Writing about Montenegro yesterday and judging it small, I got to wondering about the 10 smallest countries in the world. As it turns out, Ruth and I have been to 5 of them because one summer we did a small countries tour and visited 3, Liechtenstein, San Marino, and Andorra, which surprisingly doesn’t make the top 10. The other 3 we have been to that are on the 10 smallest list are Malta, Monaco, and Vatican City. The BBC News website listed the smallest nations in 2018 and is the source of a small bit of the information below. The list hasn’t changed in the past 2 years. The 2 photos just below were taken in Andorra.
If you want to see a lot of Vatican City, watch the fine movie called The Two Popes. We did just that this past week and really liked it. Luckily, we had a friend who lived in Rome, the city that completely surrounds Vatican City, for 9 years; and we were able to visit Tom more than once and stay within 2 blocks of The Vatican. At .69 square miles it’s the smallest country in the world.
To appreciate Malta, I suggest going there sometime. It’s basically 2 islands, Malta and Gozo. They’re south of Sicily and wonderful destinations. In Malta’s capital Valletta, don’t miss St. John’s Co-Cathedral that Caravaggio helped decorate and the Hypogeum. It’s easy to get around Malta on busses. Take them to the touristy villages of Mdina and seafaring Marsaxlokk, which is easier to pronounce than it looks. The boats above congregate there.
Monaco on the French Riviera is a densely populated and expensive town of 38,000 full of billionaires. It has a fine oceanographic museum and a harbor full of rocks and yachts. Don’t expect to see the casino’s main game rooms unless you have really deep pockets. We didn’t.
The other 5 smallest countries in ascending order are Nauru, Tuvalu, The Marshall Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Maldives. Nauru is the smallest state in the South Pacific and north of Vanuatu. It has the highest per capita number of type 2 diabetes cases in the world according to the BBC. Tuvalu is a Polynesian island nation of 26 square miles consisting of 3 reef islands and 6 atolls. The Marshalls contain 29 atolls among 1,156 small islands. St Kitts and Nevis have the reputation of being among the more expensive destinations in the Caribbean. Southwest of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives have a trash disposal problem. I have bought and read books about the Maldives and Tunisia just to learn about them.