Situated on the edge of the European continent, West Europe extends from the North Atlantic Ocean on the west, across to Germany and Austria. It contains several islands, including the United Kingdom and Ireland. While temperatures vary, the region generally has a temperate, maritime climate.
Historically, Latin has dominated West Europe. The related Romance languages of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French are all used today, as well as Germanic-based languages including English. Colonisation is an important part of the history of this region. The spread of these languages across the world to Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America show the extent to which history has been changed forever by the discovery, exploration and occupation of foreign lands by West Europeans.
Known for having distinctive cultural festivals, cuisine and music, this colourful group of countries has developed a reputation for being world leaders in education, the arts, science and sports. Germany, France and England are home to world-recognised universities. Historical buildings, ancient heritage sites, renowned scenery and developed cities entice scholars, tourists, historians, artists and students alike.