The World’s Smallest Countries

Some countries are so small, they’re not even visible on most world maps. In this post, we’ll look at the world’s smallest countries on a map and cover some basic facts about each. Read on to find out which is the smallest country in the world!

Here are the top 10 smallest countries on the world map:

A world map features red markers on various locations, with a legend linking numbers 1-8 to city names.
Smallest countries in the world

25 Smallest Countries in the World

CountrySQ KM
1Vatican City0.49
5San Marino61
7Marshall Islands181
8Saint Kitts & Nevis261
12Saint Vincent & the Grenadines389
14Antigua & Barbuda442
18Saint Lucia616
19Federated States of Micronesia702
25São Tomé and Príncipe964
Smallest countries in the world by Sq. km

25. São Tomé and Príncipe – 964 km2 (372 mi2)

A tropical beach with palm trees and rough waves on São Tomé and Príncipe, Ilhéu das Rolas.
São Tomé, Praia de Santo António – Photo Credit: Rui Almeida

São Tomé and Príncipe is the 25th smallest country by area and the second smallest in Africa. It is an island nation located off of the western coast of Central Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. Uninhabited until the 15th century, Portuguese explorers discovered the country and then spent the next century gradually colonizing it.

Today, São Tomé and Príncipe is an independent country with Portuguese as an official national language and a population of around 223,107. The majority of the country’s people live on the island of São Tomé, which is where the capital and largest city of the same name is located.

24. Kiribati – 811 km2 (313 mi2)

Aerial shot of a thin land strip with lush vegetation and structures, encircled by the Pacific Ocean, possibly Kiribati.
Tarawa, the capital of the Republic of Kiribati

Although the archipelagic nation of Kiribati is spread out over 3.5 million square kilometers of ocean, its land area is only 811 km2, making it one of the smallest countries by area in the world. There are 32 atolls that form Kiribati and one remote coral island, of which 20 are inhabited.

The Kiritimati Atoll is the largest in the country and accounts for almost half of Kiribati’s total land area. Used for nuclear weapons testing by the United States and Britain in the 1960s, the atoll is now home to a large coconut plantation, fish farms, and satellite stations.

23. Bahrain – 778 km2 (300 mi2)

Sunset view of Manama skyline with reflections on water in Bahrain.
Manama, Bahrain

Bahrain is another island country that makes the list of the smallest countries in the world. It’s located in the Persian Gulf, situated between Qatar and the northeastern coast of Saudi Arabia. Made up of 50 natural islands and 33 artificial islands, Bahrain Island contains over 80% of the country’s total land area.

About 92% of Bahrain is covered in desert, which results in frequent droughts and dust storms. Winters are mild in Bahrain, and summers are very hot with high humidity. The country has significant natural resources, namely fish and large quantities of natural gas and oil. Petroleum is Bahrain’s most exported product.

22. Dominica – 751 km2 (290 mi2)

Aerial view of Roseau, Dominica, featuring colorful buildings, a coastline with calm sea, and hills in the background under a partly cloudy sky.
Roseau, Dominica

Located in the Lesser Antilles Archipelago, Dominica is a small country in the Caribbean Islands. It is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles and is still undergoing formation via geothermal-volcanic activity. There are also mountainous rainforests that are full of a wide variety of plants and animals, including many rare species.

Dominica was originally settled by the Arawak people who arrived from mainland South America. They were subsequently displaced by the Kalinago people in the 15th century, and Europeans later colonized the island. France imported slaves from West Africa to work on coffee plantations on Dominica, and then Britain took control of the island in 1763, establishing English as the official language.

Dominica gained independence in 1978, and English remains the official language.

21. Tonga – 747 km2 (288 mi2)

Aerial view of the Tonga Kingdom islands

Tonga is a Polynesian country located in the Southern Pacific Ocean. It is an archipelago that consists of 117 islands, 45 of which are inhabited. The main island in Tonga is Tongatapu, which is where around 70% of the population lives. It’s also where the capital of Tonga, Nuku’alofa, is located.

The Lapita civilization was the first to inhabit the islands of Tonga about 2,500 years ago. The settlers of the islands eventually established their own strong cultural, linguistic, and ethnic identity as Tongans. Tonga spent many years expanding and colonizing the Pacific, establishing control over many islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean. Tonga has retained its independence throughout its history.

20. Singapore – 726 km2 (280 mi2)

Aerial view of Marina Bay Sands hotel during sunset in Singapore.
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Singapore is a tiny country located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It’s a city-state composed of the city of Singapore on its main island and 63 smaller islands and islets. Despite its small size, Singapore has a population of more than 5.5 million. This makes it the third most densely populated country in the world.

In addition to its minuscule size and large population, Singapore is known for being a diverse, well-developed nation with a forceful economy. The country has the second-highest GDP per capita (PPP) in the world, and is a known tax haven as well as a hub for aviation, financial, and maritime shipping activities.

There are four major ethnic groups in Singapore, and these are represented by the country’s four official languages: English, Malay, Standard Chinese, and Tamil.

19. Federated States of Micronesia – 702 km2 (271 mi2)

A scenic panorama of Chuuk, Micronesia's green landscape, palm trees, calm sea, and partly cloudy sky.
Chuuk, Micronesia

Not to be confused with the Micronesia geographic subregion of Oceania, the Federated States of Micronesia (also FSM or simply Micronesia) is a country made up of four island states in the western Pacific Ocean: Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.

The 607 islands of FSM have just over 700 square kilometers of land area between them, but they’re spread out over more than 2.6 million square kilometers of ocean, which gives the country the 14th-largest exclusive economic zone in the world.

Tourism in Micronesia is slowly developing, but the country’s geographic isolation and lack of infrastructure have caused difficulties for the industry. Many people in the country take part in subsistence agriculture or fishing, and there is a heavy reliance on financial aid from the United States.

18. Saint Lucia – 616 km2 (238 mi2)

A scenic view of the Pitons in Saint Lucia, with lush greenery in the foreground and clear blue skies above.
Island of Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia is a Caribbean island nation that’s part of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles archipelago, located at the Caribbean Sea’s border with the Atlantic Ocean. The largest portion of the island’s population of 184,961 lives in the capital and largest city, Castries. The second-largest city in Saint Lucia is Soufrière, which was the French colonial capital.

More mountainous than others in the Caribbean, Saint Lucia is a volcanic island. The two most notable peaks on the island are the Pitons, two volcanic spires located near the western coast. The tallest point in Saint Lucia is Mount Gimie, which rises to 950 meters (3,120 feet) above sea level.

17. Andorra – 468 km2 (181 mi2)

Mirador Roc del Quer in Andorra offers a scenic view of a green valley, village, and mountains, with a wooden platform for visitors.
Mirador Roc del Quer, Andorra

Andorra is a very small and landlocked independent state located between France and Spain. Technically, a principality, it is led by two co-princes: the bishop of Urgell in Catalonia and the President of France. This is the first state on this list with a territory of less than 500 square kilometers, but it’s only the sixth-smallest state in Europe.

There are just under 80,000 people living in Andorra, the largest group of whom live in Andorra la Vella, the capital of Andorra. The official language of the country is Catalan, and ethnic Andorrans are of Catalan descent. Spanish, French, and Portuguese are also commonly spoken in Andorra due to immigration and location, though the government encourages the use of Catalan and offers free language classes to immigrants.

16. Palau – 459 km2 (177 mi2)

A tropical Palau scene with a turquoise lagoon, lush greenery, a bridge to an islet, palm trees, and distant anchored boats.

Situated in the western Pacific, Palau is an island country that consists of an archipelago of hundreds of islands. The population of Palau is only around 18,233, and the most populous island is Koror, which is also where the country’s largest city of the same name is located.

Originally settled approximately 3,000 years ago by Maritime Southeast Asian migrants, the islands of Palau were controlled by various countries during the 19th and 20th centuries, gaining independence in 1994 while signing a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

The economy of Palau is largely based on tourism, thanks to the beautiful beaches and marine life around the islands, as well as subsistence fishing and farming.

15. Seychelles – 452 km2 (175 mi2)

A tropical beach in Seychelles with lush green palm trees on the left and clear blue water on the right, under a partly cloudy sky.

The archipelagic nation of Seychelles consists of 115 islands and is located in the Indian Ocean near its border with the Somali Sea. Victoria is the capital and largest city in Seychelles, located on Mahé island around 15,000 kilometers (810 nautical miles) from Africa’s east coast.

Seychelles is one of the richest countries in Africa thanks to the incredible growth its economy has experienced in the years following its declaration of independence in 1976. The country went from having an economy based on agriculture to developing a robust service sector and tourism activities.

The population of Seychelles is the smallest of any sovereign African nation and is approximately 100,000. Culturally, the country is a mix of British, French, and African influences. Its official languages are French, English, and Seychellois.

14. Antigua and Barbuda – 442 km2 (171 mi2)

Aerial view of Saint John, Antigua and Barbuda's coast with blue waters, rocky shores, and white-blue buildings.
Saint John, Antigua and Barbuda

Famous for its beautiful beaches, reefs, rainforests, and luxury resorts, Antigua and Barbuda is a small island country in the Caribbean. Its economy is dominated by tourism, and its reputation as a high-end tourism destination accounts for more than half of its annual GDP. Another important part of the nation’s economy is financial services and investment banking.

The earliest settlements in Antigua and Barbuda date back to around 3100 BCE when the Ciboney people inhabited the island. The Arawak and Carib peoples successively lived on the islands before European colonization in the 17th century. Today, 97% of the country’s population lives on the island of Antigua, where St. John’s, the capital and largest city is located.

13. Barbados – 430 km2 (166 mi2)

A colorful street scene in Barbados with tropical palm trees, vibrant buildings, and a clear blue sky.

Barbados is a Caribbean island nation in the Atlantic Ocean that is part of the British Commonwealth. The country consists of just one island with an area of 430 km2 (166 mi2), making it the 13th smallest country in the world. Its total area and the fact that it has a population of roughly 287,000 make it one of the world’s most densely populated islands.

Manufacturing, tourism, and offshore financial services have become important parts of the economy in the last 40 years. These industries have helped make Barbados the 52nd wealthiest country in terms of GDP per capita, but a sizable portion of its population lives in poverty.

12. Saint Vincent & the Grenadines – 389 km2 (150 mi2)

A picturesque coastal view of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, with a vibrant town between green hills and the blue sea.

With a total land area of less than 400 square kilometers, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is number 12 on the list of smallest countries in the world. The island country is part of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles Archipelago in the Caribbean and consists of the main island of Saint Vincent and several smaller islands.

The capital and main port of the country is Kingstown, located on the southern end of the island of Saint Vincent. It’s been fully independent of the UK since 1979.

11. Grenada – 344 km2 (133 mi2)

A serene tropical beach with palm trees, a calm blue sea, and a small pier with a thatched-roof structure.

Grenada, an island state in the Caribbean, is also known as the Island of Spice for its many nutmeg plantations. The island was colonized by the French from 1649 to 1763 and then was controlled by Britain, finally gaining full independence in 1974.

The country consists of its main island of Grenada as well as two smaller islands, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, and several more small islands that form a part of the Grenadines. Nutmeg is the top export of Grenada, and tourism also plays a large role in the country’s economy.

10. Malta – 316 km2 (122 mi2)

A scenic view of a waterway at sunset with vibrant blue and orange skies, featuring boats docked along the shore and buildings lining the coast.

Malta is a very small island state located in the Mediterranean. It consists of the three islands of Gozo, Comino, and Malta, and has a population of over 450,000. Because of its small size and relatively large number of inhabitants, the population density in Malta is one of the highest in the world.

Other notable features of Malta are its ancient history dating back to 5900 BCE and its popularity as a European tourist destination with warmer year-round temperatures than the rest of the continent. The official languages in the country are English and Maltese, though Italian is also spoken by a large portion of the population.

9. Maldives – 300 km2 (116 mi2)

A tropical beach scene with clear blue skies, a single palm tree, and turquoise water.

The Maldives is an island country located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India and Sri Lanka. It is the smallest and least populous country in Asia and is made up of 26 atolls that stretch across the equator. The official religion of the Maldives is Sunni Islam, which makes it one of the smallest Muslim-majority nations in the world by land area.

There are 1,192 coral islands in the Maldives spread out over roughly 90,000 square kilometers, which makes it one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries.

8. Saint Kitts and Nevis – 261 km2 (101 mi2)

A coastal landscape with a winding road leading through green hills towards a beach with blue waters on one side and a rougher sea on the other.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a country in the Caribbean made up of two islands. It is not only the eighth-smallest country in the world, but it is the smallest and least populous country in the Western Hemisphere. It’s also the world’s smallest federation and the only sovereign federation in the Caribbean.

The islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis are covered in rainforests, mountains, and stunning beaches. Tourists are attracted to the islands for their natural beauty and the nearby diving opportunities.

7. Marshall Islands – 181 km2 (70 mi2)

A tranquil beach with clear blue waters and white sands at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, under a blue sky with a few clouds.
Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands is an independent country located in the subregion of Micronesia in Oceania. The country consists of five islands and 29 coral atolls with over 1,500 total islands and islets. The country is spread out over a vast ocean area; water accounts for almost 98% of its total area, more than any other sovereign nation.

In 2011, the government of the Marshall Islands established the world’s largest shark sanctuary within its territory.

6. Liechtenstein – 160 km2 (62 mi2)

Aerial view of a small town amid green fields and trees, with cloud-covered mountains in the background.

Liechtenstein is a European microstate located in the Alps between Austria and Switzerland. The official language of the country is German, and it is a semi-constitutional monarchy led by the Prince of Liechtenstein. It is doubly landlocked by Austria and Switzerland and is the smallest country in the world to border two others.

The country is known for having one of the highest GDP per capita in terms of purchasing power parity, a very low unemployment rate, and for being a popular winter sports destination due to its mountainous topography.

5. San Marino – 61 km2 (24 mi2)

San marino city view

San Marino is the fifth-smallest country in the world. It is a microstate enclaved by Italy and claims to be the world’s oldest existing sovereign state as well as the oldest constitutional republic. The name of the nation comes from Saint Marinus, the stonemason founder of the country.

San Marino’s population is just over 30,000, its official language is Italian, and it is known for having one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world. It has the lowest Human Development Index score in Western Europe.

4. Tuvalu – 26 km2 (10 mi2)

A tropical beach with clear blue water, sandy shore, palm trees, blue sky, and a distant boat.

With an area of only 25 square kilometers, there are only three countries that are smaller than the island nation of Tuvalu. Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu is located in the Polynesia subregion of Oceania, about halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

The country is a volcanic archipelago that consists of three reef islands — Nanumanga, Niutao, and Niulakita — as well as six atolls. The population of Tuvalu is just over 11,000 people, of whom the majority are of Polynesian ethnicity. Tuvaluan and English are the official languages in the country.

3. Nauru – 21 km2 (8 mi2)

Aerial view of a narrow runway adjacent to a coastline with surrounding vegetation and buildings.

The third-smallest country in the world is Nauru, which can be found in the Micronesian subregion of Oceania in the Pacific. It is the world’s smallest island nation, the smallest republic, and has the second-smallest population of any country.

Large phosphate reserves on the island contributed to a strong economy that peaked in the 1970s and has since declined dramatically as phosphate reserves have been depleted and mining activities have ceased. A coral reef surrounding the island has prevented the construction of a seaport, though smaller ships can access the island. Nauru also has an international airport.

2. Monaco – 2 km2 (0.8 mi2)

Aerial view of a densely populated city with multistory buildings and a marina filled with boats.

In addition to being the second-smallest country in the world, the microstate of Monaco has more millionaires and billionaires per capita than most other nations. Known for casinos, luxury hotels, and Formula One races, Monaco is located on the French Riviera, bordered by the Mediterranean and France.

With a population density of more than 19,000 people per square kilometer, it is the most densely populated sovereign state in the world. The two largest nationalities in Monaco are French and Monégasque, and the country’s official language is French, though Italian is also spoken by a large portion of the population. With a life expectancy of almost 90 years, Monaco has the highest in the world.

1. Vatican -0,44 km2 (0.17 mi2)

View from the Cupola of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican
View from the Cupola of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

The smallest country in the world is the Vatican. The Vatican is a city-state that is surrounded by Rome, the capital of Italy. With a population of under 500 residents, it is also the country with the smallest population in the world.

The home of St. Peter’s Basilica and the religious capital of Catholicism, the Vatican receives thousands of visitors, mostly Catholic every day. Economically, the Vatican is supported by donations as well as the sale of postage stamps, souvenirs, and museum admission fees. Some of the most famous art in the world is located in St. Peter’s Basilica, and the entire state of the Vatican is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Image Sources and Copyright Information
  • Aerial View of Tropical Coastline with Sailboats: © Michal Durinik/Shutterstock
  • San Marino Cityscape: © Artem Gonokhov/Shutterstock
  • Aerial View of St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City: © Nakasaku/Shutterstock