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Geography of the EU

Geography of the European Union

Learn about the countries, rivers, mountain ranges, climate and agriculture of Europe. This section includes learning resources for teachers, a comprehensive booklet with information on each EU country, online student quizzes and colourful maps of Europe.

What is the European Union?

Europe is one of the world’s seven continents; 28 countries in the continent of Europe make up the European Union, including the latest member Croatia, who joined the European Union on July 1, 2013. Each country has its own capital city, currency and flag. The EU also has its own flag which is blue with 12 golden stars in a circle.

Over 503 million people live in the European Union. Germany has the highest population in the EU; almost 82 million people live in Germany!

Countries in the EU have lots of interesting geographical elements. Some countries in central Europe, such as Austria, Hungary and Luxembourg, are landlocked countries, which means they do not touch the sea. Other countries, such as Ireland and the UK, are islands, meaning they are surrounded by the sea.

The European Union also has many rivers, lakes and mountain ranges.

The highest mountain in the EU is Mont Blanc, on the border between France and Italy. The Volga and the Danube are the longest rivers.

The tallest active volcano in the EU is Mount Etna in Sicily, an island off the coast of Italy.

Where is the EU?

The EU stretches all the way from the Atlantic Ocean in the west and Portugal in the Mediterranean Sea in the south to Finland and the Aegean Sea in the east.

What is the climate like in Europe?

The climate in most of the EU is called “temperate”, meaning that it’s not too hot or too cold. Northern countries, like Sweden or Finland, have the coldest weather, especially in wintertime. Southern countries, like Italy and Greece, have warmer weather, and have especially hot summers.

These different climates allow countries to grow different types of food, trees and plants. For example, in northern countries and high in the mountains it is too cold to grow vegetables, but evergreen trees, such as fir and pine trees, can survive the cold winters. Where there is plenty of sunshine and hardly any frost (near the Mediterranean, for example), farmers can grow fruit such as oranges, lemons, grapes and olives.

Online quizzes for students:

Let’s Explore Europe

Train your brain with geography

Download documents to learn more about the geography of the EU:

This wallchart is a colourful map of Europe and includes each country’s flag, capital, language and population.

The teacher’s guide discusses the booklet’s content, curricular themes, and gives examples of classroom activities.

This booklet (available in English and Irish) includes one page of information on each EU country, including landmarks, famous people, and connections with Ireland.

This booklet features pictures of each EU country and shows examples of agricultural produce from that country.

This colouring book for children will help them learn about and understand the environment.

This workbook includes ideas for arts and crafts based on the seasons of the year, and ties in seasons with organic produce and information about agriculture.