The Baltic Sea is located between Central and Northern Europe. It is bounded by the Swedish part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and the Little Belt. The Kattegat continues through Skagerrak into the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The Baltic Sea is connected by artificial waterways to the White Sea via the White Sea Canal, and to the North Sea via the Kiel Canal. The Baltic Sea might be considered to be bordered on its northern edge by the Gulf of Bothnia, on its northeastern edge by the Gulf of Finland, and on its eastern edge by the Gulf of Riga. These various gulfs can also be considered part of the Baltic Sea.
The Baltic Sea is one of the largest brackish inland seas by area. The Baltic Sea occupies a basin formed by glacial erosion during the last few ice ages.
The Baltic Sea is about 1,600 km long, an average of 193 km wide, and an average of 55 m deep. The maximum depth is 459 m which is on the Swedish side of the center. The surface area is about 377,000 km² and the volume is about 20,000 km³. The periphery amounts to about 8,000 km of coastline.