You may have thought that Vatican City and Monaco are the smallest countries in the world. And for the most part, you would be right. But, now it's time to think smaller, and in that we mean tiny. Really tiny. In fact, the World Atlas has created a name just for them, micronations.
A micronation is defined as “an entity that claims to be a sovereign nation but is not recognized by any other government or major international organization.” They are formed for various reasons, many for pure entertainment in the age of the internet, while others were created in protest or to create a social conversation. Whatever the reasons behind their existence, they can be, well, interesting. These are the tiniest countries in the world, plus info on how to visit each one.
1. Freetown Christiania
One of the most well-known and controversial micronations is Freetown Christiania. In 1971, a band of hippies occupied this abandoned military base, and they’ve never left. Growing to a robust population of 900, the community lives by its own rules, which included at one time an open cannabis trade in its famed Green Light District.
How To Visit Freetown Christiania
Freetown Christiania is located in Copenhagen, the Danish capital, in what is known as the Christcianshavn area. Cars are not allowed in the district, so plan on taking the train, bus, or bicycle. At the entrance to the community, you’ll see a sign with the town’s three rules: “Have fun”, “Don’t run” and “No photos” (of people selling or consuming marijuana, specifically).
The hippie vibe is clearly alive through murals painted on buildings depicting their open thoughts on drugs. Look for the town’s visitor center, which has all the information about its history. For exploring the city beyond Christiania, read up on
2. Republic Of Kugelmugel
As of 2020, the Republic of Kugelmugel is the only known republic to have no living inhabitants. The Republic of Kugelmugel is actually a ball-shaped house surrounded by barbed wire inside The Prater, a large public park in Vienna.
In 1971, the “ball house” was designed and built by Austrian artists Edwin Lipburger in the town of Katzeldorf. But legal issues grew between Lipburger and the town over building permits. Lipburger, to try and save his work from being torn down, created his own township with self-made street signs. Lipburger was even arrested and jailed, but thanks to a pardon from the president of Austria, he was released. The house was moved to The Prater and declared a Republic.
Lipburger died in 2015. Since his death, The Republic of Kugelmugel has grown to more than 650 non-resident citizens. The ball house remains a popular tourist attraction.
How To Visit The Republic Of Kugelmugel
The Prater is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vienna. The park itself is “in season” from March through October. Today, the Republic of Kugelmugel is a gallery space that typically features art exhibitions and performances year-round.
Beyond Kugelmugel, read up on these nine incredible hidden gems in Vienna, “Cycling Through Vienna: 7 Helpful Tips For A Great Trip,” and, if you’re going around the holidays, the best Christmas markets in Vienna.
3. Republic Of Uzupis
Vilnius, Lithuania, is known by literary fans as the home of Russian submarine captain Marco Ramius, a character created by Tom Clancy. It is also home to one of the smallest republics in the entire world. The Republic of Uzupis (ROF) is just 0.3 square miles small but has its own constitution, a president, money, and even a navy (made up of a few small boats). Founded by local artists in 1997, ROF remains active in the community by hosting fashion events, concerts, art exhibitions, and poetry readings year-round.
How To Visit The Republic Of Uzupis
The ROF is actually a small island located in the heart of Vilnius. Five bridges are available for crossing the “border.” It’s recommended that you use the main bridge, as it will take you to the main entrance where you can have your passport stamped. If the chance presents itself, a visit to the ROF on April 1 will be rewarded. April Fools’ Day is also the republic’s Independence Day. On this day, there is celebratory passport stamping, you can spend ROF currency, and beer flows freely from a water spout in the main square.
The citizens of The Republic like to have a good time all year round, so come with your smile and enjoy this laid-back artists’ colony.
4. Kingdom Of Talossa
Indeed, there is a micronation located right in the heart of the upper Midwest. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is where you’ll find the Kingdom of Talossa. According to its official website, the kingdom was founded on December 26, 1979, when Robert Ben Madison, a 14-year-old high school student in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, declared his bedroom to be an independent sovereign state: the Kingdom of Talossa.
“The Kingdom of Talossa is an independent, sovereign nation in North America, which seceded peacefully from the United States in 1979 (but we’re not sure the United States noticed).”
Although the Kingdom of Talossa is surrounded by the city of Milwaukee, it claims its active citizens live elsewhere in the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa. It has its own language, “el glheb Talossan,” laws, government positions, and currency.
How To Visit The Kingdom Of Talossa
Technically, if you’re in Milwaukee, you’re visiting the Kingdom of Talossa. But, nowadays, it's more of a concept than a place. All are invited to become Talossan citizens and participate in their ongoing political and social adventure, which takes place mostly on social media. A visit to their website presents you with plenty of options. You can purchase currency, run for office, or get involved in active political discussions.
Want to do more sightseeing than engaging online? Consider a weekend getaway in Milwaukee or our Wisconsin road trip: Kenosha to Sister Bay. For more on the smallest recognized countries in the world, read up on visiting Vatican City and Monte Carlo in Monaco, one of the best European cities to visit in February.
Editor’s Note: Some of the information in this article comes from this MSN Lifestyle piece.