Gap Countries


Melilla is a Spanish city but it’s not in Spain.   It’s on the north coast of Africa bordering Morocco. Along with Ceuta, it’s a permanent Espana city in Africa.

Ruth & I were going to Montenegro on a Croatian bus.  The tour guide gathered all passenger passports at the Bosnia and Herzegovina border and disappeared into a booth. When she returned, she did not give us our passports.  I was nervous about that.  We drove a couple of miles and re-entered Croatia via another border checkpoint.  We got our passports back and continued our journey.  I didn’t know until then that part of Croatia was separated from the rest of the country. Later, I got to wondering if this was unusual.   When I got home, I grabbed a world atlas and began counting splits. I quickly had 28.   I’m certain I haven’t found them all.

Ceuta was a free port before Spain joined the European Union.   It has been a trade and military outpost in Africa since before the Roman Empire became powerful.  Even though it’s geographically in Africa, it’s considered a Spanish port city and is on the euro.  A heliport connects it to mainland Spain.

Kaliningrad is a Russian seaport city on the Baltic between Lithuania and Poland.  It is considered a special economic zone whose citizens are very attached to Russia.   It’s truly part of Russia in central Europe even though it’s not actually connected to the Russian homeland.


Among the United States, Upper and Lower Michigan are separated by the Straits of Mackinac.   Alaska and Hawaii are long distances from the rest of the United States.  Part of Minnesota is attached to Manitoba. The state of Washington is actually 2 entities.  From the 4th grade on, public school students in Point Roberts attend classes in Blaine, Washington, and go through Canadian customs twice a day to do so.

Some other counties with split territories are Switzerland, India, and, famously, Turkey.  If I considered nations like New Zealand with several islands in the gap category, I’d be counting into the hundreds.  For example, Greece has more than 6,000 islands.  And I’m still not sure who claims the Darien Gap between Columbia and Panama, but I do know that the Pan-American Highway does not cross it and it’s a very dangerous place to be.



About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roadsrus

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