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How Many Countries Are There In Europe? 49!

I’m obsessed with countries. Which is why I spent 11 years visiting every country in the world! So If you’ve read my article where I worked out the answer to ‘how many countries are there in the world’ (probably 197 countries if you’re wondering) you’ll know that it can be a tricky process putting together these lists. Firstly, you’ve got to work out what constitutes a country and then what constitutes a continent, and which it belongs to. If you ask people how many countries are there in Europe you’ll get a few different answers. If you check with the UN they’ll tell you there are 44 countries in Europe. Also, the European Union (EU) will tell you something different again. Factually speaking, however, there are 47, 49, 50 or 51 countries in Europe. Depending on if you personally choose to include a couple of tricky countries. Ultimately though, at a push, there are 49 countries in Europe. Read on and you’ll see why.

how many countries are there in europe
How many countries are there in Europe? Me in Greece

Why are there 49 countries in Europe?

There are a couple of big problems when asking how many countries there are in Europe.

First, what is Europe as a continent? Is it a technical border? Or a geopolitical one?

Then you have to ask if you consider the Eurasian Caucasus region (Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia) as part of Europe or not.

And finally, after deciding those problems you need to choose whether the total is 49, 50 or 51 countries – depending on it you accept or omit Turkey and Russia within Europe. These are the 2 countries which cause the most discussion, with many people including them within the borders Europe and even more who consider it part of greater Asia. I personally don’t include either to my count (I’ll tell you why soon), that’s why I’ve come to 49 as my answer to the question ‘how many countries are there in Europe?’ There are plenty of countries or territories that people think should be added to the list, we’ll check those out later and look at why they don’t make my official list. First let’s get to the 49 countries that are in Europe. As I mentioned above, the UN have listed 44 countries as part of Europe so I’ve put a little note next to each country that doesn’t make their list.

Is Ireland in Europe?
Dublin, Ireland
  1. Albania
  2. Andorra
  3. Armenia (*the UN doesn’t include Armenia as part of Europe)
  4. Austria
  5. Azerbaijan (*not included by the UN, but there are loads of cool things to do in Azerbaijan, I loved my time there)
  6. Belarus
  7. Belgium
  8. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  9. Bulgaria
  10. Croatia
  11. Cyprus (*not included by the UN)
  12. Czech Republic
  13. Denmark
  14. Estonia
  15. Finland
  16. France
  17. Georgia (*not included by the UN)
  18. Germany
  19. Greece
  20. Hungary
  21. Iceland
  22. Ireland (check out my Ireland road trip!)
  23. Italy
  24. Kosovo (*not included by the UN)
  25. Latvia
  26. Liechtenstein
  27. Lithuania
  28. Luxembourg
  29. Macedonia
  30. Malta
  31. Moldova
  32. Monaco
  33. Montenegro
  34. Netherlands
  35. Norway
  36. Poland
  37. Portugal
  38. Romania
  39. Russia
  40. San Marino
  41. Serbia
  42. Slovakia
  43. Slovenia
  44. Spain
  45. Sweden
  46. Switzerland
  47. Ukraine
  48. United Kingdom
  49. Vatican City (*Holy See on the UN list)
How many countries are there in europe
How many countries are there in europe? In Paris

I know, I know, you kind remember where all these countries are. Here is a Google Map of Europe so you can check and pretend you knew all along.

 

Is Turkey in Europe? Why Isn’t Turkey Included the 49 countries in Europe? 

Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, is famous for being the only city that sits across 2 Continents Asia and Europe. 95%+  of Turkey,  is to the east of Istanbul, and falls within  Asia, leaving less than 5% on the European continent. Therefore Turkey shouldn’t be included as a country in Europe and is included in the Asian list of countries instead. There are people that do strangely consider Turkey as part of continental Europe although that’s often politically motivated. Also, the UN also list Turkey as officially being part of Western Asia. 

How many countries in europe
How many countries in europe? In Cappadocia, Turkey

Is Russia in Europe? 

Russia has a similar issue to Turkey in that it straddles two continents, but Russia is also the largest country in the world by landmass, so that plays a role too. Russia is also distinctly non-European in terms of its politics and allies. More than that though, for most people, me included, the simple fact that 77% of Russia’s area is in Asia, while the western 23% of the country is located in Europe so it means that if you have to place Russia in a continent, it is there considered as Asia. Russia, interestingly, has never dictated itself to be in either Europe or Asia. Culturally, it’s slightly more European, and some people do consider Russia part of Europe. There is no right or wrong answer with this one, as Moscow, the Capital, is on the European side, making it even more confusing. Generally, most people do consider Russia part of the Asian continent though. 

How many countries in europe
How many countries in europe? In Moscow, Russia

Why is the Caucasus region, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, considered part of Europe?

Basically, the Caucasus mountains mark the edge of the European continent, and for that reason, Europe’s highest mountain is in that mountain range (if you want to climb Mt Elrbus, read my blog post about how to), albeit confusingly, it’s in Russia! So everything within that mountain range is therefore considered Europe in terms of the European tectonic plate. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, therefore, are all considered part of Europe. Turkey is separate from that logic as it stretches further still south into the Middle East which is definitively part of the Asian continent (still with me?!).

Is Georgia in Europe?
Is Georgia in Europe?

What about disputed territories like Northern Cyprus etc? 

Firstly we have to decide what is a country, so to refresh your memory about the definition of what constitutes a country click here. The next group of places aren’t internationally recognised as Sovereign states or countries. This isn’t a political opinion, this is just factual information.

The next group of 5 places see themselves as independent countries BUT importantly they aren’t recognised by most countries around the world, that’s why I don’t have them in my list of 49 European countries above.

1) Northern Cyprus

Northern Cyprus, officially the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is only recognised by 1 country on the planet. Turkey. Despite independence being declared in the same year I was born, 1983. On paper, officially, North Cyprus is still part of Cyprus proper.

2) Nagorno-Karabakh

This was one of more stranger places I’ve visited. Independence was declared here back in 1991. No country within the UN recognises it as a country, so it’s still officially part of Azerbaijan. It is recognised by 3 states that are not members of the UN and they are the 3 below. 

3) Transnistria

Independence was declared in 1990, no country within the UN recognises it as a country. It is recognised by 3 states that are not members of the UN; South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabach. Officially belongs to Moldova.

4) South Ossetia

Independence was declared in 1991, Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru (UN Member States) recognise it as a country. Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and Transnistria (non-member states) also recognise it. Officially it is still part of Georgia.

5) Abkhazia

Independence was declared in 1999,, Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru (UN Member States) recognise it as a country. (South Ossetia, Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh (non-member states) also recognise it. Officially it is still part of Georgia.

How many countries are there in europe
How many countries are there in europe? In South Ossetia

Is England a country? And Scotland? What About The UK?!

Ah the good ole’ Uk. It’s always a confusing issue for these topics. Ok, so on a cultural level we can look at England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Island (the 4 places that make up the UK) as being individual countries. If you travel to any of those 4 countries and ask a local which country do they come from I guarantee that the overwhelming majority will not say the UK, instead they’ll name the individual country. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all have some form of legislature but the country is still known as the UK, and the UK parliament (in England) is the overarching powerhouse. So, whether we like it or not:

England is not a country.

Scotland is not a country

Northern Ireland is not a country.

Wales is not a country.

The 4 places make up the country called the United Kingdom. They all carry British passports, all use British pound sterling, all are answerable to the British government, pay British taxes and fly under the official flag of the Union Jack. Again, this isn’t an opinion, it’s a fact. Sorry if it upsets anyone!

How many countries in Europe
How many countries in Europe? London, Capital of the UK

Places that aren’t countries, but many people think they are

There are plenty of other places that are countries in some people’s minds but if you look closely they actually belong to other states, They are known as Dependencies.

1) Greenland – Denmark (to travel Greenland check out my post about my trip there)

2) The Faroe Islands – Denmark (most underrated destination in Europe, you must visit Faroe Islands as soon as possible, check my blog post)

3) Svalbard – Norway (another great destination where you can see polar bears in the wild, check out my last trip to Svalbard)

4) Gibraltar – UK

5) Channel Islands – UK

6) Isle Of Man – UK

how many countries are there in europe
How many countries are there in europe? In Svalbard, part of Norway

So there are 49 countries in Europe?

Yes, there are 49 countries in Europe. You also have some separatist regions within Europe who want to become independent like Catalonia and Corsica in Spain, but they also can’t be considered countries. So 49 countries it is.

If you really want, you could remove all the thoughts of politics and technical facts, and then add into that disputed territories, dependencies and of course Turkey and Russia to that list if you want to make a list of all places you need to visit before you’ve truly travelled the whole of Europe. That would be 49 + 16 = 65 countries in ‘Extended Europe‘ if you will. Or the opposite, and do the 49 countries minus the 3 Caucasus countries (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan)giving you 46 countries in Europe. I’ll stick with 49 as my official answer though.

Over to you guys. Do you agree with my number? How many countries are there in Europe? Let me know by giving your answers in the comment section below. 

how many countries are there in europe
how many countries are there in europe? The Faroe Islands

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5 thoughts on “How Many Countries Are There In Europe?

  1. I am considering a country each place that I need to show my passport to enter. That includes Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh etc. Greetings from BiH.

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  3. I would stay at 45 (if you consider it from a political view and not geographical one). I would consider Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan in Asia. I would say Cyprus is in Europe (after all there is Euro there) while Kosovo is not yet internationally recognized everywhere. So my total is 45 🙂 But of course this is just my point of view.

    1. Interesting, my best buddy thinks the same as you to be honest mate. I think with the Caucasus, Russia, Turkey and Cyprus it’s up for debate. So the answer is 100% somewhere between 44-51!

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