Countries with the Longest Coastlines

We compiled a list of the 20 countries with the longest coastlines. How many can you name?
Full list, based on original research by the Quizmaster
Includes overseas regions, dependencies, and autonomous areas
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: April 19, 2019
First submittedAugust 16, 2010
Times taken284,932
Average score85.0%
Rating4.89
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Kilometers
Country
137,000
Canada
73,100
Russia
69,500
United States
52,500
Indonesia
48,800
Denmark
(includes Greenland)
34,100
Australia
31,300
Chile
Kilometers
Country
27,400
Norway
18,700
Brazil
17,300
Philippines
16,800
China
16,700
United Kingdom
15,600
Mexico
15,500
Japan
Kilometers
Country
12,200
France
11,200
Papua New Guinea
11,000
India
10,300
New Zealand
9,480
Greece
6,520
Sweden
+45
Level ∞
Apr 18, 2019
Throughout the years, many people pointed out inaccuracies in our original source. I finally decided to calculate the coastline myself. It is now my belief that the CIA World Factbook data is deeply flawed, and that my new original source is the most accurate compilation of country coastlines available anywhere.
+5
Level 90
Apr 18, 2019
great quiz. well done quizmaster. From the alternative source (wiki) it looks like Denmark would just about make the top 20 even without Greenland. Is the same true on your list?
+2
Level 80
Apr 19, 2019
No, Denmark proper has 5,100 (see European coastlines quiz)
+27
Level 60
Aug 28, 2020
Tbh, because of the coastline paradox, all coastline measurements are 'flawed', since it always becomes infinite in the end.
+5
Level 66
Oct 12, 2020
Exactly, xenobiologista! It's all a matter of scale.
+6
Level 74
Apr 23, 2019
Bravo! Thank you for your diligence on this. Agreed about that "Factbook." It should come with a decoder ring and box of cereal :P
+3
Level 50
May 13, 2019
Thanks for the perseverance in creating this! Great quiz.
+2
Level 33
Mar 13, 2020
Wait, in your calculation, Cuba has more coastline then Madagascar. So Cuba is bigger than Madagascar ??
+34
Level 35
Mar 17, 2020
that is absolutely not what that means
+4
Level 65
Aug 20, 2021
@cameronfletcher - And that's because...

I am not trying to be difficult, but instead of just stating that someone is wrong, how about offering the correct answer. That way we can all learn something.

+5
Level 65
Aug 20, 2021
@Hlodowig - Cuba is an archipelago of islands. From a distance, on a map Cuba looks like one land mass, but actually there are several small islands surrounding the island nation. Adding up the coastline of all of these islands plus the coastline of mainland Cuba gives you a larger distance than that of Madagascar.
+3
Level 68
Feb 12, 2022
Like people above said. Also, a big factor is how "detailed" the coastline is.

If you take two coastlines that are nominally the same length (i.e.: from one end to the other, the distance is the same), but one is relatively smooth, while the other has lots of bays, inlets, fjords and the like, that second one can be many, many, many times longer than the first. Even when measuring at the same level of granularity.

+21
Level 24
Jun 30, 2020
why argentina is not included
+2
Level 53
May 4, 2022
yeah how
+1
Level 27
Sep 30, 2022
Have u looked at argentina on a world map
+4
Level 25
Oct 26, 2020
Canada has a coastline equal to more than 3 times the circumference of the Earth?? Is this accurate?
+27
Level 51
Oct 28, 2020
Canada has, like, a lot of islands, man
+9
Level 84
Apr 19, 2019
Italy and Croatia both not included in the new source? and wasn't Turkey on here before, too?
+3
Level 34
Jan 5, 2020
Italy needs to be included the coastline is long
+4
Level 69
May 1, 2020
Italy is 22nd, so it doesn't make it.
+2
Level 69
Dec 1, 2020
Sure? Italy should have some 7.500 km. of coastlines
+3
Level 76
Apr 27, 2019
That's a remarkably low estimate for New Zealand. Where did that come from?
+15
Level 34
May 13, 2019
Madagascar?
+3
Level 50
May 13, 2019
apparently not when its bigger than the uk and has lots of islands
+5
Level 25
Oct 26, 2020
The U.K. has overseas possessions that are islands is probably why.
+15
Level 57
Nov 16, 2020
The U.K's coastline is more twisty and jagged than Madagascar's.
+4
Level 78
Aug 19, 2021
Yes, it's definitely down to the shape of the actual country rather than the overseas possessions, which are tiny.
+2
Level 50
May 13, 2019
good quiz. i got them all, but i didnt get denmark till the very end.
+16
Level 40
May 13, 2019
The coastline paradox makes it virtually impossible to accurately measure a country's coastline.
+5
Level 67
May 24, 2019
how is it impossible to measure a coastline?? you just follow the edges, the coastline...
+17
Level 59
Jun 4, 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFjq8PX6F7I
+5
Level 57
Mar 11, 2020
I would have recommended the same video if I was earlier than you. Great explanation by RLL.
+7
Level 59
May 13, 2019
I only missed Papua New Guinea.
+4
Level 43
May 26, 2019
Same here
+1
Level 59
Aug 19, 2021
And I did again lol
+3
Level 34
May 13, 2019
the uk, france, philippines, and greece make sence uk and france have a bunch of islands and a large part of greece is islands so is the philippines.
+5
Level 66
May 13, 2019
PNG for the win
+2
Level 44
May 15, 2019
why is australia's coastline so small. Greeland has a quarter of the area but a much bigger coastline; wtf?
+7
Level 67
May 24, 2019
coastline isnt as the crow flies, but the actual coastline, so every inlet and tiny island is measured.
+7
Level 57
Mar 11, 2020
Fjords and Coastline Paradox
+6
Level 67
May 24, 2019
How is greece the lowest guessed in a quiz about coastlines??
+1
Level 43
May 26, 2019
Idk
+1
Level 53
May 4, 2022
because greece's coastline doesnt look that big when the philippines and png are on here
+2
Level 61
Jun 6, 2019
Thought some more of the islands nations would appear like Micronesia, Solomon Islands or Marshall Islands. Still got them all, but took some thinking.
+1
Level 27
Dec 21, 2020
I thought so too at first but the size of them is just too small in comparison to the big countries that the coastline/area ratio doesn't matter
+1
Level 54
Jan 15, 2022
If you want a version with smaller island countries try Smallest Countries with the Most Coastline.
+1
Level 53
Jun 11, 2019
Got 5 points on my first go. Quite easy, if I say so myself :P
+1
Level 60
Jul 14, 2019
Forgot France😀
+3
Level 43
Jul 19, 2019
Woaw How can Sweden beat Argentina
+10
Level 63
Jul 23, 2019
Argentina isn’t on the list?
+1
Level 41
Oct 15, 2020
same
+4
Level 42
Oct 6, 2019
No Madagascar?
+1
Level 69
Oct 11, 2019
The wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_length_of_coastline is very interesting with its two lists from different sources. the numbers are totally different. For example, Finland is 70th on one list with 1700 km and 10th on the other with 30000+.
+3
Level 60
Dec 29, 2019
My guess (based on being a Finnish person, not an online source). The first one, with 1700km, is calculating only the coastline of the mainland, and possibly even that one by cutting some corners. The 30000+ includes coasts of all the islands, of which there are a LOT.
+2
Level 54
Dec 21, 2019
I got 19 and forgot Russia

I got Papua New Guinea and Philippines but forgot Russia.

How could I forget it's the biggest country in the world.

+1
Level 54
Dec 17, 2020
Why are you thinking Philippines is not known???
+4
Level 16
Aug 19, 2021
Philippines is like the Cuba of asia, everyone knows about it, but you forget it really easily
+3
Level 70
Feb 25, 2020
There is no accurate way to measure coastline arbitrarily well from a map. Because of that, many paradoxes will be inevitable. How is Madagascar absent, when Papua New Guinea is present, for example? One would think Argentina or South Africa surely have as much coastline as Sweden, but it's a weird thing, measuring length of a curve that doesn't have statically defined position or curvature. Anyway, fun quiz nonetheless.
+3
Level 72
Jan 6, 2021
a paradox ≠ something unexpected
+1
Level 70
Jun 18, 2021
Paradox (noun) a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.
+3
Level 72
Aug 21, 2021
What is the contradictory idea?

surprising ≠ contradictory

I think it's surprising that PNG has more coastline than Madagascar (was that the original thing?) but it's not paradoxical.

p.s. I take issue with that Google definition of paradox - we could rename the interesting facts as "paradoxes" if that were right!

+1
Level 70
Aug 25, 2021
So, there is a very clear difference between "contradictory" and "seemingly contradictory." If you don't like the definition, and you don't like my word usage, provide your own definition and we can go from there, otherwise you are not really making a convincing point.
+1
Level 72
Mar 15, 2022
Collins:

1. "[a situation that] involves two or more facts or qualities which seem to contradict each other."

2. "a statement in which it seems that if one part of it is true, the other part of it cannot be true."

You might be surprised by the list (and there may even be errors in it) but it's not contradictory, I'd argue, for example in the way that "attack is the best form of defence" is.

+1
Level 56
Apr 2, 2020
Missed Sweden! Got Norway, tried Finland, didn't get anything, decided not to try Sweden, and then I was stuck with 19/20.
+1
Level 53
Apr 21, 2020
That Norway should have not just more coastline than Brazil but SO MUCH more is really surprising. Very interesting quiz!
+1
Level 32
Apr 24, 2020
Someone please explain how I got all of them lol. I mean I guess i’m Filipino but oh well
+1
Level 62
May 14, 2020
Really suspect Sweden being in this list!
+1
Level 56
Jul 19, 2020
Forgot India and I live here 😦
+1
Level 25
Sep 23, 2020
Surprised to see that turkey is not in list but Greece is
+1
Level 55
Oct 24, 2020
I got every single country except the USA and I live in the country right beside it. Help me lol
+1
Level 25
Oct 26, 2020
Quite amazing what a difference having many islands makes to ‘distance’ of a coastline. Countries that are apparently pretty small have huge coastlines while much larger nations like Saudi Arabia, which despite bordering both the Red and Arabian seas has a smaller coastline even though it looks pretty big on a map.
+1
Level 24
Nov 19, 2020
i forgot japan
+1
Level 44
Dec 10, 2020
Japan was the last for me.
+1
Level 57
Jan 5, 2021
No Madagascar?
+1
Level 56
Apr 24, 2021
Madagascar has 1600km bigger coastline than Sweden which actually has 3200, not 6500
+1
Level 21
Jun 1, 2021
I forgot Greece
+1
Level 36
Jun 1, 2021
me too it does not look that big lol
+1
Level 59
Jun 13, 2021
Missed Papua New Guinea which I apparently did the last time I took this so I'm still at 19 smh
+1
Level 59
Dec 14, 2021
Same thing again
+1
Level 30
Aug 1, 2021
Why is there no Argentina?
+1
Level 54
Jan 15, 2022
Most of Argentina's coastline is blocked by Chile.
+1
Level 37
Aug 19, 2021
Where is South Africa?
+2
Level 54
Feb 21, 2022
It's the southern tip of Africa. It borders Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
+2
Level 32
Oct 6, 2021
i got all but Papua New Guinea
+4
Level 56
Nov 9, 2021
I missed India I’m stupid
+1
Level 21
Dec 18, 2021
I really typed in california..
+1
Level 36
Jan 4, 2022
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS, Philippines was first than China but China has South China Sea, I live in the Philippines. me: dancing Coffin Dance then China is a coffin due to passed out coronavirus with me.
+1
Level 37
Jan 14, 2022
Where is Madagascar?
+1
Level 36
Jan 23, 2022
Italy has 7.5km2 so more than Sweden.
+1
Level 64
May 6, 2022
How would you get squared km from measuring coastline? Km2 are used for measuring area, not perimeters.
+1
Level 51
Feb 20, 2022
I'm tired of always forget philippines in all quizes :,(
+1
Level 54
Feb 21, 2022
I made a version with multiple sources, including Quizmaster's source.
+1
Level 58
Mar 7, 2022
How is New Zealand here but Madagascar is not?
+1
Level 34
Mar 28, 2022
love how the caveat gives you all the answers
+1
Level 20
May 21, 2022
I personally really disliked the quiz, because of bad answers.

For example Norways coastline is actually 100 915km and not 27 400km.

+1
Level 35
Jun 22, 2022
How is D.R. Congo having a coastline of 211km, according to the source?
+1
Level 18
Aug 6, 2022
Umm Sweden has a coastline of just over 3,000km… not 6,000.