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The European microstates are a handful of very small sovereign states on the European continent and the surrounding islands. Most of them are in Latin Europe, except for Liechtenstein. Many of these countries are excellent for shopping, as they are tax havens.


A set of very small independent states in Europe:

  • Andorra — small mountainous country located between France and Spain
  • Liechtenstein — German-speaking country located between Switzerland and Austria
  • Malta — island in the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Tunisia
  • Monaco — surrounded by or considered a part of the French Riviera
  • San Marino — completely surrounded by Italy
  • Vatican City — small state that is totally surrounded by the city of Rome


There are also a handful of dependencies in Europe. These entities are geographically separated and might have their own government, but are nonetheless under sovereignty of another state and fall outside of that state's integral area.

  • Akrotiri and Dhekelia (United Kingdom) — British overseas territories, military bases on the island of Cyprus, administered by United Kingdom
  • Åland (Finland) — an autonomous, unilingually Swedish-speaking archipelago in the Baltic Sea
  • Büsingen am Hochrhein (Germany) — a German enclave in Switzerland
  • Campione d'Italia (Italy) — an Italian enclave in Switzerland, also a duty-free shopping destination
  • Faroe Islands (Denmark) — self governing island nation between the United Kingdom and Iceland
  • Gibraltar (United Kingdom) — a British exclave overlooking the narrow strait between Iberia and Africa
  • Guernsey (United Kingdom) — an island in the English Channel, also includes several smaller islands
  • Heligoland (Germany) — a car-free and duty-free island in the North Sea
  • Isle of Man (United Kingdom) — a large island between England and Ireland, famous for its lack of speed limits
  • Jan Mayen (Norway) — in the Arctic Ocean, featuring the Earth's northernmost active volcano
  • Jersey (United Kingdom) — the largest of the Channel Islands, off the coast of France
  • Livigno (Italy) — an Italian town and ski resort near the Swiss border with duty-free status since 1840
  • Mount Athos (Greece) — an autonomous state under Greek sovereignty, home to Eastern Orthodox monks
  • Orkney Islands (United Kingdom) — just north of Scotland's northern tip, you can find world heritage listed prehistoric sites here
  • Samnaun (Switzerland) — a duty-free town in easternmost Switzerland, historically more connected to Austria
  • Svalbard (Norway) — a neutral Norwegian territory halfway between the North Cape and the North Pole
  • Shetland Islands (United Kingdom) — Scotland's northernmost archipelago features sheep, puffins and oil industry

Disputed territories[edit]

These are contemporary geopolitical entities, that wish to be recognised as sovereign states but do not have complete worldwide diplomatic recognition. Travellers have to deal with the authorities of these states if they want to travel to or through them and for all practical purposes have de-facto control of their territories.

  • Abkhazia (Georgia) — a Russian-backed breakaway republic in the Caucasus
  • Kosovo (Serbia) — an independent republic recognised by many Western nations
  • Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan) — an independent territory near the Armenian border
  • Northern Cyprus (Cyprus) — Turkish-backed republic on the island of Cyprus (not a part of the EU)
  • South Ossetia (Georgia) — a Russian-backed breakaway republic in the Caucasus
  • Transnistria (Moldova) — an independent republic on the banks of the Dniester River


Micronations are small entities that resemble independent nations or states but are unrecognised by world governments or major international organizations.

  • Christiania (Denmark) — a district of Copenhagen, formerly a military zone, that has been squatted since 1971, and remains today an autonomous community (with its own laws that, among other things, include legalisation of cannabis, but prohibition of harder drugs) of about 850 people, calling itself Freetown Christiania (Danish: Fristaden Christiania)
  • Liberland (Croatia) — self-proclaimed micronation claiming a parcel of land on the western bank of the Danube river between Croatia and Serbia
  • Sealand (United Kingdom) — a sea fort which declares itself to be the smallest independent 'country' in the world
  • Seborga (Italy) — a village in Italy which has discovered it's never been conquered by Italy and now it claims itself as a sovereign state
  • Užupis (Lithuania) — a district of Vilnius that declared itself the "Independent Republic of Užupis" on April Fools Day 1997, and maintains its own flag, currency, president, constitution (which declares, among other things, that a "dog has a right to be a dog"), and a "standing army" of 17
  • Verdis - Small self-declared state claiming a piece of disputed land between Croatia and Serbia.
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