Portugal

Travel tips to European Countries: Portugal

About the county

Portugal was a world power in 15th and 16th century but was reduced to rubbles during an earthquake in 1755, Napoleon’s Invasion and Brazil’s Independence. Sharing the Iberian Peninsula with Spain and bordering Atlantic Ocean by both west and south coast it is popular for its long and varied coastline, sunny climate and the charming towns makes it a traveler’s paradise. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal.

The best thing about Portugal is that despite being a part of modern Europe one can still find the rural dwellings which has stood by time and has preserved its traditions. While modern architectural marvels like high-rise resorts dot the coast in the Southern province of the Algarve, Lisbon on the west coast on the other hand is a crowded city home to many fine tourist resorts. If you want to go back in time you have to just travel few miles north or east where you will see scenic countryside still resemble medieval villages and towns of earlier centuries.

Population & Languages

The population of Portugal is roughly 10.6 million and the official language being spoken is Portuguese. Mirandese is also second officially language spoken in some parts of Portugal.

Electricity

The voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The types of plug used are round pin with attachment and "Schuko" plug and receptacle with side grounding contacts.

Geographic Location

It is located in Southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It shares the Iberian Peninsula with Spain in north and east and borders Atlantic Ocean by both west and south coast.

Climate

The climate of Portugal can be classified into two. It is oceanic in the north and Mediterranean in the south. It is also one of the warmest countries of Europe. The average temperatures in the mainland are 13°C (55°F) in the north and 18°C (64°F) in the south. Summers are hot and dry. Winters are cold and wet. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Portugal.

Local Customs

Casual dressing is acceptable. But keep in mind not to wear beachwear in towns. Smoking is allowed after meals in Restaurants. Smoking is prohibited in theatres, cinemas and buses. Tipping is 10 to 15 percent in restaurant and hotels and 10 percent to taxis.

Attractions

Castelo de Sao Jorge – Castle of St. George

Alfama - The oldest part of Lisbon

Sй (Cathedral) - first church in Lisbon

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Museum

The Bairro Alto - The Bairro Alto district, an historic enclave dating back to 1513

Monument to the Discoveries - One of the popular attractions in Lisbon is the monument, situated on the riverbank in the Avenida de Brasilia in the district of Belem, which was designed to commemorate the Portuguese Age of Discovery

Tower of Belem - This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Parque das Nacoes

Fatima

Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis - dedicated to Soares dos Reis, the famous sculptor born and bred in Porto

Igreja de Sao Francisco

Solar Vinho do Porto

Vila Nova de Gaia

Frederico de Freitas Museum

Sao Vicente Caves

Cable Car

Cathedral

Whale Museum

Porto Santo

Setubal

Coimbra

Coimbra University

Guimaraes

Guimaraes church and palace

Braganca

Travel

By Air – The national airline of Portugal is TAP Air Portugal (TP). The airlines operates direct flights to many destinations like Faro, Lisbon and Porto from a number of countries, including Canada, France, Spain, the UK and USA. Portugalia Airlines (NI) operates flights from Europe. Many popular airlines that fly to Poland from UK are British Airways, GB Airways and Monarch Airlines, Easyjet, bmibaby, Jet 2, MyTravelLite, Flybe, Flyglobespan and SATA. The biggest airport is Lisbon International Airport which is located like 4.5 miles north of the city.

By Sea – The main ports for international passengers are Lisbon, Leixes (Oporto), Funchal (Madeira) and Portimгo (Algarve), served by Cunard, Italia, Linea C, Olympia, P&O and Union Cas

By Rail – If coming from UK, the fastest way is to get on Eurostar train to Paris and from Paris to Portugal by Sud-Express.

Road – Spain is the only country sharing border with Portugal. The major border posts are open most of the time now.

Duty Free Items

1. Up to 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g smoking tobacco for Non-European union countries.

2. 1 liter spirits with alcohol greater than 22%, or 2 liter spirits or aperitifs made of wine less than 22% or sparkling wines or liqueurs, or a proportionate mix of these, and 2 liters of wine

3. perfume up to 50g and 250ml eau de toilette

4. Gifts up to Ђ175

5. 500g coffee or 100g tea or 40g of tea extract

6. Medicines for personal use

Prohibited Items

Birds and poultry arriving from countries infected with Avian influenza, Un-canned goods, meat or dairy products, Narcotics, firearms, ammunition, weapons, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

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Germany

Travel Tips to European Countries: Germany

About the country

The Federal republic of Germany is the most influential country of Europe. It has witnessed the most controversial facts of history like Nazism, Holy Roman Empire and the building and demolition of the Berlin wall. With many magnificent castles it has wealth of art and culture. German is the widely spoken language in German, but outsiders can find many English speaking locals especially in the common tourist destinations.

Weather

The weather here is very unpredictable as there is a possibility of rain almost all months, so carry clothes accordingly. April and May are the months of spring which brings in full bloom of fruits and flowers. Months from May to September have very fine weather with sunny skies and offers the best time for traveling and site-seeing. People who have a passion for sports like swimming, hiking, and cycling can have the best time here during these months. Winter sports can be enjoyed at the resorts in the months from November to early March. The temperatures are below freezing and the days are too short (comprise of only six to eight months) in winter.

Local Customs

Locals greet each other by handshaking and saying Guten Tag. To say goodbye, people use Auf Wiedersehen. Guests are expected to bring uncovered and odd number of flowers, especially roses, when visiting someone’s home. The guests are welcomed with either food or refreshments. At the table, hosts say ‘Guten Appetit’ to which the guests should reply with ‘Ebenfalls’. Smoking should be better avoided in public areas. Locals dress informally but certain occasions like opera, theatre, certain restaurants and social functions call for formal wear.

Electricity

220 V, 50 Hz

Moving Around

The best way to get around is to buy the Welcome cards or the city passes which allows the customer to access unlimited bus facility in many cities of Germany. It also gives special offer on certain tourist attractions. For flexibility one can rent-a-car or go for chauffer driven cars. Along with the rent, VAT of 16% is payable. Car insurance should be available before hand in case of any accident. The speed limit within the cities is mostly 50kph and 100kph on the highways.

Nine stars

The nine stars of Southwest Germany comprise of Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Heilbronn, Mannheim, Pforzheim Stuttgart, and Ulm. They are considered to be some of the beautiful cities of Europe. Each of the cities play a vital role in the culture of Germany. Baden-Baden has few of the finest resorts and also has Europe’s second largest opera and concert hall. Freiburg is known as the historic city center and is famous for cobblestone mosiacs, open streams and ancient alleys. Heidelberg has world famous castles and Germany’s oldest university. Karlsruhe has the famous museum Center for Art and Media. Look out for various amusements along the Nectar river of Heilbronn. Pforzheim is the capital for watches and jewelry. Stuttgart is famous for theatres and opera. Ulm is the birth place of Albert Einstein and is also house to the world’s tallest hurch spire.

Travel

The national airline that serves Germany is Lufthansa. Bwelin-Tegel airport is situated at 8 km away from the city and it takes about 20 minutes to reach there. There is a provision of duty free shops, banks, post office, eateries, conference hall, and car hire and tourism information for the passengers.

Another busy airport is the Frankfurt airport which is located at 13km away from the city. Buses take about 20 minutes to get there. Taxis are available at any time. The Intercity railway network at the airport also provides international services to Hungary, Switzerland and Austria. The facilities provided here are duty free shops, left luggage, restaurants, banks, conference halls, post office, car hire and tourism information. No departure tax is levied on the passengers.

Those wishing to travel by sea can avail the ferry connections to Finland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Latvia, and Norway.

Eurostar provides railway service to and from Belgium, France and the UK. Booking can be made by telephone. The Inter-Rail offers unlimited second class train travel within 29 European countries. The Eurailpass offers unlimited first class train travel within 17 European countries.

EuroCity and InterCity trains have a restaurant on board, providing food and drinks. InterCity Express target the business class and provides services such as fully equipped office, conference compartments, etc. Tourist over 17 years of age can carry alcohol and tobacco with them within permissible limits.

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Holland

Travel Tips to European Countries: Holland

About the Country

The summers are cool here but the winters are severe with some chances of snowfall. Rainfall can be expected in any month of the year. Dutch is the official language here. English, French and German are the other languages that are spoken, out of which English is widely spoken. Incase of emergency call 112.

Culture

Handshake is the commonly practiced form of greeting. Although tipping is not mandatory, but it’s better to pay rounds figure in restaurants and taxis. A humble gift should be taken to the host’s house always when invited for a meal. Informal clothes are worn on a daily basis, but people are expected to turn up in formals at social functions and smart restaurants.

Shopping

Pottery of Delft, Makkum and Workum is a must buy. Silverware from Schoonhoven, crystals from Leerdam and diamonds from Amsterdam are highly recommended.

Site Seeing

Apenheul Primate Park is a place to visit which is a home to more than thirty species of mammals. It remains closed during the winter. De Hoge Veluwe is the oldest and largest park of Holland. Bicycles can be used to explore the 5,500 hectares of the park. Paleis Het Loo is a magnificent Palace surrounded by gardens and remains open year round except on public holidays.

Electricity

230 V and 50 Hz

Travel

The national airline that operates in Holland is KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines. It connects to almost all the major cities of Europe, North America and Asia. Amsterdam Airport is the hub for many international and local flights. It is located at 15 km away from the city and it takes 20 minutes to reach there by train. The Airline, KLM, provides bus service every 15-30 minutes which takes passengers to some of the famous hotels of the city. Public buses can be availed too, to reach destination. Trains connect to Amsterdam’s Central Station and Zuid Station. Taxis take tourists to almost any location. The Airport features duty free shops, banks, showers, business center, baby rooms, and car hire.

Rotterdam airport and Eindhoven airport are 8km away from the city. Trains and buses operate every 15 minutes to transport passengers to their hotels. Facilities such as duty free shops, eateries, car rental, and internet can be availed at these airports. No departure tax is implemented on passengers at any of these airports.

The main sea ports are Hook of Holland, Vlissingen and Rotteradm. Stena Line, P&O ferries and DFDS seaways provide ferry service to get to Holland.

If traveling by railway, Eurostar provides the best service and connects to all the major cities of Europe. It provides high grade services. Good offers are provided on regular basis and to utilize them they should be monitored from time to time. Unused tickets are easily refunded. The Inter-Rail pass can be bought to avail the unlimited second class train travel within 29 European countries.

Top class road network connects Holland to majority of cities in Europe. They are well maintained and signs are posted every where for safe driving. 120kph is the speed limit while driving on highways. Many car dealing agents exist if opting for car-rental. Some of them are Avis, Europcar and Budget.

Cycling is also a major means of transportation in Holland and is part and parcel of daily life. Tourists can hire cycles from the airport or other service providers with some money-deposit.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco

2. 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette

3. 1liter of liquor or 2liter of sparkling wine or liquor wines and 2liter of non-sparkling wine

4. 100g of tea or 40g of tea extract

5. 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extract

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Albania

Travel Tips to European Countries: Albania

Albania is a mountainous country and the one of the smallest countries of Europe. The residents supposedly descended from ancient Illyrians.

Culture

The culture of Albania is majorly influenced by that of the mainland Greeks especially in the urban locality; nodding one’s head means ‘no’ where as shaking the head means ‘yes’. To greet someone, handshaking is preferred, though Shoku (Comrade) was used before, which has been long forgotten now. People dress informally here. Swim suits are meant for the beaches, otherwise women are expected not to dress in a revealing outfit. When addressing someone prefix Zoti(Mr) or Zonja(Mrs) before the name and always remember to carry some gifts when visiting someone, although flowers aren’t much acceptable. The guests are served with coffee, raki or sweets. Smokers don’t have to worry much, but they should avoid it where they see a sign of Ndalohet Duhani or Ndalohet pirja e duhanit.

Travelling within the country

Buses with relatively cheap fares operate in the main cities of the country or taxis are another choice which provided service for some main hotels.

Visit Dajti Mountain and experience Dajti Ekspres Cable car for an unforgettable 15 minute ride passing through Dajt Oark to reach Tirana. The route is about 4.2 km long and the ride costs Ђ6.5.Alpha Yachting provides crewed yacht which is a luxury in itself. Tirana Bank is the best place for withdrawing money as it allows access to Visa cards.

Eating Out

Restaurants are not always sufficiently heated, so always wear warm clothes if out in the night during winters. Foreigners are charged more than the locals. Both the entry fees as well as any merchandise will be on a higher scale, so it’s better not to reveal the fact that you are a foreigner when out on the streets.

Site Seeing

If you enjoy canoeing, this is the right place to be. There are places right outside Tirana which is an amazing site for not just canoeing, but also rock climbing, hiking, and camping.

Accommodation

If you want a 5-Star ambience, try The Sheraton Tirana Hotel and Towers, which is situated in the middle of a shopping and entertainment center. There are about 151 rooms and 56 suites. So, along with the comfort, one can shop at once convenience here. Another hotel which provides all modern facilities is Hotel Mondial. It is located 1000 m away from the city and is also a good example of traditional architecture.

Getting There

One of the best and the easiest means is to go by air. Albanian Airlines is the national airline which works in collaboration with Tyrolean Airways, and provides service to almost all the big European cities. The airport, Mother Teresa, is 16 miles or 26 km away from the capital. A tourist bus is available every 3 hrs to get to the city center and takes about 30 minutes to get there. Taxis are available round the clock. While waiting for any transport service, tourists can check out the duty free shops, bank, eateries and car hire at the airport. A departure tax of $10 USD is imposed on all foreign nationals. Check out www. flyalbanian. com for flight times and offers.

If trying to get there by sea, try the ferry services which are provided by Adriatic Line and Agoudimos. The main ports are Durres (has ferry connection to Italy, Bari, Brindisi, Trieste, and Ancona), Vlora (has ferry connection to Bari, and Brindisi), Saranda (has connection to Corfu), Shen Gjini (has ferry connection to Bari). Check out www. adriatica. it and www. aqoudimos-lines. com for more information.

Bus is another option. Buses start from Istanbul, Athens and Sofia. Internal passengers have lots of options with bus services provided. If traveling by road in a private car, there is road network to the Kosovo region, but they are too dangerous to use because of the political tensions within the region. Crossings at Hani I Hotit, Bllata, Oafa e Thaes, Tushemisht, Gorica, Kapshtica, and kakavija can be taken. If tired one can take halts at hotels or other designated areas. There is a network of 18,000 km, out of which only 7450 km are main roads, for local travelers. About 2138km stretch of these roads is in poor condition and has pot holes, and utmost safety precautions should be taken when driving on such roads. Speed limit should be strictly followed on highways as well as within towns. Driving at night should be better avoided because of the absence of street lights on the road except for urban areas. Traffic should drive on the right-hand. There is a shortage of gas stations in the countryside, so filling the gas tank completely when passing through urban area is recommended and since there is lack of national recovery system; travelers should be prepared for an emergency or breakdown before hand. One should carry necessary documents like International Driving Permit and national driving license.

Duty Free Items

Following are the items that can be carried without customs duty being levied on them:

1. 1liter of spirits or 2liter of wine

2. 250ml of eau de toilette

3. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco

4. 50ml of perfume.

Prohibited Items

Things that are prohibited to carry are firearms, narcotics and ammunitions. Special export permission should be taken for precious metals, books, antiques, work of art, or material of national or historic value.

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Spain

Travel Tips to European Countries: Spain

About The Country

Spain is famous world wide for its flamenco dancers and bullfights. The architecture reflects the Moroccan style. Cave paintings, renaissance cathedrals, Moorish palaces prove the diversity of the country. Spring, fall and early summer are very pleasant here, though summers are hot.

Culture

Spanish is the regional language of Spain. English is also widely spoken here. Over the period of time, Spanish people have become modern in order to gel with the changing times and are no longer conservative. But that hasn’t changed the values, traditions, manners and customs of the locals. People here have two surnames; the first surname can be used to refer to the person. To greet someone, a handshake will do the job. Take a small gift along when visiting someone’s house. Save the flowers for special occasions. Dinner is generally taken very late in the night. People wear casuals most of the time. Men are expected to wear jackets at some restaurants. Swimsuits should be confined to the pools and beaches. Recently a ban has been applied on smoking in public places.

Shopping

Shops open quite early in the morning and stay open late in the evening. In the afternoon, they are closed for lunch or siesta. Porcelain and leather goods are famous and they will be good gifts for friends and family members back home. Bills are to be paid along with the service charges, so tipping is a matter of gratitude.

Electricity

Voltage is 220 volts and frequency is 50 Hz

Getting There

IBERIA is the national airline of Spain. Many other low-cost airlines offer services in the country. There are nearly thirty international airports in Spain, out of which Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Malaga are famous.

Madrid located at 13km away from the city has a good bus service every fifteen minutes. Underground service also works to transport passengers to their destinations. Other facilities offered at this airport are duty free shops, bank, restaurant, tourism information, and hotel reservations.

Barcelona is very close to the city, situated at a distance of 3 km only. Buses are available every 15 minutes and trains are available every 20 minutes. Taxis are available throughout the day. Duty free shops, restaurants, bank, car hire and tourism information are available here.

There is a good network of roads connecting Spain north to south. Toll booths are installed in some parts of the country. Carrying few Euros will help smooth sailing at the toll booths. If driving one’s private car, it would be better if the travel insurance covers medical costs too. Carrying a medical kit can prove to be of some help.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos 50 cigars or 250g tobacco (300 cigarettes, 150 cigarillos, 70 cigars and 400g of tobacco for EU nationals)

2. 1litre of spirits if exceeding 22 per cent volume or 2 litres of alcoholic beverage not exceeding 22 per cent volume and 2 litres of wine (1.5 litre exceeding 22 per cent and 3 litres of up to 22 per cent and 5 litres of wine for EU nationals)

3. 250ml eau de toilette and 50g of perfume

4. 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extract (1000g of coffee and 4000g of coffee extract for EU nationals)

5. 100g of tea or 40g of tea extract

6. Gifts up to the value of approximately Ђ37.26.

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Hungary

Travel tips to European Countries: Hungary

About the county

Also known as the Republic of Hungary or Hungarian Republic, Hungary is a landlocked country located in Central Europe and bordering Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Budapest is the largest city and also the Capital of Hungary. One of the key reasons why Hungary is popular is its hospitality to tourists. Also one can find an ideal mix of history and modern day in Hungary. While Hungarians proudly stick to their old Magyar Tradition they also keep them abreast with current fashions across the world. Most visitors flock to see Budapest, a truly world class city situated on River Danube which enchants everyone with love and music. The city is a blend of culture and outstanding beauty making it the right place for tourists. The city has been a paradise for writers, musicians and artists who were greatly influenced by this graceful city. If you travel west in Hungary Lake Balaton is popular with tourists. Local cuisines include halбszlй (fish soup) with pasta and goulash (gulyбs) soup.

Population & Languages

The population of Hungary is Roughly 10 million and the official language being spoken is Hungarian.

Electricity

The voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The types of plugs used are Round pin attachment plug and "Schuko" plug and receptacle with side grounding contacts.

Geographic Location

Hungary is a landlocked country located in Central Europe and bordering Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. River Danube and River Tisza divide the country into three large regions. The country is strategically located astride main land routes between Western Europe and Balkan Peninsula as well as between Ukraine and Mediterranean basin

Climate

The climate of Hungary can be termed as Temperate with hot summers and cold winters. The average annual temperature of Hungary is around 9.6 °C. The maximum temperature in summer can be 43 °C and as low as -30 °C. The summer average is 26 to 36 °C and winter average is 0 to -16 °C.

Local Customs

Like any other country Hungary has its own customs too. It is customary to handshake. It is customary to make the toast and return. It is customary for guests to offer gifts to the host of a meal. Smoking is prohibited in most public areas. But travelers can smoke in long distance trains. Casual dress is acceptable in most places and formal for special occasions. Tipping up to 10 to 15 percent is customary for all services including restaurants, bars, clubs, taxis etc.

Attractions

Budapest

* Castle Royal Palace

* Fisherman’s Bastion

* Matthias Church

* Gellйrt Hill

* Chain Bridge

* The Great Synagogue and Jewish Museum

* Parliament Buildings

* Statue Park

Eger

* Eger Castle

* Szйpasszony Valley (Valley of the Pretty Woman)

Lake Balaton

* Hйvнz

* Keszthely

The Danube Bend

* Esztergom

* Szentendre

* Visegrad

Travel

By Air – The national airline of Hungary is Malv which operates flights from more than forty cities across the world. Other international airlines operating from Hungary include Aeroflot, Air France, British Airways, easyJet, KLM, Lufthansa, Sky Europe, Swiss, United Airlines and Wizz Air. Ferihegy Budapest International Airport (BUD) is the biggest airport which is like ten miles southeast of Budapest.

By River - There is a daily hydrofoil service run by MAHART connecting Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest in the months of April to October.

By Rail – The country is part of the extensive network of trains connecting the European cities. Hungary is connected to 16 European cities and there are 47 international trains daily to Budapest by direct rail link.

Duty Free Items

1. 800 cigarettes or 400 cigarillos or 200 cigars or1kg smoking tobacco for EU countries.

2. 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g of smoking tobacco for Non-EU countries.

3. 10 liter of spirits with more than 22% and ethyl alcohol, or 20 liter of beverages less than 22% alcohol content, or 90 liter of wine or 60 liter of sparkling wine, or 110 liter of beer for EU countries.

4. 1 liter of spirits and 2 liter of wine for Non-EU countries.

5. 50g perfume or 250 ml eau de toilette

6. Gifts , Food, fruits, medications and flowers for personal use of value up to Ђ175

Prohibited Items

Un-canned goods, meat or dairy products, Narcotics, firearms, ammunition, weapons, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

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Switzerland

Travel Tips to European Countries: Switzerland

About the country

Switzerland is blessed with all the bounties of nature. It is the most preferred tourist destination among all the countries in the world. The Alps region has a cold weather most of the times, where as the summers are warmer in the northern area. Visit Saas Fee to ski and snowboard. Dream of living in real life igloo can come true as many resorts, like Zermatt and St Moritz (which is a celebrity resort), had them built for their customers.

Culture

Italian, German and French are the official languages of Switzerland. Many English people can also be found here. Unwrapped flowers must be presented to the host to show appreciation. White asters and chrysanthemums flowers are reserved for funerals, so precaution must be taken when presenting flowers to others, even red roses are better avoided. One can move around in casuals but it is important to dress in warrant jackets and ties when attending social gatherings or when eating out at a fine restaurant. Swiss Franc is the currency used here.

Shopping

Switzerland is famous for its exotic chocolates, finest handmade clocks and luxury watches. Other specialties are embroidered linen, music boxes, wood carvings, Swiss cheese and Swiss army knives. Many shops remain close on Monday, so shopping should be avoided on that day. Since service charge is applied on all services, so tipping is an issue of free-will. 7.6% VAT is charged on all purchases made in Switzerland, which can be reclaimed later by asking for a global refund check, if the purchase crosses 400 CHF.

Electricity

The standard current used is 230 volts (AC) and 50 Hz.

Getting There

Swiss airline is the national airline of Switzerland, which connects to 71 destinations all over the world. Zurich is the most popular airport, located at a distance of 11km from the city. Every 15 minutes, trains shuttles passengers to their destination. Fly-Rail Luggage ticket can be bought if the passengers want to collect their luggage at the railways station rather than the airport. While leaving Switzerland, Fly-Rail Baggage service can be availed that enables passenger to check-in their luggage at the railway station itself. Other facilities provided here are duty free shops, banks, restaurants and car hire. Check out Geneva, Basle and Bern airport for offers.

Since weather conditions are worst during the winters, train is an efficient and cheaper option. They are also great if one wants to enjoy the scenic beauty of Switzerland. Swiss Pass can be purchased to visit most of the tourist attractions in Switzerland.

High quality roads are maintained here. Roads connect to Austria, Germany, Italy and France. But in winters things can get worse, so it is better to carry chains and snow tires. Cars should be kept to the right.

Duty Free Items

a) Visitors from European countries

200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco

2 liter of alcohol (up to 15 per cent) and 1liter of alcohol (over 15 per cent)

(b) Visitors from non-European countries

400 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500g of tobacco

2liter of alcohol (up to 15 per cent) and 1liter of alcohol (over 15 per cent)

Meat items, narcotics and absinthe are strictly not permitted. Other items that come under the prohibited items list are firearms and animals.

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Luxembourg

Travel Tips to European Countries: Luxembourg

About the country

One of the Europe’s smallest sovereign states is The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The north part of the country is blessed with greenery and hills. The Ardennes provides great scenic view. The country is small and all the tourist attractions are within reachable limits. It snows during the winters in Luxembourg, but isn’t as cold as its neighboring countries and the summer is warm which comes in May and lasts till September. Incase of emergency dial 112 or 113.

Culture

Generally handshake is used to greet people. Although majority of the locals speak English, Letzeburgesch is the national language of Luxembourg. French and German is also spoken by many Luxembourgers. When appearing as a guest at someone’s house, it is a good practice to bring along gift or flowers. People are expected to dress in smart casuals, but it would be best to turn up in formals when attending social functions, or clubs. It’s not advised to smoke in public places.

Shopping

Crystals and porcelains of Villeroy and Boch are very famous and the earthenware pottery from Nospelt is a shopper’s must have item from Luxembourg. VAT of 15% is applied to all items purchased other than that from campground, hotel, and restaurant, which charge 3%. Tipping is exempted.

Site Seeing

The capital, Luxembourg is a place to be. Stay for a day or tea to explore the city. Village of Viaden has a cliff top castle which is a famous landmark.

Taxis can be hired to move around the city. They charge 10% extra from 10 pm to 6 am and if hired on Sunday, an extra 25% extra will be charged if hired for the whole day.

Accommodations

Luxembourg has many luxurious hotels, most of which are located in Lux City. Other options are guesthouses which are beautifully decorated with flower and plants.

Travel

The national airline which operates here is Luxair. There are flights from London to Luxembourg every hour. The Luxembourg airport is at a distance of 5km from the city and it takes about 20 minutes to reach there. There are provisions such as duty free shops, bank, tourism information and car hire for the passengers.

Eurostar provides a fast railway service from London, Paris, Belgium, France or Brussels to Luxembourg. Bookings can be made via telephone and Ј5 fee is charged for telephonic booking. Check out for offers which are provided on some of the routes. To travel within the country, Inter-Rail pass can be bought which gives the offer of unlimited train travel for 29 countries of Europe.

When driving on road, it is recommended to take the train or ferry service when passing the channel between Dover and Calais. Check out for vacancy before hand especially during the rush hours. While driving, drivers should stay on the right side and there are strict rules for drinking while driving and seat belt.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco

2. 1liter of spirits or 2liter of sparkling wine or 2liter of liqueur wine and 2liter of non-sparkling wine

3. 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette

4. 500g of coffee and 200g of coffee extract

5. 100g of tea and 40g of tea extract

6. Tobacco and Alcohol can be carried by visitors over 17 years of age only.

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Greece

Travel tips to European Countries: Greece

About the county

Being one of the earliest civilizations known to human kind Greece is a country with rich history, heritage and culture. It is the place where Byzantine Empire once ruled and also great Ottoman Empire. It is also considered to be as the birth place of Democracy. Athens is the capital city of Greece. The Olympic games originated in Greece. Not only that, it was the world center for western philosophy, political science, astronomy, mathematics, major scientific studies and what not. It is also known as a Mediterranean country as it has Mediterranean Sea in the south. It is a popular destination for world tourists in that region known for its beautiful beaches, reach history and charming villages. The Greek islands are one of the most wonderful places to be explored by Cruise or Yacht. The trip of Greece will definitely be one of the most memorable to remember in one’s life.

Population & Languages

The population of Greece is around 11 million and the official language being spoken is Greek. The other popular languages are English and French.

Electricity

The voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The types of plug used are round pin with attachment, round pin with ground, Round pin plug and receptacle with male grounding pin and "Schuko" plug and receptacle with side grounding contacts.

Geographic Location

It is located in Southern Europe bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea between Albania and Turkey. It is situated in the southern side of Balkan Peninsula. It is also bordered by Bulgaria and Macedonia in the southeast.

Climate

It has three distinct climates namely Alpine, Mediterranean and temperate climate with mild and wet winters and also hot and dry summers due to Mediterranean affect. Alpine system is seen in mountainous regions. The temperate climate is seen near border along Macedonia. Athens has both temperate and Mediterranean weather.

Local Customs

The Greece is a place with strong historic and cultural background. There are different traditions and customs in different parts of the Greece. The throwing back of a hand is considered to be a negative gesture here in Greece. Casual dress can be worn most of the times. Smoking is prohibited in public transport services and public buildings. Tipping 12 to 1 percent is customary in restaurants, hotels and taxis.

Attractions

* The Olympic Games in Athens (the spot of the historic 2004 Olympic Games)

* Mardi Grass Celebrations in February

* The Parthenon in Athens

* Skiing in Arahova Mountains between October and March

* Easter Celebrations

* Thessaloniki’s White Tower and country’s rich Byzantine culture

* The south of Corinth

* The beaches in Lesvos

* The wine vineyards in the countryside

* The islands near the Aegean Sea

* The wildlife preserve in Alonissos (Sporades Marine Park)

* The famous, Moni Panagia Chozoviotissa, a Byzantine monastery in Amorgos

Travel

By Air – The national airline of Greece is Olympic Airlines. Many popular airlines like British Airways and Delta Airlines operate daily flight from Athens. The biggest airport is newly constructed Athens International Airport which is located like 17 miles northeast of the city. The other international airports of Greece are Heraklion (Crete), Thessaloniki (Macedonia) and Corfu (Kerkira).

By Sea – The popular Greek ports include Corfu, Heraklion, Igoumenitsa, Patras, Piraeus (Athens), Rhodes, Thessaloniki and Volos. Shipping vessels and ferryboat lines link these ports with Italy, Croatia, Cyprus, Russia and Turkey. Some of the popular cruises operating in Greece are Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Festival Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Silversea and Swan Hellenic.

By Rail – If one is coming from UK, the best way is to take Eurostar train to Brussels or Paris and from there take connecting train to Greece.

Duty Free Items

1. Up to 200 cigarettes or 250 gm tobacco

2. 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars

3. 1 liter spirit over 22% or 2 liter wine

4. Perfumes – 50 gm or 250 ml

5. Gifts up to Ђ175

Prohibited Items

Narcotics, firearms, ammunition, weapons, most meat and dairy products, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

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Belgium

Travel Tips to European Countries: Belgium

About the Country

Belgium is situated in the west of Europe. The land here mostly comprises of flat coastal plains in the northeast, and southeast is occupied by the Ardennes Forest. Dutch, Flemish, French and German are the official languages of Belgium, with Dutch being the widely spoken followed by French. The weather here is pretty predictable. Months from April to September are the warmest. Otherwise the weather is pretty humid and skies are gray, that explains why umbrellas and raincoats are a part of the dressing. So, if the visit is planned for holidays during the rainy season, one must not forget to carry sufficient cover for maximum protection, as this is a coastal region. In case of emergency call 100 or 112.

Culture

Belgians are English-friendly and will make every attempt to speak in English with a foreigner. Always remember to carry a small gift or at least flowers especially when invited over dinner. The dress to wear will be mentioned in the invitation, when invited for a party. Smoking in public is acceptable.

Shopping

Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, Ostend, Namur, Mons, Liиge, Ghent and Mechelen are the main shopping centers. Belgium is famous for ceramics and hand-beaten copperware from Dinant, laces from Bruges, crystals from Val Saint Lambert, woodcarvings from Spa and Belgium’s finest chocolates. In jewelry, diamonds from Antwerp are on high demand.

Eating Out

The specialty of most of the restaurants is horse and rabbit meat dishes. Although visitors can find a wide range of ethnic foods, but the most famous are frites and mayonnaise and mitraillette; mitraillette is a large bun filled with fries, donair meat and garlic sauce, the vegetarians can ask for a veg. substitute for the donair meat. While eating at a restaurant, tipping is considered customary along with the value-added tax. At the cinemas, leave a Ђ0.50 tip for the attendant and Ђ0.25 after using the public toilets.

Electricity

Voltage is 230 V and frequency is 50 Hz.

Travel

Delta Air Transport has inaugurated its new European airline SN Brussels Airlines recently. It flies to more than 58 destinations in Europe and as well as worldwide. The Brussels Zayentem airport is twelve km from the city and it takes 35 minutes to reach the city from the airport. The airport has facilities like duty free shops, car parking, taxi booking, car hiring, banks, post office, restaurants, and medical help. Internet and fax services are provided for the passengers. The Airport City Express train transports passengers to three main railway stations - Brussels North, Central and South. One can avail a bus which runs regularly from the airport, taxis can also be hired which wait outside the arrival hall. Tipping the taxi drivers is considered customary. Train runs every 15 minutes.

Another airport, Brussels South Charleroi, is 5 km away from Charleroi and 46 km from Brussels. Ryan air serves as the local airline here and has cheap deals for several European destinations to and from Charleroi. The facilities provided here are bus and train services, cafй, car hire, and duty free shops.

Ostend airport is 5 km away from the city and car parking, car hire, duty free shops, and restaurants are provided here.

Antwerp airport is just 2 km away from the city. Buses run to the Brussels Central Station every few minutes.

Liege is situated at a distance of 5 km away from the city. Buses run at regular interval here.

The departure tax at Brussels Zayentem is Ђ20.93, Brussels South Charleroi is Ђ3.49, Ostend and Antwerp is Ђ10, and at Liege is Ђ7.

There is a network of high-speed trains, which are operated by Thalys, from Belgium to France, connecting Brussels with other destinations like Bordeaux, Chambйry, Cannes, Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Valence Perpignan, and Rennes. Booking should be made in advance for these trains. The national railway operates through out the day providing service every few minutes to destinations such as Andorra, Austria, France, Czech, Germany, Italy, Poland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the UK and the Netherlands. Insiders can avail the Inter-Rail pass which allows visitors to travel almost 29 European Countries. This service is valid for residents who have been settled there for more than 6 months.

Duty Free Items

Visitors can carry alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes, coffee and tea without getting customs duty levied on them, but only the goods should be limited. Check out for the limits before carrying such goods. Food items that are not preserved are better avoided.

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Czech republic

яюTravel tips to European Countries: Czech Republic

About the county

Czech Republic is located in Central Europe bordering Poland to the north, Germany to the northwest and west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east. The capital of Czech Republic is Prague which is also the biggest city of Czech Republic and a popular tourist destination. Czech Republic became a member of European Union in May, 2004. Czech Republic was earlier a part of Czechoslovakia which was dissolved in January, 1993 and was split into what is now called Czech and Slovak Republics. Brno, Ostrava, PlzeH, Olomouc, , eskй Budjovice, Zlнn, Hradec Krбlovй, Ъstн nad Labem, Pardubice and Karlovy Vary are the other important cities of Czech Republic. Czech Republic is divided into two parts based on geographical and cultural classification. They are Bohemia and Moravia. Bohemian cities and towns are popular for their spas and wine vineyards. It is also home to many castles which are open for visitors. One of the other tourism attractions is the availability of hundreds of miles of marked trails for hiking, cycling and skiing.

Population & Languages

The population of Czech Republic is roughly 10.2 million and the official language being spoken is Czech.

Electricity

The voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The type of plug used is Round pin plug and receptacle with male grounding pin

Geographic Location

It is located in Central Europe bordering Poland to the north, Germany to the northwest and west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east. It is basically a landlocked country strategically located on some of the most important land routes in Europe.

Climate

The climate of Czech Republic can be termed as Temperate with hot summers and cold overcast winters. It also gets snow. Most of the rain comes down in summer. Due to different altitudes the variation of temperatures is diverse. The temperatures are relatively low at high altitudes and more precipitation. The temperatures average only -0.4°C at high altitude areas whereas the temperatures can average as high as 10°C in low altitude areas.

Local Customs

Dressing should be conservative and casual except at formal dinners or good hotels or restaurants. Tipping is usually 5 to 10 percent in restaurant, hotels and taxis.

Attractions

The Castle District (Hradиany)  It has some of the best churches and museums. It also has some beautiful gardens, fortifications and state apartments also.

St Vitus Cathedral  It is located in the Castle District, the prominent feature of this cathedral is the spires which soar high in the sky. It is also country s largest church with great architecture.

Charles Bridge (Karluv Most)  This is one of the most popular tourist spots of the city and should not be missed.

Old Town Square (Staromstskй Nбmestн)  It is the most vibrant square of Prague with many historical structures. It also hosts various markets every year like yearly Christmas market.

The Jewish Museum  It is the largest Jewish Museum in Central Europe with a vast collection of Judaic art works.

Vyaehrad  Is a great hill fort built on a rock above the river.

Travel

By Air  The national airline of Czech Republic is Czech Airlines. There are many other small and popular international airlines operating from Czech Republic. The major airport is Prague Ruzyne International Airport (PRG). The airport is located approximately 10 miles north west of Prague.

By Rail  The country is part of the extensive network of trains connecting the European cities. If you are coming from Western Europe the most convenient connections are via Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, and Zurich to Prague.

Duty Free Items

1. 800 cigarettes or 400 cigarillos or 200 cigars or 1kg tobacco for EU countries.

2. 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco for Non-EU countries.

3. 10 liter of spirits with alcohol content over 22%, or 20 liter of alcoholic beverages with alcohol volume less than 22%, or 90 liter of wine or 60 liter of sparkling wine, or 110 liter of beer for EU countries.

4. 1 liter spirits or 2 liter wine for Non-EU countries.

5. 50g perfume or 250ml eau de toilette

6. Food, fruits, medications and flowers for personal use

7. Gifts up to ¬ 175

Prohibited Items

Un-canned goods, meat or dairy products, Narcotics, firearms, ammunition, weapons, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

PPPPP

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Austria

Travel Tips to European Countries: Austria

About the Country

Located in central Europe, Austria celebrates world’s best music festivals like the Salzburg Festival, Haydn Festival in Vienna, and the International Chamber Music Festival. Vienna is the capital of Austria as well as the musical capital of Europe. Music and art are in full flare here after centuries of hardship and innovation. That explains Vienna being the birthplace of Mozart. Horse dances are also part of these festivals. Since it snows in winter, the snow covered Alps is a must be visited place during the winter. Austria experiences a moderate summer. Rains can be expected year round. Incase of emergency call 120 or 123.

Site seeing

The romantic castles simply leave you astounded. The Schloss Durnstein provides a magnificent view besides the River Danube. A 10% tip should be paid to the taxi drivers, which is customary here.

Culture

German, Hungarian, Slovene, and Croatian are the languages spoken by the locals. To greet the locals, a handshake will do. When meeting someone for the first time, its better to refer them by their last name, but once better known they can be addressed by the first name. When out in the public, say Guten Tag or Gruss Gott to greet people and while leaving say Auf Wiedersehen. Carry along flowers when going over to someone’s house. The locals here have a passion for horse riding. The world’s best art of horsemanship can be found here which is as old as 400 years and to watch the horses perform at these schools; tickets must be booked in advance. Although service charge is levied on restaurant bills, an extra 5% should be paid as tip.

Getting there

Three national airlines operate in Austria, Austrian Arrows, Austrian Airlines and Lausda Air, which work in collaboration with the Austrian Airlines Group. The Vienna airport is 18 km away from the city. Airport buses transport passengers to the South Train and West Train Station. Railway, chauffeur-driven car and taxi service is also provided at the airport. Duty free shops, post office, bank, eateries, left luggage, tourism information, conference hall, nursery, car hiring and car parking facilities are provided to the passengers at the airport.

Salzburg airport is 4 km away from the city and buses, trains, taxis and hotel coach shuttle passengers to and from the airport. Facilities such as duty free shops, post office, currency exchange, left luggage, conference hall, restaurants and car hire exist at the airport. Check out the other airports such as Klagenfurt airport, Graz airport and Linz airport for more details. All the airports charge a fixed rate for porter service.

International tourists can get to Austria by Austrian Federal railways, if planning to travel by train. It has a large network which connects the major cities within Austria and also outside Austria. Travelers can find connections to/from Germany, Russia, Greece, Romania, Turkey Brussels, Paris and Italy. International rail passes or Eurail pass can be bought to travel around Austria as they provide unlimited travel and other offers too.

A good network of roads here provides an interesting journey. Take Eurotunnel when crossing the Channel Tunnel while traveling by car. Bookings should be made in advance. The cars can be hired at the airports and railway stations and if driving own car carry documentations like UK driving license or national driving license and car registration papers. Toll booths are installed on the motorways and ‘S’ roads, so if change is carried in advance it will ensure no delays in the journey. Registration documents should be carried along all the time while driving. The lights should be turned on while driving, in the city or outside, all the time. There are strict laws for seat belts and drinking while driving. If using the motorbike, high visibility jacket and helmet must be worn, it’s a compulsion for both the passenger and the driver. Many federal, private companies and local authorities provide bus service. Coaches are provided for moving around within the cities.

Wurm and Kock provide cruise passenger service. Along with the cruise trip, packages include stay at a hotel. Check out, before hand, for offer. There are many Ferry service providers too.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco or a proportional mix of these products

2. 1l of spirits over 22 per cent or 2l of fortified wine or spirits up to 22 per cent or 2l of sparkling wine or liqueur and 2l of still wine

3. 500g of coffee or 200g of extracts, essences or concentrates of coffee, and 100g of tea or 40g of tea extracts

4. medicinal products sufficient for the journey

5. 50g of perfume or eau de toilette

6. All the above mentioned goods should be carried by a person over 17 years of age.

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Ukraine

Travel tips to European Countries: Ukraine

About the county

Ukraine which is located in Eastern Europe is one of the largest country in that region of Europe bordering Russia in the northeast, Belarus in the north, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary in the west, Romania and Moldova in the southwest and also Black Sea and Sea of Azov in the south. It is a popular tourist destination especially for tourists from Western Europe and North America. The main selling point is the rich historical character of the country with as many five hundred cities dating back as early as nine hundred years. Visitors are spellbound by the architectural beauty of Ukraine. Kiev is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine where most travelers begin their journey.

Population & Languages

Ukraine has a population of roughly 46.7 million and the official language is Ukrainian. The other languages spoken here are Russian, Romanian, Polish and Hungarian.

Electricity

Voltage - 220 volts, Frequency - 50Hz. Standard European Round pin attachment plug

Geographic Location

Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe bordering Russia in the northeast, Belarus in the north, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary in the west, Romania and Moldova in the southwest and also Black Sea and Sea of Azov in the south. The strategic location of Ukraine between Asia and Europe made it a transportation hub in the region.

Local Customs

Ukrainians are warm hearted and welcoming people. Casual dressing is mostly worn here though it will be a good idea to wear smartly for theatres. Small gifts are appreciated. Tipping is not very common; service is usually included in fine restaurants and hotel bills.

Places to see

St Sophia Cathedral – As old as nine centuries, it is one of the architectural marvels of Ukraine.

Kiev-Pechersk Lavra (Caves Monastery) – These caves are as old as one millennium and dating back to 11th century.

Great Patriotic War Museum

Statue of the Motherland, Kiev

Travel

By Air – The national airline of Ukraine is Ukrainian International Airlines. In collaboration with Aer Fi Group and Austrian Airline it links Kyiv to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Rome, Rotterdam, Vienna and Zurich. There is one more airline in Ukraine called Air Ukraine which serves relatively less number of European cities. Lviv is also connected to New York, Warsaw and Washington. It is connected to Turkey through Simferopol and to UK through IvanoFrankivsk. The major airport is Boryspil State International Airport (KBP) which is located twenty five miles from Kiev.

By Sea – The primary ports of Ukraine are Izmail and Odessa which are situated on the River Danube. The ferry services connect Ukraine with Russia and Georgia. They also connect various cities on the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Sevastopol is the port which connects Istanbul, Turkey.

By Rail – Ukraine has approximately 14,000 miles of railway tracks linking most towns and cities. Kyiv and Lviv are the main stations which connect with Moscow on a daily basis. Ukraine also has direct lines to Berlin (Germany), Budapest (Hungary), Warsaw (Poland) and Bucharest (Romania).

By Road – Ukraine has an extensive network of roads with approximately 107,000 mile of road network out of which nearly 18,000 mile is main or national roads.

Duty Free Items

1. Up to 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 gm tobacco

2. 1 liter spirit over 22% or 2 liter wine or 32 liter beer

3. Goods for personal use with a combined value of Ђ200

Prohibited Items

Narcotics, firearms, ammunition, weapons, most meat and dairy products, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

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Sweden

Travel tips to European Countries: Sweden

About the county

Beautiful and clean, the peaceful Sweden is a land of cultural diversity with a mix of Danish and Wild Arctic North influences. One can also get the feel of urban living in its beautiful and sophisticated cities and at the same time one can feel the tranquility in the countryside. Sweden is full of charm with scenic medical villages, islands, lakes and forests dotting its landscape.

Most of Sweden’s area is covered by forests and not to forget thousands of lakes. One of the beauties of Sweden is its islands and one cannot go without seeing these islands. They offer the most scenic and beautiful experience to any visitors. Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, a city with 14 islands dotted with great restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and artistic grandeur. Wherever you go most people speak English. If visitors want to have a taste of seafood the west coast is the place to be. Also it is popular for ancient city Uppsala. Do no miss a trip to the Ice Hotel which is sculpted from ice each winter in Lapland. Sweden is an exciting country with great roads and state of the art high speed train system.

Population & Languages

Sweden has a population of around 9 million and the official language is Swedish. Lapp is spoken by Sami people in the north. Most people speak English fluently and also many speak German and French.

Electricity

Voltage - 230 volts, Frequency - 50Hz. Standard European 2-pin plugs are used.

Geographic Location

Sweden is a Nordic country lying in the Scandinavian Peninsula and is the fifth largest country in Europe. Its west neighbor is Norway; Finland in the northeast, the southwest border is surrounded by Skagerrak and Kattegat straits and the west coast is surrounded by Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia. Majority of the area is forest and there are thousands of lakes mostly in the Southern part of Sweden.

Local Customs

Like any other country Sweden has its own customs too. It is customary not to drink until the host makes a toast. Smoking is prohibited in most public areas. It is also customary to say Tack fцr maten to the host after having a meal which means thanks for the food. Casual dress is acceptable for everyday wear and formal wear for social gatherings. Also tipping up to ten percent is customary for service in restaurants and around same percent for taxis also.

Places to see

Stockholm – The biggest city and capital of Sweden and is one of the most beautiful cities of the world. The old town is a treat for your eyes and a walk around city’s waterways and parks is an experience to cherish. Most visitors prefer walking around on foot and visit the medieval part of Gamla Stan. The city is basically constituted by archipelagos which are outstandingly scenic and can be explored by cruises.

Gothenburg – it is the second biggest city of Sweden. Not to be missed attraction in this city is Liseberg, a world class amusement park. It is home to popular museums like Ostindiska huset, Konstmuseet and Sjцfartshistoriska museet.

Vadstena - The Renaissance castle Vadstena slot & klosterkyrkan.

Visby – Port of Visby, ruins of Drotten, St Nicolai, St Lars and St Carin, cathedral of St Maria and Gotlands Fornsal historic musem.

Oland – Fort of Graborg, Eketorp museum and ruins of Borgholm Castle.

Travel

By Air – It is well connected to the rest of the world by air. Many international airlines serve Sweden apart from its national airlines SAS. The other airlines are Air Canada, Air France, Aeroflot, British Airways, Finn air, Lufthansa, Ryan air etc.

By Sea – The ferries connect Sweden with other destinations such as New Castle, Copenhagen, and St. Petersburg etc.

By Rail – Trains connect Ostend, Sweden to London. It is also connected to Denmark by Eurostar train.

By Road – Visitors from UK can drive to Sweden through Demark or Germany

Duty Free Items

1. Up to 200 cigarettes or 250 gm tobacco

2. 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars

3. 1 liter spirit over 22% or 2 liter wine or 32 liter beer

4. Perfumes

5. Gifts up to SEK 1700.

Prohibited Items

Narcotics, firearms, ammunition, weapons, most meat and dairy products, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

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Cyprus

Travel Tips to European Countries: Cyprus

About the Country

Cyprus is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is inhabited with mountains on the north and south and the south coast is covered with plains. The temperatures are really hot indicating Mediterranean climate. Winters are cooler. Nicosia is the capital city of Cyprus. The currency used here is Cypriot Pound.

Culture

Greek, English and Turkish are the languages spoken here. There is a mixed culture of Greek and Middle East. The locals are very friendly and welcome outsiders with an open heart and make them feel at home by offering them with something to drink. To greet someone a handshake will do. It is customary to offer the guest a small gift when invited for dinner. One can dress casually, but the swimsuits must be confined to the beaches only. Social functions call for formal dressing.

Site Seeing

The country is full of vineyards, 12th century buildings, orchards and monasteries. Be careful when photographing outside. It is forbidden in military areas and special permission must be taken for taking pictures in places like museums and art galleries. Most of them do not allow flash photography. Taxis can be hired to move around the big towns in Cyprus, which charge according the government regulated meters. Tipping the drivers is customary.

Electricity

240 V, 50 Hz

Getting There

Port of Famagusta at Ammochostos and Port of Kyrenia, and airport of Ercan, have been declared as illegal ‘ports of entry’, so check it out while planning to get there.

The national airline is Cyprus Airways. It connects most of the major cities of Europe. Other forty airlines, too, serve at the airport of Larnaca, which are 5 km away from Larnaka and 50km away from Nicosia. Taxis can be hired to reach any destination from there as there is lack of buses and trains services at the airport. The other services that are offered at this airport is duty-free shops, bank, tourism and hotels information, restaurants, car hire, post office and reservation office. The other airport, Pafos, is 15km away from the city and it takes about 35 minutes to reach the city from the airport. It provides the same facilities like the Larnaca airport.

The major ports of Cyprus are the Limassol port and Larnaca port which connect other ports of Middle East and Greek. Not only ferry services are provided here, even cruise services are provided here.

Cyprus Island is not connected by roads to other countries, but roads run across Cyprus connecting all the cities and villages. Buses run on roads except on Sunday but they run late in the mid-night during summers. Tourists can get on to rural buses to surf through the remote villages, but they are very slow. If planning to hire car, advanced booking is recommended, especially in summer as the booking is full most of the times. Do remember to carry a National driving license or International driving permit.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco

2. 1l of spirits (over 22 per cent volume) or 2l of fortified wine or sparkling wine

3. 2l of still wine; 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette

4. 800 cigarettes or 200 cigars or 1kg of tobacco

5. 10l of spirits, 20l of fortified wine, 90l wine, 110l beer

Most of the food items and items relating to agriculture are prohibited. Explosives and fire arms are a strict no-no.

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Ireland

Travel Tips to European Countries: Ireland

About The Country

The summers are warm and the winters are moderate with some snow. May and June are the sunniest months. Weather changes quite frequently from cloudy to sunny and vice versa. If planning the visit during the summer, lightweight woolen or cotton clothes are recommended and jacket for spring and autumn. Always carry raincoat for that untimely showers. Incase of emergency call 999 or 112.

Culture

Most of the locals prefer speaking English here. Handshaking is customary. Irish are social people and are good at having a lively chat even with strangers. People live in great harmony and make great friends. Foreigners are welcomed with warmth and are made to feel at home. Guests are never sent back empty stomach as food is always served at any time of the day, to the guest. Most of the locals come from an agricultural background. Dinner is considered to be a meal of importance as it is the time when the whole family gets together and eat. One can dress casually when out on the streets except women are expected to dress formally at social gatherings and at fine restaurants. Smoking is banned in public places.

Shopping

Many towns organize flee markets at least once a week, which is worth checking out for cheap goods. Belfast is the shopping capital of Ireland; most of the stores open up early and close early too. On Thursdays, shops remain open till 8 in the night. Value Added Tax of almost 17% is charged, which can be reclaimed later. So if the visitors buy anything from the stores remember to check if the store operates the Retail Export Scheme, which would require the passport and filling of the Tax Free Shopping Form by the sales person. If the restaurant bill doesn’t includes any tax, leave behind a 10% tip to appreciate their service. Giving a tip to the porters and hair dressers is customary here.

Electricity

The voltage in Northern Ireland is 240V, 50AC.

Getting There

The national airline that operates here is Aer Lingus, which provides service from most of the major cities of the world. Airlines like Delta Air Lines and many other have been introduced and to promote them, promotional air fares are being offered. Checking out such offers will prove to be money savers. There are many flights from UK to Ireland. The Dublin airport is located at 10 km away from the city. Services like taxis, air coach, buses transport passengers to their destination. Airport has duty free shops, bank, currency exchange, car hire, tourism information, and restaurants for a comfortable journey. Shannon Airport is situated to the north of Limerick City and is 24 km and 25 minutes away from it. Buses, coaches and taxis are available for transportation. Other services that are provided are duty free shops, currency exchange, bank, tourism information and restaurants. While planning to travel, check out other airports like Cork Airport and Knock Information Airport for more options. A departure tax of Ђ10 is to be paid by people over 12 years of age at the Knock International Airport.

To take ferries check out the Baltimore, Galway, Dublin, Wexford and Kinsale ports. Most of the ferries offer high-speed services. Time to time special offers are being announced which can be availed to save money. Check out the websites as some of them offer online booking facility.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco

2. 1l of spirits and distilled beverages (more than 22 per cent) or 2l of other alcoholic beverages with an alcoholic strength not exceeding 22 per cent, including sparkling or fortified wine, plus 2l of table wine

3. 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette

The carrier should be above 17 years of age. Sharp objects, explosives, firearms, food or agricultural items and hay or straw should be brought along as they are strictly prohibited.

Word count 663

Romania

Travel tips to European Countries: Romania

About the county

Lying in the Southeastern Europe Romania is slowly emerging from the shackles of its dark history. Modern Romania was formed by merging two Principalities i. e. Moldavia and Wallachia in 1859 which were ruled by Ottoman Empire for centuries before. Romania is bordered by Moldova, Ukraine, the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary. Bucharest is the capital of Romania. Transylvania and Moldavia constitute the northern half of the country. Romania’s main attractions include Black Sea Coast, the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania. The Black Sea Coast is popular for its white sandy beaches and offers a perfect experience for families. The Carpathian Mountains are beautiful and covered by dense forests which offer skiing opportunities. There are many health resorts also in Romania. Transylvania is popular for Romanian Spas which have been known for its many healing powers. Local food specialty includes cuisines like ciorba de perisoare (soup with meatballs), ciorba tanancasca (meat with vegetables), lamb bors, giblet soup and a variety of fish soups.

Population & Languages

The population of Romania is around 22.5 million and the official language being spoken is Romanian. The other popular languages are Hungarian and German.

Electricity

The voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The types of plug used are round pin with attachment and "Schuko" plug and receptacle with side grounding contacts.

Geographic Location

It is located in Southeastern Europe bordering the Black Sea between Bulgaria and Ukraine. It is bordered by Hungary and Serbia to the west, Ukraine and Moldova to the northeast and Bulgaria to the south. Carpathian Mountains pass through the center of Romania.

Climate

The climate of Romania can be termed as Temperate and it has four seasons. While spring and autumn are cool and pleasant. Summers are very short and hot occurring in July and August. The winters can be harsh and cold with snowfall between December and March. The best months to visit Romania are May and June and September and October.

Local Customs

Handshaking is the common custom. It is also customary to kiss when being introduced to a woman. Mostly all normal European customs apply to Romania also. Dressing is conservative and casual. Smoking is prohibited on public transportation vehicles and theaters. Romanians like smoking themselves and thus like if you gift them cigarettes. Tipping is 5 to 10 percent in restaurant, hotels and taxis.

Attractions

Bucharest: Once used to be known as Paris of the East the city of Bucharest is a city of lights bustling with cafes, night clubs and restaurants. It also has Romanian Opera House and a huge National Museum. The historic sites include the Palace of Parliament, Old Court Church and Athenee Palace Hotel.

Brasov: Not to be missed places are Castles in Transylvania which include Bran Castle, Rasnov Castle and also do miss to see Sighisoara about 90 miles from Brasov, the birth place of Vlad tepes.

Romanian Riviera: This is along the coast of Black Sea which is huge tourist attraction. It is also home to several resorts and Romanian spas famous for their healing powers.

Travel

By Air – The national airline of Romania is Tarom. Many popular airlines that fly to Bucharest include Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa and Swiss. The biggest airport is Bucharest Otopeni Airport which is located like 10 miles north of the city.

By Sea – Constanta is the major port on the Black Sea. Currently no ferries are being operated. But there are many cruises available which stop at various points of tourist interest like Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Bazias, Giurgiu, Calafat and Bucharest.

By Rail – There is an international service to Bucharest from Western Europe which runs only in summer months i. e. from June to September, the name of the train service is Wiener Waltzer.

Duty Free Items

1. Up to 200 cigarettes or 200 gm tobacco

2. 200g cocoa and 200g coffee

3. Perfumes, medicines and souvenirs

4. Two cameras, One small movie camera, Twenty Four cassettes, One portable radio, One TV set, One tape recorder, One pair of binoculars and One typewriter.

5. Gifts up to Ђ175

Prohibited Items

Un-canned goods, meat or dairy products, Narcotics, firearms, ammunition, weapons, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

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Italy

Travel Tips to European Countries: Italy

About the county

Italy, the birthplace of pasta and pizza provides a wide range of choices for artwork lovers to experience. A temperate climate exists here with very hot summers and not so cold winters. The weather is the best in spring and autumn with pleasant temperatures and scenic views. At that time of the year, the place isn’t crowded much and things can be enjoyed in leisure. Incase of emergency call 112. For fire call 115 and for ambulance call 118.

Culture

Italian is widely spoken and is the official language. English isn’t very familiar to the locals. Family ties are of utmost importance here and hence social courtesies mean a lot to the locals. There is a great impact of the Roman Catholic Church on the culture here. There is a high content of chlorine in tap waters, so bottled water is recommended for staying fit during the trip. Since Italian is spoken on a wide scale, it is highly recommended to learn few common Italian phrases which can be of great use. Social gatherings call for formal wear, but one can dress in casuals otherwise. At some religious places, sleeveless shirt and shorts are frowned upon. So they are better avoided. Purses and wallets should be well guarded and in case of any theft, police should be informed about the incident.

Site Seeing

The first thing to check out is the leaning tower of Pisa, where Olympics originated. At places like museums and art galleries, photography, especially flash photography is restricted. Check out the ticket counter for more information. Italy should be majorly discovered on foot for a thorough viewing of all the beautiful buildings and monuments. Coaches and trains are a good option to get to a tourist spot.

Shopping

Shops here are open from 9am to 8pm, closed for lunch. Quality of goods is great although the prices are very less. Items like crystals, lacework, leather good, and jewelry can be bought at the stores. Remember to hold on to the receipt. Tipping of 10% is customary along with the service tax levied on the bill. Italy is famous for top designers of the world, so do buy clothes and accessories to update your wardrobe. Cruises have formal gatherings in the evening, so ensure to buy a cocktail dress or some formal wear, though casuals can be worn at other times.

Electricity

The voltage used is 220 volts and 50 Hz frequency.

Getting there

Alitalia is the national airline of Italy. Many other flights connect to Italy from USA, Canada and Australia and there is big competition to attract passengers giving a wide range of offers to travelers. Rome airport is located 26 km away from the city and it takes 45 minutes to get there from the airport. Trains connect directly to Termini Station from where one can take taxi to get to their destination. Duty free shops, bank, car hire and restaurants are the other services provided at this airport. Milan has another famous airport here, which is at a distance of 45km away from the city.

Brindisi, Ancona, Naples and Venice are the major seaports of Italy. Italian State Railways connects many European cities. But, Eurostar provides the fastest train service.

If choosing to drive, don’t forget to carry international driving license and international insurance certificate. Roads connect Italy to France, Austria and Switzerland. Many coach services are provided from the neighboring countries.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco

2. 2liter of wine and 1liter of spirits (over 22 per cent) or 2liter of fortified or sparkling wine

3. 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette; 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extract (if over 15 years of age)

4. 100g of tea or 40g of tea extract

5. Gifts not exceeding Ђ89.96 (if entering from an EU country), Ђ175 (if entering from a non-EU country).

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Poland

Travel tips to European Countries: Poland

About the county

Poland is one of the ancient nations that was formed around 10th century. It is Central Europe, east of Europe and most of the area being a flat plane and mountains along the south border. Warsaw is the capital of Poland which was completely destroyed in World War II and was rebuilt from scratch again. Royal Castle of Warsaw which was reconstructed after the world war is a must see attraction. The Lazienky Palace should also be not missed which has an open air theatre and Chopin’s monument. Krakow is the second biggest city of Poland stands as a witness to its medieval era. Poland has a strong liking to music and theatre and thus home to many theatres and opera houses. Popular Polish Cuisines include Zrazy Zawijane (mushroom-stuffed beefsteak rolls in sour cream) served with boiled kasza (buckwheat) and pigs’ knuckles.

Population & Languages

The population of Poland is roughly 38.5 million and the official language being spoken is Polish.

Electricity

The voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The types of plug used are round pin with attachment and Round pin plug and receptacle with male grounding pin.

Geographic Location

It is located in Central Europe, east of Germany bordering the Baltic Sea, the Russian Federation, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany.

Climate

The climate of Poland can be termed as Temperate. Winters are severe inland with average temperatures in Warsaw being 23°F (-5°C). Summers are hot inland with average temperatures in July around 66°F (19°C). The precipitation occurs round the year.

Local Customs

Handshaking is the common custom. It is customary to bring flowers if you are going to someone’s house. Dressing is fairly conservative and casual and formal for entertainment in the evening or in a good restaurant. Smoking is prohibited in some public buildings. Tipping is 10 to 15 percent in restaurant, hotels and taxis.

Attractions

Warsaw: The city was completely destroyed in World War II and was completely rebuilt after the war. The popular sights include Historic Museum of Warsaw, the Lazienki Palace with its open air theatre and Chopin’s monuments, and Palace of Culture and Sciences.

Cracow: St. Mary’s Church, Royal Castle, and Royal Cathedral on top of Wawel Hill

Travel

By Air – The national airline of Romania is LOT Polish Airlines (LO). Many popular airlines that fly to Poland include Aeroflot, Air France, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Easyjet, El Al, Lufthansa, Ryanair, SAS and Swiss Air. The biggest airport is Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport which is located like 6 miles southwest of the city.

By Sea – Pol Ferries operates connect Poland to Sweden, Denmark and Finland

By Rail – Polish State Railways (PKP) (website: www. pkp. pl) operates Eurocity trains from Poland various major European cities. But, all services from Western Europe to Poland pass through the Czech Republic, Germany or the Slovak Republic. The main routes link Warsaw with Berlin and Cologne, Budapest, Prague and Vienna. There is also a car-sleeper service from the border of Holland to Poznan/ Warsaw.

Duty Free Items

1. Up to 250 cigarettes or 250 gm tobacco or 50 cigars for Non-European union countries.

2. 800 cigarettes or 200 cigars or 1kg smoking tobacco for EU Countries.

3. 1 liter wine and 1 liter spirits for Non-EU Countries.

4. 10 liter spirits, 90 liter wine and 110 liter beer for EU Countries

5. Perfumes, medicines and cosmetics for personal use

6. Gifts up to Ђ175

Prohibited Items

Birds and poultry arriving from countries infected with Avian influenza, Un-canned goods, meat or dairy products, Narcotics, firearms, ammunition, weapons, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

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Bulgaria

Travel tips to European Countries: Bulgaria

About the county

Officially known as the Republic of Bulgaria or Bulgarian Republic, Bulgaria is a beautiful mountainous country lying in Balkan Peninsula in Southern Europe bordering the Black Sea to the east, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, Romania to the north, Greece and Turkey to the south. Bulgaria also borders Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, and Georgia along the sea. The largest and the capital city is Sofia. The country may be very small in area but it is rich in ancient culture, picturesque locales, down to earth and friendly people who provide the warmth and hospitality of old days. Bulgaria is known as “Land of Roses” due to the largest production of roses here. Although Bulgaria is known mostly for its sea resorts much of the actual country can be explored in great mountain regions, with many ski resorts a perfect destination for skiers. With unique customs, spectacular crafts, colorful festivals, folklore and so on Bulgaria has it all to take the imagination of visitors by surprise and excitement.

Population & Languages

The population of Bulgaria is roughly 7.4 million and the official language being spoken is Bulgarian. Turkish and Roma are also spoken by considerable percentage of the population.

Electricity

The voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The types of plugs used are Round pin attachment plug and "Schuko" plug and receptacle with side grounding contacts.

Geographic Location

It lies in Balkan Peninsula in Southern Europe bordering the Black Sea to the east, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, Romania to the north, Greece and Turkey to the south. Bulgaria also borders Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, and Georgia along the sea. Bulgaria is strategically located near Turkish Straits making it the control point of key land routes connecting Europe to Middle East and Asia.

Climate

The climate of Bulgaria can be termed as temperate with hot and dry summers and cold and damp winters. Summer temperatures average around 75°F (24°C) and winter temperatures average about 32°F (0°C). The ideal time to visit Bulgaria is summer.

Local Customs

Like any other country Bulgaria has its own customs too and normal courtesies should be followed. Handshaking is customary. Dress should be conservative but can be casual. Souvenirs from home country are appreciated if invited to home. Here is Bulgaria, a nod of the head means ‘no’ and a shake of the head means ‘yes’. Tipping up to 10 to 12 percent is customary for all services including restaurants, bars, clubs, taxis etc.

Attractions

Sofia

* St. Sofia Church

* St. George Rotunda

* Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

* National Ethnographic Museum

Mountains

* Village of Momchilovtsi

* Pirin National Park

* Rila Monastery

Travel

By Air – The national airline of Bulgaria is Bulgaria Air. Other international airlines operating from Bulgaria include Bulgaria include Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, El Al Israel Airlines, KLM, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, MALEV Hungarian Airlines, Olympic Airlines and Swiss Air. Sofia International Airport EAD (SOF) is the biggest airport which is like six miles east of Sofia. Other international airport is Varna International Airport (VAR) located in the western outskirts of the city about five miles from Varna.

Sea - The important international ports are Bourgas and Varna along the Black Sea.

River – Ferries can cross into Romania from Vidin to Calafat.

By Rail – Sofia is connected to Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, Thessaloniki, Paris, Vienna, Munich and Berlin through frequent services of trains.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco

2. 1 liter of spirits and 2 liter of wine; 50g of perfume and 100g of eau de toilette

3. Gifts and personal use items.

Prohibited Items

Un-canned goods, meat or dairy products, Narcotics, pornography, firearms, ammunition, weapons, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

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Finland

Travel Tips to European Countries

About the Country

Finland is a country of islands, lakes, and forests. The modern capital city of Finland is Helsinki and is filled with museums and galleries. In summers, sun never sets here and vice versa in the winters.

Culture

While in Finland, greet the locals by a handshake. The people here are quite reserved and don’t open up easily. Leave shoes outside the house when going over to someone’s house. It is customary to wait till the toast is being raised at the dinner table. Host raises the toast by saying ‘kippis’ or ‘skol’. People dress casually most of the times.

Travel

Finnair is the national airline of Finland. Other airlines that fly to Finland are Air France, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, American Airline, British Airways, KLM, Swiss airline, Lufthansa, and United airlines. The major airport of Finland is Helsinki airport. It is 19km away from the city and it takes about 25 minutes to get to the city from the airport. Finnair provides buses for the passengers. Taxis and hotel coaches are also available. The facilities provided at the airport are duty free shops, car hire, bank, hotel reservation service, conference room, restaurant, and a multimedia center. Other than Helsinki airport, there are about 22 other airports and Blue 1 is the domestic airline which operates within Finland. Times to time cheap offers are being announced by the airlines. Prior checking of such offers will prove to be of great help.

If deciding to go by the sea, ferry services are provided and the major ports are Naantali, Vaasa and Turku. These ferries connect to Rostock, Kapellskдr, Grisslehamn, and Travemьnde. Some of the cruises offer small cabins along with the provision of meals if staying aboard overnight.

Trains from St Petersburg and Moscow can also be boarded. All the trains are clean and very comfortable. Car-carrier trains also operate in Finland. Traveling by rail proves to be inexpensive and efficient and also great options for enjoying sight seeing. Avail the unlimited train travel offer of Inter-Rail pass or Eurailpass. There are offers for elderly people and children, check them out.

When traveling by road there are chances of running into an elk or reindeer. In such cases, police should be reported immediately. Blowing horn for small reasons should be avoided. Keep your car to the right. Gas stations accept credit cards. Laws about seat belt and drinking while driving should be strictly followed. Extra precautions must been taken if taking caravan along. National driving license or International Driving Permit and car insurance must be there with you at all times. Coach Service is also available and connects to even the remote places. Taxis can be hired at the airport and railway stations and tipping is considered offensive here. Check out agents in Helsinki who run a rent-a-car business for hiring cars.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco or 100 cigarillos

2. 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette

3. 2litre of alcoholic beverages of less than 22 per cent by volume or 1litre of alcoholic beverages of more than 22 per cent by volume, 2litre of sparkling wine and 16litre of beer

4. 100g of tea or 40g of tea extract and essence and 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extract or essence

Tobacco and alcohol can be carried by people over 18 years of age. Agricultural and food items should be avoided. Certain medicines require a doctor’s prescription for verification. Firearms and sharp objects are strictly prohibited.

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Uk

яюTravel tips to European Countries: UK

About the county

The United Kingdom also called as England or Great Britain is the country which once ruled nearly the entire world a century ago. The glory might have been lost but people are still proud of their country and heritage. It has come a long way from a colonial empire to a member of the EU. The country comprises mainly of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The country is full of scenic locales and energetic cities. Also the county is home to nearly two million heritage points. The capital city of UK is London. A city beyond comparison, representing itself as an icon of diversity with people from different races, creeds and all walks of life blended into its culture. It is also home to many architectural marvels and one of them is the London Bridge. While York and Durham manifests the bygone era of country, Liverpool and Newcastle are modern industrial marvels. Not to forget the scenic Lake District and Edinburg still attract people from all over the world.

Population & Languages

The population is around 61 million and the official language is English. Other regional languages spoke are Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, and Irish etc.

Electricity

The voltage is 230-240 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The type of plug used is rectangular blade.

Geographic Location

It is located in Western Europe and consists of islands including the northern one-sixth of the Ireland. It is 22 miles from the France border and linked by a under sea tunnel. The terrain is mostly rolling lowlands and low mountains.

Climate

It has a moderate climate but lots of rain with around half of the years being overcast. The lowest temperatures never go below "15 °C (5 °F) and in summer the average maximum is 34 °C (93.2 °F). It also gets snow in winter and early spring.

Local Customs

The handshake is customary when you are meeting somebody for the first time. When visiting someone s house a small gift like flowers or chocolates is customary. Waiting till everyone is served before eating is also one of the etiquettes. Tipping is usually 10-15% in hotels, restaurants and taxis. Smoking and non-smoking areas are clearly designated and thus should be taken care of.

Places to see

London  Buckingham Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Whitehall Palace and the Tower of London

Scotland - The Bannockburn Heritage Centre and Ben Lawers Mountains

Wales - Aberdulais Falls, King Arthur's Labyrinth, Dolaucothi Gold Mines, Great Orme Mines, Portmeirion Village, Rhossili Visitor Centre, Taff Valley Activity Centre and TechinQuest

Travel

By Air  The domestic airlines is British Airways which also connects almost all major world destinations. Almost all airlines connect UK through London which is hub for all international flights between east to west and west to east. Heathrow and Gatwick are international airports of London.

By Sea  Since UK is surrounded by water from almost all sides it has many ports. There are many ferry services operating between Europe and UK.

By Rail  Trains connect Ferries at Dover, Folkestone, Newhaven, Portsmouth and Weymouth, sailing for Belgium, France, Germany and Spain (you need to board at Victoria Station in London); and at Harwich, sailing for Germany, The Netherlands and Scandinavia (you need to board at Liverpool Street). Eurostar train connects London with Brussels and Paris through channel tunnel.

By Road  The vehicles can enter UK through channel tunnel. Cars and motorcycles, coaches, minibuses, caravans, campervans and other vehicles over 1.85m (6.07ft) can also use channel tunnel. Bicycles are also provided for.

Duty Free Items

1. Up to 3200 cigarettes

2. 400 cigarillos or 200 cigars

3. 1 liter spirit over 22% or 2 liter wine or 32 liter beer

4. Perfumes

5. Gifts up to ¤ 145

Prohibited Items

Narcotics, firearms, ammunition, weapons, most meat and dairy products, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

PPPPP

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France

Travel Tips to European Countries: France

About the city

The crowd is attracted to sparkling ski slopes of the Alps, sunlit vineyards and sun-baked beaches of this beautiful country. France is a country which draws more tourists than any other country. It is easy to see why this is the case given France’s great reputation for fine wines, good food, high fashion and relaxed lifestyle. But while France is undoubtedly a place to eat and drink till your heart is content, there's much more to this fascinating country than only cutting-edge cuisines. Spring is the best time to be here, and those interested in winter sports can drop at the Alps and Pyrenees with some polar gear. The summers are very hot and winters are moderate. An all-weather coat and pair of comfortable shoes are a must. Women, especially, should carry cocktail dresses as some of the restaurants ask for it. When visiting any religious site, refrain from wearing sleeveless shirt and shorts, as they are disliked at such places.

Culture

English is widely spoken here, although French is the official language. Handshaking is

customary greeting and women should be kissed on both cheeks and should be addressed

as Monsieur or Madame. French people are popularly known for their like for stylish sportswear

and of course perfumes. Nudism is allowed on some beaches only. Social functions, fine

restaurants, and clubs call for more formal dressing. When at a formal dinner, wait till the host

gestures to start the dinner. Smoking is banned in public places.

Site Seeing

Paris, the city of love, is a massive city with many attractions in reachable distance thanks to the

highly efficient public transport system. It boasts of more than 80 museums and 200 arts

galleries. A trip to Disney land and the magnificent Eiffel tower will make the trip worthwhile.

The attractive tourists spots are the Arc de triomphe which spans over the tomb of an

unknown soldier, the forbidding gothic architecture of the Notre Dame cathedral, the picturesque

Sacre Coeur, to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Moulin Rouge and boat tours along the

Seine. Get the Carte Musees-Monuments pass, which gives access to 70 monuments and

museums.

Shopping

Although service tax is included in the bill, a humble tip won’t cost much. An extra dollar can be given as tip to the waiter. A tip of $2 can be left for the bus drivers.

Electricity

220-volt, 50-cycle AC current.

Getting There

The national airline that operates here is Air France. Many low-cost airlines, too, provide services from UK. Paris-Charles de Gaulle also known as Roissy-Charles de Gaulle is the major airport of France, which is 23km away from the city. Coaches, taxis, limousines services are provided at the airport. The railway facility provided by the airport, claims to reach all the terminals within eight minutes. These trains run 24 hours. The other airports that offer flight services are Paris-Orly, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nice, Lyon and Toulouse.

Ferry and cruise trips can be made from ports such as Atlantic, North Sea, Mediterranean, and Havre.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco

2. 1liter of spirits over 22 per cent or 2liter of alcoholic beverage up to 22 per cent

3. 2liter of wine

4. 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette

5. 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extract

6. 100g of tea or 40g of tea extract

Food and agricultural products should be avoided.

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Norway

Travel tips to European Countries: Norway

About the county

Norway, a Nordic country lying on the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula is located in Northern Europe. It also borders Sweden, Finland and Russia. Norway is an outstandingly beautiful country with a long coastline, snowy mountains and breathtaking fjords. Oslo is the capital of Norway and also the largest city. Norway is bestowed with lots of natural beauty encompassing wild forests, historic towns and beautiful fishing villages. The country is very hospitable to the tourists and people are very friendly too. Many tourists are attracted by the famous midnight sun of the Arctic. All three big cities of Norway offer different experiences to visitors. Norway is a place to be for nature lovers and for cultural enthusiasts. Norway is truly one of the greatest tourist destinations of Europe.

Population & Languages

The population of Norway is only 4.6 million and the official languages being spoken are Bokmal Norwegian and Nynorsk Norwegian. Other languages that are also spoken in Norway include Sбmi and Finnish.

Electricity

The voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The types of plugs used are Round pin attachment plug and "Schuko" plug and receptacle with side grounding contacts.

Geographic Location

It is a Nordic country lying on the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula and located in Northern Europe. It also borders Sweden, Finland and Russia. About two-third area of the Norway is mountains, has around fifty thousand small islands along its coast. It also has one of the longest coastlines in the world.

Climate

The climate of Norway can be termed as Temperate with hot summers and cold overcast winters. The highlands of interior Norway have an arctic like climate with snow, severe wind chill and frost. Most of the rain is along the coastal areas and comes down in winter quite heavily and frequently. Winters are mild too along the coastal areas.

Local Customs

Like any other country Norway has its own customs too. It is customary not to drink until the host makes a toast. It is customary for guests to offer gifts to the host of a meal. Smoking is prohibited in most public areas. Casual dress is acceptable for everyday wear. Tipping the taxi drivers is not customary. Tipping up to five percent is customary for service in restaurants. Porters at railway stations and airports charge per piece, while porters at hotels generally charge around NOK5-10 depending on the number of pieces of luggage.

Attractions

Bergen – Numerous museums, galleries, aquarium, medieval age buildings, cable car to the top of Bergen’s hills and boat trips to fjords.

Oslo – Old medieval buildings, churches, modern architecture, museums like Edvard Munch Museum and the Norwegian Folk Museum, art galleries, Vigeland Park, and Akershus Fortress

Fjordland – Geirangerfjorden known for tiny S-shaped fjord,

Sognefjord – the longest and the deepest fjord, beautiful villages such as Balestrand and Flam, old stave churches, Nжrшyfjord – Narrowest branch of the Sognefjord and Palteau of Jostedalsbreen glacier

Tromsш – Arctic cathedral, Polaria and Tromsш Museum

Travel

By Air – Many airlines operate to Norway like Braathens SAFE (BU) and SAS Scandinavian Airlines (SK), a Scandinavian airline, Air France, British Airways, Finnair, Icelandair, KLM, Lufthansa, Northwest Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair and Swiss Airlines. Oslo International Airport (OSL) (Gardermoen) (website: www. osl. no) is the biggest airport of Norway which is located 30 mile north of Oslo.

Sea - The important passenger ports are Bergen, Kristiansand, Larvik, Oslo and Stavanger. The main sea routes from the UK, operated by Fjord Line and DFDS Seaways respectively, are from Newcastle to Bergen and to Kristiansand.

By Rail – The country is part of the extensive network of trains connecting the European cities. If you are coming from UK, the connections are from London via Dover/Ostend (via Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden) or Harwich/Hook of Holland, or from Newcastle to Bergen via Stavanger. It is also connected to Sweden throught two routes, with daytime and overnight trains from Copenhagen, Malm and Stockholm.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco products and 200 leaves of cigarette paper for EU countries.

2. 400 cigarettes or 500g of tobacco products and 200 leaves of cigarette paper for Non-EU countries.

3. 1liter of spirits and 1liter of wine or 2liter of wine and 2liter of beer for EU countries.

4. 1liter of spirits and 1liter of wine or 2liter of wine and 2liter of beer for Non-EU countries.

5. 50g perfume or 500 ml eau de toilette

6. Gifts , Food, fruits, medications and flowers for personal use of value up to 3,500 kr

Prohibited Items

Un-canned goods, meat or dairy products, Narcotics, firearms, ammunition, weapons, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

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Iceland

Travel tips to European Countries: Iceland

About the county

Officially known as the Republic of Iceland, is located in northwestern Europe. It comprises of the island of Iceland and its outlying small islands in the northern Atlantic Ocean between Greenland, Norway, Scotland, Ireland, and the Faroe Islands. Iceland’s glassy glaciers, hot thermal springs, spectacular geysers, active volcanoes, lava fields, stunning waterfalls and snow-capped mountains, indeed makes it the original 'land of fire and ice'.

Iceland is a very large island with a unique landscape which is rugged and colorful with black lava, red sulfur, hot blue geysers, rivers, waterfalls, bays, fjords and green valley. The capital of Iceland is Reykjavнk which is also the largest city of Iceland. Nearly half of Iceland’s population lives around Reykjavнk. The popular tourist attractions are centered also centered on this city. The most famous attraction is Gullfoss double-tiered waterfall which is set off with an outstanding rainbow and hot springs of Geysir.

People might wonder what one can do in Iceland. If you hear the list you will be amazed that there are so many things to do and see here. From watching whales to chic fine dining, hiking, seeing Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajokull, fishing in rivers, horse riding, rafting, exploring the landscape on a snow scooter, shopping designing wear, Summer Solstice Festival, visit island of Grimsey to cross the Arctic Circle, visit medieval farm at Stong and what not, the list is endless.

Population & Languages

The population of Iceland is only 299,388 and the official language being spoken is Icelandish. English, Nordic languages, German are also widely spoken.

Electricity

The voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The types of plugs used are Round pin attachment plug and "Schuko" plug and receptacle with side grounding contacts.

Geographic Location

It is located in northwestern Europe. It comprises of the island of Iceland and its outlying small islands in the northern Atlantic Ocean between Greenland, Norway, Scotland, Ireland, and the Faroe Islands. It is strategically located between Greenland and Europe

Climate

The climate of Iceland can be termed as temperate with damp and cool summers and mild and windy winters. The highest temperature recorded was 30.5°C (86.9°F) on 22 June 1939 at Teigarhorn. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -38°C (-36.4°F) on 22 January 1918 at Grнmsstaрir and Mцрrudalur.

Local Customs

Like any other country Iceland has its own customs too and normal courtesies should be followed. Handshaking is customary. Visitors are invited to homes when on a business trip and normal courtesies should be observed. The people pay careful attention to their appearance and, as for most Western countries, casual wear is widely acceptable. Service charges are included in the bills most of the time and tips are not expected.

Attractions

Reykjavik Attractions – Hallgrimskirkja Church, National Museum of Iceland, Botanical Gardens and the Einar Jуnsson Museum

Travel

By Air – The national airline of Iceland is Icelandair which operates to many internationsl destinations such as Amsterdam, Baltimore, Boston, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Halifax, London, Minneapolis, Orlando, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm and Washington, plus other destinations in the summertime only. Other international airlines operating from Iceland include Air Greenland (website: www. airgreenland. gl) and Iceland Express (website: www. icelandexpress. com).

Other, predominantly Scandinavian, carriers also operate services. Some airlines like Condor and Corsai, operate flights during the summertime. Flights also operate to the Faroe Islands and Greenland during the summer months. Major airport is Keflavik International Airport (KEF) located at 31 miles south of Reykjavik.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 250g of other tobacco products

2. 1 liter spirits and 1 liter wine, or 1 liter spirits and 6 liter beer; or 1 liter wine and 6 liter beer; or 2.25 liter wine

3. Food items up to 3kg not exceeding kr13,000

4. Permits from Post & Telecom Authorities are required for cordless phones, remote controls or radio transmitters. It is not required for a GSM mobile phone

Prohibited Items

Un-canned goods, meat or dairy products, Narcotics, pornography, firearms, ammunition, weapons, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

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