The enchanting continent of Europe is one of the most coveted travel destinations on the planet. From the quaint Old Towns of Poland and Ukraine to the beautiful architecture in Sofia and Riga, from the soaring mountains of Bulgaria and Albania to the famous Alps in France and Italy, there is so much to see and do in this ancient land of enchantment.

Its varied terrain is characterized by a variety of landscapes, from rolling hills to craggy mountains, ranging from sandy beaches to glacier-sculpted lakes and snow-covered forests. The oceans around Europe are home to a wide array of marine species and the islands of the Mediterranean, Baltic, and North Seas are popular destinations for sunseekers. The forests of southern Europe are famous for their emerald flora and the mountainous regions of central and eastern Europe feature the world’s highest peaks, such as the mighty Matterhorn in Switzerland and the rugged Mont Blanc in France.

In 1950, the European Coal and Steel Community began uniting countries economically and politically to achieve lasting peace, and in 1957 the Treaty of Rome established what is now known as the European Economic Community (EEC) or the ‘Common Market’. The EEC ushered in a prosperous period of growth for Europe, as customs duties were abolished and trade barriers were lowered, creating a single market that continues to grow today.

Many of the most visited countries in Europe are France, Spain, Italy, and the independent microstate of Monaco, but the more inland areas also offer wonderful experiences. Travelers can hike in the Alps, sniff lavender in Provence, or visit Barcelona to see Antoni Gaudi’s amazing architecture.

Beyond the most popular destinations, there are numerous places in Europe that receive far fewer visitors and deserve their time in the spotlight. Warsaw, Prague, and Bucharest are just a few cities that have much to offer in terms of culture, history, and cuisine.

While the most common way to travel in Europe is by plane, trains are another option. They are comfortable and reliable, and train passes designed specifically for tourists make it easy and inexpensive to explore the various nations of the continent. You can also get around by renting a car or using public transportation, which will vary by country and region.

During its long history, Europe has faced both prosperity and hardships, but it has never stopped growing. It is a land that is constantly changing and evolving, which makes it an exciting destination for travelers to explore. This book examines these shifting conceptions of Europe from antiquity to the present, and is especially timely as it addresses recent events such as Brexit, the refugee crisis, and the Eurozone collapse. Whether you’re an expert or a casual observer, this text will help you better understand the modern Europe you may be seeking to visit.

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