There are 195 independent countries in the world, and 17 of those are smaller than 200 square miles (322 km). To put it in context, that amount of land could fit inside Berlin 2.7 times; inside the smallest US state, Rhode Island, 6 times; and inside Australia more than 14,000 times.

Of the world’s smallest countries, 12 are islands or groups of islands, and all 17 are spread across the globe, from Asia to Europe to South America. Below, we explore a few of those tiny nations, taking you from a place that’s only 0.2 square miles to a country that seems huge in comparison, with 191 square miles.

Vatican City (0.2 square miles)

San Peter Cupola at sunset by Luciano Mortula. Image by Luciano Mortula .

Pictured: [1] Spiral stairs of the Vatican Museums. Image by Catarina Belova [2] Swiss Guard at the Vatican Museums door. Image by Luis Santos [3] Sunrise over the St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City. Image by M.V. Photography

Vatican City, a walled country within the city of Rome, Italy, is the smallest independent state in the world in both land mass and population, with only 842 residents.

See more photos from inside Vatican City »

Monaco (0.7 square miles)

Luxury yachts in harbor of Monaco. Image by Boris Stroujko

Pictured: [1] Street in Monaco Village. Image by karamysh [2] Yacht sailing in the Mediterranean Sea. Image by Valentin Valkov [3] Prince’s Palace of Monaco. Image by irisphoto1

Everything about Monaco, a country best-known for Monte Carlo, screams “luxury.” Located on the French Riviera, Monaco is the smallest country with a coastline, and the most densely populated country in the world.

See more photos from inside Monaco »

San Marino (24 square miles)

Buildings in San Marino. Image by Andrey Bayda
Guaita tower in the fortifications of San Marino. Image by Angela N Perryman

With a population of more than 30,000 people, San Marino is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Similar to Vatican City, San Marino is completely surrounded by another country (also Italy).

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Liechtenstein (62 square miles)

Landscape view on Balzers village with Saint Nicholas Church in Liechtenstein. Image by RossHelen

Pictured: [1] Beautiful panorama of Liechtenstein. Image by Lukasz Janyst [2] Tourist train visiting famous red house with vineyard in Vaduz city. Image by RossHelen [3] Liechtenstein Castle. Image by Boris Stroujko

Liechtenstein, a German-speaking country located between Switzerland and Austria, is the only country located entirely within the Alps.

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Saint Kitts and Nevis (104 square miles)

Panorama of Saint Kitts and its capital Basseterre during sunset. Image by mbrand85

Pictured: [1] Port Zante in Basseterre town, St. Kitts And Nevis. Image by mikolajn [2] St. Kitts Brimstone Hill Fortress. Image by Mitchell Bloom [3] Cloudy rainforest peak in the highlands of Saint Kitt. Image by Jason Patrick Ross

Caribbean island group Saint Kitts and Nevis gained independence from the UK in 1983, and Nevis has been trying to separate itself from Saint Kitts since 1998. The country is volcanic and mountainous, with 84 miles of coastline.

See more photos from inside Saint Kitts and Nevis »

Malta (122 square miles)

Narrow street in Valletta, capital of Malta. Image by liseykina

Pictured: [1] Re-enactment portraying the inspection of the fort and its garrison by the Grand Bailiff of the Order of the Knights of St. John. Image by Anibal Trejo [2] Can of local beer Cisk. Image by [3] Church dome in Valletta, Malta. Image by Anibal Trejo

Located on the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is an archipelago comprised of seven islands, only three of which are inhabited. The nation has reinvented itself as a financial center and a tourist attraction since gaining independence from the UK in 1964.

See more photos from inside Malta »

Palau (191 square miles)

Milky Way in Palau. Image by howamo

Located in the Pacific Ocean, the country of Palau consists of more than 300 islands spread across six island groups. Palau’s famous Milky Way lagoon (seen in the image above) is a natural spa where visitors can take a white mud bath to feel refreshed.

Palau coastline on a summer day. Image by Ratikova

See more photos from inside Palau »


Browse our “It’s a Small World” lightbox for even more photos from each of the world’s 17 smallest countries »

Top image: Guaita fortress in San Marino by Caminoel

(Data via the US Department of State, and the CIA’s World Factbook.)