How many continents are there in the world? It’s generally accepted that there are 7 continents of the world, although some other definitions put the total number at four, five, six, or even eight continents.
In this article, I’ll provide a complete list of all the continents in the world, and then I’ll explain some interesting facts about each of the 7 continents.
I’ll also discuss some of the alternate numbers out there, and the reasoning behind them. It’s a more complicated subject than you might think at first, because it’s a bit hard to define a continent.
As a world traveler, this subject is interesting to me since I’m working on visiting all 7 continents on Earth. I still haven’t been to Antarctica, but it’s on my bucket list!
Without further ado, let’s find out how many continents there are in the world!
So How Many Continents Are There In The World?
Short answer: the most commonly accepted number of continents is 7.
That’s what is taught in most English-speaking countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and also in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Suriname, and parts of Western Europe.
You can see a map of the 7 continents of the world below:
Other Continent Models
Even though the 7 continents model is the most widely accepted model around the world, not everyone subscribes to it. In Russia and Eastern Europe, for example, they use a 6 continent model that combines Asia and Europe into one continent: Eurasia.
On the other hand, in Greece and countries that speak Romance languages, they use a different 6 continent model that combines North and South America into one continent: America.
You can see this reasoning reflected in the Olympic flag, which was originally designed with 5 rings to represent the five inhabited continents (Antarctica is uninhabited so it was left out).
Full List: 7 Continents Of The World
The continent of Africa has 54 countries. It’s the world’s second biggest and second most populous continent, after Asia. Africa is widely considered to be the birthplace of humanity, and it also has a great collection of wildlife species, which is one of the main things that brings world travelers to Africa.
The continent of Antarctica contains the geographic South Pole, and it’s mostly covered by a very thick ice sheet. Antarctica holds the record for the lowest measured temperature on Earth, −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F), although the coastal regions can reach temperatures over 10 °C (50 °F) in summer.
There are 0 countries in Antarctica, but about 5,000 people live temporarily at research stations there during the summer, and around 1,000 in the winter. Animals you can see in Antarctica include seals and penguins.
The continent of Asia has 48 countries. It’s the world’s biggest continent in terms of both land area and population. In fact, the other continents are not even close in population. Asia has roughly 60 percent of the world’s population, and 30 percent of its land area.
It’s a very diverse continent in terms of people, cultures, geography, religions, and wildlife. As a world traveler, Asia is by far my favorite continent to explore! My wife is Asian, and this continent is my second home between trips around the world.
The continent of Australia has 2 countries: Australia and Papua New Guinea. It also includes part of Indonesia (West Papua), although the country of Indonesia is mostly considered to be in Asia.
Surprisingly, New Zealand is not considered part of the Australian continent (or any continent), although these countries are sometimes grouped together into a larger region called Oceania.
Australia is the smallest of the 7 continents of the world, in terms of land area and total population. It’s also the lowest and flattest continent.
The continent of Europe has 44 countries, including outliers like Iceland and Russia, which is considered part of both Asia and Europe. Turkey is considered an Asian country, although Istanbul and the western part of Turkey is in Europe.
Europe is a beautiful place to travel and hike, with such countries as Greece, Italy, Norway, and Switzerland. Many Americans like to vacation in Europe, although it tends to be a bit pricey compared to the other continents of the world.
6. North America
The continent of North America has 23 countries, and the most well known of these are Canada and the United States. The island of Greenland (which is the world’s largest island) is also considered part of the North American continent, although it’s owned by Denmark.
Believe it or not, the North American continent also includes the Caribbean and all of the countries in Central America, like Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama. I always thought of these as South American countries or something else, but they’re actually considered part of North America.
North America is the 3rd biggest continent in the world, with a total land area of 24 million square kilometers (more than 9 million square miles).
7. South America
The continent of South America has 12 countries, and it’s full of wonderful nature.
This region has the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall (Angel Falls in Venezuela), the biggest river by volume (the Amazon River), the longest mountain range (the Andes), and many other interesting things, including the ruins of Machu Picchu!
South America is also one of the most biodiverse continents on Earth, with all kinds of unique animal species.
FAQ: 7 Continents Of The World
• What Continent Is Russia Part Of?
Russia is a bit tricky to classify because it’s so big and spread out. In the seven continents model, Russia is normally considered to be part of both the Asian and European continents.
Most of Russia’s land area is in Asia, but most of its people (including the city of Moscow) would be considered part of Europe, which is why Russia is politically classified as a country of Europe according to the United Nations.
• What Continent Is The Middle East Part Of?
However, Egypt is not considered to be an Asian country, but instead it’s part of Africa, although the Egyptian pyramids definitely fit the stereotypes that pop into our heads when we think of the Middle East.
• What Continent Is Indonesia / Philippines Part Of?
However, there’s one exception: the Indonesian territory of West Papua is part of the island of New Guinea, and therefore it’s considered part of the Australian continent, even though it’s politically part of the country of Indonesia, which is an Asian country. Confused yet?
In prehistoric times (when water levels were lower), some of the islands of Indonesia and the Philippines were actually connected by land to mainland Asia, which explains some of the species of wildlife you can see in those places.
• What Continent Is Hawaii Part Of?
The islands of Hawaii are not normally considered to be part of any continent. Even though Hawaii is politically recognized as a state in the United States, it’s far, far away from North America and not considered part of that continent.
• What Is The Biggest Continent In The World?
The biggest continent in the world in terms of land area is Asia, closely followed by Africa in second place. Asia has a land area of more than 31 million square kilometers (almost 12 million square miles).
• What Is The Smallest Continent In The World?
The smallest continent in the world in terms of land area and total population is Australia, although it’s still quite big, with a size of 8.6 million square kilometers (3.3 million square miles) when you combine the countries of Australia and Papua New Guinea.
• Which Continent Has The Highest Population?
The most populous continent in the world is Asia by far. As of 2023, it has an estimated population of more than 4.7 billion people.
This is partly because Asia has so many countries in it (48), but it’s mostly because it includes some very highly populated countries like China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, which are all ranked as some of the top 10 most populous countries in the world.
• Which Continent Has The Most Countries In It?
The continent with the most countries is Africa. According to the United Nations statistics, Africa has 54 countries, while Asia has 48 and Europe has 44. Antarctica is the only continent with no countries in it.
• How Many Continents Have I Visited?
I’ve traveled to the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. If you consider Zealandia a continent, I’ve been there too! The only continent I still lack is Antarctica, but it’s on my bucket list!
If you’re busy traveling the continents of Earth, don’t forget to bookmark my travel blog for more tips, info, and photos as I document my own experiences around the world.
Thanks and happy travels!