Mediterranean Europe

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 12617

People like nice climates and beautiful beaches. We don't particularly like economic troubles, and there is one area of Europe where both come together. Let Wladimir Koppen show you the Mediterranean!



learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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The continent of Europe is surrounded by water. What part of Europe's coast is the most popular tourist destination?

The southern countries of Europe are bordered by the Mediterranean Sea.

This body of water helps create one of the most-favored climates in the world, making southern Europe a popular tourist destination. In this lesson, you will learn what countries make up southern Europe and discover a little about their geography and culture.


There are 14 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. Make a list of all the countries you can think of. Then, use the map below to help you complete your list. When you are finished, use the interactive below the map to make sure you wrote down all of the correct countries.

map of Europe

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Since each of these countries borders the Mediterranean Sea, they feature a coastal geography with sandy beaches and blue water. You can learn more about the size and population of each country by reading Countries of the Mediterranean Region (Amanda Briney, ThoughtCo.). When you get to the article, be sure to scroll down to the subheading that says “Europe.” As you read the information, answer the following questions on a separate piece of paper:

  1. Which country has the largest area of land?
  2. Which country has the smallest area of land?
  3. Which country has the largest population size?
  4. Which country has the smallest population size?
  5. Is there a relationship between land size and population size? For example, does the country with the largest area of land also have the largest population?


Take a look at the Köppen climate map below. The Köppen climate classification system is one of the most commonly used systems for identifying climate zones. It is named for the person who invented it, Russian climatologist Wladimir Köppen. What type of climate can be found throughout most of Mediterranean Europe?

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Most of Mediterranean Europe is characterized by a warm Mediterranean climate or a cold semi-arid climate. Mediterranean Europe boasts the largest area with a Mediterranean climate in the world. More than half of the world’s countries with a Mediterranean climate are located in this region. A Mediterranean climate is characterized by hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.

Countries such as Spain fall into the cold semi-arid climate category because they do not receive enough moisture and are too dry to be characterized as having a Mediterranean climate. Cold semi-arid climates are characterized by warm, dry summers and cold winters with little snowfall.


Southern Europe is known for not being as industrialized as central and northern Europe and, therefore, the economy of southern Europe has struggled more than the economy throughout other regions of Europe. For many years, the region relied on fishing and farming as its primary means of generating revenue, but in recent years there has been a shift as more manufacturing industries have appeared in the region. Spain is a leading manufacturer of automobiles, and Italy is a leading manufacturer of clothing. The region’s Mediterranean climate, historic sites, and beaches also make it a popular tourist destination.

Despite the economic growth Mediterranean Europe has achieved in recent years thanks to manufacturing, the region has still faced economic troubles. The south remains less industrialized than the north, and the region does not offer many natural energy resources such as coal, gas, and oil. Therefore, southern Europe has to depend entirely on other nations for energy sources, meaning it has to spend a lot of money to get these resources. You can learn more about the history and economy of the Mediterranean region by reading Mediterranean Europe (Geography). As you read the article, answer the following questions on a separate piece of paper:

  1. What ancient empires was Mediterranean Europe once a part of?
  2. What form of government was born in this region?
  3. How has the economy of the region changed throughout the year?
  4. Why does the economy of the region continue to struggle, despite the changes it has made?

To get a better idea of what Mediterranean Europe looks like, watch the following video. Take notes on the geography and activities you see people doing. The video does not have any dialogue, so feel free to pause the video at any time as you take notes. Watch Regions of Europe - Mediterranean - Visit Europe (Visit Europe):

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Do you think Mediterranean Europe is a place you might like to visit? What images in the video did you see that attracted you to the region? Discuss your responses with your teacher or parent.

Then, move on to the Got It? section to learn more about how the economy of this region has faced challenges.

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