Have you ever wanted to live in a small town? While some people love the hustle and bustle of a big city and others prefer the rural quiet, there are some who like it right in the middle. And if you are one of those people, you probably have searched for the smallest town in the world at least once in your life.
It is a common misconception that the Vatican City population, due to its incredibly small size, gives it the status of the smallest city in the world. The fact is that there are towns with a much smaller population, and the Vatican is not the smallest city on the planet, though it is undoubtedly one of the runner-ups.
If you are considering relocating to a small city, there is something you should bear in mind. While life in a metropolis has become somewhat similar across the world, the experience of living in the smallest town in America may greatly vary from that in Europe or Asia. The idea of a small town population can also be very different from country to country.
If the question “What is the smallest city in the world?” tickles your curiosity, scroll down to take a look at some of the smallest cities around the globe. Vote for the ones you’d like to spend some time in, and if you have any experience living in a small city, tell us all about it in the comments.
Population: 30 people
This little Croatian settlement in the region of Istria was first mentioned in documents in 1102. Despite its small size, it has a defensive wall on the western side, while on all other sides, houses are built into the wall. You can still find some writings in Glagolitic (the earliest Slavic script) in the only church in town.
Not only is the population of Adamstown really small, but it’s also the entire population of the islands. While having all the tools of modern communication, such as satellite internet and phones, Adamstown is the second smallest capital in the world. Back in the day, the population was started by the British mutineers from the HMS Bounty.
Being a city and a country at the same time, the Vatican is located in the territory of Rome, Italy, but is fully independent. It is famous for being the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. While undoubtedly small, it may not be the smallest city in the world; however, it definitely is the smallest country, both by area and population.
Manarola is believed to be the oldest of the famous Cinque Terre towns. Traditionally engaged in winemaking and fishing, in modern times the city became a large tourist attraction. A big role in this belongs to Via dell’Amore (Love’s Trail), a walking trail between Manarola and neighboring Riomaggiore.
Though technically Bronkhorst has city status, which it received on March 13, 1482, no one who has been to this settlement would describe it as such. Yet, it doesn’t only qualify as one of the smallest cities in the Netherlands and the world, but it also used to have a Charles Dickens museum.
Fagernes received its status as a city on September 8, 2007, as a 150th anniversary celebration since its establishment. Located in one of the most picturesque regions of Norway and having good transportation connections, it plays an important part in Norwegian tourism.
Fürstenau received its city rights in 1354, approximately a century after its first mention. Back then it might have been considered large enough for a city, but it continues to enjoy its status in modern times due to the fact that the bishop’s summer residence happens to be within its territory.
The production of salt in Hallstatt goes as far back as prehistoric times. In 1997, UNESCO declared the Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape a World Heritage Site. It also gave its name to an archeological culture linked to Proto-Celtic and early Celtic people.
One of the Cinque Terre cities, Vernazza remains as true to the “fishing village” image as possible. There is no car traffic in the city, but colorful houses fully make up for that. The local wine, vernaccia, which translates as “local” or “ours,” played a role in the naming of the place.
Valletta has two records to its name: it is the southernmost and also the smallest EU capital. Thanks to its rich Baroque architecture, Valletta attracts large numbers of tourists every year. In 1980 it was officially declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Named after Governor Henry Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda was founded in 1793 and was granted capital status in 1815. Despite its modest size, Hamilton has a well-developed international business economy.
The official name Monaco City may be a little misleading, since it is not a city but a district within the city-state of Monaco. It houses most of the political and law institutions. Despite being the second smallest sovereign state, Monaco has a lot of attractions and historical sights to offer.
Located on the slopes of Monte Titano, San Marino is the third biggest city in its microstate. Founded in the early days of Christianity, it served as a refuge for those escaping the Roman Empire because of religious persecution. Despite being so small, it welcomes over three million tourists every year.
Cockburn Town takes up most of the Great Turk island on which it is situated. As the capital of the Turks and Caicos archipelago, it is known for its long narrow streets and street lamps. The city still retains a lot of its colonial-era architecture, and its national museum was built from shipwrecks.
Even with such a small population, 42% of Vaduz residents are of foreign nationality. The ancient castle of the House of Liechtenstein has remained a prominent landmark since the 12th century. Even though Vaduz has no airport, it maintains a lively tourism industry.
Starting off as a quiet market village, today Pai is a full-fledged tourist city, despite its small population. Backpackers love it for its relaxed atmosphere, hot springs, and cheap restaurants. There are numerous spas and elephant camps around the place.
Tórshavn became the capital of the Faroe Islands in 850 AD and retained its status throughout the centuries. Its annual jazz festival, which has been held since 1983, attracts musicians and audiences alike from all over North America and Europe.
San Gimignano may be small, but it has two major attractions: various gastronomical treats and architecture that earned the city the nickname of the Town of Fine Towers. The historical center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located on an island, Kuressaare is Estonia’s westernmost city. It gained its status in 1563 under Danish rule. Since 1999, Saaremaa Opera Days have been held annually in the city. It also has its own football club.
Nuuk is the capital and biggest city of Greenland. Translated from Greenlandic, it means “cape” and points to the geographical position of the city. The history of settlements in this area goes as far back as 2200 BC, while the city was founded as a fort in 1728.
This Welsh city qualifies as the smallest in the UK. Named after the patron saint of Wales, who is rested here, Saint David’s has quite a tumultuous history regarding its city status. First granted in the 12th century on the grounds of there being a cathedral on its territory, it lost the city rights in 1886, when this rule was abolished. However, in 1994 Queen Elizabeth the Second restored its status.
The history of Taormina predates the first ancient Greek colony which appeared in Sicily in 734 BCE. The city has been directly or indirectly referenced in the arts and popular culture quite a number of times.
With wonderful sandy beaches, it comes as no surprise that Tropea was named the “most beautiful village in Italy” in 2021. Throughout the centuries, Tropea has witnessed many important historical events. Legend has it that it was founded by none other than the divine hero Hercules.
Granted city status in 1331, Durbuy is a popular tourist attraction. Though it is not the smallest city in Belgium, for commercial reasons it is often promoted as such and also as the smallest city in the world.
To avoid any confusion, let’s clarify that the City of London and London are not the same. While the latter is a huge metropolitan area, the former is a small, 1.12 sq mi (2.90 sq km), district within the greater city. The City of London (also often referred to as the City), roughly encompasses the first Roman settlement, Londinium. Over the centuries it retained its status as a city.
If you’re crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a yacht, Horta will be one of your primary stops. The walkways and walls of the city’s marina reflect that abundantly, as they are covered with paintings created by visitors, who would leave their and their vessels’ names as well as the year of arrival.
Despite being much smaller in size than Salzburg, Eisenstadt is a strong competitor when it comes to attracting music lovers. Composer Joseph Haydn used to live here during the time when the Esterházy noble family had its seat in the city.
Nakhon Nayok is the capital of the province of the same name and its only major settlement. Located comparatively close to the country’s capital, the city attracts visitors with picturesque parks and waterfalls.
One of the oldest towns in the Eastern Caribbean, Basseterre is the capital and the largest city of the country. It is laid out in a grid pattern, with four main streets running from west to east. It is also the financial center of the Eastern Caribbean.
Situated on the western edge of the Black Forest, Gengenbach is a famous tourist destination. One of its biggest attractions is the largest advent calendar in the world: the town hall located in the historical center has 24 windows that represent the 24 sections of the calendar.
Small as it may be, Funafuti still makes up 60% of the country’s population. The architecture here combines traditional palm fronds and more recent cement blocks. It is located on a narrow strip of land that encircles a large lagoon.
Translated from Danish, the name of this city means “sunny field,” and Solvang is often called the Danish capital of America. Though only 10% of the current population remains Danish, the architecture continues to remind us of the original founders of the place.
Leavenworth saw a quick growth from a small timber community to a regional office of the Great Northern Railway with the second largest sawmill in the state. However, after the relocation of the railroad, it went on the decline again. To revive the city and get it into the tourism industry, the entire city center was remodeled as a Bavarian village.
Fuvahmulah’s first city council was established on June 4, 2017, officially making the place a city. Spreading over the entire island, which is the third largest in the Maldives, Fuvahmulah is the closest to the equator and is called the most beautiful of all the islands even by its own nation.
Though Montpelier grows by daytime due to people coming in for their jobs, the number of actual permanent residents makes it the least populated US state capital. Due to its convenient location and the willingness of the locals to provide land for the seat for the state legislature, in 1805, the city was granted the capital status.
Miranda do Douro may be small, but it has its own language, Mirandese, that is recognized in the country alongside Portuguese. It was granted town status right upon its establishment on December 18, 1286. The city’s gastronomy is a famous hallmark that attracts lots of tourists.
Kastoria is located on a promontory on the western shore of Lake Orestiada. From ancient times till modern days, it has been the center of the fur trade, attracting merchants from various places.
If you are looking for a quiet life on an island, St. Peter Port might be just the place for you. Yet, despite its size it houses two sizable recreational parks. In Candie Gardens you can relax under the statues of Victor Hugo and Queen Victoria.
If you drive between the Coconino and Yavapai counties in Arizona, you can’t miss Sedona. Red sandstone formations attract tourists, from those seeking spiritual journeys to those looking for new hiking trails. Sedona also houses the only McDonald’s with turquoise arches instead of the traditional golden ones.
In the early 20th century, Carmel-by-the-Sea, often called just Carmel, was reported to be 60% comprised of residents who had some connection to aesthetic arts. This tradition continued later, with several mayors being men of art. This includes Clint Eastwood who served as the city’s mayor from 1986 to 1988.
Salento was the first settlement and the first municipality to be founded in the modern era Quindío. After the main route was diverted from the city, it slowed down in development and retains some of its traditional colonial architecture to this day. Located in the Coffee Triangle of Colombia, Salento’s historic center became part of the Coffee Cultural Landscape in 2011.
During the late 1800s, Woodstock was favored by artists, and this tradition expanded in the 1960s and 1970s to include folk and rock musicians. Ironically, Woodstock is not the location of the iconic 1969 Woodstock Festival, though it did lend its name to the event.
With a somewhat tumultuous history, Mae Hong Son today is a tourist destination for those interested in the hill tribe villages, waterfalls, and caves. Despite its small size, the city has a functioning airport and houses the only commercial diesel power station in the country.