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The smallest countries in the world, by size

The smallest countries in the world span every continent, and surprisingly, the list changes slightly if you measure by population or by size. This post will cover the smallest countries in the world by area, but you can see the smallest countries by population here.

And jump to the end to see which are the smallest countries on each continent.

This post covers recognized countries, but most of the unrecognized countries in the world would be on this list. Note that this was written using the most up-to-date population estimates and that these countries can move around on the list.

Smallest countries in the world by size

#CountryContinentSquare km (mi)Population
10MaltaEurope316 (122)475,701 (29th)
9MaldivesAsia300 (115)378,114 (25th)
8Saint Kitts and NevisNorth America261 (101)52,823 (8th
7Marshall IslandsOceania181 (70)55,000 (9th)
6LiechtensteinEurope160 (52)38,380 (7th)
5San MarinoEurope61 (24)33,431 (5th)
4TuvaluOceania26 (10)10,200 (2nd)
3NauruOceania21 (8.1)11,000 (3rd)
2MonacoEurope2 (.78)38,300 (6th)
1Vatican CityEurope.44 (.17)799 (1st)

You can find a full list of countries by area here.

Learn more about each of the smallest countries in the world:

10. Malta
The Republic of Malta is in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Italy. The country has three islands, Gozo Comino and Malta. Though it’s one of the smallest countries by area in the world, it has a population of over 450,000. The Azure Window in Gozo was one of its most trademark geographic features, but it collapsed into the sea in 2017.
Malta
9. The Maldives
The Maldives is the smallest country in Asia both by population and area, though it is spread across about 1200 islands and 90,000 square kilometers of ocean. The islands are each either designated as tourist islands or locals islands, though recently the government has started allowing for guesthouses in the local islands. It is famous for being the picture of a beach holiday destinations, with huts out over the water, snorkeling and diving and pristine beaches.
The Maldives
8. Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis is the smallest country in the Caribbean with its small population split between two islands.
Saint Kitts and Nevis
7. Marshall Islands
The Marshall Islands are in the Pacific Ocean, with about 55,000 people spread over 1,000 islands (though most are uninhabited). Half of the population live on the capital island, Majuro.
Marshall Islands
6. Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein often trades spots with Monaco on the list as populations change. Its bordering countries are Switzerland and Austria and they make it one of two double-landlocked countries (meaning its bordering countries are also landlocked). It boasts being one of the richest countries per capita in the world.
Liechtenstein
5. San Marino
The Republic of San Marino is the world’s oldest republic, founded in 301 AD. It is completely landlocked by Italy. The historic city center sits atop Mount Titano and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With an area of 61 square kilometers, it’s the fifth smallest country by area. San Marinese value freedom above all and enjoy long-held traditions of crossbow competitions and rotating leaders into their two-headed government.
San Marino
4. Tuvalu
The tiny island nation of Tuvalu is in Oceania, in the Pacific Ocean. It is the country with the lowest maximum elevation in the world, with its highest point 5 meters (15 feet) above sea level.
Tuvalu
3. Nauru
The most remote country in the world is the tiny, Pacific island nation of Nauru. It can only be reached on its national airline, Nauru Airlines. It was dependent on phosphate mining, but the main reserves were exhausted by 2006 and in recent years, has been more known as the nucleus of Australia’s immigration controversy.
Nauru
2. Monaco
The Principality of Monaco is located on the French Riviera and with a population of 38,300 in its world’s second-smallest area of 2 square kilometers, it is the most densely populated in the world. Home to the Monte Carlo casino, the Formula 1 Grand Prix, countless yachts, luxury shopping and beautiful architecture. It’s also Europe’s only microstate with a seaport.
Monaco
1. Vatican City
Vatican City boasts being the smallest country in the world both by size and population. Also known as Holy See, it is the smallest in the world that is also recognized by the UN. It is .44 square kilometers and within the borders of Rome. With less than 1000 actual residents, it isn’t hard that the population triples with visitors every day. It’s home to the Pope, the Catholic Church and the largest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica. Its small citizenship is only granted to those who work in the Vatican itself, and its missions. It is the most controversial of the recognized “states” on this list as many argue that it doesn’t meet the traditional requirements for statehood.
Vatican City

Population: 475,701 (29th)
Continent: Europe
Area: 316 km²

The Republic of Malta is in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Italy. The country has three islands, Gozo Comino and Malta. Though it’s one of the smallest countries by area in the world, it has a population of over 450,000. The Azure Window in Gozo was one of its most trademark geographic features, but it collapsed into the sea in 2017.

Malta micronation Popeye Village

Population: 378,114 (25th)
Continent: Asia
Area: 300 km²

The Maldives is the smallest country in Asia both by population and area, though it is spread across about 1200 islands and 90,000 square kilometers of ocean. The islands are each either designated as tourist islands or locals islands, though recently the government has started allowing for guesthouses in the local islands. It is famous for being the picture of a beach holiday destination, with huts out over the water, snorkeling and diving and pristine beaches.

Maldives smallest country in Asia

Population: 52,823 (8th)
Continent: North America (Caribbean)
Area: 261 km²

Saint Kitts and Nevis is the smallest country in the Caribbean with its small population split between two islands.

Lush hills of Saint Kitts and Nevis with beaches

Population: 55,000 (9th)
Continent: Oceania
Area: 181 km²

The Marshall Islands are in the Pacific Ocean, with about 55,000 people spread over 1,000 islands (though most are uninhabited). Half of the population live on the capital island, Majuro.

Marshall Islands near Majuro

Population: 38,380 (7th)
Continent: Europe
Area: 160 km²

Liechtenstein often trades spots with Monaco on the list as populations change. Its bordering countries are Switzerland and Austria and they make it one of two double-landlocked countries (meaning its bordering countries are also landlocked). It boasts being one of the richest countries per capita in the world.

Liechtenstein Castle

Population: 33,431 (5th)
Continent: Europe
Area: 61 km²

The Republic of San Marino is the world’s oldest republic, founded in 301 AD. It is completely landlocked by Italy. The historic city center sits atop Mount Titano and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With an area of 61 square kilometers, it’s the fifth smallest country by area. San Marinese value freedom above all and enjoy long-held traditions of crossbow competitions and rotating leaders into their two-headed government.

Read more about visiting San Marino here.

READ  Visiting San Marino – the least visited country in Europe

Population: 10,200 (2nd)
Continent: Oceania
Area: 26 km²

The tiny island nation of Tuvalu is in Oceania, in the Pacific Ocean. It is the country with the lowest maximum elevation in the world, with its highest point 5 meters (15 feet) above sea level.

Tuvalu Oceania

Population: 11,000 (3rd)
Continent: Oceania
Area: 21 km²

The most remote country in the world is the tiny, Pacific island nation of Nauru. It can only be reached on its national airline, Nauru Airlines. It was dependent on phosphate mining, but the main reserves were exhausted by 2006 and in recent years, has been more known as the nucleus of Australia’s immigration controversy.

Nauru phosphate mining
Image credit: Gunnar Garfors

Population: 38,300 (6th)
Continent: Europe
Area: 2.02 km²

The Principality of Monaco is located on the French Riviera and with a population of 38,300 in its world’s second-smallest area of 2 square kilometers, it is the most densely populated in the world. Home to the Monte Carlo casino, the Formula 1 Grand Prix, countless yachts, luxury shopping and beautiful architecture. It’s also Europe’s only microstate with a seaport.

Prinicipality of Monaco harbor and the Rock

Population: 799 (1st)
Continent: Europe
Area: .44 km²

Vatican City boasts being the smallest country in the world both by size and population. Also known as Holy See, it is the smallest in the world that is also recognized by the UN. It is .44 square kilometers and within the borders of Rome. With less than 1000 actual residents, it isn’t hard that the population triples with visitors every day. It’s home to the Pope, the Catholic Church and the largest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica.

Its small citizenship is only granted to those who work in the Vatican itself, and its missions. It is the most controversial of the recognized “states” on this list as many argue that it doesn’t meet the traditional requirements for statehood.

Smallest country in the world Vatican City

Smallest countries in the world by continent

The smallest populations in the world on this list are primarily in the microstates of Europe, the Pacific and the Caribbean. But here are the smallest populations if you look at it by continent.

Continent
Population
Area
Smallest country in Africa:
Seychelles (90,945)
Seychelles (451 km²)
Smallest country in Asia:
The Maldives (345,000)
The Maldives (300 km²)
Smallest country in Europe:
Vatican City (799)
Vatican City (.44 km²)
Smallest country in Oceania:
Tuvalu (10,200)
Nauru (21 km²)
Smallest country in North America:
Saint Kitts and Nevis (46,204)
Saint Kitts and Nevis (261 km²)
Smallest country in South America:
Suriname (560,000)
Suriname (163,820 km²)

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Text: Tiniest countries in the world, image: waters of Tuvalu

Text: Tiniest countries in the world, image: pink sunset in SeychellesText: Tiniest countries in the world, image: aerial view of small islands, blue waters

 

The smallest countries in the world span every continent, and surprisingly, inland and islands. These are the 10 smallest countries in the world by area.#travel #smallestcountries

Founder of How Dare She, Jessica is on a mission to visit every country in the world, and bring you along with through photos, video and stories. 6 continents and 104 countries in. She has a BA in journalism and Master's in innovation and change, but her real skill is plugging in a USB in 2 or less tries (most of the time). She believes daring isn't about being fearless, but choosing to opt in, in spite of fear. She dares to see, taste, experience and meet the world as she goes.

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