When you’re making your (ever-growing) travel bucket list, we suggest you add another layer to your brainstorming: passport stamps. Not all ink pads are created equally, and these uber-cool illustrations prove that. While some of these stamps aren’t government official, they’ll still give variety to your book and give you something to talk about as you check them off with every airline ticket you book. Here are some of the world’s most interesting — and coolest! — passport stamps on the globe.
1. Churchill, Canada
If you love polar bears, you don’t need another excuse to visit this small town in Northern Manitoba. This destination might be very cold, but it’s also known as the polar bear capital of the world, and for good reason: Every fall, polar bears gravitate toward Churchill’s shores, creating quite an attraction for tourism. When you take a moment to stop admiring the white beauties, stop by the Churchill Post Office, where you can get an unofficial stamp with your favorite animal on it.
Technically not a country but a continent, the home of the South Pole doesn’t offer a passport upon entry. Instead, if you are brave enough to make your way to this freezing, yet breathtaking, destination, you can ask tour operators to bring you to various stations or post offices that offer an unofficial stamp to add to your book.
3. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales, UK
Aren’t you glad this isn’t the name of your town that you have to write on all of your envelopes and type on your online shopping sprees? Whew, us too. Though it’s not the longest town name in the world, it is the longest in Europe with 58 characters. If you want to get the whole name stamped on your passport (and heck, if you learn how to say it, why not?) — stop by The James Pringle Weavers shop to claim it.
4. El Fin Del Mundo, Ushuaia, Argentina
When you’re visiting South America and venturing through the wine countries of Argentina, you might not consider going to the furthermost southern part of the country... but if you want a really cool stamp, you should. This area is known for it’s beautiful, gorgeous views of clear, blue water, a quintessential lighthouse and the breathtaking site of the Martial Mountains, and might be a nice addition to your trip. While you’re there, stop by the tourist center to pick one of two fun (unofficial) passport stamps to prove you made it this far south.
5. Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin
You might have to take a mental trip back to high school to remember the important of Checkpoint Charlie during the Cold War. If you forgot (no judgement), it was the border used to cross between East and West Berlin for 28 years. Though it hasn’t been used since 1990, you can visit the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie Museum to get your own commemorative, unofficial passport stamp for a few euros.
6. Machu Picchu, Peru
You don’t need much of a reason to visit Machu Picchu — just take one glimpse at the gorgeous surroundings (and tons of Instagram photo opps) and you’ll be ready to book a trip to one of the seven wonders of the world. The way to get your passport stamped with the beautiful ink replica of the peak is by visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site as you hike along the Inca Trail. The stamp is included as part of the park entrance fee and will definitely be one you want to show off to your friends when you return.
7. North Korea
You have a one in 1,500 chance to get picked for a visit to North Korea each year, and if you’re one of the lucky (or should we say, brave) ones, you’ll gain a cool stamp on your passport. But that might be the easiest part of your trip: To gain entry into the country, you have to book a tour with two approved guides that were appointed by North Korea’s Ministry of Tourism. It’s not easy, but if you really want that stamp, you’ll have to go through the six- to eight-week process and cross your fingers for approval.
8. Republic of San Marino
Not sure where San Marino is? It’s actually a state within Europe (the smallest, apart from the Vatican) and is surrounded by Italy. It’s only about 23 square miles with a population of 33,000, but has plenty of sites to see. From the The Castle atop a hill to the towers on Monte Titano, this gorgeous mini European getaway offers something for every tourist. If you’re from outside of the EU, you’ll get a cute stamp when you enter the Republic, but if you’re part of the EU, you’ll have to pay a few euros to claim your travel.
9. Tristan Da Cunha, South Atlantic Ocean
You must have some severe wanderlust if you make it to what’s considered one of the most remote inhabited island in the world. It has no airport, meaning all travel must be via boat. And given it has a population of only 270, you might need to know how to operate your transportation yourself. And being 1,512 miles from Saint Helena, 1,750 miles from South Africa, and 2,090 miles from South America — you probably need to know more than just how to paddle. If you do make it though, you’ll get a landing stamp and you can consider yourself one of the few to check it off your list.
This teeny nation only has three residents. That's right — only three! Even so, this destination that’s located on the northern Mediterranean coast of Israel has its own passport stamp. You can see the whole 2.5 acres in just a few hours, and even visit the museum.
11. Cayman Islands
While you might be surprised to see that the Cayman Islands' stamp symbol isn’t a pile of money (we were too), we’re a little obsessed with it’s illustration. This "Sir Turtle" was designed by Suzy Soto in 1963 and has remained the official passport stamp ever since.
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