Europe is a continent that comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.
Austria is a German-speaking country in Central Europe, characterized by its mountain villages, baroque city architecture, Imperial history and rugged alpine terrain. Vienna, its Danube River capital, is home to the Schonbrunn and Hofburg palaces, and has counted Mozart, Strauss and Sigmund Freud among its residents.
France, in Western Europe, encompasses medieval and port cities, tranquil villages, mountains and Mediterranean beaches. Paris, its capital, is known worldwide for its couture fashion houses, classical art museums including the Louvre and monuments like the Eiffel Tower. The country is also renowned for its sophisticated cuisine and its wines.
Spain, on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, is really 17 autonomous regions, each with its own geography and culture. The capital, Madrid, is home to the Royal Palace and singular Prado museum, housing works by European masters, and Segovia to the north has a fairy-tale medieval castle and Roman aqueduct. Catalonia’s capital is Barcelona.
Germany is a Western European country with a terrain of vast forests, rivers and mountain ranges, and 2 millennia of history. Berlin, its capital, is home to thriving art and nightlife scenes, iconic Brandenburg Gate and many sites relating to WWII. Munich is known for its Oktoberfest and cavernous beer halls, including 16th-century Hofbräuhaus. Frankfurt, with its skyscrapers, houses the European Central Bank.
Switzerland is a mountainous Central European country, home to numerous lakes, villages and the high peaks of the Alps. Its cities contain medieval quarters, with landmarks like capital Bern’s Zytglogge clock tower and Lucerne’s wooden chapel bridge. The country is also known for its ski resorts and hiking trails. Banking and finance are key industries, and Swiss watches and chocolate are world renowned.
Holland is a coastal region in the western Netherlands dotted with tulip fields, cycling paths and windmills. North Holland province is home to the country’s canalside capital, Amsterdam, whose rich artistic heritage is showcased at the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. The provincial capital, Haarlem, is known for its medieval landmarks, 17th-century Golden Age masterpieces at the Frans Hals Museum and breweries.
Italy, commanding a long Mediterranean coastline, has left a powerful mark on Western culture and cuisine. Its capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins. Other major cities include Florence, with Renaissance treasures such as Michelangelo’s "David" and its leather and paper artisans; Venice, the sinking city of canals; and Milan, Italy’s fashion capital.