How I Got A Schengen Visa In A Week
Abi Patel shares how he was able to get a Portuguese Schengen visa in under a week and join his friends for an unforgettable road trip through Portugal
A big part of Eurasia's landmass in the Northern Hemisphere and the Eastern Hemisphere is covered by Europe. Europe is the second smaller continent on the planet and shares its continental landmass with Asia and Africa.
The Arctic Ocean surrounds Europe to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and Asia to the east.
The Italian peninsula extends from the southern Alps in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. On the other hand, the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe and the Fennoscandian Peninsula in the north of Europe demonstrate the diversity in geography across Europe.
Water bodies such as the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian Sea, the Greater Caucasus, the Black Sea, and the waterways of the Turkish Straits separate Europe from Asia.
Though Europe is a sought-after destination to visit, not many people know of its varied topography. Major countries in Europe, such as the UK, Germany, France, and Italy, are well recognized; however, Europe has many lesser-known countries with a lot to offer.
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Let us conquer the topic of Europe with these questions:
For many years, Europe has been divided, not just by the borders but also historically, culturally, geographically, and economically. First, however, we are here to discuss how Europe is divided geographically.
According to the United Nations, there are 50 countries in Europe. These countries are further grouped according to their geographical regions and subregions.
Mainly Europe can be divided into four regions:
Some of the countries in these regions are de facto independent countries with limited to no international recognition. Additionally, there are several dependencies and similar territories with broad autonomy. Europe also shares some of these countries with Asia, known as transcontinental countries.
As mentioned earlier, European Countries can be classified into four main geographical regions. Therefore, I have segregated these countries according to their geographical location, the de facto countries, and territories.
When people talk about the Nordic countries, they tend to confuse them with Scandanavian countries. Hence, I decided to talk a little about the difference.
The Nordic countries are part of the northern European cultural and geographical region. Consequently, the Nordic countries have similar lifestyles, histories, religions, and social structures.
However, Nordic identity is a product of its linguistic heterogeneity, with three unrelated language communities. Countries and other territories that make up the Nordic region are:
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden also include territories and regions such as Faroe Islands, Greenland, Åland, Jan Mayen, Svalbard, Bouvet Island, Peter I Island, and Queen Maud Land.
Scandinavian typically refers to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, or the Scandinavian Peninsula. This region extends from mainland Norway and Sweden to the northwest corner of Finland. Occasionally, Scandinavia is used as a synonym for the Nordic countries outside the Nordic region.
Nordic territories not part of Scandinavia are Bouvet Island, Greenland, Jan Mayen, and Svalbard.
These two terms are very confusing, and there is a big grey area when defining these two terms. Though slight differences between the two, it is essentially the same thing.
Before knowing which country belongs to which entity, it is essential to learn about the difference between the two entities.
As you will see below, many of the same countries are part of the Schengen Area and European Union or EU.
Many European countries signed the Schengen Agreement to allow the free movement of people between the signing countries, which is now known as the Schengen Area. Due to the agreement, these countries have abolished all passports and other border control types at their mutual borders.
26 countries have signed the Schengen Agreements, which comprise of:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The European Union was established as a political and economic union of several countries in Europe. These countries have a standardized system of laws that governs a single internal market, allowing them to maintain standard trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development policies.
Citizens, goods, services, and capital of the member states can move freely among these countries. There are currently 27 countries as EU member states of the political and economic bloc. The EU member states are:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
Here is a diagram showing the relationships between various multinational European organizations and agreements.
Furthermore, the Schengen Area has introduced ETIAS or European Travel Information and Authorisation System for visa-exempt countries.
There are about 225 indigenous European languages. Some of those languages are:
Germanic Languages: German, Dutch, Bavarian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Flemish, and Afrikaans.
Slavic Languages like Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Belarusian, Czech, Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovak, etc.
Baltic Languages include Lithuanian and Latvian.
Celtic languages such as Welsh, Cornish, Gaelic, and Breton.
The EU has 24 official languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.
Other Languages are Albanian, Armenians, Basque, Hellenic Turkish, etc.
I hope this blog showed you the diversity among the European countries. Each country has something different to offer historically and geographically.