If you are plan­ning your next trip but want to make it more orig­i­nal, this list con­tains very small coun­tries that are also the best trav­el des­ti­na­tions. This type of coun­try is called microstates. Most of them are less than 500 sq. km. They are con­cen­trat­ed main­ly in Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacif­ic. An inter­est­ing fact is that some of these coun­tries are also among the rich­est, most remote and most inter­est­ing places, with their own laws and cul­ture.

small countries

10. Malta — 316 sq. km

  • Loca­tion: Mediter­ranean
  • Pop­u­la­tion: ~460,000

Mal­ta is an island in Europe. It is locat­ed in the mid­dle of the Mediter­ranean Sea. The cap­i­tal of Mal­ta is Val­let­ta. Mal­ta is home to about 460,000 peo­ple and is one of the most dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed coun­tries in the world. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, there are many cities and towns dense­ly clus­tered next to each oth­er.


Mal­ta is a well-known tourist des­ti­na­tion due to its sun­ny cli­mate, attrac­tive coast­lines, rich cul­ture and live­ly nightlife. Peo­ple from all over the world trav­el to Mal­ta to have fun. Mal­ta, cov­er­ing an area of ​​just 316 km², ranks 10th in the list of the small­est coun­tries in the world.

9. Maldives — 300 sq. km.

  • Loca­tion: Indi­an Ocean
  • Pop­u­la­tion: ~436,000

The Mal­dives, a famous tourist des­ti­na­tion in the Indi­an Ocean, is the small­est coun­try in Asia in terms of area and pop­u­la­tion. The Mal­dives has over 1,192 coral reefs spread over an area of ​​over 90,000 square kilo­me­ters, mak­ing it one of the most scat­tered nations in the world.


With its famous white sand beach­es and crys­tal blue waters, the Mal­dives has a thriv­ing tourism econ­o­my. Many islands are locat­ed only 1.5 meters above mean sea lev­el. This low alti­tude makes the Mal­dives the low­est coun­try in the world. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, due to glob­al warm­ing, ris­ing sea lev­els will soon destroy many of the arch­i­pel­ago’s islands.

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8. Saint Kitts and Nevis — 261 km²

  • Loca­tion: Caribbean Sea
  • Pop­u­la­tion: ~55,338

These two tiny Caribbean islands were among the first islands inhab­it­ed by Euro­peans. Togeth­er they cov­er an area of ​​261 square kilo­me­ters, mak­ing Saint Kitts and Nevis the eighth small­est coun­try in the world. The econ­o­my of the dwarf states depends on tourism, agri­cul­ture and small-scale pro­duc­tion. Due to its loca­tion, the coun­try pro­vides excel­lent div­ing sites. The pop­u­la­tion is 55,338. Both islands are prized for their pris­tine coast­lines, rain­forests and pleas­ant cli­mate.

saint kitts and nevis

7. Marshall Islands — 181 km²

  • Loca­tion: Ocea­nia
  • Pop­u­la­tion: ~53,100

The Mar­shall Islands is made up of hun­dreds of islands and thou­sands of islets linked by 29 coral reefs. Only 24 islands are inhab­it­ed with 68,000 inhab­i­tants. The peo­ple of the Mar­shall Islands speak Mar­shallese and Eng­lish. The main activ­i­ties of this tiny island nation are hand­i­crafts, copra, seafood pro­cess­ing and tourism. In the clear waters of this coun­try, you can find 160 marine reefs and 800 species of fish. In addi­tion, the Mar­shall Islands are one of the best places for snor­kel­ing and div­ing.

Marshall Islands

6. Liechtenstein — 160 km²

  • Loca­tion: Europe
  • Pop­u­la­tion: ~ 38,000

Liecht­en­stein is the only nation in the world locat­ed entire­ly in the Alps. Locat­ed between Switzer­land and Aus­tria, this small coun­try has an area of ​​only 160 square kilo­me­ters and 37,132 Ger­man-speak­ing inhab­i­tants.


Liecht­en­stein is the rich­est coun­try in the world in terms of GDP (nom­i­nal) per capi­ta ($166,022). Get­ting into the coun­try is dif­fi­cult because there is no air­port on its ter­ri­to­ry. Vis­i­tors must trav­el via Zurich Air­port in Switzer­land. Liecht­en­stein is the sixth small­est state in the world.

5. San Marino — 61 km²

  • Loca­tion: Europe
  • Pop­u­la­tion: ~ 33,000
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San Mari­no is the third small­est coun­try in Europe with a total area of ​​61 square kilo­me­ters. This tiny nation is com­plete­ly sur­round­ed by Italy. San Mari­no is also the ear­li­est Euro­pean repub­lic, found­ed in 301 AD. Only 30,000 peo­ple live here. The coun­try has nine munic­i­pal­i­ties, and the cap­i­tal is the city of San Mari­no. It is also one of the rich­est coun­tries in the world in terms of GDP. San Mari­no is also known for hav­ing more cars than pop­u­la­tion. The econ­o­my is based main­ly on tourism, bank­ing, and tex­tiles.

san marino

4. Tuvalu — 26 km²

  • Loca­tion: Ocea­nia
  • Pop­u­la­tion: ~11,400

The tiny coun­try of Tuvalu is made up of five atolls and four islands in the west­ern Pacif­ic Ocean. This small island coun­try has only 11,400 inhab­i­tants. The high­est point is about 4.5 meters above mean sea lev­el. This makes the tiny islands of Tuvalu sen­si­tive to ris­ing sea lev­els. This coun­try has only one air­port on Funa­fu­ti Atoll. Tourism is not very devel­oped in view of such a remote loca­tion. Less than 3,000 tourists vis­it­ed Tuvalu in 2019.


3. Nauru — 21 km²

  • Loca­tion: Pacif­ic Ocean
  • Pop­u­la­tion: ~ 13,650

Nau­ru is the small­est island coun­try in the world with an area of ​​21 km². Which also makes it the penul­ti­mate coun­try in the world in terms of pop­u­la­tion, with only 13,650 peo­ple. It is a large island with a large amount of phos­phate min­er­al resources. From 1960 to 1970, the extrac­tion of this valu­able resource became the coun­try’s main source of income. Nau­ru’s GDP grew and the coun­try got rich quick­ly, but as soon as phos­phate deple­tion began, GDP began to decline.


The state can still become eco­nom­i­cal­ly sta­ble if it devel­ops tourism. Trop­i­cal col­or­ful coral reefs with white sandy shores are quite capa­ble of attract­ing trav­el­ers here. But tourism in Nau­ru is lim­it­ed, with phos­phate min­ing, coconut pro­duc­tion and off­shore bank­ing still the main indus­tries.

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As for the largest coun­tries in the world, you can read about them in a sep­a­rate col­lec­tion.

2. Monaco — 2 km²

  • Loca­tion: Europe
  • Pop­u­la­tion: ~ 39,000

Locat­ed on the French Riv­iera, the Prin­ci­pal­i­ty of Mona­co is home to the high­est num­ber of mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires per capi­ta in the world. It is also the sec­ond small­est coun­try in the world, with a total area of ​​only 2 square kilo­me­ters. Mona­co is a favorite des­ti­na­tion for the rich and famous, known for its gam­bling, lux­u­ry and ser­vices sec­tor. An impor­tant event here is the Mona­co Grand Prix as it is one of the most famous races in the world. The inhab­i­tants of Mona­co are most­ly French-speak­ing, as they bor­der France on three sides and are bound­ed by the Mediter­ranean Sea on one side.


1. Vatican — 0.44 km²

  • Loca­tion: Europe
  • Inhab­i­tants: ~ 1000

One of the most rec­og­niz­able peo­ple on the plan­et is the most famous cit­i­zen of the Vat­i­can, the Pope. The pop­u­la­tion of the Vat­i­can bare­ly exceeds a thou­sand inhab­i­tants. The Vat­i­can is the small­est coun­try in the world with an area of ​​only 0.44 square meters. km. The state’s income comes from the col­lec­tive annu­al dona­tions of more than $1 bil­lion by mem­bers of the Roman Catholic Church around the world. The rest of the econ­o­my depends on the sale of muse­um stamps, tourist sou­venirs, and admis­sion fees.


Inter­est­ing arti­cle: Vat­i­can Muse­ums — Overview of the most inter­est­ing places