There are six microstates in Europe: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Malta, San Marino, and Vatican City. It is not only the size that attracts millions of tourists every year. These tiny states offer extraordinary opportunities both in terms of business and leisure.
European ministates are very small sovereign states in the region. However, they have a rich history and an incredibly broad culture. Even though their limited natural resources and workforce creates certain challenges, these 6 microstates Europe have proved their worth for many centuries.
We will cover each of the micronations in Europe in greater detail within the article below. We will also explain why visiting them is not a bad idea, at all, instead of overcrowded common destinations of the region.
Six Microstates in Europe
It’s easy to get distracted by planning trips to Europe’s “bucket-list” countries like France and Italy. They are incredible countries that have so much to offer and for good reason. Have you thought about combining your European vacation with a visit to one of the continent’s microstates?
A microstate is a sovereign nation with a very small land area and population. The six microstates in Europe currently in existence are primarily political remnants of a past time when feudal rulers ruled over a specific territory.
They remained strong despite the changes in history, as their neighboring territories went to larger political entities and merged into the states we now know. They are small in size. But each one has its own characteristics and unique qualities that make them worth learning more about.
Andorra – Heaven for Winter-sports Lovers
Andorra, Europe’s sixth-smallest country, is 181 square miles of mountains & valleys sandwiched between France and Spain in the eastern Pyrenees. It has a population of 77,000 and is relatively sparsely populated. However, the country’s population grows to around 8.5 million annually due to visitors from France and Spain. They come to Andorra to enjoy fantastic winter sports, great hiking, walking and nature experiences in the summer, and tax-free shopping all year.
Andorra doesn’t have an airport but it connects well to its neighbors by road and rail. It took me 3 hours to travel by coach from Barcelona to Andorra. There are buses that run every three hours, and trains as well. Visa-free entry to Andorra and border control on return due to tax-free shopping are possible.
Andorra is not only a beautiful mountain country with well-preserved Romanesque churches and traditional stone houses, but also has stunning modern art and architecture. La Caldea is the most amazing spa I’ve ever been to. This is what I love best about Andorra, and it’s the contrast in a small space.
Andorra isn’t a member of EU but its currency is the euro. There are three languages spoken in Andorra: Catalan and Spanish, as well as French. English is not a problem.
Liechtenstein – A Walking Paradise for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Liechtenstein is one of the most beautiful microstates in Europe. It lies between Austria and Switzerland. It is one of Europe’s most beautiful mountainous nations. Although it covers only 160 km2 and has a population just 35,000, Liechtenstein is an economic powerhouse and is the most industrialized country due to its tax laws. Liechtenstein welcomes between 50,000-100,000 visitors annually.
This country is also quite thin and long, so you can easily walk across it. It takes just two hours to cross the entire width, while walking the length of the country will take six. Liechtenstein is the best of the Europe microstates to claim that you have walked across an entire country.
It also is the richest country in the world per capita and has the highest standard of living. At 12.5%, it has one of Europe’s lowest corporate tax rates. It is also close to being free from crime. Seven people are currently held in the country’s one prison, which has a total capacity of 20. The last murder occurred in 1997. Many people don’t bother locking their doors when they leave the house. The unemployment rate is only 1.8%.
Monaco – A World on its Own
Monaco, at less than two kilometres square, is the second-smallest country in the world and the tiniest of the city states in Europe. Yet, it offers a wide variety of travel experiences. Monaco is a destination that is always reinventing itself. With a rich history, culture, and plenty of green space, visitors will discover there is more to it than meets the eye.
Monaco is a port city with a rich history. Its long culture and history can be seen in every corner of the country. Although there are many museums available, the Oceanographic Museum is the best. It is located in a Neoclassical palace that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. You will find over 6,000 specimens inside, as well as an immersive exhibit on the Great Barrier Reef and a rescue center that cares for and rehabs turtles.
As one of the most beautiful micronations in Europe, Monaco is the vacation destination of the jet-set, or should we say the yacht-set. Fontvieille and Monte-Carlo harbors are lined with multimillion-dollar boats. Luxury vehicles such as Aston Martins or Rolls-Royces can be parked outside the Monte Carlo casino. Stylish hotels also welcome guests with open arms. Monaco’s sunny, warm weather is a draw for globetrotters all year. But its glamour and glitz are what truly attracts visitors to this area of the French Riviera.
Malta – One of the Most Dominant Microstates in Europe
A map of Malta shows it as a tiny bit below Sicily. You wouldn’t be able to miss it if it wasn’t for your keen eye. This Mediterranean country is a gift that keeps giving to travelers who love food, wine and history. Two important Caravaggio paintings, both of great importance, are located under one roof in one the most magnificently gilded cathedrals that you will ever see. It is also home to one of the oldest, freestanding structures on Earth (yes, even older than the pyramids). They produce a small amount of wine and plenty of cheese that you can eat with it.
The country has two official languages: Maltese and English, which makes communicating with locals easy wherever you are. You can now use your Euros from your last Paris trip to Malta as the country is now part of E.U. However, this means you’ll need ETIAS authorization in 2023 to visit Malta, as well.
Three islands make up Malta. Three islands make up Malta. The largest one is Malta. Gozo is the middle island. Comino, on the other hand, is a small spot that you can only visit for a short time. Accessible ferries such as the Gozo Channel and Comino Ferry Cooperative can take you to all of them. It was once an English colony, but it regained independence in 1964.
San Marino – Oldest Republic in the World
San Marino is the perfect place for those who love fairytale castles perched on mountaintops. To see the real-life success stories of long-established republics and the creation of unique societies, visit San Marino.
Don’t let the tiny area of 61 Kilometres square fool you. San Marino is much more exciting than many of the Euruopean microstates and is more interesting than day trips to Bologna and Rimini. According to its proud citizens, the UNESCO World Heritage Site “is small enough to be large” and spending two or more days there means that you can explore one of the most fascinating countries in the world.
It is a timeless microstate, whose institutional functions and political system, as well as expressions of liberty, liberty, and staunch independence, have remained unchanged since Marinus of Arba’s inception in 301AD. He was part of a monastic group.
San Marino is as indestructible and irreplaceable. The Republic of San Marino’s historic Old Town is situated on the ridges of Mount Titano, surrounded by the Emilia Romagna Region of Italy. Its high isolation has been a key factor in its survival throughout the centuries, as well as the dedication of its residents. It’s a living historic city. I spent a weekend there, exploring the fairytale castle towers, archways and narrow lanes. Also, I stayed in an old stonemasons home that has been handed down through generations.
Vatican City – The Global Heart of the Catholic Faith
Those planning to spend a vacation in Rome must include Vatican City as their primary destination. It is definitely worth visiting the smallest country in the world and the most iconic micro countries in Europe at least once in your life. The beauty of the Vatican is unmatched, with its stunning architecture, rich history, and beautiful churches like St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Gardens and Sistine Chapel .
The Vatican City is one of Christendom’s most sacred places. It is a testament to both a rich history and a remarkable spiritual venture. This small state is home to a unique collection of architectural and artistic masterpieces. Its centre is St Peter’s Basilica with its double colonnade, a circular piazza in the front, and surrounded by palaces and gardens. The Basilica, built over the tomb St Peter the Apostle’s, is the result of the combined geniuses of Bramante and Raphael as well as Michelangelo Bernini, Maderno and Bernini.
Vatican City is one of the most important places in Christendom. It stands as both a testament to a rich history and a remarkable spiritual venture. The Vatican, which is the site of the Apostle Saint Peter’s tomb, first in an uninterrupted succession of Roman Pontiffs and therefore a major pilgrimage centre, is directly and tangibly connected to the history of Christianity. It is also an ideal and exemplary example of Baroque and Renaissance art. It had a lasting influence on the development and evolution of the arts since the 16th century.
All in all, it is very simple to visit all 6 microstates in Europe in under 1 week and leave the continent with an abundance of excitement, thrill and incredible memories. If you are wondering visiting every country in Europe, it is quite possible to your surprise.