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					Europe                                                                                              1

    Europe [1] encompasses an area of 10,180,000 km2 (3,930,000
    square miles), stretching from Asia to the Atlantic, and from Africa
    to the Arctic. European countries welcome more than 480 million
    international visitors per year, more than half of the global market,
    and 7 of the 10 most visited countries are European nations. It's
    easy to see why - a well preserved cultural heritage, open borders
    and efficient infrastructure makes visiting Europe a breeze, and
    rarely will you have to travel more than a few hours before you can
    immerse yourself in a new culture, and dive into a different
    phrasebook. Although it is the world's second smallest continent in
    land surface area, there are profound differences between the
    cultures and ways of life in its countries.

    Europe consists of a diverse set of countries that each have their
    own identity, language and culture. Below is a rough grouping of
    these countries into regions:

                                                                            Eiffel Tower in Paris

                              Click a region or city to explore!
Europe                                                                                                                                                         2

   Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia)
   The Balkans have a rich, though often turbulent, history with wonderful nature, charming multicultural towns, impressive monasteries and citadels
   dotting the hillsides, mighty mountains sprinkled with a liberal dose of beautiful forests and pleasant lakes.

   Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)
   Three fascinating states that have glorious beaches along an extensive coastline, medieval old towns, and beautiful natural scenery. Estonia has
   linguistic and cultural ties with Finland.

   Benelux (Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands)
   These supposedly flat states have a lot to offer the traveller. The Netherlands is known for its clogs, cheese, tulips and windmills, and for its liberal
   attitudes and painters. Belgium is a multilingual country with beautiful historic cities, bordering Luxembourg at the rolling hills of the Ardennes.

   Britain and Ireland (Guernsey, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, United Kingdom)
   Britain is a diverse patchwork of native and immigrant cultures, possessing a fascinating history and dynamic modern culture, both of which remain
   hugely influential in the wider world. Ireland has rolling landscapes and characteristic customs, traditions and folklore.

   Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia)
   The Caucasus is a mountain range lying between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, considered part of the natural boundary between Europe and
   Asia. The Caucasus is a dense, warm, friendly and generally safe travel region. There are some incredibly diverse landscapes and an exceptional
   wealth of ancient churches, cathedrals and monasteries.

   Central Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland)
   Straddling east and west, Central Europe is the region where Germanic culture meets Slavic culture. It is home to innumerable historic towns,
   fairy-tale castles, beer, forests, unspoiled farmland, and plenty of mountain ranges, including the mighty Alps.

   France and Monaco
   France is the world's most popular tourist destination and geographically one of the most diverse countries of Europe. Some of its tourist attractions
   include Paris, the French Riviera, the Atlantic beaches, the winter sports resorts of the Alps, the castles of the Loire Valley, Brittany, Normandy and
   the Dordogne, and the rural landscape of the Provence. The country is also known for its gastronomy (particularly wines and cheeses), history,
   culture and fashion.

   Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus
   Counting the most amount of sun-hours in Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean is a haven for beach-goers, party-people and cultural enthusiasts

         Iberia (Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal, Spain)
         The Iberian countries are great destinations for their rich and unique cultures, lively cities, beautiful countryside and friendly inhabitants.

   Italian Peninsula (Italy, Malta, San Marino, Vatican City)
   Rome, Florence, Venice and Pisa are on many travellers' itineraries, but these are just a few of Italy's destinations. Italy has more history and culture
   packed into it than many other countries combined.

   Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus
   Russia is a country of vast, empty expanses that spans all the way east to the Pacific Ocean. Ukraine is a diverse country that has a lot to offer, from
   the beach resorts of the Black Sea to the beautiful cities Odessa, Lviv and Kiev. North of Ukraine lies Belarus, a country unlike anywhere else,
   commonly referred to as the last dictatorship of Europe.

   Scandinavia (Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden)
   Spectacular scenery of mountains, lakes, glaciers, geysers, waterfalls and volcanoes. Finland is culturally distinct as it has a language unlike the
   Scandinavian languages.
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            See also: European microstates
    Politically, some countries are a member of the European Union, a supranational and intergovernmental union that
    aims to integrate the states of Europe in a common political framework. However, Europe is a diverse region and
    countries have varying ideas of what membership means. The eastern border of Europe is ill-defined. Parts of
    Russia, Turkey and the Caucasus are sometimes considered to be a part of Asia due to culture, history and

    • Amsterdam — canals, Rembrandt, hashish and red lanterns, the epicentre of social liberal attitudes
    • Barcelona — Gaudi's cosmopolitan home on Mediterranean coast
    • Berlin — the capital of reunited Germany since 1990, it was divided by force for 45 years during the Cold War
      and has emerged as an international cultural centre and an area of rapid development since the fall of the Berlin
    • Istanbul — the only major city to span two continents and a fascinating melting pot of East and West
    • London — Britain's vibrant and truly multicultural capital
    • Moscow — Europe's largest city is famous for its nightlife and the iconic Kremlin
    • Paris — the capital of romance (and France) on the banks of the Seine
    • Prague — magical city with its renowned bridges spanning the Vltava River
    • Rome — the eternal city of seven hills and two thousand seven hundred years of history

    Other destinations
    • Alhambra — part fortress, part palace, part garden, and part
      government city, a stunning mediaeval complex overlooking
    • Alps — very popular mountain range for skiing/snowboarding and
      mountaineering, with Mont Blanc as its highest peak
    • Cinque Terre — a gorgeous national park, which connects five
      picturesque villages
    • Białowieża National Park — the last and largest remaining parts of
      the immense primeval forest that once spread across the European
                                                                                      The Alhambra (Andalusia, Spain)
    • Blue Lagoon — amazing geothermal spa with the water temperature around 40 °C all year round, even in freezing
    •    Meteora — six Eastern Orthodox monasteries built on natural sandstone rock pillars
    •    Neuschwanstein Castle — the well-known fairy-tale castle in the Bavarian Alps in Germany
    •    Plitvice National Park — beautiful turquoise-coloured lakes surrounded by a large forest complex
    •    Stonehenge — the well-known Neolithic and Bronze Age stone monument located on Salisbury Plain
Europe                                                                                                                                 4


    The earliest concrete signs of written
    European culture can be found in
    Hellenic Greece. Homer (8th century
    B.C.), Hesiod (753 B.C.) and Kallinos
    (728 B.C.) are three of the oldest poets
    in Europe. The Romans believed that
    their city was founded in 753 B.C.
    Modern archaeologists and historians
    believe that the area of modern day
    Rome has been inhabited since at least
    1000 to 800 B.C.

    From 300 A.D. Christianity in Europe
    started to spread. Around 500 A.D. the
                                                   Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance with an astonishing cultural heritage
    Roman Empire collapsed, with France
    at that time coming under the rule of
    the Merovingians, Spain coming under occupation from North African Berber Muslims and other countries
    essentially invaded by various barbarian groups. In 714, the Carolingian Empire was founded and lasted until 911
    occupying large parts of Western Europe. The period after this date is often called the High Middle Ages and lasted
    until around 1300 which saw a shift to urbanisation across Europe, initiating in Western Europe, and gave rise to
    universities. This was followed by the Late Middle Ages which ended around 1500, giving birth to a period of
    European history normally referred to as the Renaissance or the rebirth. The people of this period actively
    rediscovered classical Graeco-Roman culture and it was followed by a reformation of Christianity, with the rise of
    new sects in Europe, most notably Protestantism.

    Between 1492-1972 many European nations (like Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, Russia, France and the
    Netherlands) ruled or had ruled over most of the known world, with the exception of East Asia (Mainland China,
    Japan and Tibet) and parts of Antarctica. This was called colonialism and was stopped after World War II in favour
    of a more humane, liberal and cost-effective method called globalism.
    Europe, prior to the conclusion of World War II, was a region ravaged by large-scale "total war". 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, Europe's first inception was the European Coal
    and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951. The founding group of nations were 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 European Commission,
    as well as a Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.
    Post-1967 the EC continued to rapidly 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. To date, Norway and
    Switzerland have resisted membership for historical and economic reasons. The EU pressed on with economic
    integration and launched the euro (€) across several nations on 1 January 2002. Currently, 17 nations, use the euro as
    their official currency. In addition, San Marino, the Vatican and Monaco, which are not EU members, have been
    granted official permission to use the euro. Andorra, Montenegro and Kosovo use the euro without a formal
Europe                                                                                                                      5

    In 2004, a further 10 countries joined the EU. These were: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia,
    Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. In 2007, Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU, and as of 2013,
    Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are official applicants.

    Europe makes up the western one fifth of the Eurasian landmass. It's bounded by bodies of water on three sides: the
    Arctic Ocean to the north (the Nordkapp being its most northerly point), the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the
    Mediterranean Sea to the south. The Mediterranean Sea is a popular beach destination because of its climate.
    Europe's eastern borders are ill-defined and have been moving eastwards throughout history. Currently, the Ural and
    Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian and Black Seas and the Bosporus Strait are considered its eastern frontier, making
    Istanbul the only metropolis in the world on two continents. Cyprus is also considered a part of Europe.
    Europe is a geographically diverse continent. Europe's highest point is Russia's Mt. Elbrus in the Caucasus
    Mountains, which rises to 5,642 m (18,510 ft) above sea level. Western Europe's highest point is the Mont Blanc in
    the Alps with 4,810 m (15,771 ft) above sea level. Other important mountain ranges include the Pyrenees between
    France and Spain and the Carpathians that run through Central Europe to the Balkans. Most regions along the North
    and Baltic Seas are flat, especially the Low Countries, Northern Germany and Denmark. The coasts of the North and
    Baltic Seas feature hundreds of miles of sandy beaches and resorts, albeit in colder climates.
    Europe's longest river is the Volga, which meanders 3,530 km (2,193 mi) through Russia, and flows into the Caspian
    Sea. The Danube and the Rhine formed much of the northern frontier of the Roman Empire, and have been important
    waterways since pre-historic times. The Danube starts in the Black Forest in Germany and passes through the capital
    cities Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade before emptying in the Black Sea. The Rhine starts in the Swiss
    Alps and caused the Rhine Falls, the largest plain waterfall in Europe. From there, it makes up the French-German
    border border flowing through Western Germany and the Netherlands. Many castles and fortifications have been
    built along the Rhine, including those of the Rhine Valley.

    Europe's climate is temperate. It is milder than other areas of the same latitude (e.g. northeastern U.S.) due to the
    influence of the Gulf Stream. However, there are profound differences in the climates of different regions. Europe's
    climate ranges from subtropical near the Mediterranean Sea in the south, to subarctic near the Barents Sea and Arctic
    Ocean in the northern latitudes. Extreme cold temperatures are only found in northern Scandinavia and parts of
    Russia in the winter.
    Average annual precipitation diverges widely in Europe. Most rainfall takes place in the Alps, and in a band along
    the Adriatic Sea from Slovenia to the west coast of Greece. Other regions with plenty of rainfall include the
    northwest of Spain, the British Isles and western Norway. Bergen has the most amount of rainfall in Europe with 235
    rainy days a year. Most rain takes place in the summer, due to westerly winds from the Atlantic that hit the British
    Isles, the Benelux, western Germany, northern France and southwestern Scandinavia.
    The best time to visit Europe is in the summer. In August, the British Isles, Benelux, Germany and northern France
    have average highs of around 23-24°C, but these temperatures cannot be taken for granted. That's why in the summer
    many flights go from northern to southern Europe as northerners flee the rain and possible lower than average
    temperatures. The Mediterranean has the highest amount of sun-hours in Europe, and the highest temperatures.
    Average temperatures in August are 28°C in Barcelona, 30°C in Rome, 33°C in Athens and 39°C in Alanya along
    the Turkish Riviera. A general rule is that the further south and east one goes, the warmer it becomes.
    Winters are relatively cold in Europe, even in the Mediterranean countries. The only areas with daily highs around
    15°C in January are Andalucia in Spain, some Greek Islands, and the Turkish Riviera. Western Europe has an
    average of around 4-8°C in January, but temperatures drop below freezing throughout the winter. Regions east of
    Berlin have particularly cold temperatures with average highs below freezing. Russia is an exceptional case as
Europe                                                                                                               6

    Moscow and Saint Petersburg have average highs of -5°C and lows of -10°C in January. Some activities are best
    done in the winter, such as winter sports in the Alps. The highest peaks of the Alps have perpetual snow.
    The Network of European Meteorological Services has a useful website [2] providing up-to-date information for
    extreme weather, covering most of the EU countries.

    Europe is a continent of many wildly different countries. A subset of these countries are in the slow and
    painful process of coming together as the European Union (EU).
    Not all EU countries have adopted the euro (€), the European Union single currency (see Buy), while a few
    countries outside the EU have adopted it. Likewise, most — but not all — EU members and a few non-EU countries
    have joined the Schengen agreement, which abolished border controls between them (see Get in). Here is a handy
    reference table, up to date as of 2009:

              Country                  Symbol      Currency EU member     Schengen  Time zone³ Eurail InterRail

              Albania                   AL, .al     ALL        n             n         CET        n       n

              Andorra                  AND, .ad     EUR        n                       CET        n       n

              Armenia                  ARM, .am     AMD        n             n          +4        n       n

              Austria                    A, .at     EUR       1995           y         CET        y       y

              Belarus                   BY, .by     BYR        n             n         EET        n       n

              Belgium                   B, .be      EUR       1958           y         CET        y       y

              Bosnia and Herzegovina   BIH, .ba     BAM        n             n         CET        n       y

              Bulgaria                  BG, .bg     BGN       2007           n         EET        y       y

              Croatia                   HR, .hr     HRK        n¹            n         CET        y       y

              Cyprus                    CY, .cy     EUR       2004           n         CET        n       n

              Czech Republic            CZ, .cz     CZK       2004           y         CET        y       y

              Denmark                  DK, .dk      DKK       1973           y         CET        y       y

              Estonia                  EST, .ee     EUR       2004           y         EET        n       n

              Finland                   FIN, .fi    EUR       1995           y         EET        y       y

              France                     F, .fr     EUR       1958           y         CET        y       y

              Germany                   D, .de      EUR       1958           y         CET        y       y

              Greece                    GR, .gr     EUR       1981           y         EET        y       y

              Hungary                   H, .hu      HUF       2004           y         CET        y       y

              Iceland                    IS, .is     ISK       n             y         WET        n       n

              Ireland                   IRL, .ie    EUR       1973           n         WET        y       y

              Italy                       I, .it    EUR       1958           y         CET        y       y

              Latvia                    LV, .lv     LVL       2004           y         EET        n       n

              Liechtenstein             FL, .li     CHF        n             y         CET        n       n

              Lithuania                 LT, .lt      LTL      2004           y         EET        n       n

              Luxembourg                 L, .lu     EUR       1958           y         CET        y       y

              Macedonia                MK, .mk      MKD        n¹            n         CET        n       y
Europe                                                                                                               7

                 Malta                      M, .mt       EUR    2004         y         CET         n    n

                 Moldova                  MD, .md        MDL     n           n         EET         n    n

                 Monaco                   MC, .mc        EUR     n                     CET         n    n

                 Montenegro          MNE, .me (.yu)      EUR     n¹          n         CET              y

                 Netherlands               NL, .nl       EUR    1958         y         CET         y    y

                 Norway                     N, .no       NOK     n           y         CET         y    y

                 Poland                     PL, .pl      PLN    2004         y         CET              y

                 Portugal                   P, .pt       EUR    1986         y         WET         y    y

                 Romania                   RO, .ro       RON    2007         n         EET         y    y

                 Russia                  RU, .ru (.su)   RUB     n           n                     n    n

                 San Marino               RSM, .sm       EUR     n                     CET         n    n

                 Serbia               SRB, .rs (.yu)                         n         CET              y
                                                         RSD2    n1                                n7

                 Slovakia                  SK, .sk       EUR    2004         y         CET         n    y

                 Slovenia                  SLO, .si      EUR    2004         y         CET         y    y

                 Spain                      E, .es       EUR    1986         y         CET         y    y

                 Sweden                     S, .se       SEK    1995         y         CET         y    y

                 Switzerland               CH, .ch       CHF     n           y         CET         y    y

                 Turkey                     TR, .tr      TRY     n¹          n         EET         n    y

                 Ukraine                   UA, .ua       UAH     n           n         EET         n    n

                 United Kingdom            GB, .uk       GBP    1973         n         WET         n    y

                 Vatican City               V, .va       EUR     n                     CET         n    n

    ¹ Official EU applicant countries.
    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)
     Russia uses multiple time zones. EET in Kaliningrad Oblast, MSK (UTC+4) in Moscow, up to UTC+12 on
    Chukotka and Kamchatka.
        Officially not a Schengen member, but Schengen visa holders are generally allowed entry.
        Independence disputed, claimed by Serbia.
     Certain EuRail passes cover these countries (and only the Germany-Poland pass covers Poland), but the general
    21-country pass does not.
Europe                                                                                                                                                8

    Get in
   Schengen Area
   The following countries are members of the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany,
   Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia,
   Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

    Rules for entering Europe depend on where you are going. EU/EFTA citizens can travel freely throughout the
    continent (except Russia, Belarus and the Caucasus), so the following applies only to non-EU/EFTA citizens.
    If you are entering a Schengen country and you plan to visit only other Schengen countries, you need only one
    Schengen visa. Only the nationals of the following non-EU/EFTA countries do not need a visa for entry into the
    Schengen Area: Albania*, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and
    Herzegovina*, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan,
    Macedonia*, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay,
    Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*/**, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan*** (Republic of China),
    United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela, additionally persons holding British National (Overseas), Hong
    Kong SAR or Macau SAR passports.
    These non-EU/EFTA visa-free visitors may not stay more than 90 days in a 180 day period in the Schengen Area as
    a whole and, in general, may not work during their stay (although some Schengen countries do allow certain
    nationalities to work - see below). The counter begins once you enter any country in the Schengen Area and is not
    reset by leaving a specific Schengen country for another Schengen country, or vice-versa. However, New Zealand
    citizens may be able to stay for more than 90 days if they only visit particular Schengen countries - see [3] for the
    New Zealand Government's explanation.
    If you are a non-EU/EFTA national (even if you are visa-exempt, unless you are Andorran, Monégasque or San
    Marinese), make sure that your passport is stamped both when you enter and leave the Schengen Area. Without
    an entry stamp, you may be treated as an overstayer when you try to leave the Schengen Area; without an exit stamp,
    you may be denied entry the next time you seek to enter the Schengen Area as you may be deemed to have
    overstayed on your previous visit. If you cannot obtain a passport stamp, make sure that you retain documents such
    as boarding passes, transport tickets and ATM slips which may help to convince border inspection staff that you
    have stayed in the Schengen Area legally.
    Note that
    • while British subjects with the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British Overseas Territories citizens
      connected to Gibraltar are considered "United Kingdom nationals for European Union purposes" and therefore
      eligible for unlimited access to the Schengen Area,
    • British Overseas Territories citizens without the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British subjects
      without the right of abode in the United Kingdom as well as British Overseas citizens and British protected
      persons in general do require visas.
    However, all British Overseas Territories citizens except those solely connected to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas
    are eligible for British citizenship and thereafter unlimited access to the Schengen Area.
    Further note that
    (*) nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia need a biometric passport to
    enjoy visa-free travel,
    (**) Serbian nationals with passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (residents of Kosovo with
    Serbian passports) do need a visa and
    (***) Taiwan nationals need their ID number to be stipulated in their passport to enjoy visa-free travel.
Europe                                                                                                                       9

    The 90 days visa-free stay applies for the whole Schengen area, i.e. it is not 90 days per country as some assume.
    Citizens of the above countries who wish to travel around Europe for longer than 90 days must apply for a residency
    permit. This can be done in any Schengen country, but Germany or Italy are recommended, because many other
    countries require applicants to apply from their home countries.
    Non-Schengen countries, on the other hand, maintain their own immigration policies. Consult the country article in
    question for details. If you wish to visit a non-Schengen country and return to the Schengen area, you will need a
    multiple-entry visa. Bulgaria, Romania, Ireland, and the United Kingdom are EU members, but they are not part of
    the Schengen Area. To add confusion Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway are not EU members but part
    of the Schengen area.
    The implications of this are simple: countries in the EU maintain similar customs controls. Therefore, you do not
    need to pass through customs when travelling to a non-Schengen EU country, but you may need to pass through
    immigration controls. The converse is true for non-EU Schengen countries: you must pass through customs, but not

    By plane
    The largest air travel hubs in Europe are, in order, London (LON: LCY, LHR, LGW, STN, LTN, SEN), Frankfurt
    (FRA, HHN), Paris (CDG, ORY), Madrid (MAD), and Amsterdam (AMS) which in turn have connections to
    practically everywhere in Europe. However, nearly every European city has direct long-distance flights at least to
    some destinations elsewhere, and other smaller airports can make sense for specific connections: for example,
    Vienna (VIE) has a very good network of flights to the Middle East and Eastern Europe, while Helsinki (HEL) is
    the geographically closest place to transfer if coming in from East Asia.

    By train
    The Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing and Vladivostok to Moscow is a classic rail journey. Also after the
    finalized construction of a railway link between Kazakhstan and China, the Historic Silk Road is becoming
    increasingly popular with adventurers, trying to beat down a new path, this new Almaty - Urumqi service runs twice
    per week, and Almaty is easily reached from Moscow by train. Other options include several connections to the
    Middle East, offered by the Turkish Railways (TCDD) [4]. There are weekly services from Istanbul via Ankara to
    Tehran in Iran, but the services to Syria, and Iraq have been suspended, hopefully temporarily, due to the troubles in
    those countries.

    By ship
    It is still possible, but expensive, to do the classic transatlantic voyage between the United Kingdom and the United
    States. The easiest option is by the historic, and only remaining Ocean Liner operator, Cunard Line [5], but expect to
    pay 1000-2000 USD for the cheapest tickets on the 6 day voyage between Southampton and New York done around
    10 times per year in each direction. If your pockets are not deep enough for this price range, your only other options
    of crossing the North Atlantic are pretty much limited to Freighter travel.
    Most major cruise ships that ply the waters of Europe during summer (June - September) also do cruises in Latin
    America and Southeast Asia for the rest of the year. That means those ships have a transatlantic journey twice per
    year, at low prices when you consider the length of the trip (at least a week). These are often called positioning
    cruises. MSC [6] has several ships from the Caribbean to Europe at April and May.
    There are several lines crossing the Mediterranean, the main ports of call in North Africa is Tangier in Morocco and
    Tunis in Tunisia (See Ferries in the Mediterranean for more details), but there is also a little known option of going
    via Cyprus where you can use Louis Cruises [7] crossings to Port Said in Egypt and Haifa in Israel as a regular ferry
    service. Keep in mind though, that you can only do this on routes out of Cyprus, and it requires special arrangements
    - Varianos Travel [8] in Nicosia seem to be the only tour agency offering this option.
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    Get around
    There are virtually no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the Schengen
    Agreement [9], except under special circumstances during major events. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen
    Agreement signatory country is valid in all other countries that signed and implemented the treaty. Be careful: not all
    EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen treaty countries are members of the European
    Union. See the table above for the current list.
    Airports in Europe are thus divided into "Schengen" and "non-Schengen" sections, which effectively act like
    "domestic" and "international" sections elsewhere. If you are flying from outside Europe into one Schengen country
    and continuing to another, you will clear passport control in the first country and then continue to your destination
    with no further checks. However, if travelling within the Schengen Area to or from one of the Schengen countries
    outside the EU, customs controls are still in place.
    Travel to and from a Schengen Agreement country to any other country will result in the normal border checks. Note
    that, regardless of whether you traveling within Schengen or not, at some airports, airlines will still insist on seeing
    your ID card or passport.
    As an example of the practical implications on the traveller:
    • Travel from Germany to France (both EU, both Schengen): no controls
    • Travel from Germany to Switzerland (both Schengen, Switzerland not in EU): customs checks, but no
      immigration control
    • Travel from France to the United Kingdom (both EU, UK not in Schengen): immigration control, but no customs
    • Travel from Switzerland to the United Kingdom: immigration and customs checks

    By train
          Main article: Rail travel in Europe
    Especially in Western and Central Europe, the trains are fast, efficient
    and cost-competitive with flying. High-speed trains like the Italian
    Frecciarossa,the French TGV, the German ICE, the Spanish AVE and
    the cross-border Eurostar and Thalys services speed along at up to
    320 km/h (200 mph) and, when taking into account travel time to the
    airport and back, are often faster than taking the plane. The flip side is
    that tickets bought on the spot can be expensive, although there are
    good discounts available if you book in advance or take advantage of
    various deals. In particular, the Inter Rail (for Europeans) and Eurail
                                                                                        A German high-speed ICE train
    (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.

    The most extensive and most reliable train travel planner for all of Europe is the one belonging to the German
    railways (DB), which can be found here [10] in English.
Europe                                                                                                                                                   11

       By plane

   EU Passenger Rights
   European Union (EU) Regulation 261/2004 of 17. February 2005 [11] gives certain rights to passenger on all flights, schedule or charter and flights
   provided as part of a Package Holiday. It only applies to passengers flying from an EU airport by whatever carrier, or from an airport outside the
   EU to an EU airport on an EU carrier.
   Denied Boarding
   •     you have a valid ticket
   •     you have a confirmed reservation
   •     you have checked in by the deadline given to you by the airline
   Then you are entitled to a compensation, which is:

   •     €250 if the flight is shorter than 1500 km
         •   but only €125 if it is delayed less than 2 hours
   •     €400 if the flight is between 1500 km and 3500 km
         •   but only €200 if it is delayed less than 3 hours
   •     €600 if the flight is longer than 3500 km
         •   but only €300 if it is delayed less than 4 hours
   •     and a refund of your ticket (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant)
   •     or alternative transport to your final destination.
   The airline also have to cover the following expenses:
   •     two telephone calls or emails, telexes or faxes
   •     meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time.
   •     hotel accommodation if you are delayed overnight.
   Usually they will give you a prepaid phone card, and vouchers for a restaurant and a hotel.
   Refund for delayed flight
   If your flight is delayed 5 hours or longer you can get a refund of your ticket (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when

       All flights within and from the European Union limit liquids, gels and creams in hand baggage to 100
       mL/container, carried in a transparent, zip-lock plastic bag (1L or less). The bag must be presented during security
       checks and only one bag per passenger is permitted.

       Discount airlines
              Main article: Discount airlines in Europe
       Dozens of budget airlines allow very cheap travel around Europe, often much cheaper than the train or even bus fares
       for the same journey, Currently the cheapest flights are offered by low cost airlines such as AirBerlin, Germanwings,
       EasyJet, Tuifly, Ryanair and WizzAir. All of these flights should be booked on the internet well in advance,
       otherwise the price advantage may become non-existent. Always compare prices with major carriers like British
       Airways, Air France-KLM or Lufthansa! Only in very few cases prices are higher than € 80 on any airline when
       booking a month or more ahead of time (except on very long routes e.g. Dublin - Istanbul). You should also make
       sure where the airport is located, since some low cost airlines name very small airports by the next major city, even if
       the distance is up to two hours drive by bus (e.g. Ryan- and Wizzair's Frankfurt-Hahn, which is not Frankfurt/Main
Europe                                                                                                                       12

    By bus
    For very long distances, travelling by bus may actually be more expensive than traveling by plane. However, bus
    travel is generally advantageous for shorter trips, trips on short notice, if wish to see the countryside you are
    traveling through, if you have heavy luggage, or if you are a proponent of Ecotourism.
    Eurolines [12] connects over 500 destinations, covering the whole of Europe and Morocco. Eurolines allows
    travelling from Sicily to Helsinki and from Casablanca to Moscow. Eurolines buses make very few stops in smaller
    cities, and is generally only viable for travel between large cities.
    Eurolines offers several types of passes [13]. Each individual journey must be booked in advance of its departure
    date/time. That means that, depending on availability, you may or may not be able simply arrive at the bus terminal
    and board any available bus. The pass works well for travelers who either prefer only to see major cities, or who
    intend to use the pass in conjunction with local transportation options. Pass-holders can travel between the following
    cities: Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Marseille, Berlin, Milan, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Bratislava, Munich, Brno,
    Nantes, Brussels, Oslo, Bucharest, Paris, Budapest, Perpignan, Cologne, Prague, Copenhagen, Riga, Dublin, Rome,
    Edinburgh, Siena, Florence, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Gdańsk, Stuttgart, Geneva, Tallinn, Gothenburg,
    Toulouse, Hamburg, Venice, Kraków, Vienna, Lille, Vilnius, London, Warsaw, Lyon, Zurich
    Touring [14] (German variant of Eurolines), Sindbad[15] (Polish), Lasta [16] (from Serbia), Linebus [17]
    (Spanish) and National Express[18] (from the UK) are other options.

    By ship
          Main articles: Baltic Sea ferries, Ferries in the Mediterranean, Ferry routes to British Mainland
    The Baltic sea has several lines running between the major cities (for example Gdańsk, Stockholm, Helsinki,
    Tallinn, Riga etc.). Most ships are very large, parallelling Caribbean cruise liners in size and in service.
    In the Atlantic, Smyril Line [19] is the only company sailing to the rather remote North Atlantic islands; Iceland and
    the Faroe Islands It sails from Denmark, which also host numerous lines to Norway and Sweden. From the British
    isles a huge number of lines still cross the English channel to France, despite the opening of the channel-tunnel. And
    there are also numerous services to Denmark, the Benelux and even across the Biscay to Spain. Further south there is
    a weekly service from Portimão to the Canary Islands via the remote volcanic Madeira island.
    In the Mediterranean Sea a large number of ferries and cruise ships operate between Spain Italy and Southern
    France. And across the Italian peninsular ferries also ply across the Adriatic sea to Croatia and Greece, with Bari as
    the main terminal (out of many).
    And finally The Black Sea also has several ferries plying across it's waters, albeit service can be fairly sketchy at
    times. Poti, Istanbul and Sevastopol are the main ports, but nearly all the Black Sea ports has a ferry going
    somewhere, but rarely anywhere logical - i.e. often along the coast.
    There are also various ferries on the larger lakes and for crossing rivers. Furthermore, there are several regularly
    running cruise-lines on the larger rivers like the Rhine, Danube and the Volga. And boating excursions within
    Europe, particularly along the scenic rivers and between many of the islands in the Mediterranean, are an excellent
    way to combine travel between locations with an adventure along the way. Accommodations range from very basic
    to extremely luxurious depending upon the company and class of travel selected. Another famous line is the
    Hurtigruten cruise-ferries which sails all along Norway's amazing coastline and fjords.
Europe                                                                                                                         13

    By car

                  Speed limit                           End of speed limit                              Stop

               Give Way / Yield                           Priority Street                        Priority Street ends

                 No overtaking                             No parking                              European route

    The ease of driving on the continent varies greatly, and as a general rule east and west of the old iron curtain are two
    different worlds. Western Europe for the most part have good road conditions and an extensive and well developed
    highway network, whereas Eastern Europe are still working hard on the great backlog left behind from communist
    days. During vacations, especially during summer and Christmas vacations, driving on the motorways (highways)
    can be hellish, particularly in Germany (listen for the word Stau in the automated traffic broadcasts).

    Road rules
    There are no uniform speed limits across the union, the fabled limitless German autobahn is now limited to mostly
    rural sections. The majority of motorways/freeways have a 110-130 kph (70-80 mph) speed limit, while the limit on
    undivided highways varies between 80 and 100 km/h (50-65 mph). For North Americans, a major difference is the
    left lane on motorways, which are not the "fast lane" you're used to, but rather the "passing lane", it's illegal to
    overtake on the right, so you should only occupy the outer lane when you are overtaking someone; stay there, and
Europe                                                                                                                            14

    you will have other vehicles tailgating while flashing their lights in annoyance and traffic police eager to fine you.
    Remember to use turn signals when changing lanes.
    Except for priority streets (check the symbol in the table) there is a general duty to give way to traffic from your
    right in crossings and intersections that are not marked, and other drivers have every expectation you adhere to this.
    This also applies to unmarked T-intersections, unlike in North America England, Australia, Japan and most other
    places where the ending road should normally yield to the through road even if unmarked. But in the ubiquitous
    roundabouts (circles) you find everywhere across the continent, cars already in the circle give way to incoming
    drivers (coming from their right) unless there is a yield sign in front of the roundabout. Finally, don't do right turns
    on red lights (unless for example, in Germany the light features a green right arrow sign, in which case right turning
    right on red is permitted, but important to note, only after coming to a dead stop first, otherwise a $120 fine can be
    charged despite you having arrived in the country that day), it's illegal, and because it's not common practice, also
    Markings and signs are similar throughout Europe but variations in design and interpretations exist so it may be very
    practical to research each country individually before you travel. In Germany there are so many signs that even the
    Minister of Traffic showed on television that he was not exactly sure what they all meant. Several signs are strung
    one after the other on the same pole and are in some way related to each other.
    Avoid large cities if you are not used to driving in Europe. Most city centres were built long before the introduction
    of automobiles, and were not meant to cope with the levels of traffic common these days. So for the most part it may
    be a slow, frustrating and potentially dangerous experience, and even then, finding a parking spot can potentially
    take a long time and cost several Euros when you find it. Streets in the old city centres also tend to be very narrow
    and difficult to drive on. In addition, Instead park on the outskirts of town, where it is often free, and use the, usually
    extensive public transit system instead. If you are renting, try to "work around having a car" while visiting large
    • Age: Almost everywhere, especially in the EU, you need to be 18 years old to drive, even supervised, and in
      countries with Learning schemes, it's usually an exhaustive procedure to get a permit, and rarely applicable to
      foreign citizens anyway. Exceptions include Portugal, Ireland and the UK.
    • Equipment
      • A warning triangle is compulsory nearly anywhere, and so is using it in case of breakdowns. An alcohol testing
        device is now mandatory in France (even for non-alcoholics).
      • Hi-Visibility (reflective) vests are compulsory in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy,
        Norway, Portugal and Spain and gaining popularity elsewhere.
      • Headlamp Adjusters are also compulsory equipment in most countries, but in the U.K. and Ireland only if you
        are driving a continental car.
    • Paperwork
         •   Original Registration Document is compulsory
         •   Motor vehicle insurance certificate is compulsory
         •   A black and white, 1-3 letter country identity sticker is compulsory for cars without EU license plates.
         •   International driving permit, while it's not compulsory for certain nationalities in some European countries, it's
             cheap, and could potentially save you from nasty incidents with authorities.
    If you plan to rent a car to drive around Europe, it often makes sense to check the rates in different countries rather
    than just hire a car in the country of arrival. The price differences can be substantial for longer rentals, to the extent
    that it can make sense to adjust your travel plans accordingly i.e. if you plan on travelling around Scandinavia by car,
    it will often be much cheaper to fly into Germany and rent a car there. Compared to North America, you should be
    prepared for smaller, but more efficient cars, and most of them have manual transmission, so don't expect an
    automatic without requesting one while placing your order (and often paying extra).
Europe                                                                                                                         15

    In any case driving in Europe is an expensive proposition, petrol (gas) prices hover around €1.30-1.60 per litre
    ($7–8 per US gallon) in much of Europe, while often somewhat cheaper in Russia. Rentals are around 2-3 more
    expensive than in North America. Highway tolls are very common, city centre congestion charges increasingly so,
    and even parking can work up to €50 ($70) per day in the most expensive cities. Driving can be an enjoyable and
    feasible way to see the countryside and smaller cities, but few Europeans would rent a car on for a vacation to a city
    such as Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam.

    By bike
    European cycle route network Eurovelo [20] consists of 14 routes linking virtually every country on the continent.
    Some of these routes are not finished but plans are to have 60,000 km of bike lanes, now around 45,000 km are in
    Eurovelo 6 [21] - Rivers Route.

    By thumb
    Hitchhiking is a common way of travelling in some parts of Europe, especially in former eastern bloc countries. It
    can be a pleasant way to meet lots of people, and to travel without spending too many euros. Don't forget to check
    out the tips for hitchhiking.
    Note that in the former eastern bloc, you may run into language problems while hitchhiking, especially if you speak
    only English. It is not advisable to hitchhike in former Yugoslavia, for example between Croatia and Serbia, because
    you could run into real big problems with nationalists. Between Croatia and Slovenia it's usually not a problem. In
    Moldova and Ukraine, it's better to take a train or bus. In western Europe, especially in the Netherlands and
    Germany, it can be weary and tedious to hitch-hike.

    English proficiency varies greatly across the continent, but tends to increase the further north you get, in the Benelux
    and particularly Scandinavia almost everyone is able to communicate in English with varying degrees of fluency,
    while in the south and east you'll often be out of luck, especially outside major cities. German-speaking areas are
    also good bets. Speaking one of the Romance languages will likely help you a great deal in Portugal, Spain, France,
    Italy and Romania, while the same is true if you speak one of the Slavic languages in the East.
    If you need assistance, look for someone young, under the age of 40 or even better under the age of 30, as this
    greatly increases your chances of locating an English speaker, although in Scandinavia English is spoken by nearly
    everyone regardless of age, and many older German,- or Dutch speakers know some English as well. Alternatively
    hotel staff can be another option, especially in areas where few locals speak English, even if you don't stay at their
    Hiring a tour guide will also help you overcome the language barrier so arrange for one while preparing a trip,
    especially if you're travelling in groups.
Europe                                                                                                                         16

    The all too common concept of trying
    to "do Europe" is pretty unrealistic,
    and will most likely, if not ruin your
    vacation, then at least make it less
    enjoyable. While it is true that Europe
    is compact and easy to get around with
    efficient     infrastructure   set     up
    everywhere, as previously mentioned,
    it also has more preserved history
    packed into it than virtually anywhere
    else. There are more than 400 world
    heritage sites on the continent, and that
    is just the very tip of the iceberg. So                                   Colosseum in Rome

    instead of running a mad dash through
    Europe in an attempt to get the ritual photos of you in front of the Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben etc. over
    and done with, the key is prioritize, pick 2-3 sights you really want to see per week, and plan a route from that, there
    are likely to be some amazing, world class sights and attractions, that you haven't even thought about, somewhere in
    between two given cities, and finding those will - in all likelihood - be infinitely more rewarding than following the
    beaten down post card route.

    Historical and cultural attractions
    Europe was home to some of the world's most advanced civilisations, which has led to an astonishing cultural
    heritage today. Ancient Greece has been credited with the foundation of Western culture, and has been immensely
    influential on the language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science, and arts of the European continent.
    Ancient Greek structures are scattered over Greece and Turkey, including Delphi, Olympia, Sparta, Ephesus, Lycia
    and of course the Parthenon in Athens.
    Ancient Greece was followed by the Roman Empire, one of the greatest civilisations in the world that took hold of
    large swathes of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Visiting Roman ruins in Rome is a no-brainer, with the
    magnificent Colosseum, Pantheon and the Roman Forum. Many Roman ruins can also be found in Spain, such as
    the remains at Merida, Italica, Segovia, Toledo and Terragona. With 47 sites, Italy has the most UNESCO World
    Heritage Sites of any country in the world, directly followed by Spain with 43.
Europe                                                                                                                      17

    • Scenic railway lines in Europe

    • The Amber Road for motorists
    • Cruising the Baltic Sea for sailors
    • E11 Hiking trail for ramblers


    Despite an ever growing competition from the United States and nations with new found wealth, Europe is still the
    spiritual home of classical music and Opera, and the various European capitals are home to some amazing 'old world'
    opera houses, where the hundreds of years of history, often enhances the experience into something otherworldly.
    But if opera singers give you a headache, and you would much rather head-bang, fear not, Europe has more music
    festivals than your liver will ever hold up to; the Roskilde Festival [22] in Roskilde, Sziget fesztivál [23] in
    Budapest and finally reigning champion Glastonbury [24] weighing in at 195.000 drunk souls, are widely
    considered the 3 big ones, but many other ones are not the slightest bit small. Alternatively, there is the revival
    Woodstock festival in Poland, [25] while it doesn't boast the star-studded line-up of some commercial festivals, is
    great for those who want to do it on the cheap (there is no ticket to buy) and attracted 700,000 music fans in 2011.
    Furthermore, there is the "Donauinselfest" which takes place every year in Vienna, and is said to be Europe's biggest
    free open-air event.

    Perhaps no other field has seen stronger European integration than sports, most professional sports has Europe wide
    leagues in place, and nearly every sport has a bi-annual European Championship.
    • Football If you are already a football fan the game hardly gets any better than watching your favourite team battle
      it out against the world's greatest football clubs in the Champions League [26] or the Europa League [27]. Games
      in the pan European leagues usually takes place mid-week to allow for games in the national leagues to take place
      during the weekend. For the popular teams the tickets are often sold out weeks in advance.
    • Basketball The pan European Euroleague [28] is the highest tier of professional basketball in Europe, featuring
      teams from 18 different European countries and some of the best basketball you'll find outside the NBA. The
      regular season runs Oct-Jan and play-offs takes place between Jan-May.
    • Handball Also sees an annual pan European tournament, the Champions League [29] taking place every year.
      While the sport is little known outside Europe, it's one of the most popular sports on the continent. Two teams
      with seven players each pass and bounce a ball to throw it into the football-style goal of the opposing team.
    • Cycling Is another sport the enjoys much wider popularity in Europe, than virtually the rest of the world.
      Hundreds of competitions takes place every year, but the 3 unrivalled events of the year is the Tour de France
      [30], the Giro d'Italia [31] and the Vuelta a España [32], where thousands of thousands of spectators line up along
      the often hundred kilometre plus routes. The whole season is managed in a league like format called the Protour
Europe                                                                                                                        18

    Skiing & Snowboarding

    Europe is home to some fantastic ski resorts; the Alps
    are home of some of the best ski resorts in the world,
    and there are more here then anywhere else. Austria
    and Switzerland, contain hundreds of resorts alone.
    Other Alpine ski destinations include, France, Italy,
    Slovenia, Germany (Bavaria) and even tiny
    Liechtenstein. The largest area is Les Portes du Soleil
    [34], made up of 13 linked ski resorts in Switzerland
    and France, boasting over 650 km of marked runs.

    But the fun doesn't stop in the Alps; The Scandinavian
    Mountains features some of the worlds most civilized
    and family oriented Skiing areas, but the lower altitude
                                                                       Skiiing with the iconic Matterhorn as the backdrop
    also means it's a trade-of for shorter runs - Åre is the
    biggest, while way up north Riksgränsen [35] allows
    skiing well into the summer. Scotland is home of 5 ski resorts, Nevis Range [36] has the highest vertical drop at 566
    meters, while Glenshee [37] is the largest. A surprising option is Sierra Nevada in Spain, fairly large, just hours
    drive from the Mediterranean coast, and with a season often running into May - you can ski in the Morning, and chill
    on the beach in the afternoon. To the North the Pyrenees shared with France and Andorra also offers excellent skiing
    in up to 2,700 meters (8,000 ft) altitude, Domaine Tourmalet [38] is the largest resort in the area with over 100 km
    of pistes.

    Eastern Europe is seeing increasing popularity since prices are much
    lower than elsewhere on the continent, the downside is that facilities
    are not as expansive or modern as elsewhere in Europe, but things are
    rapidly improving. Slovenia is cheap alternative in the uber-expensive
    Alps, Kranjska Gora is the largest resort in the country. The
    Carpathian mountains with the highest runs at almost 2200 meters
    (7200 ft) is another popular area; Poiana Brasov (Romania, 20 km, 11
    lifts [39]) Zakopane (Poland, 30 km, 20 lifts [40]) and Jasna
                                                                                  Puerto de la Ragua, Sierra Nevada (Spain)
    (Slovakia, 29 km, 24 lifts [41]) are the largest and most popular areas
    in the respective countries.

    National Parks
    There are more than 360 national parks [42] on the continent, which is not a surprise since Europe is the world's
    second-most densely populated continent. Many parks are small, some less than a single km², but there are also some
    expansive national parks to explore. The Vatnajokull National Park on Iceland is the largest, covering around
    12,000 km² (7,500 sq miles), and the fascinating national parks of the Arctic Svalbard are not far behind, while
    Yugyd Va National Park in the Russian Urals is largest on the mainland itself. In total the national parks of Europe
    encompass an area of around 98,000 km² (37,000 sq miles).
Europe                                                                                                                       19

    Outdoor activities
    Many cities in Europe are great for cycling. Europe has several places for whitewater sports and canyoning.

    The euro [43] (Symbol: €; ISO 4217 code
    EUR) is the common currency of many
    countries of the European Union. One euro
    equals 100 cents; sometimes referred to as
    'euro cents' to differentiate them from their
    US and other counterparts. Established in
    1999 and introduced in cash form on
    January 1, 2002, the euro removes the need
    for money exchange. As such it is not only a
    boon to pan-European business, but of
    course also to travellers.

    It is interesting that each member nation has
    a unique design at the back of the euro coins
    minted in their country. Rest assured that
    regardless of the origin of the designs at the
    back, the euro coins are legal tender
    anywhere throughout the euro zone.
    The euro has not been adopted by all EU
    countries. Those countries which have                         Eurozone (light-blue unilaterally adopted the euro)
    replaced their own national currencies are
    commonly called the Eurozone. By law, all
    EU countries (except Denmark and the
    United Kingdom) have to eventually adopt
    the euro.

    Outside the EU, Kosovo and Montenegro
    have unilaterally adopted the euro, but all
    other countries still retain their own
    currencies. Euros are widely accepted in
    European countries outside the Eurozone,
    but not universally, and at shops and
    restaurants the exchange rate is rarely in
    your favor. (Many hotels, though, price and
    accept payment in euros.) Money changers
    will generally give good to excellent
    exchange rates for the euro, and in a pinch
    they will be accepted by nearly everybody.

    Do not accept any of the obsolete currencies. While several countries' banks will still change them into euros, it's a
    lot                                                                                                                 of
Europe                                                                                                                          20

    hassle and there is no guarantee that this will be
    possible everywhere or on short notice. You should
    also expect to leave your personal information with the
    bank as a precaution against money laundering.

    Throughout Europe, automatic teller machines are
    readily available. They will accept various European
    bank cards as well as credit cards. However, be
    prepared to pay a fee for the service (usually a
    percentage of the amount withdrawn, with a minimum
    of few euro) which may be in addition to the fees your
    bank already imposes on foreign withdrawals. Read the
    labels/notices on the machine before using.

    European ATMs do not usually have letters on the
    keypad. PINs longer than 4 digits are generally no longer a problem.

    Credit cards
    Credit card acceptance is not as universal as in the United States, especially in Eastern Europe, but growing steadily.
    Some countries mandate that merchants check your ID for purchases of as little as €50, and many shops will insist
    on ID for any credit card transaction.
    An increasing number of European countries, notably the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Nordic
    countries, have moved to a chip and PIN system, where credit cards all have a chip built in and you have to punch
    in your PIN code instead of signing a receipt. Any store that displays Visa, MasterCard, Amex etc. logos is required
    to accept "traditional" sign-and-swipe cards, so be persistent if they initially refuse, although you may need to
    escalate to the manager. (With most terminals, swiping your card and simply waiting 20 seconds without entering the
    PIN will cause them to print out the signing slip.) However, with self-service like gas pumps and ticket vending
    machines, you may be out of luck.

    With 50 intricately linked countries and 28 currencies squeezed into an area roughly the size of Canada or China, the
    planet's largest diaspora due to the continent's colonial ties with virtually the entire world, and more tourism arrivals
    than anywhere else, currency exchange is a fact of life in Europe, and the market is probably better established than
    anywhere else in the world, and readily available nearly everywhere. Banks will nearly without exception exchange
    all European currencies, and within the European Union banks will accept nearly any currency that is legally traded
    abroad. Specialized currency exchange companies are also widespread, especially in major tourist destinations, and
    are often slightly cheaper than banks. However, with ATM's accepting all major credit and debit cards available
    everywhere, many visitors simply withdraw money electronically to get as close to the real exchange rate as
Europe                                                                                                                                      21

    Costs and Taxes
    The EU is generally expensive for most visitors.
    When buying souvenirs, it costs substantially less to purchase from smaller stalls than the stores affiliated with to
    larger establishments.
    As for dining, most service items that are complimentary in your home country (e.g. water, bread) may not be so in
    the continent.
    However most goods and services offered in the region are required to include value added tax (VAT) in their
    published prices, especially the large print. The VAT is refundable if you are a non-resident and intend to export the
    good you purchased outside the EU, just make sure you request for a voucher from the store and show them to
    customs at your exit point. To be safe, be on the lookout for a VAT refund sticker at the door or window of the store.

    Europeans generally have liberal
    attitudes towards drinking, with the
    notable exception of Scandinavia
    (excluding Denmark). The legal
    drinking age varies between 16-18 in
    most       countries,     often      with
    differentiated limits for beer and
    spirits. In most places drinking in
    public is both legal, and a common
    warm weather activity, and police are
    more likely to give you a warning and
    send you on your way to bed, than
    issue fines for drunken or rowdy
    behaviour. Except on the British Isles,
    the nightclubs rarely get going until
    past midnight, head for the bars and
    restaurants to find people until then.

                                                  Traditional alcohol belts in Europe; red indicates wine, brown indicates beer, and blue
                                                                               indicates vodka or other spirits
    Europe is by far the biggest wine producing region in the world, France is the biggest and most famous, but 5 of the
    10 largest wine exporters are European Nations; France is followed by Italy, Spain, Germany and Portugal, and
    nearly all European nations have wine production of some scale. Wine production was started 4000 years ago by the
    Minoan civilization in present day Greece, and was spread across Europe by the Phoenicians and later the Romans.
    Unlike other regions, European wine producers place much more emphasis on tradition and terroir than on the grape
    variety, and wines in Europe will typically be labelled by region rather than by its grape, e.g. Chardonnay, unlike the
    common practice elsewhere. This is because European wine producers claim that their long history have allowed
    them to adapt production techniques to the unique conditions of their particular region, and things like the soil
    composition for a region also has much influence on the taste of the wine. Some of the best and most famous wine
    regions of Europe includes Bordeaux, whose name is as synonymous with its wines as the large city. Another
    famous French region producing excellent wines is Burgundy (Bourgogne) around the city of Dijon, it produces
    both red and whites - the most famous ones, often referred to as Burgundies, are red wines made from Pinot Noir or
Europe                                                                                                                         22

    white wines made from Chardonnay grapes. Further north, the Alsace region close to the Germany, and Mosel
    across the border - grown on some of the continents most dramatic wineyards on very steep hills, are above all
    known for their excellent white wines. Further to the south, Tuscany in Italy is famous for its Chianti wines made
    from Sangiovese grapes, while La Rioja is arguably the most popular, and certainly among the best, Spanish wine
    In fact, many wine names indicate the place where the wine comes from, with EU laws forbidding use of the name
    unless it is from a specific place. Examples include Champagne, which has to come from the Champagne region of
    France, Port which has to come from Porto, Portugal, Sherry which has to come from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, as
    well as Tokaji which has to come from Tokaj, Hungary.

    While wine is the most popular alcohol in Southern Europe, beer is the national drink for much of Northern Europe.
    Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Czech Republic make some of the finest brews in Europe and maybe the
    world. Visitors from many countries, especially those from East Asia or North America will find that European
    lagers have a richer stronger taste, and often a higher alcohol content than found at home.
    • In Europe as elsewhere, the most popular beers are lagers, also known as Pilsner after the Czech city of Pilsen
      that originated the style.
    • The United Kingdom, Ireland and partly the Belgian abbey breweries, on the other hand have strong brewing
      traditions in ale, which is brewed using quickly fermenting yeast giving it a sweet and fruity taste.
    • Wheat beers are very popular in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, and come in many varieties of their
      own. Traditional German hefeweizen is unfiltered and cloudy, while kristall is filtered and looks much like lager.
      Belgian witbiers like Hoegaarden are often gently flavored and popular in summer, sometimes with a slice of
      lemon on the side. And in a class of their own are spontaneously fermented lambics, which are very sour and not
      to everyone's taste!
    • Stout (porter) is a British and Irish speciality, with Guinness available around the continent. Made from roasted
      malts, stout is dark and strong in both taste and alcohol content, hence the name.
    Most European nations have a national brand; like Carlsberg, Heineken or Stella, sold most everywhere - but the
    really good beers are often the smaller brands, which doesn't try to appeal to everyone. In recent years
    microbreweries have had a huge revival shooting up everywhere around the continent. If you really want to indulge,
    try one of the October fests, held in many German cities, the most famously Munich (where they start drinking
    already in late September!).
    Another northern European favorite is cider, most commonly brewed from apples and sold both bottled and on tap in
    pubs. Taste and alcohol content can vary widely, from dense, cloudy and strong (8% or more) to light, weak (under
    4%) and occasionally even artificially flavored.

    Like elsewhere on the planet; Vodka, Rum and Gin is available everywhere. Scandinavia (except Denmark), Eastern
    Europe and Russia especially have an affection for Vodka, and if you've so far only tried the usual suspects like
    Smirnoff or Absolut; you should try the Vodka there, you may just end up surprised at how tasty the stuff can
    actually be. Elsewhere, most regions have a local speciality that local drinking comrades will happily fill in you, and
    eagerly wait for your funny faces when your throat and taste-buds screams in agony. Most likely it will be Slivovitz
    (also called Rakia) in South-eastern Europe and the Balkans (especially in Serbia), a strongly tasting and fruity
    brandy, usually made from plums. Other forms of brandy, made from grapes instead, such as traditional Brandy,
    Cognac or Port wine are popular in the UK and South-western Europe. Greece and Italy makes the popular
    Ouzo/Sambuca which along with the related, resurgent Absinthe, is made from star anise and sugar, giving it a
    liquorice like taste - watch for the many party fire tricks related to those drinks. In northern Europe you'll likely be
Europe                                                                                                                        23

    served Schnapps (or Snaps, Aquavit), usually made from fermented hops or potatoes accented by traditional herbs
    like dill or sloe, be careful, it suddenly kicks in without much warning. Finally, it will hardly come as a surprise to
    many that Whiskey (or Whisky) is popular with the Scots and Irish. While all these drinks have strong regional
    roots, you'll generally find one or two types of each, in virtually any bar on the continent.

    Lodging cultures in Europe differ significantly by country, but most people across the continent sleep in hotels. Most
    medium-sized towns at least have one hotel, and usually have a couple of them in different price ranges. Rooms are
    generally expensive: they usually go for about €90-300 per night, and prices even exceed that if you're staying in
    one of the top-end hotels that most major cities have. These hotels usually feature quite some amenities, including a
    TV, telephone, breakfast, etc. Some countries, such as France, also have roadside hotels that are somewhat similar to
    motels in the United States.
    Because of the relatively high cost of lodging, hostels are popular among younger backpackers. All major cities have
    them, but they are difficult to find outside the typical tourist places. At around €15-30 per night, hostels are
    significantly cheaper than hotels. Quality varies widely across the continent. Hostels in eastern Europe are much
    cheaper and of a much lower quality than those in the western part.
    There are also plenty of quirky means to stay. In Sweden you can sleep in a hotel made completely out of ice; Greece
    and Turkey have hotels in sandstone or rock caves; and Sveti Stefan in Montenegro is an island village that has been
    entirely converted into an accommodation.

    Stay safe
    For emergencies you can dial 112 in any EU member nation as well as most other European countries - even when it
    is not the primary number for emergency services. All 112 alarm centrals within the EU are legally required to be
    capable of patching you through to an English speaking operator. 112 can be dialled from any GSM phone, even
    locked phones or ones without a SIM installed.
    The biggest risks to your safety in Europe like in any major tourist area are pickpockets and muggings. Using
    common sense and being aware of your surroundings can help to greatly reduce the risk of these occurrences.
    Remember alcohol is an integral part of many European cultures but overuse can lead to violence and poor
    judgment! In general, bars and pubs are not a place where alcohol causes these problems in Europe but it can end up
    being a big problem on the roads.
    Most European countries have very low levels of violence compared to the United States. The main issues are drug
    use and gang related violence which are most prone in Britain and France, but it's virtually unheard of for any
    tourists to be involved in such issues. The few "trouble areas" that should be avoided are the run-down suburbs of
    certain urban areas (particularly in Europe's largest cities) and some places in eastern and southern Europe do have
    much higher violent crime rates, and can be very dangerous for non locals, but these areas shouldn't be of interest to
    the average tourist. Central and Western Europe are generally the safest regions.
    Europe may be very urban and densely populated in general but as always when traveling in rural and forested /
    mountainous areas take the proper precautions. All it takes is one wrong turn down a ski piste and you are stranded.
    Time to take out the cell phone. Did you bring one?
    For more information see Common scams which contains many Europe-specific scams.
Europe                                                                                                                         24

    Stay healthy
    There are no specific precautions required for staying healthy in Europe as most restaurants maintain high standards
    of hygiene and in the majority of countries tap water is safe to drink. However, for more precise details on these
    matters as well as for general information on emergency care, pharmaceutical regulations and dentistry standards
    etc., please consult the 'Stay safe' section on specific country articles.
    EU/EEA citizens should apply for (or bring) the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which grants you
    access to state-provided healthcare within the European Union as well as Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein
    either at reduced cost or free of charge, under the same terms as a resident of the country you are visiting. If you are
    used to free healthcare in your own country, remember that some member states expect patients to pay towards their
    treatment, and you may be expected to do the same. And do remember that the EHIC does not equal a travel
    insurance; it doesn't cover private healthcare, the cost of mountain rescues or repatriation to your home country.
    Neither does it allow you to go abroad specifically to receive medical care.
    If you are not an EU/EEA citizen, remember to buy a travel insurance policy, while some countries do provide free
    emergency care for visitors, any follow-up treatment and repatriation is your own responsibility, and some countries
    expect you to foot the entire bill for any treatment yourself - the fabled universal healthcare system does not equal
    free treatment for non EU citizens.

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    [2] http:/ / meteoalarm. eu/ ?lang=en_UK
    [3] http:/ / www. safetravel. govt. nz/ destinations/ europetips. shtml#borders
    [4] http:/ / www. tcdd. gov. tr/ tcdding/ ortadogu_ing. html
    [5] http:/ / www. cunard. com/
    [6] http:/ / www. cruisenetwork. com/ msc-transatlantic-cruise. jsp
    [7] http:/ / www. louiscruises. com
    [8] http:/ / www. varianostravel. com/ Cruises/ ferry_service. htm
    [9] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Visa_policy_in_the_European_Union
    [10] http:/ / reiseauskunft. bahn. de/ bin/ query. exe/ en
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    [14] http:/ / www. touring. de/ index. php?id=2& L=1
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    [20] http:/ / www. eurovelo. org/ routes/
    [21] http:/ / www. eurovelo6. org/
    [22] http:/ / www. roskilde-festival. dk
    [23] http:/ / www. sziget. hu/ fesztival/ ?language=en
    [24] http:/ / www. glastonburyfestivals. co. uk/
    [25] http:/ / www. en. wosp. org. pl/
    [26] http:/ / www. uefa. com/ competitions/ ucl
    [27] http:/ / www. uefa. com/ competitions/ uefacup/
    [28] http:/ / www. euroleague. net/
    [29] http:/ / www. ehfcl. com/
    [30] http:/ / www. letour. fr
    [31] http:/ / www. ilgiroditalia. it/
    [32] http:/ / www. lavuelta. com/
    [33] http:/ / www. uciprotour. com
    [34] http:/ / www. portesdusoleil. com/
    [35] http:/ / www. stromma. se/ en/ Riksgransen/
Europe                                           25

    [36]   http:/ / www. nevisrange. co. uk/
    [37]   http:/ / www. ski-glenshee. co. uk/
    [38]   http:/ / www. n-py. com
    [39]   http:/ / www. poiana-brasov. com/
    [40]   http:/ / www. zakopane. pl/
    [41]   http:/ / www. jasna. sk/ en/
    [42]   http:/ / www. europarc. org
    [43]   http:/ / www. euro. ecb. int
Article Sources and Contributors                                                                                                                                                                  26

    Article Sources and Contributors
    Europe  Source:  Contributors: (WT-en) 2old, (WT-en) Aegeanfighter, (WT-en) Ahoerstemeier, (WT-en) Aidan, (WT-en) Akubra,
    (WT-en) Albatravel, (WT-en) AlexE, (WT-en) Alicaluda, (WT-en) Anna lev, (WT-en) AtilimGunesBaydin, (WT-en) Barndoor, (WT-en) Bill Ellett, (WT-en) Bradyn, (WT-en) Brains4ever,
    (WT-en) Burmesedays, (WT-en) CandleWithHare, (WT-en) Cardboardbird, (WT-en) Carlskyjr, (WT-en) Chasit, (WT-en) Chernobyl, (WT-en) Chinzh, (WT-en) ClausHansen, (WT-en) Colin
    Angus Mackay, (WT-en) CurvyEthyl, (WT-en) DanielC, (WT-en) Ddwiki, (WT-en) DelchIelte, (WT-en) Dguillaime, (WT-en) Dheerav2, (WT-en) Dhum Dhum, (WT-en) Dillonstars, (WT-en)
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    (WT-en) Pashley, (WT-en) Patrick, (WT-en) Pjamescowie, (WT-en) Pnaha, (WT-en) Professorbiscuit, (WT-en) Puffdragon, (WT-en) Pyromonkey, (WT-en) Quags92, (WT-en) RJK, (WT-en)
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    (WT-en) Siegiga, (WT-en) Sihi, (WT-en) Silvio77, (WT-en) Sshirokov, (WT-en) Staieram, (WT-en) Sunofeast, (WT-en) TVerBeek, (WT-en) Takatam, (WT-en) Tatata, (WT-en) Tgraham,
    (WT-en) Tobias Conradi, (WT-en) Trekinfo, (WT-en) Upamanyuwikitravel, (WT-en) VASILIKI, (WT-en) ViMy, (WT-en) Whatsinaname, (WT-en) Wiki74, (WT-en) WikiTravelMaster,
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    Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors: Benh LIEU SONG
    File:Europe regions minimal cities.png  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License
     Contributors: User:Historicair, User:Peterfitzgerald
    File:Alhambra Mirtenhof.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0
     Contributors: Zeisterre
    Image:Florence italy duomo.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Bouncey2k, Dbenbenn, G.dallorto,
    Halicki, Mac9, Rnt20, Sailko, Urban, Wst, 3 anonymous edits
    Image:ICE.JPG  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Duke Q
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    Adam Brody, Bruce1ee, CT Cooper, Cfaerber, Cäsium137, D0ktorz, Docu, Havang(nl), Jermboytold2, Lateiner, MB-one, Umherirrender, 8 anonymous edits
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    Docu, Havang(nl), Roadsign12, Umherirrender, ŠJů, 1 anonymous edits
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    Kazuya360, MB-one, SchirmerPower, Timo Müller, Umherirrender, ŠJů, 1 anonymous edits
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     Contributors: suwa
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    User:Globe-trotter, User:Historicair

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Description: Europe: balkans, baltic states, benelux, britain, ireland, caucasus, central europe, france, monaco, greece, cyprus, italy, malta, san marino, vatican city, russia, ukraine, belarus, scandinavia, amsterdam, barcelona, berlin, london, moscow, paris, prague, rome.