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Archive for April, 2013

Travel Tips to European Countries: Ireland

About The Country

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

Culture

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

Shopping

Many towns organize flee markets at least once a week, which is worth checking out for cheap goods. Belfast is the shopping capital of Ireland; most of the stores open up early and close early too. On Thursdays, shops remain open till 8 in the night. Value Added Tax of almost 17% is charged, which can be reclaimed later. So if the visitors buy anything from the stores remember to check if the store operates the Retail Export Scheme, which would require the passport and filling of the Tax Free Shopping Form by the sales person. If the restaurant bill doesn?t includes any tax, leave behind a 10% tip to appreciate their service. Giving a tip to the porters and hair dressers is customary here.

Electricity

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

Getting There

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

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

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
2. 1l of spirits and distilled beverages (more than 22 per cent) or 2l of other alcoholic beverages with an alcoholic strength not exceeding 22 per cent, including sparkling or fortified wine, plus 2l of table wine
3. 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette

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



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Travel tips to European Countries: Iceland

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

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

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

Population & Languages

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

Electricity

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

Geographic Location

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

Climate

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

Local Customs

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

Attractions
Reykjavik Attractions ? Hallgrimskirkja Church, National Museum of Iceland, Botanical Gardens and the Einar J?nsson Museum

Travel

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

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

Duty Free Items
1. 200 cigarettes or 250g of other tobacco products
2. 1 liter spirits and 1 liter wine, or 1 liter spirits and 6 liter beer; or 1 liter wine and 6 liter beer; or 2.25 liter wine
3. Food items up to 3kg not exceeding kr13,000
4. Permits from Post & Telecom Authorities are required for cordless phones, remote controls or radio transmitters. It is not required for a GSM mobile phone

Prohibited Items

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



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About the county

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

Population & Languages

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

Electricity

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

Geographic Location

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

Climate

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

Local Customs

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

Attractions

Budapest
* Castle Royal Palace
* Fisherman?s Bastion
* Matthias Church
* Gell?rt Hill
* Chain Bridge
* The Great Synagogue and Jewish Museum
* Parliament Buildings
* Statue Park

Eger
* Eger Castle
* Sz?passzony Valley (Valley of the Pretty Woman)

Lake Balaton
* H?v?z
* Keszthely

The Danube Bend
* Esztergom
* Szentendre
* Visegrad

Travel

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

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

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

Duty Free Items
1. 800 cigarettes or 400 cigarillos or 200 cigars or1kg smoking tobacco for EU countries.
2. 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g of smoking tobacco for Non-EU countries.
3. 10 liter of spirits with more than 22% and ethyl alcohol, or 20 liter of beverages less than 22% alcohol content, or 90 liter of wine or 60 liter of sparkling wine, or 110 liter of beer for EU countries.
4. 1 liter of spirits and 2 liter of wine for Non-EU countries.
5. 50g perfume or 250 ml eau de toilette
6. Gifts , Food, fruits, medications and flowers for personal use of value up to ?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.



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About the Country

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

Site seeing

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

Culture

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

Getting there

Three national airlines operate in Austria, Austrian Arrows, Austrian Airlines and Lausda Air, which work in collaboration with the Austrian Airlines Group. The Vienna airport is 18 km away from the city. Airport buses transport passengers to the South Train and West Train Station. Railway, chauffeur-driven car and taxi service is also provided at the airport. Duty free shops, post office, bank, eateries, left luggage, tourism information, conference hall, nursery, car hiring and car parking facilities are provided to the passengers at the airport.
Salzburg airport is 4 km away from the city and buses, trains, taxis and hotel coach shuttle passengers to and from the airport. Facilities such as duty free shops, post office, currency exchange, left luggage, conference hall, restaurants and car hire exist at the airport. Check out the other airports such as Klagenfurt airport, Graz airport and Linz airport for more details. All the airports charge a fixed rate for porter service.

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

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

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

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco or a proportional mix of these products
2. 1l of spirits over 22 per cent or 2l of fortified wine or spirits up to 22 per cent or 2l of sparkling wine or liqueur and 2l of still wine
3. 500g of coffee or 200g of extracts, essences or concentrates of coffee, and 100g of tea or 40g of tea extracts
4. medicinal products sufficient for the journey
5. 50g of perfume or eau de toilette
6. All the above mentioned goods should be carried by a person over 17 years of age.



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