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.

Travel To London And Discover Ten Breathtaking Places

London And Discover Ten Breathtaking Places

If you are planning on spending a vacation in London, make sure you take full advantage of this gorgeous city with all that it has to offer. The city of London is full of an exciting array of places to go and things to do and see, for people of all cultures and ages. Being one of the biggest cultural capitals in the world, this city offers sightseeing opportunities and tourist attractions like nowhere else. Travel to London involves experiencing the city in all its splendor and fantastic sightseeing. Here are ten of the best sightseeing places in the city of London:

1. The British Museum: Founded in the year 1753, the British Museum had a collection of over 71,000 unique items that had all been contributed by Sir Hans Sloane. In the 1800’s, this museum gained in popularity and began to flourish, which in turn increased its inventory of items to more than seven million. The museum’s charter declares that it should be open free of charge to all those curious people who are interested in learning more. So, come spend a day wandering through the eternal, labyrinthine corridors, exploring and discovering some of the greatest works of mankind’s cultural accomplishments and some take in some of the greatest relics of the Egyptian and Greek empires.

2. The London Eye: Drawing nearly four million visitors each year, the London Eye has become one of the most popular sightseeing attractions in the world today. This gigantic wheel stands almost 135 meters over the entire city of London and is presently considered to be one of the tallest observation wheels in the world. This wondrous creation of modern engineering permits tourists to view all of London with an entirely new perspective, allowing them to see parts of the city that are generally not visible from the ground. Visiting the London Eye has been described as an ‘enchanting and inspiring experience’ and no vacation to London is complete without visiting this monument.

3. Saint Paul’s Cathedral: Saint Paul’s Cathedral offers a captivating picture of the British Empire of the yesteryears and is a historical accomplishment of the reconstruction that took place after the great London fire of 1666. Famous for hosting royal birthdays, weddings, celebrations and even funerals of some of the greatest leaders in Britain, the Cathedral attracts millions and millions of tourists every year.

4. The National Gallery: Situated in the very center of Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is home to some of the finest works of art in the world. Some of these pieces date back to the 13th century. Construction of the gallery commenced in the year 1832 and ever since it has collected many great pieces of art, which include works by Monet, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Renoir and many more. A visitor can probably spend days trying to view all of the contents inside the gallery.

5. The London Zoo: The London Zoo, which is in Regents Park is one of the most popular zoo’s in the world and houses as many as 12,000 different species of animals. Considered to be a must see, visitors travel from all parts of the world to see the animal shows that are held daily.

6. Tate Modern: One of London’s most contemporary galleries, the Tate Modern consists of great collections and diverse exhibitions of modern art. Appealing to both, children as well as adults, connoisseurs as well as novices, the Tate Modern houses grand collections of artists like Matisse, Andy Warhol and Bacon.

7. The Tower of London: Constructed with white stone that was imported from France, the Tower of London or the ‘Bloody Tower’ has been known to imprison, protect and even execute the wrongdoers in the past.

8. The Natural History Museum: An enigmatic gothic building that is home to some of the largest collections of dinosaurs in the world, the Natural History Museum consists of exhibitions that dominate the huge halls and tower.

9. The Madame Tussaud’s Experience: A museum that is filled with life-like waxworks and animated displays that demonstrate the dark side of British history.

10. Westminster Abbey: It is a medieval work of monumental significance and the burial ground for some of the most famous kings, statesmen, musicians, scientists and poets since the 11th century. The Westminster Abbey offers some of the most intriguing literary works and artistic talent in the way of paintings, murals and tombs.

Travel To Switzerland

Switzerland

Switzerland, formally known as The Confederation Helvetica, is a landlocked mountainous haven in the heart of Europe. Partially due to the isolating geography, the Swiss people have maintained a strong commitment to tradition, independence and the preservation of their long-established way of life. Hence, it is very important for the traveler to note that Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and uses the Swiss Franc as their form of currency.

An incredible benefit of Switzerland’s independence is a clean, speedy and reliable train system and public transportation network, including the new Rail 2000 program that offers regular half-hourly service between all major cities.

The thought of Switzerland strikes up images of enchanting castles, milk chocolate, fine cheese speckled with holes, sturdy watches and the Matterhorn. Don’t be fooled by this simplicity or the precision and just-so design of Swiss towns and get ready to discover a society far more rich, worldly and dynamic than you had ever imagined when you travel Switzerland! As homogenous as the nation might appear, Switzerland is divided into very diverse regions with four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansch (a Latin derivative). English is also spoken widely. The fusion of these cultures adds a zest of flavor that complements the serenely picturesque landscape.

Four Seasons to Travel to Switzerland
Unlike many other European destinations, it is wonderful to travel to Switzerland any time of year! Switzerland is centrally located on the European continent and consequently enjoys moderate and consistent weather for each season. Skiing is by far the best excuse to travel Switzerland in the winter, but make sure not to miss the splendor of cities like Geneva covered in a blanket of snow. Geneva, the second-largest city, is close to the Swiss Alps and the French border and also boasts an international history of its own. The municipality has been central to European affairs for centuries, most notably including the Geneva Convention. Interlaken should be a part of a summer and winter itinerary as well. The pristine setting among some of the tallest and fiercest alpine peaks makes Interlaken a sanctuary for skiers and hikers alike. The town is small and limited on lodging so make reservations early.

In addition to the most popular destinations, such as Zurich and the Alps, the Swiss traveler is encouraged to leave the beaten path behind to discover the true beauty of the country and meet the resilient and warm people who define a nation that is over 700 years old. Remember that traditional does not translate into old-fashioned or archaic in Switzerland. The Swiss society stands out among European nations as an extraordinarily progressive and cutting-edge standard of modernity.

Maramures – A Travel Guide To Romania ‘s Region Of Wooden Churches

Maramures

There are many regions in this world that are worth a visit, and very often we Europeans tend to travel overseas to see something exotic, or visit people who still lead a life that perhaps our grandfathers knew. Rarely it occurs to us that it is not always necessary to travel far to be able to experience “time travel”.

Maramures in northern Romania is one such little known corner of Europe. Amid beautiful rolling hills and lush river valleys live people who for the most part still follow the traditional agrarian way of life. Their life might seem hard and simple and it is a millenarian fight against the weather, to grow the crops, to raise the animals, to work from dawn until sunset without the many mechanized and electronic comforts we think are essential. But, that life can be rewarding in all its simplicity, as each day shows the results of work, and family and friends guarantee that there are often reasons for celebration. The seasonal festivities, like Christmas and Easter or local festivals and weddings, have retained their real value of breaking the everyday routine, and feasting lasts several days and is done with gusto.

Why is the region considered unique and those who have been there want to return? The answer is a mixture of three things: amazing landscapes, genuine people and the simple civilization of wood, with the famous wooden churches whose towers can be seen from far. The nature, people, houses and churches are spiritually connected and have maintained this link to the present.

But most of all is the uniqueness of the architecture is the inclusion of eight wooden churches in UNESCO’s World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. These churches are the church of the Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple in Barsana, the church of Saint Nicholas in Budesti, the church of Saint Parasceva in Desesti, the church of the Birth of the Holy Virgin in Ieud Deal, the church of the Holy Archangels in Plopis, the church of Saint Parasceva in Poienile Izei, the church of the Holy Archangels in Rogoz, and the church of the Holy Archangels in Surdesti.

Our guidebook: Maramures – A Travel Guide to Romania ‘s Region of Wooden Churches is an excellent full-color book on a wide variety of cultural heritage subjects from mural paintings and archaeology to architecture and local traditions. It also gives practical information and tips on travel to and in Romania, what to see, where to stay, what to buy and to eat, to get the most of Maramures.

Why a guidebook and not another type of book? Because we consider that a cultural guidebook addresses those who, while enjoying a memorable holiday, can also help such a special region develop and maintain its specificity and character. To assure the preservation regions like Maramures, it is necessary that they do not fall into total oblivion. It is necessary that the young people can remain, find work and live there with their families, while being at the same time aware of the importance of their inheritance. Cultural tourism can be a mutual investment that can bear fruit for everyone. The visitor’s joy and the host’s joy are both real experiences.

We hope that you will enjoy your travel to Maramures!

Learning Survival French Before Traveling To France

Learning Survival French

Will you be traveling to France in the near future? Are you ready to meet the locals? If you think you are not yet equipped the best way you should be before going on a leisure or business trip to France, at least bring French survival phrases with you. It won’t be much but it will help you get through to the calm but fun personalities of the local French.

You may not know it yet, but traveling to France requires you more than just what you need to say during your stay. Most French locals do know how to speak English but there is really no point in making them especially if you are the tourist. They may speak English but only during moments they feel comfortable. Arm yourself with anything that could possibly come up during your trip by learning few phrases that are used mostly by tourists who doesn’t speak French very well.

Phrases like Excuse moi, parlez-vous anglais? (Excuse me, do your speak English?), Merci Beucoup (Thank you very much), Sil vous plait (Please) are few of the phrases that will allow you to reach out to French locals. Most of the local people knows how to speak English so asking nicely should be your primary approach.

As a tourist and knowing that you don’t know anything about the streets and bars, look comfortable but also dress elegant enough because it is how you should appear in a city like Paris. Hang out on bars and enjoy the food as you eat. If a local French person comes up to you and engages you in a conversation, don’t be nervous. As a matter of fact, the more you become friendly with them regardless your inability to speak French, you will still get a warm and friendly smile.

There are so many things that you need to learn and get to know first before traveling to France. It isn’t very important to learn all of the French words as it will not be useful at all times. Pack your things and only with the important French words that you will be using during your trip. Also, research more about the locale’s way of living to learn how you can react better to emergency circumstances.

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.

Learn Basic French Phrases – Before You Travel To France

Learn Basic French Phrases

Before you think to travel to Paris, Switzerland, Bordeaux or Quebec, you absolutely need to learn basic French phrases. Without these common sentences and words, you will be lost and frustrated.

There are sentences and words that you will use every single day. Let’s start to learn them, because life will be extremely hard if you chose to ignore this lesson and travel to a French speaking country.

We will start with the most common words because it’s easier, and then, we will learn basic French phrases…

1. Most common words in French (and any other foreign language)

Note: I will write the English word first, and then, translate it in French.

1 – Yes = Oui
2 – No = Non
3 – Ok = D’accord (Note that French say OK as well!)
4 – Why = Pourquoi
5 – Where = Ou
6 – How = Comment
7 – Thanks = Merci
8 – How much = Combien
9 – Hotel = Hotel
10 – Room = Chambre

2. Three Must Know French Phrases

Note: I will write the English word first, and then, translate it in French.

These are four sentences that you will use every single day.

1 – Good Morning! How are you? = Bonjour! Comment allez – vous?

2 – I’m fine thank you = Je vais bien, merci.

3 – Do you speak French? = Parlez-vous Français?

4 – Where are you from? = De quel pays venez vous?

As you can see, these French words and sentences are essential if you want to travel to France or any other French speaking country. No need to say that you will not be able to live in France without those…

To learn basic French phrases with a French native speaker is your best option. However, there is no harm to learn with a Canadian or even a English native if he is fluent.

Learning from home is another option, and after all, you can quickly learn these essential sentences before you decide to travel to Paris!

Italian Travel Guide For Backpackers

italy-travel-guide

Italy as one of the most ancient European civilizations is unknown to none. Italy had been the land of Roman Empire for long. Today the country has a rich history and tradition that speaks for itself and gathers tourists from all round the world. Italy is a place known for its wonderful cities and their archaic art and architecture. There are great Roman structures like Roman Colosseum and Pantheon; the Sistine Chapel, sculptures by maestros Leonardo, Michelangelo etc. and many more attractions that can make your vacation a dream come true.

A Walk through the Italian Cities-

The cities of Italy are quite popular across the globe. For instance the land of Julius Caesar i.e. the city of Rome also known as the “Eternal City” has an aura of exotic Roman art and architecture. Rome is famous for its architectural masterpiece of the Colosseum, the National Gallery of Ancient Art which in itself is a magnum opus and displays the work of Bernini, Raphael and Titan. The Capitoline Museums houses the complete history of Rome, the Gallery of Modern Art presents the 19th and 20th century at work by eminent artists and the Galleria Borghese museum in Rome has the largest art collection in the world.

The city of Venice seeks no introduction. It is the city where tranquility prevails and the beguiling art and architecture makes everyone’s day. The visitors are attracted by pulls like the Grand Canal, the museums such as the Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Oriental Art in the Santa Croce region of Venice, which put at parade the art work from countries like Japan, Indonesia and China. Also worth visiting are the Academy of Fine Art and the Correr Museum known for its Renaissance art.

The fashion city of Milan has always been inviting visitors. It is a primary economic and cultural center of Italy. Milan is popular for the Romanesque architecture in the Lombardy region of which Milan is a part; The Cathedral of Milan that is a paradigm example of Gothic architecture. The Milan museums include some of the fascinating museums in the world. For instance the Brera Gallery that presents the tour de force of geniuses like Raphael and Giovanni Bellini. You can also gaze at the awesome “The Last Supper”, Jesus and his disciples at the Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie church.

Since the entire Italy is swarming with museums and art, the city of Florence too grounds few wonderful ones. The Uffizi Gallery which is best known for the art work of Sandro Botticelli – “Birth of Venus”, Leonardo da Vinci’s strokes, and apart from these the Dutch, French and Spanish work of art it displays.

Besides this, Florence is thronged for its delectable cuisine, hill slopes and the oldest archaeologically significant region of this place i.e. the Tuscany region. One among the wonders of the world, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is nestled in the Italian town of Pisa in the Tuscany region.

The Vatican City is a center of attraction in Italy particularly for magnificent Sistine Chapel, designed by the architect Baccio Pontelli and feathers added to it by Bernini. The galleries of this Chapel present some of the exclusive art works-paintings and sculptures like “run-of-the-mill”, the archaic bronze statue of Apoxyomenos, Michelangelo’s sculpture ‘The Pieta’ and so forth.

After these Italy has many other cities that have always been welcoming visitors with their pleasant surroundings and amazing art work.

So one should, in one’s life time definitely bask in the glory of the skill of distinguished artists, painters and architects, no where else but Italy.

Hungary Travel – Lake Balaton, Visegrad, And Szentendre

budapest_hungary

When visiting Hungary, it is easy to fall in love with Budapest and never venture beyond the city. If this happens, you’ll rue the day you missed a chance to visit Lake Balaton, Visegrad and Szentendre.

Lake Balaton

Lake Balaton is located in the wine-growing region of Hungary. It just so happens the Lake is also populated with a number of thermal mineral springs. Hmm…wine and hot tubs! On top of this, the lake is relatively shallow resulting in water temperatures in the seventies in the summer. All and all, it is nearly impossible to get stressed out at Lake Balaton.

Lake Balaton is located about an hour an half to the west of Budapest by minivan. While minivan travel can be aggravating, this trip is definitely worth it. There are plenty of hotels and resorts in the area, although summer weekends can get packed.

Visegrad

Visegrad is a tower castle that has seen better days. In its heyday, Visegrad was a major outpost for the Roman Empire. The history of Visegrad is interesting, but you will want to visit for a different reason. Visegrad is a great place to parasail. Located approximately 1,000 feet above a river, the terrain and air currents are ideal if you’re interested in flying like a bird. In fact, you can literally float for hours.

Szentendre

Szentendre is a little town located about 20 minutes north of Budapest. The town has an old feel with cobblestone streets and outdoor cafes. Perhaps the biggest reason to go, however, is the vibe of the town. Szentendre is the artist center of Hungary. Walk down the streets and you will start seeing art you recognize from shops in Budapest. There are literally hundreds of galleries and artist sketching in the sun. If art is your thing, Szentendre is worth a visit.

Budapest is definitely the must see location of Hungary, but Lake Balaton, Visegrad and Szentendre are definitely worth a look.

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
Sé (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 Portimão (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 €175
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.

Travel Tips to European Countries : Finland

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, Kapellskär, Grisslehamn, and Travemünde. 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.

How To Plan Especially For The Kids In Paris Travel

Kids in Paris Travel

When taking the kids to Paris on vacation there has to be something for them to do as well. What fun would it be without a day planned just for the kids to enjoy themselves? The kids are going to enjoy a new atmosphere naturally, yet the children will miss their friends back home. Keep them occupied and their need to be with friends will subside. Remember at one time we were kids. At heart, we are kids still, so try to pull that child inside of you up, and entertain those little ones.

Make your day for the kids a fun and learning experience. Paris offers a wide array of learning facilities and fun arenas.

How to choose for the kids:
Perhaps your children would enjoy riding on a donkey, or having an ice cream cone on the right side of the bank at the Jardin de Tuileries.

You can also visit the left side of the Jardin dul Luxembourg where you and the children can enjoy a wide array of entertainment suitable for children of all ages. The Champ de Mars is on the other side of the Luxembourg.

In this areas, your children and you can enjoy Paris’s famous puppet shows. The puppet shows are worth seeing for its colorful preclusions. The puppets reenact the Gothic Castles and the Oriental Palace adventures. The best puppet shows are held at the Champ de Mars. Your children will definitely enjoy the experience. Likely, you will enjoy the show as well.

Choosing entertainment for children also depends on age and likes. If you children enjoy Disneyland, they may enjoy visiting Mickey Mouse and his friends in Paris.

If you children enjoy learning, stroll them down to the Ru-Monsirur-6-Prince, this is known as the Yankee Alleyway. Yankee Alleyway marks the year 1959 where the well-spoken Martin Luther King Junior visited Mississippi’s native Richard Wright. The famous novelist, Wright gave his opinion on the movement of civil rights. In this area, your children and you may also want to visit the popular diner, Haunts of Kerouac. In the same area is Paris’s famous Hemingway.

Once your children learn the history at the alleyway, you may want to visit the Les-Catacombs, which is an underground tunnel. Les-Catacombs in Paris is a nice area to visit, if you have older children that enjoy learning history. The tunnel is interesting, since the children walk underground, walking more nearly 3,000 feet of dank walkways. Throughout the tunnels, your children and you will learn about more than 6 million macabre arranged skulls and cross-bone skeletons.  Les-Catacombs was opened in 1818. This arena is the French Resistances original headquarters. During WWII, the French Resistance used the tunnels as a militant cemetery.

If the cemetery is too ghastly for the children, perhaps you can take them shopping. Along the streets of Paris are nice shopping malls. You have a choice of Antique shops, souvenir shops, shopping malls, and more. Visit the shopping malls, since children tend to enjoy styles and fads.

After shopping, choose a hot spot to enjoy a meal together. If you are on the run, check out Paris’s fabulous Tea Diners. The Tea Restaurants serve hardy sandwiches, salads and a variety of tea blends. When you sit and relax with your children, enjoying a meal and cool drink, it brings the family together. Take the time to ask your children if they enjoyed their experience. Ask the children if you missed something. Once your day is finished, enjoy a nice movie in the hotel with your children. If the children enjoy swimming, take them to the pool area in your hotel.

If your children are not ready to return to the hotel, enjoy a movie at one of Paris’s theatre. What every you decide; make sure you will make it enjoyable for the children, allowing them to have fun in Paris.

City Break Hostel

Offering free WiFi throughout, City Break Hostel is located in Belgrade. It features 24-hour reception, lockers, plus a shared lounge and kitchen. Rooms here include parquet floors and a shared bathroom with a hairdryer and slippers. The hostel is a 15-minute walk from St. Sava Temple and 1.5 km from Belgrade Central Station. Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport is 20 km away.

Click here for more information about City Break Hostel location,customer reviews and how to book.

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Hotels In Malaga – Travelling To Spain

Hotel in Malaga

If you are traveling to the Costa del Sol region, you find several Malaga hotel options ranging from luxury, five star hotels to smaller more reasonably priced hotels. Malaga is beautifully situated along Spain’s southern coastline and has accommodations for every traveler. You will, definitely, be able to find the perfect hotel or accommodation to meet your vacation needs.

Choices in Malaga hotels include traditional luxury hotels, old castles and basic, quality hotels. There are a few five star hotels in Malaga, offering amenities such as private beaches, pools health clubs, tennis courts, salons, saunas and spacious rooms. Some even have a casino on premises such as the Hotel Torrequebrada, for example, and many have a restaurant and bar on premises as well. The larger luxury hotels may even offer babysitting, twenty-four hour room service and laundry services. As expected, these five star rated luxury hotels are the more expensive accommodations for travelers to the Costa del Sol region.

You may want to spend your vacation in an old restored castle. A few have been turned into hotels and have become popular for weddings and other larger group conferences. This is definitely a way to experience the area’s history. If you love historic places and castles, this is definitely an option you may want to consider.

There are several hotels in the area which are more reasonably priced and still provide quality accommodations. Many are located in the center of Malaga and, therefore, conveniently located close to public transportation. Some of these hotels date back to the eighteenth center and have been restored and decorated to reflect that time period when they were originally built. These hotels, of course, are less expensive than the luxury hotels described earlier as they offer the essential services but no additional amenities. These hotels are clean and comfortable and, particularly, suitable if you to not plan to spend a lot of time in your hotel but rather enjoying the town and attractions. Remember, the less you spend on accommodations the more money you have to enjoy the attractions and local fun.

When looking for a hotel, consider your needs and the services and amenities you do want in your hotel. Also consider you budget and how much you are comfortably able to spend on accommodations. How long you are staying should be a factor in this decision. If you are staying less than one week, you may choose to spend more on your accommodations. If you are staying longer than a week, you may want to choose a more reasonably priced hotel to avoid the high per night rate of luxury hotels. Finally, read hotel reviews to get an idea of the hotel’s quality. Some online travel sites offer reviews written by former guests providing the perspective of those who have already stayed at the hotel. This is a good source of information. A little research spent in the beginning will help ensure you have a great vacation experience in Malaga and its Costa del Sol region.

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Hitting The Library While Traveling Spain

Spain library

Many people say there is nothing like a good book. How about a good building full of books and a lot of history. That is what one of Spain’s biggest attractions in Madrid has to offer. If you are traveling through Spain, you owe it to yourself to schedule a tour of the Biblioteca Nacional .

From the outside, the building is magnificent. It has a neoclassical façade and the archways are a site many spend a lot of time gazing upon. While it looks amazing from all angles, it really is breathtaking to walk straight forward towards the building and then look up, taking in the magnitude.

You may well run out a number of pictures on your camera with photos of the Corinthian column carvings, statues, and wrought iron gating. The doors are adorned with images of many of Spain’s most famous writers. You will be able to pick out Leon and Cervantes. Once inside, you can marvel at the books in the library. There are more than 5 million of them. While it is not the world’s biggest library, it is still impressive and is the largest collection of Spanish writings in the world.

The library’s books started with the 1712 formation of Phillip V’s royal library. Some of the books were acquired in the expected way, of being purchased or given to the library. Others, were taken in seizures. Now considered the National Library of Spain, the library has volumes that detail the complete history of the country and it’s growth through the centuries, as well as nearly anything you could imagine relating to Spanish culture. For history buffs, the fact that over a half million of the books are pre 1831 is a major draw.

Those with an appreciation for art may want to take a tour of the engravings and drawings in the collection, or the maps that show the paths explorers would take traveling the world. The library’s collection of these items are also unrivaled anywhere else in the world.

Even if you have no literary aspirations, you will still enjoy the inside of the library as much as you enjoyed the outside. The internal architecture is just as impressive. With the silence in the building, you can walk the halls and you may find your imagination taking you back in time through the centuries to get a feel for what it may have been like living in that far in the past. You can also think about the fact that the books and other works you can look at and study are those same pieces that have been looked at and studied by many royal figures in generations past.

In addition to being a location for research, the library also is often a location for exhibitions, showing off the drawings of artists such as Rembrandt.

The library is open all year long, and there is no charge for admission to the building.

A Tour Of London

a-tour-of-london

When traveling to London will be quite an adventure in itself. You may be traveling to Europe and would like to see the Grand Palace and other historical landmarks that are still being used today. In order to plan your trip carefully you will need to know a little more about all the places that you should visit while in London that is highly recommended. Here are some places to add to your itinerary while you are in London.

London has something called the London Eye. The London Eye is also known as The Millennium Wheel because it was opened in the year 2000. The London Eye is a Ferris wheel that allows you to see all of London while you are riding it. The views can be seen for up to 25 miles around when it is a clear sky. The ride takes thirty minutes so that you have time to see all around you while you are going around. Each capsule can hold up to twenty five people.

You should also go to the Tower Bridge. This is the famous bridge that has a lot of history behind it. Tower Bridge was designed to be raised for tall ships that would pass by. You can see the raising of the bridge several times during the week if you are interested. It also offers a closed in walkway that you can enjoy during every season.

You should also visit Tower of London. This is not the same thing as the bridge. The Tower of London has a lot of history behind it. During Medieval times this was the place of imprisonment, torture and execution for prisoners. You can view the Crown Jewels when you visit the Tower of London. Watch out for the ravens that have made the Tower of London their home.

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens is a great way to end your long journey. Feel the peacefulness as you visit the royal parks. The Hyde Park is the largest park of the three parks in London. It offers a place to boat, swim, play and it also includes a pet cemetery for all the pets who have enjoyed the park continuously.

The famous Big Ben is something that you will want to see before leaving London. This is a clock that was built into a tour that has a distinct ring.  You can hear the ring all around the world in phones, watches, clocks and more. When the House of Commons is in session you can see the light on above the clock.

Last, but not least, you will want to swing by Buckingham Palace to view the royal family’s house. Since 1837 this has been the home to the British Royal Family. Get there in time to see the Changing of the Guard. See the horses and carriages used by the Queen. You can also see certain parts of the palace during certain times of the year so if you want to tour Buckingham Palace you may want to call first.

Travel 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, Plzeň, Olomouc, , České Budějovice, Zlín, Hradec Králové, Ústí 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 (Hradèany) – 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 (Staromĕstské Námestí) – 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.
Vyšehrad – 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.

Guide To London Travel

London travel

Being one of the most important capitals of the world, London ought to be having a high reputation among the people from all over the world. The country holds a very rich resource of history and domination over the entire world. Londoners can today boast of living in one of the historically most significant city of Europe. The city is studded with architectural wonder that remind of the engineering advancements that the country attained so early. The diverse population of the city amounts to a whopping 59 million, which makes it one of the most populated cities of the world. The ethnic backgrounds of the people largely vary as London offers some of the most lucrative job opportunities. People thus flow in from different parts of the world to find their destiny.

The city has evidences to shoe that it had human habitation for almost 22,000 ago too and since then it has sheltered humans through the ice ages and the wars and the invasions. Julius Caesar walked in to London in 55 BC as a part of the Greek conquest. The protective walls around the city reminds us of the efforts that the city dwellers to withstand the invasion. The British started their domination over the world with the Norman Conquest of 1066. Since then the expanse of the British Empire grew and it went across the lands and the oceans. Modern history knows London as the capital of almost the whole world as it was under the British dominion.

Religion acts as a guiding force for the civilizations to grow. In London, religion has a special status for the people. The people have diversified beliefs. The firm position of Church of England, one of the oldest embodiments of Christianity, shows that the country still stands tall on the framework of religion. The conflicting groups of the Christians’ viz. Roman Catholics and Protestants find it as a missing link. How far the church is successful is subject to debate.

The aesthetic interests of the people of London are much refined then anywhere in the world. The cultural map of England starts with London and it is the centre of most cultural activities of the country. The different forms of music and dance have been prevalent in the country for centuries now. The classical music, operas and the English folk music have had a great impact on the people of the country. Prior to the 15th century many music legends liven in England and had their influence on the music. The pop culture took the country into its hold since the 1960s. Pop bands started to come up and some such bands grew to scale new heights in the music world.

The myths have it that in the many monuments in England many have been reported to be haunted by the ghosts of people who lived there and their citing are reported every now and then. It also gives the tourists a reason to be visiting the place. Above and beyond every thing else the country is a example of upholding the traditions and thus it becomes imperative to go there and fell them firsthand.

Germany Travel Tips

Germany

Restaurants and Bars – You do not get water for free, you have to pay for it. If you order water you will get carbonated water. In most restaurants you can request tap water and they may or may not charge you but it is most likely straight from the sink. In some American fast food restaurants, (i.e. McDonalds) you must pay for ketchup as well. Be aware that the menus at most fast food restaurants in Germany are not exactly the same. You may also notice that a sandwich that you recognize from back home may taste a little different or it could be smaller. When you enter a restaurant you will not be seated, just walk right in and pick the table of your choice!- the tip should be much smaller than you would give in the States (this is because the waiters/waitresses get paid more than in the states) A tip of two or three EUR would be considered a good tip for very good service.

Supermarkets – If you shop for groceries in Germany you will notice the supermarkets have all of their large rolling carts outside in a designated area and they are locked to one another. In order to utilize a cart you must place one EUR in the cart itself, you will see the slot on the handle. Upon leaving the supermarket you latch the cart back to the other carts and pull the device out where you placed the coin, now you can retrieve your coin. When you have all of the groceries you want, proceed to the check-out counter. You will have to purchase plastic bags to put the groceries in or you can take one in yourself. If you decide to purchase one they are usually visible at the counter and normally only cost a few cents. If there is a long line do not put all of your groceries in the bag, put them back into the cart and bag them away from the line.

Closing hours – On Sunday everything is closed except for some restaurants, bars, gas stations and shops at the main train station and bigger airports. Some bigger stores are realizing that they can make much more money if they open on Sunday so they are doing just that, but I would not rely on it. During the week shops in bigger cities close at 8 PM at the latest. You may see shops in smaller cities closing even earlier.

Public Phones – Public phones are very rare in Germany. If you find one you will notice that they only take telephone cards. You can buy a telephone card in different shops like “T-Punkt”, “Telekom”, “Post”, and “Vodafone” or you can go to an Internet cafe.

Miscellaneous – “Bad” in front of a towns name does not mean that the people or the city is bad for example, “Bad Homburg”. Bad in front of a towns name normally means that the town is designated as a healthy location normally with very clean air and water.

A&O Hotel & Hostel Hamburg Reeperbahn

ao-hotel-hostel-hamburg-reeperbahn

ao-hotel-hostel-hamburg-reeperbahn1

Situated in a comparatively quiet area in Saint Pauli’s red light district, the budget hotel has 308 guestrooms and is close to many nightclubs. A&O Hotel & Hostel Hamburg Reeperbahn is a two minute walk away from Reeperbahn S-Bahn Station. It is directly situated on the Reeperbahn, which is Hamburg’s red light district. It is close to many nightclubs, as well as theatres and the harbor. The small onsite restaurant only serves breakfast, but there is a restaurant next to the hotel. The 1-star A&O Hotel & Hostel Hamburg Reeperbahn is an ideal choice for travelers seeking budget, no-frills accommodation while enjoying the nightlife of the famous Reeperbahn.

Click here for more information about A&O Hotel & Hostel Hamburg Reeperbahn location,customer reviews and how to book.

German Laws Affecting Travelers

germany-travel-guide

Know the German Laws

Germany’s popularity as a world-renowned vacation destination continues to grow exponentially. Each year, more people visit Germany from hundreds of countries spread throughout the world. Over 2.2 million Americans made Germany their choice for travel in the first six months of 2006 alone. Your travels throughout this magnificent country can be enhanced greatly by knowing a few laws and regulations native to Germany and Europe.

Entry and Travel in Germany

A valid passport is required to enter and move about Germany. For business visitors staying less than 90 days, a Visa is not required for Germany and other countries that are members of the Schengen Group that includes neighboring countries Belgium, Netherlands, France, Denmark, and Austria.

European regulations require that passports be stamped for documentation of entry into countries, but not all German points of entry are staffed to ensure this function is carried out. It may be necessary to arrange in advance to ensure that a proper stamp is available upon entry. Travelers without this stamp may be questioned at their time of exit without this proper documentation.

Safety in Germany

No matter how rare occurrences happen, travelers should always be aware of possible terrorist organization activity. While these instances occur in Germany much less frequently than in other parts of the world, its open border agreement with other European nations should be noted. Additionally, there have been a few, isolated past incidents of racial discrimination and aggravation of travelers. It is recommended that travelers avoid as much as possible areas where protests and demonstrations take place to maintain a maximum level of security. Know the locations and emergency contact numbers of local German law enforcement whenever traveling in Germany.

Driving in Germany

Driving in Germany can be a surprisingly pleasant experience for many visitors from other countries due to Germany’s distinct courtesy standards that its citizens enjoy and follow.

For many, a vacation in Germany wouldn’t be complete without a drive down the world-famous Autobahn, which has stretches that are devoid of speed limits. Accidents and automobile fatalities are notoriously low even on high-speed stretches of highway due to Germany’s laws governing driver courtesy. It is generally illegal to pass on the right side, where slower traffic is to stay. Additionally, the legal blood-alcohol limit can be significantly less than in other countries than in Germany, helping to ensure public safety.

Seatbelts are required to be worn by all vehicle passengers in Germany. Traffic officers can typically collect fines on-the-spot in routine traffic stops. If the driver does not have the funds to pay the ticket immediately on hand, the vehicle may be impounded until the fine is collected in certain circumstances.

Be sure to review local German laws regarding BAC limits and driver safety before getting behind the wheel.

Importing/Exporting

Germany has particularly stringent laws that apply to bringing in items and paraphernalia that pertain to World War II. Additionally fascist, racist, and Nazi propaganda in print or on computer or audio media is strictly forbidden to be transported in or out of country unless for very select circumstances – usually reserved for official historical and research purposes only.

A FEW TIPS AND WARNINGS FOR THE LONDON TRAVELER

a-few-tips-and-warnings-for-the-london-traveler

If you find you need directions a cab driver or a newspaper vendor will be a good source for directions. If you are in a busy shopping area, you may find a policeman that will be able to point you in the right direction.

Black cabbies own their own vehicles, never leave garbage or food in their taxis. They take care of their cabs and take pride in the appearance so don’t make their working life harder. If your Cabbie is sociable, they can be a great source of information. Some black cab drivers will not pick up someone who is extremely drunk, and prefer that you do not smoke in their vehicle.

As of July 1, 2007, you are not allowed to smoke in restaurants, pubs, bars, the Tube, and in theaters. You will be issued a 200 pound fine if you violate this law. This also includes enclosed places where people work.

Become familiar with the local Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and M&S foods. These are grocery stores and you can purchase inexpensive snacks and lunches to take back to your room. This is a great, and more economical alternative to eating out every night.

If you plan on visiting London in the summer months, you will need to be sure the hotel you choose is equipped with a good air conditioning system. Many hotel rooms do not have enough cross ventilation and you may find you room unbearably stuffy and hot. When traveling the Tube, know that the temperature can be up to 10 degrees higher than outside. Wear layers of clothing you can peal off.

Don’t try to keep up with the locals when it comes to drinking alcohol. Drinking is a large part of the social culture in London, and British beer is stronger than US varieties. You should also know that the Imperial Pints served by the London pubs are 4 oz larger than the pints served in the US. Three British pints add up to 5 bottles of American beer.

When ordering in a restaurant or pub, you may signal by holding up 2 fingers for 2 pints. Whatever you do, make sure your palm is facing the waitress or bar maid. If the back of your hand is facing them it is the British equivalent to giving someone the finger.

If you come across an unattended bag or parcel, do not touch it. Call 999 the emergency help number, this is also true in any type of emergency where you require assistance. This number will also get you in touch with the police in an emergency, and obtain lifeguard assistance. This number can be accessed from any pay-phone. You may also dial 112 to harmonize with other European areas who use that number. If you dial 911 from a mobile it will be directed to the 999 number. 911 will not work on any pay-phone.

Take care when crossing the street, as cars in London are driven on the left side and Americans have had the phrase “Keep To The Right”, burned into their brain for years. It can be a bit confusing to you and London van drivers move quite fast down small side streets. Try to cross the street with a group and not alone.

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 Sámi 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, Nærøyfjord – Narrowest branch of the Sognefjord and Palteau of Jostedalsbreen glacier

Tromsø – Arctic cathedral, Polaria and Tromsø 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.

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.

From Windmills To Diamonds: Travel Holland

Holland

Tulips, windmills and wooden shoes might still be a draw to this Dutch region for some travelers; however, Holland is a far more versatile locale with an international and maritime history extending farther back than most of the rest of Europe, including the establishment of New Amsterdam as a major trading city, which became New York when the British took over. Holland, particularly Amsterdam, is also well known for its diamond manufacturing and polishing industry. If that tickles your fancy, make sure to visit the Amsterdam Diamond Center located in the center of the city.

Before you continue with this informative guide to Holland, make note that although the name “Holland” is used commonly in everyday language, the country is strictly called The Netherlands and internationally recognized as such.

Red Lights and Rembrandt
Besides being the capital city, Amsterdam has enough to offer to fill your entire vacation. The unavoidable multiculturalism has brought Amsterdam to the forefront of controversial equality and human rights issues. Muslims, Jews, Dutch and Surinamese all have a very active role in the life and politics of the city. The Anne Frank House is an extremely popular sight with a new exhibit at the end that discusses the modern day conflict between freedom of speech and respect for cultural and religious diversity. Amsterdam is also home to the Van Gogh Museum and the newly restored Rembrandt Museum.

The Dutch acquired an extensive collection of colonies during the 18th and 19th centuries, one of which was Suriname, located on the northern coast of South America. Suriname finally gained its independence in 1975 and through an education exchange program the Surinamese population remains predominant in Amsterdam. The cultural flair adds richness to the city in the form of contemporary music, art and exquisite cuisine. Make sure to dine in a Surinamese restaurant at least once!

Amsterdam is also notorious for its Red Light District and Coffee Shops. Stroll through the winding streets at night for an incredibly diverse experience and stop at one of the bustling pubs for delicious locally brewed beer. Also, many visitors enjoy seeing the city from the water. There are boat tours offered on an hourly schedule during the summer months that take you through the picturesque canals and past charming old façades.

Timeless and Traditional
Even though Amsterdam is a modern hub in the globalized world, there is still an incredible amount of tradition and history prevalent throughout The Netherlands. Visit the nearby town of Alkmaar in the summer to take part in the centuries-old cheese market and festival. Locals don traditional dress and haul giant rounds of cheese through the town square for weighing. After your fill of diary, wander through this seaside town’s canals and shops. Travel through central Holland to the medieval town of Utrecht, established around 47 AD. The 14th century wharves, cathedrals and Roman architecture are sure to transport any traveler to another place in time.

For international travelers, Holland exists in a class of its own. Whether you enjoy the bustling urban experience or the intimate countryside adventure, you will find what you are looking for in Holland.