Basic facts about Southern Europe

sardinijaSeparating different regions is not that easy; it could be either done by geographical location, geopolitical indicators, historical identity or many other criteria. On this blog, Southern Europe is represented as a set of countries located on two major peninsulas in the south of Europe – Balkans, including the Balkan Peninsula and surrounding Balkan countries, and the Apennine Peninsula, which is also known as Italian Peninsula. All those also include many Greek and Croatian islands as well as Italian islands – Sardinia and Sicily, representing Southern Europe as a whole. These countries have a lot in common, being very diverse in the same time. The main similarity of the Southern Europe, in my opinion, is that majority of travellers choose these countries as a destination for enjoying their holidays, especially during the summer.

Balkan countries take its name from the Balkan Mountains and include Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Serbia and other independent countries previously known as parts of Yugoslavia. The Balkan Peninsula is surrounded by by the Adriatic Sea, the Ionian Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Turkish Straits and the Black Sea. The highest mountain, reaching 2,925 metres above the sea level, is Mount Musala in Bulgaria. Total area of the region is about 466,877 square kilometres; for comparison, it is a bit smaller than Spain and slightly bigger than Morocco. Population in total about 55 million. Here in statistics is included Bulgaria and excluded Spain, which also is South European country. On this blog, similarly as for statistical purposes of of the United Nations, Bulgaria belongs to the Eastern Europe.

dubrovnik walls
Dubrovnik city walls

The Apennine Mountains are the main reason for naming the peninsula. Only one country is located on the Apennine peninsula apart of two microstates – San Marino and Vatican City. There are more than 26 million people living in Italy, its territory, both of peninsula and the northern part of Italy, is around 294 thousand square kilometres; about the same size as Philippines and slightly bigger than New Zealand.

Other interesting facts

On the Balkan peninsula there was a large country Yugoslavia located for most of the 20th century; after World War I as a union of the South Slavic people the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was established, with and officially recognised name of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia from the 3rd October of 1929. After the Second World War, in 1946, Yugoslavia was renamed the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. The Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia consisted of the Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia; nowadays, all those are independent countries.

Contemporary history of Italy is also exciting. For example, I was surprised to find out that Italians abolished their monarchy and established a democratic Republic only in the middle of 20th century, after after a referendum held on 2 June 1946. Another interesting fact – over one third of Italian territory consists of mountains; biggest of them are the Apennine Mountains and the Alps.

See below some travel notes or return to the contents menu of this this blog to navigate through topics related to the Southern Europe region.

Central Italy

Rome, Umbria and Vesuvius This was short trip, together with friends, to Umbria and Vesuvius in the second part of November, 2009 . We arrived to Rome by plane. In advance, we agreed rent of apartment in the centre of the city. Apartment was located just a few hundred meters from Vatican City, river Tiber […]

Sardinia

Real paradise on earth This was a very short and exciting trip in June 2010. The trip to Sardinia island, the second largest island in the Mediterranean, lasted only 4 days, although, considering that the sun is shining all day long in Sardinia, the sea is beautiful, and nature pampers everybody with warm evenings – […]

Dalmatia and Lika

Kingdom of natural wonders Croatia, especially Dalmatia and Lika, definitely are our favourite holiday destination when it comes to travel by car, because there you can find everything your heart desires – wonderful nature, sun, mountains, waterfalls, beaches, interesting tourist attractions, etc. In addition, this is a very safe country for travellers with a developed […]

Black Sea coast of Bulgaria

Coast of the Black Sea After visiting monastery, we continued our way to Burgas (see more about our whole trip to Bulgaria and Bulgarian wine). Burgas is the second largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast after Varna. Between Plovdiv and Burgas we saw lots of newly established vineyards – the view was really […]