How good is your geography

A study has shown that almost half of UK residents claimed it ‘rarely snows’ anywhere in France, despite the French Alps attracting millions of skiers each winter, while one in eight people believed rainforests are found in Greenland.

The poll of 1,726 people, conducted by, an online travel agent, exposed a number of common geographical misconceptions, and ignorance about overseas climates.

More than 70 per cent of respondents incorrectly stated it was ‘always hot’ in the Sahara Desert when in fact, temperatures at night often drop below freezing and 17 per cent said there were no volcanoes on the Canary Islands.

When asked to specify the characteristics of a monsoon season, 1 in 10 people said it was ‘a time when birds migrate south for winter’, while 68 per cent thought there has ‘never’ been a tornado in Britain.

Chris Brown, the co-founder of, said: “Having carried out previous research into the misconceptions of people in the UK, we were keen to look into how knowledgeable people were of climates in other countries around the world.”

A previous survey, carried out in April, revealed that 54 per cent of Britons thought Timbuktu was an imaginary place, and almost one in ten believed Kazakhstan (where the fictional character Borat lives) did not exist. More than a third claimed that Atlantis could be visited on a holiday to Greece.

In light of the new findings, Brown urged people to “do a bit of research” before venturing abroad.

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* Premium £5.32 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an adult aged under 55 taking out a “Standard” Single Trip 24/7 travel insurance policy for 3-days in Europe excluding personal possessions cover and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (October 2010) and are subject to change.