I am something of a travel addict, so it’s a huge source of shame to me that I kind of suck at flags. I know some of the more obvious ones, of course, but anything that’ll make me a good member of your trivia team? Not a chance.
Yet when you start to get into it, some flags are actually super cool — sometimes because of the history behind them, and others just because they catch your eye. Honestly, it’s changed my whole view on flags.
To prepare you for your next trivia night, or to help you dazzle people with your fun facts at parties, I’ve rounded up the coolest flags around the world.
I will not be taking any questions, my list is final. Sorry.
10 coolest flags around the world
How did I NOT know there was a national flag in the world that wasn’t a rectangle. Hell, it’s not even square, and for that I must salute the Nepalese for… flying their own flag as it were.
The jagged edges represent mountains, which makes a lot of sense. The blue border symbolises peace and harmony, and it’s just all very nice.
Did anyone else grow up on Elmer The Patchwork Elephant books? Because I did and it was all I could think about when I saw the Antwerp flag and now I love it by association.
Sure Antwerp is just a province of Belgium, but the flag is cool so it counts. The style isn’t so random either, apparently it’s modelled off the old Brabant tradition of chequered flags.
I mean, there’s a big old dragon just chilling in the centre of this eye-catching flag, so surely I don’t need to explain myself any further.
However it does seem even deeper when you know that the dragon symbolises the “purity of inner deeds and thought”. The yellow is for the King’s authority and orange represents the country’s Buddhist tradition.
This tangle of bare legs just looks like a good time, if I’m honest. However the image makes more sense when you realise it’s actually a mythological creature — a three-legged Medusa, no less.
The three legs are meant to represent the triangular shape of Sicily, and the Medusa’s ears, which are made out of ears of corn (get it?) are symbols of the island’s fertility.
If you tell me you can’t see an army flying this flag high before riding into battle, Game Of Thrones-style, then you’re absolutely wrong and need your eyes checked.
The double-headed eagle silhouette comes from the symbol of the Byzantine Empire, which Albania used to be a part of. It’s bold, it’s simple and it’s striking. I stan.
Tell me this isn’t just cute? Again Friesland is a province, this time of Netherlands, not a country, but the flag has grabbed my eye and I’m in charge here.
Official sources tell me the red markings are lily leaves, representing the seven old Frisian lands from around the 8th to 14th centuries. I can’t stop seeing Queen Of Hearts, though.
In case you ever wondered what the country of Cyprus looks like, they’ve kindly placed it smack bang in the middle of their flag. It’s a simple one, but I can’t help appreciating it.
When it was designed in 1960, the use of blue and red was banned as those were the colours of Greece and Turkey respectively — the two countries warring over it. The crossed branches were added to represent the hope for peacful relations with its neighbours.
Personally, I appreciate a flag that simply announces itself clear and plain. None of this needing to google so you can pretend you know where it comes from.
This United States territory adopted their flag in 1948, with the deep blue background representing the ocean. The rest of the detail in the centre represents various aspects of the first inhabitants and certain cultural tools.
#9 Eswatini (Aka Swaziland)
Tell me this flag design wouldn’t make a striking feature wall? The colours, the bold lines, the details: it’s all really doing it for me.
The flag was adopted in 1968 after Eswatini (then known as Swaziland) gained independence from the British Empire. The design was based on one given by King Sobhuza II to the Swazi Pioneer Corps in 1941. They kept the design as a reminder of their military traditions.
Look, I wasn’t sure about including this one, until I noticed the little flame in one of the green triangles. The fact that it seems like such an afterthought amuses and also intrigues me.
Turns out, it’s nutmeg and was chucked in to symbolise Grenada’s reputation as the Isle Of Spice. Meanwhile, the gold is for wisdom and warmth of the sun and people, green is for their fertile land and the stars represent the country’s seven parishes.
(Lead Image: Pexels / Daria Sannikova)
Kassia is the Editor of AWOL, and a straight-up travel addict. She was born without a sense of direction, yet an intense desire to explore the world. As such, she's lost 90% of the time but she's learned to roll with it. You can catch her latest adventures on Instagram @probably_kassia.