European Microstates or European Ministates, as per our good friend Wikipedia, are a set of very small sovereign States in Europe, as the name implies. They are small independent states recognized by larger states. They are unlike micronations which are only self-declared and not recognized. So despite their size, the use of other currencies, or speaking the language of their neighboring countries, they are in fact an independent state. They have their own laws and set of rulers.
There are 6 Microstates in Europe and I’m proud to say that I’ve been to all of them! In my quest to visit all the countries in the world, I made sure I don’t miss out on these Microstates which is as equally gorgeous as the rest of Europe! Anyway, let’s fire away with everything you need to know when visiting these beautiful countries :)
With only 468 sq. kms., Andorra is considered as the 6th smallest nation in Europe. This country is nestled on valleys and is famous for its sky-high mountains which makes it a perfect destination for skiing once its all covered in snow. Nevertheless, when the snow melts, it turns out to be a famous hiking destination. Being small as it is, Andorra has big and great things which the rest of the world needs to see.
Best way to go there (details from Visit Andorra):
By plane: The nearest airport is in the Alt Urgell region, south of La Seu d'Urgell, in Lleida. There are other airports within the 125-mile radius (see link above for more details).
By Train: The nearest train station is in France, in L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre, located just 7 miles by road from the border. For visitors coming from Spain, one good solution is the Lleida Pirineus station, with high-speed trains (AVE) stopping there, mainly from Madrid-Puerta de Atocha and Barcelona Sants.
By Bus: Regular international routes are Spain (Barcelona, La Seu d'Urgell, Lleida, and Salamanca), France (L'Hospitalet-prés-l'Andorre and Toulouse) and even Portugal (Arcos de Vadeves and Porto).
What to do: Ski in the winter and walk around or hike for the rest of the year. Also, Andorra is a shopping haven for the reason that it’s TAX-FREE!! Yay!
Points of interest: The historic center of Andorra la Vella which happens to be the greenest and highest Capital City in Europe being on top of the Pyrenees Mountain; Famous hiking trails include the Lagos de Tristania; Not for the faint of heart is the Mirador del Collet de Montaup where you can see a breathtaking view of this country.
Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and is one of the richest in the world where only the rich people can afford to live considering the real estate prices. You’ll see ‘gold’ in every corner of this country as you walk along seeing big brands, multi-million yachts, and beautiful structures. I totally felt I was like in a real world Disneyland which is really amazing, only that it’s too good to be true.
Best way to get there (details from See Monaco) :
By plane: Closest is Nice Airport (30 kms.) then take the Bus Number 110 or take the car
By train: From Paris, take the TGV Train to Gare de Monaco; The Italian Trenitalia train service connects Monaco to Italian cities like Milan, Genoa, Rome, and Venice. Russian Railways run a weekly service from Moscow to the neighboring city of Nice all year round.
What to do: Walk around (it’s very beautiful!), go shopping, try to catch the Yacht Show if you can (I was lucky to get passes for it from a lady I met on the train!), play the Casino
Points of interest: The overlooking view from Monte Carlo, Palais du Prince which is home to the oldest Monarchy in the world, and the Musee Oceanographique, among many others.
This country with an area of only 160 sq. kms. makes it the 4th Smallest Country in Europe. It is bordered by 2 beautiful countries-- Switzerland and Austria so expect it to have the same magical view. The whole country is situated in the Alpine Region so wherever you are at in the country, you’ll feel like you stepped right into a postcard. I’ve been here last 2016 for our honeymoon and it was such an amazing trip!
Best way to get there:
By air: The closest airport is in Zurich, Switzerland. From there, you can take the bus or rent a car.
By train: The trans-border connection from Zürich (Switzerland) to Vienna (Austria) stops at Schaan which is the capital city of Liechtenstein.
What to do: Hiking, camping, skiing in the winter, etc.
Points of Interest: The Liechtenstein National Museum which is home to tons of national treasures, the Ski Region in Malbun (which is obviously a skiing haven), the Vaduz Castle where you can get to see the picturesque castle with the mountains serving as a backdrop, etc.
Currency: Swiss Franc
Being an archipelago situated on the Mediterranean, the Maltese Islands is your best bet if you love the sun, the sea, and the sky. Compared to the rest of Europe, they have a sunny weather which draws people to their beautiful beaches. Aside from that, they have an excellent nightlife and a history which draws back as far as 7,000 years ago. With all of these in mind, Malta certainly is worthy of your visit.
Best way to get there (details from Visit Malta):
By air: Fly directly to Malta International Airport
By sea: Several cruises stop here and you can also take your yacht
What to do: Swimming, snorkeling, water sports, walking around, visit museums, etc.
Points of Interest: Mdina Old City which is a lovely place to just wander and get lost, St. John’s Co-Cathedral which is popular for its very intricate and interesting details, the beautiful Gozo where you can enjoy a lot of water activities, and a whole lot more!
5) SAN MARINO
The Serene Republic of San Marino is surrounded by the Italian Peninsula and is most popular for its TAX-FREE SHOPPING (another YAY!!). Most tourists from Italy come here to get huge discounts on their purchases and that’s what I did too when I was here. I shopped for perfumes and I got it 20% cheaper than its usual price. Anyway, there’s more to life in San Marino than shopping-- true to its name, this place is serene! The view of greeneries and rolling hills are everywhere, medieval castles are astonishing, and sometimes I just want to stay in my hotel and stare at the view . Haha!
Best way to get there (Details from San Marino Site):
By air: Fly directly to Rimini International Airport
By train and bus: They have connections via bus lines from the Rimini railway station and the Arch of Augustus (all year) and Piazza Tripoli (in summer)
What to do: Walk around (it is uphill so use comfortable shoes), GO SHOPPING, Visit castles and fortresses, etc.
Points of Interest: The Cesta Tower where you can get striking views, Piazza della Liberta which happens to be the Central Square where you can just go for a walk or have some beer or coffee in one of the local pubs, the interesting and creepy Museum of Torture where you can see torture equipments that was used to dehumanize people from the past, etc.
6) VATICAN CITY
Last but not the least is the most popular among all of them, the Holy See also known as The Vatican which is the official residence of the Pope and some 1,000 people including Bishops and Vatican Guards. This is the smallest country in the world both in area (44 hectares) and population. Every person regardless of religion must have dreamt of coming here and I was lucky I was able to do so last 2016 :)
Best way to get here from Rome (details from Vatican City Guide):
By bus: Take Bus 64, 62, 40, or 81
On foot from Piazza Venezia (follow Google Map)
By taxi which will cost you more or less 20 Euros
What to do: There is nothing better to do here than hear the mass led by the Pope himself
Points of Interest: St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums are everything you need to see for your visit.
Currency: the Vatican Euro
That’s it for this post! Can’t believe I’m done visiting all of these microstates! Have you been to these countries? Tell me about it! 🖤
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