Cramped city streets, overcrowded tourist attractions, and lines that never seem to end — these are all common sights when visiting some of the world’s most popular destinations. But if you’re looking for a more intimate travel experience, exploring small countries can be just the ticket. Even though these countries may be small, they are bursting with culture, history, and landscapes that make them worth the visit.
1. Vatican City
The smallest country in the world is by no means the least powerful. Vatican City is a 0.44 km2 enclave in the heart of Italy’s capital and has revenues of more than $300,000,000 per annum — it even has its own coins and investment bank.
Monaco is a principality on the edge of southern France, famed for its beautiful maritime mountains, a Formula One circuit, and the highest population density in the world. This 2 km2 country is also a tax haven, attracting the wealthiest people on the planet.
Nauru is the world’s smallest republic, boasting the smallest election turnout known to humankind. The 21 km2 island nation is in the South Pacific Ocean and has a population of only 13,000 people.
Tuvalu became the poster child for climate change. However, the green lobbyists have gone quiet since experts discovered the sea isn’t rising and the islands are growing. It means at 26 km2, Tuvalu may grow big enough to leave this list one day.
5. San Marino
At 61 km2, San Marino makes it onto the list. This republic nestles in the Italian Apennine Range and holds a population of 29,000. Europe has a few tiny nations within its borders — remnants of a more feudal, fractured Europe.
Like Monaco, Liechtenstein is another European tax haven boasting some beautiful old castles and a poor soccer team. This mountainous state of 34,000 residents sits between Switzerland and Austria.
7. Marshall Islands
This collection of 1,156 tropical islands contains 58,000 scattered residents and is famous for its vast shark sanctuary, protecting species across 2,000,000 km2. However, the Marshall Islands’ total land mass is only 181 km2.
8. Saint Kitts and Nevis
The Caribbean country has two volcanic islands totaling a landmass of 261 km2. Curiously, the nation is a federal constitutional monarchy in the British Commonwealth. King Charles will soon be on their currency.
9. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
St. Vincent’ and the Grenadines’ landmass is divided into 600 islands, covering a total area of 280 km2, and this nation also falls under Commonwealth rule. Most of its islands are inhabited, though there is a population of 117,000.
We step into the Indian Ocean now with the world-famous collection of tiny atolls that stretch 300 km2, boasting the smallest sovereign state in the world. The Maldives is best known for its pristine waters and top-end luxury resort holidays.
Malta is a republic spread over three islands in the southern Mediterranean Sea. The islands have been under various control over the years. Anyone from the Phoenicians to the Romans to the Moors left a mark. The 326 km2 nation’s cuisine and culture are evidence of this.
The Caribbean region is peppered with constitutional monarchies, including Grenada, which makes up part of the Lesser Grenadines archipelago. With a landmass of 344 km2, most of the 90,000 people live on the north island.
An archipelago that is technically in the Atlantic Ocean, Barbados is classified as a Caribbean island. The stunning white sand beaches attract thousands of annual visitors, making the 430 km2 nation the most visited part of the West Indies.
14. Antigua & Barbuda
Equally as beautiful as Barbados is the neighboring Antigua and Barbuda. These islands are home to world-class beaches, secluded bays, and the set for Pirates of the Caribbean. 442 km2 holds a population of 69,000.
The smallest African sovereign state, Seychelles, is an archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is so far from anything, its nearest neighbor is Somalia, some 1600 km away.
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