When thinking of Europe, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Most people usually think about French croissants, the Eiffel Tower, London, and maybe some other touristic destinations such as Greece and Spain. But Europe is much more than just these countries, and there are lots of other lesser known parts of it that are incredibly interesting. If you’re eager to find out more about them, here are some fun facts about 3 European Islands that you’ve probably never heard of.
- Malta is not only an island, but also a whole state! The Republic of Malta with the capital city Valletta is located in Southern Europe and although it is only 122 sq mi, it has a rich history and is a popular tourist destination among Europeans.
- The official language in Malta is Maltese, which represents a mixture of English, French, Italian, and even Arabic!
- The Maltese are very religious people, so if you were to live there for a year, you could visit one new church for a whole year, as there are exactly 365 mostly Catholic churches on this tiny island.
- Because of its size, there are no lakes or natural reservoirs from where the locals could get water, so what you’re actually drinking once there is filtered water that comes right from the ocean.
- Ħaġar Qim which literally translates to Worshiping Stones is a stone temple complex located in the southern part of Malta that is considered to be one of the most ancient religious temples on Earth, with an estimated age of 5000 years.
- Also known as The Arans, the Aran Islands represent a group of 3 small islands located off the west coast of Ireland, in the Galway Bay.
- As of 2016, the islands had a total population of 1226 people, most of whom are fluent in English, so there won’t be a problem if you don’t know Irish.
- They are most famous for the iconic Aran sweaters that were traditionally made with local wool and have been worn by celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Grace Kelly, and Steve McQueen. The Irish sweater is one of the most popular souvenirs to bring back from the Aran Islands, but online stores such as Tara Irish Clothing also sell authentic sweaters made of 100% wool, if your trip doesn’t include these islands.
- In 2019, the Aran Islands were named one of the best honeymoon destinations for those who want an extraordinary experience. The islands also promote their wedding tourism, as the place is perfect for atmospheric, non traditional weddings.
· The easiest way to get to the islands is by the ferryboat that operates all year round, but once there, experienced travelers say that there’s no better way to get through the island than with the bicycle.
- Contrary to the popular mistakes that people usually make, Greenland is not a country and it is also not a part of Canada. In fact, Greenland together with the Faroe Islands belongs to Denmark and it is the biggest island in the world that is now a continent!
- This island surely does not live up to its name: more than 80% of its surface is covered in ice, which also leads to it having the lowest population density in the world, with only 56 thousand people living on 836,300 sq mi.
- Although it doesn’t have a large population, Greenland has its own official Greenlandic language, which the locals call Kalaallisut. But don’t worry, the other 2 official languages are Danish and English, so you won’t get lost there.
- · If you have a weak stomach or you’re not the one to try out new things, Greenland might not be the best place for you, since the national cuisine relies heavily on sea mammal and seafood such as seals, fish, mussels, shrimp, whale, but also reindeer and sheep.
· Lastly, the national currency of Greenland is the Danish kroner; one kroner is around $0.13 and even though there are ATMs in the big cities and most hotels accept international issued cards, we would still recommend having some cash prepared for the trip.