Europe is home to high mountains and long rivers. It also has rich history and wealthy countries. People go there to see the Parthenon, the pope and much more. Keep reading to learn about Europe facts and secrets.
On The Land
Europe is the second-smallest continent in the world After Australia. Most of the European countries lie in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. The continent has 44 countries. Europe is home to the biggest country (Russia) and the smallest country (Vatican City) in the world!
Pin on the map
Europe has a lot of rivers. These include The Danube, The Rhine and The Loire rivers. However, The Volga is the longest river in the continent. The Volga flows for around 3,531 km in Russia. The Volga’s journey ends in the Caspian Sea.
Europe has plains, forests, lakes, mountains and even volcanoes. The Alps are the highest mountain range in Europe. It stretches across eight countries. However, the highest peak in the continent lies in The Caucasus Mountains. It’s called Mount Elbrus which reaches a height of 5,642 m (18,510 ft) above sea level.
Around a third of the surface area of Europe is covered by forests. These include The Bavarian Forest, Wild Taiga forest, Hallerbos Forest and Bialowieza Forest. The Bialowieza Forest is the largest and oldest forest on the continent. This massive land covers parts of Poland and Belarus. In the last 3 decades, the European forest area has increased by around 9%.
Europe is home to many kinds of wildlife. The big five animals in Europe are the European bison, the wolf, the brown bear, the wolverine, and the lynx. The continent is also home to many unique animals such as the European mink, the marbled polecat, and the European pine marten. The Eurasian wolf, the polar bear, the European adder are among the most dangerous animals in Europe.
Europe’s weather is different from one place to another. In Western Europe, it’s usually cloudy with warm summers and cool winters. In southern Europe, the summers are often hot and dry while the winters are mostly mild. In Central and northern Europe, the weather is mild in the summer and very cold in the winter. Most European countries have four seasons. However, some countries have only two seasons which are the rainy season and the dry one.
Europe faces some threats. Some of these hazards are natural such as floods, forest fires, storms and earthquakes. Climate change is also a main concern to many Europeans. Climate change can cause an increase in the number of floods and heavy rainstorms in the continent. A recent study said that Humans cause climate change by releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air
Meet the people
Europe is the third-most-populous continent in the world with more than 748 million people. Russia is the most inhabited nation in Europe with more than 144 million people living there.
There are many ethnic groups and cultures all over Europe. People there speak more than 200 languages. English is the most common language as it’s the favorite second language of Europeans. Most Europeans can speak more than one language. A research said that more than 50% of people living in Europe are bilingual. This means that they can speak two languages. Around 25% of Europeans are trilingual. That means that they can speak three languages!
1993, The European Union was founded. This group has 27 European countries. The union allows free movement of goods, services and people between its members. Many countries in Europe are ranked among the world’s richest nations. Luxembourg is the wealthiest country in Europe while Germany has the largest economy in the continent.
Sports are very important in Europe. Football (soccer) is, without doubt, the most practiced and watched sport in the continent. Germany and Spain hold the record in winning The UEFA European Football Championship (EURO). Both teams won the title three times. Many European countries hosted the World Cup. The First one was Italy in 1934 and the last one was Russia in 2018. Germany and Italy were the most successful European teams in the World Cup as they both won it 4 times.
European countries also dominate the Winter Olympic Games. This event features sports such as speed skating, figure skating, curling, and ice hockey. Norway is the most successful nation in that competition. The country has won 368 medals including 132 gold medals.
Music is very important in Europe. Many famous singers and bands came from the continent. These include The Beatles. This rock band was formed in Liverpool, England. Many experts believe that it was the most successful band in history. The Beatles dominated the world stage in the 1960s. Édith Piaf is also one of the most famous female singers of all time. The French icon sang about love and sorrow.
Europe is also known for its art. The continent gave the world great artists and painters. One of them was Claude Monet. The French painter is considered to be one of the greatest artists in history. Another one was Leonardo da Vinci. The Italian legend made one of the most widely-known paintings, The Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa is displayed in the most-visited museum in the world, the Louvre.
Take a walk
Europe is full of attractions. From stunning mountains to astonishing museums, there’s something for everyone.
Europe has an array of landscapes and natural wonders that attract millions of tourists from all around the globe. It might be difficult to choose from. Here are some places you shouldn’t miss.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Head to the oldest and largest national park in Croatia. The jaw-dropping site is located between two mountain ranges. These are the Mala Kapela and the Lička Plješivica. The huge park covers an area of around 300 km2. The park is famous for its lakes. There are 16 named lakes in the park and some smaller unnamed lakes. The park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. Thousands of tourists flock to the site every year to enjoy its magnificent natural beauty.
The Blue Grotto, Italy
Do you like walking into caves? What about sailing into one? That’s right! Grotta Azzurra (or the blue Grotto) is on the coast of the island of Capri, southern Italy. It offers its visitors a chance to sail on its blue water. That special color is caused by the Sunlight passing through an underwater cavity and shining through the seawater. In the past, sailors used to avoid going into the grotto as they believed it was full of witches and monsters! Don’t worry, the site is safe. You just need to follow the weather forecast as sometimes the grotto is closed due to rough sea conditions.
This site isn’t for people who are afraid of heights but it’s definitely for adventure lovers. Preikestolen is a steep cliff in Rogaland, Norway. It rises 604 meters (1,982 ft.) above a fiord called Lysefjord. The hike to Preikestolen is around eight kilometers, and it would take you about four hours to get there. When you get to its flat top, you can look down to a hair-raising scene of the fiord. Some Adrenaline Lovers like to jump off the cliff using parachutes! In recent years, Preikestolen has become one of the most visited natural tourist attractions in Norway.
Europe isn’t all about parks and mountains. People in Europe built outstanding structures. Here are some man-made sites you should consider visiting.
Eiffel tower, France
In 1889, Paris hosted “The Universal Exposition.” This astonishing event attracted more than 32 million visitors. Each and every one of them gazed in awe at the wonder of iron, the Eiffel Tower. This staggering structure held the record of the tallest building in the world from 1889 to 1930 at 324 meters (1,063 ft) tall. To this day, tourists still flock to take pictures near the building. Besides, it’s the favorite destination for romantic marriage proposals.
The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City
In the heart of the smallest country in the world, there’s a sacred place that attracts millions of tourists every year. It’s The Sistine Chapel. The chapel is very important to Catholics as it hosts ceremonies that are led by the pope. It’s also the place where the Cardinals elect the new pope when there is a vacancy. However, the site is a tourist attraction because of its mesmerizing paintings that decorate the walls and ceiling. The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo is one of the most celebrated works of art in the world. The famous ceiling shows scenes from the Bible. These include The Creation of Adam and the Last Judgement.
The Parthenon, Greece
This notorious landmark is located in Athens. It is one of the most visited sites in the world. The Parthenon is a marble temple that was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. The site is a symbol of the power, wealth and culture of Ancient Greece. The building witnessed A LOT. From fire and wars to earthquakes and explosions, The Parthenon stood tall as a mark of ingenuity and perseverance.
The Knighted Penguin!
You may have heard stories about Knights and their epic battles in The Middle Ages of Europe! But did you know that there is a much cuter knight that still lives in a zoo? Meet Sir Nils Olav III! He is a king penguin who lives in Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland. He’s the mascot and colonel-in-chief of the Norwegian King’s Guard. In 2008, king Harald V made Nils Olav III a knight in The Norwegian Army!