The continent of Europe stretches from the Atlantic to the west to the Ural Mountains in the east. In the south the Mediterranean and Black seas form a natural border. Geographically only a small percentage of Turkey falls within Europe, although politically Turkey is often classed as a European nation. Other nations crossing the boundaries between Europe and Asia include the obvious Russia, as well as the not so obvious Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan (a small proportion of whose territory is west of the Urals.) Stretching from the Arctic Circle to North Africa there are huge climatic differences throughout the continent from extreme cold to the very warm.
One of the greatest charms of Europe as a continent is that the dense population coupled with the relatively small area (Europe has the second smallest landmass of the continents) leads to incredible diversity. It is perfectly possible to travel through 3 or 4 countries, all with their own very individual languages, traditions and cuisines in a single day. The artistic and cultural influences of Europe upon the modern world cannot be underestimated and the region's history is particularly fascinating and well documented. Sometimes the sheer pomp and ceremony of a European destination is hard to miss and architecture tends to be sublime. Of course Europe has many different personalities and there are very different attractions. Clubbing in Ibiza or trendy Belgrade; skiing in the alps; sailing in Croatia; sunning yourself on a Greek island; shopping in Milan or catching a gig in London, whatever you want from your trip you can find it somewhere in Europe.
Europe can be further divided into a number of areas with their own distinct flavours. Probably the best known division in Europe, however, is the Iron Curtain which until 1989 separated capitalist Western Europe from communist Eastern Europe. Many of the new countries that emerged from behind that curtain in the 1990's have thrived and have confidently taken their places as members of the European Union although some are still struggling and severe poverty can be found in places. Whether successful or struggling, however, some would argue that these countries have retained certain characteristics of their past that makes them fascinating places to explore.
Last Edit by Site Administrators on 27/02/2010 EDIT NOW >>