European Facts



  • Europe is the smallest continent, with an area of just 10,400,000 sq km. For its size Europe has an immensely long coastline.
  • In the north are the ancient glaciated mountains of Scandinavia and Scotland, which were once much, much higher.
  • Across the centre are the lowlands of the North European Plain, stretching from the Urals in Russia to France in the west.
  • Much of southern Europe has been piled up into young mountain ranges, as Africa drifts north.
  • The highest point in Europe is Mt Elbrus in the Russian Caucasus, 5642 m high.
  • Northwest Europe was once joined to Canada. The ancient Caledonian mountains of eastern Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia and Scotland were formed together as a single mountain chain 360-540 million years ago.
  • Mediterranean Europe has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters.
  • NW Europe is often wet and windy. It has very mild winters because it is bathed by the warm North Atlantic Drift (see ocean currents).
  • The Russian islands of Novaya Zimlya are far into the Arctic Circle and are icebound in winter.
  • The largest lake is Ladoga in Russia, 18,389 sq km.