Hungary Travel – Lake Balaton, Visegrad, And Szentendre

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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

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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.

From Wetlands To Canals And Dams: Travel To Amsterdam

beautiful-amsterdam

There are not many cities that have experienced such social and political extremes in recent history as Amsterdam. In the 20th century alone, Amsterdam faced the atrocities of war for the first time in 400 years, became the radical center of 1960s social movements and witnessed a complete about-face in its core economy. Amsterdam’s progressive, multicultural, conscientious and contentious attitude wipes out images of a more docile past and ranks this capital city among the top 5 for European travel destinations.

Precariously positioned on the banks of both the IJ Bay and the Amstel River headwaters, Amsterdam made an early mark on the world with its dominant seafaring fleet and colonial aspirations in the 17th and 18th centuries. Amsterdam’s economy turned inward once England emerged as the seafaring superpower. Consequently, most of the enchantingly crooked mansions and townhouses alone the canals are now inhabited by eclectic stores, businesses and engaging galleries and the majority of Amsterdammers live outside of the canal belt.

Museums, Music and a Barrage of Culture
To gain a better understanding of how such a metropolitan city emerged from bogs, swamps and floodplains, visit the Amsterdams Historisch Museum. Extensive documentation covering centuries of growth spans the walls of the exhibits and a detailed segment is dedicated to modern day issues, conflicts and controversies surrounding Amsterdam’s path to becoming a free and tolerant society. Then, explore Amsterdam’s historic relationship with water aboard the Nederlands Scheepvaart Museum, a dry-docked ship from the East India Company. For a more refined jaunt into the past, a trip to the colossal Rijksmuseum will indulge the senses with fine art from Dutch masters throughout history.

As evening approaches, leave your museum voice behind and dive dancing and drinking into Amsterdam’s edgy and rowdy nightlife. The pubs and coffee shops that line the canals are a vibrant mix of locals and visitors, and the perfect place to begin your evening. Enjoy an extensive array of domestic ale or have a taste of the unique Dutch gin. Musically, Amsterdam has something for everyone. Visit Mulligans Pub for authentic Irish entertainment, kick back to some jazz in Dylan’s stylish lobby bar or go electro at the famed mega-club, Ministry.

For a moment of contemplation or a summer picnic, Amsterdam offers some of the best urban park spaces among European cities. Bikes are available for rental to take in the scenery at a faster pace, just beware of the tram tracks that crisscross most roadways and footpaths.

Of European cities, Amsterdam is most likely to surprise, excite and intrigue its visitors in a most unexpected fashion. Travel to Amsterdam to enjoy the perfect balance of open spaces, a lively urban pulse and a gracefully multiethnic ambiance.

Free Travel Guide Of Cagliari In Italy

Cagliari

Cagliari is the capital of the island of Sardinia, a region of Italy.

Cagliari is renown for its open and friendly international people, art museums and Art Galleries, the sea, the movida and cheap lodgings, classic itineraries and a lot more to make a visit worth wise.

Cagliari’s Sardinian name Casteddu literally means the castle.

In general, guides have been written for giving the essential information about the most visited cities in the world and in particular for any traveller or first-time visitor.

It has about 160,000 inhabitants, or about 350,000 including the suburbs.

Cagliari has some peculiar gastronomic traditions. Many dishes are based on the wide variety of fish and sea food available, for example, burrida.

With the monthly newsletter, puts at travellers, students, volunteers free disposal some useful pocket travel guides of major European cities: the Amsterdam City guide, the London City guide, the Prague City guide, the Paris City guide, the Rome City guide, the Florence City guide, and the freshly issued Naples City guide!! For the Cagliari travel guide efforts concentrate on making it simple to read dividing the Cagliari centre in different districts with their relevant amenities.

Although it is possible to trace influences from Spanish gastronomy, Cagliaritanian food has a distintctive and unique character.

Cheap lodging solutions are all available for online bookings and divided by Countries. Travellers have free access to the updated list of Europe hostels and budget hotels, North and South America hostels, Caribbean and Central America hostels as well as for Asia cheap accommodations, Oceania youth hostels and Africa hostels.

Very good wines are also part of Cagliaritanians’ dinners: excellent wines are in fact produced in the nearby vineyards of the Campidano plain.

It provides a large selection of cheap or low cost accommodation offers in Cagliari where there are plenty of low cost solutions for backpackers in budget youth hostels, Bed and Breakfast, family run guesthouses, cheap hotel deals.

Top Romantic Places In Italy

top-romantic-places-in-italy

If you’re looking for one good romantic getaway, Italy would be the perfect spot to have one. This city is known to be one of the most romantic places in the world. It offers a lot exquisite spots where you can have your precious honeymoon or just a simple memorable vacation with your loved one.

To serve as a guide, here are some of the best romantic places that you can go visit in Italy for that memorable romantic getaway with your loved one!

Venice

This is considered to be one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Italy where you can find love in the air with its winding canals, narrow streets and gondolas. For sure, it would be a pleasure to lose yourselves together in this small but lovely city. Other than the stunning San Marco Cathedral and piazza, you can also find a lot of small picturesque churches and squares.

This city can also offer you a variety of romantic restaurants and dreamy cafes in which you can have a lovely dinner or spend your afternoon together. On the fun side, this city is also the best destination in Italy for Carnevale or Mar di Gras festivals.

Portofino

This city’s a charming, half-moon shaped village beside the sea. You can find a lot of pastel houses, cafes and seaside restaurants that line the harbor’s shore. It also offers you a relaxing view of its crystalline green waters that expose an innumerable display of beautiful aquatic life.

Just like a scene in fairytale, you can find a romantic castle, along with a tiny church sitting atop the hill that overlooks the village. You can also take a romantic stroll, via going through the scenic pathway leading to the lighthouse situated on the point.

This village is said to be the resort for the rich and famous. However, there are much more sights to see than just famous people. There are also a lot of shops, cafes, restaurants, and luxury hotels that you can visit. You can also choose to engage in activities such as hiking, boating and diving.

You can find this lovely village in northern Italy’s Liguria region. This village is included in the Italian Riviera. It’s also near other romantic Italian Riviera villages such as Portovenere, Santa Margherita Ligure and Camogli.

Positano

This town situated on the Amalfi Coast, is another of Italy’s most romantic places. The scenic town is vertically built on a cliff’s face, which consequently gives you spectacular views of the sea. You can also find a lot of romantic restaurants that offer scrumptious seafood and wonderful views of the sea.

This town has a relatively mild climate, which is why you can opt to visit it throughout the year. Interestingly, it started out as a small fishing village that became popular with artists and writers during the 1950’s. At present, it remains to be a charming and fashionable resort.

Basically, it is a pedestrian town, which means it has a lot of stairs. It also has a lot of beautiful pastel colored houses adorned with colorful flowers that makes an even more picture perfect view of the town.

These are the top three romantic places that you can go to in Italy. So now that you know them, go ahead and take your pick and create memories you can keep for a lifetime!

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.

Florence For Young Travellers

Florence

Among academies, libraries and museums, religious monuments, churches, civil architecture and buildings you will experience you really are in a treasure hunting. For this reason not only tourists, or backpackers but prevalently international students or even international volunteers are choosing this city for their academic courses, stages and studies.

Well, to start, we mention an international place where students, travellers, journalists and actors usually meet: at Acqua al 2 you can get cannelloni, beef, selection of salads, pasta, cheese and excellent wines at average prices of €30. Acqual al 2 is a modern bistro that we suggest in Via Vigna Vecchia ,40; ph: +39 055 284 170; open daily from 7.30 pm-1am).

If you are visiting Florence and you are on a budget and looking for cheap accommodation consider youth hostels, backpackers hostels or international students houses ( hostels as well) where a bed night average price start from 18 euros. The atmosphere is quite basic but somehow fascinating. Florence does not have a long tradition in modern hippie youth hostels as you  might find in other top cities. Florence rather can offer old style hostels, kind of student residence, or pilgrim residence as it was in Medieval times. Monasteries are converted in new pilgrims hostels ( backpackers, students, international volunteers) sometimes still run by nuns or monks.

For budget tips where to go shopping here we go!

It is possible to make excellent purchases in the narrow lanes and streets of Florence in particular around Santa Croce and Oltrarno you can easily find little authentic workshops of paper, leather, perfumes…

Some names: Il Papiro offers  good quality hand-made paper in Piazza del Duomo.  Officina Profumo Farmaceutica Shop an old fashioned chemist offers lotions, potions, and herbal remedies abound in elegant packaging in Via Scala, 16.

Go to Piazza dei Ciompi if you are looking for second-hand and flea markets (last Sun. of the month), or to S. Lorenzo Market (northwest of the Duomo), or the colourful Central Market for food (Square of Mercato Centrale). Here you ‘ll find olives, hams, cheeses and fresh vegetables. Try Via Maggio and Borgo Ognissanti for fine Florentine antique shops.

Of course for anything you need, ticket booking, accommodations booking, hotel reservations, budget trattorie, or simply to locate all this on a map you need a pc and an internet point ( as not all youth hostel will have pc free fro every guest!!). There are a few in Florence. Internet point (Borgo degli Albizi 66; ph:+39 055 24 0780; €3/hour); Internet Train: (€4/hour or €3/hour for students) with 12 point sin the city: Via dell’Oriuolo, 40, ph: +39 055 2345 322; Via del Parione 11b, ph:+39 055 264 5563; Borgo S. Jacopo, ph: +39 055 265 7935).

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Finding Tuscany’s Best Travel Accommodations

Walking-in-Tuscany

As one of the top destinations in Italy, even the world, the lush landscapes and cultured cities of Tuscany require a thoughtful guide. Whether it’s in the gorgeous Tuscan Villas, the highest rated hotels, or extending a stay in a cozy apartment; finding the best accommodations can be daunting. It’s no less daunting searching for travel information about Tuscany on the Web, as a typical Google search will bring up thousands of sites with resources. The Tuscan region promises an unforgettable stay and many people have turned to unusual experiences, like staying in a Farmhouse or Castle.

Travelers already have a lot to think about with trip planning in all the enriching experiences awaiting them in place like Tuscany. One way to narrow the search down for accommodations in Tuscany is using a site like Backpackershostel.org. Sites like this offer an easy to use search option that personalizes the search for travel accommodations.

Tuscany is a diverse region that holds sprawling countryside along with cities that boast modern style within historic backdrops. With regions including, Arezzo, Casentino, Chianciano Terme, Chiusi, Cortona, Empoli, Florence, Garfagnana, Grosseto Maremma, Livorno, Lucca, Massa Carrara, Montalcino, Monte Argentario, Montecatini Terme, Montepulciano, Mugello, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato, San Gimignano, Siena, Versilla and Viareggio; there is a lot to choose from. Some of Italy’s most treasured destinations sit above the Tuscan hills or are nestled off the beaten track of the major cities.

A searchable web guide like Backpackers Hostel makes finding the right accommodation easier for travelers. As Tuscany’s popularity has grown over the years, many Bed & Breakfasts, Farmhouses, Hotels, Independent Villas, Residences and Town House Suites have opened their doors to visitors. Everyone has different needs or standards for their travel, vacations and getaways; sometimes things that travelers tend to overlook.

There are the luxuries that people may not think about when traveling, such as enjoying poolside breakfasts, easy access to mountain bike trails or horse riding trails, golf courses, tennis courts or five star restaurants. The range of searchable features at the site can exceed what people come to expect in accommodations. Travelers might also need to know basic things like do accommodations include phone service, satellite TV, heating and air conditioning, washing machines, what credit cars are accepted, are pets allowed, or is it suitable for disabled guests. This becomes essential when travelers opt for the more unusual stay, such as settling into a farm house, castle or villa.

Agriturism is another option included in the guide’s search features. Agriturism has become one of the most popular getaway experiences in Italy and especially in the Tuscan region. Staying in one of Tuscany’s many farmhouses or touring the wine vineyards or Olive farms, among many other pleasurable trips, can give one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime.

Finding reliable information on accommodations is really an essential resource for making high quality travel arrangements. Travel print guides in books and magazines go out of date, so the web offers a more current resource. Where this site differs from some of the other guides out there is it is up to date and informed directly from the owners of the hotels, apartments, villas, bed & breakfasts, farmhouses and town houses. Some of these accommodations, such as holiday trips to farmhouses, castles, extended stay apartments or town house suites are hard to find. For many years guests only had word of mouth from friends and family to rely on for such rare experiences. Now the Web has revealed the many unique experiences awaiting them, and this site has pulled all that information into one easy search.

One of the most useful aspects of having a guide like this is that it offers full listings that travelers can browse. Sometimes travelers to Tuscany don’t exactly know what to expect or what they are looking to experience and having a detailed listings presents new opportunities. While the site doesn’t have direct information about entertainment, tours and the rich cultural experience Tuscany offers, there are several links from the site to explore. Nonetheless, a trip to Tuscany needs to start with finding the ideal accommodations for the diverse taste of travelers and this site provides the right start.

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Finding Hotel Travel Deals In The United Kingdom

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Are you going out of town for a few days? Do you need to find an inexpensive hotel? It is easy to find a hotel when you search for travel deals in the UK. You can perform a broad search on the Internet with just travel deals or you can narrow your search by hotels only. Either way you are bound to find at least five sites if not more.

Hotel travel deals within the UK can be found on many different search sites such as Travelocity, Expedia, or by going directly to the hotel’s website. Many of the larger chain of hotels such as The Hyatt, Sheridan Hotels and many others have an extremely well planned site that is easy to navigate. These major hotels are found on websites that also have flight information that you can search on specific days of the week to find the best deals. There is also the opportunity to combine hotel and flight information together to get an even more favorable deal. It is important to note that many of the larger hotels tend to be more expensive on the weekend and if you are traveling for business chances are you can find a travel deal in the UK for business travelers by going directly to the hotels website or calling the hotel. Ask for the hotel’s rack rate that will allow you to save even more money off of your stay.

Even if you are traveling over the holidays you still can find special hotel travel deals in the UK if you know where to look. Typing in the keywords will net your several sites, but those mentioned above often advertise special travel deals for holidays. It is always best to check the Internet out first before calling the hotel directly. Sometimes the hotel staff will not mention any special deals they have unless you ask. If you are in need of a hotel at the last minute chances are they will have a nightly special rate. Calling ahead may guarantee you the room at that nightly rate or you might have to wait until you arrive at the hotel.

Finding hotel travel deals in the UK can be as simple as going on the Internet or you may need to make a few phone calls. Remember the sources are there for you to use.

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Top Five Italian Words You Wouldn’t Dare Mispronounce

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Going to Italy? Well good for you! Just as with travelling to other countries, learning a little of their language would do you good. It doesn’t matter if you master it by heart or have a handy dandy translating dictionary with you, as long as you know the words and what they mean then you’re in good hands. However, knowing the meaning of words are sometimes not enough.

As you know, languages have different intonations with words. And in some languages, a little difference in intonation can lead to a difference in meaning. Thus, pronunciation is vital especially if it’s a foreign language. So, if you’ll be travelling to Italy and decide that you want to show of some of your Italian skills then here are the five Italian words that you wouldn’t dare mispronounce.

Fico

This word is a noun, which means fig. Sweet and succulent, figs are quite well loved, right? Yes, just make sure that you maintain saying this word in a masculine way in which it ends with a powerful and clear “o”. Be wary, since once you make it slang and say it like “figa” or “fica” then you are in big trouble. Why?—because the last two are Italian words that actually refer to the female anatomy’s vagina.

However, if you would desire to say that something’s generally cool or a certain man is attractive, then you could say “figo.”

Penne

This is yet another noun, which could mean penne, or basically the type of pasta. It may also mean “pens” in which the singular form would be “penna”. It would be helpful to know that the Italian language is quite particular with the letters on their words, in which you have to pronounce each letter clearly. Thus, the word ‘penne’ should be pronounced as ‘pen-ne’.

Although non-Italian ears wouldn’t be able to discriminate the difference with regard to pronouncing correctly the double ‘n’ or not; Italian ears however would definitely do, most especially with this word. Why?—Since once you pronounce it as “pene” you are actually referring to the word “penis”. Such little variation in pronunciation could lead to a big difference with meaning!

Pisolino

This is a noun for “nap”. When saying this word, make sure that you pronounce it the way it is written. Do not forget the long “o” in the middle too. If ever you become lazy, and say it like “pisellino,” which literally means “small pea”. However, even though ‘small pea’ is the literal translation, it is also Popeye’s Swee’Pea in Italian, which is the slang word for ‘tiny pene’. Hence, to put it briefly, go have a nap and not a tiny penis.

Scappare

This verb means “to escape”. This is yet another word that you should be careful in pronouncing the middle vowel. If you mispronounce it to “devo scopare,” then you are actually telling somebody that you’ve got to sweep the floor. Although that seems not so bad at all, you should know that it’s also the slang for making love.

Scoraggiare

This verb means “to discourage”. If ever you mispronounce it to “scoreggia” what you’ll be talking about actually is to pass gas in a very unpleasing manner. This is quite a common mistake by foreign teachers who are teaching students English in Italy.