Friday, 24 August 2012

Luxembourg

Travel Tips to European Countries: Luxembourg

 File:Flag of Luxembourg.svg

About the country

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

Culture

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

Shopping

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

Site Seeing

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

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

Accommodations

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

Travel

The national airline which operates here is Luxair. There are flights from London to Luxembourg every hour. The Luxembourg airport is at a distance of 5km from the city and it takes about 20 minutes to reach there. There are provisions such as duty free shops, bank, tourism information and car hire for the passengers.
Eurostar provides a fast railway service from London, Paris, Belgium, France or Brussels to Luxembourg. Bookings can be made via telephone and £5 fee is charged for telephonic booking. Check out for offers which are provided on some of the routes. To travel within the country, Inter-Rail pass can be bought which gives the offer of unlimited train travel for 29 countries of Europe.

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

 Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
2. 1liter of spirits or 2liter of sparkling wine or 2liter of liqueur wine and 2liter of non-sparkling wine
3. 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette
4. 500g of coffee and 200g of coffee extract
5. 100g of tea and 40g of tea extract
6. Tobacco and Alcohol can be carried by visitors over 17 years of age only.  

           




Italy

Travel Tips to European Countries: Italy

File:Flag of Italy.svg

About the county

File:Colosseum in Rome, Italy - April 2007.jpgItaly, the birthplace of pasta and pizza provides a wide range of choices for artwork lovers to experience. A temperate climate exists here with very hot summers and not so cold winters. The weather is the best in spring and autumn with pleasant temperatures and scenic views. At that time of the year, the place isn’t crowded much and things can be enjoyed in leisure.  Incase of emergency call 112. For fire call 115 and for ambulance call 118.

Culture

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

Site Seeing

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

Shopping

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

Electricity

The voltage used is 220 volts and 50 Hz frequency.

Getting there

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

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

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

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco
2. 2liter of wine and 1liter of spirits (over 22 per cent) or 2liter of fortified or sparkling wine
3. 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette; 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extract (if over 15 years of age)
4. 100g of tea or 40g of tea extract
5. Gifts not exceeding €89.96 (if entering from an EU country), €175 (if entering from a non-EU country).







Thursday, 23 August 2012

Iceland

Travel tips to European Countries: Iceland

File:Flag of Iceland.svg

About the country

File:Iceland2008-Sudureyri.JPGOfficially 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'. 

File:Bolungarvik 02.jpgIceland 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 Reykjavík which is also the largest city of Iceland. Nearly half of Iceland’s population lives around Reykjavík. 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.

File:Haskoli Islands main building.jpgPopulation 
& 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.

File:Erupting geysir.jpg
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
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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 Grímsstaðir and Möðrudalur.

Local Customs
File:Reykjavík séð úr Hallgrímskirkju 6.JPG
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 Jónsson Museum

Travel
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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). 

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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.