and with a population of 34,000, San Marino claims to be the world’s oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic. EU citizens must pay €5 to get their passport stamped at the tourist information office. Visitors from outside the EU will automatically receive an entry stamp.
4. Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, Quito, Ecuador
From the end of the world to the middle, the South American continent has quite a few claims to fame. 26 km north of Quito is Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (Half the World City), where the equator crosses Ecuador.
There is some confusion about where the equator is. Apparently, the equator is actually where the Ethnographic Museum monument is located, about 240 meters north of the marked line and the pyramidal monument on the official site. Both sites have ways to stamp your passport. cost is included in entry fees.
5. North Korea
Only about 1,500 Western tourists visit North Korea each year, making it one of the least visited countries in the world. It is the political and social opposition to entering such a closed and undemocratic country that makes this crossing such a prize for travelers.
Tourists must book a pre-arranged tour with two North Korean guides for company. Guides must be specially appointed by the country’s Ministry of Tourism and this can take about six to eight weeks to arrange. Passport stamps are issued upon entry.
6. Churchill, Canada, the polar bear capital of the world
The small town of Churchill in northern Manitoba is located on the western shore of Hudson Bay. Each fall, its large population of polar bears migrate inland to the coast, inspiring the name “Polar Bear Capital of the World.”
Polar bears lead the region’s growing ecotourism industry, where tourists can visit a polar bear prison, where bears that persistently wander into or near the city are kept until they are released into the wild in winter. You can get your passport unofficially stamped with a polar bear at the Churchill Post Office.
7 Machu Picchu, Peru
Most tourists to Peru will want to visit Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. In the 15th century, the Incan emperor Pachacutec built a city in the clouds on a mountain known as Machu Picchu (the old mountain).
When you enter the UNESCO World Heritage Site via the world-famous Inca Trail, there is an opportunity to have your passport stamped (included in the park entrance fee). If you miss this opportunity or don’t fancy the hike, there is also a small office just inside the entrance to the Inca ruins where you can also get your stamp.
8. Llanfairpwllgwyngyll-gogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysilio-gogogoch, Wales, UK
At 58 characters, this large Welsh village has the longest place name in Europe and the second longest official one-word place name in the world.
The little shop next to the train station is one of the main tourist attractions of Llanfairpwll (short name) and can stamp your passport with the full name Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. (We had to draw the title to fit on the page.)
9 Port Locroy, Antarctica
Not the easiest place in the world to enter, and for good reason. it is the southernmost continent on Earth and contains the South Pole. Most tourists visit from Chile or Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, but some make the epic journey from New Zealand or South Africa.
Antarctica is administered by more than 50 countries through the Antarctic Treaty System, so there are no official stamps in the passport. However, tour operators can arrange visits to scientific stations where visitors can receive souvenir stamps. One of the most popular stops for visiting cruise ships is the world’s southernmost post office at the historic British base of Port Lockroy on the Antarctic Peninsula.
10. New-Alesund, Svalbard
From one extreme to the other, New-Alesund on the island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard, Norway, is the northernmost permanent settlement in the world. Although there are research stations further north in Canada, Russia and Greenland, they are either not occupied for part of the year or are occupied by rotating teams of researchers. By comparison, New Ålesund has a permanent population of 35 in the summer and 114 in the summer.
It’s also home to the world’s northernmost post office, a blue building straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. This post office is no longer active, so those hoping to send a postcard should make a short trip to the nearest store and use the mailbox there.
An autonomous country within Denmark, Greenland is geographically part of North America, but politically part of Europe, although not part of the EU. Greenland is described as a country within the Kingdom of Denmark, even though it is 50 times the size of the “homeland”.
Its somewhat peculiar political and geographical status is what makes this passport stamp so unusual, not to mention its isolation, pristine glaciers and clean air.
12. Tristan da Cunha, South Atlantic
Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean is 2,434 km (1,512 mi) from St. Helena, 2,816 km (1,750 mi) from South Africa, and 3,360 km (2,090 mi) from South America. With a population of around 270, the main island of Tristan da Cunha is also the world’s most remote inhabited island.
It has no airport, so all travel must be by boat, making it the most remote inhabited place in terms of transport time as well. The boat journey to the nearest scheduled airport in South Africa takes five days. Upon arrival, visitors must receive a landing stamp, one of the most difficult passport stamps in the world. If you get here, you are either very committed or very delusional.
13. Government of Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordering Austria and Switzerland. With a population of just 39,000, Liechtenstein is the world’s sixth smallest sovereign state by area.
Not only is the tiny state landlocked, it is also one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world (Uzbekistan being the second), surrounded only by landlocked countries and requiring the crossing of at least two national borders to reach the coast.
14. Easter Island, Chile
It is Easter Island long way from anywhere. In fact, it is one of the most remote communities in the world. Its nearest populated neighbor is Pitcairn, 2,000 km (1,200 mi) to the west, while the nearest mainland country is Chile, 3,700 km (2,300 mi) away.
Additionally, the island of Motu Nui, just south of Easter Island, is one of the closest land masses to the Pole of Oceanic Inaccessibility, one of the most inaccessible places on the planet. In short, it’s not a short hop. So if you get here, make sure to get your passport stamped at the Rapa Nui Post Office.
15. Pitcairn Islands, Great Britain
The British really do not know what to do with this island of unruly inhabitants. With a population of just 47, it is the least populated national jurisdiction in the world. This isolated group of islands should be famous for its fantastic history of rebellion or the fact that it was one of the first areas to give women the vote (in 1838 some 80 years before the rest of the UK). Unfortunately, all this was overshadowed by a shocking child sex scandal.
Islands are among the most remote places on Earth. There is no airport, so supply ships and the occasional yacht are the islands’ only connection to the outside world. As such, his passport stamp, featuring the iconic HMS Bounty, is one of the rarest on the planet.
16. Republic of Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania
The self-proclaimed Republic of Užupis, located in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, is one of the world’s smallest republics, covering an area of less than 1 square km. The republic celebrates its independence on April 1, known locally as Uzhupis Day or April Fool’s Day.
Although it is not officially recognized by any state, it has its own flag, currency, president, government, constitution and, most importantly, its own passport stamp. Visitors can stamp them as they cross the “border” into the republic on an unguarded bridge.