How Many Continents In The World? 5,6,7?

There are 7 continents in the world. Most people agree with that but there are some who say there are 6, some say 5. But there are 7. If you’ve read my article about how many countries in the world you’ll know that I’ve been lucky enough to visit all 7 continents on many different occasions on my way to visiting every country on the planet.  When I planning on making this list about how many continents in the world I was going through old travel photos and remembering how special each continent is.

All 7 of them have their own special qualities, uniqueness and you should definitely visit as many of them as possible.

How many continents in the world
How many continents in the world? Here’s me kissing my 7th, and final continent, Antarctica!

What is a Continent?

There are tons of definitions that people use to identify a continent. The most commonly used and most simple is to identify a large landmass which is separated by oceans from other large landmasses. The 7 continents that we have in the world are always changing shape because the earth’s water defines the landmass of each continent. Don’t forget that water makes up around 2/3 of the earth’s surface, so boundaries and shapes of continents are altered as the waters change. All of the 7 continents used to be connected as one landmass known as Pangea, but we’re talking millennia ago. Now we can easily recognize that there are 7 distinct continents.

What Are The 7 Continents?

It is widely accepted that the 7 continents are:

  1. Africa
  2. Antarctica
  3. Asia
  4. Australia (also known as Australasia)
  5. Europe
  6. North America
  7. South America

Some people can get confused about the name and mistake continents for regions, I’ll take you through each continent and clear up any confusion.

SIDE NOTE: These 7 continents gave birth to the concept of the 7 SUMMITS, the highest mountain on each continent too.


Number Of Countries: 56

Africa is the second-largest continent on the planet and is an awesome place to travel through. The last frontier of authentic travel, it may be said. Make sure you like the heat before you head there because it is home to some of the world’s hottest countries. Check out my article about how many countries are there in Africa, there are plenty of disputed territories in the region which is why my country count may surprise you.

How many continents in the world
How many continents in the world? At the top of Africa’s highest peak, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania


Number Of Countries: 0

How many countries are there in Antarctica is a pretty simple question to answer because there are none! 7 countries do lay claim to certain parts of the continent for research and scientific purposes. You may also see it referred to as either the White or Frozen continent. It’s not surprising that it’s the coldest place on earth because over 3 quarters of the earth’s ice can be found here. There are no permanent residents in Antarctica but you will find adventurous travellers. Here are some reasons why you should consider visiting Antarctica.

How many continents are there
How many continents are there? Relaxing in Antarctica


Number Of Countries: 49

My home! Asia is by far the largest continent on the planet in terms of size (9% of the planet’s surface) and population (4.3 billion, 60% of the world’s population) – with the likes of China, India and Russia located within this continent it’s always going to keep the top spot. If you want to see how many countries in Asia I think there are then check out my article. It can be a bit controversial when deciding which countries are part of Asia and Europe.

how many countries are there in the world
How many continents are there in the world? In Tiber, Asia

Australia (or Australasia)

Number Of Countries: 3

First things first, Australia is a continent and you can also call it Australasia. People are sometimes surprised to hear that the continent only contains 3 countries, that’s because they confuse the continent with the Oceania region. How many countries in Australia varies depends on who you talk to, there are in 14 Australia/Oceania. Check out my article to read my explanation.

How many countries in Australia
How many continents are there? In Papua New Guinea, Australia (or Australasia)


Number Of Countries: 49

It was fun making my list of how many countries are there in Europe, that’s because the continent is part of the same landmass as Asia. I am sure that when you guys read my article not all of you will agree of the countries I include and those that I don’t. Home to nearly 3 quarters of a million people, including me in my Irish youth.

Is Ireland in Europe?
Dublin, Ireland

North America

Number Of Countries: 23

North America is a continent that also includes Central America and The Caribbean. How many countries are there in North America is a long-debated topic because some people argue that North and South America are one continent. It’s a huge area with 5 time zones and the only place on the planet with every single type of climate.

If you want to know how many countries in the Caribbean, I blogged that too.

If you want to know how many countries in Central America, I blogged that too.

Chichen Itza from Cancun
How many continents in the world? Me at Chichen Itza, Mexico, North America

South America

Number Of Countries: 12

My article about how many countries in South America will show you the 12 countries and lesser-known dependencies which make up the continent. It’s the 4th biggest continent on the planet and an awesome place to visit because you’ll find the Himalayas (Mt. Aconcagua is there which I completed on my mission to climb all 7 peaks), the Amazon river, Angel Falls and much more. 

How many continents in the world
How many continents in the world? Peru, South America

Does everyone agree with 7 Continents in the world??

Nope! Interestingly enough not everyone agrees that there are 7 continents in the world. The reason being that some people combine North and South America because it is one landmass, therefore, should be classed as one continent in their eyes, calling it the ‘American Continent.’

The other contentious issue for a few people is Europe and Asia, some people combine them into one continent calling it ‘Eurasia.’

Why Do Some Say There are 5 or 6 Continents in the world?

TLDR? So why do some people say there are 5 or 6 continents?

North and South America as 1 continent; The Americas

Because they may not separate North and South America as 2 continents, and call it one continent ‘The Americas’.

Europe and Asia as 1 continent; Eurasia

And some include Europe and Asia as 1 continent, calling it Eurasia.

Coming from Ireland, I have only ever been taught that there are 7 continents in the world. I’m pretty sure most of you reading this are the same too. That wasn’t always the case because back in the day people used to be taught that there were 5 continents; Africa, America, Asia, Australia and Europe.

Take a look at the Olympic symbol again. There are 5 rings and that’s because it used to be accepted that there were 5 continents (not separating the 2 Americas and also not including Antarctica).  Some countries teach that there are 6 continents in the world; America, Antarctica, Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe (not separating the 2 Americas).

How many continents are there
How many continents are there? The Olympics originally had 5 rings representing 5 continents

So to confirm, how many continents are there?

I understand why some say 5 and 6 but there are 7 continents in the world. Hope this helps!

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