Smallest Countries in Europe

04.07.2019
Smallest Countries in Europe: San Marino
 

Itsy-bitsy, teenie-tiny or even pocket-sized, some microstates in Europe really surprise with their sightseeing opportunities, rich history, and cultural wealth despite their small size. Actually, some of them are as little in terms of area as 0,44 sq. km (0.17 sq. mi.), can you imagine that? If the thought: "There's no way independent countries are smaller than shopping malls," came across your mind, no, the numbers aren't lying. In this piece, we'd like to introduce you to the petite countries in Europe worth adding to your getaway as sometimes it's the cherry on top that adorns the entire cake, right?

 

Marvelous Monaco

Opening the list of independent miscrostates in Europe is fabulous Monaco. The prosperous Principality of Monaco is indeed tiny, boasting an area of 2.2 sq. km (about 0.85 sq mi). Often compared in size with New York's Central Park, this country would fit completely if placed in it!

This gem is frequently classified as part of the French Riviera, as it's set on the same south France shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is best known for its world-famous Monte Carlo Casino, lush yacht marina, as well as luxurious shopping venues.

The city of Monaco is easily connected by road with the nearby cities in France (primarily Menton, Cannes, and Nice) and makes for one of the most popular day trip options from these towns. Basically, a full day of active sightseeing will be enough to cover all the major Monaco attractions, including the Prince's Palace, the Monaco Cathedral, and the Antoine Fort.

Monaco
 

Astounding Andorra

Andorra

Continuing the exploration of European microstates is the little principality of Andorra, perched high up in the Pyrenees Mountains.

Interestingly, this country doesn't have an airport nor a rail station and can only be reached by two roads: one leading down to Spain and the other to France.

The historic city of Andorra la Vella attracts visitors with endless duty-free shopping opportunities as well as with its adorable old part of town, called Barri Antic.

Moreover, Andorra is actively developing its ski resorts and gaining popularity due to affordable winter sports and recreation (compared to France or Switzerland) as well as numerous leisure activities on offer in the surrounding mountains.

 

Stunning San Marino

Situated on the territory of northeastern Italy fairly close to Florence, lovely San Marino is among the oldest existing republics on the continent.

Actually, the Most Serene Republic of San Marino has a territory of around 60 sq km (23 sq mi).

The miniature "Serenissima Repubblica" also has a dazzling hilly location and it allures tourists with its picturesque mountainous landscapes, historic centuries-old architecture, and authentic walled town with dozens of cobblestone streets.

Those wishing to explore San Marino's medieval treasures should surely place its citadels, palaces, and towers on their list.

The Palazzo Pubblico town hall is among the major San Marino attractions, together with the republic's Three Towers, and the old basilica.

San Marino
 

The Splendid Vatican

The Vatican

Speaking of the smallest countries in the world (not only Europe), the area of Vatican City is as small as it can get! The Vatican is the planet's ultimate record-holder in terms of "mini" size. Besides, as shocking as it may sound, this country's territory is fully enclosed within the borders of a thriving city, making it the most one-of-a-kind one of all independent city-states too.

Surrounded wholly by the capital of Italy, the Vatican (and the Holy See accordingly) is the place where the Pope lives and is the "headquarters" of Roman Catholic Church. People from all corners of our planet save at least a day to explore the treasures of the Vatican when going to Rome. As such, the Vatican Museums are absolutely unmissable, housing remarkable artwork, historic exhibitions, as well as jaw-dropping frescoes (with the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo being a major highlight).

 

Ironically, the world's tiniest city-state is home to the world's biggest church, Saint Peter's Basilica (aka San Pietro). The exuberant interiors are indescribable, plus, those who have the strength to climb all the way up to the top of the cupola, passing dozens of narrow flights of stairs that are hidden inside the walls, is a memorable experience, opening simply remarkable views of the city and the Vatican's main square.

 

Lovely Luxembourg

Those going to the Netherlands and/or Belgium should surely treat themselves to some "lux" of the Benelux.

Delightful Luxembourg may be petite but will be a pleasant surprise once you pay it a visit.

The country borders Germany, Belgium, and France, and it is safe to say that it managed to take in the elements of its neighbors into one unique blend of its own.

Excitingly, the architecture of the old town is primarily of sunny yellow shades, adding a special warm vibe.

As for what to see, the top Luxembourg landmarks to place on your travel agenda are first and foremostly the Ducal Palace, the easily recognized Notre Dame Cathedral of Luxembourg, and the mesmerizing Vianden Castle.

Luxembourg
 

Lissom Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein

Placed on the intersection of Austria and Switzerland, this small principality is not to be missed as well.

The length of this micro-country from top to bottom is a mere 25 km (15.5 mi), yet this Alpine beauty has much to offer travelers.

Most first-time visitors start their discovery from the capital of Liechtenstein, Vaduz, as here you can find the fabulous Vaduz Castle which is an important historic landmark.

Other places to check out are the St. Florin Cathedral, and for fans of art, the Kunstmuseum is a great option.

If you'd like to get a more saturated experience, a visit to the Gutenberg Castle can also be a wonderful idea.

 

Magnificent Malta

The final destination on the list is the island country of Malta. Located in the Mediterranean Sea not very far from southern Sicily, it is made up of several islands with Malta and Gozo being the largest.

Apart from gorgeous beaches and the charming capital, Valletta, there's much to explore while there. For instance, the Blue Lagoon with emerald waters, the Blue Grotto, the Dingli Cliffs as well as the so-called Azure Window are among the top natural Malta attractions.

For a really colorful experience and a sneak peek of true traditional Malta, a visit to Marsaxlokk is a "must". This port village is a hub for adorable Maltese luzzu boats and is known for a great market.

What's for other places to make note of, the historic church called Rotunda of Mosta in the town of Mosta and the old town of Mdina are a great addition to any Malta itinerary.

Malta
 

All in all, it's fair to say that there's something unique about any European country regardless of its size. Thus, consider complementing your upcoming tour to Europe with a discovery of one or more of its tiny country gems, and feel free to contact our experienced travel specialists, who'd love to help plan an itinerary of your dreams!

 
 

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