Europe’s topography is as rich and diverse as its history and traditions. Europe’s mountains are bigger than any found in the Continental U.S. and as big as any found in Alaska. Its beaches compare to any of those found in California or Florida. Its rolling hills and plains and plateaus are post-card perfect.

A land mass roughly four million square-miles in area, Europe is slightly larger than the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska). The United Nations Statistics Division separates Europe into four regions: Western, Northern, Southern and Eastern.

Each region has something unique to offer as a tourist destination. However, most regions have a season or two when visiting is ideal.

Western Europe

France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Monaco comprise the nine countries in Western Europe. Of all the destinations in Europe, Western Europe has the most to offer as a winter destination.

From November until April, visitors of Western Europe can enjoy alpine activities, including cross and downhill skiing, snow and mono-boarding, winter mountaineering and ice climbing and ice skating.

But, Western Europe is just as beautiful in the spring, summer and fall.

Including the Alps, Balkans and Pyrenees, Western Europe is home to the subcontinent’s biggest mountain ranges and highest peaks. Western Europe is also home to some of the world’s most

well-known vineyards, mega-scale tulip farms, cities with waterways for streets (Belgium) and the Eiffel Tower…

Western Europe has something for everyone year-around.

Western Europe Winter Destinations

Some of the most popular winter destinations in all of Europe: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and La Grave, France; Andermatt and the Valais Region in Switzerland; and St. Anton in Austria.

Western Europe Summer Destinations

Though any list compiled will always be incomplete because Western Europe has countless destinations worth visiting, some include: Bordeaux and St. Emilion in France’s wine country; the fantastically picturesque cities of Salzburg, Austria and Dinant, Belgium; and any place in Switzerland.

Also, everyone should visit Luxembourg at least once and Paris twice.

Southern Europe

What Western Europe is to recreators, backpackers and seasoned travelers, Southern Europe is to cultural enthusiasts. A region including the land and peninsulas bordering the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas, Southern Europe is principally made up of Spain and Portugal, Southern France, Italy and Greece and a large number of island states.

Many of the world’s most famous cities are in Southern Europe, including Rome,Athens, Monaco, Madrid and Nice. And, while those are Southern Europe’s most popular destinations, they probably aren’t the most beautiful.

The high season for tourism in Southern Europe is summer, late-May/early-June through late-August/early-September. The summers are very hot in Southern Europe and very crowded. While the days are shorter in the spring and fall, the crowds are smaller and the weather is more temperate.

Much like Montreal and Nova Scotia, winters in Southern Europe can be cold, overcast and humid, not ideal conditions for a vacation.

Northern Europe

Northern Europe is divided into two parts, the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries. Both regions can have very cold winters and unpredictable weather in the spring and fall, but the climate in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland is outstanding during the summer.

While England isn’t known for the predictability of its weather, Ireland, Scotland and Wales can all have incredibly beautiful summer weather. Kildare County in Ireland is world famous for its horse

racing, as most of Ireland is. Scotland is littered with castles, some of the more impressive being: Stirling Castle, Balmoral and Duart, but the can’t-miss three are Dunnottar, Urquhart and Culzean.

Wonderful destinations in the Nordic countries include Iceland’s Blue Lagoon; the Swedish capital of Stockholm; the amazing city of Copenhagen in Denmark; and Norway’s Bergen, a city that may be more beautiful than Copenhagen.

Europe as a Whole

The majority of Europe runs along the same parallels as Canada. If you have plans to take a vacation to Europe and want more information about which locations offer the most and at what times of the year, visit the Tier One Travel website or call us at 403-216-2450!