liechtenstein, vaduz castle
Michael Gredenberg
Vaduz Castle, Liechtenstein

European Micro-States

March 31, 2010
by findingDulcinea Staff
Europe contains six tiny nations described as “micro-states.” Although these locales are sovereign countries and members of the European Union, they are unusually small in geographic area. Earlier we took a look at the Principality of Monaco and Vatican City. Read on to discover the lore, beauty and quirky facts associated with Liechtenstein, Andorra, the Republic of San Marino and Malta.

Inspiration and Introduction

To inspire your virtual travels, watch the 1959 film “The Mouse that Roared.” This comedy starring Peter Sellers takes place in a fictional European principality named Grand Fenwick.

This fascinating article from The Economist discusses the recent history of European Micro-States as well as other attempts at founding new countries. Don’t miss the coverage of Richard Booth, who in 1977, declared himself king—and his horse, prime minister—of the Welsh village of Hay-on-Wye.


Liechtenstein is a principality nestled in the Alps near the countries Austria and Switzerland. This mountainous locale is known for its unique postage stamps and pastoral farmland.

How big is Liechtenstein? What countries does it most closely resemble? Find the answers to these questions and more on the BBC News country profile. This site also has audio clips so you can listen to Liechtenstein’s national anthem and radio broadcasts.

Learn all about the Royal family, peruse photos of Liechtenstein’s Princely House, and view museum collections online.


Bordered by Spain and France, Andorra lacks a currency of its own, so it uses the Euro despite lacking full EU status. This tiny country currently boasts the world’s longest life expectancy. Is it because of their diet? The climate? EveryCulture’s article on Andorra will tell you more about these long-living people.

U.K. Independent journalist John Lichfield guides readers through a tour of Andorra’s historic landmarks and cool spots.

Republic of San Marino

San Marino is the world’s oldest surviving republic. The country lies on a mountain, nestled between Emilia-Romagna and Marche in Italy. Founded around 300 A.D., it now has just over 25,000 citizens. Its borders have grown and shrunk over the centuries. To see some beautiful photos of this seaside country, browse the images on Photo Mondiale.

In 1992, the Republic of San Marino joined the United Nations. Read The New York Times article that discusses the repercussions of this historic event.


The European Union’s smallest nation (400,000 citizens and 122 square miles), Malta lies south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya. Learn more by reading Malta’s entry in the CIA World Factbook. Seven islands in the Mediterranean Sea comprise this island nation.

Your Malta provides a spectacular set of photographs that showcase Malta’s natural beauty and sparkling Mediterranean coastline.

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