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Which Nations Make The List Of The Top Ten Smallest Countries In The World?
Summer is here and what do many of us love to do during the summer? Yes, travel. When thinking about places we want to visit, some of you make considerations based on recommendations or places you wish to cross off your bucket list. Have you ever wondered what the top ten smallest countries in the world were?
I was taking a look at great places to visit for a long weekend, four to five days, and did a search for small warm countries. That gave me the idea to put together a post about the top ten smallest countries in the world.
I have been to some of them and would like to visit all on this list someday. As a busy bee, I love to travel, always have and always will. With a toddler now in tow, it makes it a little harder but I love challenges!
More than that, I love to plan and organize, so whenever we are travelling, I take care of tickets, hotel, car service etc. We tend to plan the places we visit also while leaving a little room for spontaneity.
What I Do When Planning Our Family Holiday
As a frequent flyer, I LOVE to travel, explore new countries and cities.
When I travel, I like to use GPSmyCity. It is an app where you can create your very own self-guided city walking tour guide for over 700 cities across the world.
It uses the GPS tracking on your phone to find your location, guide you around the city, and make sure you are able to complete all the activities you have saved.
Some of the articles I have written on travel have been featured on this app.
For example, you can view my article 5 Bargain Food Markets in Vienna You Should Not Miss.
If you ever visit, the app will guide you through the city and make sure you arrive at any of the destinations featured in the article. Not only will you not get lost, but this wonderful app will guide you from one place to the next.
The “Find Me” tool will alert you if you are going in the wrong direction.
Narrowing Down Places To Visit
There are 196 countries in the world today, with only Kosovo, Vatican City and Taiwan not being UN Members.
Although Taiwan operates as an independent country, many countries do not officially recognize it as one.
There are many countries in the world with an area of less than 400 square kilometers. Most of these are found in Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.
The top ten smallest countries in the world cover a total area of 1491.4 km² which is smaller than the area of the city of Houston, Texas which has 1625.2 km². Unbelievable right?
So now, without further diversion, here are the top ten smallest countries in the world by total land area.
Some of the coziest nations, islands, and places on the planet.
10 – Grenada
Grenada, also known as “The Island of Spice.” is a nation in the Caribbean, north-west of Trinidad and Tobago. The air is said to have a spicy tinge to it.
Of the top ten smallest countries in the world, it is the largest. Small rivers with beautiful waterfalls flow into the sea from mountains such as Mount St. Catherine.
Grenada was colonized by the French from 1649 to 1763. After the French, the British took control of the island. Grenada gained independence on February 7, 1974.
Grenada is the home of the world’s first underwater sculpture park.
The sculpture park was built by artist and a diver, Jason De Caires Taylor in 2006, after a hurricane wiped out much of the coral reef.
Ever heard about Leatherback turtles? They are the largest living species of reptile seen on the beaches of Grenada.
Levera Beach is home to Grenada’s largest Leatherback nesting population. There are only 35,000 female Leatherback turtles left in the world, which adds them to the list of endangered species.
The Grenada dove, which is also an endangered species, is the national bird of Grenada.
9 – Malta
Malta is an island country, in the Mediterranean Sea.
One of my favourite places in the world. Three major islands make up the Republic of Malta. Gozo, Comino, and the largest of the three being Malta.
A beautiful archipelago also known as the “Heart of the Mediterranean.”
As a busy bee, I was quite amused when I learned the name of the island nation is supposedly derived from a Greek word meaning “honey.”
The island has an endemic species of bee, which produces a unique type of honey.
Malta is an intriguing country with thousands of years of history and world-class architecture.
We enjoyed our visit to Malta except for the disastrous tour bus incident.
Malta is home to the seven Megalithic Temples one of it’s three UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The other two are: Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum and Valletta.
Valletta is the capital city of Malta and has more than 300 monuments.
The city is known to be the most concentrated historical areas in the world according to UNESCO. Valetta is the smallest national capital in all of Europe.
There are more than 365 churches on the Maltese islands so if you are the adventurous type who loves a challenge, you could have a different church to pray in every day of the year!
8 – Maldives
Of the top ten smallest countries in the world, the Maldives is high on my bucket list of places I want to visit. Just look at those white sand beaches and clear blue water!
My hubby has been to the Maldives and raves about its beauty.
In terms of area and population, the Maldives is the smallest country in Asia.
There are over 1,192 coral islands in the Maldives!
Who wouldn’t want to pack up their bags and go there on holiday or even move there?
The Maldives was once the colony the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British, and gained independence in 1965.
Many tourists flock to the Maldives to go whale watching. Dwarf sperm whales, pilot whales, killer whales, bottlenose dolphins as well as striped and spotted dolphins are just some of the sea creatures you will spot when visiting the Maldives.
If you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the world’s largest fish, the Whale Shark.
Unknown to many, the Maldives was originally a Buddhist nation. Today, it is a Muslim nation, where the Shari’a and Ja’fari laws are represented on the islands.
The first Underwater Cabinet Meeting was held in Maldives in 2009, to raise awareness on climate change.
Maldives is the lowest and flattest country in the world.
7 – Saint Kitts and Nevis
Welcome to the West Indies. The full name of St Kitts and Nevis is Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis.
These two islands in the Caribbean is home to a population of about 45,000 people. Around a quarter of them live in the capital city, Basseterre.
St Kitts is larger than Nevis and is roughly oval shaped except for a narrow, long peninsula.Nevis is surrounded by gorgeous coral reefs.
St. Kitts and Nevis gained full independence from the United Kingdom in 1983.
You’ll be able to appreciate the variety of cultures that have influenced the island, from Georgian-era architecture, Chinese street stalls, a Jewish cemetery and locals speaking African-influenced Creole.
The average temperature in Basseterre is 26°C, whatever the season. Just my kind of weather.
Not too hot, not to0 cold. Perfect weather to go for a swim and spend the entire day and evening outside.
St. Kitts was formed by volcanoes, all of which are now dormant. The tallest is the 3,792ft Mount Liamuiga is thought to have last erupted 200 years ago. Let’s hope it doesn’t erupt again anytime soon.
The “Giant’s Salad Bowl” is an extensive network of hiking routes through the rain forest.
The paths can be tricky to navigate so it’s worth going with a guide.
On reaching the top, you’re rewarded with views into the extinct volcano’s crater.
St. Kitts is still often called Sugar-Cane Island or Sugar City.
Check out the monkeys of St. Kitts & Nevis here.
6 – Liechtenstein
Here at number six of the world smallest countries is one of my neighbours, Liechtenstein.
It is the only nation in the world to be completely located in the Alps.
Located between Switzerland and Austria (my home), Liechtenstein is the richest country in the world and has the lowest unemployment rate.
One thing they don’t have is an Airport! What? Yup, tricky when trying to make travel plans!
Visitors must go through Zurich Airport in Switzerland to arrive in Liechtenstein. It takes about 2,5 hours by car.
Liechtenstein is one of only two ‘doubly landlocked’ countries. It is landlocked and all its bordering countries are landlocked also.
Liechtenstein does not have a railway station either.
The capital is Vaduz with a population of about 5,429 residents as of 2015.
On Liechtenstein’s national holiday, His Serene Highness Prince Hans-Adam II, the head of state, and his son, His Serene Highness Hereditary Prince Alois, invite the residents of their tiny principality to have a beer in the garden of Vaduz Castle.
Just like here in Austria, German is the country’s official language.
Most residents of Liechtenstein speak an Alemannic German dialect.
Want to rent a country?
In 2011, you could rent the country of Liechtenstein for $70,000 a night! Just imagine that.
Celebrating your birthday, a wedding, or just having friends over! Hahahaha.
The idea came from Airbnb and a Liechtenstein-based marketing firm.
If you rented the country, you would be provided with accommodation for 150 guests, a symbolic key to the state, a wine tasting with Prince Hans-Adam II, and your own temporary currency for the night!
If money was no object, I could see myself doing this. Could you?
Curious About The Top Five? Let’s keep going.
5 – San Marino
The Republic of San Marino is a country surrounded by Italy and is also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino.
San Marino is said to be the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world.
The City of San Marino is the capital of San Marino, although Dogana is the country’s largest city.
Pictures of the first tower of San Marino and the city walls that offer a passage from one tower to another are often mistaken for the Great Wall of China!
4 – Tuvalu
Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu, a Polynesian island nation is located in the Pacific Ocean, northeast of Australia. Its neighbours being, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji.
The capital is Funafuti with a population of 6,000 which makes up about 56.6 percent of Tuvalu’s population.
Once a British territory, Tuvalu gained independence in 1978.
Nanumea, Tuvalu is the largest island in the island nation of Tuvalu. It lies in the northern most point of Tuvalu.
Vaitupu is the only island of Tuvalu which has the only secondary school in the country.
Due to low elevation, the islands that make up this nation are vulnerable to the effects of tropical cyclones.
The official languages of Tuvalu are Tuvaluan, English and Samoan.
We Are Down To The Top Three Of The Top Ten Smallest Countries In The World!
Are you surprised so far at the top ten smallest countries in the world?
Before you continue reading, can you guess what the top three will be?
3 – Nauru
An island nation located east of Australia, Nauru is the smallest island nation in the world. The island is surrounded by a coral reef.
It is the only republican state in the world without an official capital.
The district of Yaren is Nauru’s largest community and the closest thing the island has to an official capital.
The island’s police and earth stations, administration offices, parliament house, and only international airport are all situated here. In 2003, Yaren’s entire population is approximately 1,100 people.
British sea captain John Fearn, a whale hunter, became the first Westerner to visit Nauru in 1798, giving Nauru the name “Pleasant Island.”
Nauru was first inhabited by Micronesian and Polynesian people at least 3,000 years ago.
There were traditionally 12 ethnic groups on Nauru, which are represented in the 12-pointed star on the country’s flag. Nauru became independent in 1968.
Nauru is also known as the country with the most obese people in the world, with 97% of its men and 93% of women being obese or overweight. 40% of its population suffers from Type 2 Diabetes!
Nauru is the least-visited country in the world, with only 200 tourists visiting the country in 2011.
2 – Monaco
You expected this one didn’t you?
The second of the top ten smallest countries in the world, located on the French Riviera is Monaco.
Home to the largest number of millionaires and billionaires in the world, and most popularly known for its gambling and luxury goods and services industry.
You have heard about Monaco being a favourite destination of the rich and famous.
Money flowing 24/7, gambling in casinos, the popular annual Formula 1 Grand Prix races, with tracks passing through the city streets, makes it the perfect playground for the rich.
Three sides surrounded by France and its southern side facing the Mediterranean Sea makes it an ideal destination for tourists.
Every citizen of Monaco enjoys a tax-free lifestyle although citizens of Monaco are not allowed to gamble nor even visit the casinos. Only tourists are allowed to play. Not fair!
The country survives solely on the revenue generated by its tourism and casinos.
No airport in Monaco means no planes. So if you own a private jet or are intending to fly to Monaco anytime soon, sorry! No can do.
You can the train, a helicopter or a yacht.
Most tourists opt to fly to Cote d’Azur Airport in Nice, France. From Nice, you are about a 30-minute drive to Monaco.
Monaco has been ruled by the descendants of François Grimaldi, a Genoese leader of the Guelphs for over 712 years.
The natives to Monaco are called Monegasque.
A person born in a foreign country but resident in Monaco is a Monacoian.
The native Monegasques people are in the minority as they make up less than a fifth of Monaco’s population. The rest of Monaco’s population is made up of wealthy foreigners.
AND HERE WE ARE…..NUMBER ONE OF THE TOP TEN SMALLEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD
1 – The Vatican
There you have it. Number one on the list of top ten smallest countries in the world is The Vatican.
Did you guess that?
Officially, it is known as Vatican City State or the State of Vatican City, located within the city of Rome.
It is the smallest state in the world by both area and population. The Vatican is the center of the Catholic Church.
Within Vatican City are religious and cultural sites such as the biggest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica.
It is also home to the Sistine Chapel. If you look closely enough, you will notice that the tree from which Eve plucks the forbidden fruit in the Sistine Chapel is actually a fig tree, not an apple tree, which is clear by the shapes of its leaves.
The Vatican Museums house some of the world’s most famous paintings and sculptures. Included are The Pietà and the Creation of Adam feature as well.
The Pope is the sovereign of the state and exercises principal law, executive, and judicial power over the State of Vatican City.
As the Pope is an elected non-hereditary monarch which means he is now the only absolute monarch in Europe.
The Vatican does not actually have an official language. People speak Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish.
The Vatican City possesses a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site status. It is the only site to encompass a whole country.
What do you think? Are you surprised by any of the countries that make the top ten smallest countries in the world?
How many places on this list have you been to? Any on your bucket list?
Share your comments, thoughts and feedback with me in the comments section below.