Europe is rich in languages. The main language families in the EU include Germanic, Romance, Slav, Baltic and Celtic. The EU has 24 official languages but there are many other lesserspoken ones.

More than half of Europeans say that they are able to hold a conversation in at least one language other than their mother tongue and a quarter say that they are able to speak at least two additional languages. During your travels in Europe, try using a few phrases of the local language when talking to local people. Here’s how to say ‘thank you’:

Bulgarian - Blagodarya
Croatian - Hvala
Czech - Děkuji
Danish - Tak
Dutch - Bedankt
English - Thank you
Estonian - Aitäh
Finnish - Kiitos
French - Merci
German - Danke
Greek - Efkaristo
Hungarian - Köszönöm
Irish - Go raibh maith aga
Italian - Grazie
Latvian - Paldies
Lithuanian - Ačiū
Maltese - Grazzi
Polish - Dziękuję
Portuguese - Obrigado
Romanian - Mulţumesc
Slovak - Ďakujem
Slovenian - Hvala
Spanish - Gracias
Swedish - Tack


There is just one prefix for making international telephone calls anywhere in the EU. It is 00. The country codes are:

43 - Austria
32 - Belgium
359 - Bulgaria
385 - Croatia
357 - Cyprus
420 - Czech Republic
45 - Denmark
372 - Estonia
358 - Finland
33 - France
49 - Germany
30 - Greece
36 - Hungary
353 - Ireland
39 - Italy
371 - Latvia
370 - Lithuania
352 - Luxembourg
356 - Malta
31 - Netherlands
48 - Poland
351 - Portugal
40 - Romania
421 - Slovakia
386 - Slovenia
34 - Spain
46 - Sweden
44 - United Kingdom

Mobile phones

EU rules have significantly reduced the cost of using mobile phones and smart devices abroad. You can now enjoy price reductions of 80 % across a range of mobile services — calls, text messages and data — compared with 2007 prices. Data roaming is now up to 91 % cheaper than in 2007.

New maximum prices, excluding VAT.

1 July 2013
Downloading data when abroad (per MB) 45 cents
Voice calls made when abroad (per minute) 24 cents
Voice calls received when abroad (per minute) 7 cents
Sending an SMS when abroad 8 cents

1 July 2014
Downloading data when abroad (per MB) 20 cents
Voice calls made when abroad (per minute) 19 cents
Voice calls received when abroad (per minute) 5 cents
Sending an SMS when abroad 6 cents

These price caps are maximum charges. Operators are free to offer cheaper rates so look out for the best deals. People travelling outside the EU now get a warning text message, e-mail or pop-up window when they are nearing €50 of data downloads, or their pre-agreed level. This extends the alert system currently in place within the EU.

From 1 July 2014, consumers will have the right to shop around for a separate mobile roaming provider. You can choose a cheaper roaming service from a company in the country you are visiting or from a rival company in your own country without changing your SIM card.


Postage stamps can only be used in the country in which you buy them, even when priced in euros.


All of Europe has 220–240 volt, 50 cycle alternating current. Ireland, Cyprus, Malta and the United Kingdom have square three-pin plugs but, in general, all other EU countries have two-pin plugs. These may vary but you should be able to use your appliances, such as hairdryers and shavers, anywhere. Adaptors can usually be bought in airports and tourist resorts.

© European Union
Travelling in Europe 2014-2015

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