Which Countries Have Only One Neighbor?

Most of the time people have a handful of neighbors, especially when they live in some kind of apartment. The person across the hall won’t stop yelling at the TV, the person to your right won’t stop arguing with their significant other, and the person to your left has a dog that won’t stop barking, and for some reason the person above you wears steel toed boots and is always moving their furniture around. Or… Or is that just us? Do we need help? Anyway, we imagine this must be how countries see their neighbors sometimes, and maybe they wished they only had one neighbor. So which countries have only one neighbor?

The Ones Who Are Surrounded on All Sides

There are 3 countries that are both landlocked and have a single neighbor. Which really means they’re basically just inside another country. With the neighbor analogy that’s like having someone live in a smaller house, that happens to be inside your house. This makes these countries enclaves. They’re territories surrounded completely by other states, so there are more than 3 enclaves–but only three of them are considered countries.

Lesotho, San Marino, and Vatican City are our three landlocked countries with a single neighbor. Lesotho is surrounded by South Africa, while San Marino and Vatican City are surrounded by Italy.

Further reading in case you were wondering: What Is Vatican City | Is Vatican City a Country?

The Ones That Also Border the Sea

Well the only countries that are left are the ones that also border the sea. There are a handful so let’s make a list. We’re going to say sharing a maritime border doesn’t count as being a neighbor. For example, Canada shares only official land borders with the US, but does have a maritime one with France. 

Maritime borders are determined in a way that can seem kind of complicated. The best way to visualize them is to think of the part of the ocean a country has jurisdiction over–which is generally just a bit off the coast. It’s the water in between a country’s land and international waters. When these edges meet, that’s a maritime border. 

  • Brunei, bordering Malaysia
  • Canada, bordering the USA (if you don’t count the Alaskan border as a separate border)
  • Denmark, bordering Germany
  • Dominican Republic, bordering Haiti
  • Haiti, bordering Dominican Republic
  • The Gambia, bordering Senegal
  • Ireland, bordering the United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom, bordering Ireland
  • Monaco, bordering France
  • Papua New Guinea, bordering Indonesia 
  • Portugal, bordering Spain
  • Qatar, bordering Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea, bordering North Korea
  • Timor-Leste, bordering Indonesia 

See if you know where everyone’s neighbors are here.