This blog post was updated on July 12, 2021.
What is the world’s smallest country? And which definition of “small” do you mean, anyway? Are we talking population, area … or something else? Here’s a look at some of the top contenders for the smallest – all offering loads of scenic attractions and big time reasons to be added to your travel wish list.
Whether “Israel’s hippy micro-state” (as described by the BBC) of Achzivland is actually even a country or not depends on if you recognize its 1971 secession from the state of Israel as official. The speck of beachfront property on the Mediterranean Sea near Israel’s border with Lebanon is home to its oldest inhabitant and one of the Middle East’s longest surviving rulers, 85 year old Eli Avivi, his First Lady, Rina – and no one else.
If by small you mean short, Cambodia is in the running for smallest country, with the distinction of having the population with the world’s shortest average height: 5 feet 3.1 inches for the average height of an adult male.
Despite being the world’s second largest landlocked country (after Kazakhstan), Mongolia is the least densely populated independent country on Earth with a population of 2.6 million people spread out across an area the size of Quebec or Iran (just over 600,000 square miles) for a population density of 4.4 people per square mile. Two countries (though both are protectorates of the UK and Denmark respectively) with even less dense populations are the Falkland Islands (with 0.67 people per square mile) and Greenland (with 0.067 people per square mile).
The tiny nation of the Pitcairn Islands is home to the descendents of the mutineers fo the HMAV Bounty and their Tahitian companions – all 67 of them, making the islands the country with the world’s smallest population.
Completely surrounded by Rome and once the seat of the expansive Roman Empire, the Vatican City still holds a lot of sway across the planet. Home to the Pope and the governing body of the Roman Catholic Church, some phenomenal architecture, a heck of a collection of art and little else, the Vatican is the world’s smallest country in size with an area of just 0.44 square kilometers, about 0.17 square miles. The second smallest in terms of area, Monaco, is more than four times the size of Vatican City with an area of 1.95 square kilometers.