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Although many western European countries can be a bit expensive for the budget traveler, Europe is still overall a great place for travelers. For the most part it has an excellent transit system, and with the small size of many countries, it is quite feasible to see quite a bit of culture and visit many places in a short amount of time. This is opposed to a place like the United States where there is a massive amount of land, with most cities and states not very well connected with public transportation, and therefore not as suitable for a traveler without a vehicle. Although eastern Europe is beginning to get more popular, it still remains more affordable than the western European countries.
Europe is the world's second smallest continent (second only to Australia), and it forms the westernmost part of the super-continent of Eurasia. The Arctic Ocean lies to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean to the south, and the Ural Mountains are generally considered the eastern border separating Europe from Asia. Only Asia and Africa are more populous, as Europe contains about one seventh of the world's population.
The European Union currently comprises 25 countries. Although all of the member states have their own national governments, many rights have been transferred to the European level and European regulations govern many aspects of daily life, including the economy, health care, agriculture and defence.
There is a common market and 12 of the member states have adopted the Euro as their currency.