Europe is home to five of the top-ten smallest countries in the world, and if you want to explore these micro-nations, then camping could be the perfect way to visit. Here we explore Europe's seven smallest countries, from the tiny Vatican City to the positively massive Luxembourg.
Also known simply as the Vatican, this tiny city-state is an enclave within the Italian capital, Rome. Home to the Pope and governed by the Holy See, Vatican City is the smallest state in the world by population and by area.
Of course, the land is at a premium within the Vatican, so campers must find alternatives in greater Rome. A trip to the Vatican wouldn't be complete without a visit to St Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.
Though Monaco is not a member of the European Union, its close customs links with France make the Euro the de-facto currency. Monaco has the highest GDP per capita in the world and very low unemployment.
Home to the Monaco Grand Prix and the Monte Carlo Rally, motorsport is a popular pastime. The surrounding French countryside and mountainous terrain make Monaco a popular base for many professional cyclists.
Attractions include the world-famous Casino de Monte-Carlo, the Prince's Palace and the harbour for a bit of celeb spotting.
Landlocked San Marino is the fifth smallest country in the world; covering just over 61km2; Founded in 301 AD, it is the world's oldest sovereign state. Like the other countries on this list, the economy is based on finance and banking, making it one of the wealthiest countries in Europe.
The historic centre of the City of San Marino and Mount Titano was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008. Until 2007, The San Marino Grand Prix was held at the Imola Circuit despite the circuit being over 100km away from the micro-state.
Headed by the Prince of Liechtenstein, this alpine microstate is found between Switzerland and Austria. It is the sixth smallest country in the world; one of only two doubly landlocked countries (the other being Uzbekistan.) With low unemployment and a customs union with Switzerland, financial services form an important part of the country's economy.
Attractions include the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, an international quality museum of contemporary and modern art. Vaduz Castle is the home of Hans-Adam II, the Prince of Liechtenstein, so tours are unavailable, but the castle can be viewed from the capital.
The Republic of Malta is the tenth smallest country in the world and the fifth smallest in Europe. Gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1964, Malta became a republic in 1974. Since 2008 Malta has used the Euro as its currency; before 2008, they used the Maltese Lira (1972-2008), Maltese Pounds (1825-1972) and the Maltese Scudo (Pre-1825.)
Malta consists of 3 large, inhabited islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino, and about 20 uninhabited minor islands. Historically shipping and trade contributed to the economy. Today, tourism is a major financial contributor; Valletta's St. Johns' Cathedral and the Grandmaster's Palace are key attractions, along with the archaeological sites of Hal Saflieni, Rabat and Mdina.
Camping in Malta
The recommended campsite is just outside the village of Manikata on Malta's west coast. Ghajn Tuffieha, is run by the Scout Association but is also open to the public. This 16-acre site has 24 vast pitches, all with electricity and water, along with two good sanitary blocks.
Wild camping takes place on the L-Ahrax peninsula overlooking Mellieħa Bay. Camping at the simply named "Campsite 1" (Ahrax tal-Madonna), "Campsite 2" (Ahrax tat-Tunnara) and "Campsite 3" (Ahrax tar-Ramel) is subject to permission in advance from the Mellieħa Council. There are no services or facilities available at any of these camping areas.
MaltaCampsite at the main island's northern tip gets very busy and can be overcrowded. This is the island's main commercial campsite and mainly caters to backpacker-style travellers in static accommodation. They may be able to accommodate a limited number of tourers if space is available, but be aware that the site is a long way from any public transport.
Area - 468km2
Capital - Andorra la Vella
Currency - Euro
Official Language - Catalan (though French and Spanish are widely spoken.)
Driving Side - Right
The tiny Principality of Andorra is a Pyrenean microstate located between France and Spain. It is the sixteenth smallest country in the world. At over 1000m above sea level, the capital Andorra la Vella is the highest capital city in Europe (It's only the 36th highest in the world.)
Tourism is the main industry, but the country is also well known as a tax haven, so foreign income plays a large part in the country's economy. The mountainous terrain makes Andorra a popular destination for cyclists in summer and winter sports enthusiasts in winter.
Official Language - Luxembourgish (though French and German are widely spoken.)
Driving Side - Right
Vast in comparison to the other countries on this list, Luxembourg is still one of the least populated countries in Europe with just over 645,000 residents (The combined total of residents in Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican is under 200,000)
Sandwiched between France, Germany and Belgium, Luxembourg is the world's only sovereign grand duchy, led by Grand Duke Henri. Other famous Luxembourgers include EC President Jean-Claude Juncker and the cycling Schleck Brothers, Andy and Fränk.
With over 40 Alan Rogers assessed campsites in Luxembourg, you'll be spoilt for choice.
Rob is the General Manager at Alan Rogers Travel Group, he is responsible for the ongoing development of the Alan Rogers website and publication of the Alan Rogers Guides.
He has been involved in the leisure industry since completing a BTEC in Travel & Tourism in 1993. Previous roles have included the promotion of tourism in Yorkshire and running a motorcycle touring company in the Australian Outback.
France has a great wealth of world-class tourist attractions. But sometimes, whether you've somehow managed to see them all, or just a handful, you want something more quirky. You've visited Pont du Gard, the Caves of Lascaux, Père Lachaise Cemetery and Monet's Gardens; what now?
The Alentejo forms around a third of Portugal's landmass, yet it has just 6% of the population, and few visitors can claim to know much about it. This is one of Europe's least densely populated regions and a sorely overlooked holiday destination.
Much has been written about Catalonia and its myriad attractions. Perhaps one of the world’s A-list destinations, it boasts such gems as the Park Güell, the Sagrada Familia and the Dali Theatre-Museum, not to mention Valencia’s incredible Science Museum and dozens of theme parks, castles, vibrant cities and galleries.