When I watch American tv shows or talk to a few of my American friends, they all say the same thing. They either want to visit Europe or that they can’t wait to return to Europe. Every time I hear this I always think “What part of Europe? Iceland? Albania? England? Tenerife?” Although this maybe mother earth’s second-smallest continent, it still occupies around 10.18 million km² of land and is home to 742 million inhabitants, 50 different sovereign states, and 6 dependencies.
When I plan a trip to Asia for instance, I would say I want to visit The Philippines, China, or Nepal. Each one of these countries is very interesting, but also very different. This is probably because I am so enthusiastic about travel. Not everyone is on the same wavelength as me. I am constantly learning about the geography and history of countries since I want to see as much of the world as possible.
I am sure that a lot of Americans will be able to pinpoint exactly where they want to visit. Say London, Paris or Barcelona for example. Since I watch a lot of American movies and have a few American friends, it is easy to think that this is the only nation on the planet that people say they want to visit Europe. But I am quite certain that they’re not. I am sure some Africans, Asians, and even Europeans say the same when visiting a new continent. It just so happens that I watch little to no programs based on Asia and the rest of the world.
Since there are people who wish to visit Europe but are not too sure on which part, I will try to give you a quick overview of 3 key areas.
Western Europe is the west part of Europe, although there is no consensus on which countries comprise it. The nations you can expect to find in this region are Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Out of the top 10 most visited countries in Europe, 7 of them can be found in western Europe. Since around 354 million tourists visit this part of the globe annually, you can easily find top attractions and features to help tourists when they’re in town.
Big-name cities such as Rome, Vienna, or London are scattered throughout the land with well-known sights such as Buckingham Palace or the Roman Colosseum. Nearly every popular city will have signs, menus, or people who speak English. Although this area does offer amazing cities and plenty of things to keep you entertained, it does suffer from over-tourism which depletes the authenticity and culture of the area. Anyone seeking out sun-kissed golden beaches should head down south to the Mediterranean Sea.
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of the European continent. Again, there is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers. Nations that can be found in this geographical location are Albania, Bosnia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Out of the top 10 most visited countries in Europe, 3 Eastern European countries make the list. They are Turkey, Greece, and Russia. Between these three countries, they welcome 89 million visitors through their doors each year. Although these three countries see a high number of tourists passing through, in general, eastern Europe is much less visited than Western Europe. This is a great area if you’re looking for hidden gems.
Outside of popular tourist destinations such as Krakow or Budapest, it is hard to come by those who speak good English. The upside to the lack of tourist features means fewer tourists clogging up the streets. This means cities don’t lose their traditions and culture from being overrun by over-tourism. Another massive pro about visiting this part of the world is its affordability. Nearly every country is budget-friendly and a fraction of the cost of visiting anywhere in Western Europe.
Scandinavia is a subregion in Northern Europe. What’s different about this region is that it does have a precise location. The four nations that can be found here are Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland.
Since none of the nations break into the top 10 most visited countries in Europe, you would expect them to see very few tourists, but that is not the case. Combined, these nations have a population of 26.8 million but welcomed around 35 million tourists through its borders in 2019.
The first thing you need to know before your visit here is that this is not a budget friendly region. If you are not careful you could put a big dent in your bank account. But saying that, every single cent you spend here will be worth it. The towns and cities around here are nearly all in between being a hidden gem and a popular tourist destination. The cities are not affected by massive herds of tourists, yet there is plenty of top-class attractions here. Outside of Ireland and the UK, this is the region that possesses the most English speakers.
This was just a quick overview of 3 different areas of Europe, but if you would like to learn more about specific areas or countries, you can do so by clicking the link down below.
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