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Across the north are the Scandinavian countries (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland). Greenland, a seldom – visited destination to the west of Iceland, is considered part of North America. On the Baltic Sea, just beneath the Scandinavian Peninsula, are the Baltic nations of ( Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). In the northwest are the British – Isles, which consist of Great Britain and Ireland (which is not really British at all). In Western Europe are France and Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg), as well as the Iberian Peninsula, which features Portugal and Spain. Spain is also sometimes included as part of the Mediterranean Countries, which curve along the northern shore of this legendary sea. Among them are Italy, Greece, and Turkey ( which spills over from Asia). (The Eastern European countries), which have swung their doors wide open to tourism are (Poland, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic (also known as Slovakia), Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania. The former nation of Yugoslavia is also among these, but it has broken down into a series of smaller countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and what remains of the original Yugoslavia (usually called Serbia). In the easternmost portion of Europe is Russia and its co – nations in the commonwealth of independent states (most of the former Soviet Union), which stretches well into Asia. And in the middle of Europe are nations of Alpine Europe (Germany, Switzerland, and Austria).
The most prominent feature in Europe;
Mountains, Oceans, Lakes, and Rivers have long defined Europe’s national boundaries.
- Bodies of water;
This include the Atlantic Ocean, which lies along Europe’s western shore. In the north, the Baltic Sea separates Scandinavia from Russia and the Baltic states; and the North Sea cuts off Great Britain from the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg), Germany, and Scandinavia. The Irish Sea lies between Ireland and Great Britain. The blue oval to the east is the black sea, a major resort for Eastern European and Russian tourists, as well as an increasingly popular destination for cruise ships. The Danube river, snakes its way eastward out of Germany through Eastern Europe and empties into the Black Sea. Down through Europe’s middle is the Rhine, a river that finds its source in Switzerland and flows northward through Germany and the Netherlands, and eventually into the North Sea. Both rivers offer major cruise opportunities.
The most obvious are the Alps, the thick, lofty mountains that ripple across Switzerland, Austria, southern Germany, eastern France, and northern Italy. The Pyrenees, massive ridges that separate Spain from France, are important, too. Medium – sized mountains and hills are in many other areas; only Denmark, Poland, Hungary and the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) are relatively flat.
Europe’s weather varies immensely according to latitude, altitude, and season. The alpine mountain areas tend to be cold in winter and cool in summer, and precipitation also varies greatly. Europe’s west coasts are wet (this is especially true of Norway’s fjord area, the west coasts of Scotland and Ireland, northwestern Portugal, and the eastern shore of the Adriatic). There are also some very dry areas, especially southeastern and central Spain and the area northeast of the Black Sea. Rainfall in the rest of Europe tends to be (humid and showery in the summer; rainy, snowy, or cloudy in the winter, with brief, welcome spells of crisp sunshine.)
Top attractions in Europe;
The Greek capital is a city steeped in rich history, which can be explored in museums such as the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum and the Benaki Museum, all of which house impressive busts, frescos and columns
Built on several hills above the Tragus River, Portugal’s attractive capital is packed with history and culture that dates back centuries. The city’s pleasant year – round temperatures are an open invitation for a walk by the river or an afternoon in one of the many street cafes.
The Finnish capital is built across a peninsula and islands in the Baltic. Its main sites include the fortress of Suomen Linna and the zoo on Korkeasaari, while the glorious art nouveau buildings and elegant cafes add to its charm.
Visitors come to the Eternal City to immerse themselves in centuries of civilization and see the streets, squares, ancient ruins and monuments, toss coins into the Trevi Fountain and gaze on the mighty colosseum, which once stagged gladiator battles. Rome’s other main sights include the Pantheon, Vatican City and some 280 churches. Vatican City is surrounded entirely by the Italian capital Rome, the small independent state in the world is home to the spiritual leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.
Founded in the 12th century, Tallinn is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its Old Town has cobbled streets, narrow alleys and ancient city walls. A favorite of cruise companies sailing the Baltic Sea, this is one of the best preserved medieval towns in all of northern Europe.
The bustling walled metropolis of Dubrovnik is the southernmost city of Croatia’s Dalmatia region. Used as a filming location for the TV series Game of Thrones, its attractions include the Monastery Treasury Museum, 12th – century stradun thoroughfare, the Rector’s palace and the summer festival.
The capital of Spain’s Catalan region offers a lively outdoor café culture and stunning architecture – including the Sagrada Familia, designed, like many of the city’s iconic buildings, by Antoni Gaudi.
Take a canal tour of Amsterdam and discover the historical canal district, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2011. The Van Gogh Museum houses the world’s largest collection by the artist, while a few blocks away, Rembrandts and other treasures fill the gloriously restored Rijks Museum, which reopened in 2013 after an extensive 10 – year renovation.
Known by the nickname “Little Paris” during the 1920s due to the lifestyle of the high – living Romanian aristocracy, and now renowned for its long leafy avenues and glorious belle epoque buildings, Romanian’s capital is a city that’s beginning to find its feet again.
One of the most beautiful cities in the world, the Swedish capital is vibrant, modern and famous for producing sleek designs, high – end fashion and world – class nightclubs. The old town, called Gamla Stan, is a compact maze of cobblestone streets, crowned by the magnificent Royal Palace.
When it comes to unusual art, distinct fashion, an innovative music scene, the German capital is the place to be. A global influx of creatives has turned it into a melting pot of cultures, adding an edge to a city which already had great museums, galleries and restaurants.
Britain’s dynamic capital city is packed with all things modern, quaint and regal. Its main sites include the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral and a fantastic collection of international art at the Tate Modern, while shopping in London remains second to none.