Earlier we wrote a top 10 of the most densely populated areas of the European continent. But which of these countries are also literally the largest in Europe, that is: measured by the surface area of the actual territory? You will discover it below. Check transporthint for list of top 10 largest countries in South America.
This southern European gem – La Bella Italia – is not only one of the founders of the EU or one of the historical world powers as bearers of the Roman and Christian legacy; it is also simply one of the largest countries on the continent. The peninsula – the famous Italian ‘boot’ – covers an area of 301,318 square kilometers. It includes exceptionally long coastlines, the largest lakes in Europe and no less than two large mountain ranges: the Alps and the Apennines. Italy also includes the separate islands of Sicily and Sardinia, plus: San Marino and Vatican City, which is an independent part of the capital Rome.
With its surface area of 312,685 square kilometers, Poland is not only a large European country; it also ranks 77th among major countries worldwide . Located in Central Europe, the Polish territory borders Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia. A natural border is formed by the Baltic Sea. Its area contains many large cities – the favorite residence of the Poles – of which the unsurpassed Warsaw is the capital.
Finland (‘Suomi’ in Finnish) became independent in 1917. The Northern European giant has an area of 338,145 square kilometers, in which Helsinki occupies a central position as its capital. Finland is one of the Scandinavian countries and is at the same time a member of Fennoscandia (the Scandinavian Peninsula) and the European Union. Most of western and southern Finland forms a coastline of the Baltic Sea. To the south, the country is bordered by the Gulf of Finland, behind which Estonia can also be found. The Finns also have Sweden, Norway and Russia as neighbours.
Together with France, Germany is one of the motors of the European Union and the European continent. The economic superpower is therefore also a geographical superpower. After all, the German territory covers 357,050 square kilometers and is also by far the most densely populated area on the continent. Germany stretches from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in the north, to the Alps in the south. That makes southern Germany considerably high, while northern Germany is particularly flat. Central Germany, on the other hand, is characterized by lower mountain ranges surrounded by large forests, such as the Black Forest.
Unlike Finland, Norway is not a member of the European Union. It is of course just as much the western part of Scandinavia and as such a prominent part of Northern Europe. How prominent? Well, the Norwegian area is as large as 385,155 square kilometers. The country is completely bounded to the west by coasts (such as those of the Oslofjord, Skagerrak and the North Sea). To the east, Norway has borders with Russia, Finland and Sweden. The capital of this Nordic chunk is also the country’s largest city: Oslo.
With Sweden – or ‘Sverige’ as Swedish likes it – we will stay in Scandinavia for a while, which is therefore remarkably well represented in this top ten. Sweden is the neighbor between Finland and Norway, which we already discovered above. To the south it is also connected, via a bridge, with the fourth known ‘Scandinavian’: Denmark. However, with a surface area of 449,964 square kilometers, Sweden can easily be called their bigger brother. However, the Swedish population remains rather limited and only about 9.5 million inhabitants live in the country. Since 1995, that population has become a member of the European Union, where it is widely praised for its rock-solid social system.
Everyone knows the kingdom of Spain as one of the biggest tourist attractions in Europe. With an area of 505,992 square kilometers, there is indeed more than enough to see in this constitutional monarchy. For example, the country contains the longest land border in Europe: the one with neighboring Portugal. Spain is also one of the few countries in contact with both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. This ensures that the country is dotted with many and long coastlines.
Known for its great geographical diversity, France is almost doomed to be big. The area of the French mainland – France – is 551,695 square kilometers. That makes France easily the largest country in Western Europe. Larger still is the French Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which with 11,035,000 square kilometers is about the largest in the world – only surpassed by the USA. France borders eight different countries and at the same time has two important mountain ranges in its border area: the Alps in the east and the Pyrenees in the south.
Until 1991, Ukraine was still part of the number one in our list, which we will discover below, which was then known as the Soviet Union. However, the Eastern European country today has an independent territory of 603,628 square kilometers. According to the letter of the law, this makes Ukraine the largest country that lies integrally on the European continent. The soil is fed by the Black Sea, which forms an important natural border in the South-West. The capital of this large area is Kiev.
With a total area of 17,075,400 square kilometers, Russia is not only by far the largest country in Europe; it is also simply the largest country in the world. After all, in its totality this superpower comprises more than one eighth of the total inhabited surface of the earth. Moreover, about 3,960,000 square kilometers of this area is in Europe (the rest is in Asia), which also makes Russia by far the largest European country: more than six times the size of runner-up Ukraine. That gigantic surface encompasses no less than nine time zones and the largest natural forest, water, oil and gas reserves in the world.