Everyone has heard of Russia, Canada, the USA, China, and Brazil and for good reason — they are the five largest countries in the world. But have you heard of Nauru or Tuvalu?
Did you know there are countries that are smaller than one square mile? Yes, you read that right. Countries, not cities. Tiny places with their own governments, laws, and unique histories.
So, where are these small countries? What is there to do there? Do people actually live in a country that is less than one square mile? And what is the smallest country in the world? Without further ado, let’s look at the 10 smallest countries in the world.
122 square miles
The smallest country in Asia, the Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean and is home to approximately 329,000 people. However, more people — almost 900,000 — visit the gorgeous island every year as tourists.
Known for its luxurious resorts, stunning white sandy beaches, and amazing crystal-clear turquoise waters, the Maldives is a tourist haven.
However, despite being known for its beaches, bikinis are PROHIBITED and women should have their thighs and shoulders covered at all times. This is because of the Muslim culture strictly followed in the country.
However, resorts popular with Westerners usually turn a blind eye and in practice the rules only apply in areas frequented by locals.
107 square miles
Home to approximately 81,000 people, the Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean, north east of Madagascar, and is considered part of Africa.
Like the Maldives, it is best known as a tourist attraction with gorgeous sites and a huge array of 5 star resorts. It is perfect for water enthusiasts as snorkelling, fishing, and scuba diving can be done year-round.
The Seychelles is also home to the world’s largest single piece of coral, Aldabra Atoll, where you can see tiger sharks, manta rays, and the giant land tortoise.
For anyone interested in becoming a doctor, it is worth noting that you can obtain an American medical degree at The University of Seychelles.
8 Saint Kitts and Nevis
104 square miles
Located in the Eastern Caribbean, Saint Kitts and Nevis is home to approximately 39,000 residents.
It is another tiny island nation and is known for its breathtaking views of the Caribbean sea and being a perfect family vacation destination spot. It is home to Mount Liamuiga, a dormant volcano, that is perfect for hiking.
There is also a rain forest on the island that features tours led by locals. You can see everything from monkeys to mongooses and more birds than you could ever imagine.
Between the volcanic mountains, beautiful beaches, and lush rainforests, St. Kitts and Nevis is a great place to visit. The locals are also known to be extremely friendly to tourists.
7 Marshall Islands
70 square miles
Located in the Central Pacific Ocean near Hawaii and the Philippines, the Marshall Islands are home to approximately 65,000 people. They are best known for being the location used for nuclear testing by the US between 1947 to 1962.
The Marshall Islands are a popular vacation spot for people interested in World War II because a significant amount of action took place in the area. There are numerous sunken ships in the waters around the islands, which attract divers.
The country is also home to the world’s largest atoll, Kwajalein, and is the perfect place to find a wide variety of shells.
62 square miles
This tiny country is the first country on our list which is not an island nation — and is in fact completely landlocked. It is located along the Rhine River between Austria and Switzerland in the Alps.
The population is almost 37,000 and it is the smallest — and richest (per capita) — German speaking country in the world.
In recent years, the people of Liechtenstein have expressed concern over the growing number of foreign residents (over a third of the population) that have moved into the country, believing that it was beginning to lose its cultural identity.
As a result, immigration policies are very restrictive and very few people are allowed to permanently move into Liechtenstein any more. In other words, if you have ever dreamed of living in a small country, you can take this one off of your list.
5 San Marino
24 square miles
This tiny country is considered to be the oldest sovereign state in the world, having been established in 302 A.D. It is located in north central Italy atop Monte Titano, and is home to around 29,000 people.
It truly is a beautiful country with gorgeous scenery from the top of the mountain.
Its most famous landmark is The Three Towers, two medieval castles that have been perfectly preserved and are considered architectural marvels. Perched atop the mountain, you can see a 360 degree view of the countryside.
Interestingly enough, San Marino is one of the few countries in the world that you can visit on a whim. To attract tourists, they do not require you to have a passport to enter the country from Italy.
9 square miles
Tuvalu was known as Ellice Island until it gained its independence from Britain in 1978.
It is part of the Polynesian islands, located between Hawaii and Australia in the Pacific Ocean. Approximately 12,000 people call this island chain home.
The nine square miles are divided among six atolls and three reef islands. It is important to note that planning a trip to Tuvalu should not be done too far in advance.
It is said that the islands are sinking and could disappear all together due to Global Warming. Also, you can leave your cellphone at home if you visit Tuvalu; there is absolutely no cellphone service on the islands.
8.5 square miles
Located deep in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 25 miles from the equator, this island is home to around 10,000 people. It is truly isolated with its closest neighbor, Australia, being over 2,485 miles away.
In the past, Nauru discouraged visitors because there was fear that too many people could endanger its fragile ecosystem, but in the last couple of years, they have opened up to the idea of tourism. In fact, they even have their own airline to make it easier for tourists to arrive.
While it is a beautiful country with gorgeous beaches and unspoilt reefs perfect for scuba diving, it is important to remember this is a tiny country. As a result, drinking water and electricity are at a premium.
0.7 square miles
Monaco is located along the French Riviera on the Mediterranean coast of France.
Although it is less than a mile square, it is home to an astounding 39,000 residents. It has one of the largest population densities in the world with 16,477 people per square kilometer.
Although Monaco is small, it is known as a hangout for the rich and famous. The Monaco Grand Prix and the local Monte-Carlo Casino are the two top tourist attractions. The casino has been the setting for three James Bond movies and is considered classy and very upscale.
If you plan to visit, be aware that the only way to enter Monaco is by train, helicopter, or yacht. There is not even room for airplanes to land.
1 Vatican City
0.2 square miles
Completely surrounded by the Italian city of Rome, the Vatican City is the sovereign territory of the Holy See and home to the Pope. The population is approximately 840, with only 450 people actually having citizenship.
There are exactly 13 families that live here. However, about half of the 450 do not live in the Vatican year round due to their jobs.
Most are diplomatic personnel. There are serious rules about conduct for residents including a midnight curfew for everyone, a strict dress code, and essentially, no fun is to be had.
One good thing about living in the Vatican, though, is that residents do not play taxes on anything.
Most tourists to the Vatican come to see the Vatican, the Pope, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and various museums.