Have you ever wondered what the smallest countries in Europe are? And where exactly are they located? What’s a principality? And are there still old monarchies surviving in Europe? And is Vatican City really a country within a city?
8 Smallest Countries in Europe on map of Europe
Yes, when it comes to the smallest countries in Europe, they do come with some interesting facts and stories. I have visited all of them and for such tiny countries, they all have something special and unique to offer. Here is a list of the smallest countries of Europe.
8 Smallest Countries in Europe
1. Vatican City (Holy See)
0.49 km2(0.19 sq mi)
There are countries in Europe you can drive across in a day, but you can walk through Vatican City in just a few minutes. The tiniest of the 8 smallest countries in Europe, Vatican City is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church and home to the famous Sistine Chapel – with a ceiling painted by Michelangelo. The main square of St Peters in front of the St Peters Basilica welcomes worshippers and tourists from around the world.
Things you might not know about Vatican City:
The Vatican mints its own euros (they are very rare), prints its own stamps, issues passports, and has its own flag and anthem. And the ATM has instructions in Latin. And it’s the only country in the world with a zero birth rate as you can’t get citizenship by birth.
2.02 km2(0.78 sq mi)
Monaco is synonymous with casinos, wealth, and Grand Prix races. Monaco is what we call an enclave – a country completely surrounded by another state, in this case, France. And Monaco is the second smallest country in Europe. Monaco is worth a visit, not just for its casinos and to watch the life of the rich and famous, but the location on the French Riveria makes it exceptional.
What you didn’t know about Monaco:
Monaco with a population of 38,000 within 2,02 km2 is one of the densely populated countries in the world. It’s also home to many millionaires, in fact, every third citizen is a millionaire. And not surprisingly it has one the highest GDP in the world and officially no poverty.
3. San Marino
61 km2(24 sq mi)
San Marino is probably my favourite of the smallest countries in Europe. Another enclave on this list of the smaller countries, it is completely surrounded by Italy. The beginning goes all the way to the 4th century.
What you didn’t know about San Marino:
San Marino is located on the hill Monte Titanos and offers amazing views of the countryside. We also had one of the best meals here at Ristorante il Piccolo. It also has its own Euros and you can get an official stamp for your passport at the main post office. There are so many reasons why you should visit San Marino, the most underrated country in Europe.
160 km2(62 sq mi)
A small principality located in Central Europe and double-landlocked between Switzerland and Austria makes our number 4 on the list of the smallest countries in Europe. As you can imagine, it is very green and it if wasn’t for the flags you might still think you are in Switzerland or Austria. Naturally, it is a great destination for winter sports during the colder months but be warned it is pricey. Naturally, the official language of Liechtenstein is German.
What you didn’t know about Lichtenstein:
Today Lichtenstein has one of the best GDP per capita in the world’s but it wasn’t always like that. After WW2 they had to sell one of the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci to pay bills. Fast forward a few years and with its attractive tax breaks, Liechtenstein has more registered companies than citizens.
316 km2(122 sq mi)
Most of the smallest countries in Europe are on the main continent, but Malta enjoys the breeze of the Mediterranean Sea, located between Sicily and the North African Coast. Officially an archipelago of three islands Malta, Gozo, and Camino it became a popular tourist destination for Europeans lately.
What you didn’t know about Malta:
The official language is Maltese and English. Malta was once part of mainland Europe, but that was 17,000 years ago. Today you can still see the remains of the Megalithic temples which are older than the pyramids in Egypt!
468 km2(181 sq mi)
The only country in the world where Catalan is an official language is Andorra. Andorra is nestled between Spain and France, in the heart of the Pyrenees. Their independence dates to 1278 and today Andorra is a popular destination for winter sports. You wouldn’t think that one of the smallest countries in Europe can offer kilometres and kilometres of ski slopes to enjoy the fresh powder.
What you didn’t know about Andorra:
Due to its tax regulation, it is super cheap. For many French and Spanish citizens living near Andorra, this is where they come to do shopping, especially alcohol, electronics and cigarettes. Andorra la Vella is the highest capital city in Europe at 1,023 metres above sea level.
2,586 km2(998 sq mi)
Luxembourg is bordered by Belgium, Germany, and France. It’s not just one of the smallest countries in Europe, it’s also one of the richest ones. There are hiking trails, wineries as well as a castle you can explore. Lately, it’s becoming a bit of a foodie destination. What is also interesting is the fact that 43% of the population of Luxembourg is foreign-born.
What you didn’t know about Luxembourg:
Luxembourg has the highest rate of car ownership in the world, with an average of 647 car owners for every 1,000 inhabitants. Crazy right? But ironically, Luxembourg is the first country in the world to offer free nationwide public transport to everyone.
5,896 km2(2,276 sq mi)
The second island nation on our list of the smallest countries in Europe – Cyprus. Located in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus has a lot to offer. Small enough to be able to drive around in a few days and check out some archaeological sites (Tombs of Kings in Paphos), cave churches, and some of the nicest beaches in Europe.
What you didn’t know about Cyprus:
Cyprus flag is very cool and truly unique. Cyprus was the first nation to include the shape of its country on its flag. What you also probably didn’t know about Cyprus being one of the smallest countries in Europe is the fact that the two countries share the island if you ask someone in Turkey. Northern Cyprus, officially the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is a de facto state only recognised by Turkey and no other countries which consider this territory part of Cyprus. It makes for an interesting day trip from the southern part of Cyprus, especially the picturesque Kyrenia Harbour.
These are the smallest countries in Europe. Have you visited any? Let us know in the comments below.
A coffee lover, history junkie, former tour guide, and endless optimist. The mastermind of logistics and chief navigator for Very Hungry Nomads, two women on an adventure to visit EVERY country in the world. Marty is a social butterfly who describes her life as “just livin’ the dream".