How Many Countries Are There in the World?

My Bucket List

I'm a counter and a list-maker. For years, I have been tracking every single place I've been, every place I want to go and writing lists upon lists of each spot I want to see.

For those of you who don't know, my goal in life is to visit every country in the world and, up until 2019 (which is when the first draft of this list was published from a cafe in Vanuatu), I was going by the 197 country list for my bucket list. I've been adding to my bucket list for years; every time I find a photo of somewhere new or talk to someone who's lived or traveled somewhere I want to go, I add it. And so it's grown.

Turns out, my bucket list has grown far beyond the confines of just 197 countries.

My Task

There are plenty of other lists out there (some of the ones I've referenced include: the Traveler's Century Club - 327, ISO standard - 249, this guy's list - 215, the FIFA country codes list - 211 and the UN recognized list - 195) but none of them really seem to jive with my own list. Some of them have too many places, some not nearly enough.

So, I set myself a task of figuring out what I considered to be a separate and valuable place to visit on its own right in addition to those countries formally recognized by the UN. This list is sure to change over time.

I have visited all countries in blue below. You can click on these links to read posts all about my travels there!

The United Nations Member Countries

These are the 193 fully recognized members of the United Nations. Naturally, this means they've all got spots on my list.



  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi


  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the
  • Congo, Republic of the
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czechia


  • Denmark
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic


  • East Timor
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Estonia
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia



  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana




  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan


  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan



  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar




  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal



  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Rwanda


  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • South Sudan
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria


  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Türkiye
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu




  • Yemen


*Please read below about why the UK actually loses its spot on my list.

TOTAL: 193

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is made up of four countries which I find completely different to one another, so they're each on the list.

TOTAL: 193 - 1 for UK + 4 = 196

The United Nations Permanent Observers

There are two countries which hold the status of permanent observers in the United Nations, so they're on my list!

  • Palestine
  • Vatican City

TOTAL: 196 + 2 = 198

Other United Nations Recognized Countries

There are countries that, while they themselves are not UN countries, are recognized by UN members, so that gets them on my list.

  • Kosovo (recognized by 102)
  • Taiwan (recognized by 17)

TOTAL: 198 + 2 = 200

Dependent Areas

Dependent areas are territories that are governed by one of the countries listed above but are separated by a degree of autonomy. They are not independent states yet I still consider all the following to have the right to their own spot on the list.

  • Akrotiri and Dhekelia (UK)**
  • American Samoa (USA)
  • Anguilla (UK)
  • Aruba (Netherlands)
  • Bermuda (UK)
  • Bonaire (Netherlands)
  • British Virgin Islands (UK)
  • Cayman Islands (UK)
  • Christmas Island (Australia)
  • Cocos Islands (Australia)
  • Cook Islands (New Zealand)
  • Curaçao (Netherlands)
  • Falkland Islands (UK)
  • Gibraltar (UK)
  • Guadeloupe (France)
  • Guam (USA)
  • Guernsey (UK)
  • Isle of Man (UK)
  • Jersey (UK)
  • Montserrat (UK)
  • Niue (New Zealand)
  • Norfolk Island (Australia)
  • Northern Mariana Islands (USA)
  • Pitcairn Islands (UK)
  • Puerto Rico (USA)
  • Réunion (France)
  • Saba (Netherlands)
  • Saint Helena (UK)
  • Saint Martin (France)
  • Sint Eustatius (Netherlands)
  • Sint Maarten (Netherlands)
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (UK)*
  • Tokelau (New Zealand)
  • Turks and Caicos (UK)
  • US Virgin Islands (USA)

I did not include any dependent territories without a permanent population (New Zealand - Ross Dependency; Norway - Bouvet Island, Peter I Island, Queen Maud Land; United Kingdom - British Antarctic Territory; United States - Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Navassa Island, Wake Island, Bajo Nuevo Bank, Serranilla Bank, Palmyra Atoll; Australia - Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Australian Antarctic Territory, Heard and McDonald Islands; France - Clipperton Island, French Southern and Antarctic Lands).

*The only exception I felt I wished to include is South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which you can visit as part of a cruise along with the Falkland Islands and Antarctica.

**I did not include any dependent territories restricted to military personnel (United Kingdom - British Indian Ocean Territory), however I did include the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus because, while they are UK military bases, they are accessible to tourists. I know this because I have been there.

TOTAL: 200 + 35 = 235

Autonomous Areas

Autonomous areas are territories that have a degree of freedom from its external authority, often geographically separated from its country or populated by a national minority. I have included those that are internationally recognized.

  • Åland Islands (Finland)
  • Alsace (France)
  • Azores (Portugal)
  • Büsingen am Hochrhein (Germany)
  • Corsica (France)
  • Faroe Islands (Denmark)
  • French Guiana (France)
  • French Polynesia (France)
  • Greenland (Denmark)
  • Heligoland (Germany)
  • Hong Kong (China)
  • Kurdistan (Iraq)
  • Macau (China)
  • Madeira (Portugal)
  • Martinique (France)
  • Mayotte (France)
  • New Caledonia (France)
  • Saint Barthélemy (France)
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France)
  • Svalbard (Norway)*
  • Tibet (China)
  • Wallis and Futuna (France)
  • Zanzibar (Tanzania)

I did not include any internally recognized autonomous regions (those of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Bosnia Herzegovina, China, Comoros, Fiji, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, São Tomé and Príncipe, Serbia**, Somalia, South Korea, Spain, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine and Uzbekistan listed here) nor any capitals or cities that may have been called autonomous by their country (including Argentina, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, South Korea and Uzbekistan listed here).

*Svalbard poses a special case as it is technically under full Norwegian sovereignty and it is not considered a dependency. However, it is classified as having special status, which I think makes it worthy of a spot on my list.

**Serbia recognized Kosovo and Metohija as an autonomous province in 1963, but with Kosovo having permanent observer status on the UN, that one's already on my list above.

TOTAL: 236 + 22 = 258

De Facto States

De facto states have limited international recognition after declaring independence and seeking diplomatic autonomy. Thus, they have de facto control of their territory.

  • Abkhazia (Georgia)
  • Adjara (Georgia)
  • Artsakh (disputed Armenia/Azerbaijan)
  • Crimea (disputed Russia/Ukraine)
  • Găgăuzia (Moldova)
  • Northern Cyprus (disputed Cyprus/Türkiye)
  • Somaliland (Somalia)
  • South Ossetia (Georgia)
  • Transnistria (Moldova)
  • Western Sahara (Morocco)

It should be noted that while none of these states are recognized by the UN, many of them host informal diplomatic missions, and/or maintain special delegations or other informal missions abroad. If they can operate this way internationally, I warrant them worthy of spots on the list. Also it should be noted that many of these places require separate border crossings and customs to be cleared; that deems them quite separate to me - and let it be known that crossing the UN buffer zone from Cyprus into Northern Cyprus was quite the experience.

TOTAL: 258 + 10 = 268

The Poles

Finally, I believe that both the poles are both completely within their own right to be visited as separate places and thus also have a spot on my list.

  • Antarctica (with claims from Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and UK)
  • Arctic (with claims from Norway, Denmark, Canada, USA and Russia)

TOTAL: 268 + 2 = 270

So, How Many Countries Are There in the World?

Well, technically 197.

But in terms of 'places' I want to travel to that I deem to be separately worth visiting, my total comes up at 270. This is not as many as the biggest list I've seen (the Traveler's Century Club) but I'm always willing to expand. I encourage comments, suggestions and insights into my list. For now, I'm off to pack my bags and keep traveling!

my current total : 62 / 270

Please note that I respect and understand that not all the places on my list are actual separate countries. This is simply the list I've come up with of individual places I wish to travel to and I fully believe that visiting somewhere like New Caledonia does not mean you have seen France and vice versa.