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Europe encompasses an area of 10,400,000 km² (4,000,000 square miles), stretching from Asia to the Atlantic, and from Africa to the Arctic. Europe's longest river is the Volga, which meanders 3,530 km (2,193 miles) through Russia, and flows into the Caspian Sea. Eastern Europe's highest point is Russia's Mt. Elbrus, which rises to 5,642 m (18,510 feet) above sea level. Western Europe's highest point is Mont Blanc in the French-Italian Alps, which rises to 4,810 m (15,771 feet) above sea level.
Europe's climate ranges from subtropical near the Mediterranean Sea in the south, to subarctic near the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean in the northern latitudes. There is much here for the traveller to enjoy, with a bewildering array of diversity and culture, cosmopolitan cities and spectacular scenery.
Europe defies easy categorization, with its compact size and complex history. The following are five (loosely defined) regions in Europe:
Unlike the United States, Europe is not a single country, but a collection of wildly different countries in the slow and painful process of coming together as the European Union (EU).
Not all EU countries have adopted the euro (€), the European Union single currency (see Buy), while a few countries outside the EU have adopted it. Likewise, most — but not all — EU members and a few non-EU countries have have joined the Schengen agreement, which abolished border controls between them (see Get in). Here is a handy reference table, up to date as of 2008:
¹ Official EU applicant countries.
² Kosovo (administered by the UN) uses the Euro as its official currency.
³ Winter time. In summer (last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October): WET → WEST (UTC+0 → +1), CET → CEST (+1 → +2), EET → EEST (+2 → +3)
4 Russia uses multiple time zones. EET in Kaliningrad Oblast, MSK (UTC+3) in Moscow, up to UTC+12 on Chukotka and Kamchatka.
5 Officially not a Schengen member, but Schengen visa holders are generally allowed entry.
6 Slovakia will adopt the euro on January 1st, 2009.
 Other territories
Note: Parts of Russia, Turkey and the Caucasus are sometimes considered to be a part of Asia.
The earliest concrete signs of written European culture can be found in hellenic Greece. The mythical Homer (800 B.C.?), Hesiod (753 B.C.) and kallinos (728 B.C.) are three off the oldest poets in Europe. The Romans believed that there city was founded in 753 B.C. Modern archeologists and historian believed that the area of modern day rome has been inhabited since atleast 1000 to 800 B.C.
From 300 A.D. Christianity in Europe started to spread, around 500 A.D. the Roman Empire Collapsed, France at that time was ruled by the Merovingians. in 714 the Carolian empire was founded and lasted until 911. The period after this date is often called the high-middel ages and lasted until around 1300, followed by the late middle ages which ended around 1500, giving birth to a period of European history normally refered to as The Renaissance or the re-birth. The people of this period actively rediscovered classical romano-greek culture.
Between 1492 - 1972 many European nations (like Great Britain, Spain, Russia, France and The Netherlands) ruled or had ruled over most of the know world, with the exception of East Asia (Mainland China, Japan and Tibet) and parts of Antartica. This was called colonialism and was stopped after WWII in favour of a more humane, liberal and cost-effective method called globalism.
Europe, prior to the conclusion of the Second World War, was a region ravaged by large-scale "total war". National leaders realized after World War II that closer socio-economic and political integration was needed to ensure that such tragedies never happened again. Starting with humble beginnings, the EU's first inception was the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The founding group of nations were Belgium, West Germany, Luxembourg, France, Italy and The Netherlands. Impressed with the results of the union, the six countries pressed on and in 1956 signed the treaty of Rome, with the ultimate goal of creating a common market — the European Economic Community (EEC). In 1967 the union was formalized further with a the creation of a single European Commission, as well as a council of ministers and a EU parliament.
Post-1967 the EU continued to rapidly grow; Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined in 1973. Greece joined in 1981, Spain and Portugal in 1986 and Austria, Finland and Sweden in 1995. To date, Norway and Switzerland have resisted membership for historical and economic reasons. The EU pressed on with economic integration and launched the Euro(€) across several nations on 1 January 2002. Currently 18 nations, plus Kosovo use the Euro as their official currency. In addition, San Marino, the Vatican, Monaco, Andorra and Montenegro which are also not EU members, have been granted official permission to use the Euro.
As of 2007, Macedonia, Croatia, and Turkey are official applicants.
 Get in
Rules for entering Europe depend on where you are going.
If you are entering a Schengen country and you plan to visit only other Schengen countries, you need only one Schengen visa. Citizens of some non-EU member countries, such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States of America don't need visas if they are traveling for tourist purposes and their stays lasts no longer than 90 days within a 180 day period inside the Schengen area. Citizens of the EU candidate countries Croatia (except Turkey and Macedonia), also don't need visas, as well as citizens of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
It is important to note that the 90 days visa-free stay for citizens of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States of America apply for the whole Schengen area, i.e. it is not 90 days per country as some assume. Citizens of the above countries who wish to travel around Europe for longer than 90 days must apply for a residency permit. This is best done in Germany, as all other Schengen countries require applicants to apply from their home countries.
Non-Schengen countries, on the other hand, maintain their own immigration policies. Consult the country article in question for details. If you wish to visit a non-Schengen country and return to the Schengen area, you will need a multiple-entry visa.
 By plane
The largest air travel hubs in Europe are, in order, London (LON: LCY, LHR, LGW, STN, LTN), Frankfurt (FRA, HHN), Paris (CDG), and Amsterdam (AMS) which in turn have connections to practically everywhere in Europe. However, nearly every European city has direct long-distance flights at least to some destinations elsewhere, and other smaller airports can make sense for specific connections: for example, Vienna (VIE) has a very good network of flights to the Middle East and Eastern Europe, while Helsinki (HEL) is the geographically closest place to transfer if coming in from East Asia.Search and compare prices on Cheap Flights,get last minute cheap flights, business class flights deals from all major airlines. cheap flight Tickets -Search and Compare prices on Cheap Flights deal;Get cheap air tickets for all the leading airline from London to any worldwide destination, Book cheap flight air tickets at Rock Bottom Prices.
 By train
 By ship
 Get around
There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the Schengen Agreement. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen Agreement signatory country is valid in all other countries that signed and implemented the treaty. Be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen treaty countries are members of the European Union. See the table above for the current list.
Airports in Europe are thus divided into "Schengen" and "non-Schengen" sections, which effectively act like "domestic" and "international" sections elsewhere. If you are flying from outside Europe into one Schengen country and continuing to another, you will clear Immigration and Customs at the first country and then continue to your destination with no further checks.
Travel to and from a Schengen Agreement country to any other country will result in the normal border checks. Note that, regardless of whether you traveling within Schengen or not, at some airports, airlines will still insist on seeing your ID card or passport.
 By train
Especially in Western and Central Europe, the trains are fast, efficient and cost-competitive with flying. High-speed trains like the French TGV, the German ICE, the Spanish AVE and the cross-border Eurostar and Thalys services speed along at up to 320 km/h (200 mph) and, when taking into account travel time to the airport and back, are often faster than taking the plane. The flip side is that tickets bought on the spot can be expensive, although there are good discounts available if you book in advance or take advantage of various deals. In particular, the Inter Rail (for Europeans) and Eurail (for everybody else) passes offer good value if you plan on traveling extensively around Europe (or even a single region) and want more flexibility than cheap plane tickets can offer.
The most extensive and most reliable train travel planner for all of Europe is the one belonging to the German railways (DB), which can be found here in English.
 By plane
All flights within and from the European Union limit liquids, gels and creams in hand baggage to 100 mL/container, carried in a transparent, zip-lock plastic bag (1L or less). The bag must be presented during security checks and only one bag per passenger is permitted.
 Discount airlines
Dozens of budget airlines allow very cheap travel around Europe, often much cheaper than the train or even bus fares for the same journey. Currently the cheapest flights are offered by low cost airlines such as airBerlin, Centralwings, easyJet, HLX, Ryanair, SkyEurope Airlines and WizzAir, with the lowest fares usually found on routes which go to or from cities in the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary. All of these flights should be booked on the internet well in advance, otherwise the price advantage may become non-existent. Always compare prices with major carriers like British Airways, LOT or Lufthansa! Only in very few cases prices are higher than € 80 on any airline when booking a month or more ahead of time (except on very long routes e.g. Dublin - Istanbul). You should also make sure where the airport is located, since some low cost airlines name very small airports by the next major city, even if the distance is up to two hours drive by bus (e.g. Ryan- and Wizzair's Frankfurt-Hahn, which is not Frankfurt/Main International).
 Passengers Rights
European Union (EU) Regulation 261/2004 of 17. February 2005 gives certain rights to passenger on all flights, schedule or charter and flights provided as part of a Package Holiday. It only applies to passengers flying from an EU airport or from an airport outside the EU to an EU airport on an EU carrier.
 Denied Boarding
Then you are entitled to a compensation, which is:
The airline also have to cover the following expenses:
Usually they will give you a prepaid phone card, and vouchers for a restaurant and a hotel.
 Refund for delayed flight
If your flight is delayed 5 hours or longer you can get a refund of your ticket (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant).
 By bus
Eurolines connects over 500 destinations, covering the whole of the continent and Morocco. Eurolines allows travelling from Sicily to Helsinki and from Casablanca to Moscow.
For longer distances, travelling by bus often isn't any cheaper than flying with a low cost airline. It's only worth considering if you travel at short notice, wish to see the countryside you are traveling through, have heavy luggage, or are keen on reducing your travel-related CO2 emissions.
 By ship
The Baltic sea has several lines running between the major cities (for example Gdansk, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga etc). Most ships are very large, paralleling Caribbean cruise liners in size and in service. This is also true of the Mediterranean Sea where a large number of ferry's and cruise ships operate of the coast of: Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Southern France to Corsica, and across the English channel.
Besides ferry connections to and from the UK and other countries, there are also various ferries on the larger lakes and for crossing rivers. Furthermore, there are several regularly running cruise-lines on the larger rivers like the Rhine or the Danube.
Boating excursions within Europe, particularly along the scenic rivers and between many of the islands in the Mediterranean , are an excellent way to combine travel between locations with an adventure along the way. Accommodations range from very basic to extremely luxurious depending upon the company and class of travel selected.
Travel between the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Scotland is possible through Smyril Line whose fairs can be cheaper than flying.
You can also cross Europe from North to South on a river cruise going from St. Petersburg to the Black Sea, which is one of the cheapest ways to see all of Western Russia.
 By car
There is a set of traffic signs valid in many EU countries. The most important are described here:
1 All speed limits and distances are measured and marked in miles or mph in the United Kingdom.
 By thumb
Hitchhiking is a common way of travelling in some parts of Europe, especially in former eastern bloc countries. It can be a pleasant way to meet lots of people, and to travel without spending too many euros. Don't forget to check out the tips for hitchhiking.
Note that in the former eastern bloc, you may run into language problems while hitchhiking, especially if you speak only English. It is not advisable to hitchhike in former Yugoslavia, for example between Croatia and Serbia, because you could run into big problems with nationalists. Between Croatia and Slovenia it's not a problem. In Moldova and the Ukraine, it's better to take train or bus. In western Europe, especially in the Netherlands and Germany, it's easy and fast to hitchhike.
The euro (Symbol: €; ISO 4217 code EUR) is the common currency of many countries of the European Union. One euro equals 100 cent; officially referred to as 'euro cent' to differentiate them from their US and other counterparts. Established in 1999 and introduced in cash form on January 1st, 2002, the euro removes the need for money exchange. As such it is not only a boon to pan-European business, but of course also to travellers.
The euro has not been adopted by all EU countries. The 15 countries of the EU that have replaced their own national currencies are commonly called the Eurozone. Most other EU countries are due to replace their currencies with the euro over the next few years. 3 EU countries (Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) currently have no intention of adopting the euro in the foreseeable future, however some shops within the United Kingdom accept both British pounds and euros.
Outside the EU, Kosovo and Montenegro have unilaterally adopted the euro, but all other countries still retain their own currencies. Euros are widely accepted in European countries outside the Eurozone, but not universally, and at shops and restaurants the exchange rate is rarely in your favor. (Many hotels, though, price and accept payment in euros.) Money changers will generally give good to excellent exchange rates for the euro, and in a pinch they will be accepted by nearly everybody.
Since it has been only a few years since the introduction of euro cash, some people will still use the old national currency names. For example, it is entirely possible that a German would still refer to "marks" and "pfennige". They mean euros and cents, so just substitute the two mentally.
It's not a good idea to accept any of the obsolete currencies. While several countries' banks will still change them into euros, it's a lot of hassle and there is no guarantee that this will be possible everywhere or on short notice. You should also expect to leave your personal information with the bank as a precaution against money laundering.
Throughout Europe, automatic teller machines are readily available. They will accept various European bank cards as well as credit cards. However, be prepared to pay a fee for the service (usually a percentage of the amount withdrawn, with a minimum of few euro). Read the labels/notices on the machine before using.
European ATMs do not usually have letters on the keypad, and they may not accept PINs of over four digits.
 Credit cards
Credit card acceptance is not as universal as in the United States, especially in Eastern Europe, but growing steadily. Some countries mandate that merchants check your ID for purchases of as little as €50, and many shops will insist on ID for any credit card transaction.
An increasing number of European countries, notably the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries, have moved to a chip and PIN system, where credit cards all have a chip built in and you have to punch in your PIN code instead of signing a receipt. Any store that displays Visa, Mastercard, Amex etc logos is required to accept "traditional" sign-and-swipe cards, so be persistent if they initially refuse, although you may need to escalate to the manager. (With most terminals, swiping your card and simply waiting 20 seconds without entering the PIN will cause them to print out the signing slip.) However, with self-service like gas pumps and ticket vending machines, you may be out of luck.
 Stay safe
The biggest risks to your safety in Europe like in any major tourist area are pick-pockets and muggings. Using common sense and being aware of your surroundings can help to greatly reduce the risk of these occurrences.
Most European countries have very low levels of violence. The few "trouble areas" that should be avoided eg. particularly certain areas in the UK, France and some places in eastern and southern Europe do have much higher violent crime rates, and can be very dangerous for non locals, but these areas shouldnt be of interest to the average tourist. Central Europe is generally the safest region.
For more information see Common scams which contains many Europe specific scams.
 Stay healthy
There are no specific precautions required for staying healthy in Europe as most restaurants maintain high standards of hygiene and in the majority of countries tap water is safe to drink. However, for more precise details on these matters as well as for general information on emergency care, pharmaceutical regulations and dentistry standards etc, please consult the 'Stay safe' section on specific country articles.