European Geography Facts That Made Us Say 'Wait, What?!'

List Rules
Vote up the facts about European geography that made you feel a little shook.

Geographers argue whether the Earth has seven continents - Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Europe, North America, and South America - or just six. Those in the latter camp say Europe and Asia make up one continent (Eurasia) because they are one large landmass. The word "continent," after all, comes from the Latin word "continere" ("to hold together"). 

That argument might never be resolved, but in the meantime, Europe is home to other geography facts that might surprise you. 

  • The world's shortest scheduled domestic flight, recognized by the Guinness World Records, is 1.7 miles and takes only 90 seconds. 

    The flight - on an eight-seater Britten Norman Islander - goes from Westray to Papa Westray, two remote islands on Scotland's northeast coast. Teachers, doctors, police officers, and school pupils are common passengers. Officially, the flight is scheduled at 90 seconds; Guinness says it's two minutes if taxiing on the runway is included.

    1,055 votes
  • Norway Owns The World's Remotest Island
    Photo: Porcupen /

    Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic Ocean, the world's remotest island, has been a Norwegian territory since 1929

    Declared a nature reserve in the '70s, Bouvet is located around 1,100 miles north of Antarctica, and the closest inhabited island is about 1,200 miles away. No one lives on the island, although it does have an unstaffed weather station. 

    900 votes
  • Monaco Is Smaller Than Central Park
    Photo: Kitnha /

    New York's Central Park covers 843 acres, or about 1.3 square miles, which means it is bigger than Monaco, the second-smallest country in the world, which covers 499 acres, or 0.8 square miles.

    927 votes
  • Spain And France Share Custody Rights To An Island
    Photo: EQRoy /

    In 1659, France and Spain ended the Franco-Spanish War by signing the Treaty of the Pyrenees on neutral territory: Pheasant Island, a tiny piece of land on the River Bidasoa, which divides the two countries. 

    As part of the agreement, France and Spain now share custody of Pheasant Island (aka Île des Faisans in French and Isla de Los Faisanes in Spanish), which is about 656 feet long and 131 feet wide.

    From February 1 through July 31, it's under Spanish rule. From August 1 through January 31, it's under French rule. This joint sovereignty arrangement is called a "condominium."

    874 votes
  • Liechtenstein Is One Of Two Doubly Landlocked Countries In The World
    Photo: Peter Hermes Furian /

    If a country is landlocked, it's completely surrounded by land without any access to an ocean or sea, and to reach a coastline, at least one national border must be crossed. A country that is double landlocked is not only landlocked itself, but also is surrounded by other landlocked countries, and anyone from there who wants to reach an ocean or sea must cross at least two national borders.

    Only two countries in the world are double landlocked: Liechtenstein, which is surrounded by Switzerland and Austria; and Uzbekistan, surrounded by Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. 

    Liechtenstein, a tiny country with an area of 62 square miles, has a population of 39,000.

    707 votes
  • London's Underground Escalators Travel The Equivalent Of Twice Around The World Every Week
    Photo: I Wei Huang /

    The United Kingdom may have left the EU, but geographically it's still part of Europe. And London, one of the busiest cities in the world, boasts some impressive travel numbers - or rather, the London Underground metro does.

    Every week, the London Underground's escalators travel the distance it would take to go twice around the world. And every year, the London Underground's trains travel the equivalent of 1,735 times the length around the world (or 90 round trips to the moon).

    631 votes