The world's 10 weirdest accidental enclaves and exclaves

Look carefully at any map, and you're likely to find some weird oddities thrown up as a result of political boundaries over the years. Some of these accidental enclaves and exclaves are more worth visiting than others, however.

Australian Capital Territory

An enclave is a territory, or part of a territory, that is completely surrounded by another state. This applies, on a national level, to Lesotho, San Marino and the Vatican. But on a sub-national level, Australia's very own ACT fits the description. Carved out of NSW to house the new national capital and with a few mountains to hike in, the Australian Capital Territory is for the most part rather pretty. Go get lost in the Namadgi National Park if Canberra's museum blitz isn't doing it for you.

Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Azerbaijan

An exclave is a geographically separated part of a territory, to which all possible routes (by land and sea) involve passing through other states. Many are also enclaves, but the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is an exception, as it borders both Armenia and Turkey. Its isolation came as a result of the Armenia-Azerbaijan war, which left the borders between the two countries a tangled, much-disputed knot, and relations between the two countries dismal.

Llivia, Spain

A smidge east of Andorra, Llivia is only about two kilometres from the rest of Spain, but is completely surrounded by France, making it both enclave and exclave. The quirk came about during the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees, when Spain ceded regions to France. But only villages were included – and Llivia was a town, so it remained Spanish. The tourist highlight? An old pharmacy museum. Don't all go booking at once, now.


Proper geography nerds would consider Alaska a "pene-exclave" – it can be reached from the rest of the country without crossing another country's territory. But let's not get bogged down in the technicalities – you can only get there by sea without passing through Canada. By land, if you want to explore the vast national parks, mountainous landscape and gold rush history, you're heading through British Columbia.

The Musandam Peninsula

The border between Oman and the UAE is a complete mess, largely due to both countries being cobbled together from historic mini-fiefdoms. But the Musandam Peninsula in the far north of Oman is completely cut off from the rest of the country, and to get there, you have to go through the Emirates. Unless you go by boat. Which, coincidentally, is the best way of seeing the fiord-like coastline that has made it a tourist hot spot.

French Guiana

Technically an integral part of France, French Guiana's location in South America, bordering Brazil and Suriname, makes it prime fodder for a zillion devilish pub trivia questions. Top attractions include the Devil's Island former penal colony and the Guiana Amazonian Park – a largely untouched chunk of rainforest further inland.

Ceuta and Melilla, Spain

Another boon for pub trivia nerds, these two Spanish cities lie on the African continent, bordered by Morocco and the Mediterranean. They've long been trading ports, and have the impressive city walls to match. There is also some grand Spanish architecture to match, and a highly multicultural population that combines Spaniards, Arabs and Sephardic Jews.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

The southern chunk of Croatia's Dubrovnik-Neretva County, which includes the outrageously pretty city of Dubrovnik, is cut off from the rest of the country by a tiny morsel of Bosnia and Herzegovina. So those wanting to do Game of Thrones location tours in Dubrovnik need to pass through this absurd 20-kilometre stretch, created in 1699 as a buffer zone between Venice and the Ottoman Empire.


Kaliningrad, Russia

Sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad was historically part of Prussia, and has been passed around a fair bit in European wars. Konigsberg, as it was known under German rule, became part of the Soviet Union after World War II. But Lithuanian independence turned it into an exclave of Russia. The star attraction is the Curonian Spit, a thin finger of impeccable beaches.


The true champion of exclavery has to be Baarle-Hertog, which is part of Belgium, but has a series of tiny exclaves surrounded by the Netherlands. There are 22 in total, and these are made even more insanely complicated by the fact the Netherlands commune of Baarle-Nassau has seven exclaves within Baarle-Hertog. In several instances, the border runs through people's houses.

See also: The 10 buildings around the world that are in the wrong place

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