Which Countries Make Up Southern Europe?

By Victor Kiprop on June 14 2018 in World Facts

A map showing countries that are often considered to be part of Southern Europe (in orange).
A map showing countries that are often considered to be part of Southern Europe (in orange).

Southern Europe occupies the southern part of the continent of Europe. It is also known as Mediterranean Europe, because it borders the Mediterranean Sea on the southern part of the continent. It consists of large countries, namely Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Turkey, and several smaller states such as Monaco, Andorra, Vatican City, Malta, and San Marino.


Southern Europe is composed of sixteen countries, but certain countries are sometimes listed in other regions such as Central, Western, or Eastern Europe. For example, France is sometimes listed as part of Western or Southern Europe, while Croatia and Slovakia are occasionally listed as part of Central or Southern Europe, and Turkey is sometimes listed as part of Eastern Europe. There are no clear boundaries to demarcate the extent of Southern Europe, just like other regions in the European continent. The Mediterranean Sea is a unifying factor when geographically defining countries of Southern Europe. The states of Southern Europe tend to share similar language, culture, political ideologies, and economic systems. Italy is the most populated country in the region, with a population of 60 million, although France has a larger population when considered part of Southern Europe, and Spain is the largest in terms of area.


The economy of Southern Europe is not as strong as other European regions. In fact, Southern Europe is the slowest growing economic region in the continent, and its largest economies, especially Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal, are struggling. In the recent past, Spain, Greece and Portugal have been bailed out of debt by the European Union in order to prevent them from sinking into a depression that would affect the whole continent. A majority of the countries in the region economically rank below countries in Central and Northern Europe. Spain and Italy are the most industrialized countries in the region, while the remainder are highly dependent on agriculture.


Southern Europe has an estimated population of 150 million. Italy (60 million) and Spain (46 million) are the most populated, while Vatican City (less than 1,000 people) is the least populated. The most commonly spoken languages are Italian, Spanish, Serbo-Croatian-Bosnian, Greek, Turkish, Portuguese, and Catalan. In terms of religion, Southern Europe is predominantly Christian, except for Turkey, which is predominantly Muslim.


The region is characterized by the Mediterranean climate because of the high atmospheric pressure in the Atlantic Ocean. The climate covers much of Italy, Southeast France, Portugal, Greece, Albania, and the southern regions of Turkey. These areas have similar landscape and vegetation, which include pine forests, olive trees, small plains, and dry hills.

Which Countries Make Up Southern Europe?

Rank´╗┐Countries of Southern Europe
3Bosnia and Herzegovina
12Republic of Macedonia
13San Marino
18Vatican City

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