Both a country and a continent, English-speaking Australia is surrounded by the Pacific and Indian oceans and includes the island state of Tasmania. Its inland capital city is Canberra. Its top tourist attraction is Sydney Harbour, featuring the Sydney Opera House. Australia is also known for its animals such as koala bears and kangaroos; the Great Barrier Reef that lies along the north-east coast; and the desert wilderness known as the Outback.
German-speaking Austria is located in central Europe. The Danube is Austria's principal river and Vienna is the capital. Known for its mountain villages, imperial history, and baroque architecture, it includes about 75% of the mountainous territory of the eastern Alps. Famous residents include Mozart, Strauss, and Freud. About 40% of Austria is covered in forests and woodlands cover including the northern Bohemian Forest and Traunsee Lake. Its top tourist attraction is the historic centre of Vienna.
Located in western Europe, Belgium's capital city is Brussels and its principal rivers are the Meuse and the Schelde. Belgium is multilingual with Flemish-speaking Flanders in the north and French-speaking Wallonia in the south. Belgium is known for housing the international headquarters of the European Union and NATO. Travellers enjoy its medieval towns, beer, and Flemish renaissance architecture. The top tourist site is the Grand Place in Brussels.
The South American country of Brasil covers nearly half the continent and is its largest nation. It stretches from the Amazon Basin in the north to the Iguaçu Falls in the south, which is the country's top tourist attraction. The capital is Brasília, and was formerly Rio de Janeiro with its famed Christ the Redeemer statue that sits atop Mt. Corcovado. Brasil is well-known for its annual carnival. Portuguese is the dominant language of Brasil.
Located in south-eastern Europe, Bulgaria has a mountainous interior with two mountain ranges and two great valleys, and it is situated on the Black Sea. The Maritsa is its major river, though the Danube also flows through Bulgaria. Its capital is Sofia and Bulgarian is the official language. While it is known for its beaches and churches, Bulgaria's top tourist site is the Nessebar Village, a major seaside resort.
Covering the majority of the northern part of the continent, Canada spans the area from the US in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north. Canada's capital is Ottawa, Ontario. Canada's official language languages are English and French, which is mostly spoken in Montréal and Québec City. Known for its vast wilderness and crossed by the Rocky Mountains including Banff National Park, Canada's top tourist attraction is Niagara Falls.
The world's most populous country, China is located in east Asia. A communist nation, its official language is Mandarin Chinese. While the majority of the country is mountainous, its varied landscape also includes the Gobi Desert to the north and three river systems: the Yellow River; the Yangtze River; and the Pearl River. Its ancient capital, Beijing, offers a mix of modern architecture and historic sites. Its most famous tourist site is the iconic Great Wall at Mutiany (aka The Great Wall of China), which runs east-west along the China's northern border.
The eastern European country of Croatia, a former Yugoslav republic, on the Adriatic Sea, encompasses more than a thousand islands and is crossed by the Dinaric Alps. Croatia's capital, Zagreb, is found inland and the official language is Croatian. While Croatia has many varied museums, the leading tourist attraction is the ancient city walls encircling the old town of coastal city Dubrovnik, which date back to the 16th century.
The Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, is located in central Europe. This small country's official language is Czech. It is known for its native beer and hundreds of ancient castles and monasteries. The old town section of its capital, Prague, is the country's leading tourist attraction, featuring the famed Prague Castle and Charles Bridge. The Czech Republic's landscape is dominated by the Bohemian Massif mountain ring and its principal rivers are the Elbe and the Vltava.
Denmark is a Nordic country in Europe. The southernmost and smallest of the Scandinavian nations, Denmark's official language is Danish. The country of famous writer Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands in the Baltic Sea. The capital city of Copenhagen is home to the iconic “Little Mermaid” statue and the country's leading tourist attraction Nyhavn, a 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district.
A northern European country, Estonia faces the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. It has numerous lakes and forests and many rivers. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Estonia is the smallest and arguably most scenic of the three Baltic states, with numerous castles, churches, and fortresses to explore. Estonia's capital is the medieval Tallinn, which features the country's top tourist site, the city's old town. Estonian is the official language.
The Scandinavian nation of Finland borders Sweden and Russia. Its capital, Helsinki, sits on a peninsula and coastal islands in the Baltic Sea, and nearly two-thirds of the country is covered by thick woodlands. It also has thousands of lakes, numerous rivers, and extensive areas of marshland. Finnish is the official language and the 18th-century fortress Suomenlinna is Finland's primary tourist attraction. Visitors can view the northern lights from Finland's Arctic Lapland province, which is also home to the country’s primary ski resorts.
France, in Western Europe may be described as four river basins and a plateau. France offers everything from medieval and port cities to tranquil villages to mountains to Mediterranean beaches. Travelers are seduced by French cuisine and wines, Lascaux ancient cave drawings, fashion, and the Palace of Versailles. The capital city of Paris is known for sites like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, and the country's top tourist site, the Musee d'Orsay. The official language of the country is French.
Located in Western Europe, Germany is a country with a landscape comprised of forests, rivers, and mountain ranges. Germany's major rivers are the Danube, the Elbe, the Oder, the Weser, and the Rhine. The capital city of Berlin houses many icons of German heritage. The Bavarian city of Munich is known for its Oktoberfest and beer halls. German is the official language and the most popular tourist attraction in the country is Miniatur Wunderland, a model railway attraction in Hamburg, the largest of its kind in the world.
Located in Central Europe, most of Hungary is a fertile, rolling plain lying east of the Danube River. The country also features relatively low mountains in the northwest; many lakes and rivers--including the largest lake in Central Europe, Balaton; and quaint villages and beautiful cities. Budapest is the country's largest city and capital, which is made up of two separate settlements on either side of the Danube River (Buda and Pest). Magyar (aka Hungarian) is the official lanuage. The Hungarian Parliament Building is the country's top tourist attraction.
The south Asian country of India can be divided into three regions: the Himalayan in the north, the Gangetic Plain, and the plateau region in the south and central part. It has three great river systems: the Ganges, the Indus, and the Brahmaputra. The principal language spoken is Hindi. Steeped in history, its most popular tourist destination is Agra’s iconic Taj Mahal mausoleum. India is the world’s seventh-largest country by area and the second-most populous.
The European country of Italy is a boot-shaped peninsula with a long Mediterranean coastline, surrounded on the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and on the east by the Adriatic. Its principal river is the Po, it has many Northern lakes, and the Alps form Italy's northern border, while the Apennine Mountains run its length. Each of its cities has something to offer from the canals of Venice to the art of Florence to the fashion of Milan, but, Italy's capital, Rome, houses its leading tourist attraction, the Colosseum. The official language is Italian.
The east Asian archipelago of Japan is located in the Pacific Ocean. A diverse country, it offers skyscraper-filled cities, imperial palaces, beautiful gardens, mountainous national parks, pop culture, cherry blossoms, and thousands of shrines and temples. The official language is Japanese and the capital is Tokyo. Japan is often called the "Land of the Rising Sun" and its leading tourist attraction is the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, the head shrine of the god Inari, in Kyoto.
Situated on the Baltic Sea between Lithuania and Estonia, Latvia is a country in Northern Europe, and one of the three Baltic states. Latvia features dramatic landscapes, with numerous lakes and hills to the east, and a rich heritage. Its leading tourist attraction is Vecrīga the Old City section of its capital Riga, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Latvia offers many other great areas to explore such as Liepaja with its unique former secret military town of Karosta and a magnificent beach. The official language is Latvian.
The southernmost and largest of the three Baltic states, Lithuania is a country in northern Europe. It is situated along the south-eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, and is a country of many forests, rivers, streams, and lakes. Its principal natural resource is agricultural land. Lithuania's top tourist attraction is the medieval old town of its capital, Vilnius, which features Gothic, Renaissance and baroque architecture. The official language is Lithuanian.
The small European country of Luxembourg is surrounded by Belgium, France, and Germany. It’s mostly rural, with the Ardennes Mountains in the north; rocky gorges of the Mullerthal region in the east; and the fertile Bon Pays and the Moselle River valley in the south. Luxembourg has three official languages: French, German, and the national language Luxembourgish. Its capital, Luxembourg City, is famed for its fortified medieval old town perched on sheer cliffs. Also in Luxembourg City is the country's top tourist attraction, the American Cemetery Memorial, General George S. Patton is buried.
Spanish-speaking Mexico is bordered by the United States to the north and Belize and Guatemala to the southeast. Its landscape is defined by its Pacific and Gulf of Mexico beaches, mountains, deserts, and jungles, as well as its many ancient Mayan ruins such as Teotihuacán and Chichén Itzá. Mexico City features upscale shops, gourmet restaurants, and renowned museums, including Mexico's top tourist attraction, the National Museum of Anthropology.
The Netherlands is a country in north-western Europe, also known as Holland, that sits on the coast of the North Sea. About half of the Netherlands sits below sea level, making its famous dykes a requirement for efficient land use. It's known for its tulip fields, windmills, canals, and bicycling culture and its capital city of Amsterdam is home to the country's top tourist attraction, the Rijksmuseum. There are many other major sites in Amsterdam including Jewish diarist Anne Frank's house and the red light district. The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch.
Norway is located on the western part of the Scandinavian peninsula and extends the farthest north of any European country. Nearly 70% of Norway is covered by mountains, glaciers, moors, and rivers. It also features deep coastal fjords, with the Geiranger Fjord serving as its top tourist attraction. Norwegian is the official language of Norway and its capital is Oslo, a city of green spaces and museums. Norway is also known for its northern lights and midnight sun as well as for fishing, hiking and skiing, especially at the Olympic resort in Lillehammer.
Located in north-central Europe, Poland is on the Baltic Sea. Most of the country is on a plain with no natural boundaries except the Carpathian Mountains in the south and the Oder and Neisse rivers in the west. The country is known for its Jewish heritage and medieval architecture and it has 14 heritage sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list and 54 historical monuments. Poland's capital is Warsaw, and its top tourist attraction is Main Market Square in the centre of Old Town, Krakow. The official language is Polish.
Located in south-east Europe, Romania borders the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, and Moldova. The Carpathian Mountains divide Romania's upper half from north to south and connect near the centre of the country with the Transylvanian Alps, running east and west and the Danube River flows through it. The capital city, Bucharest is the sixth largest city in the European Union. Romania is known for the forested region of Transylvania, medieval towns, and its many fortified churches and castles, with Peles Castle its top tourist attraction. The official language is Romanian.
Russia, the world’s largest nation, occupies most of eastern Europe and north Asia, stretching from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caucasus in the south. The Russian landscape ranges from tundra and forests to subtropical beaches. Its official language is Russian and its capital is Moscow. St. Petersburg features the baroque Winter Palace, which houses part of the Hermitage Museum’s art collection. However, Russia's top tourist attraction is the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, also located in St. Petersburg.
Slovakia is located in central Europe and is known for its many castles and dramatic topography of rugged mountains, vast forests, and serene pastures. The Carpathian Mountains dominate the landscape, with lowland areas in the southern region. This landlocked country's official language is Slovak. Slovakia's capital and largest city is Bratislava, where you can find its "old town", which is the country's top tourist attraction.
An east Asian nation on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, South Korea is a sovereign state. A popular destination for winter sports, three-quarters of the country is mountainous. It’s a diverse country that embraces both tradition and technology, offering modern skyscrapers, centuries-old Buddhist temples, cherry trees, and coastal fishing villages. Seoul is the capital of South Korea and the Seoul Metro is the country's leading tourist attraction.
Located in south-west Europe, Spain occupies 85% of the Iberian Peninsula. A broad central plateau slopes to the south and east, crossed by a series of mountain ranges and river valleys. It encompasses 17 autonomous regions, each with its own geography and culture. The country's capital, Madrid, houses the Royal Palace and the famed Prado museum. The Catalonian capital Barcelona, is known for Antoni Gaudí’s unique, modernist architecture, including the Basilica of the Sagrada Família, which is the country's top tourist attraction. Spanish (Castilian) is the official language.
Occupying the eastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Sweden is a Scandinavian nation of thousands of coastal islands, inland lakes, forests, and mountains. Sweden borders Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark via the bridge of Öresund. The Baltic Sea lies to its east, and the Gulf of Bothnia separates Sweden from most of Finland. It is the largest of the Nordic countries, and the fourth-largest country in Europe. Sweden's top tourist attraction is the Vasa Museum, a maritime museum in Stockholm, the capital city. Stockholm is also home to royal palaces, parkland, and museums. Sweden's official language is Swedish.
Situated in western-central Europe, Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau, and the Jura. It is home to numerous lakes and villages and the towering peaks of the Alps, with the famed Matterhorn serving as its leading tourist attraction. There are four national languages of Switzerland: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Its capital is Bern. The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the member states of the Swiss Confederation. The country is known for its watches, chocolates, ski resorts, and hiking trails.
The United States is comprised of 50 states covering much of North America and borders both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as well as Canada and Mexico. The U.S. is the third largest country in the world by area and it has a widely varied topography. Major cities include Washington, DC, the country's capital; Los Angeles, famed for filmmaking; Chicago in the Midwest; and New York, a global finance and culture centre, which is also home to the top tourist attraction in the country, Central Park. The official language of the U.S. is American English.
The English-speaking United Kingdom is a sovereign state in northern Europe that comprises the nations of England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland. It is the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. England's capital, London, is a globally influential centre of finance and culture. Rich in history, the UK has a wealth of prehistoric sites, medieval castles, Roman ruins, and centuries-old universities. However, the Harry Potter Studio Tour is Great Britain's most-visited tourist attraction.