Baltic Sea

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The Baltic Sea, located in Northern Europe, has an area of about 146,000mi² (377,000km²) and includes the Gulfs of Bothnia, Finland, Riga and Gdansk. It drains into the Kattegat area via the Danish straits, and can be reached via the Skagerrak strait from the North Sea. It is surrounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, mainland Europe and the islands of Denmark; the other countries which border the Baltic Sea are Sweden, Finland (with the Aland Islands between them), Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany. The Kiel Canal is one of the main routes into the Baltic Sea, and the region is important for shipping, connecting large coastal cities and ports such as Saint Petersburg, Stockholm, Riga, Helsinki and Copenhagen.