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)
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.
Monaco (0.7 square miles)
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.
San Marino (24 square miles)
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).
Liechtenstein (62 square miles)
Liechtenstein, a German-speaking country located between Switzerland and Austria, is the only country located entirely within the Alps.
Saint Kitts and Nevis (104 square miles)
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.
Malta (122 square miles)
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.
Palau (191 square miles)
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.
Top image: Guaita fortress in San Marino by Caminoel