Which Countries Have The Most Islands?

By Antonia Čirjak on June 10 2020 in Travel

Islands are almost like little havens you can escape to when you need a little peace and quiet.
Islands are almost like little havens you can escape to when you need a little peace and quiet.
  • Sweden is the country with the most islands in the world, 267,570 to be exact, and the number keeps on growing.
  • More than half of the islands in Finland can be found in lakes all over the country.
  • Indonesia and Australia are both countries that are completely made up of islands, so the actual mainland is a part of the islands as well.

Islands are almost like little havens you can escape to when you need a little peace and quiet. Not every country is close to them, but when people go on vacation, they will often pick an island resort. The fact that it is a small piece of land surrounded by the ocean from all sides makes them a perfect place to escape to when you want to take a break from everything.

All over the planet, the ocean is filled with numerous islands. The majority of these islands belong to a country, most often the one they are close to. However, did you ever wonder which country has the most islands under its flag? The answer might surprise you, as will the sheer number of islands that some countries have, so read on to find out.

7. Philippines

Landscape of Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan, Philippines.
Landscape of Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan, Philippines.

With 7,641 islands, the Philippines take seventh place on the list of the countries with the most islands. Palawan is often mentioned as the most beautiful of the bunch and is recommended by travelers as the one to visit. However, you will not go wrong with any of the other 7,640 islands, since the entire country is filled with a unique adventurous charm.

6. Australia

Sarah Island Tasmania, Macquarie Harbour Penal Station, abandoned convict island.
Sarah Island Tasmania, Macquarie Harbour Penal Station, abandoned convict island.

The list keeps taking us further south, and we have suddenly taken it to the extreme. Australia is a country and an island-continent which makes its placement on this list weird. Is the country itself included among the 8,222 islands that are featured under its flag?

It seems like it is, which would make it the country that has the single largest island on this list. Tasmania is another Australian island that is quite large and well-known, and the majority of the other islands are along the west coast of the continent. Kangaroo Island is especially popular among visitors.

5. Indonesia

Pianemo Islands, Blue Lagoon with Green Rockes, Raja Ampat, West Papua. Indonesia.
Pianemo Islands, Blue Lagoon with Green Rockes, Raja Ampat, West Papua. Indonesia.

Finally, we move to the south, but we still haven’t completely passed the equator. However, we are sticking around it, on both sides, to be exact. Indonesia is made up of 18,207 islands that are scattered on both sides of the equator, in Southeast Asia. This number could be wrong though because, with several different surveys, all gave different answers on the exact number of islands.

The most reliable one seems to be 17, 504, so let’s roll with that one. The country is a popular tourist spot, with the island of Bali being the most well known of the bunch. When we say a bunch, we mean literally, that is a lot of islands.

4. Canada

Aerial of islands of Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada.
Aerial of islands of Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada.

While we are moving away from Europe, we are still stuck in the northern hemisphere. The exact number of islands in Canada is unknown, but it is believed that there are at least 30,000 of them.

The Georgian Bay is home to the largest freshwater archipelago in the world. It is known as the Thirty Thousand Islands archipelago, and it is not hard to guess why. Interestingly, there are also 1,864 islands in the Saint Lawrence River.

3. Norway

Picturesque landscape at Norway islands.
Picturesque landscape at Norway islands.

By now you should not be surprised that the countries with the highest number of islands are all Nordic countries. Norway has over 50,000 islands, including Bouvet Island. This particular island is considered to be one of the most remote places on earth. It is inhabited only by birds and seals. If you are looking for a particular spot to visit, look no further than the Lofoten Islands. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the temperatures can get quite high here in the summer, so you may enjoy a war vacation after all.

2. Finland

Aerial view of Helinki archipelago, Finland, Europe.
Aerial view of Helinki archipelago, Finland, Europe.

Another Nordic country, Finland has 179,584 islands. These numbers are surprisingly high, but what is special about the islands in Finland is that not all of them are in the ocean. Some islands in this country can actually be found in lakes. Finland has approximately 188,000 lakes, and 98,050 islands reside on them. The islands in Finland are truly wondrous, and you should visit if you ever feel like experiencing something resembling an adventure from the Viking era.

1. Sweden

Stockholm Archipelago on the Baltic Sea in the morning.
Stockholm Archipelago on the Baltic Sea in the morning.

The country that has the most islands in the entire world is Sweden. Many people would not think of this, and probably imagine a tropical paradise when imagining a place that is littered with islands. However, the highest number of islands belonging to a single country can be found in the northern part of Europe, where you’d be surprised to see a single day of warm weather throughout the year.

Sweden has 267,570 islands! That number might be unexpectedly high to the majority of people that are researching this, but what is even more interesting is that the number is growing. Only 984 islands are inhabited, and Marstrand is the most popular one if you decide to visit.

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