Small, rich and travel destinations were on our minds when we developed this list. The combination is deadly, in such a good way. The way we ranked the wealth of each country was by its gross domestic product per capita, which gave more honest results. The per capita GDP was taken from reports from three different sources: World Bank, International Money Fund and the CIA. After that, we just went for the countries that were the smallest and the most inviting vacation spots.
The above photo shows a woman enjoying the natural hot springs in Iceland, which was a bit lower on our list, but looked enjoyable nonetheless. With a per capita GDP of $41,000 and around 323,000 people to enjoy it in an area of 40,000-square miles, we think Iceland looks very inviting. Close to 650,000 tourists find their way to Reykjavik and the nearby countryside per year.
If Iceland's not your idea of a great time, check out the ten smallest, wealthiest nations that are worth making a vacation destination.
The Republic of Singapore is a city, state and island country which is located in Southeast Asia. It is known as one of the cleanest countries in the world, as the laws are very strict regarding litter and pollution. For example, car owners pay an extra tax and if they travel into the city center, there is a toll. The island is only 85-square miles and is home to around 5.5 million people so the Prime Minister and government feel responsible for looking ahead not behind. The per capita GDP of $55,000 gives this country a higher place in line than the majority of larger countries.
Singapore is a gateway to many other destinations, such as Bali, China and Kuala Lumpur, so many travelers stop in to experience the culture and beauty of the area. Taking a guided tour gives visitors a chance to see and learn much about the country within three-four hours and is a great way to get acquainted with its history, religions and customs.
9 San Marino
The "Most Serene Republic of San Marino" is surrounded by Italy and is located on the north-eastern side of the Apennine Mountains on the peninsula. It is only 24-square miles, with about 30,000 residents and is one of the wealthiest, small countries in the world. The per capita GDP of this jewel in the country is $59,000.
The country's wealth is largely due to its economic stability, one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world, no national debt and a budget surplus. Those are amazing statistics and although tourism is only a little more than 2% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), there are more than two million visitors each year. It is picturesque and offers an environment and culture you won't easily find elsewhere.
8 United Arab Emirates
By now everyone has heard about the opulence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with the state-of-the-art architecture and unusual attractions. Dubai and Abu Dhabi now bring in visitors from all over the world. Its population is filled with more expatriates (7.8 million) than Emirati citizens (1.4 million) and the total 9.2 million inhabitants live within 26,000-square miles, which is divided into seven principalities.
More foreigners are traveling to the UAE than ever before to see the unique terrain, structures and sights. Camel-polo, ice bars, and indoor surfing are just a few of the more unusual activities. Of course, there are also cultural events, landmarks and local sports.
Switzerland is a lot more than luxury timepiece stores and banks. It is a haven for both winter and summer sports and perfect for enjoying its incredible, mountainous countryside. The 15,940-square mile country is nestled in between Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein among the Alps. Over 8 million people reside in Switzerland and they are lucky to enjoy an $81,000 per capita GDP, which makes this one of the smallest, richest countries in the world.
There are several ways to visit, such as by ferry from Evian-les-Bains, France, by plane, train and automobile. If you're not into sports, the metropolitan cities like Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Lausanne offer top-of-the-line shopping, restaurants, chocolate and more chocolate.
6 Macau (Macao)
The per capita GDP is quite high, at $91,000, for the Macau population of about 625,000 who share a space of 12.1-square miles. It is one of the richest countries on our list and has an economy that depends on the gambling and tourism trades to keep it there.
Its location, across from Hong Kong, bordered by Guangdong Province and the South China Sea, makes it an easy destination for weekend getaways as well as longer luxurious resort vacationing. The cuisine is uniquely Cantonese and Portuguese with influences from Europe, South America, Africa, India and Southeast Asia.
The Kingdom of Norway is located on the Scandinavian peninsula, Jan Mayen, the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island, which is partly on the Arctic. As you can see from this photo, it is simply breathtaking, quaint and natural. It is 148,747-square miles and approximately 5.1 million people call themselves Norwegians.
This country is considered one of the wealthiest countries in the world and a high per capita GDP of $100,400 that comes from an economy that has combined both free market and government run sectors, such as health, parental leave (46 weeks).
Music, cinema, art and culture are, of course, a large part of why travelers head to Norway. The unique terrain is also a huge draw with the mountains that are nestled into the sea, the fjords, northern lights and midnight sun.
Qatar is a sovereign state of 4,468-miles located on a small peninsula on the coast of the larger Arabian peninsula. Approximately 2.2 million people live there and the per capita GDP is very high and comes in around $104,000.
Many hotels and restaurants are modern and serve traditional Qatar menus, however, there are also a few American restaurants sprinkled in for those who long for home favorites. The attractions include museums, landmarks, performances and sports.
Beautiful Luxembourg is located between Belgium, Germany and France. Its small area of 998-square miles is home to about 600,000 residents where a grand duke is the country's leader. The per capita GDP is close to $111,000 and there is a very low history of inflation and unemployment.
The country is Euro-modern in and around the city of Luxembourg and the countryside is spectacular, complete with castles and gorgeous landscapes. Getting to Luxembourg is simple and can be approached by air, car or train. There is plenty of art, culture and gastronomy to enjoy for singles and families.
Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world and the only country to be completely nestled in the Alps. It's 62-square mile area is bordered by Austria and Switzerland and approximately 35,000 residents live there.
It is both a unique and enchanting place to visit, as it celebrates events like Oktoberfest and is a snow-ski vacation mecca. Home to two breweries, several vineyards and outstanding restaurants, Liechtenstein offers both country-traditional fare as well as the typical culinary delights one would find in a larger metropolitan area.
Monaco is the second smallest and richest country in the world and is situated on the Riviera between France and Italy. The country is smaller than New York's Central Park yet its per capita GDP is a startling $188,409.
Historically, it is most known for the famed marriage between American actress Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III. It's also the home of the annual Grand Prix, which is a prestigious Formula One auto race that has been run on the Circuit de Monaco since 1929.
Other luxury and elite sports and events are held in Monaco, such as the Monaco Super Yacht Show, the Tour de France and the ATP Tennis Masters Series. Monaco is a common stop for the millions of tourists who flock to this tiny country of 40,000 population each year.