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* [ European Union Website]
* [ European Union Website]
* [ Europe Travel Guide]- Get travel information on all destinations

Revision as of 04:11, 5 July 2005

Europe encompasses an area of 10,400,000 km² (4,000,000 square miles), stretching from Asia to the Atlantic, Africa to the Arctic. There is much here for the traveller to enjoy, with a bewildering array of diversity and culture, cosmopolitan cities and spectacular scenery.

Europe defies easy categorization, with its compact size and complex history. The following are five (loosely defined) regions.

European Regions: Western Europe, Central Europe, Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, Mediterranean Europe

See also: European Union, 25 European states in various stages of economic and political union.

Geographical Europe

Get around

There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the Schengen Agreement. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen Agreement signatory country is valid in all other countries that signed and implemented the treaty.

These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Note that not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty and not all Schengen treaty countries are members of the European Union.

At some airports, airlines will still insist on seeing your id-card or passport. Travel to and from a Schengen Agreement country to any other country will result in the normal border checks.

By train

The Inter Rail (for Europeans) and Eurail (for everybody else) passes offer good value if you plan on traveling extensively around Europe (or even a single region) and want more flexibility than cheap plane tickets can offer.

These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

By plane

A number of budget airlines allow very cheap travel around Europe, often much cheaper than the train fares for the same journey. Currently the cheapest flights are offered by low cost airlines such as Easyjet, HLX, Ryanair, Transavia and Jet2, with the lowest fares usually found on routes which go to or from cities in the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland or Eastern Europe. All of these flights should be booked on the internet well in advance.

By bus

Eurolines connects over 500 destinations, covering the whole of the continent, including Morocco. Eurolines allows travelling from Sicily to Helsinki and from Casablanca to Moscow.


Country Symbol Currency EU-member Schengen
Time zone³ Inter Rail
Albania AL, .al ALL n n CET
Andorra AND, .ad EUR n n CET
Austria A, .at EUR 1995 y CET C y
Belarus BY, .by BYR n n EET
Belgium B, .be EUR 1958 y CET E y
Bosnia and Herzegovina BIH, .ba BAM n n CET
Bulgaria BG, .bg BGN 2007¹ n EET H
Croatia HR, .hr HRK 2007+?² n CET D
Cyprus CY, .cy CYP 2004 n CET
Czech Republic CZ, .cz CZK 2004 n CET D
Denmark DK, .dk DKK 1973 y CET C y
Estonia EST, .ee EEK 2004 n EET
Finland FIN, .fi EUR 1995 y EET B y
France F, .fr EUR 1958 y CET E y
Germany D, .de EUR 1958 y CET C y
Greece GR, .gr EUR 1981 y EET G y
Hungary H, .hu HUF 2004 n CET D
Iceland IS, .is ISK n y CET
Ireland IRL, .ie EUR 1973 n WET A
Italy I, .it EUR 1958 y CET G y
Latvia LV, .lv LVL 2004 n EET
Liechtenstein FL, .li CHF n n CET
Lithuania LT, .lt LTL 2004 n EET
Luxembourg L, .lu EUR 1958 y CET E y
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia MK, .mk MKD n n CET H
Malta M, .mt MTL 2004 n CET
Moldova MD, .md MDL n n EET
Monaco MC, .mc EUR n n CET
Netherlands NL, .nl EUR 1958 y CET E y
Norway N, .no NOK n y CET B y
Poland PL, .pl PLN 2004 n CET D n
Portugal P, .pt EUR 1986 y WET F y
Romania RO, .ro ROL5 2007¹ y EET H n
European Russia RU, .ru (.su) RUB n n MSK4
San Marino RSM, .sm EUR n n CET
Serbia and Montenegro YU, .yu CSD² n n CET H
Slovakia SK, .sk SKK 2004 n CET D
Slovenia SLO, .si SIT 2004 n CET G
Spain E, .es EUR 1986 y CET F y
Sweden S, .se SEK 1995 y CET B y
Switzerland CH, .ch CHF n n CET C y
European Turkey TR, .tr TRY 2010+?¹ n EET G
Ukraine UA, .ua UAH n n EET
United Kingdom GB, .uk GBP 1973 n WET
Vatican V, .va EUR n n/a CET n/a n/a

¹ Official EU applicant countries. Bulgaria and Romania acceding January 1, 2007.

² Montenegro and the Serbian province of Kosovo (administered by the UN) use the Euro as their official currency.

³ Winter time. In summer (last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October): WET → WEST (UTC+0 → +1), CET → CEST (+1 → +2), EET → EEST (+2 → +3)

4 Russia uses multiple time zones. EET in Kaliningrad Oblast, MSK (UTC+3) in Moscow, up to UTC+12 near Alaska.

5 In July 1, 2005 the ROL currency will be replaced by RON which is a denomination of national currencies. This denomination will cut out 4 (four) zeros. An example is: 4.250.300 lei (ROL) will be: 425,03 lei (RON). ROL is also called leu (lion) and RON will be called leu greu (heavy lion). From March 1, 2005 the prices will be shown in both currencies. The old currency ROL will stop by December 31, 2006.

Other territories

Note: Russia and the Caucasus are sometimes considered to be a part of Asia.

Political History

Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries was a region ravaged by large-scale wars. National leaders realized after World War II that closer socio-economic and political integration was needed to ensure that such tragedies never happened again. Starting with humble beginnings, the EU's first form was the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The founding group was Belgium, West Germany, Luxembourg, France, Italy and the Netherlands. Impressed with the results of the union the six countries pressed on and in 1956 signed the treaty of Rome, with the ultimate goal of creating a common market- the European Economic Community (EEC). In 1967 the union was formalised further with a the creation of a single Commission, as well as a council of ministers and a EU parliament.

Post-1967 the EU continued to grow; Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined in 1973. Greece joined in 1981, Spain and Portugal in 1986 and Austria, Finland and Sweden in 1995. The EU pressed on with economic integration and launched the Euro(€) across several nations in January 2002.

In 2004 a further 10 countries joined the EU "club", including Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

See also