For many who are asked which two national capital cities are closest to each other, those of Austria (Vienna) and Slovakia (Bratislava) come to mind. That’s not a bad guess as they’re just 40 miles apart and can be reached by bus and train in about an hour. However, this is not the answer as two other capital-city pairs are much closer to each other.
In Africa, the capitals of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) and the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) are only separated by the Congo River. The two cities are not connected by a bridge although there is talk of one being built, so travel is currently made primarily by boat. Some fly between Kinshasa’s N’djili Airport and Brazzaville’s Maya-Maya Airport.
However, nothing tops a country’s capital city being inside another country’s capital city. It should be noted that three countries are entirely inside other countries. Two of them are Lesotho inside South Africa and San Marino inside Italy, but no part of those two countries’ capital cities touches another country’s.
Vatican City is the answer. This city-state is entirely within Rome. All that it would take to walk from one national capital to another is taking a step onto Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square.
Walking is the mode of transport that the vast majority of people visiting Vatican City utilize to enter this country. However, a couple of other options exist although they’re not normally available for the public to use. The Vatican City Heliport is generally only used for meteorological reasons while a railway line that is 0.8 miles long connects Vatican City with Rome, but it’s also rarely used for passenger travel.
Vatican City and San Marino are the last two remnants from a time when city-states were littered throughout present-day Italy. Previous examples include Florence, Genoa, Milan, Pisa, Rome, Siena and Venice. The heyday for these city-states was generally from the 800s to the 1400s. Italian unification took place from 1815-71.