Recently, there was a discussion here on Travel.SE about what are the two closest capital cities in the world. One user argued that it is Vienna and Bratislava. Another one stated either Vatican City and Rome or Kinshasa and Brazzaville. A quick Google Search turned out that there are references for all three claims.

Since I'm always very interested in traveling to special locations, I wonder if there is any authoritative reference that tells me to which capital I have to travel to check this from my traveling-todo-list.

  • 2
    I guess you'll just have to visit all 6, just to be safe (:
    – user82
    May 12, 2012 at 22:39
  • 4
    How about Soeul of the two Koreas, or if you regard Palestine as a country, east and west Jerusalem?
    – Golden Cuy
    May 13, 2012 at 2:42
  • 9
    @AndrewGrimm: Pyongyang is the capital of North Korea, Seoul is the capital of South Korea. Just like during communism Berlin wasn't the capital of West Germany, it was Bonn. May 13, 2012 at 17:02
  • 2
    Also, while the PA claims Jerusalem as its capital, in practice the administrative center is Ramallah. May 13, 2012 at 23:05
  • 4
    Oslo and Copenhagen are 375 miles apart. Not even close I'm afraid.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jan 10, 2013 at 8:57

4 Answers 4


From Wikipedia :

Nearest capital cities

The closest capital cities of two sovereign countries are Vatican City, Vatican, and Rome, Italy, one of which is inside the other (the distance between the middle points, St. Peter's Square/Piazza Venezia is about 2 km).

The two second closest capital cities between two sovereign countries are Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, which are about 1.6 km (0.99 mi) apart, one upstream from the other on different banks of the Congo River (the distance between the middle points is about 10 km).

Vienna and Bratislava, sometimes erroneously considered the two closest capitals, are 55 km (34 mi) apart.

  • 2
    Wow, Wellington sure does well in the remoteness stakes on that page :/
    – Mark Mayo
    May 13, 2012 at 1:22

Here's one more candidate depending on how loose your definition of "capital" is:

Nicosia is the capital of both the Republic of Cyprus, the mostly-Greek bit everybody recognizes, and the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which has de facto control of the northern half of the island but is recognized only by Turkey. However, unlike Vatican/Rome which are co-located, the two sides of Nicosia are separated by a buffer zone -- and hence the distance between the southern capital of Nicosia and its northern half of Lefkoşa is the minimum width of that zone, or 3.3 meters.

  • 4
    Good point, and in this case, what about Jerusalem, claimed as a capital by Israelians and Palestinians? I guess since neither state is widely recognized internationally, that would be the disqualifying point.
    – Vince
    Aug 22, 2015 at 11:52
  • 1
    Israel claims the entirety of Jerusalem as its capital, including the entire Palestine claim of East Jerusalem, so there's no real border between the two. Aug 22, 2015 at 12:06

I upvoted @Doc's answer, and then found this link:

What are Europe's two closest capital cities?

Essentially it's going to come down to your definition of a city (and you thought defining a country was hard!).

Their definition is that the two closest capitals in Europe are Rome and the Vatican - and at a distance of 0km, make them the closest in the world.

However, they explain by pointing out that the Vatican City is itself a sovereign state as well as a city, and therefore not a true capital of a country, making Bratislava and Vienna the closest in Europe (for the purpose of their question, however it would make Brazzaville and Kinshasha the closest in the world for the purpose of YOUR question)

However if you're asking the two closest capital cities then as the state 'Vatican City' comprises of more territory than just the city 'Vatican City', then yes, you could argue that Vatican City and Rome are the closest in Europe and the world.

Bottom line

So really, it comes down to your definition, and if you count Vatican City as a capital city, then yes, that's the closest (to Rome), if not, then it's Brazzaville and Kinshasha.

  • Those "territories" of Vatican are no more Vatican territory than embassies of other countries in foreign capitals.
    – zabop
    Nov 11, 2021 at 23:19

As was already said by others, Bratislava and Vienna are the closest capitals in Europe if you don't define Vatican city as a capital.

The really interesting thing about those two is that they have had close bonds up until the end of WW I, since Bratislava was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Then, for about 70 years, the two cities where separated by the iron curtain. Since the integration of Slovakia into the EU, the two cities are sometimes referred to as twin cities.

Another special thing about Bratislava: Bratislava is the only capital in the world to border two other countries.

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