Europe Geography

Europe is a continent that extends over the western fifth of the Eurasian land mass. Although it is geographically a subcontinent that together with Asia forms the continent of Eurasia, it is historically and culturally justified mostly considered as an independent continent. This indicates that the term “Europe” is not limited to the geographical definition, but also refers to historical, cultural, political, economic, legal and ideal aspects. See for all countries in Europe.


The name “Europe” goes back to the ancient Greek Εὐρώπη (Eurṓpē). According to Greek mythology, Eurṓpē was the name of a Phoenician king’s daughter, who kidnapped Zeus in the form of a bull to Crete and seduced her there. According to etymologists, this name comes from a Semitic language and was then Graecised. An origin of the Akkadian erebu “set” (related to the sun) or the Phoenician conquered “evening, west” (cf. the term “occident”) is discussed.

In the 5th century BC, the Greek writer and geographer Herodotus referred the term Eurṓpē, which at that time had only referred to the Peloponnese as a geographical term, to the land masses north of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, which he derived from the land masses of Asia (Asía) and Africa (Libýe).


In the east, Europe has no clear geographical or geological boundary with Asia. That is why the ‘borders of Europe’ are a question of social agreement. A geographical definition of Europe is always arbitrary. According to a well-known phrase by Bernard-Henri Lévy, Europe is “not a place, but an idea”. Today, when drawing the boundaries between Europe and Asia, one usually largely follows the definition of Philip Johan von Strahlberg. After that, the Ural mountains and the river form the eastern border of Europe. The borderline between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea runs through the Manytn lowlands north of the Caucasus Mountains, as in their place a strait once connected the Caspian Sea with the Black Sea. The globe shown above draws – slightly different – the border along the main Caucasus ridge; this demarcation is preferred in the English and French speaking countries.

Overall, Europe has an area of ​​around 10.5 million square kilometers and is the second smallest continent after Australia. The northernmost point of mainland Europe is Kinnarodden on the northern chin peninsula in Norway, the southernmost is the Punta de Tarifa in Spain, the westernmost the Cabo da Roca in Portugal. The north-south extension is about 3800 km. The European mainland measures about 6000 km in east-west direction, from the Ural Mountains in Russia to the Atlantic coast of Portugal.


The continent lies mainly in the temperate latitudes. The climate in Europe is milder compared to areas of the same geographical latitude in other parts of the world due to the influence of the relatively warm Gulf Stream. The average annual temperature of Bordeaux, for example, is 12.8 ° C, while Halifax (Nova Scotia) in Canada, which is almost at the same latitude, only reaches 6.3 ° C.

Mild winters contrast with cool summers in large parts of Western Europe. In areas that are far from the sea, i.e. also from its climatically balancing influence, the temperature differences are greater in different seasons. In most of Eastern Europe, the lack of a sea in the immediate vicinity means that the climate is predominantly continental. Cold winters and hot summers are prevalent in these regions.

Due to the rotation of the earth and the distracting force associated with it, winds come mainly from the west. Since the winds mainly blow from the Atlantic Ocean in the coastal areas of Western Europe, it rains almost all year round. In Eastern and Central Europe, on the other hand, the amount of precipitation is comparatively low, as the influence of the sea on these regions is again too small. Mountains also have a strong influence on the amount of precipitation. Parts of the north-western Alps are among the areas with the heaviest rainfall in Europe, while central Alpine valleys are comparatively dry. In this case, the Alps act as a barrier for rain fronts.

Areas close to the Mediterranean Sea have a predominantly Mediterranean climate, i.e. dry and hot summers, while winters are mild and humid. In summer there are predominantly winds from the north, while in winter westerly winds from the direction of the Atlantic Ocean bring with them frequent precipitation. In the north of Europe there is an arctic climate, in the southeast on the Volga, on the other hand, a continental climate with hot summers and little precipitation. So it can be For example, there is still snow in Lapland, while in Sicily there are complaints about summer heat, it rains continuously on the Shetlan Islands and Andalusia is plagued by years of drought.

Europe Geography