What are the Time Zones, what is GMT, and when do I change my watch?
The term “GMT” can often be quite confusing to many. GMT or Greenwich Mean Time, is the Universal Time (or center) of the world’s 24 time zones. Greenwich lies in east London, and it was there at the Royal Observatory that very important discoveries regarding longitude were made. At the International Conference of 1884 that it was then decided that the Greenich Meridian should become the Prime Meridian of the world, or in other words zero longitude.
As for Western Europe, generally everybody but Great Britain, Ireland, and Portugal (who are all GMT) is GMT plus 1. This means you move your watch one hour forward of GMT.
Generally, Western Europe changes its clocks for daylight savings forward on the last Sunday in March and then changes back again on the last Sunday in October.
Also, take note most of Europe will often express time using the 24 hour clock standard (aka military time), instead of the popular am/pm system.
Europe spans several time zones, so it's important to be aware of the local time when traveling within the continent. Here are the main time zones in Europe:
1. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT):
-GMT is the time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, England. It serves as the reference point for all time zones worldwide. GMT does not have daylight saving time, so it remains constant throughout the year.
2. Central European Time (CET):
-UTC/GMT +1 hour
-This time zone covers much of Western and Central Europe, including cities like Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Rome. CET is observed during standard time.
3. Central European Summer Time (CEST):
-UTC/GMT +2 hours
-CEST is used during the daylight saving time period in Central Europe. It starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October. Many countries in Europe switch to CEST during the summer months.
4. Eastern European Time (EET):
-UTC/GMT +2 hours
-This time zone covers countries in Eastern Europe, including cities like Athens, Bucharest, Istanbul, and Helsinki. EET is observed during standard time.
5. Eastern European Summer Time (EEST):
-UTC/GMT +3 hours
-EEST is used during the daylight saving time period in Eastern Europe. Similar to CEST, it starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.
Further Time Zones:
-Some regions in Europe, such as parts of Russia, Belarus, and the Azores (Portugal), have their own unique time zones.
When to Change Your Watch:
1. Standard Time (Winter):
If you're traveling during the winter months (from late October to late March), you'll typically be in either GMT, CET, or EET depending on your location. Adjust your watch accordingly when you arrive in a new time zone.
2. Daylight Saving Time (Summer):
If you're traveling during the summer months (from late March to late October), be aware of daylight saving time changes. Some countries in Europe observe CEST or EEST, so make sure to adjust your watch when necessary.
Always double-check the local time zone of your destination, especially if you're crossing borders or traveling to regions with unique time zones. This will help ensure you're on time for your activities and appointments.