Printer Friendly

Chapter 6 Geography and tourism in Western Europe.


* Western Europe has a highly urbanized, skilled and well-educated population.

* The climate is moderate for its northern location.

* Western Europe is the home of the Industrial Revolution.

* Western Europe is one of the wealthies regions of the world.

* Western Europe has an outstanding network of transportation and communications.

* Western Europe is the most densely populated region of the world.

* Most of the countries of Western Europe were colonial powers and still have considerable influence in countries that were former colonies.

* Western Europe is one of the major trading centers of the world.

* Western Europe's economy is based on service industries, technology, and heavy manufacturing.

* The region is characterized by cultural fragmentation.


* Western Europe generates more tourists than any region of the world.

* Western Europe receives more tourists than any region of the world.

* Western Europe has a lag and well-established history of travel.

* Europe leads the world in reducing frontier barriers between countries.

* Western Europe has a highly efficient tourism industry


European Capitals

London Stonehenge, Stratford-upon-Avon, and York in England

Dublin and surrounding area

Cork and Kerry, Ireland

Amsterdam and Polder cites northwest of Amsterdam it the Netherlands

Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent in Belgium

Paris and the Chateau Region of the Lore Valley

Cathedral of Notre Dame (Paris, France)

French Riviera

French Alps

Rhine River between Koln and Wiesbaden



Swiss Alps and Lakes

Tyrol area around Innsbruck

Salzburg region

Vienna (Danube Basin)




Cathedral Cities




Continental Europe


English Charnel

European Union

European Plain



Glacial drift


Hanging Valley


Massif Central


National Trusts

North Atlantic Drift






"White Gold"



The countries of Western Europe, Figure 6-1, combine with the nations of Southern and Northern Europe to form the most important tourist region in the world. Five of the world's top destination countries are from this region (France, Austria, United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland). In addition, three other countries of this region (Netherlands, Ireland, and Belgium) are in the top thirty. Together, these countries account for nearly 30 percent of total world tourist arrivals. They are also major contributors to world expenditures in tourism. These countries, without Ireland, account for over 36 percent of the total world expenditures in tourism. Western Europe is extremely accessible, with major transportation routes both within the region and outside the region.

The region has excellent connections to Anglo-America. The nature of tourism to Western Europe from North America varies considerably from country to country. Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland are "short stay" countries that tourists visit in connection with a multicountry visit or tour. Austria, France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom are more likely to have a stronger one-country emphasis or be the main destination, Figure 6-2. All have a high per capita visitor expenditure, but average visitor expense differs markedly from country to country, primarily reflecting differences in length of stay.

Increasing cooperation associated with the European Union combines with deregulation of the airlines to make European travel easier and less expensive. The deregulation of the airlines in Europe has been much slower than in the United States. The latest step in open skies allows airlines to fly between any two cities in the European Union, even on domestic flights inside another country. As in the United States this is creating a new challenge for the national flag carriers as low-cost airlines develop in Europe. Airfares are being driven down on formerly monopolized routes, and discounts are given on heavily traveled routes. The European Union is also in the process of removing border requirements between member nations. The European Union has increased investment in tourism development in the countries of Southern Europe and Ireland, increasing travel to these areas.

Tourism in Western Europe is quite seasonal, as shown in Figure 6-3, illustrating the seasonal character of tourism to Germany. Because European countries have a strong summer holiday tradition a summer peak is typical of Europe. A combination of factors such as climate, school closings, factory vacations, and economic characteristics are important in European seasonality. The degree of seasonality varies slightly depending on location. For example, the United Kingdom and Ireland may have a slightly higher percentage in the winter and a bit lower in July and August because of the more moderate climate. However, the strong peaks in July and August are the same throughout Western Europe. France has an even less-intensive seasonality because of access to the Mediterranean Sea, which attracts more visitors in the winter than Germany and Austria, although they have a strong ski industry.





The landforms of Europe can be divided into four general types. All are found in Western Europe and the British Isles, Figure 6-4. They include the Northwest Highlands, the European Plain of Western Europe, the central uplands of France and Germany, and the rugged mountains of Switzerland, Austria, and Southern Europe. Part of the Northwest Highland that is characteristic of Northern Europe extends into Scotland, Northern England, Wales, and Ireland. These mountains are less rugged than the Alpine mountain system of Switzerland and are low, rounded, glaciated mountains. Glaciation has created such unique features as the lochs of Scotland, the Lake District of northwest England, the scenic Pennine Mountains of central England, and the spectacular mountain highlands of Scotland. The Scottish mountains are not high, but they have rugged portions that offer scenic vistas for visitors. They are visited by both international tourists and hikers and climbers escaping the cities of their respective countries.

The European Plain is an area of low, gently rolling topography and dense populations. This is the major agricultural and industrial region of continental Europe. It has been important historically for migrations of peoples and movements of armies, including the German armies in World War II. The European Plain includes Southern England and Western Europe. It extends across the northern half of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands through Germany and Poland and into Russia, where it is called the Russian Plain. Important rivers cross this plain, including the Thames, Rhine, and Seine--three of the most important rivers in Europe. Numerous tourist attractions dot the Plain including the Shakespeare Country of Stratford-upon-Avon in England, London, Paris, and other great European cities, and Versailles and other architectural remnants of Europe's colorful past.


To the south and east of the European Plain are the Alpine mountain systems of the Swiss and Austrian Alps, where elevations reach more than 15,000 feet. Between the European Plain and the Alps lie the central uplands and plateaus of Western Europe. These uplands and plateaus have eroded over the centuries and have low relief. They are found in discontinuous locations throughout the region. The most notable of these are the rugged landscapes of the Black Forest area of Germany and the massif central highland of France. The Alps are characterized by dramatic landforms that were created by mountain glaciation and water erosion. Picturesque amphitheater-like cirques, ridges, and deep valleys with waterfalls pouring forth from hanging valleys hundreds of feet above the main valley floor make this one of the most scenic areas of the world. The combination of landforms in Western Europe makes the region an important tourist destination for such activities as hiking, camping, and skiing.

Climate Characteristics

All of the British Isles, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and much of France and Germany have a marine west coast climate. The peninsular nature of Europe allows the water surrounding Western Europe to moderate the temperature. Winter temperatures in southern England (at a latitude north of the United States northern border) are similar to those found in Virginia in the winter. Summer temperatures are cooler than those in Virginia, creating a moderate climate throughout the year, with rain during most seasons. The region receives between twenty and forty inches of precipitation in most areas, with higher precipitation totals in Ireland, Scotland, and the other highland regions. On the continent, the marine influence is modified by the land. Winter temperatures in eastern France and in Germany are lower than those in the British Isles, and summer temperatures are higher. The moderating effect of the Atlantic Ocean is the result of the North Atlantic Drift (Gulf Stream), which brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico to the European Continent.

Austria and Switzerland have greater climatic variations due to differences in local elevations and the direction a specific valley faces. There are great differences in climate, with January temperatures dropping below--30 degrees Fahrenheit in the high Alps. During July, temperatures range from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the high mountains to 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the lower valleys.



Capital: Dublin

Government: Republic

Size: 27,136 square miles (slightly larger than West Virginia)

Language: Irish (Gaelic) and English

Ethnic Division: Celtic with some English

Religion: 93% Roman Catholic, 4% Anglican, 3% other

Tourist Season: April to September

Peak Tourist Season: July and August (33%)

Currency: Irish pound

Population: 3.8 million (2001)

Entry: Visas are not required. Passports are required. You
may be asked to show proof of onward or round-trip transportation.

Transportation: There are good connections between North America
and Shannon. Other connections are available to Dublin and Shannon
from European countries. Excellent and frequent ferry service to
Great Britain and France is available. Ireland is part of the
Eurail system. There is good train and bus service within the
country. In major cities, public transportation is provided by bus
and is efficient and reasonably priced. Taxis are expensive.

Shopping: Common items are Irish tweeds, jackets, suits, skirts,
ties, knee rugs, tartans, Irish linen, laces, poplins, knitted
goods, fishermen's sweaters, pottery, silver work, Connemara marble
souvenirs, and world-famous Waterford glass.


The Irish people are of Celtic origin. There is a significant
minority descended from the Anglo-Normans. English is the common
language, but Irish (Gaelic) is also an official language and is
taught in the schools. The Irish are very friendly and cheerful.
The people are about 94 percent Catholic.

Cultural Hints:

* A warm and friendly handshake is a common greeting.

* Lines (queues) are common and respected.

* The "V" for victory sign with back of hand facing out is

* Avoid gestures that use the fingers.

* Eating and food:

Service charges are generally included in the bill. If not, a tip
is customary.

Typical food includes fresh vegetables, dairy products, breads,
seafood (especially smoked salmon), potatoes, chicken, pork, beef,
and mutton.

Physical Characteristics

Ireland's terrain consists of a level-to-rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains. The soils of this fertile central plain consist of glacial drift (rocks and soil carried by glaciers) deposited during the Ice Age. The climate is temperate marine, modified by the North Atlantic Drift, creating mild winters and cool summers. The mild, moist climate accounts for Ireland's famous green landscape and the woolen clothing that is worn much of the year.

Tourism Characteristics

The Republic of Ireland has not had the volume of tourists received by other Western European countries, but it now has about 6.5 million tourists. This represents a 75 percent increase in visitors since 1990. Tourism now accounts for 6.8 percent of the country's GNP and 7.5 percent of its total employment. Since joining the European Union (EU) Ireland has had one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe.

The greatest number and percentage of visitors to Ireland are from the United Kingdom (Figure 6-5). Excluding Northern Ireland, Great Britain accounts for nearly 48 percent of total tourists to Ireland. Including Northern Ireland, it would be 62 percent. Visitors from the United States rank a distant second. There has been significant growth in tourists from Continental Europe, more than doubling the number of visitors since 1985. Germany and France are the two leaders. North American visitors account for 14 percent of Ireland's visitors, but this has declined from 17 percent in 1985. The domination of Ireland's tourism by visitors from the United Kingdom and the United States is a reflection of historical and cultural ties. During the period between 1840 and 1860, Ireland's population declined from five million to just over two million, as a blight struck the staple crop of potatoes. Millions migrated to the United Kingdom and the United States, creating strong cultural and family ties that still exist.


Travel linkages with the United Kingdom have been improved with some deregulation of the airline industry and greater competition on the London-Dublin route. The results have been a dramatic drop in airfares and an increase in traffic. These linkages are also expressed in the length of visitor stay of 10.8 days, which is the longest of Western Europe. This destination character of tourism to Ireland reflects the family and cultural linkages as well as Ireland's physical separation from Western Europe. Further, Ireland's membership in the European Union increased European visitors. Today 23 percent of visitors come from Continental Europe. Most indicate holiday as the primary purpose of their visits. Growth in European routes has also increased air service from the Continent. TAP Air Portugal, Alitalia, KLM, Cityhopper, and Air Littoral all have begun service to Ireland in the last few years.

The past political troubles in Northern Ireland have hampered the growth of tourism to the Republic of Ireland from North America, as many potential visitors wrongly perceive the problem to be occurring on all of the island. Recognizing the importance of tourism to Ireland, the government established a National Tourist Board (the Bord Failte Eireann) in 1955, which is responsible for promotion, development, and marketing of tourism to Ireland. In 1964, eight regional tourist organizations were established to promote local areas and provide information services and accommodation reservation facilities.

Tourist Destinations and Attractions

The most important attraction of Ireland is the combination of a scenic cultural landscape in a lush, green setting. The beautiful pastoral scenery that results is a unique characteristic of the countryside. The Irish people are some of the most friendly and helpful in all of Europe. Descriptions of the major travel regions follow.

Dublin and Surrounding Area

Dublin is the capital and cultural center of Ireland. It contains a number of important historic buildings such as the Abbey Theater; St. Patrick's Cathedral, built in 1191, Figure 6-6; Tailor's Guild Hall, built in 1706; Christ Church on the edge of the liberties section of Dublin, which has a history of eight hundred years; the National Museum; the Custom House, dating from 1791; and the O'Connell Bridge, built in 1880. The single most important attraction in Ireland is Trinity College, which was founded by Queen Elizabeth in 1591. It has in its library the remarkable eighth-century Book of Kells. To the north of Dublin in the Boyne River valley there are a number of ancient burial places and ruins of both pagan and Christian Ireland. At Newgrange, there is a prehistoric burial mound as impressive as Stonehenge. Archaeologists and tourists alike have marveled at the "Light Box," where at daybreak on a midwinter day (Winter Solstice) the sun's rays penetrate into the recessed area of the chamber. The light box is the slit above the entrance through which the sun's rays shine. The ancient kings of Ireland are buried in the burial mounds along the Boyne at New-grange and Knowth. The great palace at the Hill of Tara was the seat of government from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages.


The Upper West Coast

This region was the home of poet Yeats and is central to his writing. It is a rugged region, where the sea pounds the shores and picturesque castles are located. It is an area much acclaimed for its coastal scenery of cliffs and sandy beaches. Bloody Foreland is named for the intense blood-red beauty of its sunsets. The road to Bloody Foreland twists and climbs around the spectacular coastline, which includes the tallest marine cliffs in Europe. These cliffs tower up to a mile above the sea. Behind the coastal plain rise mountains interspersed with deep glens and innumerable crystal lakes. This is the heart of Yeats country, which inspired his poetry. An important site, Lough Derg, is one of Ireland's most noted places of pilgrimage. In Glencolumbkille, there is a specially created folk village showing how three centuries of Irish have lived in thatched cottages.

Galway and Galway Bay

This is a region of the Irish landscape that inspired legends in song and deed. It has attractive fishing villages and shepherds' whitewashed, thatched-roof cottages. Castles, cathedrals, and Spanish architectural remnants are readily viewed in the landscape. Columbus is reputed to have stopped in Galway as his last port of call in Europe.

Galway City is the gateway to three distinctive regions: the horse-raising and fox-hunting country to the east; the two large lakes, Lough Corrib and Lough Mask to the north, which provide salmon and trout fishing; and Connemara to the west, the harsh land stripped to its rock bone by glaciation, suffused with liquid light and smoky colors, which have been the subject of many Irish painters. The area includes the fjord-like Killary Harbor and Leenane and the beautiful Clew Bay near Westport. Rising from its shores and dominating the surrounding countryside is Ireland's holy mountain, Croagh Patrick.


Limerick was protected by King John's castle, whose drum tower and ramparts still stand. St. Mary's cathedral tower and fragments of the old city walls add to the historic character of the region. Just to the north of Limerick, the Bunratty castle has been fully restored and furnished in its original style. Its Folk Park, a historical village, depicts the housing styles and history of Ireland. To the west on the Atlantic Coast in County Clare, there are a variety of mighty cliffs, caverns, and sandy bays culminating in the fortress-like Cliffs of Moher. They rise seven hundred feet straight above the sea. Burren County provides a lunar landscape and the Poulnabrone Dolmen, another of the Stone Age structures found throughout the country.

Cork and Its Environment

Cork, the second largest city in Ireland, is a port city on the Lee River (Figure 6-7). It is a major gateway for visitors from the continent arriving by ferry from France. Its history dates back to the sixth century and reflects the influences of the Vikings, Normans, and Oliver Cromwell. The legendary Blarney Castle and its famous stone are near Cork. Thousands of visitors climb to the top of the Castle to lie down and slide out over a well-like structure to kiss the stone, which is reported to bring them eloquent speech. The drive northwest from Cork to Waterford passes through small market towns, seaside resorts, cliffbound coasts, and mountains. Waterford City is world famous for its handblown lead crystal.


The Dingle Peninsula and Killarney

With its three "magic" lakes, Killarney is reported to be one of the most beautiful spots in the world and is the major resort area in Ireland, with its nearby Macgillycuddy's Reeks Mountains. West, across Macgillycuddy's Reeks, the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry have some of the most magnificent coastal scenery and mountain background in Ireland. The region is characterized by lakes, lost valleys, soaring passes, little harbors, and sandy coves. Slea Head is the most westerly point in Europe. The scenic landscape is dotted with peat bogs that are being mined.

The United Kingdom


Capital: London

Government: Constitutional Monarchy

Size: 94,092 square miles (about the same size as Oregon)

Language: English, Welsh (26% of the residents of Wales speak Welsh), Scottish (60,000 in Scotland)

Ethnic Division: 81.5% English, 9.6% Scottish, 2.4% Irish, 1.9% Welsh, 1.8% Ulster (North Ireland), 2.8% West Indian,

Indian, Pakistani, and other

Religion: 27 million Anglican, 5.3 million Roman Catholic, 2.0 million Presbyterian, 760,000 Methodist

Tourist Season: April to October Peak Tourist Seasons: July and August

Currency: British pound

Population: 60.0 million (2001)

Entry: Visas are not required. Passports are required.

Transportation: Excellent international connections to several
cities in the United Kingdom from many North American and European
airports. The London area airports are among the world's busiest.
Frequent ferry service to Continental Europe. The Channel tunnel
between Britain and France began operation in 1995. Excellent train
and bus transportation within the country. Public transportation is
efficient and comprehensive.

Shopping: Common items are woolens; men's clothing, tweeds,
raincoats, overcoats; high-quality porcelain, china and glass;
pewter, silverware, cutlery; art works and antiques; fabrics such
as cashmere, tartans, yard goods, mohair, and sheepskins; and
Scottish handicrafts such as baskets, pottery, jewelry, printed
textiles, and stone carvings.


The United Kingdom is a mixture of ethnic groups--Celtic, Roman,
Anglo-Saxon, and Norse. The many invasions from Scandinavia, Rome,
and Normandy are blended in the Britons of today. More recent
migrations have created sizable minorities of Indian, Pakistani,
African, and Asian ancestry. There is a strong degree of
regionalism in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The Welsh are
descendants of the Britons, who settled the island before the
Romans. They have maintained a strong cultural identity through
their literature and language.

Cultural Hints:

* A light handshake is the common greeting.

* Excessive hand gestures are not used.

* The "queue" (line) is very important. Crowding in is not done.

* Avoid staring in public.

* Loud behavior is offensive.

* The "V" for victory sign with palm facing you is offensive.

* Eating and food:

Call the waiter by raising your hand.

Ask for the bill by making a motion indicating signing your name.

Common English foods include tea, eggs, stewed tomatoes, bacon,
sausage, fish and chips, beef, mutton, potatoes, and vegetables.
There are many ethnic restaurants throughout Britain as well,
especially Asian.

Physical Characteristics

The United Kingdom is separated from the European Continent by the English Channel, the Strait of Dover, and the North Sea. At the closest point, England is twenty-two miles from France. The country is mostly rugged hills and low mountains with level plains and rolling hills in the east and southeast.

The climate is characterized by cool winters and mild summers. Because of prevailing southwesterly winds, the climate is temperate. The year-round rainfall is heaviest in the coastal areas and the highlands. Fall and winter clothing is needed from about September through April.

Tourism Characteristics

The United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Isles, and the Isle of Man. Most international statistics on tourism refer to this definition of the United Kingdom. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland, and Wales. Britain is a term that is used interchangeably with Great Britain. Great Britain is the area referred to by British statistics on domestic tourism. England is the most populous and largest area of the three political units in Great Britain. It also dominates both international and domestic tourism markets to the United Kingdom. Eighty-three percent of all domestic holidays and nearly 90 percent of all overseas trips to the United Kingdom include England. However, when adjusting for population base on a per capita basis, tourism to Wales is more important economically than to England or Scotland. The ratio of tourist to resident in Wales is 4 to 5 compared with 2 to 4 for Scotland and 2 to 3 for England.

Residents of the United Kingdom have a high propensity for holidays and travel. One of the strongest characteristics of British international travel has been the growth of package tours. Companies such as Thompson have specialized in packaging tours for the mass market. These package tours are generally for week-long trips to such places as Greece, Spain, the Caribbean, and other "major destination" areas and are priced and sold inclusive of accommodations, meals, and airfare for less than the typical airfare on regularly scheduled airlines. British companies lease and operate their own airline charter services and hotels in the destination area. Thus, little of the tour package sold to countries and regions outside of Britain actually ends up in the local economy. Hotels in the destination areas even hire British citizens who are willing to work cheaply for the opportunity to live in an "exotic" location for a few months to a year.

The combination of low-priced packaging and poor weather at coastal resorts in Britain has led to a decline in long domestic holidays. Long domestic holidays were historically for the purpose of visiting British seaside resorts. Large English and Welsh resorts such as Torquay, Brighton, Bournemouth, Blackpool, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, and Aberystwyth have lost up to a third of their visitors. The "short break" market is the fastest-growing market in the United Kingdom and companies are developing strategies to capitalize on this trend.

Domestic tourism has always been highly seasonal. The peak season, which occurs in July and August, accounts for 30 percent of total domestic trips. Adding June and September to July and August, 53 percent of all trips were taken during the summer. The shortness of the British summer season, the school year ending in July, Bank Holiday in August, and the traditional closing of factories the first week of August are the major factors in the sharp seasonality of domestic tourism in Great Britain.

International tourism to the United Kingdom is dominated by visitors from the United States and Europe (Figure 6-8). Fifteen percent of all visitors are from North America, with the United States representing 14.4 percent. Europe accounts for 55 percent of total visitors, but no individual European country equals the volume of visitors from the United States. France (7.8 percent) and Germany (8.2 percent) are the two major markets in Europe. The 55 percent of visitors from Europe to the United Kingdom represents the smallest percentage of within-region travel for all the countries of Western Europe. This is due in part to the strong linkages between the United Kingdom and North America and the former colonial empire of Britain. As a result, the United Kingdom receives more visitors from other countries outside of Europe than does any other country in Europe. The average length of stay in the United Kingdom of 11.6 days is the longest of all the nations of Western Europe, indicating the destination character of the nation. Visitors from the United States are comfortable with the language and have a strong cultural link with the country. The location that receives the most international visitors is London (almost 70 percent of all international visitors), with southeast England a distant second at almost 14 percent. Although most visitors enter through airports around London, visitors still concentrate in the city, in many cases taking short day trips to surrounding towns and tourist sites or departing for travel to the Continent.


The opening of the Channel Tunnel in 1995 increased travel between Britain and France, making day trips between the two nations more practical and increasing the already-established trend. The two nations have already begun to take advantage of the linkage by creating a joint rail pass.

The combination of domestic and international tourism employs 6 percent of the labor force. This is more employment than is generated by banking, finance, and insurance combined. The importance of tourism in the United Kingdom was recognized by the government in 1969 when four statutory, independent national tourist boards were created. They are the British Tourist Authority (BTA), which is primarily responsible for overseas marketing; the English Tourist Board (ETB), which is responsible for marketing and development of tourism in England; and the Wales Tourist Board and the Scottish Tourist Board, which are responsible for marketing and development of tourism in Wales and Scotland, respectively. The growing importance of tourism to employment caused former Prime Minister John Major to create a new government department (National Heritage) with Cabinet rank bringing together tourism, arts, museums, sports, and broadcasting.

The United Kingdom is a crossroads for international travel and is highly accessible from the Continent by air, bus, and rail. A large ferry system carries people back and forth into several European ports and countries. Transportation within the United Kingdom is excellent by rail, bus, or automobile.

Tourist Destinations and Attractions

It is impossible to identify all the tourist attractions in the United Kingdom in a few pages. In almost every shire, village, or countryside, there are some interesting attractions. Many of the castles, mansions, and some villages have been preserved by National Trusts (British or Scottish) to preserve and maintain history. The National Trust protects or owns about 200 historical buildings, over 400 miles of unspoiled coastline, and more than a half million acres of land. It has thirty complete villages and hamlets, castles, and abbeys, as well as lakes and hills. It owns lengths of inland waterways, bird sanctuaries, natural reserves, wind and water mills, working farms, coastal waterways, conservation camps, gardens, gift shops, and restaurants.

The United Kingdom is famous for its many thousands of stately homes. Many are open to the public either by private individuals or the National Trust. Descriptions of a few of the major centers follow.

London and Surrounding Region

London is one of the world's greatest cities. It has been the center of government since Roman times. Although there were a number of settlements in the region before the Romans, it was under the Romans that London became an important city. It provided good access for shipping of Roman soldiers and supplies. England's role later as a colonial and industrial power caused London to expand to include surrounding communities, creating Greater London. Because London has avoided skyscrapers, the resulting combination of parks and low buildings gives a feeling of being in an urban village. Greater London is the focal point of all tourism, domestic and international. Tradition is the word that best characterizes much of the attractiveness of London. This tradition is expressed in pageantry: the daily changing of the guards (footguards at Buckingham Palace; horseguards at St. James's Place), the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower (locking the Tower, a tradition that has existed for seven hundred years), the yearly special occasions, such as the Queen's birthday, the opening of Parliament, and new terms at the Law Courts. The institutions of Britain are expressed in Parliament, Big Ben, The Tower of London (which houses the crown jewels), and churches, such as St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. The large parks retained when Kensington, Chelsea, and Hyde were created combine with a lack of tall buildings to provide a much more human-scale city than is experienced in other world cities.

London has numerous markets, such as Petticoat Lane and Portobello Road; great museums, such as the British, Victoria and Albert, Transport, and Underground War Rooms; art galleries; famous homes, such as those of writers Dickens, Keats, and Ben Johnson; impressive monuments; and theaters that fill with visitors every night.

West of London, Greenwich keeps the world's time and is home to the clipper ship the Cutty Sark and the National Maritime Museum. Near London, there are important castles, such as Hampton Court, home of Cardinal Wolsey, and Windsor, home of Henry the Eighth. Windsor Castle is still used by the British Monarchs. Overlooking the River Thames and Eton College, it is the largest functioning castle in use today and can be visited when the Queen is not in residence. Windsor Castle also has its pageantry with the changing of the guard and the procession of Knights of the Garter to St. George's Chapel. Near Windsor is Runnymede, where King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215 (but the historical marker was placed there by the American Lawyers Professional Association only recently). Today there is also a memorial to John F. Kennedy. Just southeast of London in Canterbury are the Cathedral and the shrine of Thomas Beckett.

Shakespeare Country and the Cotswolds

The center of one of the most interesting and scenic regions of small towns and villages in all of England is Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon. Known as the Cotswolds, the limestone-and-thatched-roof cottages provide a picturesque setting. Moreton-in-Marsh, Broadway, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cirencester, Chipping Campden, Tetbury, and the Slaughters are a few of these Cotswold towns built with the local honey-colored limestone that are still maintained today. Some outstanding castles, especially Warwick and Kenilworth, are fascinating to explore.

Coventry was firebombed by the Germans in World War II, and the rebuilt modern cathedral is a monument to peace. A statue of Lady Godiva, who, according to local folklore, some nine hundred years ago saved the town from additional taxes by riding through the streets upon her horse with only her long hair covering her body, is Coventry's other unique attraction. To the west in Shropshire, the Stokesay Castle is an excellent example of a moated and fortified manor house, and the world's first iron bridge is at Ironbridge. The bridge symbolizes the Industrial Revolution, when mass production of cast iron (and steel) made bridges longer, higher, and easier to construct.

The city of Oxford, with its famous Oxford colleges and their traditions, medieval spires, domes, towers, and ancient walled gardens, is also near this area.

The South and Salisbury Plain

From Brighton, one of the oldest historical resort centers in England, to Dorset County, there are a variety of scenic villages and medieval country towns. Brighton is a reflection of eighteenth-century England when the Brighton Pavilion was built as a palace. Nearby is Hastings, near where William the Conqueror defeated the last Anglo-Saxon King, Harold, in 1066 A.D. The two great cathedral towns of Salisbury and Winchester provide a rich historical view of Saxon and early history. Stonehenge, one of the modern wonders of the world, is the focal point of this region, Figure 6-9. The standing rocks in formation remain only dimly understood by modern observers. It is impressive to consider that these very large stones, up to twenty tons each, were moved to the area and set in a pattern before the invention of the wheel. Early folklore associated the development with the Druids.


This has been discounted, although the Druids perform special ceremonies at Stonehenge on the twenty-first of June, when the rays of the rising sun fall in harmony with the pattern of the stones. Near Stonehenge at Avebury, there is another large prehistoric site with more than one hundred huge stones in a large circle.

The Southwest Country

The climate of this area is mild, and parts of the area serve as the "English Riviera" with scenic harbors and dramatic landscapes. Tiny coastal villages, such as Polpero, were noted for their smuggling activities. The region has numerous hidden sandy bays, cobbled harbors, and the ruins of King Arthur's legendary castle of Tintagel on a Cornish cliff. Inland in the area, there are the moors, an area of two national parks, Dartmoor in Devonshire and Exmoor in Somerset. Dartmoor is an area of streams and wooded valleys with small villages and market towns on the edge. Plymouth is noted as the place from which the Pilgrims set sail and from which Sir Francis Drake went to battle with the Spanish Armada. On the edge of the area, Bath, with its Roman ruins and unique eighteenth-century Georgian architecture, and Bristol, a large port city, attract an important tourist trade.

North England

On the west side of North England, the Lake District has some of England's most beautiful scenery, with green hills, lakes, and moors. It is the region of the author Wordsworth, with the wooded shores of Grasmere, and the rushing streams and jagged peaks of England's highest mountains. The largest lake is Windermere, a long and beautiful sheet of water with a wooded backdrop. The Lake District is a popular destination region for domestic tourism for hiking, fishing, waterskiing, or pony trekking. Two of the most popular towns are Grasmere and Keswick, which are part of the Lake District National Park. On the central and east sides are the cathedral cities of Lincoln, York, and Durham. York, the most famous of the three, has Roman walls, timbered houses, and narrow twisting lanes.

South of York are the dales and moors that served as the inspiration for the novel Wuthering Heights. North of York and the Lake District along the Scottish border, Hadrian's Wall was the northernmost bastion of the Roman Empire. The wall, over seventy-three miles in length, was built by the Emperor Hadrian starting in 122 A.D. The Romans built a fort every five Roman miles. At every Roman mile, a mile castle, a small fort with barracks for a garrison of eight to thirty-two men, was constructed. The purpose of the wall was to protect the English part of the Roman Empire from the Picts and Scots of Scotland.


Wales has a rugged, scenic landscape of mountains and coastal areas. It is a region of castles, coastlines, and wild landscapes. It too is a popular region for hiking and other outdoor activities, with national parks, mountains, and scenic villages with names such as Betws-y-Coed, Llanberis Pass, Capel Curig, Nant Gwynant, and Snowdon. Snowdon National Park is a mountainous area dissected by cascading rivers and waterfalls, interspersed with lakes, forests, and small country towns. Cardiff, the capital and largest city of Wales, has important attractions, such as the impressive Llandaff Cathedral, the historical village, and a mining village illustrating the history of the mining industry of Wales. Cardiff also has its restored castle with a considerable amount of the original foundations (Figure 6-10).


The major focal destination in Scotland is Edinburgh with its Royal Mile, a succession of picturesque streets that wind through the Old Town. The Royal Mile connects Edinburgh Castle, high atop Castle Rock, to Holyrood Palace, at one time the home of Mary Queen of Scots. Museums such as the National Gallery of Scotland, the Royal Scottish Museum, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery are major repositories of the history, culture, and art of Scotland. The Edinburgh festival is one of the most famous in the world. It begins in mid-August with the spectacular and colorful Military Tattoo on the floodlit Castle Esplanada and continues for three weeks with music, opera, drama, and art.


Glasgow, Scotland's second-largest city, is a large industrial city and considered one of the finest art cities in Europe. Not far from Glasgow and Edinburgh are the fabled scenic landscapes of the lochs. The term loch refers to landform features created when glaciers deepened stream valleys, which have since been flooded. Loch Lomond is one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe. Small villages, such as Inverary, and beautiful fjords adorn the west coast near Glasgow. The Highlands are scenic with tiny villages bordered by lovely bays on the coast and by loch-dotted moorland and steep mountains inland. It is in the Central High-lands that the famous Loch Ness is located. The islands off the coast of Scotland, Orkney to the north and Western Islands to the west, provide both scenic and cultural attractions enjoyed mostly by British visitors. The Orkney Islands were settled more than a thousand years ago by the Vikings, while the Western Islands were a center of Gaelic culture and Scottish Christianity. There are many golf courses throughout Scotland. The most famous is in the medieval university town of St. Andrews.

Few international visitors arrive directly in Scotland. Only 7.6 percent of visitors to the United Kingdom enter through a Scottish international airport. Even those visiting Scotland via England arrive in the United Kingdom from the southern part of the country. Scotland's tourism industry is much more dominated by travelers from North America than the United Kingdom as a whole. The United States and Canada are the source of 40 percent of Scotland's total visitors. Although not as important, Australia and New Zealand also have a higher percentage of visitors to Scotland than the total to Great Britain. All four countries have strong ethnic linkages with Scotland, as many Scots emigrated to those nations.

Northern Ireland

North of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland's major attractions are in the outdoors. Northern Ireland has many lakes, which combine with its coastline to offer many beaches, coves, caves, and cliffs. The cultural attractions are associated with its Celtic and prehistoric background, which are found in museums, such as the Ulster Museum in Belfast, and in the countryside where castles and other structures dot the landscape. One of the better marine drives is the Antrim Coast Road. It has delightful bays and pleasant villages and towns along the coastline.



Capital: Paris

Government: Republic, with the President and Prime Minister sharing power

Size: 60,661 square miles (four-fifths the size of Texas)

Language: French, with some regional dialects such as Breton, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish, and Germanic

Ethnic Division: Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indo-Chinese, and Basque minorities

Religion: 90% Roman Catholic, 2% Protestant, 2% Muslim, 6% other

Tourist Season: Year-round on the Riviera; April to October in most of the country

Peak Tourist Season: July and August

Currency: French franc and Euro

Population: 59.2 million (2001)

Entry: Visas are not required. Passports are required.

Transportation: There is excellent international access to
France from several North American cities and numerous
other countries. There are outstanding rail and ferry connections
to other European countries. France has one of the
world's fastest passenger trains (LTV) with speeds up to two
hundred miles per hour. In addition, it is part of the Eurail
system, providing reasonably priced rail travel both to and
from other countries as well as travel within France. All cities
have excellent public transportation. Paris has an efficient and
user-friendly subway system.

Shopping: Common items vary from high fashion to the Flea
Market in Paris. Perfumes, antiques, paintings, and other art
objects are found both in galleries and on the street.


France has been at the crossroads of trade, travel, and invasion
for many centuries. As such, the three basic European groups--Celtic,
Latin, and Teutonic (Frankish)--have mixed over the
centuries to create the present population. Historically, France
has had a high level of immigration. Most immigrants are southern
Europeans (Portugese) and North Africans (Algerian,
Tunisian, Moroccans). There are a number of other ethnic groups
such as a sizable group of South East Asians, especially Vietnamese.
About 90 percent of the population is Roman Catholic.
Migrants and their children comprise the nearly two million
Muslims living and working in France. French is one of the official
languages of the United Nations and other international

Cultural Hints:

* A light handshake is a common greeting and used on departing.

* Business cards are exchanged often.

* Do not rest feet on tables or chairs.

* Do not use toothpicks, nail clippers, or combs in public.

* Do not converse with hands in pockets.

* Slapping an open palm over the closed fist is obscene.

* The "OK" sign in France is made by turning your thumb upward.

* Eating and foods:

Fruit is peeled with a knife and eaten with a fork. Keep both hands
above the table.

Do not speak with food in your mouth.

Typical foods include sauces, soups, bread, croissants, crepes,
cheese, desserts, wine, beef, chicken. Crepes with filling such as
ham, cheese, jams, and honey are good street foods.

Physical Characteristics

Two-thirds of France consists of flat plains or gently rolling hills. The balance is mountainous. The European Plain covers most of northern and western France from the Belgian border in the northeast to Bayonne in the southwest and rises to uplands in Normandy, Britanny, and the east. This large plain is bounded on the south by the steeply rising ridges of the Pyrenees Mountains, on the southeast by the mountainous plateau of the Massif Central, and on the east by the rugged Alps. Northern and western France generally have cool winters and mild summers because of their proximity to ocean waters. Southern France has a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters.

Tourism Characteristics

France has a long history of tourism and a well-established reputation of being the playground of Europe. It was involved in the Grand Tour for the noble and wealthy of Western Europe in the eighteenth century and has been a political and art center of Europe for at least five hundred years. France receives more tourists than any other European country, approximately 75 million. In addition, they have a large number of short-term border crossings; but in the summer months of June, July, and August, traffic and hotel occupancies are high.

Some of the elements that make France such an important tourism destination are its location, centrality, the importance and size of Paris with transportation systems that focus on the city from throughout Europe, large land area, the variety of landscapes, and the multitude of attractions. French landscapes are among the most diverse found in Europe, from the Vosges on the east, which reminds tourists of the Black Forest of Germany; to the varied Atlantic coasts of Le Touquet, La Baukle, and Biarritz; the vitality and variety of Paris; the castles of the Loire; the highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc; to the sun and sea of the Cote D'Azur (Riviera), with world-renowned coastal resorts centered on Nice and Cannes. This diversity is even greater with large international theme parks, such as Disneyland Paris, the Hagondange (The New World of the Smurfs), and the Zygopolis Waterpark at Nice.

France has a strong centralized tourist industry, with the Commisariate General au Tourisme directly responsible to the prime minister of the country. It promotes tourism, creates and improves the infrastructure through loans, subsidies, and fiscal incentives, and coordinates the various segments of the tourism industry.

Like the residents of the United Kingdom, a high percentage of French people (58 percent) take a holiday of four days or more annually. However, unlike other European countries, 82 percent of the French stay in their own country. The French use the automobile for vacation travel more than any other Europeans (81 percent of vacations), and the French are second only to the Dutch in going camping or owning travel trailers. Domestic travel is highly seasonal, with July and August as the peak. Travel on major highways leaving Paris can resemble a parking lot during some weeks in July and August when many government offices and businesses effectively close for the month.

International arrivals increased rapidly in the early 1980s, as did the length of stay. Tourism declined briefly in 1986 because of perceived political and terrorist threats in Europe, which affected American tourism to Europe. This was only a short-term decline as tourism increased again in 1987.

European countries account for over 83 percent of foreign visitors to France, with Germany and the United Kingdom accounting for 21 and 13 percent respectively (Figure 6-11). The United States market contributes some 5 percent of total visitors. While the number of visitors from the United States has grown, its market share has decreased. The increasing markets have come from Southern and former Eastern Europe. A significant percentage of visitors from Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy visit France to see friends, family, and relatives. France receives few tourists from Africa, the Middle East, or Asia.

All indications are that the future for tourism to France is extremely bright. The completion of the Channel Tunnel (1995), connecting France to the United Kingdom funnels a large number of tourists into France, rather than the Low Countries where they used to enter the Continent by ferry.

Tourist Destinations and Attractions

France, one of Europe's largest countries, has multiple attractions and a varied tourist industry. The size and number of these attractions are impossible to detail, but they may be briefly described by dividing France into tourist regions.


Paris and Surrounding Environs

Paris is one of the most striking capitals of the world, rich in history and monuments. Paris was first developed on an island in the center of the Seine River called Ile de la Cite. By the Middle Ages it had grown and extended to both banks of the river. Walls were built around the city in approximately 1200 by King Philip Augustus. Later, additional walls were built to encompass an expanding village. Paris temporarily became the capital in the tenth century, then permanently by the twelfth century. In the mid-1800s, a system of boulevards and traffic circles were planned and built, which combined with the many parks and monuments creates the attractiveness of Paris.

The most famous monument is the Tour d'Eiffel (Eiffel Tower), Figure 6-12. Built a little over a hundred years ago as part of the World's Fair held in Paris, it now dominates the visual landscape both day and night. The Arc de Triomphe was erected by Napoleon at one end of the elegant and beautiful shopping street, the Champs Elysees. A new attraction, the Grand Arc, part of Europe's largest shopping center, provides an excellent view of the city and is a gathering place in a long, open-air, central court area. At the other end of this street, in the middle of Paris, is the Place de la Concorde where Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette were guillotined. Some of the world's largest and finest museums are in Paris. The Louvre, with its modern pyramid entrance, and the d'Orsay are two of the most famous. They contain important and noted works of art, such as the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Whistler's Mother, and the Venus de Milo, as well as famous works of Cezanne, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Lautrec.


Paris has important cathedrals, parks and gardens, such as Notre Dame (one of the finest Gothic cathedrals in the world), Sacre-Coeur Basilica, Sainte Chapelle (with a beautiful stained-glass window), Jardin du Luxembourg, Bois de Vincennes, and Jardin des Tuileries, as well as world-famous night life and cuisine. Boat trips occur on the Seine day and night. Several famous palaces are located near Paris. The most famous is the palace of Versailles, built by Louis XIV and considered one of the most magnificent and elaborate royal residences and grounds in the world. Others are Fontainbleau, Chateaux of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Thierry, and St. Germain-en-Laye. Now EuroDisney, some twenty miles east, is attempting to rival the historic attractions.

South of Paris, the cathedral in the medieval town of Chartres rivals Paris's Notre Dame, with marvelous Gothic architecture and exquisite stained-glass windows. The Loire Valley contains a number of well-kept chateaus of all sizes and degrees of charm (Figure 6-13). Within this area alone, there are over a hundred castles that can be visited. Light and sound shows, which were started in the Loire Valley in 1952, bring to life the rich past of kings, queens, and nobility of France as the castles, fortresses, and abbeys of the Loire Valley are brought to life in the brightness of a thousand lights. A few are Blois, with the death chamber of Catherine De Medici; Amboise, where 1,500 Huguenots were massacred in 1560 and Charles VII died; or Chambord, a royal palace of King Francois I, set in a large park as large as Paris. The Loire Valley is also an area of important wine production for France, adding to the picturesque character of the area.



West of Paris, along the coast of the English Channel, is a picturesque and distinctive coastal area of cliffs, beaches, and charming fishing and farming villages. The countryside is dotted with giant granite boulders and wild meadows on the moors and thickets and forests in a gently rolling landscape. Sea resorts, ancient cathedrals, religious festivals and pilgrimages, and castles add to the picturesque coastline of Brittany. The high point of a visit to Brittany is St. Malo, with its massive medieval ramparts overlooking the seafront, and the great chateau and fortress.


North of Brittany is the traditional home of the Normans, who invaded England in 1066. They left their mark upon the landscape with their unique architectural style in the cities of Rouen, Caen, and Bayeux. The link between Britain and Normandy's history is expressed in the cathedrals of Rouen, Bayeux, Coutances, Sees, and Hambye. Rouen was where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. The site is now a church, and a monument has been dedicated to this female patron saint. Bayeux is famous for the Bayeux Tapestry, depicting the Norman Conquest of England.

Normandy has three hundred fifty miles of contrasting coastline, with cliffs, pebbly coves, and long stretches of fine golden sand. Resorts along the Cherbourg Peninsula are warmed by the North Atlantic Drift. Inland are forests, tranquil streams, lush pastures, and fruit orchards. Two of the most impressive features of the region are the beaches where the Allied forces landed on D-Day in World War II and spectacular Mont-St.-Michel. Mont-St.-Michel is one of the world's great wonders. The first view of the granite offshore mount, surmounted by a gothic abbey with a tall spire, is breathtaking. It is a popular pilgrimage center where visitors walk through twisted passageways faced by old houses, shops, and restaurants up to the top of the rock to the abbey church, with its spire rising more than five hundred feet.

The major attraction for many North Americans and Britons are the D-Day beaches along the coast. The American Cemetery with its rows of white marble crosses and stars of David overlooking Omaha Beach is a sobering, yet impressive, sight. On the seafront at Arromanches is an excellent museum commemorating the war.

Northern France

This vast, flat land is famous as the path of armies. Towns along the coast, such as Dunkirk, Dieppe, Le Havre, and Calais, are important points of departure to, and entry from, England. They also bring thousands of day trippers from Britain to enjoy the coastal beaches.

The French Alps and Massif Central

The center for this region is the cities of two past Winter Olympics, Grenoble and Albertville. Grenoble serves as a base for visitors to the many ski resorts in the surrounding mountains. High mountains and beautiful lakes characterize this region. It is a region with a reputation for mineral waters for the treatment of specific illnesses and for mountain resorts for the alleviation of respiratory complaints. Famous centers such as Vichy, La Bourdoule, Chatel-Guyon, Mont Dore, Royat, and St. Nectaire were built to cater to visitors seeking health treatment. Second homes, holiday villages, and individual chalets are popular in this region.

Cote d'Azur and Principality of Monaco

The international playground of Cote d'Azur, or Riviera, with its picturesque little harbors, marinas, and beach resorts along the Mediterranean and casino in Monaco, equals Paris as a tourist destination in terms of visitors. The region is high on the list of dream places to visit. The climate and warm deep blue sea have fostered fashionable resorts such as St. Tropez, St. Raphael, Cannes, Antibes, Nice, and Menton, along with Monte Carlo. The two most popular cities for American tourists are Nice and Cannes. Both have wide avenues, palm trees, and palatial hotels. The Cannes Film Festival in the spring brings visitors and movie stars from all over the world to the world's largest and most famous film festival.


A new tourist area near the Spanish border, Languedoc-Roussillon, is designed to take advantage of the sandy Mediterranean beaches and take some of the pressure off the Riviera. Montpellier (one of the most attractive towns in southern France) and Narbonne are the major centers for this developing region. It is a culturally unique area with small towns, small buildings with red-tiled roofs, and ancient fortresses on the hills. One of the most impressive medieval fortress towns is inland at Carcassonne. It is impressive both by day and by night with its circle of towers and battlements built by Visigoths and Romans.


Along the border with Spain is a scenic mountain area inhabited by a distinctive cultural group, the Basques. Also close to the area is the famous religious shrine of Lourdes. Lourdes is a small town in a beautiful mountain setting on the edge of the Pau Gorge, which attracts thousands of pilgrims to the site where the Virgin Mary reputedly appeared to a young girl near the Massabiel Rock in February 1858. Just north of the Pyrenees, there is an excellent wine-producing area with wineries to visit.


This Mediterranean island, with its rocky coastline, is the birthplace of Napoleon. Corsica lies 100 miles south of the French Riviera, 50 miles from the Italian peninsula, and 8 miles from Sardinia. Half of Corsica's 220,000 inhabitants are concentrated in the two main towns of Ajaccio and Bastia. It is sometimes called the Isle of Beauty. The island is covered with jagged, forested mountains, with small villages perched on the sides of the valleys. The sprawling coastal beaches fringed with palm trees, ancient buildings, and open-air cafes are popular for visitors.


The Principality of Monaco is the second smallest independent state in the world, after Vatican City. It is located on the Mediterranean coast some eleven miles from Nice, France, and is surrounded on three sides by France. Founded in 1215 as a colony of Genoa, Italy, Monaco has been ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1419, except when it fell under French rule during the French Revolution. Designated a protectorate of Sardinia (1815-1860) by the Treaty of Vienna, its sovereignty was recognized in 1961. It is a constitutional monarchy headed by Prince Rainier III. The people are French (47 percent), Monegasque (16 percent), Italian (16 percent), and other (21 percent).

Monaco is divided into three sections--Monaco-Ville, the old city; La Condamine, the section along the port; and Monte Carlo, the new city, the principal residential and resort area. International air service is available to North America and other countries of the world through the international airport at Nice.

Monte Carlo has become famous as an exclusive resort for the rich and famous and royalty. Monte Carlo's famous casino is a major source of income for the Principality of Monaco. The mild winter climate with its sunny days makes the Riviera a year-round attraction.



Capital: Brussels

Government: Constitutional Monarchy

Size: 11,783 square miles (slightly larger than Maryland)

Language: 56% Flemish (Dutch), 32% French (Walloon), 1% German, 11% legally bilingual

Ethnic Division: 55% Fleming, 33% Walloon, 12% mixed or other

Religion: 75% Roman Catholic

Tourist Season: April to October

Peak Tourist Season: June to August

Currency: Belgian francs

Population: 10.3 million (2001)

Entry: Visas are not required. Passports are required.

Transportation: There are international flights to North
America and other European countries. Belgium has excellent
road and rail connections with other European nations and
ferry service to Britain. Its internal transportation is excellent
by major highways and limited access roads between major
cities. Public transportation includes subways, streetcars,
buses, and taxis.

Shopping: Belgium lace and chocolates are the most famous
items. Also tapestries, diamonds, leatherwork, linen, glass,
and antiques are common purchases.


The people of Belgium comprise elements of Celtic, Roman, German,
French, Dutch, Spanish, and Austrian origins. Today, the Walloons
(French speakers) occupy the southern half of the country, and the
Flemish (Dutch speakers) the northern half, referred to as
Flanders. French and Dutch are the official languages, but are
spoken in their respective regions. English is understood in both
areas. There are minorities of Italians, Spaniards, North Africans
and Germans. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic.

Cultural Hints:

* A light, brief handshake is a common greeting.

* Pointing with the index finger is impolite.

* Being loud is rude.

* Do not talk with items in both hands, including food.

* Do not put feet on chairs or tables.

* Eating and food:

Keep your wrists on the table.

Generally, bills are paid at the table.

The tip is generally included in the bill; extra is appropriate.
Typical foods include pork, game birds, fish, cheeses, fruits,
vegetables, breads, soups, wine, beer, and mineral water. Belgium
is famous for its chocolates and waffles. French fries are served
with a variety of dressings based on mayonnaise rather than

Physical Characteristics

The north and west of Belgium constitute a great fertile maritime plain, which is scarcely above sea level. South of Brussels, central Belgium is a rolling country of pleasant hills and valleys, rising gradually eastward. Still further south and to the east, the hills give way to the mountainous Ardennes Forest, the river valleys of which have been invasion routes in wars dating back to the Middle Ages but which are now popular tourist and vacation spots.

The climate is cool, temperate, and rainy with mild winters and cool summers, typical of a marine west coast climate.

Tourism Characteristics

Belgium's tourism is characterized by short stays. Visitors stay only a fraction over two days. The majority of tourists to Belgium come from other Western European countries, with the Netherlands, West Germany, and the United Kingdom accounting for approximately 50 percent of its nearly 6.4 million visitors (Figure 6-14). The United States is the largest market outside of Europe, accounting for slightly less than 6 percent of total visitors. Many residents from the United Kingdom come for day or weekend visits. Nearly half of the tourists are from the Netherlands, the largest single source of visitors. Belgium's location on major international and European transport routes is conducive to a large number of tourists visiting Belgium as part of a longer visit to Europe in general. As is the case in many European countries, tourism is highly seasonal with the summer months as the high season.


Tourist Destinations and Attractions

The historical cities of Belgium-Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Liege, and Antwerp are picturesque, combining medieval with modern atmosphere. The town center of the capital, Brussels, is one of the most picturesque of all Europe. The Grand-Place (the town center) consists of the Town Hall, Figure 6-15, Maison du Roi, and the Guild Houses. Excellent parks such as Parc de Bruxelles and the Parc du Cinquantenaire also attract visitors to Brussels. Antwerp, the major port and a diamond center, is the home of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Rubens House, and the Gallery of Fine Arts. Bruges, a medieval city, and Ghent, the "Venice of the North," are famous cities with their own personalities. Museums, churches, and palaces maintain the character of the Flemish (Dutch) culture, especially their famous artists (Figure 6-16).


In the southern part of Belgium, the Ardennes Mountains are where the famous World War II Battle of the Bulge took place. This area is popular with both Belgians and international tourists who are attracted to its spas, parks, quaint villages, beautiful streams, woods, and nature reserves.

The European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, housed in Brussels, foster business travel to Belgium. Belgium's coast has some of the better beaches in Western Europe, with promenades, casinos, and aquariums. Beach cities such as Knokke-Heist, Oostende, and Le Zoute receive large numbers of tourists on day excursions from Britain.


The Netherlands


Capital: Amsterdam (but government is located in The Hague)

Government: Constitutional Monarchy

Size: 16,042 square miles (the size of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island combined)

Language: Dutch

Ethnic Division: 97% Dutch, 3% Indonesian and other

Religion: 34% Roman Catholic, 25% Protestant, 41% unaffiliated

Tourist Season: April to September; Tulips-April Peak Tourist Season: April to September

Currency: Dutch guilder (FL.)

Population: 16.0 million (2001)

Entry: Visas are not required. Passports are required.

Transportation: There is excellent international air service to
numerous North American and European cities. Also, there is
excellent surface transportation service to other principal
European cities and between Dutch cities. Public transportation is
available in cities by bus and streetcars, serving the city and its
suburbs. Bicycles are a popular mode of travel in cities and the
countryside. Bicycles are available for rent for a nominal fee at
train stations.

Shopping: Important local items include diamonds, Delftware,
porcelain, traditional dolls, cheese, paintings, and antiques.


The Dutch are primarily from the Germanic culture, with some
minorities from Indonesia and Suriname, former colonies of the
Netherlands. The two major religious groups are Roman Catholics (40
percent) and Dutch Reformed (27 percent). The Royal Family belongs
to the Dutch Reformed Church. The official language is Dutch;
however, English, German, and French are generally understood.

Cultural Hints:

* A handshake is common as a greeting and at departure.

* Eye contact is important.

* Rubbing the nose with the forefinger from the bridge downward
indicates someone is cheap.

* Do not chew gum while speaking.

* Pointing the index finger to the forehead indicates a person is
crazy, or foolish.

* Touching and contact are not common.

* Eating and food:

Hands rest above the table.

Do not eat before the hostess does.

Leaving the table during a meal is considered rude. Sample all
items of a meal.

Typical food includes bread, cheese, meats, sausage, potatoes,
vegetables, fish (herring, smoked eel), and pastries. There are a
number of Chinese and Indonesian restaurants. French fries are
served with a variety of dressings based on mayonnaise, rather than

Physical Characteristics

The country is low and flat except in the southeast, where some hills rise to one thousand feet above sea level. Nearly one-third of the land is below sea level and has been reclaimed from the sea (polder lands). The climate is a marine west coast with cool summers. The warmest weather occurs between June and September, while the other eight months are cool to cold. Winters are long, and the damp cold from the North Sea is uncomfortable even when temperatures are well above freezing.


Tourism Characteristics

Tourism to the Netherlands is characterized by short stays. Europe accounts for 80 percent of all visitors, with Germany and the United Kingdom contributing over half of all European visitors (Figure 6-17). The United States is the largest market outside of Europe and ranks third overall. In 1999, the Netherlands had nearly 6.10 million visitors. Tourism is significant for the economy of the Netherlands, as it has one of the highest daily per capita expenditures in Western Europe. It accounts for 230,000 jobs for the country.

Tourist Destinations and Attractions

The major attractions of the Netherlands include its famous flower auctions, particularly at Aalsmeer; flower bulb fields such as at Keukenhof Gardens at Lisse, which draws many tourists in the spring; its culture and small villages such as Volendam, Haarlem, Gouda, and Zandvoort with their old houses, gardens, and residents attired in folk costumes in stores and other places where tourists frequent; its countryside of reclaimed polder lands; and rich farm land with windmills and canals. The major city of Amsterdam, with its famous canals, includes other famous sites and museums, such as Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and Anne Frank's house where her family took refuge from the Nazis during World War II. The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands, built around 1885. The most famous work of art in the Rijksmuseum is Rembrandt's The Night Watch. The Van Gogh Museum contains about eighty of his works arranged in chronological order to show Van Gogh's stylistic development. The most popular tour of Amsterdam is the glass-topped boats through the canals, Figure 6-18.

The Hague (Den Haag), where the government is actually located, has the International Court of Justice (the Peace Palace) and historic Ridderzall (Knights' Hall). Near Amsterdam, the miniature village Madurodam offers a view of almost all of the notable landscapes of the country. Rotterdam is one of the most dynamic and efficient seaports in the world, with a large free-port center. Other major cities include Utrecht, which has one of the oldest and best-preserved Gothic cathedrals in Europe; Leiden, a university town where the Pilgrims lived before setting out for America; and Delft, with step-gabled houses and a famous porcelain factory.




Capital: Luxembourg

Government: Constitutional Monarchy

Size: 998 square miles (smaller than Rhode Island)

Language: Luxembourgish, German, French; many also speak English

Ethnic Division: Celtic with French and German blend; guest workers from Portugal, Italy, and other countries

Religion: 97% Roman Catholic

Tourist Season: May to September

Peak Tourist Season: May to September

Currency: Luxembourg franc; Belgian franc, and Euro

Population: 0.4 million (2001)

Entry: Visas not required. Passports are required.

Transportation: International airlines connect Luxembourg with
Chicago and New York in the United States. Luxembourg is a rail and
road hub for Europe. Major international routes pass through
Luxembourg. Luxembourg also has excellent public transportation.


Luxembourgers are an ethnic mix of French and German (75 percent)
and a number of guest workers from Italy, France, Portugal, and
other European countries. The language is a reflection of French
and German blend. It is Luxembourgish, a Franco-Moselle dialect
mixed with many German and French words. English is widely
understood. Over 90 percent of the population is Roman Catholic.
The remaining population belongs to various Protestant
denominations or is Jewish. In 1815, after four hundred years of
domination by various European nations, Luxembourg was made a grand
duchy by the Congress of Vienna. It was granted political autonomy
in 1838 under King William I of the Netherlands, who was also the
Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

Cultural Hints:

* A light handshake is a common form of greeting.

* Chewing gum while speaking is impolite.

* Eating and foods:

Keep both hands above the table.

The waiter is usually paid at the table.

A service fee is usually included in the bill.

Typical food includes ham, freshwater fish (trout and
pike), black-pudding sausages, black pudding, potatoes,
sauerkraut, and calves liver dumplings.

Physical Characteristics

The northern half of the country is largely a continuation of the Belgian Ardennes. It is slightly mountainous and heavily forested. A plateau extends from France into the southern part of Luxembourg, creating an open, rolling countryside. Luxembourg has a marine west coast climate much like that of the United States Pacific Northwest, with mild winters and cool summers.

Tourism Characteristics

Luxembourg's central location has been a major factor for its tourist industry. For years, it has been a primary access to Europe by low-cost, scheduled airlines, such as Icelandair. It is on several major transportation routes. Of its 800,000 plus visitors in the 1990s, 90 percent were from other European countries, mostly its neighbors, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands (Figure 6-19). Tourism is seasonal, primarily in the summer.


Tourist Destinations and Attractions

Luxembourg City, the capital, is Luxembourg's major attraction. It has medieval bridges, spires, and ramparts, which are illuminated at night; a gothic cathedral; and museums. The Ademes and Moselle Valleys are green, scenic valleys with old fortresses dotting the landscape.



Capital: Berlin, with some government functions remaining in Bonn

Government: Federal Republic

Size: 96,019 square miles (the same size as Wyoming)

Language: German (English is understood by many)

Ethnic Division: Mostly German

Religion: 45% Protestant, 37% Roman Catholic, 18% other or unaffiliated

Tourist Season: May to September

Peak Tourist Season: June, July, August

Currency: German (Deutsch), mark (DM), and Euro

Population: 82.2 million (2001)

Entry: Visas are not required. Passports are required.

Transportation: There is excellent air access to Germany. A number
of cities have direct international flights to North America,
Europe, and the rest of the world. Frankfurt's international
airport is a hub for much of Europe. The airport also has a train
terminal. Both rail and road transportation are excellent. Germany
has a number of express trains and an extensive network of
highways. The Autobahn is world famous as a limited-access,
high-speed (no speed limits) highway. Cities have excellent mass
transportation in the form of trains, steetcars, and subways.

Shopping: Items include musical instruments, fine porcelain,
crystal, silverware, cuckoo clocks, wood carvings, stainless steel
cutlery, Bavarian leather shorts, Tyrolean hats, Mercedes Benz
automobiles, and wine.


The population of Germany is primarily German; however, there are
large numbers of foreign guest workers from Turkey, Italy, and the
Baltic States. Changes in East Germany since 1990 have prompted
former Yugoslavians and others to migrate to Germany. An ethnic
Danish minority lives in the north, and a small Slavic minority
known as the Serbs lives in eastern Germany. In the western region
there are refugees from the Middle East, India, Africa, and Asia.
The reunification of Germany occurred on October 3, 1990. It has
been difficult (and expensive) to try to bring the standard of
living of Germans in former East Germany up to the levels of West
Germany. German is the language of the country, and English is
widely understood and taught in the schools. The two major
religions are Roman Catholic (in the south and west) and Lutheran
(in the north and east).

Cultural Hints:

* A handshake is a common greeting.

* Business cards are exchanged.

* Men rise when a woman enters the room.

* Coughing or restlessness at a concert is rude.

* Chewing gum in public is not appropriate.

* Do not talk with your hands in your pockets.

* Do not put your feet on the furniture.

* To indicate the number one, raise the thumb.

* To point the index finger to the temple and twist is considered
very rude.

* Eating and food:

To call a waiter, raise the hand with index finger extended. It is
common to be seated with other parties if seats are not available
at a private table.

Do not cut potatoes, pancakes, or dumplings with a knife. Typical
foods include potatoes, noodles, dumplings, sauces, vegetables,
cakes, pastries, sausages, pork, chicken, and ethnic foods. German
sausage, in dozens of different types, is world famous. Regional
dishes, such as smoked eels in Hamburg, smoked ham and bacon in the
Black Forest, and liver dumpling soup and roast pork in Bavaria,
are but a few of the many regional specialties.

Physical Characteristics

The terrain of Germany varies from the plains of the northern lowlands through the central uplands and Alpine foothills to the Bavarian Alps. The highest peak is the Zugspitze, reaching 9,720 feet. In the southwestern corner of the country is the Black Forest, so named because of the deep green of its firs, which give a dark or black appearance.

The climate is a marine west coast, with cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers moderated by occasional warm winds.

Tourism Characteristics

While Germans represent one of the great international and domestic travel markets of the world, the German visitor industry consists primarily of excursionists or travelers in transit. Germany's location on the borders of the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Poland, and Denmark brings many one-day visitors from these countries as well as travelers passing through to visit neighboring countries. Like other countries of Europe, many of Germany's visitors are from Europe itself, as 72 percent of their visitors are European. The Netherlands is the largest single market for nights spent in hotels in Germany, accounting for 14 percent (Figure 6-20). The United States and United Kingdom rank second and third with 11.9 and 9.6 percent, respectively. Americans only stay a few days, indicating that Germany is part of a larger tour of Europe.



The major purpose for visiting Germany is listed by visitors as a "holiday." Two other reasons given are visiting friends and relatives and business. In addition, a significant number of visitors from Northern Europe (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland) indicated "in transit" as a major reason for visiting. Business as a tourist attraction is reflected in the increasing convention exhibitors and international fairs in Germany.

The summer months of June, July, and August are the most dominant season for both domestic and international tourism. Most visitors (84 percent) arrive by road from neighboring countries.

Tourist Destinations and Attractions

Descriptions of the major tourist regions of Germany follow.

The Rhineland-Palatinate

One of the most romantic areas of Europe is the Rhine River region. Castles dot the islands of the river and adjacent hills. Vineyards and picturesque towns are found along the river's length. Although it is one of the world's busiest rivers, the Rhine is also rich in history and legend with its castles and islands. One of the most popular tourist attractions is the Rhine Valley between Bingen and Koblenz. The Rhine cuts deeply into the Rhenish Slate Mountains and is lined with vineyards, castles, and beautiful villages, such as Bingen with its Mouse Tower, Kaub with its Pfalz (toll station) in the middle of the Rhine, St. Goar, St. Goarshausen, Boppard, and Koblenz. The mighty Prussian fortress of Ehrenbreitstein towers over Koblenz. The Rhine and Moselle rivers join near Koblenz.

East of the Rhine, Westerwald and Taunus have nature reserves, the historic old state spa of Bad Ems, and the famous potteries in the Kanenbackerland. West of the Rhine, Eifel and Hunsruck offer crater lakes and wildlife parks; the Benedictine Abbey of Maria Laach, the best-preserved Romanesque edifice in Germany and a historic jewel; and the Ahr Valley, the largest red wine producer in Germany. Between the Eifel and Hunsruck, the Moselle winds its way from Trier to the Rhine, past many renowned wine-producing villages, art treasures, and religious symbols (Figure 6-21). Trier, Germany's oldest city, prides itself in having the most splendid Roman architecture north of the Alps. The cities in the Rhine region from Cologne (Koln) on the north, through Bonn, Frankfurt/Main, and Heidelberg on the Neckar, contain important cathedrals, museums, and picturesque town halls. Cologne, an old Roman city, boasts a cathedral that dominates the landscape amid a city replete with Romanesque churches, a medieval city wall, and famous museums. To the south of Cologne are Frankfurt and Wiesbaden.

Wurzburg to Fussen

The "romantic road" from Wurzburg to Fussen connects a series of medieval walled cities. Rothenburg is one of the most famous well-preserved medieval towns overlooking the Tauber River. It offers an extensive network of footpaths, wall walks, thirty gates and towers, and magnificent houses and museums. Other communities, such as Dinkesburhl and Nordlingen, are equally well preserved. Augsburg, an important trade and banking center even in Roman times, is an excellent example of Renaissance architecture. At the end of the romantic road is Fussen in Bavaria.

The Black Forest (Baden-Wurttenberg)

The Black Forest is an area of scenic beauty, with vineyards, hills, meadows, woods, and splendid vistas of the Rhine plateau (Figure 6-22). Heidelberg is home to Germany's oldest university town with its world-famous student castle. The Black Forest is famous for its many health resorts, mineral springs, and wooden clocks. The most well-known health resort is Baden-Baden. Other centuries-old spas are at Wild-bad, Bad Liebenzell, Baiersbronn, Bad Mergentheim, Bad Durrheim, and Triberg. The gateway to the southern Black Forest is the medieval town of Freiburg, which is referred to as the "Gothic city of woods and wines." With its orchards and vineyards, the area around Lake Constance adds to the tropical flora of Mainau Island in the lake to provide a diversity of beauty.


The center of German culture in Bavaria (southern Germany) is Munich, with its large cellar-like beer halls, Oktoberfest Fair, and Fasching, the carnival time preceding Lent. The museums, city halls, and palaces of Bavarian kings abound in the area (Figure 6-23). Munich was the site of the 1972 Olympic games, and the grounds are today a major attraction with their unique design. South of Munich in the German Alps are high mountains with cogwheel railroads and cable cars, lakes, and some of the best-preserved castles in all of Europe. Lederhosen and yodeling with the Alps as a backdrop are the most familiar tourist images of Germany. Northeast Bavaria is a storybook land.



King Ludwig II built several castles (Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee, and Neuschwanstein) that represent the apex of castle building in the region. They are in excellent condition and set in very picturesque areas. Other important attractions are the passion play at Oberammergau, which occurs every ten years in memory of the town being saved from the Black Plague that swept Europe in the fourteenth century; Garmish-Partenkirchen, from which a train ride can be taken to Zugspitze high in the Alps; and Berchtes-garden near the border of Austria.

Two cities, Nuremberg and Regensburg, serve as examples of the area. Nuremberg has a well-preserved ancient Imperial castle. Regensburg is dominated by many churches and patrician homes. The cathedral of the Old Free City is one of the Gothic masterpieces in Bavaria. The Danube cuts through the region and is navigable from Regensburg to the Black Sea.

Berlin and Former East Germany

Berlin's importance as a travel region has been growing rapidly since the reunification of Germany. Berlin is the official capital of Germany, although it shares many administrative functions with Bonn, increasing its importance for business and government travel. It does offer some interesting comparisons between the former East Berlin and West Berlin. The principal attraction in Berlin is the old capital of Germany and its growing importance as a cultural center. The performance of opera, ballet, drama, orchestra, and chamber music is taken seriously. Berlin's attractions include many historic buildings that have been reconstructed or which are being rebuilt after suffering damage or destruction in World War II. These include the Schloss Charlottenburg, summer palace of the Hohenzollerns rulers; the Egyptian Museum and a number of galleries and fine museums; the Brandenburg Gate; Humboldt University; Neue Wache; the National Gallery; and Marienkirche, Berlin's oldest church.

Major cities for tourists in eastern Germany are Dresden, Potsdam, Leipzig, and, in general, the southern part of former East Germany. Although Dresden was destroyed completely by fire bombing in World War II, it has been rebuilt. The open plazas with fountains and gardens contrast with the old structures that are being rebuilt. The major attraction is the Zwinger Art Museum, which has an exceptional collection of paintings by Rembrandt and Michelangelo. Just downstream of the Elbe is Meissen, the "Porcelain City." Since 1720, Europe's most famous porcelain "white gold" has been continuously produced in this classic small city that lies on the steep banks of the Elbe. Potsdam, about an hour from Berlin, has been a significant town since the 1600s. The palace Sans-Souci has important works of art. Cecilienhof, a twentieth-century palace near Potsdam, is where the Potsdam Agreement was signed.

Leipzig was the site of a famous battle of Napoleon. During the twelfth century, Leipzig was a famous trade center. Some of the buildings from that period are still standing, reflecting Leipzig's early glory. Along the border region near the Czech Republic is a beautiful wooded mountain landscape with a number of attractive towns such as Freiberg, with its ancient fortifications and tiny miners' houses in narrow streets.

Northern Germany

In northern Germany, a distinctive landscape of woodland, fields and meadows, moors, sky and water, and ports attracts travelers. The fresh, salty, North Sea breezes travel across the blue waters of the countless lakes, bays, fords, inlets, fertile fens (low farmlands), and fishing villages. The coasts of the North Sea, the Baltic, the Frisian Islands, and Heiigoland offer fine sandy beaches and modern spas. Two cities important in the region are Hamburg and Bremen. Hamburg, a Free Hanseatic City in medieval times, has a large harbor and the Old City, which provides a good place to explore. Bremen is one of Germany's oldest cities. The city's historic buildings date from the eighth century. The oldest are grouped around the Market Square, where the Town Hall with its superb facade and one of Europe's finest banqueting halls, the Grosse Halle, may be found.



Capital: Vienna

Government: Federal Republic

Size: 32,377 square miles (slightly smaller than Maine)

Language: German

Ethnic Division: 99.4% German, 0.3% Croatian, 0.2% Slovene

Religion: 85% Roman Catholic, 6% Protestant, 9% none or other

Tourist Season: May to September

Peak Tourist Seasons: July and August

Currency: Austrian schillings and Euro

Population: 8.1 million (2001)

Entry: Visas are not required. Passports are required.

Transportation: Good international air service with a few direct
flights to Vienna from North America. There is frequent and
excellent service from other European countries. It has excellent
European connections by both road and rail. Austria is part of the
Eurail system providing inexpensive rail access. Public
transportation is excellent by bus, streetcar, and subway.

Shopping: Common items include dirndls (dress), wood carvings,
music boxes, felt hiking hats with pins from each place visited,
Tyrolean leather goods, porcelain figurines, crystal, ski equipment
and mountaineering clothing, and antiques.


Austria is inhabited by a very homogeneous population (99 percent
German speaking). In the last few years, there have been a number
of immigrants from Central Europe and Turkey, many of whom work in
the service jobs of the tourist industry. There are two significant
minority groups, Slovenes in south-central Austria and Croatians on
the Hungarian border. Nearly 85 percent of the population is Roman
Catholic. The official language is High German. English is
understood by many and is required in high schools.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire played a decisive role in Central
European history, partly because of its strategic position astride
the southwestern approaches to Western Europe and the north-south
routes between Germany and Italy. Although present-day Austria is
only a tiny remnant of the old empire, it still occupies this
strategic position for tourism.

Cultural Hints:

* A handshake with eye contact is common as a greeting and at

* Chewing gum in public is inappropriate.

* Hands in pockets when conversing should be avoided.

* To signal "one" when counting, use the thumb.

* Do not be loud.

* Eating and food:

Wait for all to be served to eat.

To call a waiter, raise your hand with the index finger extended.

Keep hands above the table.

Place knife and fork next to your plate when finished. Typical food
includes potato dumplings, goulash, Wienerschnitzel, bread, beer,
wine, cheese, boiled beef, and chicken.

Physical Characteristics

The terrain of Austria is mostly mountainous, with the Alps in the west and south. In the north and south, the relief is low with gentle slopes. The climate is humid continental, with cloudy cold winters and cool summers with occasional showers.

Tourism Characteristics

Tourism is very important to the economy of Austria. Austria ranks the highest in Europe for tourism contribution to GDP. Like Switzerland, Austria experienced a plateau in the middle 1980s for visitors. However, it drew between 17 and 18 million visitors a year in the 1990s.

Austria's tourism is extremely dependent upon the European market. Over 88 percent of its visitors are from other European countries. The United States, the major non-European market, accounts for only 5 percent of the visitors to Austria (Figure 6-24). Even the European market is dominated by one major source, Germany, which contributes 52 percent of all bed nights. The common language, history, culture, and common border are major factors in this domination by Germany. While the length of stay is much longer than for most of the other Western European nations, it does receive a number of visitors who are in transit from the Northern European countries to the Mediterranean countries of Italy, the Baltic States, and Greece. There has been an increased flow from the former Communist Central European countries because of Vienna's location. It has become a hub for travelers from both the west and the east to visit the other regions of Europe.


There are two seasonal peaks, the largest being the summer, which coincides with the school holidays and is a popular period for outdoor activities, such as swimming, fishing, and waterskiing. The second peak is in the Alpine areas in the winter for skiing. The summer season accounts for over 50 percent of the bed nights and the winter, 30 percent. Austria's cities experience a less seasonal pattern of tourist arrivals. Austria receives an overwhelming number of its tourists by road, with 93 percent coming by car. Most of these are from neighboring countries and are excursionists on short trips or on their way to another destination. Packaged tour groups from the United States and the United Kingdom represent the bulk of air arrivals.

Tourist Destinations and Attractions

Austria is famous for its nature tourism (skiing, hiking), culture, music, and pastry. Three cities in Austria--Vienna, Innsbruck, and Salzburg--are the centers for the three major regions. Vienna, the capital, has famous churches, such as St. Stephen's Cathedral; some of the finest palaces of Europe, including the Hofburg, the Schonbrunn (which rivals Versailles), and the Belvedere; museums associated with the history of the Hapsburg Empire; some of the finest musical productions in the world; the performing Spanish Riding School (the Lippizaner White Stallions); the Vienna Boys Choir; and the picturesque Vienna Woods. Vienna is the center of Austrian culture. The Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) is one of the major art museums in the world. The Danube and the Vienna woods are other attractions near Vienna. Farther from Vienna, the countryside offers towers perched on the Alpine foothills, medieval cloisters, and monasteries. Durnstein is a red-roofed, riverside village where King Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned during the Crusades.

With its medieval city and fortress, Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart and provided the location for the hit film The Sound of Music. Like Vienna, Salzburg is a center for music and theater and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and lakes. The mountain and lake scenery attracts winter sports enthusiasts and summer sightseers alike. Mozart's birthplace is now a museum displaying early editions of his works, models of sets for some of his famous operas, and other memorabilia. In addition, the medieval Salzburg Castle and St. Peter's monastery, set on a hill in the center of the town, are major attractions. One of the most unusual palaces in all of Europe, the Hellbrunn, is a short trip from Salzburg. It was built by a prankster, the archbishop Markus Sittikus. Hidden water nozzles in the benches, walls, sculpture, floors, and ceilings spray visitors today as they did in his time. In an area just east of Salzburg, Austria's lake country, the Salzkammergut has scenic lakeshore towns and picturesque countryside.

Innsbruck, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964, is the center for summer sightseeing travel to alpine peaks and glaciers, and in the winter is a skier's mecca. Gothic architecture adds to the atmosphere of the city. The city is full of beautiful buildings. The two most-noted sights are the Golden Roof on an ornate stone balcony of an ancient mansion and the Roman-style Triumphal Arch. Innsbruck is the main city of Tyrol. Throughout Tyrol, there are mountain lakes, green meadows, high mountain peaks, rambling streams, and picturesque villages.



Capital: Bern

Government: Federal Republic

Size: 15,943 square miles (about the same size as Vermont and New Hampshire together)

Language: 74% German, 20% French, 4% Italian, 1% Romansch, 1% other

Ethnic Division: 65% German, 18% French, 12% Italian, 1% Romansch, 4% other

Tourist Season: May to September

Peak Tourist Season: July and August

Currency: Swiss franc

Population: 7.2 million (2001)

Entry: Visas are not required. Passports are required.

Transportation: There is good international air access from North
America, Europe, and other countries to the international airports
at Geneva and Zurich. Railroad stations are located in the
terminals at both airports, providing excellent access to other
cities in Switzerland and Europe. Switzerland is part of the Eurail
system connecting Europe, but it also has a rail system that links
some of the most dramatic Alpine views, tiny villages, and lush
green meadows by special public trains. One of the most popular is
the Glacier Express linking such famous places as Zermatt,
Andermatt, Chur, and Davos. It also has a good system of
limited-access highways throughout the country. Public
transportation is efficient and provides good coverage.

Shopping: Common items include watches, wood carvings, chocolate,
embroidered items, cheese, handicrafts such as music boxes, cuckoo
clocks, wood carvings, and antiques.


Switzerland has a number of ethnic groups, German (72 percent,
living mostly in the east and central regions), French (18 percent,
living mostly in the west), and Italians (10 percent, living mostly
in the south). There are a number of foreign residents and guest
workers from the Baltic states, Spain, Greece, Italy, and the
Middle East. Switzerland has four national languages--German,
French, Italian, and Romansch (based on Latin and spoken by a tiny
minority)--but only three are official. English is widely known and
understood. The canton (province) chooses which language will be
official in that province, and all signs are generally in that
language. Nearly half of the people are Roman Catholic, and the
other half belong to various other Christian churches. There is a
small Jewish minority.

Cultural Hints:

* Various customs identify the language groups; however, a
handshake is appropriate for greetings and when parting.

* Chewing gum or cleaning fingernails in public is not appropriate.

* Talking with hands in the pockets is disrespectful.

* Exchanging business cards is important.

* Maintain good posture.

* Do not litter.

* Pointing the index finger to your head to indicate a person is
foolish is an insult.

* Eating and food:

Cut potatoes and other soft food with a fork rather than a knife.

Keep hands above the table.

Do not smoke while eating.

If a restaurant is full, you may be seated with strangers.

Typical foods include breads, cheese, meat, sausages, leek soup,
fish, wines, and pork. The most famous dish is fondue, which is
hot, melted cheese or meat in a chafing dish utilizing long forks
to dip bread or meat. A regional dish at the eastern end of Lake
Geneva is a potato fondue in which small potatoes are covered with
hot, melted cheese.

Physical Characteristics

The Alps mountain chain in the southern part of the country (running east to west) constitutes about 60 percent of Switzerland's area. The Jura Mountains, an outspur of the Alps, stretch from the southwest to the northwest and occupy about ten percent of the territory. A lowland plateau between the two ranges comprises the remaining 30 percent of the country. Switzerland's climate is humid continental. It varies with altitude. The winters are cold, cloudy, and rainy or snowy (depending upon the altitude), while the summers are cool to warm, cloudy, and humid with occasional showers. Switzerland's winters have many snow-free days for visitors to enjoy the mountain skiing.

Tourism Characteristics

The Swiss have a high regard for nature and beauty, and it is reflected in their tourism. With its winter sports and summer sightseeing activities, Switzerland has a strong year-round tourist season; but the busiest months are July and August. Switzerland has a long tradition in the tourism industry. The federal character of Switzerland is reflected in its tourism offices. The Swiss National Tourist Office is primarily concerned with the promotion of Switzerland abroad. Switzerland's location in the center of Europe is an important factor in its tourism industry. Its reputation as an expensive country is not deserved as it provides accommodations and service in a range of prices.

Switzerland's major market is other European countries. Eighty-four percent of its visitors are European, with Germans (44 percent), British, and Dutch dominating in Europe (Figure 6-25). Visitors from the United States average about 7 percent of all visitors to Switzerland, normally exceeding British and Dutch visitors. The average length of stay, 3.8 days, indicates that many tourists come to Switzerland either in transit or as part of a larger trip or a short excursion. This is the case with a majority of the United States visitors, who make a multiple-country tour.



Tourist Destinations and Attractions

The main destinations in Switzerland are in the high, rugged Alps, Figure 6-26, with such ski resorts as St. Moritz, Davos, Arosa, Flims, Zermatt (near the Matterhorn), Gstaad (in the Saane Valley), Murren (which sits on cliffs above the Lauterbrunnen Valley), and Klosters. Mountain climbing is popular. The Matterhorn is one of the most recognizable mountains in the world (Figure 6-27). The Alpine lakes interspersed between the high mountain peaks offer abundant scenery. Lake Geneva, Lake Leman (the largest lake in Europe), Lake Thun, Lake Brienz, Lake Lucerne, Lake Maggiore (partially in Italy), Lake Lugano (partially in Italy), and Lake Constance (partially in Germany) are only a few of the summer attractions for tourists. Some of the major tourist towns are Lucerne, Bern, Interlaken, Geneva, Montreux, St. Gallen, Zurich, and Zermatt.

Lucerne is the center of American tourism to Switzerland. It is situated on the shores of Lake Lucerne with mountains nearby for excursions. The city is enhanced by a wooden bridge with seventeenth-century paintings, the turreted city walls, and the baroque interior of the Jesuit Church. Lausanne, which is an educational center, hosts many festivals of music, ballet, and opera. Other major tourist destinations are Interlaken with its view and gateway to the Bernese Oberland and the highest railroad line in the world (to the top of the Jungfrau, a ride of 11,333 feet); and Bern, the capital, which offers museums, Swiss handicrafts, and culture to the interested traveler.


Montreux, on the sunny side of Lake Geneva, is famous for its international music festivals. The vistas from the mountains near Montreux are impressive and easy to reach. Major financial and international cities include Zurich, the largest city, and Geneva, which claims the title of the world's premier international city. (Over two hundred international organizations, including the United Nations, have offices in Geneva.) Geneva was the site of the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations. Basel, representing the Swiss emphasis on practicality, is an industrial town, an old university town, and the beginning of navigation downstream on the Rhine. Basel is also a city of arts and culture; its art gallery holds important collections. There are over twenty museums in Basel. In eastern Switzerland, St. Gallen has a magnificent baroque cathedral surrounded by an old town. A short distance from St. Gallen are Lake Constance and the famous Pestalozzi Children's Village of Trogen, which was established for the care of orphans.


Located in the mountains between Austria and Switzerland, the small nation of Liechtenstein (27,825 people) draws tourists who want to buy stamps and mail letters from this tiny country. The population is homogeneous, stemming almost entirely from a Germanic tribe, the Alemanni. The official language is German, but most speak Alemannic, a German dialect similar to that used in eastern Switzerland. The rugged snow-capped mountain peaks, beautiful valleys, old cottages, medieval castles, and friendly people set an atmosphere helpful to hikers, skiers, and other tourists. While many tourists visit, the length of stay is the shortest in the world, as few stay overnight. The attractions offered to tourists are at least as varied as the topographical features of the country. The Rhine Valley, where Liechtenstein is situated, is characterized by a wide valley base and the steep western slope of the Dreischwestern mountain range. The mountainous eastern part of the country is made up of three high-altitude valleys, the best-known of them being the Malbun Valley. The Castle of Gutenberg dominates the village of Baizers. It is situated upon a 150-foot-high rock formation that rises above the plain.



We will leave Frankfurt for Heidelberg, a romantic university town
at the head of the Neckar Valley. This has been a university town
since 1386 and is the setting of the operetta "The Student Prince."
Sightseeing here will include the Old Neckar Bridge, a visit to the
ruins of the Castle of the Palatine Electors with its Great Vat, a
49,000-gallon, eighteenth-century wine cask that attracts
particular attention. Then we will go on to Stuttgart, which is
located among hills near the Black Forest. Stuttgart is the gateway
to an attractive countryside dotted with spas and recreational


Although this is an industrial center (Mercedes[R] cars, and
printing and publishing houses), wine grapes are harvested within
three hundred yards of Stuttgart's main station. The Altes Schloss
(old castle), which houses an interesting local museum, and the
gothic Collegiate Church are located in the old town square, the
Schillerplatz. Also flanked by a former princely residence and
Royal Chancellery, the Schillerplatz is used as a vegetable and
flower market. In the Schlossgarten Park are the baroque Neues
Schloss (new castle), the modern State Parliament House, a theater,
and an opera house. Stuttgart has a tradition of avant-garde
architectural design, and the Liederhalle, a concert-hall complex,
is one of its best. Daimler-Benz, in the Untertuerkneim suburb, is
the oldest automobile factory in the world and has an interesting

[FIGURE 6-28]


We continue southeast to Lake Constance. This is Europe's largest
fresh-water reservoir. Making our way through the Bavarian Alps, we
encounter the realm of fairytale castles and palaces built by King
Lugwig II, namely Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee, Figure 6-28, and
Neuschwanstein. We will hike up a hill to the last-named castle and
take a tour inside. Onward we go to Oberammergau, with its painted
houses and wood-carving workshops. This is most famous for its
Passion Play, which was first performed in 1634 as thanks for
having been spared the plague. It has been performed at ten-year
intervals ever since. We then head to Munich, where we will stay
for the night.



The best buildings in the city are the Rathaus in the Marienplatz
(the heart of town), where the Glockenspiel figures perform daily,
and the gothic Frauenkirche, a block away, with its two
onion-shaped domes. The Hofbrauhaus, which is about one hundred
years old, is the latest in a succession of brewery taverns that
date back to 1589. Nymphenburg, the baroque summer palace of
Bavarian kings, is a streetcar ride from the city center. Its
splendid apartments are open to the public. Sightseeing also
includes the Oktoberfest area, the Olympic Stadium, and the
1,000-foot-high Television Tower. Like most of the other German
cities, Munich is a beautiful city full of greenery and parks.


We leave Munich for a drive on the autobahn to the city of
Nuremberg. It is located 125 miles north of Munich. Nuremberg is a
lovely medieval city that has retained its double fortifications
(with 125 towers) and ancient castle. Hans Sachs and Meistersinger
lived here. In 1526, the first science university in Germany was
founded here. St. Sebald's Church is rich in fourteenth-and
fifteenth-century art, and St. Lawrence's has a lovely Annunciation
by Veit Stoss. The National Museum has superb collections of fine
arts and crafts, including works by Duerer. One local culinary
specialty is Lebkuchen (gingerbread). We continue onward by
following the Romantic Route to the medieval, walled city of
Rothenburg. Sightseeing here includes the town's ramparts and
towers, cobbled lanes, and sixteenth-century houses.


A short drive this morning takes us to Frankfurt. From there, we
take a quick flight to bustling Berlin. Sightseeing begins on
arrival with the Brandenburg Gate. Then Charlottenburg Castle, an
old surviving building, Olympic Stadium, the restored Reichstag
Building, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the Radio Tower,
Schoenenberg City Hall with its Liberty Bell replica and Freedom
Scroll, and elegant Kurfurstendamm, which are all fascinating. In
the afternoon, we will be sightseeing in the former East Berlin.
While there, we will visit Frederick the Great's Palace of Sans
Souci, with its great art treasures, and the ancient Cecilienhof
palace, once the residence of the crown prince. We will also visit
the Unter den Linden and Karl Marx Alee. Return to Frankfurt.


Return by air to the United States from Frankfurt, arriving home
the same day.


1. Describe the three major terrain types in Western Europe. What is the type of tourism in each?

2. Why is the climate of Western Europe more moderate than in the same locations in the United States?

3. Which countries of Europe have a tourism visitor profile that is more transitory in nature? Why?

4. What are the major tourist regions of the United Kingdom?

5. Where do the visitors to Ireland come from? Why?

6. Which countries of Western Europe have large numbers of winter tourists? Why?

7. How do you explain the fact that Germany, one of the largest countries in Europe, has such a short length of stay by visitors?

8. What factors explain the short length of stay by visitors to the Netherlands and Belgium?

9. France has the highest percentage of its residents who remain in their home country. What might explain this pattern?

10. What role do natural features (like the Alps or the Rhine River) play in tourism to Western Europe?


1. Assume you are a consultant for the British National Tourism Office and have been asked to write a marketing plan for Britain. Please write a plan that includes what market country or countries and what age group(s) the British Tourism Office should target. Justify your proposal.

2. Which country in Europe is best situated to become a major hub for international tourists? Why?

3. Identify three cities in Western Europe that have benefited from their location to become intermediate destinations for visitors who use each of these cities as a base from which to visit other cities. Such cities will have good accessibility and be transit centers, but also have their own attractions for visitors. Justify your selection by explaining the transit function and tourist attractions of the cities you selected.

4. Which country in Europe has the largest single market? How would you suggest that they develop a more diversified market?

5. If a client only had ten days and wanted to have as much diversity as possible in a trip to Western Europe, which three countries would you recommend that the client visit? Justify your answer by analyzing the diversity presented by European countries.


Provides links to European Tourism Offices.

Through Visitors' Eyes

Switzerland's Bernina Connection

by Jay Brunhouse

The problem train travelers had with riding Switzerland's most exciting train, the Bernina Express, was this: once you got to Tirano, Italy, what did you do?

Tirano, although a pleasant little town of mountain houses and terraced vineyards, is not on everybody's "must see" list. And connections to Milan are tenuous. This summer, the Swiss Transportation System added a whole new dimension to scenic train travel by introducing postal-bus service between Tirano and Lugano.

Swiss postal buses are comfortable, fully appointed coaches with a musical horn. Lugano is one of Europe's most beautiful cities with excellent climate and lots to see.

Now Bernina Express riders have a great, convenient goal and a sensational way to get there. Just as exciting, you can make your trip aboard the Bernina Express in the opposite direction, by starting at Lugano.

Every visitor interested in the outdoors, however, will prefer to break his or her trip to stay in one of the charming mountain villages in the spectacular Engadine region of Graubunden and in Lugano beside the lake.

Free with Railpass

All segments--including mainline connections, the narrow-gauge Rhaetain Railroads and the new postal bus--are covered by Swiss railpasses, Swiss cards, and Eurailpasses.

Coming from Zurich by Swiss National Railroads' train, you connect with the red Bernina Express cars of the private, narrow-gauge Rhaetain Railroads (RhB) waiting in front of Chur's mainline station.

There actually are several departures of the Bernina Express. Some require advance reservations and payment of a supplement, because there is an English speaking guide aboard, and some don't.

Hikers push the panoramic windows down from the top to admit fresh mountain air. Photographers lean out, snapping photos nearly the whole length of the trip. They are able to focus on the magnificent scenery through pulled-down panoramic windows while traveling along at only a snail's pace.

Bends are so sharp that you can see both the locomotive and the end of the train.

Landwasser Viaduct

The high point of the 61/2-mile section from Tiefencastel to Filisure takes you across two famous viaducts. First, you pass the Schmittentobel viaduct, 6.1 miles out of Tiefencastel. Then, out of a 164-foot tunnel, you quickly glimpse ahead the five classic arches of the 1903 Landwasser viaduct curving to the right over the river far below. The viaduct's celebrated southern arch plunges you without warning into the Landwasser Tunnel.

The section past Bergun to Preda is one you will always remember. The direct distance is four miles, but engineers have bent the line into such extraordinary contortions of loops and spirals that you actually travel 7.6 miles, including 1.7 miles through seven tunnels.

If you climbed directly you would climb one foot for every sixteen, but the extensive spirals and reversals of direction safely reduce your grade to one in thirty.

Albula Tunnel

From Preda, your Bernina Express picks up speed through the 3.6-mile Albula Tunnel. It is the highest (6,242 feet) principal tunnel through the Alps and the most expensive and difficult engineering work of the RhB.

The stretch south to Tirano carries along the Bernina Line. You can board trains for only this segment in either Pontresina or St. Moritz. Trains south of Pontresina average only 20.5 miles per hour, including stops, making the train even slower than the Glacier Express.

Your Bernina Express reaches the summit at Bernina Hospiz (7,403 feet) where winter lasts seven months. You have climbed 5,973 feet by simple adhesion, even more than any Swiss rack railroad with cogs.

Descending follows a route that required surveyors to perform near miracles. Your train has to drop 4,034 feet through larch and spruce forests in a horizontal distance of only 4.7 miles.

Engineers solved this problem by designing a series of cautious, cascading cuts, circular tunnels, sharp zigzags, and astonishing loops.

First, you descend to the right in a semicircle, passing below Alp Grum Station to the 833-foot Palu Tunnel, in which you make a three-quarter turn and emerge down the mountain.

For a second time, you pass below the restaurant terrace into the 948-foot Stabline Tunnel, emerging on the back slope of Alp Grum before doubling back through the 745-foot Pila Tunnel and returning below the terrace for a third time.

Alp Grum

In less than ten minutes, you look up from Cavaglia (5,553 feet) to see the restaurant at Alp Grum, now 1,305 feet above you. The forests have turned to deciduous trees: hazel, aspen, alder, and birch.

Your coming descent to Poschiavo is the most miraculous of all. Your train takes four more zigzags and tunnel turnarounds. You see Poschiavo first on the left and then four more times on the right while your train loops above the towers of the city. Photographers race back and forth across the carriage in order to capture all of the kaleidoscopic scenery.

Past Miralago (the name of which, "Look at the Lake," refers to your view), you again descend steeply to Brusio.

Here you make one of the world's most amazing loops across a raised, corkscrew stone viaduct having only a 164-foot radius. Nearby highway traffic is brought to a standstill as drivers and passengers watch your train descend.

Your Bernina Express then continues down the valley past the Renaissance pilgrim's church of the Madonna di Tirano to the Italian frontier.

Source: International Travel News, September 1992, pp. 59-61.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Delmar Learning
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Geography of Travel & Tourism, 4th ed.
Geographic Code:4E0WE
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Previous Article:Chapter 5 Geography and tourism in South America.
Next Article:Chapter 7 Geography and tourism in Northern Europe.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters