The Only 5 Countries in the World Without Airports
These five countries without an airport might be a little harder to reach, but the small are mighty!
Though there isn’t much traveling going on in the world right now, it never hurts to learn about the places just beyond our fingertips. Sometimes our wanderlust can be satisfied just by seeing these places and imagining being able to step into them someday in the future. Maybe check out the longest nonstop flights to bring you back down to the ground.
Usually, if you were to be visiting another country, your first step would be to book your flight. But not so fast—sometimes you aren’t just able to step on a plane and go anywhere in the world. Not if you want to visit the five countries below, for instance.
While you’re staying put anyway, these countries without an airport might shock you and give you that special factoid you’ve been waiting for to stump your friends.
This is a tricky one. Vatican City is not only an independent city-state, but it’s also the smallest country in the world. The 109-acre spot does not have its own airport, likely because it is actually “enclaved” within Rome. Rome, as a point of reference, has two international airports. Visitors could fly into Rome and then drive into the small Roman Catholic city/state/country. Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport is about 18.5 miles from Vatican City’s borders. Learn more about Vatican City with these facts about Europe you never knew before.
Speaking of Italy, San Marino similarly doesn’t have an airport despite being surrounded by Italian land. As the fifth-smallest country in the world, San Marino doesn’t suffer from inaccessibility as it is only nine miles from the famous Federico Fellini International Airport. Don’t feel too bad for San Marino’s 33,000 inhabitants—they also live in one of the richest countries in the world with one of the highest GDPs per capita. Looking for the flip side?
Surrounded on three sides by France and on one by the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world. It also holds the title for the most densely populated sovereign state in the world. In order to reach Monaco, you’ll have to take a boat or a half-hour car ride after touch-down in the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport in France. It is especially fitting to enter by car—Monaco hosts one of the oldest and most prestigious Formula One races, the Monaco Grand Prix, with the shortest track of all the F1 races.
As the smallest country in the world to border two countries (Austria and Germany), Liechtenstein is also without an airport. Visitors would need to enter by car, boat, or the popular rail system from nearby Swiss or Austrian rail stations. The nearest airport is Switzerland’s St. Gallen–Altenrhein. For perspective, Liechtenstein is nearly eight times smaller than the city of Los Angeles, with its largest city housing only 6,000 residents. It’s tiny but powerful, with the one of the highest GDPs per capita and one of the lowest national debts.
Andorra is landlocked on the border between Spain and France. Located in the Pyrenees mountain range, this micro-nation allows beautiful hikes, climbs, and views. Andorra’s capital city is Andorra la Vella, which is also the highest-elevated capital city in Europe. There are five airports within three hours of Andorra in Spain and France. With or without an airport, Andorra is definitely doing something right—it consistently has one of the highest life expectancies in the world.
- Britannica: “Vatican City”
- Theodora: “San Marino Economy 2020”
- World Economic Forum: “Monaco is the world’s most densely populated place”
- The Culture Trip: “11 Fascinating Facts to Know About the Monaco Grand Prix”
- World Travel Guide: “Travel to Andorra”
- U.S. News: “Lessons From the Land of Longevity”