When you think of Europe, you imagine ancient castles, snowy mountains, lakes, seas, and cozy old towns. But at the same time, this respectable lady impressed by its modernity, innovative solutions, and versatility. Both an experienced traveler and a beginner will like her, no matter where they came from — Asia, America, Africa, Australia, or any European country.
From the West and the North, Europe is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean, and also by many seas (the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Norwegian Sea, Barents Sea, etc.). A quarter of the territory is occupied by the peninsulas. Europe is located in four climate zones — arctic, subarctic, mild, and subtropical.
Europe possesses a diverse landscape. Except for plains and mountains, it has arctic and sandy deserts, tundras, steppes, forest steppe. Woodlands cover almost half of the world’s territory and size increases with every year.
Plains dominate in Europe. The largest among them are East European, Mid-European, Mid-Danube, Low Danube, and the Paris Basin. The fifth part of the territory is occupied by mountains — the Alps, the Caucasus, the Carpathians, the Crimean, the Pyrenees, the Apennines, the Ural, the Scandinavian, and the Balkan Peninsula mountains. The highest peak is Elbrus (5642m) in the Caucasus. There are active volcanoes in Europe; the majority of them are in Island.
The largest rivers flow through the territory of Eastern and Western Europe — Volga (3690m), Danube (2860m), Ural (2428m), Dnepr (2290m), Don (1870m). The top-10 also includes Pechora, Kama, Northern Dvina, Oka, Belaja. The largest lakes are Lagoda, the Onega, Vanern, Peipsi Lake, and Vattern.
Often, European territory is divided into four sections: Western, Eastern, Northern, and Southern.
Belgium. A small sea country where the world’s famous chocolate is produced. Here travelers admire the architecture of gothic castles, walk along the ancient streets, and tasting in craft brasseries.
The United Kingdom. The most famous kingdom in the world with a legendary governor — Elizabeth II. The country with a unique sense of humor that gave The Beatles and Shakespeare to the world. The United Kingdom looks like English dandy, tastes like an authentic ale, and is filled with the sounds of Scottish bagpipes.
Germany. It is the second-most populous country in Europe that welcomes tourists with a beer and traditional sausages and sauerkraut. People come here to see creative Berlin and its famous wall, improve health in Baden-Baden, and enjoy views of Bavarian castles.
Ireland. The country of leprechauns, people with red hair, and authentic whiskey.It impresses with its emerald fields on the background of iron-grey or bright-blue sky. It is home for people with the fastest legs who can dance the fastest Irish jig ever. In this country, you can find the four-leaf clover and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Liechtenstein. One of the smallest countries in Europe, located between Switzerland and Austria. Despite the small area, it has a room for Medieval castles, fortresses, and cathedrals, high mountain peaks and alpine pastures.
Luxembourg. Another small country with a high level of economic development. Its cities consist of small houses with grey roofs as if from the classical postcards.
Monaco. A tiny but incredibly rich state that borders with France. Everything is filled with luxury here, and a number of luxury cars and yachts per square meter are over the top. People come here to gamble in the casinos and watch Formula 1 races.
The Netherlands. The country of windmills, tulips, and delicious herring. The Netherlands gave to the world such great artists as Vincent Van Gogh, Hieronymus Bosch, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Jan Vermeer. Its capital — Amsterdam, cannot be mixed up with any other city in the world because of its unique urban landscape with canals and nice houses by the water.
France. The third-most populous and largest country in Europe. The legendary monarchy that influenced the world’s history. This is the land of royal castles, luxury resorts, and lavender fields. France is a real trendsetter in the sphere of haute cuisine, fashion, and winemaking.
Switzerland. The most peaceful country in the world with very high quality and cost of living. The Alps, offering breathtaking views, occupy the most of its area. It is not surprising that classic cheese is produced in these meadows. The Swiss never stop arguing with the Belgians for the title of the best chocolate maker.
Bulgaria. The state is famous for its Black sea coast with affordable resorts. The most popular among them are Golden Sands and Sunny Beach regions. Besides beach resorts, a traveler can walk around the ancient city of Nesebar, try refreshing tartor soup on a hot day, and explore Sofia with its numerous cathedrals.
Hungary. The first country that solved the Rubik Cube. Its history is older than of Germany and France. Here you can try the most delicious Goulash and taste the best Tokaj Wine. The Parliament building fascinates with its beauty and grandeur, especially in the evening.
Moldova. A small country is famous for winemaking in which about a quarter of the population is engaged. Also, here you can find one of the largest multilevel caves in the world — Cinderella (Emilia Rakovice).
Poland. It is where Pope John Paul II and the world-known scientists Nicolaus Copernicus and Marie Curie were born. Poland is the world’s largest exporter of amber. There are no homeless animals there, and the local men kiss women’s hands when they meet.
Russia. The largest and the most populated country located partly in Europe and partly in Asia. It is the rigorous territory with the world’s biggest active volcano, the deepest metro station, and the longest railway. The record-breaking state made a huge cultural contribution at the global level and encouraged hundreds of stereotypes that can be easily dispelled on your first trip there.
Romania. The birthplace of Count Dracula and the location where the Danube meets the Black Sea forming a picturesque delta. The Palace of the Parliament is the largest not only in Europe but in the world. The castles fascinate with their gothic features. The Transfagarasan Highway in the Romanian Carpathians is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.
Slovakia. This country welcomes tourists with well-preserved castles of the 13th-17th centuries. Bratislava is a unique capital, which borders with two countries (Austria and Hungary). Parents of the genius Andy Warhol were born in Slovakia.
The Czech Republic. The beeriest country in the world. Besides more than 2000 castles and 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located on its territory. Here you can find the smallest European town — Rabenstein, where several dozens of people live. For a reason, Prague is a favorite spot for many film directors — a great location for shooting historical films and incredible music videos.
Ukraine. The largest European state. The world’s deepest metro station Arsenalna is located in its capital. Ukraine is a country of diversity that dispels prejudices. Here you will find mountains, seas, and deserts. The geographical midpoint of Europe is also located here. Except for borshch, varenyky (filled dumplings), and salo (pork belly), the Ukrainians are proud of banosh (cornmeal porridge), halushky, and pliatsky (pie). And Shchedryk is sung for Christmas all over the world.
Iceland. The most beautiful island-country that fascinates with the contrast of green meadows, grey rocks, cloudy sky, and black volcanic sands. Iceland is rich in thermal springs and geysers, and the islanders still believe in elves.
Latvia. The home for Riga Balsam, the best sprats, and the birthplace of the creator of Levi’s jeans. More than half of the country is covered in dense forests. It has 500-kilometer-long Baltic Sea coastline. Tourists will never have problems with the Internet here because Latvia is the world's fourth country with the most rapid Internet connection.
Lithuania. The country where creative people live in a separate district Užupis surrounded by like-minded people. It is proud of its accomplishments in basketball and brewing. You can even find a fragrance The Scent of Lithuania here. The major city of the state, Vilnius, is considered one of the greenest capitals in the world.
Norway. The motherland of Vikings, trolls, and ski sports, Winter Olympics record-holder, the land of fjords, lakes, and waterfalls. Despite oil production, this is one of the most ecologically-friendly and picturesque countries in the world. The safety level is high there, so you can often see a counter with farm products without a salesman in villages. And bus stops in Norway look cozier than many flats.
Finland. The home of Santa Claus and Moomins. The Finns adore sauna and heavy metal. It has the smallest density of the population in Europe because 75% of the area is covered with woodlands. The local main water is the world’s clearest, and Haltia mountain is the highest European ski and snowboarding slope.
Estonia. The country with the largest number of meteorite craters. The residents like to swing, and they vote in elections online.
Sweden. Northern monarchy covered with dense woods. 99% of garbage is being recycled there. This is the land of the oldest tree and the Nobel prize. And IKEA is popular all over the world. It is the birthplace of Karlsson and Pippi Longstocking.
Bosnia and Herzegovina. The only European country with relict trees jungles (Perućica). Mountains occupy 90% of its territory. The birthplace of Emir Kusturica and Goran Bregović.
The Vatican. The smallest state in the world located within Italy, governed by the pope. The officers of the Holy See and guardsmen of the pope are the only ones who can get citizenship. Only in this country, you can choose an extinct Latin language in the ATM menu.
Greece. An ancient country, which preserved the spirit of antique mythology concerning Mount Olympus. Greece is known for its cheese, olives, moussaka, and yogurt. Here you will find the greatest number of archeological museums in the world. Athens is the oldest city in Europe.
Spain. A hot monarchy that gave paella, flamenco, toreadors, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Antoni Gaudi to the world. Spain is the country of fests, siesta, and emotions. This state can boast of the strongest football clubs — Real Madrid and Barcelona. People come here for beach resorts, affordable clothes from famous brands, and the most delicious food.
Italy. This boot-shaped country has the highest number of volcanoes in Europe. Pizza, Tiramisu, and pasta were invented here. The local landscapes are breathtaking. For a reason, this country is one of the most popular holiday destination in the world. Italy keeps the major part of the cultural heritage of Europe, and it is not a surprise taking into account that DaVinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Botticelli were the Italians.
North Macedonia. The country that impresses tourists by Lake Ohrid, which is the habitat for 5 million years old endemics. Mother Theresa was born on the territory of North Macedonia.
Malta. A citadel of Order of Malta, a former British colony. One of the smallest and populous countries in the world. An island where one of the planet’s oldest universities is located and where more than 300 films were shot.
Portugal. The westernmost country in Europe with an ancient capital. The land of the first explorers, port wine, and incredible azulejos tile. It is proud of its record-breaking bridges, fado songs, and unique paving stone blocks. It is a European surfing destination.
San Marino. Another pocket country located on the slopes of Monte Titano mountain (Italy). Small size and location don’t prevent San Marino from being the oldest republic in Europe.
Serbia. Except for natural beauty, tourists are attracted to Serbia by old thermal springs, famous since the Roman Empire.
Slovenia. The state with a large branched cave Postojnska Jama, a triple bridge in Ljubljana, and an unusual island with a church on Bled Island.
Croatia. One of the most beautiful European countries. It is famous for its ancient cities, which became a setting of Game of Thrones, clean beaches, and fantastic Plitvice Lakes. The world’s smallest town, Hum, is located in Croatia. Also, here you can see a unique island in the island.
Montenegro. A young state where you can find the deepest canyon in Europe. The country attracts travelers by its affordable prices, unforgettable landscapes, and huge servings of the most delicious food. The world’s shortest street and the rainiest place in Europe are also located here.
People come to Gibraltar to explore the cliff of the same name, meet Gibraltar apes, walk around the Old Town and Botanical Garden, and look from a distance at the African coast.
Jan Mayen Island and Spitsbergen archipelago belong to Norway.
On a volcanic Jan Mayen Island, scientists and the military are based. It has a harsh climate mostly without any plants.
At Spitsbergen, you can watch wild reindeers, white bears, and seals, go dog sledding, and of course, see polar lights.
The Finnish Åland Islands attract with their ruins and castles. It is a perfect area for bike rides and kayaking.
The most famous European dependent territories are the Danish Faroe Islands. They impress with rough but incredible nature, cozy settlements with small colorful houses and even Michelin starred restaurants.
The best time to visit Europe
The major part of Europe lies in the Temperate Zone. Its northern part is characterized by chilly summer and cold winter; summer in the southern part is warm, and winter is mild.
Ireland, Great Britain, and the western coast of Scandinavia are characterized by maritime climate (in summer temperature is between +12…+15ºС, in winter — 0ºС). In the countries with the continental climate, winter lasts for 6-7 months with temperature -8…-16ºС, and summer is chilly (+12…+16ºС). Between the areas with a maritime and continental climate, the transition zone is located.
In the Subtropics (Iberian, Apennine, Balkan Peninsula, the south coast of France), summer is hot and sunny (+20…+28ºС), and winter — rather warm and mild (+4…+10ºС).
Things to do in Europe
- Go on a performance at the Vienna Opera.
- Go skiing and snowboarding in the Alps.
- Visit the Bavarian castle Neuschwanstein, which served as the inspiration for the Disney studios logo.
- Solve the mystery of the British Stonehenge.
- Immerse oneself in the world’s art in the Louver.
- Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the Irish.
- Admire tulips in Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands.
- Walk along Icelandic beach with black volcanic sand — Reynisfjara.
- Take a picture on Troll tongue rock in Norway.
- Enjoy a sunset in Park Güell in Barcelona.
- Take a gondola ride along the Venetian canals.
- Watch wales near the Icelandic city of Húsavík.
- Ride the wave on a surfboard by the Portuguese coast.
- Visit Croatian Dubrovnik, where The Game of Thrones and Star Wars were filmed.
- Pay a visit to Santa Claus in Lapland.