Europe Destination Guides
Amsterdam, the greatest planned city of northern Europe, has always been a well-known name in world history and played a central role in the history of the Netherlands. In the 17th century Amsterdam was the centre of world economy, and nowadays the city is known for its tolerant character.
As Europe's oldest capital and one of the world's oldest cities, Athens is an innovative, beautiful place rich in history. The city is known for being the home of Plato, the famous Athenian philosopher. It also is home to many sculptures of ancient Gods and landmarks.
Athens is full of historical landmarks and preserved areas. In 2011, the city's population was around 665,000. However, its smaller size hasn't hindered Athens from staying innovative. The city is referred to as Europe's Capital of Innovation.
Barcelona, city, seaport, and capital of Barcelona Provincia (province) and of Catalonia Comunidad autónoma (autonomous community), northeastern Spain, located 90-miles (150-km) south of the French border. It is Spain’s major Mediterranean port and commercial center and is famed for its individuality, cultural interest, and physical beauty.
Around the 3rd century BC, the area that is now Belgium was a part of Gaul, and the Belgae tribes inhabited it. Many believe the name Belgium originates from the name of these tribes. One of the things most hotly debated about these tribes of people is whether they were Germanic, Celtic, or a mix of the two. The Belgae people were considered the bravest of all the tribes in Gaul. This bravery was exemplified to Julius Caesar, as it took him four years to conquer them. He finally did in 53 BC.
Budapest, the capital of Hungary, was created in 1873 by the merger of three cities: Buda, Óbuda, and Pest. It is the administrative, cultural, scientific, economic, trade and transportation center with about 2-million inhabitants. The town spreads on the banks of the river Danube and is administratively divided into 23 districts, 16 of which are located on the Pest side, 6 in Buda and 1 on Csepel Island in the Danube. Buda extends to the hills on the west bank of the Danube and Pest on the left bank of the river in the lowlands. In Buda, the 235-m high hill (Gellért-hegy) rises from the river bank and offers a remarkable view of the whole city.
The city of Copenhagen dates way back to the 11th century when it received its first settlers. However, it wasn't until
Copenhagen was under the reign of Bishop Absalon (a Danish archbishop) in the 12th century that it began to receive more attention. A stone wall was put up in the 13th century to barricade the city as it rapidly grew in importance and became a center for trade.
Croatia is a former Yugoslav republic on the Adriatic Sea. It is about the size of West Virginia. Part of Croatia is a barren, rocky region lying in the Dinaric Alps. The Zagorje region north of the capital, Zagreb, is a land of rolling hills, and the fertile agricultural region of the Pannonian Plain is bordered by the Drava, Danube, and Sava Rivers in the east. Over one-third of Croatia is forested.
Lapland was first inhabited about 7,000-years-ago by the Sami people. Between the years 1634 to 1809, it was split between the Sweedish Realm, and in the year 1918, the royal constitution of Finland ordered that it become a Grand Principality. During WWII, Lapland was used by Nazi Germany. In 1944 The Soviet Union used its’ influence to remove the German army. After World War II ended, Lapland entered a stage of voracious growth. The area thrived and prospered after being ceded by The Soviet Union. An intense postwar rebuilding effort resulted in the prosperous Lapland we see today.
Florence was founded as a Roman military colony by Julius Caesar in 59 BC and even served as Italy's capital from 1865– 1870. During the 14th–16th century, Florence achieved prominence in commerce and finance, learning, and especially the arts.
Germany's history dates as far back as the days of the Holy Roman Empire. Julius Cesar gave the region the name of Germania. It wasn't until 1648 that Germany began ruling as its own country at the end of the Thirty Year's War. Throughout history, Germany began to rise as a European superpower, which ended with the fall of Nazi rule at the of Wolrd War II. Soon after the war ended, the Cold War began, which divided the county in half. East and West Germany were separated by the Berlin Wall and weren't reunited until 1990. Since the fall of the wall, Germany has reminded a strong and unified country.
Greece is undoubtedly a country steeped in ancient history. Cycladic civilization inhabited the country as far back as 3000 BC, after which other civilizations emerged over time. The city-states of Ancient Greece, called polis, created the more advanced concepts of separate governments, language dialects, and laws, many still used today.
Over the centuries, the Greek islands have been the stepping stones between North Africa, Asia Minor and Europe, across which warriors, tradesmen, conquerors and even civilisations have hopped. Since ancient times the islands have been fought over and claimed as prizes by successive invaders. Their strategic location, in a seafaring world, made many islands prosperous and autonomous trading centres. Some were run by foreign masters, as evidenced by the Venetian ports, Roman aqueducts and Frankish castles found on the islands today.
Iceland was the last European country to be settled, mostly by Norsemen in the 9th and 10th centuries. They came mainly from Norway and elsewhere in Scandinavia, and from the Norse settlements in the British Isles, from where a Celtic element was also introduced. The language and culture of Iceland were predominantly Scandinavian from the outset, but there are traces of Celtic influence in some of the ancient poetry, in some personal names and in the appearance of present-day Icelanders.
Caught in the ebb and flow of the last Ice Ages over the previous 2-million-years, Ireland was at various times mostly glaciated and completely land-locked as a part of the continent of Europe. Ireland was an island about 125,000-years-ago when the sea level appears to have been very close to its present position. The sea level dropped 130-meters (426-feet) or more during the interval from around 30,000 to 15,000 years-ago when Ireland became part of continental Europe again. Sea levels have generally been rising ever since, albeit at a much slower rate.
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in western Europe. After the Celts settled in the region, it was found by the Phoenicians. They established a settlement called Ulissipo, which was then conquered by the Greeks and Carthaginians. In 205 BC, the Romans won the Second Punic War against the Carthaginians and occupied the city, calling it Olissipo. Ancient Lisbon was integrated into the Roman province of Lusitania, but when the Roman Empire collapsed, it was invaded by Germanic tribes and was controlled by the Kingdom of the Suebi until 585.
Its name is derived from the Celtic word Londinios, which means “The Place of the Bold One”. It was the Romans who were responsible for the city we know today as London. The strategic location of the city allowed the Romans easy access to Europe, and the River Thames provided ample water supply. They invaded Britain in AD 43, and soon afterwards founded the city of Londinium.
Madrid has been inhabited since the Stone Age, but its rise as an important city within Spain began in the 1500s, and it became the country’s capital in 1606. The population of the city grew rapidly over the centuries, but most notably in the early 1900s around the time of a civil war. Madrid underwent many changes since, going from a politically oppressed town to a booming and prosperous city.
From the ice age to the Viking era to the present day, Norway has a long, rich history. The earliest signs of settlement in Norway date as far back as 4000 BC.
However, it wasn't until the Viking Age began in 793 AD that Scandinavians and Vikings began to expand through trade and colonization.
Paris, city and capital of France, situated in the north-central part of the country. People were living on the site of the present-day city, located along the Seine River some 233-miles (375-km) upstream from the river’s mouth on the English Channel (La Manche), by about 7600 BCE. The modern city has spread from the island (the Île de la Cité) and far beyond both banks of the Seine.
Portugal, officially Portuguese Republic, Portuguese República Portuguesa, is a country lying along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. Once continental Europe’s most significant power, Portugal shares commonalities—geographic and cultural—with the countries of both northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Its cold, rocky northern coast and mountainous interior are sparsely settled, scenic, and wild, while the country’s south, the Algarve, is warm and fertile. The rugged Estrela Mountains (Serra da Estrela, or “Star Mountain Range”), which lie between the Tagus and Mondego rivers, contain the highest point of mainland Portugal.
Rome is the capital city of Italy, the home of the Vatican and the Papacy, and was once the center of a vast, ancient empire. It remains a cultural and historical focus within Europe.
Salzburg is an Austrian city with stunning views of the Eastern Alps and Salzach River. Today, nearly 200,000 people are residing in the town, making it the fourth biggest city in Austria. This small, cultural place is full of beauty from its alluring landscapes to its impressive baroque and medieval architecture. Salzburg is so appealing that it attracts around 30-million tourists each year.
Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Celts, and more have occupied Spain in the last couple of centuries. The Romans fought the Carthaginians for over 200 years and succeeded, however, the empire collapsed in the 5th century. It was ultimately conquered by Arab invaders known as Moors. Spain had flourished in art and architecture from all these periods and cultural diversity was prominent as a result of these conquests. The Golden Age lasted until the 16th century when notable art and literature periods were produced. Spain is currently a constitutional monarchy.
St Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg is the second-greatest major city in Russia next to Moscow. By 2012, there were nearly 5-million residents in the town, and that population has only continued to increase. Surrounded by the Baltic Sea and located along the Neva River, there's so much beauty to behold. Visiting St. Petersburg, you'll see luscious gardens, monuments, palaces, detailed architecture, and admirable pieces of artwork created by the most well-known artists throughout history.
The history of Stockholm, capital of Sweden, for many centuries coincided with the development of what is today known as Gamla stan, the Stockholm Old Town. Stockholm's raison d'être always was to be the Swedish capital and by far the largest city in the country. Stockholm is the most populous urban area in the Nordic countries; 965,232 people live in the municipality, approximately 1.6-million in the urban area, and 2.4-million in the metropolitan area. The city stretches across fourteen islands where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. Outside the city to the east, and along the coast, is the island chain of the Stockholm archipelago. The area has been settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC, and was founded as a city in 1252 by Swedish statesman Birger Jarl. It is also the capital of Stockholm County.
Starting in the 1st century B.C., the land that is now Switzerland was ruled by the Roman Empire for 500-years. It was a time of plenty with roads being built and trade coming and going throughout the land.
Things would change around 800 A.D. when the Frankish Empire took control of Switzerland under Charlemagne. For almost 500-years, Switzerland was part of the Holy Roman Empire.
Istanbul, Turkey, was founded about 660 BC as Byzantium. The city has changed names numerous times and was initially known as Byzantium. It was the capital city of the Eastern Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires and was led by rulers such as Alexander the Great, Septimius Severus, and Constantine the Great. The city became known as Istanbul after falling to Ottoman rule in the 15th century. It once carried the title of the world's most crowded city. Today, it has a population of more than 15-million. Interesting fact: part of the city lies in Europe, and the other part is in Asia..
Venice has a history that spans thousands of years, but that history, technically took place before the city was known as Venice. Venice, as the tradition of the town goes, was founded in 421 A.D. Throughout its history, Venice has seen a lot of things. Venice was originally a part of and controlled by the Byzantine Empire.
Vienna was probably a relevant trading post for the Celts when the Romans arrived around 15 BC. They set up camp and named it Vindobona, after the Celtic tribe Vinid. The settlement blossomed into a town by the 3rd and 4th centuries, and vineyards were introduced to the surrounding area.