Europe  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!
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
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
• 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
• 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
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
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
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  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
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.
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  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.
• 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.
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
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.
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) . 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
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 , 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  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  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  in Nicosia seem to be the only tour agency offering this option.
There are virtually no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the Schengen
Agreement , 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
• 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
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  in English.
EU Passenger Rights
European Union (EU) Regulation 261/2004 of 17. February 2005  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.
• 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.
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
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  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 . 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  (German variant of Eurolines), Sindbad (Polish), Lasta  (from Serbia), Linebus 
(Spanish) and National Express (from the UK) are other options.
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  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.
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).
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
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.
• 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.
• 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).
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.
European cycle route network Eurovelo  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  - Rivers Route.
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.
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.
• 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  in Roskilde, Sziget fesztivál  in
Budapest and finally reigning champion Glastonbury  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,  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  or the Europa League . 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  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  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
, the Giro d'Italia  and the Vuelta a España , 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
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
, 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  allows
skiing well into the summer. Scotland is home of 5 ski resorts, Nevis Range  has the highest vertical drop at 566
meters, while Glenshee  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  is the largest resort in the area with over 100 km
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 ) Zakopane (Poland, 30 km, 20 lifts ) and Jasna
Puerto de la Ragua, Sierra Nevada (Spain)
(Slovakia, 29 km, 24 lifts ) are the largest and most popular areas
in the respective countries.
There are more than 360 national parks  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).
Many cities in Europe are great for cycling. Europe has several places for whitewater sports and canyoning.
The euro  (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
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
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 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
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
As for dining, most service items that are complimentary in your home country (e.g. water, bread) may not be so in
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
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
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.
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.
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.
 http:/ / www. visiteurope. com
 http:/ / meteoalarm. eu/ ?lang=en_UK
 http:/ / www. safetravel. govt. nz/ destinations/ europetips. shtml#borders
 http:/ / www. tcdd. gov. tr/ tcdding/ ortadogu_ing. html
 http:/ / www. cunard. com/
 http:/ / www. cruisenetwork. com/ msc-transatlantic-cruise. jsp
 http:/ / www. louiscruises. com
 http:/ / www. varianostravel. com/ Cruises/ ferry_service. htm
 http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Visa_policy_in_the_European_Union
 http:/ / reiseauskunft. bahn. de/ bin/ query. exe/ en
 http:/ / ec. europa. eu/ transport/ air_portal/ passenger_rights/ index_en. htm
 http:/ / www. eurolines. com/
 http:/ / www. eurolines-pass. com
 http:/ / www. touring. de/ index. php?id=2& L=1
 http:/ / nettur. rst. com. pl/ 11503/
 http:/ / www. lasta. co. yu/ eng/
 http:/ / www. linebus. com
 http:/ / www. nationalexpress. com
 http:/ / www. smyril-line. com
 http:/ / www. eurovelo. org/ routes/
 http:/ / www. eurovelo6. org/
 http:/ / www. roskilde-festival. dk
 http:/ / www. sziget. hu/ fesztival/ ?language=en
 http:/ / www. glastonburyfestivals. co. uk/
 http:/ / www. en. wosp. org. pl/
 http:/ / www. uefa. com/ competitions/ ucl
 http:/ / www. uefa. com/ competitions/ uefacup/
 http:/ / www. euroleague. net/
 http:/ / www. ehfcl. com/
 http:/ / www. letour. fr
 http:/ / www. ilgiroditalia. it/
 http:/ / www. lavuelta. com/
 http:/ / www. uciprotour. com
 http:/ / www. portesdusoleil. com/
 http:/ / www. stromma. se/ en/ Riksgransen/
 http:/ / www. nevisrange. co. uk/
 http:/ / www. ski-glenshee. co. uk/
 http:/ / www. n-py. com
 http:/ / www. poiana-brasov. com/
 http:/ / www. zakopane. pl/
 http:/ / www. jasna. sk/ en/
 http:/ / www. europarc. org
 http:/ / www. euro. ecb. int
Article Sources and Contributors 26
Article Sources and Contributors
Europe Source: http://en.wikivoyage.org/w/index.php?oldid=2140246 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)
Dimitris, (WT-en) Dpaajones, (WT-en) Dufko, (WT-en) Edmontonenthusiast, (WT-en) Episteme, (WT-en) Fastestdogever, (WT-en) Faxre99, (WT-en) Filemon, (WT-en) Flip666, (WT-en)
Freundesstern, (WT-en) Fuzheado, (WT-en) Gsilverman, (WT-en) H3O, (WT-en) HappyV, (WT-en) Hiwhispees, (WT-en) Honister, (WT-en) Huttite, (WT-en) Hybridace101, (WT-en) Ilkirk,
(WT-en) Inas, (WT-en) JYolkowski, (WT-en) Jakeseems, (WT-en) Jakro64, (WT-en) JanSlupski, (WT-en) Jjtk, (WT-en) Jnich99, (WT-en) Joelf, (WT-en) Jonboy, (WT-en) Jtesla16, (WT-en)
Karen Johnson, (WT-en) Klafubra, (WT-en) Lilit, (WT-en) MD, (WT-en) Maiko90, (WT-en) Maj, (WT-en) ManOnABus, (WT-en) Mariborko, (WT-en) Martinvie, (WT-en) Mitglied100070,
(WT-en) Morph, (WT-en) Mothra, (WT-en) Nexus Ltd, (WT-en) Nicefrenchguy, (WT-en) Nickpest, (WT-en) Nils, (WT-en) Norway14, (WT-en) Nrms, (WT-en) Nzpcmad, (WT-en) Palazov,
(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)
Rafaelfp15, (WT-en) Rajah, (WT-en) RealFreeTraveller, (WT-en) Repayne, (WT-en) Rmx, (WT-en) Rnt20, (WT-en) Ronline, (WT-en) Sea4u, (WT-en) Sertmann, (WT-en) Shalom Alechem,
(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,
(WT-en) WindHorse, (WT-en) Wojsyl, (WT-en) Woodstock, (WT-en) Wrh2=WankerRejectHermapohdite, (WT-en) Xania, (WT-en) Yzerfontein, (WT-en) Zenogantner,
2A02:2F07:23:F001:0:0:4F76:46D5, Against the current, Andy Farrell, Andyrom75, Bill-on-the-Hill, BlackAlkane, Cacahuate, Cjensen, Danno uk, DenisYurkin, Do better, DrMennoWolters,
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MarkJaroski, Mathonius, Matthewmayer, NJR ZA, Nicolas1981, Peterfitzgerald, Ravikiran r, RegentsPark, RolandUnger, Rschen7754, SanSan, Sapphire, Savh, Sertmann, Smzihafhs, Snowolf,
Sumone10154, Template namespace initialisation script, Terraflorin, Texugo, ThaleiaFantasy, Travelpleb, Tsandell, Vidimian, Voll, W. Frank, Wrh2, Yann, Ypsilon, 796 anonymous edits
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