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Take a Visual Journey Through 7 of the World’s Smallest Countries

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 .


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


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).

See more photos from inside San Marino »

Liechtenstein (62 square miles)

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


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

See more photos from inside Liechtenstein »

Saint Kitts and Nevis (104 square miles)

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


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


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.)

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