Page 1

2019 ABTA COUNTRY GUIDES Volume 2

UK & EUROPE


UK & Europe Country

www.slovenia.info #ifeelsLOVEnia

I FEEL

SLOVENIA So different. So accessible.

Everything is nearby in the only European country where the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Karst and the Pannonian Plain meet. You can experience four different worlds in a single day in Slovenia and even a brief encounter with each of them fuels the desire to spend more time discovering its special features and to return to Slovenia. Come and visit Slovenia also on direct flight London – Ljubljana with British Airways, starting from July 2019!

SLOVENIA. Green. Active. Healthy.

3

ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


UK & Europe Country Guides

2019 ABTA COUNTRY GUIDES Volume 2

UK & EUROPE

Your one-stop guide to the UK and Europe

W

elcome to Volume 2 of the ABTA Country Guides, your country-bycountry guide to UK and Europe. From Albania to Ukraine, this is your go-to publication for vital information about the region. We spoke to travel agents and tour operators across the UK to gather their thoughts on what would be the most useful information. The result is our country profiles, beginning page 8, which provide key information such as visa requirements, average temperatures and rainfall, currency, tipping policy, major events and attractions, plus details of flights from the UK; foreign office advice; and information about whether or not it’s possible to get married there. All the information is also available online at countryguides.abtamag.com. As well as the standard profiles, we’ve also included some fantastic features, designed to delve a little bit deeper into destinations. From p86, Christine Smallwood provides an in-depth guide to the gastronomic highlights of Italy, while on p84, she also takes a closer look at the fascinating city of Matera, one of the 2019 European Cities of Culture. Elsewhere, Karl Cushing provides guides to Russia’s cultural powerhouses, St Petersburg and Moscow (p117), while you will also find city guides to the likes of Lisbon, Budapest, Copenhagen, and lesser-known gems such as Piran in Slovenia and Sarajevo, the often-overlooked capital of Bosnia. It’s not just cities, however: Anthony Pearce cruises the Norwegian fjords on p105; we also take in the coast of Croatia on p28; explore the Lake District in more depth (p134) and hear about a new conservation project in the Cairngorms in Scotland (p138). We hope you enjoy reading.

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

4


In September 2018, Waterfront, the publisher of ABTA Magazine and Cruise Adviser, launched a new creative agency. The Studio by Waterfront specialises in design solutions across print, web and social media. The Studio offers a tailored approach for all clients, with copywriting, proofreading and design elements available, in the following areas:

PRINT Catalogues, brochures, leaflets, exhibition stand designs and magazines

DIGITAL Website design, social media campaigns, digital and native advertising

ADVERTISING Billboards, newspaper and magazine creative advertising and advertorials

BRANDING Logos, brand identity, promotional videos, proofreading and copy writing

For more information, email info@waterfront-publishing.com


86

A gastronomic tour of Italy

UK & Europe Country Guide 2019

FEATURES

117 Moscow and St Petersburg

105

Fjord focus in Norway

ABTA Magazine is created by Waterfront Publishing on behalf of ABTA Waterfront Publishing 12-18 Hoxton Street London N1 6NG waterfront-publishing.com

Head of design Billy Odell billy@ABTAmag.com

020 3865 9360

Business travel editor Jenny Southan jenny@ABTAmag.com

Director Sam Ballard sam@waterfront-publishing.com

Sub-editors Emily Eastman, Nathaniel Cramp

Director Anthony Pearce anthony@waterfront-publishing.com

ABTAmag.com info@ABTAmag.com Twitter: @ABTAMagazine Facebook: ABTAMagazine LinkedIn: ABTAMagazine ABTA 30 Park Street, London SE1 9EQ Chief executive Mark Tanzer Chairman Noel Josephides

Sales manager Emily Norris emily@waterfront-publishing.com 020 3950 4815 Sales manager Bryan Johnson bryan@waterfront-publishing.com 020 3865 9338

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

6


UK & Europe Country

UK & Europe

CONTENTS

7

ABTA Country Guides 2019

Editor’s letter 03

Isle of Man 79

Albania 08

Italy 80

Andorra 10

Jersey 90

Armenia 11

Latvia 91

Austria 12

Liechtenstein 92

Azerbaijan 18

Lithuania 93

Belarus 20

Luxembourg 94

Belgium 21

Macedonia 95

Bulgaria 23

Malta 96

Bosnia 24

Moldova 100

Croatia 26

Monaco 101

Cyprus 32

Netherlands 102

Czech Republic 34

Norway 104

Denmark 42

Poland 108

Estonia 46

Portugal 110

Faroe Islands 48

Romania 114

Finland 49

Russia 116

France 50

San Marino 119

Georgia 56

Serbia 120

Germany 57

Slovakia 97

Gibraltar 62

Slovenia 122

Greece 63

Spain 127

Guernsey 68

Sweden 130

Hungary 69

Switzerland 131

Iceland 72

Ukraine 132

Ireland 76

UK 133

countryguides.abtamag.com


DISCOVER CL ASSICAL SPAIN –

SEVILLE, CÓRDOBA & GR ANADA 7 days from only £499PP

WHAT’S INCLUDED? ü Guided tour of Seville ü Visit to medieval Ronda ü Fall under the spell of the Alhambra ü Visit Córdoba with a guided tour of the Mezquita ü Escorted by our experienced tour manager ü 3-star superior and 4-star accommodation, with breakfast ü Return travel from a selection of airports, plus transfers PLUS SO MUCH MORE... Departures up to November 2019

CONTACT OUR AGENCY SALES TEAM: Call for support: 01283 744307 | Email: agencysales@rivieratravel.co.uk

CALL RESERVATIONS 7 DAYS A WEEK: Call to book: 01283 744370 | Book online: www.rivieratravel.co.uk/agents Prices are based on two people sharing and are correct at time of print. Single supplements may apply. Holidays are operated by and subject to booking conditions of Riviera Travel, ABTA V4744 ATOL 3430 protected. Subject to availability. Additional entrance costs may apply. Images used in conjunction with Riviera Travel. For further information please write to Riviera Travel, New Manor, 328 Wetmore Road, Burton upon Trent, Staffs, DE14 1SP.

ABTA No. V4744


Country Guides Albania

Albania Albania is a breath of fresh air. Its towering mountains and golden beaches are uncrowded, but word is slowly spreading that the country is on the tourist map. Visit fortress towns and discover ancient sites of Greek and Roman settlement, or take in colourful Tirana, a city shaking off its communist past with vibrancy. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Tirana Visa requirements: No visa required for stays of up to 90 days Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Albanian Currency: Lek Population: 2.87 million Electricity: 220V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Appreciated but not

8

MONTENEGRO

KOSOVO

obligatory. It is common practice to round up your bill at restaurants AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Tirana (average flight time: 3h): London Gatwick, London Luton Indirect flights to Tirana (average flight time: 8h): Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Castletown, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Jersey, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Blue Eye water spring Butrint National Park Bunk’Art war museum Gjipe Beach Dajti mountain

ABTA Country Guides 2019

MACEDONIA Tirana

ALBANIA Vlore

ITALY

GREECE

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

250mm

20°C

200mm

15°C

150mm

10°C

100mm

5°C

50mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

MAJOR EVENTS • National Festival of Urban Folk Songs, March • Kala Festival, June • Korça Beer Festival, August • International Festival of Modern and Contemporary Dance, October • Tirana International Film Festival, November

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passports; • Birth certificates; • Divorce decree, if applicable; • Proof of eligibility to marry. Same sex or LGBTQ marriages are not legal in Albania.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Albania Country Guides

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

9


UK & Europe Andorra

Andorra Known as “the Country of the Pyrenees”, Andorra is a co-Principality nestled on the border between France and Spain in the heart of the Pyrenees mountains. With 65 peaks more than 2,000m high, the country is known internationally for its ski resorts, yet the rugged landscape, mountain lakes, steep valleys and sub-Mediterranean climate also make Andorra an ideal summer destination. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Andorra La Vella Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Catalan is the official language. Spanish, French and English are widely spoken Currency: Euro Population: 77,000 Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Around ten per cent of the bill is customary

FRANCE TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Grandvalira ski resort 2. Vallnord ski resort 3. Caldea spa resort 4. Naturlandia adventure park 5. Palau de Gel d’Andorra activity centre

Andorra la Vella

ANDORRA

MAJOR EVENTS • Rebel by Cirque du Soleil, June 29 to July 28 • Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals, March 11-17 • Freeride World Tour, March 1-7 • La Purito cycling sportive, August 4 • Andorra Shopping Festival, December WEDDINGS At least one person in the couple must be a resident of Andorra to marry here. Same-sex or LGBTQ couples can have a stable union or civil union.

SPAIN

Barcelona

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

90mm

10°C

80mm

5°C

70mm

0°C

60mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

50mm

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Due to its location high up in the mountains, Andorra doesn’t have its own airport. However, there are several international airports within a 125-mile radius: Barcelona, Toulouse, Girona, Lleida, Carcassone, Reus, Perpignan

10 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


Armenia UK & Europe

Armenia

GEORGIA

Armenia is history and heritage mingled with awesome landscapes and inhabited by friendly locals. Visit the cosmopolitan hub of Yerevan, Armenia’s capital city, before exploring the country’s vast collection of medieval monasteries. Outdoor pursuits are also a big draw, with scenic hiking trails, paragliding and ski resorts.

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK (direct/non-direct) Indirect flights to Yerevan (average flight time: 7h) depart from: Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Southampton

KEY INFORMATION Capital: Yerevan Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 4 Language: Armenian Currency: Dram Population: 2.93 million Electricity: 220V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Between ten and 20 per cent is customary in cafés and restaurants

1. Geghard, a medieval monastery 2. Lake Sevan 3. Armenian Genocide Museum 4. Matenadaran, a museum of ancient manuscripts 5. Khor Virap, a monastery with scenic views

Gyumri AZERBAIJAN

ARMENIA Yerevan

TURKEY

IRAN

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS

MAJOR EVENTS • Yerevan Jazz Day, April 30

countryguides.abtamag.com

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 30°C

60mm

20°C

50mm

10°C

40mm

0°C

30mm

-10°C

20mm

-20°C

J

F

M

A

M

• Yerevan Wine Days, May 11-12 • Vardavar Festival, July 8

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

10mm

• Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival, July 7-14 • Taraz Festival, August

ABTA Country Guides 2019 11


UK & Europe Austria

Austria Stunning unspoiled nature, endless allseason recreation, a wealth of musical and cultural offerings, a tempting culinary scene, a well-known tradition of hospitality, and a reliable and safe infrastructure make Austria a very appealing destination at the heart of Europe, easily accessible from the UK. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Vienna Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: German Currency: Euro Population: 8.8 million Electricity: 230 volts, adaptor required (type F) Tipping policy: Tip 10-15 per cent in restaurants. Gratuity at hotels is appreciated but not required.

CZECH REPUBLIC AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Vienna (average flight time: 2h): Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, Manchester. Direct flights to Salzburg (average flight time: 2h): Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle Nottingham. Direct flights to Innsbruck (average flight time: 2h): Birmingham, Bristol, London (all airports), Manchester, Newcastle. Indirect flights to Klagenfurt (average flight time: 4h): London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester.

SLOVAKIA

GERMANY

Vienna

AUSTRIA SLOVENIA

ITALY

CROATIA

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

170mm

20°C

150mm

15°C

130mm

10°C

110mm

5°C

90mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS

WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Legal proof of marriageability and any

J

A

S

O

N

D

70mm

possible impediments to marriage

1. Schönbrunn Palace 2. Schönbrunn Zoo 3. Schlossberg hill Graz, a public part and site of a fortress 4. Fortress Hohensalzburg 5. Belvedere art gallery MAJOR EVENTS • Hahenkamm Downhill Race, Kitzbühel • Vienna Opera Ball • Salzburg Festival • Bregenz Festival of music and performing arts • Long Table of Graz, a culinary event

12 ABTA Country Guides 2019

HUNGARY

Graz

• Required documentation (original or certified, translated into German): certificate of no impediment, proof of residence, passport, photocopies of passports of witnesses, birth certificate; if divorced: decree absolute and previous marriage certificate; if widower: death certificate of previous spouse and marriage certificate; if applicable: name change deed poll certificate and adoption certificate Same sex or LGBTQ marriages are legal in Austria.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Austria UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 13


A piece of Austria begins ...

... where taste and diversity meet. Vienna Salzburg Linz Graz Innsbruck KitzbĂźhel Fieberbrunn Bratislava Ljubljana

Info & Booking: Tel. +43-1-588 00-800 office @ austria-trend.at austria-trend.at


Austria UK & Europe

Austria

Vienna By Anthony Pearce

W

hen cities are ranked by their “liveability” – that is, the quality of life of residents as determined by factors such as stability, culture, green spaces and public infrastructure – Vienna is consistently towards the top. The pretty Austrian capital, which combines the grandeur of Paris and culture of London with the cleanliness of Copenhagen, came in first and third respectively in The Economist and Monocle’s most recent annual surveys, and financial consultant Mercer has put it in top place for nine consecutive years. And the qualities that make Vienna such an enjoyable city to live in also make it a fine one to visit. The well-connected Vienna International Airport is served by a number of direct flights from the UK, and is just 16 minutes from Wien Mitte (the city centre) by train. A manageable size, the city is served by an excellent public transport network, made up of the U-Bahn (subway), S-Bahn (local train), Straßenbahn (tram) and Autobus (bus).

countryguides.abtamag.com

The city centre, where most tourists focus their attentions, is remarkably compact: the Old Town, a Unesco World Heritage site, covers three square kilometres, of which 82,000 square metres is pedestrianised. Given the array of stunning architecture on display, it’s a city best enjoyed on foot. The city’s construction boom, which followed destruction caused during the Turkish Siege of 1648, coincided with the Baroque period, meaning Vienna offers some of the most striking examples of this architectural style. There are more than 50 preserved Baroque palaces, churches and landmarks, such as the Schönbrunn Palace and Belvedere Palace.

GREEN CITY These are accompanied by beautifully arranged Baroque gardens – an enjoyable feature of a city that ranks among the world’s greenest. In fact, more than half of Vienna’s metropolitan area is made up of green space; or, to put it another way: there are 120 square metres of green space per resident. The immaculate Volksgarten, in the Innere Stadt

ABTA Country Guides 2019 15


UK & Europe Austria

first district of Vienna and part of the Hofburg Palace, may be the pick of the bunch.

CULTURAL POWERHOUSE With more than 100 museums and over 140 art galleries, Vienna is one of Europe’s cultural powerhouses: an entire district, the MuseumsQuartier, is dedicated to culture and contains no fewer than nine institutions. Among these are the Mumok, the Museum of Modern Art, housing works by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Yoko Ono and Gerhard Richter; Leopold Museum, which contains 42 paintings and 187 original graphics by Egon Schiele; and the Kunsthalle Wien, which is known for its temporary exhibitions. The breathtaking Belvedere houses one of Austria’s most valuable art collections, with works by Gustav Klimt, Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. The Republic of Austria turned 100 last year. Its centenary was marked by the opening of the House of Austrian History on Heldenplatz on November 12, 100 years to the day since the republic was declared.

16 ABTA Country Guides 2019

Operators Train adventure

G Adventures’ Glacier Express trip begins in Paris and ends in Budapest with an overnight in Vienna, staying in the Magdas Hotel. £2,199pp. gadventures.com

Coach tour

Touring specialists Shearings offers a six-day coach itinerary taking in Vienna, Prague and Budapest. Guests will stay in the Arcotel Wimberger in the centre of the Austrian capital. £673.50pp shearings.com

Cruise

Viking’s Danube Waltz calls at Linz, Krems and Vienna in Austria. In the latter there’s the chance to take in a Mozart and Strauss concert. vikingrivercruises.co.uk

countryguides.abtamag.com


Austria UK & Europe

Last year also marked 80 years since Austria’s “Anschluss” (annexation) into Nazi Germany, and 100 years since the deaths of Klimt, Schiele, architect Otto Wagner and craftsman Koloman Moser, four of the eminent protagonists of modernism – a style that remains visible across the city, from its architecture to its exhibitions. No visit to the city that Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner called home would be complete without experiencing a classical concert. The Vienna Philharmonic’s Summer Night Concert, an open-air event for 100,000 visitors with free admission and set against the backdrop of Schönbrunn Palace, is the highlight of the classical music calendar, but opportunities to enjoy the city’s music are numerous (see wien.info/ en/music-stage-shows/city-of-music).

CAFÉ CULTURE It’s often said that the Austrians have elevated coffee drinking to an art form: the city’s historic grand cafés, and modern

countryguides.abtamag.com

equivalents, help make up the fabric of Viennese life. Café Central – which was opened in 1876 and counts Trotsky, Freud, Stalin and Hitler among its former patrons – is perhaps the city’s most famous, but Café Landtmann (1873) and Café Sperl (1800) are just as striking. It would be wrong, however, to paint Vienna as a city that lives in the past: Austria’s most liberal metropolis, it is a distinctly modern capital, with a vibrant arts, bar and restaurant scene, borne from a large student population and creative industries based in the city. For Austrian fare, visitors can choose between the likes of the Michelinstar Zum Schwarzen Kameel (Bognergasse 5) and the rustic, low-key Gasthaus Pöschl (Weihburggasse 17). In summer head to the Spittelberg area, with its Biedermeier buildings, ivy-covered lanes, cosy bistros, lively student bars and Schanigärten options (outdoor dining areas). Spend just a few hours in the city and you’ll realise why Vienna is the perfect city to call home.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 17


UK & Europe Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan The “Land of Fire” is an intoxicating cocktail of antiquity, natural wonder and cosmopolitan cities. Situated at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is a place where cultures meet and mesh. Azerbaijan has many sites of interest, from Baku’s modern Flame Towers to the depths of the Walled City of Baku, a medieval Unesco World Heritage Site. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Baku Visa requirements: E-visa required Time zone: GMT + 4 Language: Azerbaijani. Russian is also spoken, and basic English is understood by most of the population Currency: Manat Population: 9.4 million Electricity: 230V, Type F plug Tipping policy: Tipping for above average service is appreciated. In most restaurants a service charge will be included in the bill. If not, a tip of around five to ten per cent of the total amount can be considered AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Baku (average flight time: 5h): London Heathrow

Indirect flights available via: Dubai, Istanbul, Moscow, Qatar

RUSSIA

Caspian Sea

GEORGIA Ganja

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Heydar Aliyev Centre, a museum, exhibition centre and auditorium housed in an architecturally impressive building 2. Carpet Museum – the Azerbaijani carpet is a Unesco Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage 3. Lahij Village, with its antique copperware workshops, whitecobbled streets, stone houses, craft shops and mountain trails 4. Gobustan Mud Volcanoes, a Unesco Cultural Landscape of more than 6,000 rock engravings, which go back 40,000 years 5. Sheki Khan Palace MAJOR EVENTS • Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019, held on the Baku City Circuit • 2019 UEFA Europa League at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, May 29 • Baku International Jazz Festival, October 18-27. The festival showcases Azerbaijan’s longrunning attachment to jazz, a connection established in the country during the

18 ABTA Country Guides 2019

ARMENIA

Baku

AZERBAIJAN

IRAN

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

50mm

20°C

40mm

15°C

30mm

10°C

20mm

5°C

10mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

1950s and 1960s when jazz was outlawed by Soviet authorities

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

spouse(s), if applicable; • Certificate of No Record of Marriage issued in your home country.

• Novruz Bayram – the Zoroastrian New Year, celebrated with festive public dancing, sports contests and folk entertainment, March 20-14 • Jara Music Festival, the largest music event in the CIS countries WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Valid visa; • Passport or ID card; • Application form; • Divorce or death certificates of former

J

Under Azerbaijani law, civil registration of all marriages is required and marriages involving a foreigner must be registered at the Main Registry Office (ZAGS). Same-sex marriages are not yet legal. However, Azerbaijan is a secular state and travellers of all ethnic background, sexual orientation are welcome and will feel safe while travelling around the country

countryguides.abtamag.com


Azerbaijan UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 19


UK & Europe Belarus

Belarus Belarus is living history. Its capital city is an insight into Soviet urban planning, while here and there relics of the past appear: 17thcentury fortresses and ancient churches. Beyond the cities, Belarus is raw and rugged: get back to nature with visits to wild forests and glittering lakes. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Minsk Visa requirements: No visa required for stays of up to 30 days Time zone: GMT + 3 Language: Belarusian

LATVIA

and Russian Currency: Ruble Population: 9.5 million Electricity: 220V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Discretionary. Around five per cent of the bill is common in restaurants AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Minsk (average flight time: 3h 10m): London Gatwick, Manchester Indirect flights to Minsk (average flight time: 5h): Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff,

MOSCOW LITHUANIA

Minsk

BELARUS POLAND

Brest UKRAINE

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 30°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

0°C

40mm

-10°C

20mm

-20°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Humberside, Inverness, Leeds, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Newcastle, Norwich, Southampton TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. 2. 3. 4.

Chalk Pits Nesvizh Castle Naroch National Park Boris and Gleb (Kolozhskaya) Church 5. Brest Fortress MAJOR EVENTS • Minsk Spring Tango Festival, March • Belarusian Fashion Week, May • Rural tourism festival Zaborski Fest, June

20 ABTA Country Guides 2019

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

• Yuri Bashmet International Festival, October • Minsk International Christmas Opera Forum, December WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passports; • Divorce certificate, if applicable; • Proof of eligibility to marry. Marriage licences must be legalised at the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and translated into English. Same-sex or LGBTQ marriages are not legal in Belarus.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Belgium UK & Europe

Belgium Beyond the medieval history and rounded cobblestones of Brussels and Bruges – where tourists enjoy the aromatic gueuze, kriek beers, fluffy waffles and rich chocolate on offer – discover rural chateaux, bucolic pursuits and bustling market towns. Back in the capital, enjoy the Grand Square, learn the history of Brussel’s obsession with comic books and explore the Art Nouveau exteriors. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Brussels Visa requirements: None for British passport holders Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: French, Dutch, English Currency: Euro Population: 2 million Electricity: The standard voltage is 230 V and the

UK NETHERLANDS

frequency is 50 Hz (same as the UK), Type E Tipping policy: At customer’s discretion; a service charge is usually English Channel applied in restaurants AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Brussels (average flight time: 1h 20m): Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham. TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Royal Museums of Fine Arts, a group of art museums in Brussels 2. Atomium, a landmark building and museum 3. Museum of Natural Sciences 4. Mini-Europe amusement park

Bruges

Brussels

BELGIUM FRANCE LUXEMBOURG

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

5. Parlamentarium, the visitors’ centre of the European Parliament MAJOR EVENTS • Winter Wonders and Christmas Market • Flower Carpet (biannual) • eat! Brussels, drink! Bordeaux, a culinary festival • Brussels Summer

countryguides.abtamag.com

GERMANY

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

Festival • Comic Strip Festival WEDDINGS Either you or your future spouse must be a Belgian citizen or have been resident in Belgium for at least three months. Both of you must be over 18 and not already married. Same-sex marriage is legal in Belgium.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 21


UK & Europe Belgium

Belgium has more castles per square inch than any other country, with about 50 of those in the Flanders region based around Bruges. The city, known as Venice of the North, has more than 80 bridges, which pass over its many canals.

22 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


Bulgaria UK & Europe

Bulgaria For UK travellers, Bulgaria is among the cheapest holiday spots out there. With sunny beaches, pretty coastal towns and picturesque scenery, the country has plenty to offer – including numerous Unesco World Heritage sites, from monasteries to mountains. Here, the beer is cheap and the food hearty: a winning combination. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Sofia Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 2 Language: Bulgarian Currency: Lev Population: 7.1 million

ROMANIA

Electricity: 220V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Around ten per cent of the bill is customary in all service sectors AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Sofia (average flight time: 3h 15m): Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted

Varna

BULGARIA

SERBIA

Sofia KOSOVO

MACEDONIA

TURKEY GREECE

Aegean Sea

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS

15°C

80mm

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

Rila Monastery Vitosha Mountain Belogradchik Fortress Plovdiv Old Town Boyana Waterfall

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

MAJOR EVENTS

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

legally allowed to marry;

• Rose Festival • Kapana Fest • International Jazz Festival • Varna Summer International Music Festival • Apollonia Arts Festival WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Proof of identity; • Proof that you are

countryguides.abtamag.com

J

• A divorce and/or death certificate of former spouse(s), if applicable; • A medical certificate, as certain diseases constitute an obstacle for marriage here; • A declaration of marriage. Same-sex and LGBTQ marriages are not recognised in Bulgaria.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 23


UK & Europe Bosnia & Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina Glistening, winding rivers, cascading waterfalls and medieval ruins: Bosnia and Herzegovina is rightly claiming its spot on the tourist trail. Visitors come for the photogenic cities of Sarajevo and Mostar, teeming with history, and stay for the food – tastes of Austro-Hungarian, Balkan and Ottoman flavours – and enchanting vistas. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Sarajevo Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian Currency: Convertible mark Population: 3.5 million Electricity: 220V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Common. The bill is often rounded

HUNGARY SLOVENIA

CROATIA

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

up to include a tip; if it isn’t then leave ten to 15 per cent for good service AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Indirect flights to Sarajevo (average flight time: 6h) via: Budapest, Dubrovnik, Hamburg, Istanbul, Split, Vienna

Sarajevo Mostar MONTENEGRO KOSOVO

Adriatic Sea ALBANIA

ITALY

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Old Bridge, Mostar Kravica Waterfall Baščaršija, Sarajevo Sarajevo Tunnel Jahorina winter resort

MAJOR EVENTS 1. International Sarajevo Winter Festival 2. Banja Luka Choir Gathering 3. Bascarsija Nights 4. Summer on the Vrabas 5. Sarajevo Film Festival

24 ABTA Country Guides 2019

SERBIA

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

countryguides.abtamag.com


Bosnia & Herzegovina UK & Europe

Bosnia

Sarajevo By Barbara Noe Kennedy

S

tanding in the fountain-graced centre of Sarajevo’s Baščaršija (old Turkish market), with its small shops displaying copper coffee pots, handcrafted carpets and Turkish glass lamps, you would be excused for thinking you were in the middle of Istanbul’s bustling Grand Bazaar – a smaller, quieter version, anyway. Given that the Ottoman Empire ruled Bosnia and Herzegovina for more than four centuries, it is no wonder its mosques, public baths and madrasas (schools) display a clear Ottoman style. Bosnia’s capital still bears some marks of the Bosnian War, which ended 23 years ago, but tourists are arriving in ever greater numbers, and the Turkish quarter thrives night and day. Explore its winding,

countryguides.abtamag.com

cobbled lanes, ducking into a coffee shop – perhaps Morica Han, an inn dating back to 1551 – for a thick, Turkish-style coffee and Turkish delight. Then try traditional burek, a flaky meat or cheese pie made with filo pastry, at Bosna, or another of the many buzzy restaurants lining Bradžiluk and Kundurdžiluk. When you are ready to relax, fall into a low-lying sofa in a shisha bar – Dibek is popular, with its outdoor courtyard – which often feature the sultry strains of live music at night.

GETTING THERE There are no direct flights between London and Sarajevo, but Lufthansa and Croatia Airlines offer reasonable connecting flights.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 25


UK & Europe Croatia

Croatia From the stunning Adriatic coast to the amazing natural parks, Croatia has an extraordinary natural and architectural diversity and beauty. Whether you prefer island-hopping, exploring ancient sites, trying local food, practising sport or organising a business conference, Croatia has plenty to offer throughout the year. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Zagreb Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Croatian Currency: Kuna Population: 4.1 million Electricity: 230 volts, standard European roundpronged plugs Tipping policy: Tipping

AUSTRIA HUNGARY is not obligatory but is appreciated. Around 10-15 per cent is customary in restaurants. At bars, people tend to round up as a tip AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Zagreb (average flight time: 2h 15m): London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted. Direct flights to Dubrovnik (average flight time: 2h 40m): Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London (all airports), Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham. Direct flights to Split (average flight time: 2h 25m): Belfast, Birmingham,

Zagreb

SLOVENIA

CROATIA

Adriatic Sea

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Zadar

KOSOVO

ITALY

MONTENEGRO

ALBANIA

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham. TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Dubrovnik City Walls 2. Plitvice Lakes National Park 3. Arena Pula, a Roman amphitheatre 4. Zadar Sea Organ, an architectural sound object in Zadar 5. Trakošćan Castle MAJOR EVENTS • Ultra Europe, an electronic music festival

26 ABTA Country Guides 2019

SERBIA

J

• • • •

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

Advent in Zagreb Špancirfest street festival InMusic festival Tour of Croatia, a men’s cycling race

WEDDINGS Documents needed: • A certificate of no impediment • Your passport • Proof of residence, such as a hotel booking or flight ticket • A completed Notice of Marriage form and an Affidavit for marriage form Same sex or LGBTQ marriages are legal in Croatia.

countryguides.abtamag.com


UK & Europe Croatia

Croatia

Dalmatian Coast By Simon Leeming

A

revolution is upon us! There is no longer simply a choice of offering your clients a river or ocean cruise. Both coastal cruising and canal barging are set to change the cruise market in the coming years, with trips along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast becoming particularly popular. Cruising in Croatia is nothing new, and for years a flotilla of gulet-style coastal boats have travelled between the islands and along the coast. The vessels are owned by locals and run by cooperatives such as Kompas and Katarina Line. These traditional woodenstyle ships typically cater for between 12 and 30 people, providing an affordable and sociable but ultimately simplistic experience. Standards are far removed from mainstream cruise and the “allocated on arrival” nature of the old ships can result in disappointment from clients. But as the popularity of cruise increases, a new wave of larger, more luxurious steelhulled ships are being built. They look far more like mega-yachts and provide standards that make them more appealing to the mainstream market. This boom in Croatian cruise has been assisted by trade-friendly cruise lines and tour operators chartering named ships to provide packages that

28 ABTA Country Guides 2019

remove any operational risk. I decide to see what all the fuss is about and join the beautiful Princess Aloha, a Deluxe-category ship operated by Kompas Croatia, on a cruise around lower Dalmatia between Dubrovnik and Split. The itinerary is sold through several established tour operators and fully packaged by Cosmos. Prices start from £1,023 per person including VIP home pick-up. Our week begins at Gruz harbour in Dubrovnik with a welcome dinner and chance to meet the crew before an earlymorning cruise outside the Old Town of Dubrovnik and into the historic harbour, which doubles as King’s Landing in Game of Thrones. After the first of our relaxing daily swim stops in secluded bays, we cruise to Mljet, a beautiful island featuring lagoons with turquoise waters and a monastery in the middle of Veliko Jezero lake. The third day is a particular highlight with a visit to the walled town of Korčula, rumoured to have been the birthplace of Marco Polo. It boasts a beautiful small church complete with its own Titian painting and a clock tower providing views over the cobbled streets below. On another excursion, we take a walking tour of Split, Croatia’s second-largest

countryguides.abtamag.com


Croatia UK & Europe

city. It includes a stroll around the famed Diocletian’s Palace, home of the Roman Emperor of the same name and yet another Game of Thrones filming location. The cruise then doubles back down the coast and to the quaint harbour town of Bol, our second destination on Brač island. After a swim stop on a deserted island, we dock in Hvar, known as the St Tropez of Dalmatia, playground to the rich and famous and hideout for Prince Harry. Once back in Dubrovnik, surrounded by the comparatively gigantic ocean cruise ships, we take a tour to the Old Town to discover the hidden secrets of a city still scarred by the Balkan conflict. The fortress perched above the old town tells the history of the Serbian and Macedonian siege, which left 95 per cent of houses in the Old Town damaged by shelling. Generally, every day involves a swim stop and two ports of call, including an evening stopover to explore a town at leisure and find a taverna to enjoy a drink. All excursions are included, from cruising down the Cetina River and numerous walking tours to wine tasting at a vineyard in the fishing town of Trstenik. Cruisers are typically British, Australian and American, meaning English is the main language spoken among the 20 to

countryguides.abtamag.com

30 passengers on board. This is part of the appeal: the cruise is sociable yet relaxing, you get to know all seven of the crew by name, you can spend time in the bridge while sailing, and dining is open-seating in a cosy lounge, allowing you to move around and chat with all of your fellow passengers. We enjoy scrumptious buffet breakfasts and four-course lunches along with two four-course dinners during the week, with catering provided for most diets. There is always plenty of food – sometimes too much, which leaves me feeling as though I will be too heavy for the plane home! The key is to choose the correct itinerary for your client’s needs from the variety on offer, each with a selection of the many islands along the coast. Cruises tend to be a round trip from either Dubrovnik or Split, or alternatively you can travel along the entire length of the coast from Dubrovnik to Zadar. But no Croatian cruise would be complete without adding extra nights before or after. We opt to stay on in Dubrovnik, where we enjoy the wonderful food, the hilly, cobbled streets, and take a cable car to the fortress on the mountain, with its magnificent views across the city and down the coast. Without a doubt, this is one of the best ways to see and experience Croatia.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 29


Croatia UK & Europe

Croatia’s coastal charms are well document, meaning that Zagreb, despite being the country’s capital, is sometimes overlooked. It shouldn’t be: with its gothic cathedral, art deco, neobaroque and secessionist architecture, vibrant street art and café culture, it’s well worth an extended stay.

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 31


UK & Europe Cyprus

Cyprus Sun-soaked Cyprus is warm hospitality, complex history, awe-inspiring vistas and culinary triumph. When you’re done with the beaches and water sports, learn about the history of the Mediterranean and explore both North and South Cyprus before sampling the cuisine – with its Turkish, Greek and Middle Eastern influences. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Nicosia Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 2 Language: Greek and Turkish Currency: Euro Population: 1.18 million Electricity: 240V and 50Hz Tipping policy: A small

TURKEY tip is appreciated, but not expected. Round up to the nearest euro or tip five per cent of the bill

Nicosia

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Paphos (average flight time: 4h 30m): Bristol, Bournemouth, Leeds, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Stansted Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Blue Lagoon WaterWorld Waterpark Machairas Monastery Konnos Bay The House of Dionysus

MAJOR EVENTS • Limassol Carnival • Pafos Aphrodite Opera

CYPRUS

LEBANON

ISRAEL

EGYPT

JORDAN

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 30°C

100mm

25°C

80mm

20°C

60mm

15°C

40mm

10°C

20mm

5°C

J

F

M

A

M

Festival • Cyprus Rally • Shakespeare Festival, Kourion • Paphos Aphrodite Festival WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passports; • Proof that you are legally able to marry;

32 ABTA Country Guides 2019

SYRIA

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

• A divorce certificate, if applicable; • A death certificate of former spouse(s), if applicable; • Confirmation from the relevant UK authority that you are free to marry. Same-sex or LGBTQ marriage is not legal in Cyprus.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Cyprus UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 33


UK & Europe Czech Republic

Czech Republic A country drenched in history, surrounded by natural beauty and producer of some of the best beers in the world. Prague is usually the first stop, visitors drawn by its Gothic architecture, emerging foodie scene and cultural offerings. Beyond the capital, discover rich living tradition, visit one of 12 Unesco sites or adventure through ancient forests and vast mountains.

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Prague (average flight time: 2h): Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London (all airports), Manchester,

GERMANY

Prague

CZECH REPUBLIC Brno

SLOVAKIA TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Prague Visa requirements: None for British passport holders Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Czech Currency: Czech crown 30 CZK = 1 GBP Population: 10.58 million Electricity: 230V, type E Tipping policy: Tipping for good service in a restaurant is customary. Round your bill up to the nearest 10 crowns in an ordinary restaurant. In higher-end eateries, tip around 10 per cent of the bill total

POLAND

Newcastle, Nottingham Direct flights to Brno (2h 05m): London Stansted Direct flights to Pardubice (2h): London Stansted Direct flights to Ostrava (2h 10m): London Stansted

Charles Bridge, Prague Český Krumlov Castle Lednice Castle Cathedral of the Assumption, Kutná Hora Dolní Vítkovice, a site of industrial heritage in Ostrava

MAJOR EVENTS • Prague Spring Festival, an annual festival of culture dating back to 1946 • Colours of Ostrava, the Czech Republic’s biggest music festival that celebrates multiple genres • Grand Pardubice Steeplechase, the world’s oldest and toughest horse race • Karlovy Vary International Film Festival • Prague Christmas markets WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Birth certificates; • Citizenship document; • Confirmation of marital

34 ABTA Country Guides 2019

AUSTRIA HUNGARY

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

88mm

15°C

76mm

10°C

64mm

5°C

52mm

0°C

40mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

status and permanent residence; • Document attesting legal eligibility to enter into marriage; • Document issued by the Foreigners’ Police of the Czech Republic certifying that the stay in the Czech Republic is legal; • Personal ID. Forms needed: • Fiancés may obtain the Questionnaire for Entering into Marriage at any Office of Vital Records. Part 1 of the Questionnaire will be

J

A

S

O

N

D

28mm

filled in with an official of the Office of Vital Records (registrar). Part 2 is completed only by the relevant registrar; • The Protocol on Contracting the Marriage is filled in by a registrar together with the fiancés, or at least one fiancé in accordance with the public deeds and documents submitted by both fiancés. The Czech Republic offers registered partnership for same-sex couples.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Czech Republic UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 35


Czech Republic UK & Europe

Czech Republic

Prague By Anthony Pearce

G

iven the crowds on the Charles Bridge, it’s difficult to imagine that Prague was ever off the tourist trail. But it wasn’t until after the Velvet Revolution of 1989, which saw the Czech Republic free itself from the Eastern Bloc, that Prague rightly took its place among Europe’s most visited capitals. Divided by the Vltava river, the Bohemian city is breathtaking: made up of cobbled lanes, grand medieval squares, Gothic churches and Renaissance palaces – truly, only Paris can rival it for beauty. And, although not as cheap as it once was, it can still provide remarkable value for money: when eating and drinking avoid parts of the tourist-heavy Old Town, and enjoy some of the world-famous Czech lager for as little as £1.50 and hearty, simple dishes such as goulash at similarly wallet-friendly prices. It’s just a case of following the locals. That said, Prague’s big hitters don’t disappoint. Prague Castle, which dates back to the 9th century and is said to be the

countryguides.abtamag.com

largest ancient castle in the world, attracts more than 1.8 million visitors annually. Visible from across the river, the complex was once the home of the Kings of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperors; today it houses the Czech president, and also contains the magnificent St Vitus Cathedral, built over 600 years. The Old Town Square, home to the medieval astronomical clock mounted on the Old Town Hall and the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn, is among the finest examples of its type. No trip is complete without a visit to the verdant Letná Park, which offers views of the city, including seven of Prague’s bridges (one of which is the impressive Charles Bridge). For the culturally minded, you’ll find references to one of the city’s most famous sons, Franz Kafka, across the city, not least in the fascinating museum that bears his name, while there is also jazz aplenty, including at the Jazz Boat on the Vltava and the legendary Reduta Jazz Club. Prague’s beauty is not superficial, its charms run deep.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 37


Czech Republic UK & Europe

Czech Republic

Spa trek There’s more to the Czech Republic than Prague. Mark Smith travels around the traditional spa towns to take in the waters, bathe in beer and enjoy wellness techniques hundreds of years old

T

he Czech Republic has been attracting wellness travellers for centuries and its spa traditions are among the oldest in Europe. The country is renowned for its spa towns which offer a unique take on the spa experience, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the therapeutic powers of the natural mineral water, mud, peat, natural gases and fresh country air. A complete contrast to the spa culture in the UK, the historical buildings and rich history make this a must-visit for anyone who loves to spa. Steeped in tradition, the spas have been treating conditions like digestive, skin and respiratory problems through to cardiovascular and oncological issues since

countryguides.abtamag.com

the 18th century. The spas combine a health and medical approach as standard, and spa facilities can be found in more than 30 locations throughout the country. There are strict standards governing the spas ensuring the very best of wellness therapies to heal, treat, nurture and pamper. It’s a total escape where you can combine the benefits of the natural world with great food, outdoor adventures and a range of sport and fitness activities like hiking and cycling. TRADITIONAL SPA TOWNS The spa towns dotted across the countryside are picture-perfect and the most impressive is the fairy tale-like town of Karlovy Vary. Surrounded by forest and positioned

ABTA Country Guides 2019 39


UK & Europe Czech Republic

overlooking the River Teplá it’s an ideal place to take the waters. There are 15 warm mineral springs that can treat anything from digestive conditions to metabolic disorders, diabetes and gout. Check in to the Hotel Imperial located on a hill above the town where the thermal waters flow directly into this five-star hotel. You are guaranteed a healthy holiday as it has over 50 medical employees, including 24-hour nurses, therapists and masseurs. If you are looking for something a little less medical then head to the Beer Spa in the centre of Karlovy Vary, where you can bathe in wooden tubs, in a mixture of brewer’s yeast, hops, malt and peat extract. All the while helping yourself to unlimited locally brewed beer. It finishes up with time to chill on a bed of straw. Next on your destination list should be Teplice Spa, said to be the oldest spa in central Europe, dating back to the

40 ABTA Country Guides 2019

12th century. Situated between the Ore Mountains and the Central Bohemian Uplands it specialises in treating musculoskeletal ailments. The town of Mariánské Lázně has over 100 mineral springs with cool water that boasts a high content of iron and mineral salt. Ingesting, bathing and inhaling are all essential rituals here with cycleways and walking paths allowing some outdoor adventures among beautiful architecture. Finally, the small town of Luhačovice, set in a peaceful valley features 13 potent, mineral-rich springs which are beneficial for respiratory problems and musculoskeletal issues. So, on your next visit, bypass Prague and head straight to the peaceful surroundings of the Czech countryside. You won’t be disappointed. Beer Spa: pivnilazne-kv.cz Czech Tourism: czechtourism.com

countryguides.abtamag.com ABTAmag.com


MEDICAL L SPA TREE OF LIFE E ����� ����� ��� ���� ��� ���� ������������ ���� ��� ���� �� B������� P������� ���� 110 �� ���� P����� ���������, ������� ���������, ����������� ��� ������������ ��������

Tree of Life, Lázeňská 531 507 81 Lázně Bělohrad Czech Republic

www.treeoflife.cz info@treeoflife.cz +420 493 767 100

41


UK & Europe Denmark

Denmark Denmark has liveable cities with a rich urban cycling culture, modern design, clean harbours for swimming. Here, old and new architecture complement each other. Wide, sandy beaches cover the many miles of coast and visitors can try some of the best cuisine the globe has to offer in the capital and across the country. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Copenhagen Visa requirements: None for British passport holders Time zone: GMT +1 Language: Danish, but Danes generally have a very good level of English Currency: The Danish currency is kroner (Kr./DKK) and øre. Notes are in values of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 DKK. Coins come in one, two, five, ten and 20 DKK, and 50 øre Population: 5.77 million Electricity: Denmark uses two-pin continental plugs and 220 volt (50Hz). Visitors from Ireland and UK will

NORWAY

SWEDEN

need adaptors for electrical appliances Tipping policy: Tipping is uncommon. The minimum wage is quite high and staff are not reliant on tips AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Copenhagen (average flight time: 1h 45m): Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool (launches April 2019), London (all airports), Manchester, Newquay (launches June 2019) Direct flights to Billund (average flight time: 1h 45m): Edinburgh (launches April 2019), London City, London Stansted, Manchester Direct flights to Aarhus (average flight time: 1h 50m): London Gatwick, London Stansted Direct flights to Aalborg: London Stansted TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen 2. Bakken, Copenhagen

42 ABTA Country Guides 2019

Aalborg

DENMARK Copenhagen

POLAND

GERMANY

NETH.

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

60mm

15°C

50mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

30mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

10mm

Denmark is transformed with performers, visitors and music

3. LEGOLAND, Billund 4. Copenhagen Zoo 5. Blue Planet Aquarium, Copenhagen MAJOR EVENTS • Roskilde Festival, Northern Europe’s largest music festival • Food Festival, a 10-day Festival in Aarhus in September, celebrating Nordic produce and innovation • Aalborg Carnival, Northern Europe’s biggest carnival celebration • Copenhagen Pride in August • Skagen Festival, on the first weekend of July. The most northern part of

WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Valid passports; • Residence permits if you live abroad; • Schengen visa if required, or proof of entry and arrival in Denmark; • Certificate of marital status from the place you were born as well as from your present place of residence. Same sex or LGBTQ marriage and weddings are legal and welcome in Denmark.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Denmark UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 43


UK & Europe Denmark

Denmark

Copenhagen By Anthony Pearce

F

or a while you couldn’t move for hygge, the Danish concept of cosiness that has inspired countless stocking-filler books and escorted tours to Denmark. The country took the top spot in the United Nations’ World Happiness Report in 2013, 2014 and 2016, coming a respectable third in the 2015 and 2018 reports, and second in 2017, while its capital, Copenhagen, was named by Monocle magazine as the Most Liveable City in the World in 2013 and 2014, and has made the list every year since – so it’s not hard to see why the Scandinavian country has managed to turn a feel-good abstract idea into such a lucrative export. Even after just few hours in Copenhagen, you can get a sense of why this is such a special, enjoyable city. It’s the sort of place

44 ABTA Country Guides 2019

you can immediately picture yourself living. It’s relatively small and – when compared to other major cities – quiet. It’s full of culture, with museums, cafés and galleries that are great for exploring. The people are friendly, effortlessly cool and the streets are clean – an enchanting place to wander around. The city boasts grand architecture, too, although for a capital city there are relatively few major sites: Nyhavn – the pretty and colourful harbour front – is a must, but any visit there is more about enjoying the city, rather than ticking off a list of attractions. The Little Mermaid is perhaps the best-known tourist site, but if we’re honest it’s not worth the time, unless you’re walking past anyway. Tivoli Gardens, which opened in 1843, is the second-oldest operating amusement park

countryguides.abtamag.com


Denmark UK & Europe

in the world and, while it’s pricey (much like the rest of the city), it’s definitely well worth a visit. The relatively small size of the city, coupled with modern and efficient public transportation, means that everything is within easy reach, making Copenhagen an ideal destination for a weekend break. When the hunger pangs kick in after a day of exploring, the food market on the city’s Paper Island (Papirøen) and the numerous bars and restaurants in its trendy Meatpacking District (found in Vesterbro) are a good place to stop, and great examples of the city’s Scandi cool and excellent food scene. Best known is Noma, a two-Michelin-star restaurant run by chef René Redzepi, which in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 was named the Best

countryguides.abtamag.com

Restaurant in the World by Restaurant magazine. Trying to get a table isn’t exactly easy, nor is affording the pricey but life-affirming reinvention of Nordic cuisine on offer, but Redzepi’s influence on the city’s restaurant scene (and the wider culinary world) is enormous. So large, in fact, there’s even an alumni section on the Noma website: for example, Christian Puglisi, former sous chef at Noma, is now founder and head chef of Restaurant Relae and owner of Manfreds & Vin; while Matt and Julie Bergstrom Orlando, former head chef and waiter at Noma respectively, now run Amass, both in Copenhagen, to name just a few. For those who like their cities to be sophisticated, cool and cultured – but without the crowds – Copenhagen is the place to be.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 45


UK & Europe Estonia

Estonia With a rich cultural mix and Northern European mentality, Estonia offers creativity, innovation and technology alongside captivating history. Small in size, visitors are able to travel from one end of the country to the other in a few hours, swapping the vibrant mainland for one of the country’s many tranquil islands, or trading cobblestoned city streets for hiking trails in towering ancient forests. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Tallinn Visa requirements: None, just a valid passport Time zone: GMT + 2 Language: Estonian, but English is widely spoken Currency: Euro Population: 1.316 million Electricity: Power plugs and sockets are of type F. The standard voltage is 230V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz Tipping policy: Tipping is not mandatory, however 10 per cent of the bill is suggested AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Tallinn (average flight time: 2h 50m): London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton

FINLAND

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Tallinn Christmas Market 2. Telliskivi Creative City 3. Hermann Castle, Narva 4. Estonian National Museum 5. Science Centre AHHAA

Talinn

RUSSIA

ESTONIA Tartu

LATVIA

MAJOR EVENTS • Song and Dance Celebration in July 2019, a massive ethnogathering held only once every five years • Tallinn Marathon in September 2019 • PÖFF – Black Nights Film Festival, one of Northern Europe’s biggest film festivals, held in November • Viljandi Folk Music Festival in July • Jazzkaar, a massive jazz festival held in April

Monthly average temperature & rainfall

BELARUS

LITHUANIA

20°C

60mm

15°C

50mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

30mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

10mm

WEDDINGS Documents needed: Foreigners wishing to marry in Estonia must submit a certificate of legal capacity to contract marriage issued by a competent authority of that person’s country of origin or residence to an Estonian vital statistics office. The certificate must be valid at the moment of contracting the marriage. Find out more at eesti. ee/en/family/marriage/ formalizing-a-marriage/ Same-sex or LGBTQ marriages are not legal.

46 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


Estonia UK & Europe

Estonia

Tallinn By Shilpa Ganatra

S

ituated in a corner of the Baltic Sea, Estonia has endured an eventful history, with periods under Danish, Swedish, Tsarist, German and, most recently, Soviet rule, which only truly ended in 1994, when Russian troops finally left. Since then it has entered the digital age in spectacular fashion, becoming the tech hub of the region. Today its picturesque capital, Tallinn, welcomes visitors in droves, who come to amble through its fairytale medieval Old Town, take in the upmarket Suur-Karja, one of the city’s handsomest streets, and visit the ultra-modern NO99 Straw Theatre. This mix of old and modern, plus value for money and new flight routes, is attracting visitors from the UK in increasing numbers: last year, visitor numbers rose by 23 per cent. The city’s compact size means visitors can pack plenty into a weekend. Its amenability to tourism is to be applauded (the Tallinn Card, which offers free entry to 40 attractions, is a huge convenience), and its centre is a smooth 10-minute drive from the airport. It is even easy to combine Tallinn with a trip to Helsinki, just across the Gulf of Finland. Tallinn’s time in 2011 as the European Capital of Culture boosted its popularity, showcasing the Kumu Art Museum – critically acclaimed for its architecture and exhibitions. By that point Tallinn had already begun to play its part in the tech revolution: Estonians were behind the file-sharing network Kazaa, as well as Skype, and Tallinn has continued to develop as an e-capital at breakneck speed. Successes include its fast, free wi-fi, available everywhere in the city.

countryguides.abtamag.com

Telliskivi Loomelinnak, the city’s creative hub, is where 250 start-ups and creative companies occupy space. It is a buzz of activity, with boutique shops and artisan eateries, and, occasionally, ping-pong games, flea markets and festivals. This dynamic modernity is mirrored elsewhere: there is, for example, a mature craft beer scene, with bars such as Taptap and the gothic Porgu. The joy of Estonia’s capital is that this modernisation is not at the expense of its history. Rather, it is a new shade in the colourful palette that makes up Tallinn. To see the full picture, climb up Toompea hill and admire the view from the Kohtuots viewing platform: not only the Unescoprotected old town, with its 11th-century buildings, but out towards the harbour and the city outskirts. Or dig deeper with a visit to a KGB museum, a forest museum, a seaplane museum or a firefighting museum. Other attractions include restaurants such as Olde Hansa, with a menu based on 15thcentury recipes, and Leib Resto ja Aed, with its secret garden; historical hotels, such as the Three Sisters, a triptych of merchants’ houses from the 14th century; St Olaf’s Church, the tallest building in the world in the 15th and 16th centuries; and Katariina käik, filled with workshops where craft workers use traditional methods to create and sell everything from glassware to hats, jewellery to quilts, and ceramics to hand-painted silk. Tallinn’s ability to look backwards as well as forwards gives it a unique perspective, making it a city of intrigue to visit.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 47


UK & Europe Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands This rugged outcrop of 18 islands, cast adrift in the vast swells of the north Atlantic, is a little-known destination with a lot to offer. Situated halfway between Iceland and Norway and part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the islands’ dramatic scenery is a big draw, featuring rugged cliffs, sea caves and beautiful waterfalls. The friendly Faroese people – outnumbered by sheep – only add to its charm. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Tórshavn Visa requirements: None for British passport holders Time zone: GMT + 0 Language: Faroese. Danish is the official second language and English is spoken by most people

Currency: There are two currencies of equal value: the Faroese króna and the Danish krone. While the Faroese government prints its own bank notes, only Danish coins are used. Danish notes are equally acceptable as Faroese notes Population: 51,237 Electricity: 220V, European two-pin plugs Tipping policy: Service charges are always included in stated prices, so you are not obliged to tip. Tipping for outstanding service is welcome but not expected AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Vágar (average flight time: 1h 25m): Edinburgh Indirect flights: London via Copenhagen (5h 20m)

Sorvagur

Torshavn

FAROE ISLANDS

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 15°C

250mm

10°C

200mm

5°C

150mm

0°C

100mm

-5°C

50mm

-10°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

for trail runners • Summer Festival, a popcentric music festival • Faroe Islands Seafood Festival

1. Mykines for hiking 2. Saksun, a remote hillside village set in a natural amphitheatre above a lagoon 3. Gjógv, an idyllic village surrounded by mountains and home to a charming tea shop 4. Kalsoy, an island known as “the flute” 5. Tjørnuvík, a good spot to sight wildlife MAJOR EVENTS • Ólavsøka, the biggest summer festival here • G! Festival, an annual music festival • Útilív Adventure Festival

48 ABTA Country Guides 2019

J

WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Birth certificates; • Proof of marital status; • Final divorce papers if you are divorced; • Death certificate of your former spouse if you are a widow/widower Anyone is allowed to get married in the Faroe Islands, provided certain conditions are met. Same-sex marriage in the Faroe Islands is legal.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Finland UK & Europe

Finland Majestic Finland has plenty to captivate visitors – sparkling winter landscapes, the supreme Nordic style of Helsinki and, if you’re lucky, the magical Northern Lights. Immerse yourself in Finnish tradition with a sauna and make like a local with a dip in the Baltic Sea afterwards. Later, head to the slopes for snow sports surrounded by natural beauty. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Helsinki Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 2 Language: Finnish and Swedish Currency: Euro Population: 5.5 million Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Service is

always included AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Helsinki (average flight time: 2h 55m): Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester

Oulo NORWAY

FINLAND

SWEDEN

Helsinki

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Suomenlinna, a Unescolisted sea fortress 2. Market Square, Helsinki 3. Levi ski resort 4. Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki 5. Santa Claus Village, Lapland MAJOR EVENTS • Helsinki Sauna Day, March 9 • World Village Festival, May

ESTONIA

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 15°C

100mm

10°C

80mm

5°C

60mm

0°C

40mm

-5°C

20mm

-10°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

• Helsinki Day, June 12 • Flow festival, August • Baltic Circle international festival for contemporary theatre, November WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Certificate of legal eligibility to marry;

countryguides.abtamag.com

RUSSIA

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

• Apostille Certificate; • Certificate of no impediment. Foreign nationals can contact Finnish register offices to arrange a marriage. Same-sex and LGBTQ marriage is legal in Finland.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 49


UK & Europe France

France France ranks first globally for international tourist arrivals, and it’s easy to see why. Potential visitors are seduced by the country’s iconic architecture, thriving cultural scene and romantic cafes and bistros. Here, food is king, from warm breakfast croissants and cheese-filled crusty baguettes to steak frites accompanied by a glass of full-bodied red. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Paris Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: French Currency: Euro Population: 65.4 million Electricity: 220-volt, 50-hertz AC current. France uses a Type E plug Tipping policy: Appreciated but not expected, as a service charge is usually added to your bill AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK (direct/non-direct) Twenty-eight airports in the UK and Ireland have direct routes to 41 French cities. Flight time depends on the final destination: 1h 10m from London to Paris, 1h 30m from London to Lyon/Bordeaux, 2h from London to Marseille/Nice.

UNITED KINGDOM NETHERLANDS

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Disneyland Paris 2. Louvre Museum 3. Palace of Versailles 4. Eiffel Tower 5. Centre Pompidou WEDDINGS Couples wishing to marry must be at least 18 years old and reside in France, or have been a resident for at least one month from the announcement of the banns (the public announcement of an impending marriage). Non-residents who do not have a parent living in France must obtain a special dispensation to get married in the country, but this is very rarely granted. For those who are legally able to marry here, each person must provide the following:

BELGIUM

GERMANY Paris

FRANCE

SWITZERLAND Lyon

ITALY

SPAIN

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

• Proof of identity; • Proof of current or future residence; • Information relevant to the witnesses (such as personal and professional details); • Birth certificate, required within three months if issued in France or within six month if issued abroad; • Should a pre-nuptial agreement have been drawn up, it must be signed by a notary. Same-sex marriage in France is legal.

50 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


4,500 Holiday homes in France Discover the real France; whatever your budget or style, NOVASOL will have a property to match.

Provence

ID: FCV873

Normandy

89

3,2 From £per week

ID: FNC222

novasol.co.uk

99

2,7 From £per week

Loire Valley

ID: FEI017

79

1,3 From £per week


UK & Europe France

France

Lyon By Sam Ballard

L

ocated in the heart of France, at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, Lyon is one of the jewels in Europe’s crown. Renowned for its cuisine, in a country that prides itself on its gastronomy, the city has numerous feathers in its cap, including a charming old town, beautiful cathedral and compelling history. This is quintessential France, but without the Parisian prices. It is also the gateway to some of the best food and wines in the world. Lyon is wine and foodie heaven. The city is the birthplace of renowned chef Paul Bocuse – the genius behind nouvelle cuisine, and his influence can be felt everywhere; not surprising for a man who was given the accolade of Chef of the Century. There are plenty of Michelin-star restaurants in the city – and many that have been awarded multiple stars. Among the most famous are La Mère Brazier and Bocuse’s own L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, a three Michelin-star restaurant that is often simply referred to as Bocuse. Needless to say, making an early booking is recommended.

52 ABTA Country Guides 2019

The city boasts an imposing gothic cathedral, which sits in the middle of the Old Town and took 300 years to build, as well as an equally impressive basilica – the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere – which overlooks the whole city from an imposing perch high on a hill. Despite being only about 150 years old, its white walls make it look like something out of a fairytale. Take the opportunity to head up to the basilica at night for the best views. LOCAL KNOWLEDGE One of the most unique features of Lyon are the traboules – secret passageways that were used by silk tradesman in the fourth century. The corridors allowed workers to move quickly around a city where the maze of streets often do not connect – opening up to small courtyards with winding staircases that lead up to apartments. Locals say that you are not a true Lyonnais until you are able to navigate the 400 or so passageways that slice through the Old Town. The traboules took on a different use during the Second World War, however,

countryguides.abtamag.com


France UK & Europe

However you choose to spend your time in Lyon, a good time is guaranteed when local Resistance fighters would use them for clandestine meetings to thwart the invading Nazi troops. The traboules are widely credited for being the reason why Lyon was never fully occupied – giving them an even more special place in the hearts of locals. ON TWO WHEELS When in Lyon – or most cities in France for that matter – it is clear that the country’s fascination with cycling permeates day-today life. So, our advice to you is to do as the French do and use two wheels to get around. The city has mile upon mile of marked cycle lanes – not to mention a large amount of space on the banks of the river. Sure enough, a tour around the city on bike consistently proves to be among the most popular organised activities available here.

countryguides.abtamag.com

Whether on bike or on foot, the Parc de la Tête d’or is a must. Located on the banks of the river, the manicured grounds and elegant orangeries offer up the very best in 19thcentury French sophistication. There’s even a zoo inside the sprawling 117-hectre site. However you choose to spend your time in Lyon, a good time is guaranteed. The city’s Old Town is walkable – although beware that it is cobbled – and if you want to scale the Fourviere Hill and are worried about mobility, there is a charming funicular that dates back to 1862. Like most things in Lyon it is done with a measure of elegance that the French do so well. For those wishing to take a longer break in the area, Lyon makes a great base for exploring this part of France. Drive a couple of hours north to Beaune and take in the stunning Unesco-listed medieval hospital, or head south through pretty French villages to Avignon and Arles. Lyon’s proximity to the French Riviera and the vineyards of the Rhône valley is also a real bonus – a combination that makes for a holiday you will never forget.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 53


UK & Europe France

The Medieval village of Viviers in the Ardeche region of France is best-known as a river cruise destination. A walled city on the right bank of the Rhône, it’s a few kilometres south of Montelimar and the picturesque villages of Saint-Montan and Alba-la-Romaine – a real snapshot of bucolic, small-town France.

54 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


France UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 55


UK & Europe Georgia

Georgia From its ancient and vibrant capital and Unesco World Heritage Sites to the majestic Caucasus mountain range, Georgia has intrigue and adventure in equal measure. Said to be the birthplace of wine, it is also among the world’s best wine regions. Without doubt, the food and drink here is world-class. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Tbilisi Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 4 Language: Georgian and Abkhaz Currency: Lari Population: 3.7 million Electricity: 220V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Not obligatory. Most restaurants will add a ten per cent service charge to the bill

RUSSIA

Gardens 4. Prometheus Cave Natural Monument 5. Lake Rica

Sokhumi

MAJOR EVENTS • Caucasus Tourism Fair

GEORGIA

• Tbilisoba, celebrating the founding of Georgia, October • New Wine Festival • Tushetoba culture festival • Art-Gene Festival WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Written application stating your intent to marry; • Proof of identity; • Divorce or death certificates of former spouse(s), if applicable. Same-sex or LGBTQ marriage is not legal in Georgia.

Tbilisi AZERBAIJAN ARMENIA

TURKEY

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Tbilisi (average flight time: 4h 45m): London Gatwick Indirect flights to Tbilisi (average flight time: 10h 30m): Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Southampton TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Aerial Tramway, Tbilisi 2. Tbilisi Old Town 3. Batumi Botanical

56

ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


Germany UK & Europe

Germany Germany’s 16 federal states are connected by a world-renowned transport system. The capital, Berlin, is the largest city, followed by Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and Frankfurt. Visitors are spoilt for choice between buzzy, vibrant cities and awe-inspiring natural landscapes, from the Alps in the south to the beautiful northern coastline, and ancient woodlands in-between. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Berlin Visa requirements: None Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: German Currency: Euro Population: 82 million Electricity: Type F power plugs and sockets.

Standard voltage is 230V, standard frequency 50 Hz Tipping policy: Service and VAT are included in the menu price in restaurants and bars, but people typically round up their bill; a rule of thumb is to add between five and ten per cent, generally ending with a full Euro amount  AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Multiple UK airports operate flights to Cologne, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Bremen, Berlin, Dortmund, Baden-Baden, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Hannover and Munich. Typical flight time is 1-2h.

DENMARK

Berlin

UK

POLAND

NETHERLANDS

GERMANY

BELGIUM

CZECH REPUBLIC SLOVAKIA Munich

AUSTRIA

FRANCE

HUNGARY

SWITZERLAND

SLOVENIA

ITALY

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Brandenburg Gate 2. Cologne Cathedral

Did you know? Europa-Park has been voted Best Theme Park Worldwide for five years in a row. Europa-Park boasts the largest hotel resort in Germany, and over 80 per cent of its visitors are repeat customers. Strasbourg, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Basel and Stuttgart airports are all within easy reach of the park.

3. Europa-Park 4. Neuschwanstein Castle 5. Miniatur Wunderland MAJOR EVENTS • Cologne Carnival • Oktoberfest in Bavaria • Christmas Markets • Rhine in Flames • Berlin International Film Festival WEDDINGS Foreign nationals must reside in Germany for 21 days before the date of marriage. Both partners must be present at the Standesamt, a German civil registration office

countryguides.abtamag.com

where any valid marriage must take place, regardless of whether there will also be a religious wedding. The following documents are required: • A birth certificate; • A passport; • Proof of residence of more than three weeks; • If you were married before: proof that all previous marriages were dissolved, for example your late spouse’s death certificate. A divorce decree, however, might not be sufficient. Same-sex marriage in Germany is legal.

ABTA Country Guides 2019

57


blue fire Megacoaster powered by GAZPROM

The Best Theme Park Worldwide ING OPEN 19 20 LATE

• Over 100 attractions and shows • 13 rollercoasters and 5 water attractions • Dreamlike overnight stays

europapark.com


Germany UK & Europe

Germany

Rhine river cruise By Jane Archer

T

he Rhine rises in Switzerland and flows through France, Germany and the Netherlands, where it empties into the North Sea. Most itineraries are one-week sailings from Amsterdam to Basel – and vice-versa – but there are plenty of variations. Some cruises start and end in Cologne, others combine the Rhine with the Moselle or Main Rivers, while two-week sailings on the Rhine, Main, Main-Danube Canal and Danube link Amsterdam and Budapest. Seven-night tulip-themed cruises in the Netherlands and Belgium happen in spring and Christmas markets cruises in November and December. MUST-VISIT DESTINATIONS One of the big attractions is Amsterdam, where a canal cruise and the Rijksmuseum are on the must-do list. If time allows, suggest clients pre-book a slot to visit the Anne Frank House. It is easily done online, but they need to book early as it is very busy. Many itineraries include a night in the city, before sailing to Cologne, a city with a magnificent cathedral, chocolate museum and a beer called Kölsch. The Documentation Centre in a former Gestapo prison records the horrors of Nazi rule. The Rhine Gorge is the most scenic part of the river, passing beneath more than 40 medieval castles and fortresses, as well

countryguides.abtamag.com

as the Lorelei Rock, where legend has it a beautiful maiden threw herself to her death over a faithless lover. Clients will cruise past steep vineyards, see a 450-year-old bible printed by Johannes Gutenberg, the father of the printing press, ride a cable car in Rüdesheim and explore Strasbourg, a fabulous city with canals, halftimbered houses and a grand cathedral with an ancient astronomical clock. Highlights for those pairing the Rhine with the Moselle include the Reichsburg Castle in Cochem, the imposing Porta Nigra (Black Gate) in Trier and the house, also in Trier, where Karl Marx was born 200 years ago. Tulip cruises visit Keukenhof Gardens, where more than seven million flower bulbs bloom each spring. WHO TO TRAVEL WITH Multiple cruise operators run itineraries along the Rhine. They include Amadeus River Cruises, AmaWaterways, APT, Avalon Waterways, Crystal River Cruises, Emerald Waterways, Fred River Cruises, Riviera Travel, Saga, Scenic, Shearings, The River Cruise Line, Tauck, Titan Travel, TravelMarvel by APT, U by Uniworld, Uniworld River Cruises and Viking. The itineraries will appeal most to firsttime river cruisers, city-break clients, wine lovers, keen gardeners, history enthusiasts and art connoisseurs.

ABTA Country Guides 2019

59


UK & Europe Germany

Germany

Cologne

A

t 2,000 years old, Cologne is living history – a city that successfully merges old with new. It therefore follows that the city has a strong museum scene. Fans of contemporary art should make a beeline for Museum Ludwig, where American pop art (Warhol, Lichtenstein), German expressionism (Beckmann, Dix, Kirchner) and the world’s third largest Picasso collection are on show. The Romano-Germanic Museum is a must for archaeology devotees. The museum preserves the foundations of an urban roman villa, including the remains of a large Dionysius mosaic in its original place in the basement. There are 100,000-year-old stone tools used by the earliest arable farmers in the Rhineland and astonishingly well-preserved glass items. Wall paintings, inscriptions and tableware show what daily life was like in Roman Cologne. Learn the history of cocoa production in the Schokoladenmuseum, which tracks the emergence and culture of chocolate and ends with a three-metre-high chocolate fountain. There are a few different vantage points to take in sweeping city views. There’s a cable car on the east bank of the Rhine, which takes you directly to Cologne Zoo. High-rise office tower KolnTriangle has a panoramic platform 100m up that’s easily accessible by lift. A more intrepid climb is the city’s gothic cathedral, with 533 steps in a narrow spiral staircase to get to the top. On a clear day the views stretch all the way to the Siebengebirge hills south of Bonn. The right bank of the Rhine offers plenty of space to roam, and there are plenty of city parks for more outdoor relaxation. The Flora

60

ABTA Country Guides 2019

and Botanical Garden is Cologne’s oldest public park and home to more than 10,000 species of plants. The most exotic are housed in tropical greenhouses and the Palm House. Rheinpark Park is particularly child-friendly, with numerous playgrounds and a children’s train within its boundaries. This park is also the boarding point for the Cologne cable car. The Volksgarten Garden is another top tip for a summer’s day – with an open-air beer garden, a lake complete with pedalo hire and a hidden rose garden where members of the resistance used to meet in the Second World War. For a traditional Cologne experience, visit the city’s Brauhauser or brewery restaurants. Clustered in city streets around the cathedral, city hall and the Rhine Promenade, the Brauhausers originated when breweries began to sell their beer to the public in vestibules and courtyards. The makeshift pubs developed into restaurants that have never lost their rustic charm. The oldest of these was the Bauhaus Sion on Unter Taschenmacher, which opened in 1511. Alongside the hearty fare served in these brewpubs, Cologne has a varied culinary offering. A regular street food festival in the artsy Ehrenfeld District offers the chance to try delicacies including wild garlic sausage from the neighbouring Eiffel region, Eiffel beef steak burgers, battered Oreo cookies and Cologne-brewed ginger ale. For shopping, visit at Christmas when there are at least seven markets to explore. As well as the traditional ice rinks and live music, Cologne – Germany’s self-proclaimed gay capital – holds a gay and lesbian market, with pink and purple chalets and burlesque dancing.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Germany UK & Europe

One of Munich’s greatest assets is the sheer number of the green spaces: the Englischer Garten is one of the world’s largest urban parks, replete with an enormous beer garden.

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

61


UK & Europe Gibraltar

Gibraltar Fondly known as “The Rock”, Gibraltar is a melting pot of English, Spanish and North African cultures. Enjoy fish and chips in sunny climes; get up close with the Barbary macaques, the only wild monkey population in Europe; and marvel at the landscape – a towering 5km stretch of limestone cliff. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Gibraltar Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: English and Spanish Currency: Pound sterling Population: 34,571 Electricity: 240V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Comparable to the UK AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Gibraltar (average flight time: 2h 45m):

SPAIN

Birmingham, Bristol, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, Manchester

GIBRALTAR Rock of Gibraltar

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Rock of Gibraltar 2. 3. 4. 5.

Saint Michael’s Cave Moorish Castle Gibraltar Nature Reserve Gibraltar Cable Car

MAJOR EVENTS • Three Kings Cavalcade • Gibraltar International Boat Show • Gibraltar Song Festival • National Day, September 10 • Polar Bear Swim WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passports; • Birth certificates; • Divorce certificate, if applicable; • Marriage certificate and death certificate of former spouse(s), if applicable;

62 ABTA Country Guides 2019

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 30°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

0°C

40mm

-10°C

20mm

-20°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

• Proof that you are free to marry; • Evidence that you are staying in Gibraltar at least one night immediately prior to or following the ceremony. A hotel bill or booking

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

form is acceptable. There are no residency restrictions and couple can marry within 48 hours under a special licence. Same-sex and LGBTQ marriage is legal in Gibraltar.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Greece UK & Europe

Greece

SERBIA BULGARIA MONT. KOSOVO

Greece is history and modernity combined. Stroll among ancient ruins, swim in the Aegean Sea, island-hop between white-sand outcrops, spot dolphins and sea turtles, and sample the local flavours in rustic tavernas – chase crumbling feta and honeyed baklava with a shot of ouzo – where you will hear the melodic refrains of Greek music. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Athens Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 2 Language: language Currency: Greek Population: 10.77 million Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Customary, but not obligatory. Some restaurants may include a service charge and it is polite to round up the fare for taxi rides AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Athens (average flight time: 3h 40m): Edinburgh,

London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester Direct flights are also available to: Argostoli, Corfu, Crete, Kalamata, Kavala, Kos, Mykonos, Mytilene, Samos, Thessaloniki, Volos, Zante

MACEDONIA Thessaloniki

ALBANIA

TURKEY

Aegean Sea

ITALY

GREECE Athens

Ionian Sea

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Acropolis, Athens Parthenon, Athens Elafonisi island Palaiokastritsa, Corfu Mount Olympus

MAJOR EVENTS • Tangolovers Festival, Athens, January • Art-Athina • Athens Epidaurus Festival, June-August • International Comics Festival, April • Rockwave Festival, July

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 30°C

100mm

25°C

80mm

20°C

60mm

15°C

40mm

10°C

20mm

5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passports; • Birth certificates; • Divorce certificate, if applicable; • Death certificate of former spouse(s), if applicable. Same-sex or LGBTQ marriage is not legal here.

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 63


UK & Europe Greece

Home to one of the largest and most important group of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in the country, Meteora is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Perched upon jutting rocks, these incredible buildings combine history with geographical wonder, resulting in one of Greece’s most spectacular sights. Meterora itself means ‘hovering in the air’, and the region is home to the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron.

64 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


Greece UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 65


UK & Europe Greece

Paxos, the smallest island group within the Ionian Islands, is only accessible by boat from Corfu, making it quieter than some of the Greek islands. While it’s also pricier than some, it’s easily one of the most beautiful, as is nearby Antipaxos, famous for its wine and two of the best sand beaches in the Ionian Sea.

66 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


In September 2018, Waterfront, the publisher of ABTA Magazine and Cruise Adviser, launched a new creative agency. The Studio by Waterfront specialises in design solutions across print, web and social media. The Studio offers a tailored approach for all clients, with copywriting, proofreading and design elements available, in the following areas:

PRINT Catalogues, brochures, leaflets, exhibition stand designs and magazines

DIGITAL Website design, social media campaigns, digital and native advertising

ADVERTISING Billboards, newspaper and magazine creative advertising and advertorials

BRANDING Logos, brand identity, promotional videos, proofreading and copy writing

For more information, email info@waterfront-publishing.com


UK & Europe Guernsey

Guernsey This enchanting channel island has cast off its image as a quiet backwater and is playing to its strengths: beautiful beaches, sites of historic interest and a growing programme of adventure activities – from coasteering to rock climbing. The small capital of St Peter Port is great for exploring on foot. KEY INFORMATION Capital: St Peter Port Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT Language: English and French Currency: Pound sterling Population: 63,026 Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Optional; tip around ten per cent for good service AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Guernsey (average flight time:

68

Alderney

1h 10m): Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Exeter, Leeds Bradford, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester, Southampton Indirect flights to Guernsey (average flight time: 3h 05m): Aberdeen, Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Newcastle

GUERNSEY St. Peter Port

JERSEY

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. 2. 3. 4.

Castle Cornet Fort Grey Sausmarez Manor La Vallette Underground Military Museum 5. Petit Bot Bay

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

MAJOR EVENTS • Tennerfest food event, October 1 to November 11 • HistoryFest, April 11-12 • Chimera photographic exhibition, March 22 to May 19 • Living History live

ABTA Country Guides 2019

J

F

M

A

M

J

performances, April 19 to May 10

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

• Guernsey Heritage Festival

residency period in the island immediately prior to the day on which you give Notice of Marriage.

WEDDINGS Non-residents of Guernsey must complete a seven-day

Same-sex and LGBTQ marriage is legal in Guernsey.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Hungary UK & Europe

Hungary Hungary sits at the crossroads of old and new Europe. Its capital, Budapest, is a showcase of Art Nouveau architecture alongside steaming Turkish baths, while its wine-growing regions and summer party resorts offer plenty to enjoy beyond the city. Beautiful national parks complete Hungary’s irresistible offering. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Budapest Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Hungarian Currency: Forint Population: 9.78 million Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Ten per cent of the bill is common in restaurants, bars and taxis AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Budapest (average flight time: 2h 25m): Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh,

POLAND Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester, Nottingham

CZECH REPUBLIC

UKRAINE SLOVAKIA Debrecen

Budapest

AUSTRIA

HUNGARY ROMANIA

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Buda Castle 2. Széchenyi ITALY Thermal Bath 3. Széchenyi Chain Bridge 4. Margaret Island 5. Hortobágyi National Park MAJOR EVENTS • Budapest Spring Festival, April 5-22 • Danube Carnival, June • Formula 1 Grand Prix, July 26-28 • Sziget Festival, August 7-13 • Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passports; • Birth certificates; • Proof of address; • Certificate of No Impediment; • Divorce certificate, if

countryguides.abtamag.com

SLOVENIA

CROATIA

SERBIA

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

applicable; • Death certificate of former spouse(s), if applicable. Non-Hungarian birth certificates and Certificate of No Impediment must be translated by the Hungarian

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

Office for Translation and Attestation Ltd (OFFI in Hungarian). Same-sex or LGBTQ marriage is not legal in Hungary, but same-sex couples can be registered in a civil partnership.

ABTA Country Guides 2019

69


Visit the historical Grand Hotel in the heart of Budapest

CORINTHIA HOTEL BUDAPEST | ERZSÉBET KÖRÚT 43-49, 1073 BUDAPEST, HUNGARY +36 1 479 4000 | BUDAPEST@CORINTHIA.COM | CORINTHIA.COM/BUDAPEST

ABTAMagazine-DountryGuides_1700x1225_20190214.indd 1

2019. 02. 14. 11:25:18


Hungary UK & Europe

Hungary

Budapest city guide By Emily Eastman

H

istorically separate, Buda (on the western bank of the Danube) and Pest today collide in a thriving metropolis. The city is ripe with history. Buda Castle and the baroque palace are best visited via the Buda Castle Funicular, located on the western side of the iconic Széchenyi Chain Bridge, while more recent history is recalled at the Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial and House of Terror museum. The impressive expanse of Heroes’ Square commemorates significant Hungarian figures and is the gateway to City Park, home to the fairytale-like Vajdahunyad Castle. In winter, the sprawling park hosts Europe’s largest open-air ice rink. In summer, rent a pedalo and take a leisurely turn about the lake. Rich in art, literature, music and architectural delights, Budapest is heaven for aesthetes, from the Petőfi Museum of Literature to the Gothic-style Parliament building and the Museum of Ethnography. No trip to Budapest would be complete without a trip to the city’s thermal baths. Gellért is one of the best, boasting beautifully ornate indoor and outdoor thermal pools and offering traditional Hungarian treatments.

countryguides.abtamag.com

Opposite the entrance to the baths is Gellért Hill, a steep trail leading up to the Citadella that rewards exertion with spectacular vistas of the cityscape. Refuel at Apricot Coffee, widely reviewed as the best coffee in Budapest, and grab tasty langos (deep-fried dough with various toppings) at Retró Lángos Büfé. For more sustenance, book a table at Budapest Bistro to sample their goulash. Local delicacies can be snapped up at Szimpla Sunday Farmers’ Market, Rákóczi Market Hall (good for Hungarian dried meats and cheese) and Central Market, which is housed in a neo-Gothic structure near the Danube and is the place to purchase both souvenirs and local wares. Synonymous with nightlife are the city’s ruin bars – iconic drinking holes in quirky settings that get their name from the once-crumbling, abandoned buildings they inhabit. Here, you’ll find a bohemian crowd and all the makings of a good night out. When sightseeing and partying get the better of you, find sanctuary on Margaret Island, a sedate river oasis where you can hire bicycles and enjoy the peacefulness of the Japanese Garden.

ABTA Country Guides 2019

71


UK & Europe Iceland

Iceland Iceland is divided into a number of geographical regions, each differing slightly in its culture and landscape but all truly Icelandic. Its regions have a host of diverse experiences, from puffins in the east, the black beaches of the south and the Museum of Nonsense in the Westfjords to whale watching in the north. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Reykjavik Visa requirements: None Time zone: GMT Language: Icelandic Currency: Icelandic króna Population: 348,000 Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Tipping is not expected AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Reykjavik (average flight time: 3h 15m): Edinburgh, Glasgow, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted Manchester Flights also operate to: Akureyri, Hofn, Vik-IMyrdal

2. 3. 4. 5.

Golden Circle Tour Gullfoss Waterfalls Jokulsarlon Lagoon Diamond Beach

Greenland Sea

Denmark Strait

Akureyri

MAJOR EVENTS • Borrablót, a midwinter festival

ICELAND

Norwegian Sea

Reykjavik

• The Reykjavik Art Festival • Summer Solstice • The Food and Fun Festival • Reykjavík Pride WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passports; • Marriage notification; • Birth certificates; • Certificate of marital status, issued within eight weeks of the wedding date; • Divorce decree, if applicable; • If either party is widowed, a document detailing that the estate of the deceased has

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

been divided/finalised. Iceland makes it really easy for foreigners to get married in the country. All documents that are sent in will need to be original, and only need to have an

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

accompanying translation if they are not in English or any of the Scandinavian languages. Same-sex and LGBTQ marriage is legal in Iceland.

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa

72

ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


DriveAway

Book DriveAway Florida Car Hire Explore Iceland infor a Motorhome from DriveAway

Book Smart, Book DriveAway Book Smart, Book DriveAway

To sign up to the program email: UKsales@drive-away.com or visit hhps://partners.drive-away.com/dah/signup.cfm


UK & Europe Iceland

The number of tourists visiting Iceland has quadrupled in recent years, which is no surprise given its many natural wonders and the chance to see the northern lights, but as an urban centre, Reykjavik offers much, too: the amazing concrete Hallgrimskirkja church with its rotating Perlan glass dome, incredible art and an innovative dining scene.

74

ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


THE PLACE TO STAY DURING YOUR ICELANDIC ADVENTURE

Welcome to Iceland! We invite you to share with us all the best of what our country has to offer. Our 11 hotels are placed in key locations around Iceland • • • •

The Capital Reykjavík Town of Akureyri Vík in Mýrdalur Lake Mývatn

Every hotel has its own atmosphere and touch offering a unique experience. We strive to provide our guests with professional service, welcoming each guest with hospitality and friendliness.

AKUREYRI LAKE MÝVATN

REYKJAVÍK VÍK

For reservations and group inquiries please contact: keahotels@keahotels.is Keahotels - Skipagata 16 - 600 Akureyri - Iceland - Tel: (+354) 460 2050 - keahotels@keahotels.is

www.keahotels.com


UK & Europe Ireland

Ireland The island of Ireland has everything a holidaymaker could wish for – rugged countryside, lively city destinations, wild coastline, mountains, lakes, fascinating history, iconic attractions, breathtaking scenery and the acclaimed warm welcome of the Irish people. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Dublin Visa requirements: None Time zone: GMT Language: English and Irish in select rural areas Currency: Euro Population: 4.8 million Electricity: 230V, G plug Tipping policy: Tipping is appreciated but not expected; aim for around ten per cent of the bill. AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Dublin (average flight time: 1h 10m): Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol,

76

SCOTLAND

Cardiff, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Leeds, Liverpool, London (all airports), Manchester, Newcastle, Newquay, Nottingham, Southampton. Direct flights also operate to Belfast City, Belfast International, Cork, Derry, Donegal, Knock, Kerry, Shannon, and Waterford. Typical flight time is 1h 10m. TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Guinness Storehouse, Dublin 2. Cliff of Moher, County Clare 3. Temple Bar, Dublin 4. Ring of Kerry 5. Dingle Peninsula, Kerry MAJOR EVENTS • Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in June • Cork Jazz Festival • Dublin Writers’ Week • Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann music festival

ABTA Country Guides 2019

UNITED KINGDOM

NORTHERN IRELAND

IRELAND Dublin Cork

ENGLAND

WALES

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

WEDDINGS Partners wishing to marry must be at least 18 years old and not currently married. Documents needed: • Three-month notification to registrar; • Passports for both partners;

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

• Divorce decrees, civil partnership dissolutions or death certs of previous spouse/civil partner if applicable; • Personal Public Service (PPS) no, if applicable. Same-sex marriage in Ireland is legal.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Ireland UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

77


UK & Europe Ireland

Ireland

Cork city guide By Nicola Brady

I

reland’s second city is a dream to explore, with quaint, walkable streets, cosy restaurants and endlessly chatty locals. It’s also made its mark on the food scene, with all three of the newest Michelin stars in Ireland being awarded to restaurants in County Cork. Which means the English Market (englishmarket.ie) is a great place to start your Corkonian journey. One of the oldest of its kind, the roofed food market has been on the go since 1788. Pick up some fresh bread and local cured meats for a picnic if the weather is on your side, or head upstairs for lunch at the Farmgate Cafe (farmgate.ie). If you fancy a bit of retail therapy, nip next door to Market Parade, where you’ll find a wealth of independent boutiques such as the excellent Miss Daisy Blue Vintage. To get your bearings in the city, climb the tower at St Anne’s Church (shandonbells.

78

ABTA Country Guides 2019

ie) for the amazing panoramic views – you can even ring the Shandon Bells on the first floor. Cork is a great city for the arts, too, with the fabulous Lewis Glucksman Gallery (glucksman.org) and Crawford Art Gallery (crawfordartgallery.ie) both within easy reach. When it comes to dinner, you’re spoilt for choice. The Japanese hautecuisine restaurant Ichigo Ichie (ichigoichie. ie) is a Michelin-starred dream, and Cornstore (cornstore.ie) is the perfect choice for hearty Irish comfort food. The SpitJack (thespitjack.com) serves up incredible rotisserie dishes in a slick bistro setting. And of course, there is no shortage of cosy pubs for a nightcap. Head to the source and sample a few beers at the Franciscan Well Brewery and Brewpub (franciscanwellbrewery.com) or sink a pint of Murphy’s stout at The Oval.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Isle of Man UK & Europe

Isle of Man Incredible landscapes, vast stretches of deserted beaches, scenic trails – the Isle of Man is a special place. Designated by Unesco as a biosphere reserve, it is also one of Britain’s best spots to enjoy the natural world, alongside a rich history, internationally acclaimed locally made produce and a world of adventure on your doorstep.

Population: 83,000 Electricity: 240V and 50Hz, plug Type G Tipping policy: Not expected. Some hotels and restaurants add a service charge to the bill. In most cases, an additional tip is unnecessary AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Isle of Man (average flight time: 1h): Belfast International, Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London City, London Gatwick, London Luton, Manchester

Derry

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Manx National Heritage Sites 2. Heritage Railways 3. Wildlife Park 4. Milntown Estate 5. Isle of Man Motor Museum

ENGLAND

Douglas

ISLE OF MAN WALES

IRELAND

KEY INFORMATION Capital: Douglas Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT Language: English Currency: The Manx Pound, in parity with the pound sterling. It has the same denominations as the UK and UK pound sterling is legal tender in the Isle of Man, but Manx currency is not accepted in the UK

SCOTLAND

NORTHERN IRELAND

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

MAJOR EVENTS • Isle of Man TT Races • The End-to-End Mountain Bike Challenge

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

• The World Tin Bath Championship    • The Parish Walk • The Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling WEDDINGS Legal requirements: • You must give notice of your intention to marry or register a civil partnership by signing a legal statement in the presence of a Registrar; • This must occur within a year of your wedding date. Same-sex and LGBTQ weddings are legal here.

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

79


UK & Europe Italy

Italy

GERMANY AUSTRIA HUNGARY

SWITZERLAND SLOVENIA

Italy’s world-famed architecture, art, history and gastronomy has long secured its ranking as a favourite among tourists. Visitors flock to enjoy its cultural riches – Italy has more Unesco World Heritage Sites than any other country on earth – chill out in spectacular landscapes, and gorge on pizza, pasta and gelato. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Rome Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Italian Currency: Euro Population: 60.59 million Electricity: 220V and 50Hz

Tipping policy: Appreciated but not expected. Many restaurants will add a service or cover charge to the bill AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Multiple UK airports operate flights to Ancona, Bari, Bologna, Brinisa, Cagliari, Catania, Florence, Genoa, Lamezia Terme, Milan, Naples, Olbia, Palermo, Pescara, Pisa, Reggio Calabria, Rome, Trapani Birgi, Trieste, Turin, Venice, Verona. Typical flight time is 2h 30m. TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Colosseum, Rome 2. Sistine Chapel, Rome

Milan

Ligurian Sea

ITALY

KOSOVO

Adriatic Sea

MONTENEGRO

Rome

Corsica

ALBANIA

Sardinia Tyrrhenian Sea

Mediterranean Sea

Ionian Sea

Sicily

TUNISIA

ALGERIA

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

MAJOR EVENTS • Carnevale, Venice, February 16 to March 2 • Cultural Heritage Week, April/May • Verona Opera season, June-August • Florence’s annual outdoor cinema season, June-September • Club to Club, Turin music festival, October/ November WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Nulla Osta, a legal

ABTA Country Guides 2019

SERBIA

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

FRANCE

3. Leaning Tower of Pisa 4. Amalfi Coast 5. Lake Garda

80

CROATIA

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

certificate stating freedom to marry; • Passports; • Birth certificates; • Decree Absolute, if applicable; • Death certificate of former spouse(s) and marriage certificate, if applicable. There is no legal residency requirement, but bylaws vary and some municipalities may require registration two to three days before the wedding. Same-sex or LGBTQ marriage is not legal here, but Italy recognises samesex civil unions.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Italy UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

81


UK & Europe Italy

Italy

Emilia-Romagna By Barbara Noe Kennedy

I

f Emilia-Romagna weren’t just one of many remarkable regions in Italy, each more stunning than the next for its art, Roman ruins, surprising wines and cypress-dotted landscapes, this enchanting realm just north of Tuscany would be better known. But it’s not, making it that much more endearing for its under-the-radar villages, ancient castles, Apennine-shadowed landscape and, most of all, its contributions to the Italian gastronomic repertoire. Emilia-Romagna is the birthplace, after all, of tortellini, lasagna, prosciutto di Palma, balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and the ever-popular a spaghetti bolognese (known as tagliatelle ragù here). Terracotta-hued Bologna, the region’s capital, is a panoply of medieval towers and Renaissance palaces. Europe’s oldest university, the University of Bologna, began here in 1088, counting Dante, Petrarch and Copernicus among its illustrious alumni. Its students today give the city a young, energetic vibe. Among the capital’s coveted stash of sights are Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, with works by Raphael and Tintoretto; the Basilica di Santo Stefano, comprising seven interlocking churches built over a thousand years; and Museo della Storia di Bologna, spanning the city’s 2,500-year history. Above all, Bologna is a gourmand’s paradise, with a fantastic array of restaurants plus Mercato delle Erbe, a buzzing city-centre marketplace dating back to 1919. There’s also Fico Eataly World, a food park extravaganza that opened in November 2017 on the outskirts of the city. Be sure to come hungry.

82

ABTA Country Guides 2019

From here, a string of alluring towns – each former Roman strongholds and each offering its own take on cuisine, history and culture – dot a portion of the ancient Roman road Via Emilia (SS9 on modern maps), heading northwest along the Po Valley. There’s Modena, the incomparable birthplace of balsamic vinegar and home to the brilliant Osteria Francescana. You also need to taste the regional Lambrusco wines at Medici Ermete and Albinea Canali wineries. Elegant Parma, farther northwest, is beloved for its chi-chi designer shops and its venerated theatre (Verdi was a native son of Parma province, if that gives any hint to the calibre). Don’t miss Correggio’s Assumption of the Virgin at the Duomo, considered one of the High Renaissance’s greatest paintings. Near Piacenza, Luretta winery offers tantalising vintages of organic wines that have been aged in a 1,000-year-old castle. The region also offers revitalising spas, Byzantine mosaics, the world’s most deified sports cars, and white-sand beaches overlooking the dazzling Adriatic. Hire a car – or bike – and ramble down Emilia-Romagna’s cypress-shaded lanes, taking in the rosemarysage-scented countryside. As the sun shines, the larks sing, and another Lambrusco-graced meal awaits in the next terracotta hamlet, you know you have discovered an intimate, uncrowded (and less expensive) side of Italy. Where are all the visitors, you ask? They’re exploring Italy’s so-called darlings, leaving Emilia-Romagna all to you. For now, anyway, until the word gets out.

countryguides.abtamag.com


FAMILY HOLIDAYS AT LAKE GARDA AT GARDALAND, ITALY’S NO. 1 AMUSEMENT RESORT

SPECIAL PACKAGE 4*Hotel BB + Park and Aquarium + free admission the day after

up to 30% discount CLASSIC ROOM

ENCHANTED FOREST THEMED ROOM

for bookings through www.gardaland.it

MAGIC ICE CASTLE THEMED ROOM

www.gardaland.it

JUNGLE ADVENTURE THEMED ROOM

WIZARD’S HOUSE THEMED ROOM


UK & Europe Italy

Italy

Matera By Christine Smallwood

H

owever much you read about Matera in southern Italy, you cannot help but be struck by the otherworldliness of the sassi – ancient stone dwellings in the hillside. Matera, in the region of Basilicata, is said to have been inhabited since prehistoric times, and the sassi (stones) were homes to thousands of people up until the 1950s. The city came to international attention in 2004 when the Mel Gibson film The Passion Of The Christ was shot there, but before Hollywood arrived, Carlo Levi wrote of the city in his book, Christ Stopped At Eboli. Published in 1945, it included a devastating description of the squalor in Matera. The city was subsequently known as “vergogne nazionale”, or “Italy’s shame”. That embarrassment eventually resulted in a clear out of the primitive, cramped homes in the sassi, where families lived without heating, running water or sanitation. It’s hard to imagine today, especially because so many of the caves have been transformed into swanky tourist accommodation. A few moments spent in a reconstructed dwelling gives a brief glimpse into the past and helps visitors to appreciate how different life was just a few decades ago. Of course, it’s not just the individual caves that have changed. Matera has benefitted both from being declared a Unesco World Heritage Site (in 1993) and from the surge of interest in the neighbouring region of Puglia. Flying into Bari and then driving west across the Murgia to the ravine on which the city sits is the most popular route from the UK. Once there, comfortably shod feet are the best transport.

84

ABTA Country Guides 2019

This year, Matera is European Capital of Culture, and visitor numbers are expected to rise as a result. For 48 weeks, 117 artists and curators will be involved in an extensive programme of events including collaborative initiatives with Plovdiv in Bulgaria, which shares the European Capital of Culture title. There promises to be something for everyone including, for the first time, a community opera, performed in the sassi. Although the sassi are undoubtedly the reason why most visitors make the journey to Matera, the newer city has its merits and it is worth dedicating some time to wander around. There are an ever-increasing number of stylish bars and restaurants, and plenty of opportunities for exploring, from learning about the churches to admiring the piazzas. There’s also the enjoyment of the regular day-to-day of the city, including a lively pre-dinner passeggiata and, often, the unparalleled cityscape is enhanced by the light of a spectacular sunset. Keep an eye out for goods made from terracotta and papiermâché, which are enduringly popular and sometimes sold directly by the artisans. The gastronomic specialities are far too numerous to mention here, but include the local bread (pane di Matera IGP), as well as arguably the region’s most famous food product, lucanica, a spiced sausage. Or, sit and take in the views with a glass of the acclaimed local wine, Aglianico del Vulture. Matera could soon be nearing the top of people’s bucket lists: the visual excitement of first seeing the idiosyncratic sassi stays with travellers forever.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Italy UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

85


UK & Europe Italy

Italy

Gastronomic tour By Christine Smallwood

I

taly and food. The two go together like prosciutto and melon, or pasta and comfort. The country has long been a gastronomic destination with so much excellence to taste in every region. So if you’re planning a trip, here are some foods and wines that may not be on your must-eat list, but should be. Let’s start in northern Lombardy, a region whose food is often underrated and very unjustly so. For an aperitivo, a Campari is Milan’s decompression drink of choice or, a glass of Franciacorta, Italy’s best sparkling wine. A visit to the Berlucchi winery in

86

ABTA Country Guides 2019

Borgonato, where this impressive fizz was born, is a great way to find out more. The region loves polenta, perhaps with ossobuco, but filled pastas are notable too: casoncelli from Brescia, or marubini from Cremona. Cheese lovers are spoilt for choice here, with Gorgonzola, Taleggio and Storico Ribelle which is frequently matured for up to a decade. Pair the latter with standout red wines from the Valtellina made with Chiavennasca, aka mountain Nebbiolo. A match made in heaven. Next door in the Veneto, Venice is understandably popular, albeit with a

countryguides.abtamag.com


Italy UK & Europe

reputation for overpriced tourist menus so steer clear of those and sit in a bar eating small plates of cicchetti – bar snacks – and drinking spritz or a small glass of wine (an ombra in local slang). Of course the region is also home to Prosecco, so you have the ideal opportunity to enjoy those bubbles in situ. If still white wines are more your thing, the neighbouring region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and areas such as Collio produce some acclaimed ones. While there don’t miss the deliciously addictive frico, made from local Montasio cheese, and nutty, fruity gubana cakes. The region is also home to San Daniele ham, and yes, the battle of its supremacy

countryguides.abtamag.com

versus that of Parma continues with as much arm waving as ever. And then there’s Umbria, one of my favourite regions. Visit Norcia for renowned pork produce (it’s the home of Italy’s best butchers, hence the sign of ‘Norcineria’ on their shops around the country). Roasted porchetta is reliable street food, and if you’re in Piazza del Mercato in Spoleto, the van selling it there is recommended. First-rate lentils from Castelluccio, and the wines, well just ask for a glass of deep red Sagrantino from Arnaldo Caprai in the beautiful town of Montefalco and all will be well. Down south, Puglia, the heel of the boot,

ABTA Country Guides 2019

87


UK & Europe Italy

is known as “l’orto d’Italia” the vegetable garden of Italy. Dishes such as fava bean purée (’ncapriata) and pasta with chickpeas (ciceri e tria – which brilliantly contains both boiled and fried pasta), will keep those who don’t eat meat happy, or, from the charming town of Martina Franca comes capocollo, a regional pork salumi speciality. If you’re happy to risk eating raw fish, pesce crudo is a speciality from the capital of Bari, perhaps with a light white wine from Locorotondo, or a very good rosé. Full-bodied reds from the Salento can intrigue the most demanding oenophiles while burrata fans should order a whole one a mere few hours old in the city of Andria, with excellent bread from nearby Altamura.

88

ABTA Country Guides 2019

It wouldn’t be fair to talk about Italian food without mentioning Sicily, where it’s normal to enjoy a gelato-filled brioche for breakfast, and clearly there are worse ways to start the day. Pasta with pesto all Trapanese includes the island’s creamy almonds, and given that sweet things are so popular here, we’ll end our tour with a visit to revered pastry chef Maria Grammatico, in the gorgeous town of Erice, for cannoli and cassata. Heartbreakingly we haven’t had time for pizza in Naples, pasta cacio e pepe in Rome, or spicy ’nduja in Calabria, and so, so many other delights. No matter. That gives us the perfect excuse to return to one of the world’s most alluring food countries.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Italy UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

89


UK & Europe Jersey

Jersey Jersey is an island shaped by the sea, where astonishing tides circle the coast and feed the land. Small in size, but big in personality; here, country lanes open to clifftop views and the sea is never more than ten minutes away. Jersey is an island of rediscovery, packed with activities to experience and explore. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Saint Helier Visa requirements: None Time zone: GMT Language: English Currency: Jersey pound, although the UK pound can also be used here Population: 105,500 Electricity: Same as UK Tipping policy: Appreciated but not expected

GUERNSEY AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Jersey (average flight time: 1h 10m): Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster, Dublin, Durham Tees Valley, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Humberside, Inverness, Leeds, Liverpool, London City, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Southend, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Southampton

GUERNSEY St. Peter Port

Plemont

JERSEY JERSEY

St. Helier

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS

15°C

60mm

1. 2. 3. 4.

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

Jersey War Tunnels Guided Bus Tours Jersey Zoo Elizabeth Castle, Saint Helier 5. Mont Orgueil Castle

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

MAJOR EVENTS • Super League Triathlon • The Weekender, a summer music festival • Battle of Flowers, an annual carnival • Jersey Boat Show • Jersey International Air Display WEDDINGS British couples can marry in Jersey. Many of the island’s hotels, castles and heritage sites are licensed for weddings and civil ceremonies, and outdoor marriages are also approved. The following documents are needed:

90

ABTA Country Guides 2019

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

• Birth certificate or adoption certificate; • Passport; • Utility bill in both names that is less than three months old; • All decree absolutes, if applicable; • Death certificates of any former spouse(s), if applicable; • Deed poll, if applicable. At least eight weeks before the wedding both partners need to sign the Freedom to Marry Declaration and complete a Notice of Intended Marriage Form. Same-sex marriage is legal in Jersey.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Latvia UK & Europe

Latvia This is a Baltic country that does nature exceptionally well. With just one major urban hub – the effortlessly cool capital city of Riga – much of Latvia is given over to pristine nature. Use the capital as a launchpad to explore ancient woodland, pristine lakes and white-sand beaches. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Riga Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 2 Language: Latvian Currency: Euro Population: 1.95 million Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Appreciated but not

ESTONIA RUSSIA

expected. Leave around ten per cent for good service AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Riga (average flight time: 2h 45m): Aberdeen, Doncaster, East Midlands, Glasgow, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester

LATVIA

Riga

Daugavpils

LITHUANIA BELARUS RUSSIA

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Rundāle Palace Riga Central Market Gauja National Park Turaida Castle The Ethnographic OpenAir Museum of Latvia

MAJOR EVENTS • Opening of Cēsis Castle

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

Medieval Season, May 5 • Riga Restaurant Week, April 22-28 and Oct 7-13 • Riga Opera Festival, June 5-16 • Positivus Festival, July 26-27 • Riga City Festival, August 16-18 WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Signed application form; • Passports; • Divorce certificate, if applicable; • Death certificate of former spouse(s), if applicable. Same-sex or LGBTQ marriage is not legal here.

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

91


UK & Europe Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein For one of Europe’s smallest countries, Liechtenstein packs a big punch. Situated deep in the Alps, it is a nature-lover’s paradise: numerous hiking trails and ski slopes, plus swathes of forest wilderness. Fascination surrounds the monarchy, which has ruled since 1719. The royal family lives in a castle on a hill – the stuff of real fairy tales. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Vaduz Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: German Currency: Swiss franc

Population: 37,810 Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Appreciated but not expected. Tip five to ten per cent for good service

Mauren

AUSTRIA

Vaduz SWITZERLAND

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Liechtenstein does not have an international airport. The nearest major airport is Zurich Airport in Switzerland. From here, visitors can take a rail service to Buchs or Sargans and then catch a postal bus or train to Liechtenstein. TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS

LIECHTENSTEIN

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

150mm

15°C

120mm

10°C

90mm

5°C

60mm

0°C

30mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

1. Vaduz Castle 2. Gutenberg Castle 3. Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein 4. Fürstensteig hike 5. Vaduz Cathedral MAJOR EVENTS 1. World Cryptonomic

92

J

ABTA Country Guides 2019

Forum 2. Carnival procession in Malbun 3. Vaduz LGT Alpine Marathon 4. FL1.LIFE Festival 5. The Princely Liechtenstein Tattoo

countryguides.abtamag.com


Lithuania UK & Europe

Lithuania Situated on the coastline in the southernmost region of the Baltic States, Lithuania boasts beautiful landscapes, quaint cities and a fascinating culture. Its natural landscapes include white-sand beaches, national parks and more than 3,000 lakes, while historical sites – including the medieval capital city of Vilnius – remain a source of international interest. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Vilnius Visa requirements: None for British passport holders Time zone: GMT + 2 Language: Lithuanian, but 95 per cent of the population speaks at least one foreign language, English being the first foreign language for many Currency: Euro Population: 2.9 million Electricity: Standard voltage is 220-240 V, plug Type F Tipping policy: Typically around ten per cent in restaurants and bars

RUSSIA LATVIA TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Rumšiškės, a partly submerged town 2. MO museum of modern art 3. Trakai Island Castle 4. Lithuanian Sea Museum

LITHUANIA Kaunas

MAJOR EVENTS • Saint Casimir’s Fair, an annual arts and crafts fair, March 1-3 • Klaipėda Sea Festival, featuring the Tall Ships Race, July 26-28 • Palanga Smelt Festival, February 8-10 • Vilnius at Christmas

Vilnius

RUSSIA

5. The Treetop Walking Path in the Anykščiai pinewood forest

BELARUS POLAND

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Vilnius (average flight time: 2h 40m): Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London City (from May 2019), London Luton, London Stansted

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

93


UK & Europe Luxembourg

Luxembourg Quaint, charming and small in size, Luxembourg can be explored in-depth in a relatively short time. The capital city is a Unesco World Heritage site and the country is thought to house at least 100 castles. But it’s not all history – the city has a pulsing night scene with numerous bars and clubs to enjoy before heading out for some R&R in Luxembourg’s picturesque countryside. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Luxembourg City Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: French, Luxembourgish and German Currency: Euro Population: 590,667 Electricity: 230V & 50Hz Tipping policy: A service charge of 15 per cent is

94

BELGIUM

added to restaurant bills, but many people add a euro or two for good service

GERMANY Diekirch

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Luxembourg City (average flight time: 1h 15m): London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted

LUXEMBOURG Luxembourg City

FRANCE

Monthly average temperature & rainfall TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Vianden Castle Grand Ducal Palace Notre-Dame Cathedral Little Switzerland Parc Merveilleux

MAJOR EVENTS • Luxembourg City Film Festival, February to March • Carnival Parade Diekirch, March 3 • Spring Break, March • Luxembourg Museum

ABTA Country Guides 2019

25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

Days, May 18-19 • National Day, June WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Proof of single status; • Proof of identity;

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

• Divorce certificate, if applicable; • Death certificate of former spouse(s), if applicable. Same-sex and LGBTQ marriages are legal here.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Macedonia UK & Europe

MacedoniaMONTENEGRO Bringing together influences from the Mediterranean plus Greek, Roman and Ottoman heritage, Macedonia is a beguiling destination. The country is incredibly scenic, from historic towns and the capital, Skopje, to the snowy slopes of its mountains and the calming green of its national parks, where tourist initiatives are attracting more visitors than ever before. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Skopje Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Macedonian Currency: Denar Population: 2.07 million Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Tipping by rounding up the bill

SERBIA KOSOVO

is common practice. Tip ten to 15 per cent for exceptional service

Skopje

MACEDONIA

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Skopje (flight time: 3h 05m): London Luton

Bitola ALBANIA

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS Old Bazaar, Skopje Matka Canyon Mavrovo National Park Monastery of Saint Naum 5. Church of St. John at Kaneo

1. 2. 3. 4.

MAJOR EVENTS • Strumica Carnival, February 16 • May Opera Evenings • D Festival, July 5 • Prilep Beer Festival, July 11 • Ethno city festival, July 20

countryguides.abtamag.com

BULGARIA

GREECE

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

ABTA Country Guides 2019

0mm

95


UK & Europe Malta

Malta Situated in the central Mediterranean, the archipelago of Malta – comprising the three main islands of Malta, Comino and Gozo – is a place of discovery: concealed coves, underwater caves and shipwrecks, fossils hidden in towering limestone cliffs, and hiking trails that take in fortresses, megalithic temples and burial chambers. Plus, Malta is blessed with nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine every year. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Valletta Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Maltese and English Currency: Euro Population: 432,000

Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Between five and ten per cent is customary AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Luqa (average flight time: 3h 10m): Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted, London Southend, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. St John’s Cathedral 2. Medieval citadel, Victoria, Gozo 3. Ggantija Temples 4. Azure Window coastal

Victoria

Mediterranean Sea

MALTA Valletta

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 30°C

100mm

25°C

80mm

20°C

60mm

15°C

40mm

10°C

20mm

5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

formation 5. Medieval Hilltop Town of Mdina MAJOR EVENTS 1. Valletta Jazz Festival 2. Birgufest, a celebration of culture and art 3. Notte Bianca, an arts and cultural event 4. AMP Lost & Found Festival 5. Valletta International Baroque Festival, a music festival WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Birth certificates; • Passports; • A free status certificate

96

ABTA Country Guides 2019

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

from the Registry in your home country; • A decree absolute and/ or death certificate of former spouse(s) if applicable. There is no minimum residency period. Civil and religious ceremonies are legally binding and ceremonies can take place in the Marriage Registry or at authorised venues that have approval from the Registry Office. Two witnesses must be present. Your marriage certificate will be issued in English. Same-sex and LGBTQ marriages are legal in Malta.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Malta UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

97


UK & Europe Malta

Malta

Valetta By Abigail Blasi

T

he Maltese capital, Valletta, has emerged as the ideal city-break destination. A Unesco World Heritage Site, it is a beautiful city, tranquil enough to make wandering around and drinking outside at pavement cafés a blissed-out pleasure. Yet it’s also packed with splendid architecture, culture and museums, such as the state-of-the-art Malta at War Museum in Fort St Elmo, which recounts how the island has resisted would-be invaders from the Ottoman fleet through to the Nazis in the Second World War. Then there’s the beautiful St John’s Co-Cathedral with its huge altarpiece by Caravaggio; the open-air Opera House; and the magnificent Grand Master’s Palace. What’s more, the weather is consistently good, with more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Since Valletta’s construction by the Knights of Malta in the 16th century, Europe’s first planned city has always been a place of remarkable beauty. Set on a narrow peninsula, it is almost surrounded by peacockblue sea. Tall baroque townhouses fronted by traditional Maltese covered glass and wood balconies line narrow cobbled streets.

98

ABTA Country Guides 2019

The city lies alongside one of the world’s most magnificent natural harbours, so as well as enjoying the views, visitors can take boat trips across to the historic Three Cities, small towns that predate Valletta. However, this is not a city stuck in time. Cool architectural additions add contemporary style and there are year-round festivals, celebrating everything from pop to baroque. Valletta, one of Europe’s smallest capitals, is eminently walkable so visitors don’t have to stress about taking public transport or tussle with traffic, allowing them to enjoy their precious few days away to the utmost. With frequent flights from all major UK airports, Malta’s Le Luqa airport is only a short hop away. Four hours after taking off visitors can be sipping a glass of wine in a city square, or lying back on a beach with a book. When travellers arrive there’s no lengthy and arduous trek from the airport, it’s less than a half-hour trip by bus or car.

CULTURAL CROSSROADS Valletta’s buzz has been building over several years. Last year, it was the European Capital of Culture, and ahead

countryguides.abtamag.com


Malta UK & Europe

of this designation there was a frenzy of renovation projects: museums were given complete overhauls, and historic forts and piazzas were cleaned up and reopened. In recent years boutique hotels have opened in glorious heritage buildings in the city centre, offering accommodation for all budgets. Valletta’s gastronomic scene is also thriving as never before. Typical Maltese cuisine, including rabbit stew and aljotta (fish soup), has a strong Italian influence, but if you fancy Roman food head to Zero Sei trattoria near the Manoel Theatre, or sample seafood with a view at harbourside restaurants such as Scoglitti. The Malta Tourism Authority has launched the Gastro Trail to explore the islands through cuisine, visiting cheesemakers, vineyards, fine-dining restaurants and more. There was a time when Valletta went to bed early, but the city’s nightlife scene has also undergone a renaissance. Strait Street is a lane so narrow that neighbours could shake hands across it, and was once the notorious red light district, the first port of call for sailors when they landed in the harbour. The scene died once the British Navy left, but the old bars along the

countryguides.abtamag.com

street retained all their vintage signage. A few years ago they began to reopen as cool hole-in-the-wall bars, serving cocktails at their outdoor tables, and with regular concerts – from jazz to string quartets – out on the narrow street. Like the rest of Valletta, Strait Street has preserved its past while embracing a new, vibrant present.

WITHIN EASY REACH There are few city-break destinations where it’s so easy to go and explore other parts of the country in a few hours or a day trip. Sights around Valletta include prehistoric temples, such as the HalSaflieni Hypogeum, which dates back to 3300 BC, earlier than the pyramids. There are also walled cities, natural seaswimming pools and coastal caves. Malta and Gozo, its neighbouring island, have some of the world’s finest scuba diving opportunities, with trips possible from Valletta itself. It’s a great place to learn how to dive, and there is plenty for experienced divers, including submerged wrecks from the Second World War, underwater sea cliffs and caverns.

ABTA Country Guides 2019

99


UK & Europe Moldova

Moldova Somewhat of an off-thebeaten track destination, Moldova is now coming to the attention of global travellers keen to uncover the country’s charms. Popularised for its pristine landscapes and award-winning wineries, Moldova is also gaining kudos for its café culture, city experiences and tasty, budget-friendly cuisine. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Chișinău Visa requirements: No visa required for stays up to 90 days Time zone: GMT + 2 Language: Moldovan and

Romanian Currency: Leu Population: 3.55 million Electricity: 220V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Becoming customary in bars and restaurants. Five to ten per cent on top of service charge is common AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Chișinău (average flight time: 3h 05m): London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Cricova winery

UKRAINE

Balti

MOLDOVA Chisinau ROMANIA

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

2. Dendrarium Park 3. Victory Memorial and Eternal Flame 4. National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History 5. Valea Morilor park MAJOR EVENTS • Cricova Wine Run • Underland Wine and Music Festival • Martisor international cultural festival • Orheiul Vechi XCM Mountain Bike Marathon • DeVin & DeGust regional wine and food festival

100 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


Monaco UK & Europe

Monaco The world’s secondsmallest country is squeezed into just 200 hectares, but that hasn’t hindered its popularly. Boasting seaside glamour, Monaco has long attracted the rich, wealthy and hedonistic. Soak up some culture at the museums, try your luck at The Casino, or simply be seen sipping cocktails among the rich and famous. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Monte Carlo Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: French Currency: Euro Population: 38,695

Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Most restaurants include a 15 per cent service charge. Fifteen per cent is also customary at bars AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Nice, about 14 miles from Monaco (average flight time: 2h 05m): Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle

FRANCE Monte Carlo

MONACO

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

150mm

20°C

120mm

15°C

90mm

10°C

60mm

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS

5°C

30mm

1. The Palace 2. Oceanographic Museum

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

3. The Casino, Monte Carlo 4. Café de Paris, a popular restaurant 5. Jardin Exotique MAJOR EVENTS • Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival • Nice Carnival • Monte-Carlo Spring Arts Festival, March 15 to April 14 • Monaco Grand Prix, May • Monaco Yacht Show, September 25 WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passports; • Birth certificates;

countryguides.abtamag.com

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

• Certificate of publication of the marriage banns; • Divorce certificate, if applicable; • Death certificate of former spouse(s), if applicable; • All documents must be certified and translated by an approved translator, and countersigned by consuls of the issuing country. Couples wishing to marry must be resident in Monaco for 30 days before the wedding. Same-sex and LGBTQ marriage is not legal in Monaco.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 101


UK & Europe Netherlands

Netherlands The Netherlands is a cultural playground, with world-renowned art galleries and the highest density of museums in the world. Visit Rotterdam and Eindhoven for a dose of modern architecture and design. Then there’s the Gothic-imbued The Hague, canal-ringed Delft, the colourful fishing village of Volendam, and the cheese capital of Alkmaar. In spring, enjoy the rainbow palette of the Netherlands’ vast tulip fields. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Amsterdam Visa requirements: None for British passport holders Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Dutch Currency: Euro Population: 17.8 million Electricity: 230 V Tipping policy: Appreciated but not expected; five to ten per cent of the bill is usual AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to the Netherlands (average flight time: 1h 15m): Aberdeen, Belfast,

Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster, Durham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Inverness, Leeds, Liverpool, London (all airports), Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Southampton.

North Sea

Amsterdam

Rotterdam

NETHERLANDS GERMANY

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Kröller-Müller Museum, a national art museum and sculpture garden 2. Royal Delft Factory, a 17th-century earthenware factory 3. Gouda Cheese Market 4. Keukenhof, one of the world’s largest flower gardens, March 21 – 19 May 19, 2019 5. Maastricht Valkenburg underground Christmas market

BELGIUM

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

AMAJOR EVENTS • Noordbrabants Museum Van Gogh exhibition, from September 2019 • King’s Day (27 April) • Rembrandt & the Dutch Golden Age theme year • Operation Market Garden 75th Anniversary, September 2019 • National Museum Week (April 8-14, 2019)

102 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


Netherlands UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 103


UK & Europe Norway

Norway Norway is stark natural beauty – deep fjords, expansive lakes, vast mountains and the ethereal Northern Lights – active outdoor pursuits and cosmopolitan cities. The Scandinavian country stretches from Lindesnes in the south to the North Cape and enjoys one of Europe’s longest coast lines. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Oslo Visa requirements: None for British passport holders Time zone: GMT +1 Language: Norwegian Currency: Norwegian Krone Population: 5.2 million Electricity: 230V and 50Hz. Tipping policy: Not compulsory

Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester. Direct flights to Bergen (average flight time: 1h 55m): Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London Gatwick, Manchester. Direct flights to Stavanger (average flight time: 1h 30m): Aberdeen, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Heathrow. Direct flights to Tromsø (average flight time: 3h 30m): London Gatwick, London Luton Direct flights to Trondheim (average flight time: 2h 30m): London Gatwick Direct flights to Trondheim (average flight time: 2h): London Stansted

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Oslo (average flight time: 2h 10m): Aberdeen, London Gatwick, London

1. Holmenkollen ski jump 2. Vøringsfossen waterfall 3. Bryggen in Bergen, a Unesco World Heritage site

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS

RUSSIA

Norwegian Sea

FINLAND SWEDEN

Trondhein

NORWAY Oslo

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

4. Flåm Line railway 5. Fløibanen funicular in Bergen

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

the Tax Administration. Documents needed: • Separate personal declarations; • Sponsor statement;

MAJOR EVENTS • Oslo is the Green Capital for Europe in 2019 with a large events programme • National Day, May 17 • Opening of the new Munch museum, the new national gallery and library in 2020 • Bergen International music festival • St Olav Festival WEDDINGS Foreign citizens wishing to marry in Norway must submit documentation to

104 ABTA Country Guides 2019

J

• Declaration concerning division if either of you has been married before; • Passport or birth certificate; • A certificate no more than four months old from your home country or most recent country of residence showing that there is no impediment to you entering into marriage. Same sex or LGBTQ weddings are legal in Norway.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Norway UK & Europe

Norway

Fjord fiesta By Anthony Pearce

T

o those who turn their nose up at a cruise, Norway is the answer. The complex, narrow network of 1,200 fjords that weave into the country’s west coast cannot truly be enjoyed in any other way. Roads may exist where 20 years ago they did not, but exploring this region by car, although technically possible, would take considerably longer and reveal a fraction of the area. Just a few days ago, I left London, boarded the 1,250-guest Magellan, sailed down the Thames and crossed the heavy North Sea. Now, outside my window is the most majestic of sights: an empty, silent fjord, its banks, just metres from the ship, reaching into the sky and disappearing into mist. There’s something special about sailing from the UK. It harks back to a golden age of travel, meaning your holiday feels less like a quick getaway and more like an extended adventure, although one with spa treatments and afternoon tea. It’s something Cruise & Maritime Voyages launched to do and has stuck by, even as it expanded in 2017 to launch Columbus; at 1,400 guests, it is the line’s largest ship yet. Sailing from 11 regional UK ports, including London Tilbury, where we departed from, Newcastle and Bristol, the line attracts a British audience who, for a range of reasons, want to avoid airports. The company targets and attracts an older crowd, unashamedly chasing the traditional cruise market: the over 60s. Why not? There are now 15 million people aged 60 and above in

countryguides.abtamag.com

the UK – and, with early access to pension pots, they have more money than ever. But I would defy anyone, of any age, not to enjoy a cruise to the fjords. Our first stop is Bergen, a historic port city and the gateway to the fjords. A quick tour gives us a chance to learn more about the 62 colourful wooden buildings of Bryggen, the city’s old wharf, a Unesco World Heritage site that is perhaps best known as the inspiration for Disney’s Frozen. The site dates back to the 14th century, although fires, the most recent in 1955, have ravaged the area. The rebuilding has traditionally followed age-old patterns and back-breaking methods, allowing it to retain its charm. Although this is the most famous part of the city, there’s plenty to see and do: this is a place that defines Nordic cool – there are tons of great record, design and clothes shops – which is fortunate, because before there’s time to linger at the waterfront, the heavens open, and we’re forced to take shelter in a nearby coffee shop, where a bearded barista serves us an (exceedingly expensive) flat white. It’s an introduction to two things: just how temperamental Norwegian weather is (if it’s sun you’re after, you’re in the wrong place) and the fact that everything is incredibly pricey (and it was even before the pound took a nose dive). It’s another benefit of taking a cruise to the region: with all meals on board included, and drinks at a very reasonable price (especially if you take advantage of the £17 per person per day drinks package), you’re sheltered from this – unless you want to eat

ABTA Country Guides 2019 105


UK & Europe Norway

106 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


Norway UK & Europe

and drink ashore. In Bergen, we decline, after a little deliberation, to pay £20 for a whale sandwich – as intriguing as it sounds. From the top of the city’s funicular on Mount Fløyen – the price of which is included in our Bergen card, which allows access to several museums – is a glimpse of the dramatic landscapes to come. While many of Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ itineraries call at the fjords first and Bergen on the way home, this itinerary is the opposite: it may not be as dramatic an introduction, but the gradual shift in scenery as we sail deeper into the fjords is just as breathtaking. The next day, we arrive in Molde and take a coach to the Vardestua Cafe, which overlooks the Romsdalsfjord, and offers some of the best views in the region, a staggering 222 peaks outside its window (although, today, a particularly heavy fog all but obscures them). From there, we head to the Atlantic Road, a highway that connects the archipelago to the north of Molde, leaving the ship behind, which sails on to Åndalsnes. The area, part of the Fræna municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, is the definition of remote: we take a longship-style boat across to Håholmen, a 10-acre island that faces out to the vast Norwegian Sea. It feels like the edge of the world. In a wood-panelled, grass-roofed hut, we enjoy a warming fish broth, that’s as pure and invigorating as the clean coastal air. That afternoon, we head to Åndalsnes to join the Rauma Line train, taking it up to Dombås, past waterfalls, towering mountains and alpine forests, easily justifying its reputation as one of Europe’s best rail journeys. On the coach journey back, there’s even time to stop at Kylling Bridge and Vermafossen waterfall. It’s beautiful enough to be a major tourist attraction, but we have it to ourselves. Overwhelmed by beauty and a little exhausted, we return to the ship, to continue the now daily ritual of eating all seven courses at dinner. The food is excellent and plentiful – a mix of wholesome British classics and more exotic cuisines, with Greek night a particular highlight.

countryguides.abtamag.com

The next morning we open our cabin windows to reveal Geiranger, the most recognisable and, perhaps, most beautiful fjord in the world. We’re up early and it’s worth it – for the first time the fog lifts and we’re treated to the most spectacular views. It’s the first time we’ve shared a fjord with another ship, but, after a five-minute sail, we’re virtually alone again, watching the warm morning sun crack through the clouds onto the famous concave banks. It’s not just the geography of Geiranger and the wider region that astounds: hearing about how these small communities survive, battling harsh and uncompromising terrain, is equally as fascinating. The sense of togetherness is palpable: with fewer than 150 people living here, everyone must chip in. Our tour guide tells us that one day the steep, heavy banks that line the fjord will crash into the water, creating a tidal wave, likely wiping out the village and all those who remain there. Geologists who closely monitor activity on the mountain expect to be able to warn residents at least 72 hours before the collapse occurs. As our host jokes that in Norway they can’t guarantee good weather, but they can guarantee weather (all conditions within a single day), the sun fades and hail begins, as if commanded. The next day we visit and are told the story of Fossli Hotel, built in 1891, at the end of the Hardangerfjord, which overlooks one of the highest waterfalls in Europe: the stunning Vøringsfoss, the water tumbling over its crest but disappearing into rising mist. The hotel is where Edvard Grieg, the Norwegian composer and pianist, wrote his Opus 66, having trekked miles up the mountain in poor health, long before a road was built. At the nearby Hardangervidda Nature Centre, we are treated to lessons in glaciology and wildlife and given a plate of homemade Norwegian waffles. It’s a reminder that, weather aside, a cruise to Norway has it all: history, culture, cuisine, breathtaking scenery – and the most relaxing journey home.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 107


UK & Europe Poland

Poland Situated in the heart of Europe, Poland offers some of the continent’s most diverse attractions – from vibrant cities including Krakow, Łódź and Warsaw to dramatic vistas. Visitors will find Unesco sites, adventurous pursuits in the towering peaks of the Carpathian mountain range, and tranquillity along the white sands of the Baltic coast. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Warsaw Visa requirements: Not required for stays under 90 days Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Polish. The regional language of Kashubian is spoken in some of northcentral Poland. Currency: Polish złoty Population: 37.97 million Electricity: 230V and frequency is 50 Hz,

LATVIA

SWEDEN LITHUANIA

plug Type E Tipping policy: Around ten per cent of the bill is expected for good service AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights from Stansted (average flight time: 2h): Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Katowice, Kraków, Łódź, Lublin, Olsztyn Mazury, Poznań, Warsaw Modlin. Direct flights from Luton (average flight time: 2h 15m): Rzeszów, Warsaw Chopin, Wrocław. Indirect flights from Luton (flight time: 5h 15m): Szczecin Goleniow, change at Warsaw Chopin. TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Tatra National Park 2. The Wilanow Palace Museum 3. Palace on the Isle in Lazienki Park 4. Karkonosze National Park

108 ABTA Country Guides 2019

Minsk

RUSSIA

BELARUS

Warsaw

Brest

POLAND

GERMANY

UKRAINE

Krakow CZECH REPUBLIC SLOVAKIA AUSTRIA

HUNGARY

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

5. The Wrocław Zoological Garden MAJOR EVENTS • St. Dominic’s Fair, a cultural event in Gdansk, July-August

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

August • Bella Skyway Festival, in Torun, August • Light Move Festival in Lodz, September • Wreath Festival, in Krakow, June

• Pol’and’Rock Festival,

countryguides.abtamag.com


UK & Europe Portugal

Portugal Portugal is golden beaches, labyrinthine cities, fresh cuisine, and ancient history that can be experienced in medieval town centres. Year-round sunshine ensures the country’s enduring popularity with visitors from around the world, drawn by its diversity of beaches, expansive golf courses, gastronomy and wine, and hospitality of the Portuguese people. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Lisbon Visa requirements: None for British passport holders Time zone: GMT Language: Portuguese, but English is widely spoken Currency: Euro Population: 10.6 Million Electricity: 230V

North Atlantic Ocean

Tipping policy: Between five and ten per cent of the total bill is common AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Lisbon (average flight time: 2h 40m): London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester. Direct flights to Faro (average flight time: 2h 55m): Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London (all airports), Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham. Direct flights to Madeira (average flight time: 3h 50m): London City, London Gatwick, London

Porto

PORTUGAL Lisbon SPAIN

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

Heathrow, London Stansted. Direct flights to Ponta Delgada, Azores (average flight time: 4h 05m): London Stansted, Manchester. Direct flights to Porto (average flight time: 2h 10m): Liverpool, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester. TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Sintra, a resort town and longtime royal sanctuary 2. Lisbon Oceanarium 3. Douro Valley 4. University of Coimbra 5. Évora city

110 ABTA Country Guides 2019

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

MAJOR EVENTS • Portugal Masters European Tour • MEO RIP Curl Pro • Madeira Carnival • São João Festivities in Porto • Festa dos Tabuleiros in Tomar (every four years) WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passport; • Birth certificate; • Matrimonial Aptitude Certificate (proof that you can legally marry). All documents must be translated to Portuguese. Same-sex and LGBTQ marriage is legal.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Portugal UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019

111


UK & Europe Portugal

Portugal

Lisbon By Anthony Pearce

G

iven the huge queues that regularly snake around the block for the famous yellow 28 tram, it’s sometimes difficult to imagine that Lisbon was ever off the tourist trail. It could be explained by the fact that there are relatively few blockbuster sights in the Portuguese capital. This isn’t a tick-list destination: there is arguably no landmark in the centre of Lisbon that is a must-see. Rather, the city is more about its culture: the azulejos, the intricate tiles that adorn so many buildings; the simple and affordable food; the rooftop bars; the late-opening restaurants (and even later nightlife); the pretty cobblestone stone streets and colourful buildings; the Moorish influence in Alfama; and fado, the mournful Portuguese music that is experiencing a renaissance. Lisbon is also one of Europe’s sunniest cities and offers unrivalled access to beaches – there are eight within a 30-minute train ride. Regarded as one of Europe’s most affordable city breaks, Lisbon now welcomes more tourists than ever. Lisbon is a good, if tiring, city to wander around. Legend has it that it was founded on seven hills, although the story’s accuracy is disputed. From the seafront looking back you’ll see the neighbourhoods of Alfama and Castelo on the Graça and São Jorge hills to your right; Barrio Alto and Príncipe Real on the São Roque hill to your left; and Baixa – downtown – in the middle. The climbs are worth it: Lisbon from above is stunning. The city has 16 official viewpoints, each offering incredible views over rooftops, and

112

ABTA Country Guides 2019

of the Tejo river and the 25 de Abril Bridge. Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, which offers a panorama of the city including the river, the São Jorge castle, Graça and the tree-lined Avenida da Liberdade, is perhaps the pick of the bunch. Alfama, the oldest district, is among the most rewarding to stroll around. Those with the luxury of time should hope to sample some of the local delicacies: prego (steak rolls); bifanas (pork rolls); sardines (Lisboas usually enjoy them on toasted bread); national dish bacalhau (salted cod); pastel de nata (custard tarts); and ginjinha, a sweet cherry liqueur that can be bought for a euro or two from tiny bars (Ginjinha Sem Rival in Praca Dos Restauradores may be the most famous). Tascas are traditional Portuguese restaurants where some of the best (and cheapest) food is served in no-frills surroundings, while kiosk cafés provide picturesque settings to eat and drink, particularly down the Avenida da Liberdade. Belem, the southwesternmost parish of the city, offers some of the most celebrated monuments: the Jerónimos Monastery, Belém Tower and Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the futuristic MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology). Further afield is the Cascais Coast, home to several sunkissed beaches, and Sintra, a beautiful town set amid pine-covered hills. The Quinta da Regaleira, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is worth exploring in depth. It is little wonder Lisbon has become one of Europe’s fastestgrowing destinations.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Portugal UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 113


UK & Europe Romania

Romania Visitors to Romania often get the sensation of stepping back in time: horses pulling carts in quaint villages, crumbling churches and undisturbed landscapes. But step into the cities and the vibe is far more modern. Sightseers will be satisfied with mythical castles – Bran Castle being a favourite – and medieval towns. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Bucharest Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 2 Language: Romanian

POLAND

UKRAINE

SLOVAKIA

Currency: Leu Population: 19.64 million Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Tip five to ten per cent in restaurants AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Bucharest (average flight time: 3h 30m): Birmingham, Bristol, Doncaster, Glasgow, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted,

MOLDOVA

Iasi

HUNGARY

ROMANIA Bucharest SERBIA BULGARIA

KOSOVO

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS

15°C

80mm

1. Bran Castle 2. Peleș Castle

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

3. Salina Turda (salt mine) 4. Râșnov Citadel 5. Romanian Athenaeum MAJOR EVENTS • Bucharest of Old, July • Untold Music Festival, August • Folk Art Festival, August • Halloween in Transylvania, October • Festivals of Christmas Traditions, December WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Birth certificates; • Passports; • Medical form issued in Romania stating that

114 ABTA Country Guides 2019

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

you are fit to marry. This is only valid for 14 days; • Certificate of no impediment; • Divorce certificate, if applicable; • Death certificate of former spouse(s), if applicable; • Official report compiled with an official interpreter. All documents must be certified with an apostille stamp and translated into Romanian by an official translator. Same sex or LGBTQ marriage is not legal in Romania.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Romania UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 115


UK & Europe Russia

Russia Historic cities, deep literary roots, legendary train rides, vodka-soaked nightlife and outdoor adventure – the world’s largest country has a rich offering for tourists. Away from the hubs of Moscow and St Petersburg, get off the beaten track and lose yourself in Russia’s immense landscape, home to mountains, volcanoes and lakes that ripple for mile upon mile. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Moscow Visa requirements: Visa is required Time zone: GMT + 3 in European Russia, although the country crosses 11 different time zones Language: Russian, but each republic also has its own language Currency: Ruble Population: 144.5 million Electricity: 220Volt and 50hz Tipping policy: Ten per cent on top of your bill is customary AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Moscow (average flight time: 3h 50m): London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted. Direct flights to St

Arctic Ocean

Petersburg (average flight time: 3h 15m): London (all airports). St Petersburg

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Kremlin and Red Square 2. Tretyakov Gallery 3. Palace Square (Winter Palace) and Hermitage 4. St Isaac’s Cathedral 5. Golden Ring route MAJOR EVENTS • New Year celebration • Victory Day and May 9 Parade • Scarlet Sails event in St Petersburg, June 21 • International Economic Forum in St Petersburg, June 6-8

Moscow

116 ABTA Country Guides 2019

Yakutsk

EUROPE

ASIA

Pacific Ocean AFRICA

Indian Ocean AUSTRALIA

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 30°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

0°C

40mm

-10°C

20mm

-20°C

WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passport with valid visa. The visa must be obtained before the translation process starts to ensure that the translation of names on the documents matches the translation of the name in the visa; • A Certificate of No Impediment (obtained from your local registry office in the UK). Some cities in Russia require the British registrar to stamp the CNI. Registrars in the UK do not normally do this, so you will need to ask them when you collect

RUSSIA

J

F

M

A

M

J

your certificate. If the CNI is received without a registry stamp it will be assumed that you do not need one; • The decree absolute if you have been married before or your previous spouse’s death certificate, if applicable; • The Russian registry office (ZAGS) will only

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

accept the Certificate of No Impediment for a period of up to 90 days from the date of issue, so plan your dates of travel, document issue and translation appropriately. • You must also register your visa before you can get married. Same-sex marriage in Russia is not legal.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Russia UK & Europe

Russia

Roam Russia By Karl Cushing

A

s Russia basks in the afterglow of its successful hosting of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, St Petersburg and Moscow, two of its major host cities, are rolling out the red carpet to visitors as never before. Both enjoy direct flights from the UK, and the two cities are linked by rail to each other in under four hours, making them a logical pairing. Trips are offered by everyone from Regent Holidays and Cox & Kings to Intrepid Travel. Factor in the recent strength of the pound against the ruble and it’s a great time to visit.

ST PETERSBURG Peter the Great’s grand and elegant St Petersburg gives many visitors their first taste of Russia. Often this will be on a cruise stopover – the city’s location at the mouth of the Neva River has made it a firm fixture on Baltic cruises. Passengers can stay visa-free for 72 hours if they stick to the line’s group tours or book with an independent company that holds the right licence. Known for its bridges, rivers and canals, the former capital’s nickname “Venice of the North” hints at its beguiling charms; boat tours offer a great way to gaze upon its Baroque façades. Back on land, the city is replete with major cultural sites such as St Isaac’s Cathedral, the Russian Museum and the spectacular Hermitage State Museum at the Winter Palace, with its daunting range of

countryguides.abtamag.com

exhibits. Other attractions are given freely, such as strolling the banks of the Neva or the many landscaped open spaces such as Mikhailovsky Garden, Summer Garden and New Holland Island. The city truly comes alive with the thawing of the winter snow, the White Nights of late May to mid July triggering a city-wide wave of celebrations; Mariinsky Theatre runs its fabulous Stars of the White Nights programme, while outside under the midsummer skies outdoor concerts and events such as late June’s Scarlet Sails take place. Towards September end the Golden Autumn sees the turning leaves paint the city with another stunning backdrop. In winter, a snowbound St Petersburg takes on a magical quality, with its frozen canals and snowcapped buildings. There’s much to do, from ballet and classical concerts during the International Winter Festival to outdoors ice skating and Troika rides at Pavlovsk Palace. At Christmastime, experience local traditions with tours such as Insight Vacations’ Easy Pace Russia with Christmas Markets. Nightlife is centred on the Nevsky Prospekt district, where music plays from lively bars. Elsewhere, ornate old dame hotels such as the Belmond Grand and the State Hermitage Museum Official Hotel doff their caps to the city’s illustrious, imperial past, bolstered by five-star offerings such as the Astoria, Corinthia and Four Seasons.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 117


UK & Europe Russia

Don’t leave town without taking in some of the historic imperial summer palaces in their grandiose grounds in nearby centres such as Peterhof, known as the Russian Versailles, or the oft-combined palaces at Pushkin and nearby Pavlovsk.

MOSCOW Served by the mighty Moskva River, Russia’s powerhouse capital is exemplified by Red Square and the Kremlin, the presidential seat of power and home to attractions such as the Armoury Chamber and Diamond Fund. Other visitor magnets gracing the square include the State Historical Museum, which offers a great insight into the nation’s history, and Lenin’s Mausoleum, its austere pyramidical stylings a marked contrast to the showily technicolour St Basil’s Cathedral with its telltale onion domes. It also houses a museum. Meanwhile, GUM shopping centre and the local street vendors make happy hunting grounds for souvenirs, another being Izmailovsky Market. Theatre Square on Tverskaya street is home to the famous Bolshoi Theatre (closed from late July to September 12, 2018) along with the Maly and Russian Academic Youth Theatres. Another attraction putting on a big show is the remarkable Moscow Metro, its elaborately designed stations a photogenic exercise in excess.

City tours take many themes, from gastronomy to exploring remnants of the Soviet era, with boat tours on the Moskva popular among visitors. Many also enjoy a riverbank stroll, taking in sights such as the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and spruced up Gorky Park. Or simply savour the various bars and cafés that spill out onto seasonal riverside terraces come the warmer weather. Sunshine also sees locals and visitors alike flock to the city’s green spaces, such as Alexandrovsky Sad. Over at Zaryadye Park, the “floating bridge” jutting out over the Moskva offers incredible views towards the Kremlin. St Basil’s Sculptures are the main draw at Muzeon Park of Arts, while Patriarch’s Ponds (Patriarshiye Prudy) attracts fans of Russian literature, having enjoyed a central role in Mikhail Bulgakov’s classic The Master and Margarita. Families will appreciate the great selection of interactive attractions with a local flavour, such as the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines, Obraztsov Puppet Museum or the Cosmonautics Museum, near the equally child-friendly and quirky VDNKh museum. There’s also the Moscow Planetarium, near Moscow Zoo. For those wishing to escape the city for a day trip, Kolomenskoe is a sprawling museumreserve set in lovely nearby countryside replete with historic buildings and impressive churches.

River Cruises

From vast monasteries to magnificent churches, a Russian river cruise takes in the beating heart of the country’s famous twin centres, as well as the glorious rural life that runs in-between. With stops at Uglich, Yaroslavl and Kuzino, a journey sandwiched between stays in Moscow and St Petersburg is an incredible opportunity to see a more authentic side of the biggest country in the world. Even the many delights of the capital struggle to compare with beautiful Kizhi Pogost. The Unesco World Heritage Site is straight out of a fairytale – a vast 22-dome wooden church that was built without using a single nail.

118 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


San Marino UK & Europe

San Marino The mountainous microstate of San Marino is one of the world’s oldest republics. With historic architecture – think clifftop castles and a Unesco-listed capital – and delicious fare (Parmesan cheese, Parma ham, balsamic vinegar and spaghetti alla Bolognese), this small country still packs a punch. KEY INFORMATION Capital: San Marino Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Italian Currency: Euro Population: 33,400 Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: A service charge is usually included in the bill. If not, a tip of around five to ten per cent is appreciated AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK San Marino does not have an international airport. Fly direct to Ancona, Bologna or Rimini and take

ITALY

public transport or a taxi to San Marino.

Serravalle

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Monte Titano 2. Guaita Fortress 3. De La Fratta tower and museum

SAN MARINO

4. Basilica di San Marino 5. Sammarinese Museum of Ancient Arms MAJOR EVENTS • Adriatic Music Festival, July • Medieval Days, July • San Marino Ethnological Festival, July • San Marino Jazz Festival, July • Marvels of Christmas, December

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passports; • Certificate of no impediment. Same-sex and LGBTQ civil unions have been recognised since December 2018, but the law is not yet fully operational.

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 119


UK & Europe Serbia

Serbia Nestled amid the oft-wild landscapes of southeastern Europe, Serbia’s beautiful mountains, national parks, rivers and lakes make it a strong contender for active or outdoor holidays. There are prehistoric archaeological sites to explore, plus, for those who enjoy a more leisurely pace of travel, endless cultural events and entertainment options. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Belgrade Visa requirements: None for British passport holders for stays of up to 90 days Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Serbian, but English is widely spoken Currency: Dinar Population: 7 million Electricity: 220V Tipping policy: Five-to-

HUNGARY ten per cent of the bill is recommended AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Belgrade (average flight time: 2h 40m): London Heathrow, London Luton.

ROMANIA CROATIA

Belgrade BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

SERBIA BULGARIA

MONTENEGRO

KOSOVO

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Church of the Holy Mother of God (Crkva Ruzica) 2. Saint Petka’s Chapel 3. Kalemegdan Park and Belgrade Fortress 4. Kopaonik, the “Mountain of the Sun” 5. Zlatibor mountain resorts

MACEDONIA

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

MAJOR EVENTS • Guca Trumpet Festival • EXIT-Novi Sad, a summer music festival held at the Petrovaradin Fortress

J

F

M

A

M

• Leskovac Grill Festival • Belgrade Beer Festival • Carnival of Vrnjci, July WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Valid passport; • A birth certificate on the international form or a legalised translation authorised by a court interpreter;

120 ABTA Country Guides 2019

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

• A certificate of free marital status duly legalised and translated by an authorised court interpreter; • Other documents and evidence may be required; Same-sex or LGBTQ marriage is not legal in Serbia.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Slovakia UK & Europe

Slovakia The secret of Slovakia’s charms rests in its enchanting nature, fascinating history, refined culture and warm, welcoming people. Though Slovakia is small in size, it offers great diversity for tourists, from natural wonders, historic monuments, rich folk culture and folklore, to fun and entertainment in the busy city streets.

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Bratislava (average flight time: 2h 25m): Leeds, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester. Direct flights to Košice (flight time: 2h 45m): London Luton. Direct flights to Poprad (flight time: 2h 35m): London Luton

POLAND

CZECH REPUBLIC

AUSTRIA HUNGARY ROMANIA

SLOVENIA

1. Bratislava Castle 2. Demänovská Cave of Liberty 3. Spiš Castle, a Unesco World Heritage Site 4. Dobšinská Ice Cave and the Slovak Karst 5. Slovak Paradise mountain range MAJOR EVENTS • Bratislava Music Festival • Východná Folklore Festival • Slovak International Air Fest SIAF • Fabulous Castle theatre festival • Slovak Food Festival,

countryguides.abtamag.com

UKRAINE

Bratislava

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS KEY INFORMATION Capital: Bratislava Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Slovak; English and German are the most often used foreign languages. Hungarian is spoken by many in the south Currency: Euro Population: 5.4 million Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Common to tip five to ten per cent of the bill in bars and restaurants for good service

Košice

SLOVAKIA

Monthly average temperature & rainfall

20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

which takes place around Bratislava Castle. WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passports; • Birth certificates; • Certificate of No Impediment; • Divorce papers, if applicable;

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

• Death certificate of former spouse(s), if applicable; • All documents must be certified and translated into Slovak by an official translator and stamped with an apostille. Same-sex or LGBTQ marriages are not legal in Slovakia.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 121


UK & Europe Slovenia

GERMANY

Slovenia Located between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, Slovenia is home to breathtaking mountains, 11,000 karst caves and the Pannonian Plain, which is rich in healthy water springs. Brimming with fruitful wine regions, Unesco heritage sites and diverse terrain, Slovenia is a haven for wine lovers, outdoor adventure enthusiasts and cultural explorers. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Ljubljana Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT+ 1 Language: Slovene Currency: Euro Population: 2.06 million Electricity: 230V, plug Type F

AUSTRIA

Tipping policy: Appreciated but not obligatory. Tip around ten per cent of the bill for good service AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Ljubljana (average flight time: 2h 10m): London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester. Indirect flights to Maribor (average flight time: 3h 15m): Travel via Munich, Germany or Antwerp, Belgium. TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Lake Bled Postojna Caves Lake Bohinj Lipica Stud Farm Ljubljana Castle

HUNGARY

Maribor

SLOVENIA ITALY

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

150mm

20°C

120mm

15°C

90mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

30mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

MAJOR EVENTS • Kurentovanje, Ptuj, a 10-day celebration of spring and fertility • Old Vine Festival, Maribor, September • Pust Carnival, which celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring • Pink Week, an LGBTQ festival in May • Living Nativity in Postojna Cave, December WEDDINGS UK citizens may get married in Slovenia, either to a Slovene citizen or to another foreigner. In Slovenia, only a

122 ABTA Country Guides 2019

CROATIA

Ljubijana

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

civil marriage service is considered legally valid. All marriages must be registered with the Marriage Registry Office of the Administrative Unit  in location of marriage. To register your marriage in Slovenia you will need: • Original marriage certificate; • Translation of marriage certificate; • Record of surname after marriage; • Copy of own passport and passport of spouse. Slovenia is LGBT friendly. Same-sex marriages are legal here.

countryguides.abtamag.com


www.slovenia.info #ifeelsLOVEnia

I FEEL

SLOVENIA So different. So accessible.

Everything is nearby in the only European country where the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Karst and the Pannonian Plain meet. You can experience four different worlds in a single day in Slovenia and even a brief encounter with each of them fuels the desire to spend more time discovering its special features and to return to Slovenia. Come and visit Slovenia also on direct flight London – Ljubljana with British Airways, starting from July 2019!

SLOVENIA. Green. Active. Healthy.


Slovenia UK & Europe

Slovenia

Piran By Joji Sakurai

T

he port of Piran is a slice of unspoilt Venetian charm, with its superb bell tower, its maze of medieval streets and the elegant Piazza Tartini. It has many of the attractions of its more famous cousin, but fewer selfie sticks. The town, built on a headland in the Gulf of Trieste, is the jewel of a 50km stretch of Slovenian coast, on the northern edge of the Adriatic’s diamond-shaped Istrian peninsula. It may seem surprising to many that tiny, Alpine Slovenia even has beaches, and this general lack of awareness is one reason why its emerald waters, plunging cliffs and architectural outcrops of the Venetian empire have been able to hide in plain sight in the middle of Europe. At the same time, Piran’s waters are so clean you will find sea bream happily swimming in the port, while its Istrian hinterlands, with medieval villages clinging to cliffs, are known for succulent

countryguides.abtamag.com

It may seem surprising to many that tiny, Alpine Slovenia even has beaches tomatoes, wild asparagus and white truffles that rival those of Italy. For an unforgettable treat, order an aperitif on the marina on a clear evening, and enjoy clear views of the Dolomites soaring up as a backdrop to its stunning Adriatic waters.

GETTING THERE The Slovenian Riviera is a morning’s drive from Milan or Vienna, and half an hour from Trieste, which has regular flights departing from London. In the summer, there are direct two-hour ferries from Venice.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 125


From Ljubljana Castle, you can see it all. A mighty medieval fortress and an unmissable symbol of the Slovenian capital kindly invites you for a visit. Take the funicular railway for quick and fun access. Experience the unique blend of old and new. Take part in a special Time Machine guided tour. Listen to the audioguide in 14 languages. Taste the exquisite cuisine. And don’t miss out on our special rates for tourist agencies. Experience Ljubljana from a different perspective. Don’t hesitate to contact us: sales@ljubljanacastle.com www.ljubljanacastle.com

@Ljubljanskigrad

Ljubljana Castle

ljubljanacastle

From Ljubljana From Ljubljana From Ljubljana From Ljubljana Castle, you can Castle, you can Castle, you can Castle, you can see it all. see it all. see it see it all. all. corpo-177x130.indd 1

A mighty medieval fortress and anmighty unmissable symbol of theand A medieval fortress Slovenian capital kindly an unmissable symbol ofinvites theand A mighty medieval fortress you for a visit. Take theof funicular Slovenian capital kindly invites an unmissable symbol theand A mighty medieval fortress railway quick and fun access. you for for a visit. Take the funicular Slovenian capital kindly invites an unmissable symbol of the Experience theTake unique blend of old railway quick and fun access. you for for a visit. the funicular Slovenian capital kindly invites and for new. in a blend special Experience thepart unique ofTime old railway for quick and fun access. you a Take visit. Take the funicular Machine guided tour. Listen toofthe and new. Take in fun a blend special Time Experience thepart unique old railway for quick and access. audioguide in 14 languages. Taste Machine tour. to and new.guided Take part in Listen a blend special Time Experience the unique ofthe old the don’t miss audioguide incuisine. 14 languages. Taste Machine tour. Listen to the and exquisite new.guided Take part in And a special Time out on our special rates fordon’t tourist the exquisite And miss audioguide incuisine. 14 tour. languages. Taste Machine guided Listen to the agencies. Ljubljana from out on ourExperience special rates fordon’t tourist the exquisite And miss audioguide incuisine. 14 languages. Taste a different perspective. agencies. Ljubljana from out on ourExperience special rates fordon’t tourist the exquisite cuisine. And miss Don’t to contact us:tourist a different perspective. agencies. Ljubljana from out onhesitate ourExperience special rates for sales@ljubljanacastle.com Don’t hesitate to contact us: from a different perspective. agencies. Experience Ljubljana sales@ljubljanacastle.com Don’t hesitate to contact us: a different perspective. www.ljubljanacastle.com sales@ljubljanacastle.com Don’t hesitate to contact us: @Ljubljanskigrad @Ljubljanskigrad www.ljubljanacastle.com sales@ljubljanacastle.com @Ljubljanskigrad www.ljubljanacastle.com @Ljubljanskigrad www.ljubljanacastle.com

20/12/17 12:59

Ljubljana Castle

ljubljanacastle

Ljubljana Castle

ljubljanacastle

Ljubljana Castle

ljubljanacastle

Ljubljana Castle

ljubljanacastle


Spain UK & Europe

Spain

Bay of Biscay FRANCE

Spain’s diverse landscape means it has something for everyone – from stretches of beach to bustling cities to the snowy peaks of Sierra Nevada. Its territory includes the popular destinations of the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands, plus the north African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Spain’s rich history, vibrant culture and excellent infrastructure help to ensure it remains one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Madrid Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1

Language: The official language is Spanish. Catalan, Galician, Basque and Occitan are also spoken Currency: Euro Population: 46.66 million Electricity: 230V and 50Hz, plug Type F Tipping policy: While tipping is welcomed in Spain, it’s a much less common practice than in other countries AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights UK to Spain: Multiple UK regional airports operate multiple flights to various destinations in Spain. Flight time depends on

North Atlantic Ocean PORTUGAL

Madrid

SPAIN Seville

Mediterranean Sea Alboran Sea ALGERIA

MOROCCO

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

the final destination: 2h 30m London Stansted to Barcelona, 4h 30m Manchester to Tenerife, 3h 10m Edinburgh to Alicante, 3h 10m Belfast to Malaga TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. The Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, Granada 2. Sagrada Familia and Gaudi Sites, Barcelona 3. The Great Mosque of Cordoba (Mezquita) 4. Golden Triangle of Art (Prado, Reina Sofia, Thyseen-Bornemisza), Madrid 5. San Lorenzo de El

countryguides.abtamag.com

Balearic Sea

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

Escorial, a town in the Guadarrama mountains MAJOR EVENTS • Holy Week (Semana Santa) • Carnival • The Fallas of Valencia • La Tomatina, the tomato festival • The Running of the Bulls (Pamplona) WEDDINGS Couples can only marry in Spain if at least one party has been a legal resident in Spain for two years prior to the wedding day. Same-sex or LGBTQ weddings are legal here.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 127


UK & Europe Spain

Puerto de Mogán, a picturesque resort and fishing village in Mogán on the south-west coast of the island of Gran Canaria. Bougainvillea-covered first-floor balconies, a pretty harbour, and a glorious turquoise bay make this one of the Canary Islands’ most charming towns. Of course, there’s also a stretch of golden sand on a well-protected beach.

128 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


Spain UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 129


UK & Europe Sweden

Sweden Vast forests, mile upon mile of pristine coastline, snowcapped mountains, glistening lakes – the Nordic country of Sweden has a great outdoors, and equally impressive cities. Explore cool urban centres with great design, high fashion and innovative restaurants. The country is a great year-round destination: enjoy the midnight sun in summer and chase the northern lights in winter. In the far north, experience the Arctic way of life. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Stockholm Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: Swedish is the official language. Five national minority languages are also recognised by Swedish law: Finnish, Yiddish, Meänkieli, Romani and Sami Currency: Krona, often referred to as crown (krona means crown in Swedish) Population: 10 million Electricity: 230V and 50Hz, Type C and F plugs Tipping policy: Optional, and gratuity for services is already included in your bill. If the service has been exceptional it is common to leave an extra five to ten per cent on top of the bill. The simple rule is to round up to the nearest big number

RUSSIA

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Stockholm (average flight time: 2h 30m): Bristol, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester Direct flights to Gothenburg (average flight time: 2h): Bristol. Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester (from summer 2019) Direct flights to Åre/ Östersund (average flight time: 2h 40m): Bristol, London Gatwick (Dec-Mar) Direct flights to Kiruna (flight time: 3h 20m): London Heathrow (DecApr) Direct flights to Västerås (flight time: 2h 30m): London Stansted TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Liseberg amusement park 2. Fotografiska, a centre for contemporary photography 3. Vasa Museum, a maritime museum 4. Gothenburg archipelago 5. The Royal Palace

Norwegian Sea FINLAND

SWEDEN NORWAY

Stockholm

ESTONIA

Goteborg

North Sea

LATVIA

Baltic Sea

DENMARK

LITHUANIA RUSSIA

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

music festival, August • Midsummer, June 22 • Crayfish season, August • Lucia (Saint Lucy’s Day), December 13 WEDDINGS Documents needed: • Passports; • Birth certificates; • Proof that you are single

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

and free to marry via a single status affidavit. Sweden is known as one of the world’s most LGBTQ+friendly countries. This year, it celebrates 10 years of full, equal marriage in Sweden and 75 years since homosexuality was decriminalised.

MAJOR EVENTS • Stockholm Pride, July 29 to August 3 • Way Out West & Lollapalooza, an alternative multi-genre

130 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


Switzerland UK & Europe

Switzerland Picture-perfect Switzerland is ski resorts, towering peaks, cosy hideaways and picturesque towns. Despite its small size, the country is home to almost 7,000 lakes, many edged by dense forest that makes for great hiking. For urbanites, Switzerland’s pristine cities make for enchanting playgrounds rich in history, culture and entertainment. The Swiss motto? “Unity, but not uniformity.” KEY INFORMATION Capital: Bern Visa requirements: No visa required for stays of up to 90 days. Time zone: GMT + 1 Language: French, Italian, Romansh, German, SwissGerman Currency: Swiss Francs Population: 8.42 million

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Zurich (average flight time: 1h 40m): Birmingham, Edinburgh, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester. Direct flights to Geneva (average flight time: 1h 40m): Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, Manchester. Direct flights to Basel (average flight time: 1h 35m): Bristol,

GERMANY

FRANCE

Electricity: 230V and 50 Hz, Type C and Type J plugs Tipping policy: Ten per cent is customary for good service in restaurants

AUSTRIA

SWITZERLAND ITALY

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

150mm

15°C

120mm

10°C

90mm

5°C

60mm

0°C

30mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

Edinburgh, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, Manchester. Direct flights to Bern (average flight time: 1h 35m): London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton. TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Schilthornbahn cable car 2. Dählhölzli Zoo and Bern Bear Park 3. Pilatus Railways 4. Lake Lucerne boat trip 5. Lake Geneva boat trip MAJOR EVENTS • Locarno International

countryguides.abtamag.com

Zurich

Bern

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

Film Festival • Art Basel • Montreux Jazz Festival • Omega European Masters • Ski World Cup Wengen WEDDINGS To get married, you must meet the following legal requirements: • Over the age of 18; • If either of you are not Swiss citizens, you must be lawfully resident in Switzerland at the time of marriage. Switzerland has allowed registered partnerships for same-sex couples since 1 January 2007.

ABTA Country Guides 2019 131


UK & Europe Ukraine

Ukraine Enjoy the bustle and beauty of Kiev before discovering Europe’s wild side in the Carpathian Mountains, or party on the beach in Odessa, situated along the scenic Black Sea coast. Europe’s biggest country has something to keep everyone entertained, from cosmopolitan cities to a exciting outdoor pursuits. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Kiev Visa requirements: No visa required Time zone: GMT + 2 Language: Ukrainian Currency: Hryvnia Population: 44.83 million Electricity: 220V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Tip around 15 per cent in restaurants that don’t add a service charge to your bill

LATVIA LITHUANIA

RUSSIA

RUSSIA

AIRPORTS AND FLYING TIME FROM THE UK Direct flights to Kiev (average flight time: 3h 30m): London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester

BELARUS

MAJOR EVENTS • Lviv City Day, May • Kiev Summer Music Festival • Ukrainian World Music Festival • Koktebel International Jazz Festival, September • Molodist International Film Festival, October

132 ABTA Country Guides 2019

UKRAINE

SLOVAKIA

Donetsk

MOLD.

HUNGARY

ROMANIA

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Kyiv Monastery of the Caves 2. St. Sophia’s Cathedral 3. Golden Gate 4. The Motherland Monument 5. St. Andrew’s Church

Kiev

POLAND

SERBIA MONT.

BULGARIA

KOS. MACE.

ALB.

TURKEY

GREECE

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 20°C

100mm

15°C

80mm

10°C

60mm

5°C

40mm

0°C

20mm

-5°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

countryguides.abtamag.com


England UK & Europe

England England’s green and pleasant land is home to living history, wild landscapes and captivating culture – from the rugged landscapes and Victorian architecture of Yorkshire and hiking trails in the protected Lake District to cream teas and craggy coves in Devon, Suffolk’s candy-coloured beach huts and Roman sites in Bath. KEY INFORMATION Capital: London Time zone: GMT Language: English Currency: Pound Population: 54.79 million Electricity: 230V and 50Hz Tipping policy: Tip ten to

SCOTLAND

15 per cent of the bill in restaurants TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Stonehenge 2. Tower of London 3. The Roman Baths and Georgian City of Bath

Manchester

IRELAND

4. York Minster and Historic Yorkshire 5. Lake District National Park MAJOR EVENTS • Glastonbury Festival, June • Wimbledon, June/July • British Grand Prix, July • The Proms, July to September • Notting Hill Carnival, August

countryguides.abtamag.com

UNITED KINGDOM

NORTHERN IRELAND

ENGLAND

WALES

London

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

ABTA Country Guides 2019 133


UK & Europe England

England

Windermere By Anthony Pearce

F

ew sights are more beautiful than Lake Windermere at sunrise, when mist hangs over the mirror-like surface, still undisturbed by the first of the day’s sailings. With the fells, trees and clouds reflected on the unbroken water, it is easy to understand why the poet William Wordsworth was moved to describe it as the “most beautiful spot that God hath found”. Windermere is England’s largest lake. It became a tourist hotspot after the Kendal and Windermere Railway opened in 1847 during a period of early Victorian expansion, and has grown in popularity ever since. More than 19 million tourists visited in 2017. Despite its remoteness, the region – which became a national park in 1951 and was awarded Unesco World Heritage status in 2017 – is surprisingly accessible, even without a car. On a recent trip, we took the three-a-half-hour train journey from London, changing at Oxenholme Lake District for the branch line to Windermere, and staying in Bowness-on-Windermere, a charming slatestone built town of just 4,000 people which sits on the banks of the lake. It is also home to The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction. We stayed at the recently renovated Hydro Hotel, with views of the tranquil lake. It is just a five-minute walk from Bowness town centre, which gives a taste of authentic Cumbrian life – particularly in its pubs – with sweet shops selling Kendal mint cake and fudge. A highlight is Hole In T’ Wall, which dates back to 1612. Its low-beamed ceilings and curiosities – china cups and taxidermy – make it one of the country’s best old inns.

134 ABTA Country Guides 2019

Of course, the real draw of the area is its natural beauty. One of the best ways to experience it is to take a lake cruise, ranging from 45 minutes to three hours. They are unsurprisingly popular: Windermere Lake Cruises carried 1.6 million visitors in 2017, so it is best to rise early while the lake is still clear, save for the pretty sailboats. We took the boat from Bowness Pier, passing Belle Island, the largest of the lake’s 18 islands, then the Hawkshead and Claife viewing point, and down to Windermere’s most southerly tip, Lakeside. Here, we joined the scenic Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, an old-style steam train, enjoying panoramic views over the fells and woods. Later, we visited the Lakeland Motor Museum. While Wordsworth, John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter are the literary giants most commonly associated with Lakeland, it is author and fellwalker Alfred Wainwright who best captured the area’s outstanding beauty in his seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells – still regarded as the definitive guide to walking the region. We used the services of Mountain Goat to go further afield, visiting Hawkshead, home to Wordsworth’s grammar school and the charming Minstrels Gallery tearooms; Tarn Hows, another breathtaking body of water; and Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s delightful house, which she bought in 1906 and left to the National Trust. When she married, she moved but did not go far – you can see her marital home on the opposite fell. It is no surprise she did not want to leave this captivating region.

countryguides.abtamag.com


Earn commission on

2019/20 holidays Call us today to find out more

discover THE GREAT OUTDOORS

With more than 100 years’ experience providing walking and activity holidays across the globe HF Holidays’ are the perfect choice when it comes to exploring the world on foot.

GREAT REASONS TO BOOK WITH US Established in 1913 l Our own UK country houses in l 18 superb locations l Hand picked partner hotels in l Europe and across the world l

We visit over 70 destinations worldwide Experienced panel of volunteer l walking holiday leaders l Small group sizes l ATOL & IATA Protected l l

Call 020 8732 1246 | Mail tradesales@hfholidays.co.uk


UK & Europe Wales

Wales Wales has a huge amount to offer: rolling hills, beautiful beaches and coastline – walk the entire length of the country along the Wales Coast Path – landscapes of mountains and valleys, and geological diversity. History can be felt at every turn, with castle ruins waiting to be explored. In the cities, expect a thriving hospitality scene. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Cardiff Time zone: GMT Language: English and Welsh Currency: Pound Sterling Population: 3,000,000 Electricity: 230V and 50Hz

SCOTLAND

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Wales Millennium Centre 2. Snowdon Summit Visitor Centre 3. St Fagans National Museum of History

IRELAND

4. National Museum, Cardiff 5. Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo MAJOR EVENTS • The Hay Festival of Literature and Arts • ICC Cricket World Cup • Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod • The Wales Rally GB • Iris Prize Festival, a celebration of LGBT film

136 ABTA Country Guides 2019

UNITED KINGDOM

NORTHERN IRELAND

Aberystwyth

WALES

ENGLAND

Cardiff

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

countryguides.abtamag.com


Scotland UK & Europe

Scotland Travel beyond the cultural centres of Edinburgh and Glasgow to discover some of the largest wild areas left in the region. Explore vast lochs and mountains in the Highlands, go sea kayaking in the Outer Hebrides and spot eagles, otters and minke whales. Head indoors to sample world-glass fare finished with a dram of single-malt whisky. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Edinburgh Time zone: GMT Language: English, Scots, Scottish Gaelic Currency: Pound Population: 5.37 million Electricity: 240V and 50Hz

SCOTLAND

Tipping policy: Tip ten per cent of the bill in restaurants

Edinburgh

IRELAND

3. Palace of Holyroodhouse 4. Ben Nevis 5. Arthur’s Seat

countryguides.abtamag.com

UNITED KINGDOM

NORTHERN IRELAND

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Edinburgh Castle 2. Loch Ness

MAJOR EVENTS • Burns Night Celebrations, January • Glasgow Film Festival, February • Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, April • Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, August • Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August

Aberdeeen

ENGLAND

WALES

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

ABTA Country Guides 2019 137


UK & Europe Scotland

Scotland

Cairngorms By Daniel Allen

F

rom a vantage point high above the mist-cloaked Glenfeshie valley, one side of Coire Garbhlach glows golden in the late afternoon sun. To the east, carpeted in alpine flowers, the undulating, high-altitude tableland of Moine Mhor (“Great Moss” in Gaelic) stretches as far as the towering peak of Ben Macdui. On the edge of Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park, it’s a wildly dramatic panorama. To many of us, the term Scottish Highland estate conjures up images of grouse hunting, mounted stag’s heads and musty stately homes. Yet here on Glenfeshie, a new way of managing the land is leading to tourism and leisurely pursuits of an altogether different and far more benign kind. “The concept is pretty simple,” says Davie McGibbon, the Glenfeshie estate’s head gamekeeper, as he strides over the Moine Mhor looking for red deer. “In the absence of predators, we are committed to keeping deer numbers at a natural level to prevent overgrazing. Doing this lets native tree species return, which in turn benefits a whole range of other animals and plants.” From around 100 deer per square mile in 2002, the Glenfeshie estate is now down to just five. As a result, virtually every landscape is undergoing an evolution, with Scots pines recolonising valleys and slopes. There have been increased sightings of field voles, red squirrels, pine martens, golden eagles and tawny owls, while populations of endangered black grouse and capercaillie are also thriving. Glenfeshie is not the only body of land within the Cairngorms National Park looking to

138 ABTA Country Guides 2019

boost biodiversity by controlling deer numbers. The Cairngorms Connect project has seen the estate team up with RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Enterprise Scotland. The four neighbouring landholders, whose properties cover a combined 595 square km, share a long-term vision to restore habitats and grow nature-based tourism. Drawn to the comeback of wild nature, more people are already visiting the Cairngorms Connect area. Lodges and bothies (former labourer’s huts or cottages that are now used by hikers) are being renovated and reopened, while active pursuits and naturebased experiences are multiplying. On the Glenfeshie estate, which is part of the Wildland Limited property portfolio, guests can hike, bike, ride horses, swim and go birdwatching. James Shooter is a photographer, filmmaker and guide who has lived and worked in the Cairngorms National Park for five years, running a series of wildlife photography hides to watch species such as osprey, red squirrel, crested tit and black grouse. He believes Cairngorms Connect should be a role model for other conservation initiatives across the UK. “This is exactly the kind of ambitious landscape-scale restoration project that we need in this country if we are to improve the overall health of our habitats and wildlife,” says Shooter. “With Cairngorms Connect developing and the wild gradually becoming wilder, so the local nature-based economy is really taking off. It’s great to see more and more people reconnecting with nature here.” cairngormsconnect.org.uk

countryguides.abtamag.com


Northern Ireland UK & Europe

Northern Ireland With Belfast and the Causeway Coast topping a list of regions to visit last year, tourists are learning what locals have long known: Northern Ireland has lots to offer. Discover natural wonders in the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, Fermanagh Lakelands and Mourne Mountains; learn about Northern Ireland’s artists and writers; and party in the hubs of Belfast and Derry-Londonderry. KEY INFORMATION Capital: Belfast Time zone: GMT Language: English and Irish Currency: Pound Population: 1.875 million Electricity: 240V and 50Hz

SCOTLAND Tipping policy: Tip around ten per cent for good service in restaurants

NORTHERN IRELAND Derry

TOP FIVE ATTRACTIONS 1. Titanic Belfast museum 2. Giant’s Causeway 3. National Trust Carrick-aRede rope bridge 4. Dark Hedges, an 18thcentury avenue of beech trees 5. Dunluce Castle MAJOR EVENTS • Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, May • Belsonic music festival, June • Belfast International Arts Festival • Belfast Pride, July • Belfast Christmas Market

countryguides.abtamag.com

UNITED KINGDOM

Belfast

IRELAND ENGLAND

WALES

Monthly average temperature & rainfall 25°C

100mm

20°C

80mm

15°C

60mm

10°C

40mm

5°C

20mm

0°C

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0mm

ABTA Country Guides 2019 139


UK & Europe Northern Ireland

Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 basalt columns – the result of an ancient volcanic eruption – and Northern Ireland’s best-known tourist attraction. Owned and managed by the National Trust, it’s free to visit and is one of County Antrim’s many charms – the ropebridge at Carrick-a-Rede is well worth a visit.

140 ABTA Country Guides 2019

countryguides.abtamag.com


Northern Ireland UK & Europe

countryguides.abtamag.com

ABTA Country Guides 2019 141


UK & Europe Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Belfast By Nicola Brady

I

n the space of just a few decades, Belfast has established a reputation as a city of interesting bars, renowned restaurants and world-class attractions. Visitor numbers to Northern Ireland have been steadily increasing in recent years, and with Lonely Planet naming Belfast and the Causeway Coast the number one region to visit last year, numbers continue to rise. The accolade is more than warranted. In the Cathedral Quarter, Belfast’s charming central hub, each cobbled street seems to lead towards another lure, whether it’s a buzzing restaurant or a cosy little pub. Belfast is a city that does pubs well – think antique carved furniture, dim lights and, of course, a steady stream of Guinness (the Crown Liquor Saloon, with its carved-mahogany snugs and etched-glass, is one of the finest pubs you’ll find anywhere either side of the Irish Sea). Belfast is fairly small and best explored on foot – ideally with a local guide. Belfast Food Tours will take you around, dipping into the best places to eat. Tours tend to start in the beautifully grand St George’s Market, before heading into various shops and eateries. For those of an arty persuasion, a street art walking tour with Seedhead Arts is a must in a city swathed with large-scale installations. If you’d rather explore without pounding the pavement, then a Black Cab tour will guide you around Belfast and through its turbulent past. A ride with Touring Around Belfast weaves through the north and west of the city, past monuments such as the Peace Wall and the infamous murals, as the local driver explains The Troubles.

142 ABTA Country Guides 2019

Things are a little more high tech – though just as haunting – at Titanic Belfast. Open since 2012, the attraction has seen year-on-year growth, with more than 4.8 million passing through its doors so far. The building houses interactive exhibits telling the story of the fabled liner, built on this very spot. Visitors travel on a ride through the “dockyard”, look out to sea from behind a vibrating handrail, and see exact replicas of cabins. As you walk through a dark tunnel, voices of survivors talk about their experiences on that fateful night. The tour finishes with an incredible screening of the wreckage. Another draw to this district is Titantic Studios, the primary filming studio for Game of Thrones. Although the studios aren’t open for visitors, many of the filming locations used in the series are, and have proved hugely popular with tourists. There are a few companies offering day tours around various spots, but the free Game of Thrones NI Locations app lists all of the sites both in their actual and Westeros incarnations. Aside from the Game of Thrones link, the Causeway Coast is a stunner in its own right. The Giant’s Causeway, a tangle of hexagonal columns peeking above the ocean, is striking. A drive along the coast takes in some similarly gorgeous spots, such as the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, the crumbling Dunluce Castle and the pretty village of Bushmills, home to the oldest working distillery in Ireland where you can learn how the whiskey is made before settling in to a cosy tasting room for a snifter (or two). It’s the perfect way to round off a taste of Northern Ireland.

countryguides.abtamag.com


ABTAMAG.COM ABTAmag.com is the new home of ABTA Magazine. The website hosts digital versions of the bi-monthly magazine, as well as additional news, comment, analysis and competitions. ABTAmag.com will also host ABTA Golf, the ABTA Magazine Guides and the ABTA Handbooks.

New beginnings

Travel industry insights / May 2018

After a difficult few years, Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt are back on the map for British travellers. Katherine Lawrey welcomes the return of old favourites

King of the north How Belfast became one of the world’s most exciting cities

ABTA Magazine

Generation game

Why business travel has been reshaped around the needs of millennials

Royal Caribbean

Waterslides, robotic barmen and the world’s largest cruise ships

ABTA Magazine A BTA

NSIBLE

L

RESPO

T R AV E

Turning the plastic tide

Sustainability guru Dr Catherine Wilson explains how the industry can cut plastic waste

O

n July 11, 1907, the chemist Leo Baekeland wrote in his diary: “unless I am very much mistaken, this invention will prove important in the future”. If anything, Baekeland, a pioneer of plastic, was underplaying his hand. Soon, plastic was king and today an estimated 300 million tons are produced each year – just 10 per cent of which is recycled. Production is expected to double in the next 20 years, but about 50 per cent of all plastics, from miniature hotel toiletries to disposable coffee cups, are used just once, sometimes only for a few seconds, and then thrown away without a second thought. The main benefit of plastic – its durability – has become its greatest environmental threat: a plastic bottle takes a whopping 450 years to decay. The result is an estimated eight million tons of plastic waste entering the ocean every year. Over time, the plastic degrades and fragments into microparticles, which absorb toxic chemicals in ever greater

Clare Jenkinson concentrations as they travel up the food chain, ending up on our dinner plates. Roughly 75 per cent of litter in the sea is plastic and this is having a direct impact on wildlife – from turtles suffocating on plastic bags and litter islands affecting ecosystems, to fish consuming fatal amounts of microparticles. With as much as 80 per cent of tourism connected to coastal areas, the impact of ocean plastic is a huge concern. Plastic waste is a visual eyesore, reducing beach use, wildlife sightings and well-being. The logical conclusion is fewer visitors, revenue and jobs. Sadly, travel and tourism is a major contributor to the problem. Between 2011-2013, researchers monitoring litter on 23 beaches across Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Latvia, found that an estimated 33 per cent of the waste was generated by leisure or tourism. More than half of this rubbish was plastic. It’s clear that plastic has become a global problem; no part of the world has been left untouched.

We spoke to ABTA’s senior destinations and sustainability manager, about the Better Places programme – and how businesses are using it to tackle plastics What is the Better Places programme?

It is a series of tools and guidance designed to help ABTA Members implement a sustainability approach or improve on their current sustainability performance.

What’s the thinking behind it?

ABTA believes sustainable tourism is essential for the industry’s long-term viability and profitability – and Better Places addresses the environmental, social and economic impacts of tourism. We’ve focused on the actions we know have a material impact and made the process simple.

How does this relate to plastics?

The programme helps Members adopt the sustainability policy that works for them and – as we know plastics is a hugely important topic for the industry – we can offer guidance and support on how businesses can address this issue in their wider policy.

What’s been your best achievement?

Thousands of employees in the travel sector have now been trained on child protection and accessible tourism. Also, in the past 18 months we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of Members engaging with the programme as sustainability rises up the agenda.

How can Members get involved?

Contact sustainable tourism@abta. co.uk or visit Better Places on the Member Zone for more information.

56 May 2018

ABTAmag.com ABTAmag.com

ABTAmag.com

May 2018 57

ABTAmag.com – available on desktop, phone and tablet


50,000 Holiday homes in Europe Book online or call today

Croatia – Dalmatia ID: CDS050

Denmark – Varnæsvig ID: F08017

France – Côte d’Azur ID : FCA544

Italy – Marche ID : IMK174

novasol.co.uk

0333 012 4927

Spain – Mallorca ID: EML828

Profile for ABTA Magazine

2019 ABTA Country Guides: UK & Europe  

From Albania to Ukraine, this is your go-to publication for vital information about the UK & Europe. We spoke to travel agents and tour op...

2019 ABTA Country Guides: UK & Europe  

From Albania to Ukraine, this is your go-to publication for vital information about the UK & Europe. We spoke to travel agents and tour op...

Advertisement