Which Countries Are Islands? | A List of Island Countries

(Last Updated On: July 12, 2022)

Not having neighbors sounds pretty lonely. At the same time, though, who hasn’t been super annoyed by their neighbors? Especially if you live in an apartment complex or something, because for some reason everyone’s feet weigh 30 times more–but only when they’re in the unit above yours. Islands are out there with no neighbors at all, so if you’re looking for a country without neighbors, this might be a good place to start. Here’s a list of island countries.

What Is an Island Country?

For starters, we should lay out what an island is. By definition, it’s a habitat surrounded by a dramatically different one. Normally, that’s water. For the purposes of island countries, they’re going to be surrounded by water. Islands are smaller than continents, which will be important later. On that note though, there isn’t a size that distinguishes islands from continents. 

In terms of geology, islands and continents are different, which is important. Specifically, the labels are mutually exclusive. Continents are the largest landmass of a continental plate, while islands are extensions of the crust. 

Island countries are countries whose territory is primarily one or more islands–or even parts of islands. About a quarter of all countries are island countries.

Island Countries in the Atlantic Ocean

  • Bahamas
  • Cape Verde
  • Iceland
  • The United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • São Tomé and Príncipe

Island Countries in the Caribbean Sea

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grenada
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago

Island Countries in the Indian Ocean

  • Bahrain
  • Comoros
  • Madagascar
  • Maldives
  • Mauritius
  • Seychelles
  • Sri Lanka

Island Countries That Are Part of Oceanic Southeast Asia

  • Brunei
  • East Timor/Timor-Leste
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • Singapore

Island Countries in the Mediterranean Sea

  • Cyprus
  • Northern Cyprus
  • Malta

Island Countries in the Pacific Ocean

  • Fiji
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Taiwan
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

What About Australia?

When prompted with “countries that are just big islands,” you might have thought of Australia. You might have noticed that Australia was conspicuously absent from the lists above. That’s because Australia is not an island, but it’s a continent. A continent is the largest landmass on a given continental plate, which is true of Australia

So no, Australia isn’t an island country because it’s not an island. It’s a continent. 

Further Reading: Oceania or Australia – Is Australia a Continent?

Test yourself on island countries here.

About the Author:

+ posts

Kyler is a content writer at Sporcle living in Seattle, and is currently studying at the University of Washington School of Law. He's been writing for Sporcle since 2019; sometimes the blog is an excellent platform to answer random personal questions he has about the world. Most of his free time is spent drinking black coffee like water.