Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands and, at times, peninsulas. Notably, in British English usage, the term means Europe excluding the United Kingdom, Isle of Man, Ireland and Iceland. One general definition of "Continental Europe" is the European landmass excluding the UK, Ireland and Iceland. Other island nations excluded from Continental Europe are Cyprus and Malta. However, in other areas of Europe different ideas on what the term actually means prevail.
Some definitions of continental Europe extend the boundaries of the continent to its geographical boundaries, thus including nations that are within the elevated boundaries of the Ural Mountains and the Caucasus Mountains.
Derivatively, the adjective "continental" refers to the social practices or fashion of continental Europe, as opposed to those in Britain. Examples include breakfast and, historically, long-range driving before Britain had motorways.
The Scandinavian peninsula (Finland, Norway and Sweden) is sometimes excluded from Continental Europe.Especially, in Germanic studies, "Continental" refers to the European continent excluding both Scandinavia and the British Isles. The reason for this is that although the Scandinavian peninsula is technically attached to Continental Europe by Karelia, it is in practice reached by sea, not by land (which would imply travelling north as far as Tornio at the 66th parallel north), and has in the past been mis-identified as an island (Scandia).
In the Mediterranean context, "the continent" may refer to the continental part of Italy (as opposed to Sardinia and Sicily), Spain with Balearic islands, Alboran or the continental part of France (as opposed to Corsica).