Europe is the world’s second-smallest continent, right after Australia and Oceania. Stretched in the Northern and Eastern hemispheres, it covers a total of 6.8% of Earth’s land area. Europe’s largest country by mass and population is Russia, while the smallest and least populous country is the Vatican.
Since ancient history, Europe has been a centric figure in the history of human civilization. Home to Ancient Greek and the Roman Empire, it set the foundation for today’s democracy and Western civilization. It’s most known for its diverse culture and heavy influence in world history and politics.
Quick Facts About Europe
Here is an overview of Europe:
|Number of countries||46 (plus transcontinental countries)|
|Biggest country (by area)||Russia|
|Population (2021)||747.8 million|
|Most populated country||Russia|
|Number of languages spoken||Over 200 languages across the continent|
|Largest peninsula||The Scandinavian Peninsula|
|Highest mountain||Mount Elbrus in Russia|
|Longest river||Volga River in Russia|
How Many Countries Are There in Europe?
There are currently 46 countries in Europe:
|Albania||Tirana||28,748 km²||2.8 million|
|Andorra||Andorra la Vella||468 km²||77,335|
|Austria||Vienna||83,858 km²||9 million|
|Belarus||Minsk||207,560 km²||9.4 million|
|Belgium||Brussels||30,528 km²||11.6 million|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Sarajevo||51,129 km²||3.2 million|
|Bulgaria||Sofia||110,910 km²||6.8 million|
|Croatia||Zagreb||56,542 km²||4 million|
|Cyprus||Nicosia||9,251 km²||1.2 million|
|Czech Republic||Prague||78,866 km²||10.7 million|
|Denmark||Copenhagen||43,094 km²||5.8 million|
|Estonia||Tallinn||45,226 km²||1.3 million|
|Finland||Helsinki||338,455 km²||5.5 million|
|France||Paris||547,030 km²||65.4 million|
|Germany||Berlin||357,168 km²||83.9 million|
|Greece||Athens||131,957 km²||10.3 million|
|Hungary||Budapest||93,030 km²||9.6 million|
|Ireland||Dublin||70,280 km²||4.9 million|
|Italy||Rome||301,338 km²||60.3 million|
|Kosovo||Prishtina||10,887 km²||1.9 million|
|Latvia||Riga||64,589 km²||1.8 million|
|Lithuania||Vilnius||65,300 km²||2.6 million|
|Moldova||Chisinau||33,846 km²||4 million|
|Netherlands||Amsterdam||41,543 km²||17.1 million|
|North Macedonia||Skopje||25,713 km²||2 million|
|Norway||Oslo||385,203 km²||5.4 million|
|Poland||Warsaw||312,685 km²||37.7 million|
|Portugal||Lisbon||92,212 km²||10.1 million|
|Romania||Bucharest||238,397 km²||19.1 million|
|Russia||Moscow||3,969,100 km²||145.9 million|
|San Marino||San Marino||61.2 km²||34.017|
|Serbia||Belgrade||88,361 km²||8.6 million|
|Slovakia||Bratislava||49,035 km²||5.4 million|
|Slovenia||Ljubljana||20,273 km²||2 million|
|Spain||Madrid||505,990 km²||46.7 million|
|Sweden||Stockholm||450,295 km²||10.1 million|
|Switzerland||Bern||41,285 km²||8.7 million|
|Ukraine||Kyiv||603,628 km²||43.4 million|
|United Kingdom||London||244,820 km²||68.2 million|
|Vatican City||Vatican City||0.44 km²||800|
Transcontinental Countries in Europe
The following countries are geographically found in two continents: Europe and Asia:
|Armenia||Yerevan||29,743 km²||2.9 million|
|Azerbaijan||Baku||86,600 km²||10.2 million|
|Georgia||Tbilisi||69,700 km²||10.7 million|
|Kazakhstan||Nur-Sultan||148,000 km²||19 million|
|Turkey||Ankara||23,764 km²||85.4 million|
Map of European Countries
Languages Spoken in Europe
There are more than 200 spoken languages in Europe, but the languages with the most speakers in Europe are the following:
|Language||Region||Number of speakers|
|Aosta Valley (Italy)|
|English||The UK||60 million|
What Is the Official Language in Europe?
Europe, as a continent, does not have one official language, but each country in Europe has its national language. Some of the most widely spoken languages include Russian, French, German, and English.
Best Countries to Visit in Europe
Here are the most visited countries in Europe:
- France. With over 80 million visitors in 2019, France is the top destination for foreign travel. Home to the “city of love,” France is widely popular with tourists—especially as a proposal destination for couples.
- Spain. Spain is another popular destination with over 80 million visitors every year. The country has over 47 UNESCO sights that make up an attractive place for tourists.
- Italy. In Italy, you will have the opportunity to see some of the most famous landmarks, including the Colosseum.
- Germany. Germany is a European country that you must visit at least once while in Europe. It has several famous spots and some breathtaking green spaces. Plus, if your timing is right, you can experience several cultural festivals while in Germany.
- The United Kingdom. The UK is another European destination that sees the highest number of visitors every year. Between Big Ben and Stonehenge, you experience critical human history events when you visit the UK.
Reminder: Before you visit any of these European countries, make sure you check whether you need a Schengen visa or not.
Top European Tourist Attractions
Rich with history, culture, and diversity Europe is home to some of the most top tourist attractions in the world, which include the following:
- Eiffel Tower. Located in Paris, France, this historic landmark is one of the most famous buildings worldwide. With more than 250 million visitors since it was built, it’s one destination you must cross off your bucket list. The entrance fee for an adult to go up to the top is €26 ($29), but you can also pay a cheaper entrance fee to visit up the second floor.
- Neuschwanstein Castle. Known as the ‘fairytale’ castle, the Neuschwanstein was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and finished in 1886—the same year the King died, who was unable to ever live in the completed castle. Nevertheless, the castle served as an inspiration to Disney castle, now worldwide famous.
- Lake Bled. This lake is found in Slovenia, and it surrounds the Bled island, wherein the center of the island the most prominent building is a church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. As a result, the lake makes up for some fantastic views.
- Saint Basil’s Cathedral. In Russia’s Red Square, you can come across one of the most colorful church buildings. Built between 1555 and 1561, the building is now a museum open to the public.
- Dubrovnik Old Town. Known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik Old Town is one of the best-preserved medieval structures in the world. You’re transported back in time by visiting the old town and walking along its cobblestone streets and ancient walls.
- Canals of Venice. Cars are strictly forbidden in Venice. Because the entire city functions with canals, all forms of transportation are done by boats along the canals. If you want to visit the city, you must park your car for the day for a fee of €25 ($28).
- Alhambra. Built in 1238, Alhambra is one of the few remaining architectural structures of Muslim influence in Spain. The name derives from Arabic ‘al-Hamra’, meaning “the red one.” The building got its name from its reddish walls, which resulted from construction with rammed earth. You can fully explore the building at the price of €14 ($16).
- Acropolis of Athens. Here, in Greece’s oldest city structures, you can find the Parthenon. As a former temple, it was built dedicated to the goddess Athena, who the locals considered their patroness. Now, you have the opportunity to visit one of the oldest symbols of democracy and Western civilization.
- Colosseum. The colosseum was built in 80 AD in the city of Rome and to this day is one of the largest amphitheaters in the world. Now, the building is one of the seven wonders in the world.
What Is the European Union?
The European Union is a coalition between 27 member states in Europe, including the countries listed below:
- Republic of Cyprus
- Czech Republic
The EU was officially established in 1993 with the Maastricht Treaty. Since then, the EU has established a single internal market and standardized laws where each member state is considered one.
What Is the Schengen Zone?
The Schengen Zone is a territorial organization made up of 26 European countries. The purpose of the Schengen agreement is to eliminate borders between member states and allow one visa for all foreign visitors who want to visit the EU.
What Is the EEA (European Economic Area)?
The EEA is an agreement between the EU and three EFTA members (Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway) that extends the EU’s single market to these countries. However, the only exception to this agreement is Switzerland— an EFTA member— who continues to have separate bilateral agreements with the EU.
Difference Between the EU and the Schengen Area
The European Union is more concerned with the single market and ensures the free movement of all EU citizens between the 27 countries. In contrast, the Schengen area provides foreign nationals with access to the member states upon meeting the criteria set by the Schengen countries.
The Republic of Ireland is the only European Union country that refused to sign the Schengen Agreement. On the other hand, EU members, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia — have not been admitted to the Schengen Area due to technical or internal issues.
How to Get a Visa to Visit Europe?
To visit Europe, you need to apply for a Schengen visa. This visa allows you to visit any country in the Schengen Area (and outside of it) for 90 days within 180 days. Keep in mind that this visa is issued for tourism purposes, so you cannot work or do business while in Europe with a short-term Schengen visa. If you want to retire in a European country, you can check the list of EU countries that offer retirement visas and choose the country that you want to retire in.
Getting a Visa for Each European Country
You can find detailed information on how to get a Schengen visa for every European country below:
- Albania Visa
- Austria Visa
- Belgium Visa
- Belarus Visa
- Bosnia Visa
- Bulgaria Visa
- Croatia Visa
- Cyprus Visa
- Estonia Visa
- Finland Visa
- France Visa
- Georgia Visa
- Germany Visa
- Greece Visa
- Iceland Visa
- Ireland Visa
- Italy Visa
- Kosovo Visa
- Luxembourg Visa
- Malta Visa
- Moldova Visa
- Montenegro Visa
- Netherlands Visa
- North Macedonia Visa
- Norway Visa
- Portugal Visa
- Romania Visa
- Russia Visa
- Serbia Visa
- Slovakia Visa
- Spain Visa
- Switzerland Visa
- Turkey Visa
- UK Visa
- Ukraine Visa