75 Cool Maps of Europe for Geography Buffs
A trip to Europe will fill your head with historic tales, but you may not learn some of the most interesting facts about the countries you're visiting.
Instead, arm yourself with the stats seen in these cool maps of Europe. After all, who knows what geography questions they'll help answer at the next trivia night?
Average Number of Tornadoes
Although not as common as in the United States, tornados do take place in Europe.
It is reported the continent experiences anywhere from 200 to 400 tornadoes each year. As this map shows, Italy and the Netherlands do bear a brunt of those recorded.
Note: Some of these maps contain slightly outdated numbers. Do not use these for your next test without doing your research first!
Biggest Trading Partners
In America, China is the top trading partner. China is also a strong partner with Eastern European nations, including its neighbor, Russia.
However, more countries in Europe trade with Germany, which happens to be the world's third-largest trader with 65.6 percent of its exports going to European countries.
GDP Per Person
In 110 years, the gross domestic product grew significantly across Western Europe.
GDP is the value of the goods and services made and provided by a country and indicates economy size and growth rate.
(Data from Maddison Project was adjusted for inflation.)
Popular Car Brands
You may not recognize all of the car brands that are the top sellers in Europe, such as SEAT or Skoda, but you'll find both in Spain and Central Europe, respectively.
Italian car maker Fiat dominates its country, as well as those where they have Fiat factories, while Germany's Volkswagen reigns supreme in much of Europe.
Bike Paths of Europe
Just where will you find a bike path in Europe? Central Europe, especially the Netherlands, is the most pedal-friendly.
Amsterdam alone has more than 310 miles of lanes dedicated to bikes.
The largest city in Europe, based on population, is Istanbul (nearly 15 million people). London lands at No. 3 on the continent's largest cities with a population of about 9.3 million.
While the data wasn't available for all of Russia, Moscow and St. Petersburg, at 10 million and 5 million people, respectively, are larger than most European cities.
Births and Deaths
It's true: Europe has a low birth rate. This map shows there are more deaths than births across Europe.
In fact, The World Bank found a fertility rate of about 1.6 births per woman across all of Europe, with France at the highest rate of 1.9.
It also found the European Union countries had an annual death rate of 11 per 1,000 people, with Bulgaria and Latvia at the highest of 15 per 1,000 people.
On a scale set with 0 being "not satisfied at all" and 10 being "fully satisfied," it is Finland's 8.1 that proves the Finns are pretty happy Europeans.
Sadly, Bulgarians don't feel the same way, with a score at 5.4.
Crimean War Treaty
The Crimean War extended more than two years and was fought on the Crimean Peninsular. The fight was between the Russians and the British, French and Turks.
This British satirical map showed Europe in 1856, at the end of the war.
The Plague of Black Death was a pandemic illness that struck and killed more than 20 million people in Europe during the 1300s.
This map shows how the plague spread across Europe — with much of the disease moving through the ports and carried on ships.
Companies Accepting Bribes
Which countries have businesses most eager to accept bribes? Ukraine is at the top with Albania not too far behind, according to Enterprise Surveys by the World Bank.
The least likely to accept a bribe (of the countries with data) are Lithuania and Portugal.
Up in Smoke
A study of data in Europe in 2014 found daily smokers ranged from 8.7 percent (Sweden) to 27 percent (Greece and Bulgaria).
It revealed 6 percent of the population over the age of 15 smoked a minimum of 20 cigarettes a day.
Now you can say "Merry Christmas" in a variety of languages with this handy map developed by mapmaker Jakub Marian.
(Although we do wish there was a bit of help pronouncing some of these!)
And Christmas Givers
Not everyone receives gifts from Santa. Father Christmas, the Christmas Man, Grandfather Frost and even Christmas goats and gnomes are gift givers in Europe.
What makes up what's underfoot in Europe?
This unique map shows it all, from the vineyards to the moors and the clouds to coniferous trees.
Delve even further down below the Earth's surface in this map to see what lies beneath, geologically.
Rulers in 1512
Perhaps you remember some of the names from history class, but to understand how Europe looked in the 1500s, here are those who ruled and the land they claimed.
Some of the largest land rulers were Sigismund I, who served as King of Poland; Maximilian I, who was a German king and Holy Roman emperor; and Selim I, who ruled over the Ottoman Empire.
Potatoes in the 20th Century
It's the fifth most important crop worldwide, but it wasn't until Christopher Columbus brought the potato to Europe that it became one of the continent's biggest crops.
This map shows potatoes are a big industry in Central Europe.
Did you know the quotation mark is not used the same across countries?
Here is where you'll find quotations and where you will find arrows as quotations.
Oldest Football Clubs
European football got its start in England, where the Football Association was first founded in 1863.
The sport was so beloved and spread so quickly that by 1904 the International Association of Football (FIFA) was formed.
Heads of State Gender
Europe is still a man's world, where just over a handful of countries are led by women.
- The heads of state (as opposed to heads of government) for the United Kingdom and Denmark are royalty: Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Margrethe II, respectively.
- Estonia's head of state is President Kersti Kaljulaid.
- Georgia's head of state is President Salome Zourabishvili.
- Slovakia's head of state is President Zuzana Caoutova.
- Switzerland's head of state and government is President Simonetta Myruam Sommaruga.
In 2019, Europe's busiest airport was London's Heathrow Airport, which saw 80,844,310 passengers.
The top five also included:
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (76,150,007)
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (71,707,144)
- Germany's Frankfurt am Main Airport (70,556,072)
- Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (61,734,037)
Free to Roam
Not all countries of the world welcome visitors with only a passport, but many European nations can get close. There are 195 countries recognized by the United Nations and Finland, Germany and Spain are welcome to 172.
Armenia, Azerbaijan and Kosovo are the only countries in Europe that fall below 100, with Kosovo allowed to visit just 54 countries with a passport at the time this map was made.
You can find your own passport index here.
Camino de Santiago Routes
The Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, is a pilgrimage dating back to medieval times but made more famous in modern times following a recording of Brazilian author Paulo Coelho's "The Pilgrimage" in 1987.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Way (as it is called) has multiple routes originating in Spain, France and Portugal to Santiago, located in northwestern Spain.
Close to Nuclear
This map shows a 100-kilometer radius (62 miles) around all of the nuclear power plants in Europe. (Although it left out the Krsko plant near Zagreb, Croatia, and Ljubljana, Slovenia.)
The two empty circles in the United Kingdom represent two new plants being developed.
Before you travel to a city in Europe, learn the local way to pronounce it, as not all cities sound the same as they do in English.
This is how Europe looked during the 14th century.
England, Scotland, Portugal, Norway, Denmark and Sweden have remained the most constant over the centuries.
The United States set drinking limits to the age of 21, but Europeans are known to be less strict. Most countries allow ages 16 and up to drink and purchase alcohol at a liquor store.
Iceland and Sweden set the highest limits: age 20 for purchasing in a liquor store. (But they can be served at a bar at 18.)
Note: We found Lithuania to be incorrect on this map, with a drinking age and purchasing age of 18.
Europe After Constantinople Became Istanbul
The Sack of Constantinople took place in 1204, destroying much of the Byzantine Empire.
This was part of the Fourth Crusade, and once the city (now known as Istanbul) was sieged, its land was divided.
Facial recognition is used in some countries to identify potential crime suspects. Police may use it when surveying crowded areas, such as concerts and football games.
Many countries in Europe allow police to use facial recognition.
Against the Death Penalty
By the 2000s, all of Europe had abolished the death penalty, with the exception of Belarus.
Time zones begin and end in Greenwich, England. The Prime Meridian that passes through it is recognized as Universal Time, or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
But the line isn't straight!
This map will show you how to keep track of the time in Europe.
When Homes Were Made
This map, created in 2011, gives us a glimpse at when most dwellings were constructed.
Surprisingly, European homes are not as old as Americans may think.
Who Drinks the Most?
The World Health Organization reported 2018 stats of alcohol consumption per capita, which included liters of pure alcohol per person (15+ years) per year. Nearly four liters make up a gallon. In Moldova, which shows the highest consumption level in Europe, this translates into adults consuming 4 gallons of alcohol per capita.
The Turks' have the lowest per-capita consumption at just over half a gallon.
Sunsets in Summer
Besides 24 hours of daylight in northern Scandinavia, you may not see the sunset until after 10 p.m. in some countries, including Spain, Belgium and Ireland.
Just how many beers can you buy on a month's minimum wage earnings?
This 2015 chart showed either minimum wage is too low or the beer is very expensive the further east you head.
Google, Why Does...
Americans searching about European nations have led to some funny results in Google autocomplete.
When searching "Why does [country name]...," these are the first results that appeared in July 2018. Our favorite? "Why does Turkey make you sleepy (probably referring to the bird, though)?"
Just because a country's borders are clearly drawn on today's map doesn't mean there isn't a country that thinks they should have more, as this map shows.
Sixty-seven percent of Hungarians believe there are parts of neighboring countries that belong to them, with Greece (60 percent), Bulgaria (58 percent), Turkey (58 percent) and Russia (53 percent) also feeling slighted.
Brrr, It's Cold
In 2019, Russia — no surprise — had the lowest temperature in Europe: -58.1 degrees Celsius! (That's -72.58 degrees Fahrenheit!)
If you prefer warmer temps, Ireland and Portugal are the warmest in winter, thanks in part to the Gulf Stream bringing warmer air across the Atlantic.
Even across modern Europe, not all homes have flushing toilets.
Eastern Europe is still catching up, with more than 27 percent of Romanians lacking what Americans may consider an essential.
Top Songs of 1980
Music pop charts extend to Europe, where most of the top songs of 1980 also charted in the U.S.
For comparison, the No. 1 song of the decade in the U.S. was Blondie's "Call Me."
Who knew the Irish loved to hunt?
(Although we could have guessed the Dutch and Belgians weren't too avid.)
Making the Cheese
When you think of cheese, perhaps you think of France or Italy? But it's Germany that actually produces the most cheese in Europe. In fact, the country makes more than 600 different types of cheese!
Of the cheeses produced, Limburger, Allgauer Emmentaler and Butterkase are the country's favorites.
And the Cheese They Make
Here are the cheeses the countries are most known for. (Which one is your favorite?)
Coat of Arms
This map shows the similarities in European Coat of Arms: a lion, eagle or both are found on more than half the continent.
Both noble creatures, a lion stands for courage and an eagle often means having a lofty spirit.
Although Finland was the first country in Europe to allow women to vote, women's suffrage first garnered attention in Great Britain in 1867. The very first women's suffrage committee formed in that year as well, but it wasn't until 1918 that women were granted permission to vote.
And even then, it came with a stipulation: Women had to be over the age of 30. Full rights were granted in 1928.
Number of McDonald's Per Inhabitants
You'd be hard-pressed to find a place where McDonald's cannot be found in Europe.
The very first was located on Dublin's Grafton Street in 1977, and McDonald's was also Europe's very first drive-thru restaurant!
Most Popular Alcohol
This map shows the most popular alcohol in each country — a national drink if you will.
If you visit Europe, consider it a must to sample these spirits, such as Grappa from Italy and Scotch from Scotland.
Common Last Names
Using census information, NetCredit uncovered the most common last name by country.
Last names evolved as a description of a person's occupation, place of residence, a father or ancestor, and personal descriptions.
Top Attractions in Europe
TripAdvisor identified the No. 1 attraction in many European countries in 2017, with a combination of museums and historic sites as popular as natural settings like the fjords in Norway.
What's the oldest university in all of Europe?
That would be the University of Bologna in Italy, established in 1088 and the oldest in continuous operation.
The Name for Beer
If you belly up to the bar in a European nation, here's how to order what's on tap.
Catching the Wind
Central Europe is particularly best at catching the wind with the heaviest concentration of wind farms found in Germany.
In 2018, Europe produced 171,328 megawatts of energy using wind. (In comparison, the U.S. only produced 96,635 megawatts.)
The European Union
Wondering which countries make up the European Union? There are currently 27 after the United Kingdom infamously pulled out (Brexit).
With This Ring
In the U.S., wedding bands are worn on the left hand. However, in half of Europe, the preference is to wear it on the right.
Losses During World War I
The bloodiest day of World War I took place when the British Army lost 57,470 soldiers on July 1, 1916, in the Battle of the Somme.
Losses During World War II
World War II took place across multiple countries of Europe, with casualties estimated to be between 50 and 60 million people. The losses were felt around the world, but in Europe, the worst were felt in Eastern Europe.
Need a Lift?
If you want to hitch a ride in Europe, you'll find it's pretty difficult in Spain, Italy, Croatia and Austria.
Access to the Internet
The world may be at our fingertips with the click of a button, but that's not the case for all of Europe. Greece, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sicily and Portugal have many people without it.
However, everyone in Iceland has it!
All Shook Up
Which countries are most at risk of experiencing an earthquake? This map shows the southern nations are at the highest risk.
One of the worst earthquakes recorded in European history took place in Sicily, where a 7.5 magnitude quake and its resulting tsunami killed more than 100,000 people.
Not all military camouflage is the same. Here is the specific print used on uniforms in each country.
You Are What You Eat
More and more European countries are purchasing processed foods in the grocery store, according to this map. In the United Kingdom, more than half of its collective nations eat processed foods.
The freshest food diet can be found in Portugal.
A Shot in the Arm
Poland, Czechia, Hungary, Serbia and Italy strongly enforce mandatory vaccinations while there are many European countries that do not require children to receive them.
Poland hasn't had the best of luck, having been invaded by its neighbors for centuries.
Italy, as it stands today, didn't invade Poland, but the Romans did. Same goes for Moldova, which was part of the Principality of Moldavia when it invaded Poland and was technically part of the U.S.S.R.
What Is It Good For?
Although Sweden considers itself a neutral country and claims it hasn't fought a war in 200 years, it has sent troops to other countries in times of conflict.
Belarus and Switzerland, known for its neutrality, have remained out of conflicts in the modern day.
They Want to Rock
The Scandinavians really love their heavy metal. For comparison, only 72 metal bands are found in the U.S. per 1 million people.
Learning the Language
It'll take 24 weeks to learn the easiest languages in Europe, which include Spanish, French and Italian.
That's not as bad as the hardest languages! Category V includes Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and Arabic, needing 2,200 hours to learn.
The oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe may be Plovdiv, Bulgaria, which has settlements that date back to prehistoric times.
London Has Them Beat
London's population in 2020 registered at 9.3 million — larger than that of some countries!
How Small is Luxembourg
Luxembourg is just 998 square miles in size — 2.11 percent the size of New York.
Some countries have banks operating long before the U.S. became a country.
The Banca Monte dei Pascha di Siena in Italy and the Berenberg Bank in Germany claim to be the oldest. Both can be found as far back as the Renaissance.
40 Years Ago
In 1980, Europe consisted of fewer countries than it does today.
Germany was divided into Eastern and Western Germany, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia encompassed multiple countries, and even more countries were behind the Iron Curtain of the U.S.S.R.
Squeezing in Fruit
The USDA recommends between five and 13 servings of fruit each day, which means each person should eat 1,825 to 4,745 servings of fruit each year.
That roughly equates to 730 cups per year or about 93.44 kilograms, which those in Portugal and Italy exceed, plus some.
Full of Color
Each country is ranked by ILGAEurope for its legal and policy for LGBTI people. Malta comes in 16 percent higher than No. 2 rainbow-friendly Belgium and Luxembourg.
The worst for the community? Turkey.
A Youthful Glow
The youngest people can be found in Albania (median age 36.4 years), Turkey (median age 31.4 years) and Kosovo (median age 29.6 years).