The world is full of remote places that you cannot reach by air. You wouldn’t want to vacation in all of them, of course, like Macquarie Island halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica, which is home to more penguins than people.
What you might not know is that there are five countries in mainland Europe that you also cannot reach by air.
So if visiting every country in Europe is on your to-do list, don’t forget these five flight-free nation states.
Here’s the lowdown on how to get to them.
5. Vatican City: The Religious Center of Italy
In the heart of Rome, Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. With only 44 hectares, it would be difficult to fit an airport into this religious mecca. But from Roma Termini, Rome’s largest station, you can reach the microstate in just 35 minutes.
If you’re traveling from Spain, you can get to Rome by ferry and connecting train in just 24 hours, or if you’re driving, you can meander along the French Riviera to Vatican City. in just 13 hours.
Once there, be sure to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, a magnificent domed Renaissance building that happens to be the largest church in the world.
4. Monaco: playground of the rich and famous
Just along the coast from Nice in southern France, lies the Principality of monaco, a sovereign city-state and the second smallest country in the world. The French Riviera nation is well known for its glamorous casinos, fast cars, and wealthy locals, but due to its size, it doesn’t have its own airport.
While many of its residents – including a large number of Formula 1 drivers – could arrive on private jets, they must fly into Nice Côte d’Azur airport, which is just 30km along the coast.
If you prefer to get there in a greener way, why not hop on a boat from Nice or Cannes and enjoy the glistening coastline before disembarking.
3. Andorra: A small country in the heart of the Pyrenees
Nestled between France and Spain in the Pyrenees, Andorra is a small landlocked microstate famous for its ski resorts. There’s plenty to do in the summer, too – in fact, 90% of Andorra is green space. From mountain lakes to horse trails, it even has the longest alpine toboggan run in the world.
Although the country – the sixth smallest state in Europe – does not have its own airport, it is easy to get there from France and Spain. From Paris, you can reach Andorra in just over eight hours by train, or by car in eight and a half hours.
From Barcelona, there is a direct bus that will take you there in just over three hours.
2. Liechtenstein: a peaceful place to get away from it all
The fourth smallest country in Europe is German-speaking Liechtenstein, located between Austria and Switzerland in the Alps. The tiny state is one of the least visited countries in Europe, making it the perfect place for a peaceful getaway amidst the mountains.
Without an airport of its own, your best bet is to get to this landlocked country by train. From Berlin you can get there in just over ten hours, while from Vienna it will only take you seven hours and you won’t even need to change trains.
During your visit, be sure to sample ‘ribel’, Liechtenstein’s national dish, made with cornmeal or semolina.
1. San Marino: The microstate on a mountainside
Perched in the northeast of Italy, San Marino is the fifth smallest country in the world and one of the oldest republics in the world. Sitting on the slope of Mount Titano, the microstate is only 13 km long at its longest point and the historic center is designated Unesco World Heritage.
With no airport to its name, visitors can travel by train from Rome, which will take just over five hours, or board a boat from Pula in Croatia and travel by train/bus to reach the microstate in just over eight hours. Either way, you are sure to enjoy stunning scenery.
Once there, be sure to visit the three fortresses guarding the mountain, with the oldest, Rocca Guaita, built in the 11th century.