As we look at the list of the biggest countries in the world, keep in mind that boundaries keep on shifting. And new countries are still being born with South Sudan being the youngest, at barely 9 years old.
What is the Biggest Country in the World?
Russia is the largest country in the world and it covers 6,601,670 sq.mi. It is home to 146.8 million people. Did you know that Russia covers 11.5% of the world’s total landmass?
The countries with large landmasses also have interesting facts amongst themselves. For example, Greenland, the 12th largest country can fit into Russia, almost 8 times over.
What are the Biggest Countries in the World?
The 12 largest countries are total to over 50% of the globe’s 57.5 million square miles.
- The United States of America
- DR Congo
Now let’s count them down.
12. Greenland- 836, 330 sq.mi
Among the biggest countries in the world, Greenland is twelfth. However, when it comes to the world’s islands, it is the largest.
The country is under the Kingdom of Denmark but as an autonomous region. Most of the island’s 56,000 people speak Greenlandic. Danish and English also featuring prominently.
Greenland’s winters are long and very cold, while summers are short and cool. Temperatures rarely go above 50 0F, making it one of the coldest places on earth.
It borders the Arctic and the Atlantic ocean and serves as a waypoint to nearby Iceland.
Fun Fact: While 80% of Greenland’s landmass is covered in icecaps and glaciers, the remaining 20% is almost the size of Sweden.
11. DR Congo- 905,355 sq.mi
This is a Central African country with over 91 million people who mainly speak French. As such, DR Congo is the country with the most French speakers in the world…I bet you didn’t know that!
To get an idea of how vast DR Congo is, consider that it borders 9 countries plus the Atlantic. Among the biggest countries in the world, Congo is one of the richest in terms of minerals- including gold and diamonds.
Away from the jewels, it hosts the endangered mountain gorillas and Okapis. An animal that looks half giraffe and half zebra. The country’s huge variety of animals and plants is made possible by a tropical climate and the Congo Rainforest Basin.
10. Algeria- 919,595 sq.mi
Algeria is the largest country in Africa. Additionally, this North African country is the biggest in the Arabic-speaking nations and the second-biggest among countries that start with A.
It borders 6 other countries and the Mediterranean Sea. An estimated 43 million people live in Algeria, with most of them being concentrated in Algiers, the capital.
Over four-fifths of the country is covered by the Sahara Desert thanks to the arid to semi-arid climate. The desert climate is so harsh that the population only occupies 12% of the land.
If you can brave the heat, there are many attractions in Algeria including historic sites from ancient empires going as far back as the 2nd century BC.
9. Kazakhstan- 1,052,100 sq.mi
Do you love horse riding? Here is an interesting fact to wow your fellow riders with. Horses were first domesticated in Kazakhstan.
The country is so large, that it is located in both Europe and Asia. Also, Kazakhstan is the largest country in the world that does not border an ocean.
Its neighbors are Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and China. The country has a continental climate that comes with very cold winters and warm summers.
About 70% of Kazakhs 18.5 million population practice Islam, making it one of the Muslim-majority countries in the world.
Fun Fact: Unlike in most of the world, story buildings in Kazakhstan do not have “ground floors”. The ground floor is the “first floor”. Get it?
8. Argentina- 1,073,500 sq.mi
I bet Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona are familiar names, right? These are some of the all-time best footballers in the world and both come from Argentina, the eighth-largest country in the world.
Over 96% of the country’s 45 million people are of European descent and about 63% are Christians. Bueno Aires, the capital, is South American’s most visited city.
Argentina shares borders with Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, and the Atlantic. Its climate ranges from temperate to subtropical.
Apart from football, which is part of Argentina’s culture, the country is famous for Tango, a dance that originated in the 19th century from African slaves in the region.
Fun Fact: So far, Argentina has had 2 female presidents and in 2001, 5 presidents in less than 2 weeks.
7. India- 1,269,219 sq.mi
India is the second-largest nation in the world, after China, by population and number seven among the biggest countries in the world.
This Asian country borders China, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Indian Ocean. Over 1.3 billion people live in India, representing about 18% of the world’s total population.
Depending on the region that you are planning to visit, India’s climate can be tropical or temperate. There is also the alpine climate in the Himalayas, that is one of the country’s biggest tourist attraction and a common feature in most hiker’s bucket list.
Hinduism originated from India and is the nation’s main religion. As such, people visit the country to practice Hindu philosophies like Yoga.
6. Australia- 2,969,907 sq.mi
A desert and kangaroos are usually the first things that come to mind when one thinks of Australia. However, the country has much more to offer, including snow sports in the country’s alps.
Officially identified as a country within Oceania, Australia covers a whole continent by herself plus several islands. Hence, it does not share any land borders with other countries.
Despite the vastness, Australia is sparsely populated with only about 25.6 million people living in the country. Most Australians live along the coastline, with over 50% of them practicing Christianity.
Fun Fact: The largest cattle ranch in the world is found in Australia. So big is the ranch that both Belgium and Albania can fit within its boundaries.
5. Brazil- 3,287,956 sq.mi
Brazil is South America’s and Latin America’s biggest country. Its landmass covers over 47% of the South American Continent, bordering all the continent’s countries except Chile and Ecuador.
With a record of 5 World cup wins, Brazil is one of the leading football nations in the world. The country’s name is borrowed from a tree, brazilwood.
Its population is over 210 million. Christianity is the most common religion, with over 85% followers. Brazilians are the majority of Portuguese-speakers in the world and the only ones in South Amerca.
Owing to the huge size, Brazil experiences several climatic environments including desert and equatorial rainforest. One of Brazil’s major regions is the Amazon jungle, which covers about 49% of the country.
4. The United States- 3,677,649 sq.mi
Among the biggest countries in the world, the US is the leading military power. With around 329 million people, it is the third most popular nation in the globe.
For a long time, the US has been a safe haven for immigrants, making it a multicultural nation. White Americans account for over 73% of the population while about 12.5% are African Americans.
As one of the largest secular nations, you can find any type of religion in the country.
The US has almost all possible climate types, including extreme weather conditions such as tornadoes and hurricanes. From hiking in Texas to visiting Boston’s historic landmarks, there are endless reasons as to why you should tour the country.
3. China 3,705,407 sq.mi
How often do you visit your parents? Well, in China it is illegal not to visit one’s parents regularly.
The over 20-days long Chinese New Year holiday is the time for the almost 1.5 billion people to head back home. The process halts almost every aspect of China’s economy.
This Asian country shares land borders with 14 countries. It is also one of the earth’s first civilizations, giving it an interesting history full of dynasties, empires, heroes, and legends.
Dry seasons and heavy rains are the most common climates in China. The country has a megadiverse species of plants and animals, with giant pandas originating from central China.
2. Canada- 3,855,100 sq.mi
Canada borders the United States to the south, a whooping 5,525 miles-long non-military land border. Its population is about 38.9 million people, with the majority professing the Christian faith.
French and English are the national languages with about 98% of Canadians being fluent in both or either of the languages.
Multiple cultures dominate Canadian arts, music, and traditions. Interestingly, they even have an Apology Act.
The country borders three major water masses; the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Arctic oceans and as such, Canada’s climate varies from one region to another. However, the most common climate is continental.
Fun Fact: Almost 90% of Canadians live within a driving distance to the US border- a mere 100 miles.
1. Russia- 6,601,670 sq.mi
Although Russia is officially recognized as a European country, its territory extends to Asia.
Let me explain just how big Russia is:
European Russia covers about 39% of Europe making it the largest country in Europe. On the other hand, Asian Russia, better known as Siberia, is approximately 5.1 square miles, making it 1.5 times larger than Brazil and also, the largest country in Asia.
Russia has about 146.8 million people. About 81% of them are Russian Orthodox Christians. The predominant climate is a humid continental climate and subarctic climate in the extremely cold Siberia.
Lastly, the vastness of the country is also seen in the cultures of over 160 ethnic groups and immigrants from Asia and Europe.
As an adventurous traveler, the largest countries in the world intrigue me. Not only do these nations offer vast nature to explore, but they represent most of the world’s cultures and people.
Whether it’s trekking the Great Wall of China or sharing a plate of traditional food in the streets of Algiers, these countries have everything to offer.