Ten Fascinating Facts About Europe

It's time to brush up on your trivia skills and learn more about our favourite continent, Europe! Where did the name Europe come from and how many UNESCO World Heritage Sites will you find in Europe? Keep on reading to learn more!

1. Europe is the world’s second smallest continent

The continent is home to about 11% of the world’s population despite the continent only cover 3% of the world’s land area. The world's smallest continent is Australia!

 
Map of the World
 
 

2. The name Europe comes from Greek 

It is believed that Europe was named originally after ‘Europa’ who in classical Greek Mythology was a Phoenician Princess and was abducted by Zeus. One view is that her name derives from the ancient Greek elements εὐρύς (eurús), "wide, broad" and ὤψ (ōps, gen. ὠπός, ōpós) "eye, face, countenance", hence their composite Eurṓpē would mean "wide-gazing" or "broad of aspect".
 
 
Europa from Greek Mythology
 

3. Europe contains both the smallest and largest countries in the world

The smallest country in Europe is The Vatican city – 110 acres in total and with a population of just more than 800. The largest country in Europe is Russia (though Russia is only partially European) with an area of 17,098,242km2 and a population of 145 million. These are also the smallest and largest countries in the world. 
 
Vatican City
 

4. Europeans eat 50% of all the world’s chocolate

More than 50% of the total world production of chocolate is sold and eaten by Europeans. Switzerland has the highest consumption per capita, second to Germany. The average Brit, Swiss, or German citizen will each eat around 24 pounds of chocolate a year. This means that they eat about as much chocolate every year as seafood.
 
Chocolate in Switzerland
 

5. Reykjavík in Iceland is Europe's and the world's most northern capital city

It is among the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world. Another fun fact is Reykjavík is the only capital city in the world that is home to a puffin colony. In Reykjavík, the summers are short, cool, and mostly cloudy and the winters are long, very cold, wet, windy, and overcast. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from -2 to 14 degrees celsius - eek that's cold!
 
 
Reykjavík, Iceland
 

6. An estimated one in ten Europeans is conceived in an IKEA bed!

IKEA the world’s third largest consumer of wood is believed responsible for the conception of one in ten Europeans! And if you assumed IKEA was just a Swedish word you didn't know, you are wrong. The letters stand for the founder's initials (Ingvar Kamprad), the initial for the farm he grew up on (Elmtaryd), and the town the farm was in (Agunnaryd, Sweden).
 
IKEA Bed
 

7. The longest town name in Europe is Lanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogo in Wales

Lanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogo is a Welsh word that translates roughly as "St Mary's Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near a Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the Red Cave". The tiny village on the isle of Anglesey is now known as Llanfairpwll (or Llanfair PG for short) has existed in some form or another since the Neolithic Era, but it did not gain its unique name until the 1880s. The island community was originally known simply as “Llanfairpwll,” but thanks to an enterprising local tailor with an ear for the absurd, the name was extended to its current length in order to make the village an attraction.
 
llanfairpwllgwyngyll
 

8. There are more UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe than any other continent in the world 

In fact there are over 400 sites, with Italy having the most with 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The historic centre of Rome and the Holy See (including the Vatican and the Basilica of St. Paul) make up just one of the 55 Italian sites.

Colosseum, Rome

 

9. The highest toilet in Europe is in France

If you're the sort of person who always needs to know where the nearest toilet is, you may be interested to learn that the highest toilet in Europe is located on Mont Blanc, France at an elevation of over 13,780 feet. More than 30,000 visitors make their way to the peak each year and local mayor Jean-Marc Peillex said: "This move was much needed. Our beautiful mountain's white peak was full of yellow and brown spots in summer. It used to look very dirty and was also wrecking the environment . However, authorities faced the issue about how they will clean the toilets. To solve this problem, a helicopter has been hired, which will make daily trips to the mountain peak to empty the toilets.
 
Mont Blanc Toilet
 

10. Norway has the longest coastline in Europe and the second-longest in the world

The highly rugged coastline, including all the fjords and islands, is over 100,000 km long.  It stretches from the border with Sweden – in the region of Østfold in the very south-eastern part of the country – up and down the Oslofjord – around Norway’s southernmost tip, Lindesnes – and north towards the wild and spectacular landscape of Finnmark – and the very north-eastern border with Russia. In addition, there are the coastlines of Svalbard, Bjørnøya, Jan-Mayen, the dependent territory of Bouvet Island – and the claimed dependent territories of Queen Maud Land and the Peter I Island. Of all the countries in the world, only Canada has a longer coastline. 
 
The Atlantic Highway, Norway
 
 

Learn anything new? We hope we have armed you with some interesting facts about Europe that you can share with friends. One of the best ways to learn more about Europe is to join a guided tour exploring the many regions of Europe. You can find your perfect tour here!

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Michele Zavaglia

Michele Zavaglia is the Marketing Manager at Albatross Tours.