From Athens to Zagreb : Europe made easy (or almost)

Almost every year we go on vacation the last week of April or the first of May.
Since a week is quite short and we’re Euro-philes, we grad the occasion to explore Europe and this is how we went to Florence, Athens, Brussels, Lisbon, Tenerife…
Each time I ask myself the same questions about which countries are Euro-zone, which are Schengen, and about the weather of course !

Parisianly yours 11 Europe made easy Florence

In case it may help more people than just me, here are some answers about these European realities, quite useful to know when going places whether from outside or from inside Europe as well !

As Wikipedia says it among many other interesting things, Europe is a continent or a subcontinent and more precisely “the peninsula that makes up the western fifth of the Eurasian landmass”.

  • 44 countries are considered to have all of their territory in Europe (list below).
  • 2 countries are in Asia but have close links with Europe : Cyprus (which is in the EU) and Armenia.
  • 5 countries are part in Europe part in Asia : Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia et Turkey.

There are many political/economical/trade organizations that aggregate some of these countries.
Three of them are good to know when you travel : the European Union, the Euro zone (same currency) and the Schengen area (easier border procedures).
These three do not match of course ! Otherwise I wouldn’t have to call the post “made easy” !

And since it’s on the papers front page quite often these days, let’s say a word about the Schengen area. To make it short, the Schengen Agreement is what makes things easy for us as tourists and/or European citizens to travel without having to show our passport all the time. It is the inside “borderless area” for the citizens from IN countries and for citizens from OUT countries after they’ve checked in once. Due to both the terrorist attacks in France last year and what is usually called “the migrants crisis” in Europe, some countries have decided to close some or all of their borders for an unspecified amount of time. It is all very well explained on the European commission website but may complicate your travel a bit especially if you were used to the incredible freedom experience of the “normal” Schengen area ! So better check before you go and keep your passport at hand.

A few more figures before we dive.

  • The European Union : 28 countries
  • The Euro zone : 25 countries (19 EU + 6)
  • The Schengen agreement : 26 countries (22 EU + 4)

Parisianly yours 11 Europe made easy Athens

And here we go for the details !

  • 17 EU countries are both Euro zone and Schengen : Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia. That’s the easy part : same currency and in most cases easy to none border procedures !
  • 5 EU countries are Schengen but not Euro : Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Sweden. Meaning you’ll have to convert to another currency if you go visit beautiful Prague, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Cracow or Dubrovnik.
  • 2 EU countries are Euro but not Schengen : Cyprus and Ireland. Passport required to visit Nicosia or Dublin.
  • 4 EU countries are neither Euro nor Schengen : Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and United Kingdom (though the border procedures are quite light especially with the Eurostar).

Outside of the EU (17 countries)

  • 4 non EU countries are in the Schengen agreement : Island, Lichtenstein, Norway and Swiss (though it seems you do need your passport to enter in Swiss so better check before you go).
  • 6 non EU countries use the Euro as their currency : San Marino, the Vatican, Monaco, Andorra, Montenegro and Kosovo (outside of the formal agreement it seems for these two). And you should also know that though they are not in the Schengen agreement, San Marino and the Vatican are “in free borders” with Italy, and so is Monaco with France.
  • 7 European countries are not UE/Euro/Schengen : Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine.

There we are with our … 44 European countries + Cyprus !

All that said, we still don’t know where we’ll go next time ! We’re contemplating Cyprus or Slovenia. Any recommendation ?

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