30 Fun Facts You Never Knew About Europe

Europe (Image Credit: Unsplash)
Europe (Image Credit: Unsplash)

Europe

Europe is a continent full of mystery, beauty, and history. It's no wonder that it has been the backdrop for some of the most important moments in human history. Did you know that Vatican City is the smallest country in the world? Or that Istanbul is the only city in the world located on two different continents? If you didn't, don't worry - you're not alone! Most people don't know a lot of fun facts about Europe.

In this blog post, we will explore some fun facts about Europe that you may not have known before and discuss some of the most interesting and obscure facts about this continent.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn something new!

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1. Iceland doesn’t have mosquitos

Iceland has none of the more than 3,000 different species of mosquitoes that exist worldwide. Amazingly, due to the frigid weather and the absence of shallow ponds that mosquitoes adore, Iceland is said to be absolutely free of any mosquitoes.

So you'd best go to Iceland if you're prone to mosquito bites!

2. More chocolate is bought at Brussels Airport than anywhere else in the world

Most likely, you've heard of Belgian chocolate. Travelers are aware of its reputation for producing some of the best chocolate in the world because Brussels Airport is the world's largest retailer of confections.

Europe - Chocolates (Image Credit: Unsplash)
Europe - Chocolates (Image Credit: Unsplash)

The airport sells more than 800 tons of chocolate annually, and we know we can't help but pick up a box or two on our way through Brussels!

3. St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in Europe

Searching for awe-inspiring churches? It must be St. Peter's Basilica in Rome's Vatican City. With dimensions of 222 meters long, 152 meters wide, and 137 meters tall with a seating capacity of 60,000 people, this church rivals those in the rest of the globe in size.

It seems appropriate that the church is located in Vatican City, the Pope's residence.

4.  Never clink your glasses in Hungary

Although you might be used to clinking glasses and cheering with friends, you shouldn't do this in Hungary. This tradition dates back to the 1848 revolution, when Austria defeated Hungary. As they salute their triumph, the Austrians clinked their beer glasses in joy.

Europe - Clinking Bottles (Image Credit: Unsplash)
Europe - Clinking Bottles (Image Credit: Unsplash)

Since then, Hungarians no longer raise their glasses in toast. Instead, you should greet your Hungarian friends with "Egészségedre" and make eye contact.

5. Europe's tallest building is in Russia

Did you know that St. Petersburg, Russia, is home to the highest structure in all of Europe? The Lakhta Center soars into the sky like a shard of glass and stands a towering 462 meters tall. You will undoubtedly enjoy some breathtaking views from the summit of this amazing 87-story structure.

6. La Sagrada Familia is built longer than the pyramids

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is a very magnificent piece of architecture, which explains why it is taking so long to complete. The incredible ancient Egyptian pyramids took 85 years to build, between 2589 and 2504 BC, but La Sagrada Familia has been under construction for 138 years.

Although Gaudi was unable to see his magnificent work come to fruition, Barcelona plans to finish the famed basilica by 2026 in time for the 100th anniversary of his passing.

7. It’s illegal in Switzerland to mow your lawn on Sundays

This interesting statistic about Europe is one that you will probably like the most. On Sundays, you are not permitted to mow your grass, construct anything, wash your car, or hang your clothes outside to dry.

The Swiss consider Sunday to be a day of rest and feel that bothersome domestic tasks shouldn't disrupt anyone's ability to unwind.

8. Wales has a town with 57 letters in its name

Consider yourself skilled at tongue twisters? Give this Welsh town's name a try: "Llanfairpwll-gwyngyllgogerychwyrndrob-wllllantysiliogogoch." Although it can appear as though someone spilled something on their keyboard, the name really means "cave." Its 58-letter name is the longest of any town in Europe, although you can also just call it Llanfairpwll or Llanfair PG.

9. Denmark has 7,000 approved baby names

Denmark has some peculiar naming regulations. One of the 7,000 pre-approved names, such as Benji or Molli, must be used when naming a child by new parents. These restrictions also forbid the creative spelling of common names. Do you want to give your child a special name? You'll need to request government approval. There are also some names that are forbidden, so if you're from Denmark, don't even consider giving your child the names Pluto, Anus, or Monkey. They weren't either of the options!

10. There are more than 200 languages spoken in Europe

Over 200 languages are spoken on the continent of Europe, which has dozens of diverse cultures and nations, however only 24 are acknowledged as the official languages of the European Union. Of the 24, English, French, and German are categorized as "procedural" languages. Additionally, English is the most widely used language in Europe, where 38% of people can speak it.

11. Nearly Every City in France Has a Street Named for Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo, France's most well-known poet and author, is honored with a street named after him in almost every city.

Along with writing "Les Miserables" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" as a member of the Romantic movement, Hugo was also a strong supporter of his nation and a political activist. It should come as no surprise that his image is featured on the coinage of the nation.

12. 10 Villages in Scandinavia Have the Shortest City Names — Just One Letter Long

Ten villages in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway have names that are only one letter long.

Nine times throughout the nation, a city is named, Å, which in all Scandinavian languages means "little stream or river."

13. It Is Illegal to Have Only One 'Social Pet' in Switzerland

The Swiss consider it inhumane for some pets to be alone. You need more than one to keep guinea pigs, rabbits, parakeets, and other pets categorized as "social animals" happy.

Even if your pet dies, there are companies that will hire you a guinea pig to keep it company while you search for a suitable replacement.

Europe - Cat by the window (Image Credit: Unsplash)
Europe - Cat by the window (Image Credit: Unsplash)

You can have just one indoor cat, but you must offer it access to a window where it can view another cat or allow it to spend time outside.

14. Europe is Named for a Phoenician Princess

In Greek mythology, Zeus was much in love with the Phoenician princess Europa. He pretended to be a bull to entice her away, then carried her off to sea and to the island of Crete on his back.

15. Norway Knighted a Penguin

Brigadier Sir Nils Olav is Norway's own knighted penguin and the mascot of the Norwegian King's Guard. The third king penguin bearing his name, Sir Olav of 2019 lives at the Edinburgh Zoo. The latter offered his service of loyalty from 1972 to 1987.

16. Red Wine Flows From a Fountain in Italy

A local vineyard in the northern Italian town of Caldari di Ortona constructed a fountain that continuously spews red wine rather than water.

The Cammino di San Tommaso, a 196-mile route from Rome to Ortona where pilgrims can trace the steps of St. Thomas the Apostle, is where the fountain is originally intended for. Wine is a great way to celebrate after such a strenuous walk.

17. Bulgaria Hasn't Changed Its Name Since 681 AD

Over time, there have been so many conflicts in Europe that many nations have changed and evolved into new nations. Bulgaria not, however.

Since adopting its current name in 681 AD, the nation has held that title as the oldest nation in Europe by name.

18. Germany Has the Most McDonald's in Europe

Foodies will be happy of the fact that McDonald's may be found all over Europe. However, there are 1,480 McDonald's restaurants in Germany alone, indicating that people there greatly enjoy fast food.

After that comes France and the UK. third place. Both boast that the popular fast-food chain has more than 1,000 locations.

19. It Is Illegal to Pee in the Ocean in Portugal

There is a rule forbidding urinating in the ocean in Portugal, though it's not obvious how it may be enforced. What else can we say about this intriguing fact? We're not really sure.

20. Austria Is Home to the World's Oldest Zoo

Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna is the oldest zoo in Europe, having opened its doors in 1752. The zoo was founded as the royal family's own collection of exotic animals and is now housed on the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace, the residence of the Hapsburg family.

It is the world's oldest zoo that has been in continuous operation.

21. Find here the smallest city in the world

Europe - Vatican City (Image Credit: Unsplash)
Europe - Vatican City (Image Credit: Unsplash)

Vatican City is the tiniest nation in the entire world, not just in Europe. The city-state, a region of Italy, is the smallest nation in terms of both population and area.

22. Kissing is not allowed on French train platforms

Kissing was prohibited on all French train platforms beginning in 1910. The purpose of making this a rule was to keep the crowds moving and the trains on schedule.

A fun fact indeed.

23. No Cappuccino After 11 Am in Italy

Another interesting fact about Europe is that cappuccinos are not consumed in Italy after 11 a.m. Anything that has "frothy milk" is regarded as a breakfast beverage in Italian culture. Don't draw attention to yourself by ordering a cappuccino after the "stipulated" hours the next time you're in Italy.

Europe - Cappuccino (Image Credit: Unsplash)
Europe - Cappuccino (Image Credit: Unsplash)

24. There are Over 400 Words for Snow in Scotland

It seems that Scotland gets a lot of snow, and as a result, its language is filled with phrases that refer to snow. In Scotland, snow is described by more than 400 words—421 words, to be exact. Each word for snow has a definition, such as "flinkdrinkin" for "a light snow" or "unbrak" for "the start of the thaw."

25. Arrival of first human beings

It is believed that the earliest creatures resembling humans arrived in Europe 1.8 million years ago.

26. Fries were Invented in Belgium

Everywhere in the world, people adore French fries. So much so that a lot of people think this food originated in the USA. However, the truth is that Belgian French fries are a native of Europe.

Fries are known as "frites" in Belgium, and the people frequently eat them with mayonnaise. Fries are so adored in Belgium that an entire museum, the "Frietmuseum," is devoted to them.

27. Beginning of the Industrial Revolution

One of history's most significant periods, the Industrial Revolution, started in Britain in the 18th century and eventually expanded to Japan and the United States.

28. More bicycles than people in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, there are more bicycles than people.

Europe - Bicycles in the Netherlands (Image Credit: Unsplash)
Europe - Bicycles in the Netherlands (Image Credit: Unsplash)

29. Highest life expectancy is found in Monaco

According to information gathered and disseminated, the average life expectancy in Monaco is 89.4 years.

Fun fact: This life expectancy figure is the greatest not just in Europe but also globally.

It is thought that Monaco's stunning geographic location along the French Riviera contributes to its high life expectancy. It appears that its highly educated employees in the medical industry is another factor.

30. Europe is the second smallest continent in the world

Europe is the second-smallest continent in terms of size despite having a rich cultural heritage. Its 3,825,730 square miles make up one-third of Africa's total area.

Europe

Europe is a continent with a long and varied history, and it is no surprise that there are many interesting facts about the continent that are not widely known.

These are just a few of the many fun facts about Europe that you may not have known. Whether you are planning a trip to Europe or simply want to learn more about this fascinating continent, be sure to keep these facts in mind. They will give you a better understanding of what makes Europe so unique and special.

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