The Five Smallest Countries

The Five Smallest Countries In The World

October 15th, 2018

Vatican City State
The Vatican City State is the smallest country on earth.

Offering a wide range of geographical variety, the smallest countries can make for an interesting topic. Some of these tiny nations are wealthy, some are remote, but they all have something special about them.

Here are the smallest 5 countries based on total area:

  • Vatican City—0.17 sq mi
  • Monaco—0.8 sq mi
  • Nauru—8 sq mi
  • Tuvalu—10 sq mi
  • San Marino—23 sq mi

In this article, you’ll get a brief overview of each country’s climate and topography, followed by a data snapshot that highlights three interesting demographic factors: population, population density, and just in case you’re keen to visit, an airport count.

San Marino

With a total area of 23 sq mi, San Marino is the fifth smallest country in the world. Located on the Italian Peninsula, San Marino exists completely inside the Italian border.

San Marino shares its climate with northeastern Italy. Moderately cold winters and warm summers are the rule and it normally rains only around 22 to 32 inches per year. Perched atop Mt. Titano, San Marino is graced with ancient fortifications, while flatter lowlands near the mountain are used for agricultural.

  • Population—29,251
  • Population Density (people per sq mi)—1,263
  • Number of Airports—0

Tuvalu

Tuvalu has a total area of just 10 sq mi. It is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean. Tuvalu is halfway between Hawaii and Australia, making it a great place for an airport, which cannot be said of most small countries.

With a tropical climate that changes very little from one season to the next, the annual mean temperature is 86° F. Average rainfall is 140 inches per year.

Essentially a large grouping of low-lying coral atolls, Tuvalu sits barely above sea level (16 ft) and most of the land is only half a mile wide. Two islands that are part of Tuvalu—Funafuti and Nukufetau—function as natural harbors that can accommodate large oceangoing ships.

  • Population—11,810
  • Population Density (people per sq mi)—1,176
  • Number of Airports—1

Nauru

Nauru’s total area is 8 sq mi. Remotely located in the Central Pacific, Nauru is a Micronesian island country situated northeast of Australia. The island's highest point is a rocky outcrop called Command Ridge that served as a Japanese outpost during WWII.

During Nauru’s dry season, trade winds come from the east, but when they shift westerly, the wet season has arrived, bringing a threat of monsoons from November to February. Nevertheless, extreme rains are not the norm. Average annual rainfall is approximately 79 inches, and there have been extended periods of drought. The temperature range is 75–91° F all year round.

The Pacific Ocean is full of phosphate-rock islands, but Nauru is one of the biggest. It’s an oval-shaped island surrounded by a corral belt that is 490 to 980 feet wide. The island itself, essentially a coral cliff, plateaus at 200 feet above sea level.

  • Population—13,770
  • Population Density (people per sq mi)— 655
  • Number of Airports—1

Monaco

Monaco

Located on the French Riviera in Western Europe, Monaco has a total area of only 0.8 sq mi and holds several designations including sovereign city-state, country, and microstate. Although it is very close to Italy, Monaco shares its entire non-coastal border with France.

Surely Monaco wouldn’t have its reputation as a playground for the rich and famous if the weather were lousy. Mild winters and moderate summer heat help keep the wealthy residence and visitors happy.

Monaco is not only about play—the central ward, La Condamine, is a thriving business district. But Monte Carlo, with its casinos and luxury resorts, is where you’ll probably want to book your trip.

  • Population—32,796
  • Population Density (people per sq mi)—16,398
  • Number of Airports—0

Vatican City

Coming in at a mere 0.17 sq mi, Vatican City is officially the smallest country in the world! Surrounded by Rome, Italy, this tiny country serves as home base for the Roman Catholic Church.

Vatican City is slightly elevated on a low hill near the Tiber River. The Pope and other residence of Vatican City enjoy mild winters, but especially hot summer days in July can see the mercury rise over 80° F. Unless it’s October or November, there is very little rainfall, and even then, it’s not extreme.

  • Population—803
  • Population Density (people per sq mi)—5,186
  • Number of Airports—0