This is a picture from the “Old World”, the largely Protestant and ethnically quite homogeneous region stretching from Prague in the southeast to Ireland in the west to Scandinavia in the north – and to some extent Russia in the east. For four hundred years, between 1550/1600 and 1950/2000, countries in this region defined the world as we today know it. Geo-politically, economically, militarily, philosophically, culturally, and in terms of world languages.
All about this region is history. Everything older than 200 years fascinates Americans who come here. The OMGs emit at a constant pulse. This region hardly offers anything but 200+ years of historical artefacts. Asians who come here find consumers able to pay for their products. Africans coming here find nothing but a boot kicking them back home again.
The region’s population is (at least relatively speaking) in decline, it is ageing, the economic importance is becoming negligent, innovations take place elsewhere in the world, the region’s countries have for decades been vassal states under an external superpower. Europe as a whole is splitting apart in infighting, selfishness and an overburdened welfare state.
Armenia | Austria | Azerbaijan | Belarus | Belgium | Czechia | Denmark | Estonia | Finland | France | Georgia | Germany | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Latvia | Liechtenstein | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Netherlands | Norway | Poland | Russia | Slovakia | Sweden | Switzerland | Ukraine | United Kingdom
The countries above are the 24 in North and Central Europe that Sandalsand has been to. Click to view all posts from each country.
My definition of North and Central Europe encompasses everything north of the Mediterranean Ocean, including parts of Eastern Europe. Sandalsand’s travels in this world region are numerous. Obviously, I have lived here all my life. If I was to attempt a resume of my travels in this region, I would not know where to start or finish, or how.
What follows is a map of the region and Sandalsand’s visited and non-visited countries. Luxembourg is actually the only country I have not been to, out of 25 countries. I have however chosen to include three unvisited countries in the Caucasus: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Historically, they have been categorised as West Asia or even Middle East. In recent years, geographers have started to group the three under the Europe heading as well. I am including them here for the time being. That sums up to four unvisited countries, some of which are on my bucket list.
Map of Northern Europe (including the Asian part of Russia). Sandalsand has been to countries marked with a green colour, not the yellow ones. (Map source: Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Open the box to view a multitude of picture galleries from Sandalsand’s travels in this region.
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Posts from North, Central and East Europe
Find Norway entries on a separate page.
The Drottningholm Palace is the Versailles of northern Europe. The royal palace offers a spectacular way of getting behind the curtains to discover...
There are many attractions in Stockholm. It was only two years since my last visit to Stockholm and I had then visited several of the main...
In this video you will find views of the beautiful scenery on the Faroe Islands. The views are only interrupted by quaint villages set inside bays...
Read about attractions on Streymey and Vágar islands in the Faroes archipelago. Find dramatic cliffs and mountains, panoramic views, picturesque...
Find attractions on Eysteroy, Borðoy and Viðoy islands in this first of two articles from a road trip on the Faroe Islands. It covers the...
This is an excursion from Tórshavn to the islands of Hestur and Koltur I would highly recommend. I heard about it from a local, enquired at the...
Kirkjubøur is the most important historic place on the Faroe islands. In Medieval times this was the religious and cultural centre of the Faroes....
Most of the interesting parts of Tórshavn are reachable on foot, traffic is light, and the quaint old atmosphere of the downtown area makes for easy...
Join me on a visit to a group of remote islands veiled in clouds. A dramatic landscape of volcanic origin is accompanied by a proud history of human...
This is a collection of pictures from Iceland, the result of a trip in 2016 in the western part of the country. Find all Iceland entries on...
I wanted to see rural Iceland, the desolate, moon-like landscape, with dramatic cliffs, remote farms and small fishing ports. I found it: Compared...
This video is from the Golden Circle, the most famous and popular day-trip out of Reykjavik. The scenery is awesome, the sights are splendid and...
The sacred area of Thingvellir has more than a symbolic meaning for the Icelanders. It is also a place where you can stand with one foot on one...
The Golden Circle of Iceland is varied, it takes a full day to complete and even then you will have to skip some of the sights. Iceland is about...
Reykjavik is small enough to let you discover most of the sights on foot, and large enough to keep you going for a couple of days at least. In...
Iceland is beautiful and peaceful. It is also expensive and not so small as you might think. How many days should you stay, where should you go and...
Let us visit 5 important straits. I have been exploring various aspects of nature with regard to the four classic elements. A strait represents a...
Let's have a look at 11 picturesque lakes. Lakes come in all sizes and some even contain salt water. This article illustrates and describes some...
I bet you know many beaches. This article is about my selection 9 fascinating beaches. With about 70% percent of the Earth covered by water, there...
The old city of Stockholm (Gamla Stan) draws many visitors to the capital of Sweden. Deservedly so. However, there is more to see and this article...
Skogskyrkogården is a large and delightful cemetery outside of Stockholm with trees, hills and several chapels. The UNESCO World Heritage List...
This is a list of 12 more European city breaks. It continues the previous list of 10 European city breaks. The list is purely alphabetical, and you...
Some mountain plateaus or plains are more adventurous than the average. My examples of 6 great highlands are from different parts of the world....
This is a list of 10 European city breaks. City breaks or city escapes have become increasingly popular and there are many possible destinations. If...
If countries were people, England and France would be old men. Italy would be dead. Compared with them, America is in its 20s. (will.i.am)
A fact sheet
This is Wikipedia’s introduction to Europe as a whole.
Map and numbers
- Area: 10,180,000 km2
- Population: 741,447,158 (2016)
- Population density: 72.9/km2
- Nominal GDP: $20.2 trillion (2017)
- PPP GDP: $26.7 trillion (2017)
- Per capita GDP: $27,330 (2017)
- HDI: 0.845
- Demonym: European
- Countries: 50 sovereign states, one observer, 6 with limited recognition
- Dependencies: 6 dependencies
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.
Since around 1850, Europe is most commonly considered as separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Though the term “continent” implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural, linguistic and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Russia being transcontinental countries.
Europe covers about 10,180,000 square kilometres, or 2% of the Earth’s surface (6.8% of land area). Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million (about 11% of the world population) as of 2016. The European climate is largely affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent, even at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast.
Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization. The fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration, art and science led to the modern era. From the Age of Discovery onwards, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas, almost all of Africa and Oceania and the majority of Asia.
The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally, politically and economically from the end of the 17th century till the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic, cultural and social change in Western Europe and eventually the wider world.
Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall.