List of transcontinental countries

This is a list of countries with territory that straddles more than one continent, known as transcontinental states or intercontinental states.[1]

A map of transcontinental countries, and countries that control territory in more than one continent.
  Contiguous transcontinental countries.
  Non-contiguous transcontinental countries.
  Countries that may be considered transcontinental, depending on the legal status of their claims or the definition of continental boundaries used.

Contiguous transcontinental countries are states that have one continuous or immediately-adjacent piece of territory that spans a continental boundary, most commonly the line that separates Europe and Asia (such as in the case of Russia or Kazakhstan). By contrast, non-contiguous transcontinental countries are those states that have portions of territory that are separated from one another either by a body of water or by other countries. Most non-contiguous transcontinental countries are countries with overseas territories.[1]

For the purposes of this article, a seven-continent model is assumed.[2] The boundary between Europe and Asia is largely conventional, and several conventions remained in use well into the 20th century. However, the now-prevalent convention—which has been in use by some cartographers since about 1850—follows the Caucasus northern chain, the Ural River and the Ural Mountains, is used for the purposes of this list.[3] This convention results in several countries finding themselves almost entirely in 'Asia', with a few small enclaves or districts technically in 'Europe'. Notwithstanding these anomalies, this list of transcontinental or intercontinental states respects the convention that Europe and Asia are full continents rather than subcontinents or component landmasses of a larger Eurasian continent.

Listed further below, separately, are countries with distant non-contiguous parts (overseas territories) on separate continents.


The lists within this article include entries that meet the following criteria:

  • Transcontinental or intercontinental states are sovereign states that have some portion of their territory geographically divided between at least two continents.[1][4]
  • Transcontinental states can be classed as either contiguous or non-contiguous transcontinental states.[5]
    • Contiguous transcontinental states are those countries that have one continuous or immediately adjacent piece of territory that spans a continental boundary. More specifically, they contain a portion of their territory on one continent and a portion of their territory on another continent, while having these two portions connected via a natural geological land connection (e.g. Russia) or the two portions being immediately adjacent to one another (e.g. Turkey).[6][7]
    • Non-contiguous transcontinental states are those that have portions of territory that are separated from one another either by a significant body of water or by other land.[6][7] Most non-contiguous transcontinental countries are countries with overseas territories.[1]

The boundaries between the continents can be vague and subject to interpretation, making it difficult to conclusively define what counts as a 'transcontinental state'.

Contiguous boundary

Contiguous transcontinental states are those countries that have one continuous or immediately adjacent piece of territory that spans a continental boundary. More specifically, they contain a portion of their territory on one continent and a portion of their territory on another continent, while having these two portions connected via a natural geological land connection (e.g. Russia) or the two portions being immediately adjacent to one another (e.g. Turkey).[6][7]

Africa and Asia

  African land part of Egypt
  Asian land part of Egypt
  The rest of Africa
  The rest of Asia

The modern convention for the land boundary between Asia and Africa runs along the Isthmus of Suez and the Suez Canal in Egypt. The border continues through the Gulf of Suez, Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden. In antiquity, Egypt had been considered part of Asia, with the Catabathmus Magnus escarpment taken as the boundary with Africa (Libya).

Former transcontinental countries:

  •  Israel: After the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, Israel briefly became a transcontinental state as it occupied territory on the African side of the Suez Canal, in addition to the entirety of Sinai. The land was returned in 1975 per the Sinai Interim Agreement.

Asia and Europe

Conventions used for the boundary between Europe and Asia during the 18th and 19th centuries. The red line shows the most common modern convention, in use since c.1850.
  historically placed in either continent

The conventional Europe-Asia boundary was subject to considerable variation during the 18th and 19th centuries, indicated anywhere between the Don River and the Caucasus to the south or the Ural Mountains to the east. Since the late-19th century, the Caucasus–Urals boundary has become almost universally accepted. According to this now-standard convention, the boundary follows the Aegean Sea, the Turkish Straits, the Black Sea, along the watershed of the Greater Caucasus, the northwestern portion of the Caspian Sea and along the Ural River and Ural Mountains to the Arctic Ocean.[8][9]

According to this convention, the following states have territory in both Asia and Europe.

  •  Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan is a country located mainly on the Asian portion of the Caucasus; however, its Qusar, Shabran, Siazan, Khachmaz and Quba districts are north of the Greater Caucasus Watershed, and thus geographically in Europe, placing a population of about half a million (or ca. 5% of the country's total population) in Europe.
  •  Georgia: Georgia is a country located mainly on the Asian portion of the Caucasus, with its Kazbegi Municipality, Khevsureti and Tusheti north of the Greater Caucasus Watershed, and thus geographically in Europe, placing around 5% of the country's total territory in Europe.
  •  Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan is a country mainly located in Central Asia with a small portion of the country extending west of the Ural River in Eastern Europe. The country's physical, cultural, ethnic, and geographic characteristics are Central Asian,[10] with a large European influence and influx of European settlers from Russia from when it was a part of the Soviet Union and the earlier Russian Empire. Its West Kazakhstan and Atyrau regions extend on either side of the Ural River,[11] placing a population of less than one million residents (out of a 15 million total population) geographically in Europe.
  •  Russia: The Russian Federation is located in Eastern Europe with substantial territory in Northern Asia, which was historically incorporated into the Tsardom of Russia in the 17th century by conquests. Although Russia falls partly in Asia, it is considered a European country because of its historical, cultural, ethnical, and political ties to the continent. The vast majority of its population (80%) lives within its European portion, making it the most populous European nation. Russia's capital Moscow is the largest city in Europe.
  •  Turkey: The Republic of Turkey falls almost wholly within the in Western Asia (the Asian portion of Turkey composing the Anatolian Peninsula and additional land) plus a smaller portion of the country in the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe called East Thrace, which covers only 3% of the country's total area, with a population of about 11 million people, or some 14% of the country's population. Turkey's largest city Istanbul spans either side of the Bosphorus, making it a "transcontinental city" in both Europe and Asia, while the country's capital Ankara is located in Asia. The territory of the current Turkish state is the core territory of the previous Ottoman Empire that was also transcontinental in the same geographic region, which itself had also supplanted the earlier, similarly transcontinental Byzantine Empire.

North America and South America

Map of the Darién Gap at the border between Colombia and Panama

The conventional boundary between North America and South America is at some point on the Colombia–Panama border, with the most common demarcation in atlases and other sources following the Darién Mountains watershed where the Isthmus of Panama meets the South American continent (see Darién Gap). This area encompasses a large watershed, forest and mountains in the northern portion of Colombia's Chocó Department and Panama's Darién Province.

  •  Panama: Since the political boundary between Panama and Colombia is not entirely determined by natural features, some geographers prefer to use the Panama Canal[12] as the physical boundary between North and South America instead.[13] Under this convention, Panama is classified as a transcontinental country while its capital Panama City is classified as a South American city.

Former transcontinental countries:


North America and South America

The special case of Caribbean islands adjacent to the South American coastline:

Caribbean Island locations

North American Caribbean islands administered by South American states:

Aves Island, Venezuela
San Andrés and Providencia, Colombia

Caribbean islands considered North American or South American:

Trinidad and Tobago
Aruba, Netherlands
Bonaire, Netherlands
Curaçao, Netherlands
Federal Dependencies, Venezuela
Nueva Esparta, Venezuela

North America, Oceania, and Asia

South America and Oceania

Europe and North America

  •  Denmark: As a constituent part of the Danish Realm, Greenland is a non-sovereign country within the Kingdom of Denmark. Fully located on the North American tectonic plate, and close to the mainland, Greenland is considered to be geographically a part of North America. Although it is politically associated with Europe and internationally represented by a European state (including in the Council of Europe), it is autonomous. Historically and ethnically, its native population is of North American tradition, although it also shares cultural links with other native peoples bordering the Arctic Sea in Northern Europe and Asia (today in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia), as well as in North America (Alaska in the U.S., Northwest Territories, Nunavut and northern parts of Quebec and Labrador in Canada). Greenland was part of Danish territory and within the territory of the European Union, but voted for more autonomy and is now excluded from the EU.

Europe, North America, and South America

  •  Netherlands: Though most of the Kingdom of the Netherlands' landmass is in Europe, it also includes six island territories in the Lesser Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea: the Dutch Caribbean. Within the Lesser Antilles archipelago, three territories are in the Leeward Islands group (considered part of the continent of North America) and three in the Leeward Antilles group (on the South American continental shelf). Since the dissolution of the Dutch Antilles in 2010, the sovereign Kingdom of the Netherlands has been administratively divided into four non-sovereign constituent "countries": Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands — the last of which includes the islands of Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba (collectively known as the BES islands or the Caribbean Netherlands) as "special municipalities", making it a non-sovereign transcontinental constituent country within the Kingdom.

Europe, North America, South America, Oceania, Africa, and Antarctica

Europe, North America, South America, Oceania, Africa, Asia, and Antarctica

Africa and Europe

Asia and Africa

Asia and Europe

Asia and Oceania

Antarctica and other continents

Sub-antarctic region
Antarctic region
  • Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom: These seven states claim portions of the Antarctic mainland (some of them overlapping)[note 2], as well as its associated islands south of 60°S latitude. Some, including Argentina and Chile, consider the Antarctic land they claim to be integral parts of their national territory. However, none of these claims are recognized by the United Nations and the international community.[note 3] Since 1961, the Antarctic Treaty System has held in abeyance all land claims south of 60°S latitude, including Antarctica's ice shelves and Antarctic islands.

See also


  1. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which straddles tectonic plates, form a British Overseas Territory but are claimed by Argentina.
  2. The Antarctic claims of Argentina, Chile and the United Kingdom overlap to some degree.
  3. Australia, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom recognize each other's Antarctic claims (which do not overlap).[17]


  1. "Transcontinental Countries Of The World". WorldAtlas. Retrieved 2021-05-31.
  2. "Continent". National Geographic. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  3. The question was treated as a "controversy" in British geographical literature until at least the 1860s, with Douglas Freshfield advocating the Caucasus crest boundary as the "best possible", citing support from various "modern geographers" (Journey in the Caucasus, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, Volumes 13–14, 1869). In 1958, the Soviet Geographical Society formally recommended that the boundary between Europe and Asia be drawn in textbooks from Baydaratskaya Bay, on the Kara Sea, along the eastern foot of the Ural Mountains, then the Ural River to the Mugodzhar Hills, the Emba River, and the Kuma–Manych Depression (i.e. passing well north of the Caucasus); "Do we live in Europe or in Asia?" (in Russian).; Orlenok V. (1998). "Physical Geography" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2011-10-16.. Nevertheless, most Soviet-era geographers continued to favour the boundary along the Caucasus crest. (E. M. Moores, R. W. Fairbridge, Encyclopedia of European and Asian regional geology, Springer, 1997, ISBN 978-0-412-74040-4, p. 34: "most Soviet geographers took the watershed of the Main Range of the Greater Caucasus as the boundary between Europe and Asia.")
  4. "transcontinental". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  5. "contiguous". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  6. Misachi, John (25 April 2017). "Which Countries Span More Than One Continent?". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  7. Ramos, Juan (19 March 2018). "What Continent Is Egypt Officially In?". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  8. National Geographic Atlas of the World (9th ed.). Washington, DC: National Geographic. 2011. ISBN 978-1-4262-0634-4. "Europe" (plate 59); "Asia" (plate 74): "A commonly accepted division between Asia and Europe ... is formed by the Ural Mountains, Ural River, Caspian Sea, Caucasus Mountains, and the Black Sea with its outlets, the Bosporus and Dardanelles."
  9. World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency.
  10. Encyclopædia Britannica, Kazakhstan, Retrieved: 8 May 2016
  11. World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency. Kazakhstan: Geography
  12. Panama Canal
  13. North America
  14. "Socotra". 6 May 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  15. Evans, Mike. "Islands east of the Horn of Africa and south of Yemen". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  16. "Papua New Guinea asks RP support for Asean membership bid". GMA News. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  17. "Did you know that seven countries have claims in Antarctica?". Norwegian Polar Institute. Retrieved 30 August 2020.