Introducing Switzerland

Switzerland is situated in Western and Central Europe, consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. It is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km2, counting 8 million people.  The greatest part of the Swiss population is concentrated mostly on the Plateau, where the largest cities are located, for example Zürich and Geneva, two global and economic centres of Europe.

Switzerland is known for its cheese, silk-smooth chocolate, cuckoo clocks and yodelling – but yet has so many other perks to offer: biking, hiking in glacier-encrusted mountain areas, skiing and snowboarding in Graubünden, Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland, boating, Here’s where old European traditions ( ancient markets, folkloric fairs, flag waving and alp horn concerts), breathtaking landscapes meet urban chic: the capital Bern is a medieval old town known for its world-class modern art, deeply Germanic Basel for its bold architecture, Geneva is where to shop and uber-cool Zürich is known for its numerous trendy-chic restaurants and roof-top patios.

One of the most visited attractions is the Jungfraujoch (3454m). It is a col between the Jungfrau and the Mönch. It lies at a height of 3,466 m above sea level in the Bernese Alps, accessible to tourists by the Jungfrau line, a railway running partly underground through a tunnel.

Switzerland was historically a country of farmers, so traditional Swiss cuising tend to be plain and made from simple ingredients, such as potatoes and cheese. Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, thin strips of veal with mushrooms in a cream sauce served with potato rösti is a must-try, if you ever get the chance. Another favorite dish is Swiss Fondue, a meal to be best enjoyed in company: people dip long-stemmed forks with bread into melted cheese served in a communal pot over a portable stove.

jungfraujoch Swiss_Alps fondue

Introducing Croatia

Croatia is a sovereign state at the crossroads of Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean. Its capital city is Zagreb, counting approx 780 000 people. The country’s total population is 4.28 million. It covers a total of approx. 55 000 sq km and has diverse, mostly Continental and Mediterranean climates. Croatia’s Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands.

The country quite is unique: it offers breathtaking natural beauty, great beaches to enjoy in the summertime, endless hiking opportunities, a ton of history, interesting architecture, incredible wine, delicious seafood…

Zagreb is known for its offer of culture, arts, music, architecture, gastronomy and all the other things that one would look for in a capital city – the number of visitors rises yearly; it has become a very popular tourist destination for young and old!
Visitors enjoy strolling the streets of the small metropolis, drinking coffee in the permanently full cafes, popping into museums and galleries and visiting the theaters, concerts and cinema. It’s a year-round outdoor city: in spring and summer everyone scurries to Jarun Lake in the southwest to swim or sail, or dance the night away at lakeside discos, while in autumn and winter Zagrebians like to hike nearby Samobor and go skiing at the local Mt. Medvednica.
Another very popular destination is the beautiful city of Dubrovnik, located on the Adriatic Sea, in the region of Dalmatia.

Croatian traditional cuisine varies from one region to another. It mostly features various seafood (clams, squid, tuna, shrimps, cod), cooked vegetables and pasta, as well as condiments such as olive oil and garlic. As for sweets, make sure to try ‘Povitica’ a chocolate walnut bread, if you ever get the chance!

Dubrovnik-Croatia Zagreb1 jarun lake

Introducing Norway

Norway is one of the five Nordic nations which lie within the northern stretches of Europe. It is bordered by Sweden, Finland, Russia, the Norwegian Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the Barents Sea and the North Sea. The country is long and narrow, with more than 30% of the land covered by forests, many rivers and lakes. Nearly half of the country is given over to mountain ranges. Norway counts 5 million people, of which nearly 650 000 live in Oslo, the capital and the most populous city of the country.

There are so many popular attractions in Norway, but it is definitely best known for its incredible fjords: Western Norway is famous for easily accessible fjords and mountains. The area offers activities such as hiking, glacier walking, fishing and cycling.
Part of the spectacular Fjord Norway network (regularly topping the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list) – is the Geirangerfjord region north of Ålesund: it offers some of the finest scenery anywhere in Norway. The eastward continuation of the Sunnylvsfjord, the Geirangerfjord offers some of the country’s most spectacular views.

Norway is well known for culinary specialties from the sea: salmon, cod, herring, sardine and mackerel. Mackerel is available particularly in summer, especially along the Sørlandet coast. Seafood is used fresh, smoked, salted or pickled. Variations on creamed seafood soups are common along the coastline. The one traditional Norwegian dish with a claim to international popularity is smoked salmon. It is now a major export, and is considered the most important Norwegian contribution to modern international cuisine.

Reine Panorama Oslo smokedsalmon


Introducing Spain

Spain is a sovereign state located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. Its mainland is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea (to the south and east), by France, Andorra and the Bay of Biscay (to the north and northeast), and by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean (to the west and northwest).
Europe’s “most passionate country” has a total of 42 million people, of which approx. 3.2 million live in Madrid, Spain’s capital.

Spain is well known for its diverse landscape: the Pyrenees, the Picos de Europa, Sierra Nevada and the plains of Andalucia.
What else come to mind when thinking of Spain? Flamenco, Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudí – some of the world’s most
prestigious artists of all times. Spain does not only have a vibrant history – it’s a country that lives very much in the present and there’s a reason why ‘fiesta’ is one of the best-known words in the Spanish language: Spanish people consider life to be a big ‘fiesta’ and everyone seems to be invited! Spanish people are known to be full of zest for life!

Food and wine are national obsessions in Spain! The best-known Spanish dish is a stew called Paella, originated in Valencia. Rice is the main ingredient and it is usually made with a variety of shellfish (such as shrimp, clams, crab, and lobster), chorizo (sausage) and vegetables (tomatoes, peas, and asparagus). The broth to flavor the stew contains onion, garlic, wine, pimiento (sweet red pepper), and saffron.
And Tapas, of course! Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers or snacks – served either hot (battered chopitos or fried baby squid) or cold (such as mixed olives, cheese and cold cuts).


Introducing Serbia

Serbia is situated at the crossroads between Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Pannonian Plain and the Central Balkans. It covers an area of 77 474 square kilometers and has roughly 7.2 million inhabitants.
It is a unique destination with turbulent history and rich cultural heritage. Serbia’s mountains and valleys are of unique natural beauty, and the country has numerous rivers and lakes. The capital is Belgrade, famous for its nightlife and endless possibilities of entertainment for every budget.

Serbian’s are known to be great hosts: Upon arriving at someone’s home you will be treated to a coffee, juice and brandy (rakija). If you ever get the chance, don’t miss trying the delicious sweet preserves ‘slatko’, of which you should take just a small spoon accompanied by a glass of water. Serbians are very affectionate, so do not be surprised when they kiss you three times (alternating cheeks) when they meet you!

Serbian cuisine is a reflection of all historical influences: Oriental and Slavic tastes are dominant. Local favorites are ‘cevapcici’ – small rolls of mixed minced meat (served with plain onions and warm bread) and ‘burek’, baked pastries made of a thin flaky dough and filled with grilled meat.


Introducing Iceland

Iceland is a Nordic island country between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. It was the last country to be settled in Europe, when emigrants from Scandinavia and the British Isles first came to live on the island in the 9th & 10th century. It remains the most sparsely populated country of the continent with less than three inhabitants per square kilometer (it has a population of 325 000 and an area of 103 000 km²).

The country is known for its extreme contrasts: widely known as “The Land of Fire and Ice” Iceland is home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe, and some of the world’s most active volcanoes. Iceland is also the land of light and darkness.
Long summer days with near 24-hours of sunshine are offset by short winter days with only few hours of daylight.

Important parts of Icelandic cuisine are lamb, dairy, and fish, due to Iceland’s proximity to the ocean. Popular foods in Iceland include skyr, a cultured dairy product similar to strained yogurt and hangikjöt (smoked lamb).

Iceland - glacier rejk blue lagoon

Introducing Bosnia

Bosnia and Herzegovina, often called Bosnia-Herzegovina and in short informally known as Bosnia, is situated at the heart of the Balkan Peninsula. The country encompasses Mediterranean and Alpine climates and landscapes. Some of the richest flora and fauna in Europe can be found in the ‘heart-shaped’ country.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a long name for a country that measures just over 50,000 square kilometers! The entire country counts about 3.8 million people, Sarajevo is the capital and largest city with approx.
310 000 people.
Bosnian cuisine is balanced between Western and Eastern influences. The food is closely related to Turkish, Middle Eastern, and other Mediterranean cuisines. One of the most commonly known meat dishes is Ćevapi, a Bosnian kebab: small grilled meat sausages made of lamb and beef served with onions, sour cream, ajvar and Bosnian pita bread. Yum!

cevapi Mostar  sarajevo-winter

Introducing Russia

Did you know that Russia is the world’s largest country? About 144 million people live on roughly 17 million square kilometers. That is the surface area of Planet Pluto!
The country spans eleven time zones, ending less than 85 km from North America! Within this vast expanse you will find a few of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, rivers and forests teeming with fish and
wildlife, fascinating volcanoes, and towering mountains. In fact, 20% of the world’s fresh water is being held in Russia’s lake Baikal, known to be the deepest lake worldwide.
The most populated cities are Moscow and St. Petersburg, well known for their unique architecture and vast lifestyle.

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Introducing Hungary

Did you know Hungary’s nickname is “land of waters”, as it holds the largest lake in Europe? It is also crossed by mighty rivers, which divide and define its regions. Hungary is bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia and Croatia; its capital is Budapest, one of the most vibrant cities in Europe!
Hungary is also known for the many cultural traditions and regional customs that have developed and kept alive over hundreds of years in all aspects of everyday life: music, dance, clothing, décor and cuisine.
Hungarian cuisine is known for its prominence of meat and the number of dishes cooked over open fire. One of the most popular dishes is Goulash, a hearty stew of meat and vegetables seasoned with paprika and other spices.


Introducing Armenia

Did you know Armenia is rumored to be the first country to adopt Christianity in 301 A.D.? Its capital is Yerevan, which has approx. 1.1 million inhabitants. The small but beautiful country shares borders with Georgia in the north, Azerbaijan in the east, Iran in the south and Turkey in the west. The country’s national symbol is Mt. Ararat, which is actually located in Turkey. The biblical story of “Noah’s Ark” is set is set at Mt. Ararat.
One of Armenia’s specialties is Dolma, which is spiced meat and rice wrapped in grape leaves and served with yogurt mixed with fresh grated garlic. Come and see what other European foods will be offered at this year’s festival!



Explore the best of the European culture in Vancouver!