Sometimes you don’t have to travel to the most remote places to find the perfect vacation. Sometimes it can be at you doorstep! Covering an area of more than 10 million square kilometers, beautiful beaches and blue seas, fascinating cities, romantic landscapes, dizzying mountains, glaciers and valleys await you here – Europe is full of facets and presents itself with varied regions, each with a different face. Experience the typical Mediterranean lifestyle in Southern Europe, the cool North with its incomparable nature, the mysterious East and the diverse places in Central Europe. Here you will find the coolest destinations and the most beautiful places for an all-round successful holiday in an exciting Europe travel.
Facts about Europe
Europe consists of the 28th Member States of the EU and 18 other countries. Of the 28 states of the European Union, 19 are currently members of the Euro zone and use the Euro as a common currency. Europe is the second smallest continent with approx. 10 million square kilometers and with more than 730 million inhabitants, almost as many as the much larger Africa. The continent can be divided into four regions:
The highest peak in Europe is the Mt. Blanc with 4.807m. The longest rivers are the Volga with 3,531 km and the Danube with 2,858 km in length. The Alps extend from southern France, Switzerland and Austria to Croatia in west-east direction through Central Europe. North of it is the Northern European Plain, which continues east to Russia and ends at the Ural Mountains. In between is the flat northern European plain with fertile soil. In the west the Pyrenees form the mountain border between France and Spain.
Northern Europe, temperate climate in the far north
Northern Europe is mainly Denmark, Scandinavia, the Baltic and Iceland. Despite their position far to the north, Iceland and Norway are still a temperate climate zone that still makes agricultural cultivation possible. These regions owe this to the warm Gulf Stream, whose foothills reach into the Barents Sea. Northern Europe’s sights range from glaciers in southern Iceland, geyser, Lofoten, fjords and cities such as Bergen and Trondheim in Norway, various national parks and other cities such as Stockholm, Oslo or Copenhagen, that are worth seeing.
Southern Europe, the summer holiday destinations
In southern Europe, most of the countries are heavily visited by tourists – Spain, Portugal, Italy etc with their sun-drenched islands. The most popular are the Balearic Islands with the main islands of Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza as well as Formentera in the Mediterranean. Because of the everlasting spring, many tourists visit the Canary Islands like Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Tenerife or Fuerteventura in the east and La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro in the west of the Canary Islands. Likewise popular are the southern and western coasts of Turkey and Greece.
In addition to the popular holiday resorts on the beach, all these countries in the south of Europe also have many historical and cultural attractions to offer. In Italy there are many remains of the Roman culture, in Spain you can see the Moorish buildings or you can also admire ancient Greek or Roman sites in Turkey and Greece.
Central Europe, castles and palaces
The core of Central Europe is France and Germany. In addition, there are Great Britain, Ireland, the Benelux countries as well as the Alpine countries Switzerland and Austria. In ‘old’ Europe there are many cultural sights to admire through the centuries of history, e.g. Paris, Versaille, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Heidelberg, Vienna or Salzburg to name just a few places. The seasonally fluctuating temperatures offer the visitor very different landscapes.
Eastern Europe, countries in progress
The states of Eastern Europe have changed dramatically in recent years. Interesting and developed for tourism are, for example Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary and of course Turkey. There are also many interesting cities here – Budapest, Prague, Pilsen, Warsaw, Krakow, Istanbul, Moscow, Riga and St. Petersburg.
The climate in Europe is diverse as are the nations of the continent. It is noticeable that the weather in Europe is warmer in about 6° C to 8° C than in places of comparable northern latitude, e.g. in North America. This phenomenon is caused by the Gulf Stream, which brings warm water from equatorial regions in the Atlantic to the coasts of Western Europe. In addition, regions get drier and drier the farther they are from the sea and the more southern they are. Another factor influencing the weather are the Alps. They hold a variety of rain clouds coming from the west and north, so that they rain down in front of it. Due to its location on the sea in northern western Europe, mild winters tend to dominate more temperate summers. In central and eastern Europe, on the other hand, there are rather larger temperature differences with regard to the seasons.In the south, it rains little and there are hot summers and damp winters.
Languages and peoples
In Europe today more than 60, predominantly Indo-European languages are spoken. Around 35% of the population speak Slavic languages, around 30% Germanic languages and 27% Roman languages. Rare languages are the Celtic languages (Breton, Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh), the Baltic languages (Latvian, Lithuanian), Modern Greek, Albanian, the Finno-Ugric languages (Estonian, Finnish, Lappish and Hungarian), Maltese and the Turkic languages. A special role plays the Basque, whose origin as well as the origin of the inhabitants of the Basque country is not yet completely cleared up. Other languages without a regional focus are the Yiddish and Romani, the language of the Gypsies.
The Christianization of Europe was essentially completed towards the end of the first millennium. Around 75% of the population is Christians. Between 35 and 50 million are the Muslims (8%) and just under 2 million are Jewish (1%).
Europe – The old continent
Europe is called by the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy “not a place, but an idea” – alluding to the fact that its geographic or geological boundaries are not clearly defined. Scientific theories explain that the super-continent “Pangaea” had gradually split into North and South America, Africa and Euro Asia and the inner central land remained as Europe and therefore the old continent.