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Europe & Britain Know Before You Go

A step by step guide to your Trafalgar trip.

Your insider’s journey begins… Thank you for choosing Trafalgar to show you the insider’s view of Europe and Britain. A wealth of experience has taught us that your journey begins well before you leave home. So we have compiled this guide to provide you with as much information as possible to help you prepare for your travels. We look forward to welcoming you on the trip of a lifetime!

Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Stratford-upon-Avon


Before you go… Travel Documents

Airport Transfers in London

A couple of weeks prior to your holiday you will receive your Trafalgar wallet with your travel documents and literature. These documents are valuable and contain a wealth of advice and essential information to make your holiday as enjoyable as possible. Please read them carefully before your departure.

Transfers can be expensive, particularly between the airport and your London hotel. Trafalgar has negotiated special group transfer rates from London’s Heathrow* Airport to the door of your Trafalgar London hotel: $38 per person per single trip to/from Heathrow Airport. Trafalgar’s transfer terms and conditions: 1. For included transfers: Your flights must be booked directly by Trafalgar no fewer than 21 days prior to departure. For chargeable transfers: Your Travel Agent provides detailed flight information to Trafalgar no fewer than 21 days prior to departure. Once transfers are booked they cannot be changed. 2. For London arrivals, you must stay at a London hotel booked by Trafalgar on the night of arrival and the night prior to your departure date. 3. Trafalgar only includes one inbound and one outbound transfer. 4. In the event of flight delays outside of Trafalgar’s control, the transfers will be deemed to be cancelled. 5. All transfers are based on group transfers. No refund is therefore available for missed transfers, or guests not using this service. 6. In the event of unforeseen events (such as road or rail works, strikes or demonstrations), Trafalgar will not be responsible for delayed or cancelled transfers.

Passports and Visas You will require a passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of your trip, with appropriate visas. Some itineraries may require multiple-entry visas for certain countries. You must contact your travel agent or applicable government authorities to get the necessary documentation. It is the sole responsibility of each guest to have a valid passport and necessary visas, as well as to comply with entry, health or other requirements of the countries visited.

Travel Insurance Travel insurance is a must have! It is imperative that you take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers you the entire time you are away from home. Your policy should cover the following: • Trip cancellation or curtailment • Loss or damage to property and baggage • Loss of cash, traveller’s cheques, etc. • Medical costs and personal accident Don’t forget to pack a copy of your policy, contact phone numbers and instructions on how to claim in the unlikely event that it is necessary.

*Heathrow Airport: Guests will be picked up and dropped off in time to meet all flights booked to/from London’s Heathrow Airport. *Gatwick Airport: For guests flying into London's Gatwick Airport, Trafalgar recommends the Gatwick Express, see Gatwick Express's website at

Airport Transfers in Europe

Trafalgar’s Express Check-In

Trafalgar bonus! All Trafalgar guests receive complimentary arrival and departure transfers by shuttle bus on the arrival and departure day of their itinerary at the times specified on the individual itinerary pages. Any guests whose flight times do not coincide with the shuttle bus transfer timings may choose to book and purchase a transfer. Additionally, guests arriving before or leaving after the timetabled itinerary day may also book and buy a transfer through Trafalgar providing that they also purchase the additional pre and post itinerary hotel night(s) from Trafalgar.

Please register as soon as possible after making your booking. By registering with Trafalgar’s Express Check-In, you are ensuring we receive all the essential information we need to better anticipate your needs while on your trip. Other benefits include: • You won’t be required to show your passport at each hotel • Your Travel Director will have all your important details immediately • You’ll receive useful information and tips before you go and compelling offers from our partners

Trafalgar bonus in the Eastern Mediterranean region! Trafalgar is pleased to offer complimentary airport transfers at any time either on the first or last day of the itinerary or on other days in conjunction with pre and post accommodation booked through Trafalgar.

It should take less than 10 minutes to register and you should have the following information ready: • Your booking number and last name • The passport details of everyone on your booking • The emergency contact details of your nominated person (should an unlikely event arise)

Note that flight timings must be provided to Trafalgar no fewer than 21 days before flight departure. Please see Trafalgar’s transfer terms and conditions. 3

Please note, if you check in within 15 days of departure, we cannot guarantee your Travel Director will receive your details. In this instance, please print your completed registration form and present it to your Travel Director at the start of your holiday. All of your details are kept secure.

for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Please note that airport porterage at the beginning and end of your guided holiday is not included. Loss or damage to luggage or any of your belongings is at your own risk, so please protect yourself with appropriate insurance.

1. Go to 2. Enter your Booking No. and Last Name


3. Answer all questions and click 'submit'

When travelling as a couple, pack each suitcase with day and evening clothing for each person, so that in the unlikely event one of your suitcases is mislaid on your flight, you’ll still be able to manage. Ensure that your personal and holiday details are written on a label inside each suitcase (including name, address, telephone number, departure and return flight details). Write only your name and destination address on outside labels.

presents Europe & Britain

Make sure that your luggage is in good secure condition, and use a TSA approved lock for US security checkpoints. When carrying fragile items, use a rigid style suitcase for protection. Check-in only your own suitcases. Do not carry items packed by other people. Never accept packages or articles from anyone unknown to you to carry on board the aircraft. There are strict airport security regulations on items that may be carried on board aircraft such as liquids/gels and metal objects. Please consult your airline or travel agent regarding these and other restricted items and how they must be displayed at airport security checkpoints.


We suggest you pack only essential items for daytime use in your hand-baggage, both for your flight and while on the coach. For example, your camera, medicines, anything that you use frequently or is particularly valuable. Expensive jewellery, clothing, etc. should be left at home for your peace of mind.

Luggage Allowance This is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10” (76x45x25 cm) and a maximum weight of 50 lb (23 kg). Hotel porterage of this luggage is included in your holiday price.


Clothing & Footwear For information on suitable clothing and footwear, please refer to the listings under each country. However, a general tip would be to make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes as a number of cities in Europe are developing as havens for pedestrians.


Hand Luggage Hand luggage should be one piece per person and small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. This is your responsibility and should be carried on/off the coach with you. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach and cannot be accepted as carryon luggage.

What to Bring This will depend upon your personal preferences, where you are travelling to and the time of year you are travelling. We generally recommend casual, lightweight, drip-dry clothing that requires little or no ironing. Laundry facilities are available at most of the places we stay, however, take sufficient clothing to last for about a week. Below is a list of items to consider packing for your Trafalgar holiday:

Your understanding and cooperation is appreciated, particularly as it is necessary for your safety and comfort. If a second suitcase is carried, or if it exceeds the permitted weight and/or dimensions, a charge of €6/£5 per travelling day will be collected by your Travel Director. Airlines may have additional restrictions and may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website

Clothing Swimsuit Sandals Hat Shorts/skirts Warm jacket 4

Undergarments Socks Sleepwear Jeans/trousers Pullover/cardigan

Warm jacket Waterproof jacket Good walking shoes General Items Spare batteries/charger Medications & prescriptions Toiletries Insect repellent Travel sewing kit Plastic bags Water bottle (screw top lid) Sachets of washing powder

Make Friends Before You Go

Pullover/cardigan Shirts/blouses

When you travel with Trafalgar you will have the opportunity to meet new and interesting people from around the world. You can meet up with your fellow travelling companions by visiting Trafalgar’s Online Community. Read posts from fellow travellers in our Online Forum and register for My Community, your private travel group portal. Visit and click on the links at the bottom of the page.

Camera/memory cards Power plug adapters/converter Collapsible umbrella Sunscreen Pocket calculator Travel alarm clock Sunglasses

Budgeting Trafalgar itineraries include many features that will save you money on your trip – if you study your itinerary pages in the Trafalgar brochure you will see how many highlight visits and other sightseeing is included, as well as meals and entertainment. For personal items such as souvenirs, gifts, taxi fares, laundry and gratuities, we suggest you allow €9-€11 per day in Europe and £8-£10 per day in the UK. In addition, we recommend you budget for the following extra expenses per person:

Money belt or holster

Essentials Passport (& Visas) Travel insurance policy Trafalgar documents Airline tickets Credit cards/pre-loaded currency cards NB Do not pack your passport or money in your suitcase.


Tip: Weed out your wallet prior to leaving. Only take the essential identifiers like your drivers license and just two credit cards - one to carry, another to be locked in your hotel room safe.

Lunches are usually not included and individual requirements vary, but we suggest you allow €10/£9 per day. Where evening meals are not included, the cost will depend on the type and locations of restaurants used. As a guide, allow €25-€30/£22-£30 per day. You should budget for drinks with meals and refreshment stops during the day. Non-alcoholic drinks cost approximately €2-€3/£1.50-£2.50 each.

Health See individual country information for any specific health requirements or recommendations. If you are on a regular course of medication or there are medicines that particularly suit you, we recommend that you bring an adequate supply for your entire trip. Identical brands may not be available elsewhere, but also bring a copy of your prescription.

Money Since 2002, the Euro has been the currency throughout much of Europe. Please see the individual listings under each country for the applicable currency. We strongly recommend that you buy a small amount of each currency, particularly Euros, before arriving on the continent, since there may be no opportunity to exchange money as you enter a country. This enables you to make your initial purchases until you manage to get to a bank.

For easy access when travelling, please keep all your medication in your hand luggage, not in your suitcases. Carry prescription drugs in their original package to avoid customs questions. We respectfully suggest older passengers and those suffering from any existing medical conditions should have a thorough check-up with their doctor prior to departure. If you wear eyeglasses, you may wish to bring an extra pair or set of contact lenses in your carry-on luggage.

It is also possible at some banks and ATMs to draw cash on presentation of your credit card, though this may incur fees/ interest payments – check with your bank before departure. It is a good idea to deposit sufficient funds into your accounts prior to departure and then use your Personal Identification Number (PIN) to access them. Check with your bankcard company regarding possible ATM availability. Even if you are planning to use your credit card, you may also like to arrange a Prepaid Currency card before you leave home. These are available in Euros, Pounds Sterling and other major currencies and allow you to pre-load any amount you wish. They can be used at ATMs as well as in shops and restaurants across Europe. Further information can be found at

If you have any existing medical conditions, dietary requirements or disability that should be brought to our attention, it is essential that you inform us via your travel agent. Medical attention can be very expensive outside your own country, so be sure to take out adequate insurance.

Vaccinations Please contact your doctor or healthcare provider before travelling to determine which vaccinations are recommended.


Please note that we don't recommend the use of travellers cheques as these are increasingly difficult to change and often incur fees. In Britain, you must have £ Sterling currency. Euros are accepted in Banks and Bureau de Change, but not in shops, restaurants, bars, etc. Trafalgar’s London Reception Centre and Hotel Service Desk also accept Euro currency. In Scotland you may receive Scottish sterling notes in your change; these are accepted in England and Wales.

Credit Cards If you have a credit card, we strongly recommend that you bring it with you, since this gives you extra financial flexibility while travelling. The major international credit cards, especially Visa or MasterCard, are accepted by many restaurants, shops and hotels. The bill you sign will be made out in much the same way as at home, except that the total will be in the local currency. This will be converted into your home currency by the credit card company and invoiced in the usual way. Here are some further tips on using credit cards while travelling. •

Check the expiry date of your credit card and the amount of credit available to you (do not forget any credit card purchases made just before you leave).

Call your credit card company to advise them you will be travelling, as some companies will block the credit card when they notice unusual charge activity.

Ensure you memorise your Personal Identification Number (PIN); do not write it down.

Ensure that your credit card is kept in view at all times when paying for goods and services.

Ensure that the total amount of your purchase is entered on the sales voucher in the correct currency before you sign it.

Retain all copies of sales vouchers until you have verified them against your statements.

Insist that all ‘spoiled’ sales vouchers be destroyed in your presence.

Make sure your credit card is carried on your person.

Never leave your credit card unattended in your hotel room, a vehicle or any other place.

Treat your credit card as you would cash.

Report immediately the loss or theft of your credit card.

Weather The climate in Europe is moderately continental and humid in the summer. For weather conditions pertinent to your travel timetable, visit these websites: • • •

Mail Prior to departing you should stop your mail or arrange for a neighbour to collect it. A full mailbox can be a treasure trove for hackers and identity thieves. 6

While you are travelling... Your Travel Director and Coach Driver

a brief orientation drive or walk to familiarise you with the locality, usually on the way to your hotel.

Throughout your Trafalgar guided holiday you will be accompanied by a professional Travel Director and experienced Coach Driver. A Trafalgar Travel Director is more than just a guide. They are seasoned and experienced travellers, specially selected for their in-depth knowledge of the regions you will visit. They will enrich your experience with informative commentary on the history, culture and natural landscape of the region and reveal the hidden places that only an insider would know. They will also introduce you to your travelling companions and make you feel welcome. Trafalgar’s Coach Drivers are fully licensed, qualified and experienced professionals who are selected for their impeccable driving skills and record.

Optional Excursions Most of your sightseeing activities are included in your holiday price. However, there is a wide range of other exciting excursions available, both while travelling and in the gateway cities before and after your trip. To assist you with planning your budget, your travel documents will include a comprehensive day-by-day itinerary with full details and costs of the optional excursions available. Some optional excursions cannot be paid by credit card. Your Travel Director will advise you. Please note that optional excursions are operated by third parties and Trafalgar accepts no liability. All optional excursions are undertaken at your own risk.

Lost/Damaged Baggage If upon arrival at the airport after your flight, your baggage fails to arrive or arrives damaged, go immediately to the airline representative (often situated in the Arrivals Hall before you go through customs) and report your loss/ damage. They will ask you for the numbered baggage receipts given to you when you checked your baggage in for the flight. They will then commence a search for your baggage, and may award you some compensation to buy essential clothing until your baggage is found. You should also contact your travel insurance assistance company, as they may help with the recovery of the bag and offer some monetary compensation depending on the length of time the baggage remains missing.

Trafalgar Noticeboards In London, most of our hotels display a Trafalgar Noticeboard. If you do not find one, please ask the Trafalgar Local Host or at the concierge desk. Please read the notices as they contain details about the times your Local Host will be in the hotel and about meeting your Travel Director, if you are joining your holiday in London. During your trip, your Travel Director will post a daily notice with details of the program timetable. Please check this regularly for the most up-to-date information and be ready at the specified times.

Europe is different!

Currency Packs

Visiting Europe is a totally new and different experience from life back home. You will find different people, food and customs and a completely different attitude and way of life. While many of its customs may seem strange to a visitor, they are, after all, what makes Europe ‘Europe’. So our advice is to keep an open mind and enjoy the unfamiliar.

Trafalgar’s Currency Packs are one of the easiest ways for you to buy foreign currency for Europe. You will not have the inconvenience of standing in line on cross-channel ferries waiting to change money. We recommend at least one pack per person to give you just the right amount of currency to get you started. Currency Packs can be purchased at the start of your trip from your Travel Director at Trafalgar’s London Reception Centre. You can pay in Australian dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling. They are only available on European itineraries starting in London and not on UK and Ireland itineraries.

Hotels At Trafalgar we pride ourselves on our superior hotel selection. Our hotels are centrally located and close to major attractions. As we travel from major cities to remote regions, the standards can vary, but you can rest assured that the hotels we have selected are the best available.

Your Holiday

Europe has a tourism industry which has developed over several centuries and across many different countries, each with its own culture and traditions. The hotels often reflect that, so don’t expect European hotels to be the same as those back home. Not all hotels are air-conditioned, for example, since in parts of Europe the climate does not usually warrant it. All Trafalgar hotel accommodation have private facilities, but again, this will vary. Most bathrooms have a bathtub with integrated shower, but occasionally

Trafalgar’s philosophy is that it’s your holiday and you should have the freedom to enjoy yourself as you wish. However, a great deal of planning goes into your itinerary to ensure you see all the main sights in the places visited. Trafalgar ensures you enjoy a full sightseeing experience in all major towns and cities visited on your itinerary. Local sightseeing is conducted by qualified Local Guides who are eager to share their vast knowledge and love of the local history and culture. In other places, your Travel Director will give you 7

Laundry Facilities

only a walk-in shower. Room sizes in Europe, the UK and Ireland are generally smaller than in other parts of the world, and can vary within the same hotel, particularly where the hotel is a historic building.

When there is a two-night stopover, arrangements can be made for your laundry with hotel housekeeping (at your cost). Please note laundry services are not available on weekends or local holidays.

Twin rooms usually consist of two single beds while double rooms contain one matrimonial bed. Triple rooms may consist of one double-bed and the third bed may be a rollaway bed. Single rooms in European hotels are generally smaller than twin-bedded rooms, and may contain one single bed.

Lost Property Once something is lost it is often difficult to find. Trafalgar cannot accept responsibility for property lost anywhere, although we will do our utmost to try and recover lost items. If you notice the loss while on your trip, you should immediately report it to your Travel Director who will complete a lost property form and give you a copy for insurance purposes. If you wish Trafalgar to trace any lost property for you – once your trip has ended – you should contact Trafalgar’s London Reception Centre or Hotel Service Desk. Any lost property found will be returned to you at your own expense.

You are strongly advised to book all your pre and post trip hotel accommodation before you travel. In large cities rooms are constantly in demand for tourism and business purposes. NB Trafalgar contracted your trip accommodation many months ago. However, on occasions the hotel may need to relocate its guests into alternative accommodation. This can happen particularly when special events such as major conferences or exhibitions are taking place. It is beyond Trafalgar’s control, but we will always do our utmost to minimise any inconvenience and you can rest assured that all sightseeing inclusions will be unchanged.

Your Coach Modern, air-conditioned coaches have been carefully selected by Trafalgar with your comfort, safety and scenic viewing in mind. Your Trafalgar team will explain all the safety features of your coach at the beginning of your trip. For the comfort of all travellers, Trafalgar enforces a noalcohol and no-smoking policy on board the coach. Our coaches are equipped with DVD and/or CD players.

Facilities All hotel rooms are clean and well serviced. Tea and coffee making facilities are provided within most hotels rooms in the UK, however this is uncommon in European hotels. Rooms usually contain STD/ISD phone and a television, and may have a mini bar, room service and in-house movies. Wherever possible we select establishments that offer additional facilities too, such as swimming pool, sauna, restaurants and bars. Please refer to the itinerary in your travel wallet for information regarding accommodation at each stop.

Please note that antiseptic, bandages and other over-thecounter medications such as aspirin are not carried on the coach. Your Travel Director will be able to direct you as to where these items may be purchased locally should you need them. Porterage

Allocation of rooms

Your coach crew is always there to lend a hand and to liaise closely with hotels to ensure efficient handling of your luggage.

Trafalgar does not allocate the rooms in any hotel – this is done by the hotel staff – nor can we guarantee the position of your room within any hotel. If you are on your guided holiday and you feel that you are receiving a disproportionate number of smaller rooms or rooms without a view, please inform your Travel Director.

Seat Rotation Where appropriate, our seat rotation scheme ensures you get to know your fellow travelling companions and enjoy the views from a different vantage point each day.

Hotel Check-in & Check-out

A Clean Coach

Arrangements are made to ensure that check-in and check-out at hotels run smoothly, and your Travel Director will advise you in advance of the procedure before arriving at each hotel. On departing the hotel, always remember to return your room key to reception before boarding the coach!

Your driver is responsible for the coach inside and out. Please assist by eating and drinking on board as little as possible. No Smoking For the comfort of all travellers, smoking is not permitted on board our coaches, but smokers need not worry – frequent comfort and relaxation stops are made along the way.

Personal Hotel Expenses Any additional costs incurred during your stay at the hotels (for example, laundry, telephone calls and bar bills) are your responsibility. Please ensure that your account is settled on the evening before you leave to ensure a smooth and speedy departure the following morning.

Onboard Restroom Coaches on all itineraries in Europe are equipped with restrooms. While you are free to use this facility whenever required, your Travel Director will suggest that you make use of the facilities available at our frequent comfort stops.



individual nature, you should seal your gratuity in an envelope to present to each of them separately at the end of your holiday.

Breakfast Your holiday includes daily breakfasts following local traditions. Please note that in London, breakfast is only included if you have stayed in the hotel on the preceding night and booked it through Trafalgar. Check with Trafalgar in London as to how your breakfast will be served at your London hotel on the morning of your trip departure. In Britain and Ireland, and on the majority of our Europe itineraries, you will enjoy a cold or hot buffet style breakfast. Please refer to your itinerary pages in the relevant Trafalgar brochure for full details. Dinner While Trafalgar encourages hotels to provide meals that feature local flavours, most offer fairly plain international fare that caters for the broadest range of tastes. If you have a more adventurous palate, you will still have a number of opportunities to sample local specialities throughout your holiday, either during your free time or on our unique Be My Guest dining experiences and other Highlight dining occasions.

Suggested tipping rates (per person travelling) for your Trafalgar team in Europe/UK are €4/£3 per day for your Travel Director, €2.50/£2 per day for your Coach Driver, and €2/£1 per half-day for a Local Guide.

While on your guided holiday, tips and service charges are included for your included meals, accommodation and porterage, but at other times we suggest the following as a guide to general tipping practices in Europe/UK:

Room service waiter: €1/£1 (We recommend that you carry some small change with you, as it is not usual to ask for change when tipping.)

Taxis: 10-15% of the fare on the meter.

Restaurants & bars: 10-15% of the total bill. If a service charge has already been added, there is no need to tip as much or at all.

Photography Bring extra batteries and memory cards. Depending on the destination, use re-sealable plastic bags to protect camera equipment from dampness. Never leave a camera in a hotel room or elsewhere unattended.

Freedom at Meal Times Trafalgar’s philosophy of a careful mix of free time and organised activities extends to your meal arrangements, and only a limited number of lunches are included on our itineraries. We believe you should be free to spend your time at lunch stops in your own way, maybe trying a local dish or taking a light snack and using the extra time for additional sightseeing or shopping. Occasionally, our daily itinerary may require us to make a lunch stop at a recommended roadside eatery. In certain cities, dinners are not included, giving you an opportunity to dine out on your own, sample regional dishes and eat in typical local restaurants. Your Travel Director will be able to offer advice to help you choose.

Staying In Touch Phoning home from hotels can be expensive. All hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room. This charge can be very high. It is always cheaper for you to use public telephones (pay phones). Your Travel Director will advise you how to use the telephone if you are unsure. Alternatively, you could use an eKIT phonecard.

What is eKIT?


eKIT is your global phone card and web communication service designed to keep you in touch with family and friends while you’re travelling.

When not specified on an included meal, drinks are always at your own expense. In some European cafés/bars you pay one price to drink at the bar, and a higher price to sit at a table. Alcoholic drinks can be much more expensive if purchased in hotel bars.

eKIT provides: • • • • •

Water While tap water is perfectly safe to drink in many European countries, we suggest you drink bottled water where available. You may also wish to carry a small bottle of water with you throughout the day to ensure you are sufficiently hydrated.

Tipping •

Low cost international calls Send and receive voice mails Free email service Send SMS text messages from the web An online travel vault for secure storage of important documents (e.g. passport number) 24-hour customer service.

For more information check out the Trafalgar eKIT phone card in your travel wallet or go to

We are confident that by the end of your trip you will have come to appreciate the important role your Travel Director and Coach Driver have played in giving you the best possible holiday experience. If you have been pleased with their services, you may wish to express this satisfaction with a gratuity, as is customary throughout the world. Since this is a matter of a private and

How do I join? Use your credit card to set up an account at or call 24-hour customer service. Join before you go and receive a Trafalgar eKIT joining bonus!


How do I use it?

We also recommend that you photocopy your passport and credit card details and leave them in your suitcase in case of loss. If you are unsure about security while on holiday, your Travel Director will provide you with the best advice.

Your account number and PIN gives you access to all the phone and web based services. To make a call, simply use the toll-free access numbers for the country you are in, which you will find listed on your eKIT card, or at

If you need to make cash withdrawals, ATMs in bank lobbies are less vulnerable to devices that capture your credit card information - as they generally have camera surveillance.

How long does it last? eKIT is a rechargeable service – simply recharge your account using your credit card at or call their 24hour customer service. Ask about the monthly recharge bonus.

Doctors If at any time on your guided holiday you require a doctor, please inform your Travel Director who will arrange this for you. If you are staying at a Trafalgar hotel prior to your guided holiday commencing, please ask the hotel concierge to call the doctor. Ensure that you keep receipts for the doctor’s visits, medicines and any other expenses incurred, as you will need them to claim on your insurance.

Is it competitive? Yes – you may find cheaper phone cards in major cities – but you can only use them in the country of purchase and may not be in a language you understand. The advantages of eKIT: • • • •

It can be used from 70+ countries. You can call over 200 countries. You can recharge the card as you travel. You can use any balance remaining once you get home.

Public Holidays and Changes During local or national holidays, certain facilities such as museums, sightseeing tours and shopping may be limited, so we sometimes have to make slight itinerary adjustments. We advise you to check with your Travel Agent before selecting a departure date so that your enjoyment won’t be diminished. Also, local holidays, closing days and other circumstances may change the day of the week for timetabled dining out, gala dinners, sightseeing and other included activities.

Emailing Home Many hotels have wi-fi in the public areas as well as in the rooms and there is usually a charge for this. Some hotels also have one or two computers in the reception area for the use of guests. Internet cafes are also available in many cities.

Guest Feedback

Tip: Be careful with hotel computers. Do not access financial data on hotel or public computers or on public Wi-Fi networks.

Your feedback is always welcomed. Towards the end of your trip, your Travel Director will hand out a feedback questionnaire. We ask that you answer the questions, make any relevant comments and hand it back to your Travel Director. The questionnaires are sealed and returned to our Head Office. Every sheet is read and a summary of each holiday is given to management, and where necessary, appropriate action is taken to rectify any problems.

Shipping If you plan to purchase heavy items, we would recommend that you have them shipped to your home address, as airline charges are high for excess baggage. This can either be arranged by the shop where you make your purchases, or you can make up a parcel and ship it home. Our Reception Centre in London can advise you of some companies who specialise in this service. Note: • •

Goods may take several months to reach your home. You will be liable for import duty on all goods shipped to your home – personal duty-free allowances only apply to goods carried home personally. You are strongly advised to insure goods being shipped in case of breakage or non-arrival.

Security It is important that you take precautions when travelling anywhere. If hotel security boxes are available then we recommend you use them for all your valuables. Do not leave these items in your hotel room. Prior to leaving home, purchase a shoulder or neck holster or a money belt to carry items such as your passport or extra money – make sure it is not visible under your clothing. Be wary of pickpockets! Wallets and purses should be kept out of sight in front/ inside pockets; carry your handbags and backpacks around your front. 10

Trafalgar’s London Reception Centre Your home away from home!

Summer Opening Hours (8 April – 25 October 2013)

A friendly welcome awaits you at Trafalgar’s new London Reception Centre – the departure point for all itineraries commencing in London. Our aim is to make your stay in London as enjoyable as possible, so drop in and take advantage of our fantastic range of services and facilities.

Sunday to Thursday 5am – 7pm

In an excellent location very close to Waterloo train station and opposite the famous London Eye, the Centre features state-of-the-art design and technology. Here you can relax in comfort before your Trafalgar itinerary departs. Catch up with international news on TV, read the paper or check your emails using our free Wi-Fi facility or internet café.

Hospitality Service

Friday & Saturday 5am – 8pm Winter Opening Hours Daily 7am – 7pm

If you are staying in a Trafalgar hotel, your Trafalgar Local Host will visit daily to provide you with important departure information and assist you in any other way they can. Please check the hotel noticeboard for visiting hours and information, or ask the concierge.

At the Hospitality Desk, our highly trained Local Hosts can arrange additional accommodation and confirm any current bookings on your behalf, as well as book London sightseeing excursions, an exciting range of out-of-town trips, plus priority entry tickets to famous London attractions such as Madame Tussaud’s, the Planetarium and London Eye.

If you are not staying at a Trafalgar hotel the night prior to the trip departure date, please ensure you contact us on +44 207 620 8900 to reconfirm. You must quote your Trafalgar booking reference number when you call. The reference number is located at the bottom of your Trafalgar vouchers.


For further information, visit us online at

Many of our guests are away from home for some time, so if you are in London and wish to receive mail while away, you can have it sent to Trafalgar’s London Reception Centre to await your collection. It should be clearly addressed showing your surname in capital letters, your guided holiday number and date of arrival in London, and the name of your Trafalgar London hotel.

Address & Contact Details Trafalgar London Reception Centre 79 York Road, London SE1 7NJ Tel: +44 (0) 207 620 8900 Email:

London Reception Centre


Austria Capital: Vienna

Population: 8.3 million

Location: Central Europe

Land area: 83,858km2 (32,378mi2)

Language: German

Famous for: Apple Strudel, Mozart, Sound of Music

Money Matters

beers are excellent and reasonably priced. White wines are popular (Riesling, Veltliner), but there are some good red wines. Schnapps liquor is found in most German speaking countries and is made by distilling various fruits. Austrian water, which comes from the Syrian Alps, tastes mountainfresh. However, if you come across a sign ‘Kein Trinkwasser’ the water is NOT fit for drinking.

The currency used is the Euro. Euro coins are issued in 2, 1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, and 1c and notes in 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5. ATMs are widespread in Austria and are called Bankomat.


Best Buys

It is a landlocked country with a major river known as the Danube. Austria is mainly an alpine country two thirds being mountainous.

Cameras, glassware/crystal, chinaware – Viennese local handicrafts, dirndls (traditional Austrian dress), embroidered blouses and lederhosen, woodcarvings, dried flower pictures, Viennese petit point, winter sports equipment.

Climate and Clothing The climate in Austria is a moderate continental climate. Summer days are warm with cooler evenings and winters are cold. Even in summer you will need a cardigan or jumper for the sudden cooler evenings.

Shopping Hours Shops are generally open Monday-Friday 9am to 6pm. Many shops close at 12 noon or 5pm on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays.

Manners and Customs

Postal Information

Austrians tend to be formal in both their social and business dealings. One should shake hands when greeting or saying goodbye. It is considered impolite to leave a restaurant or shop without saying ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ – Goodbye. Tipping is not high but widespread. On restaurant bills 10-15% is added, and it is usual to leave only small change.

Stamps can be purchased at post offices and tobacconists. Post boxes are painted yellow.

Telephone The country code is +43 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Telephones are recognised by a sign with a black receiver in a yellow circle on the door and the word ‘fernsprecher’. All booths have multilingual instructions. Directory assistance is 118200. Many post offices also have telephones where calls are made and paid for at the counter afterwards.

Food and Drink Austrian food is distinctive and is traditionally of the stodgy, hearty ‘meat and dumplings’ variety. Traditional dishes include Wiener schnitzel (veal in breadcrumbs) and Goulash. Many of the simpler meals are often made with rice, potatoes and dumplings (Knödel), with delicious sauces. It is renowned for its pastries, desserts and cakes; the most famous ones being Apfelstudel (Apple Strudel) and Sachertorte (a 2-layer chocolate sponge cake with apricot jam in the middle, covered in dark chocolate icing). Local

eKIT The access number for Austria is 0800-291-018.

Public Toilets In general you will need to pay to use a public toilet. Toilets will either be staffed by a toilet assistant or will be ‘slot’ machine operated. Prices range between €0.20 and €1. Toilets may be labelled with symbols of a man and a woman, the initial WC with ‘Damen’ (ladies) and ‘Herren’ (gentlemen).

Canola field, Salzburg


Belarus Capital: Minsk

Population: 9.7 million

Location: Eastern Europe

Land Area: 207,600km2 (80,154mi2)

Language: Belarusian and Russian Famous for: 1991 – USSR was dissolved

Money Matters

should be filtered and boiled before drinking; we advise drinking only bottled water.

The currency used is the Belarusian ruble (BYR). Bank notes are issues in 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5000, 1000, 500, 100, 50, 10 and 5 denominations. There are no coins in circulation. There are numerous bureau de change in Belarusian cities to change foreign currency to Belarusian roubles. There should be no problem with exchanging US dollars, Euros and Russian roubles.

Best Buys Wooden caskets, trinket boxes, straw items, decorative plates and other handicraft items are good buys. Typical Russian souvenirs like the wooden matryoshka dolls and original samovars are also available. Antiquities, valuables, works of art and manuscripts other than those offered for sale in souvenir shops require an export license. Scarina Avenue is the main street in Minsk with antique shops and two department stores. Only Belarusian rubles are accepted. However, nearly every shop has a currency exchange counter.

Bank opening hours Monday – Friday 9am to 5.30pm.

Geography Belarus is a landlocked country bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west and Latvia to the northwest. It has large areas of flat land and around 11,000 lakes.

Shopping Hours Shops are generally open Mondays to Saturdays, 9am to 7pm. In big cities shops are open daily and many open 24 hours a day.

Climate and Clothing


The climate is moderately continental and humid with temperatures averaging -6°C (20°F) in January and +18°C (64°F) in July. Medium to heavyweight clothing is required in winter. Waterproofs are advisable throughout the year.

The country code is +375 (dialling in) and to make international calls (dialling out) it is necessary to dial 8, wait for a tone then dial 10. Calls from Belarus to some countries must be booked through the international operator. Public telephones take phone cards. Grey phone booths are for internal calls and blue ones for international calls.

Manners and Customs Handshaking is the usual form of greeting. Hospitality is part of the tradition and people are welcoming and friendly.

Food and Drink Traditional cuisine includes borscht (a soup made with beetroot, which is served hot with sour cream), dracheny, (a tasty potato dish with mushrooms) and draniki, (a potato pancake served with pickled berries). Stews, sausages, bread and vegetables such as cabbage are commonly found on menus. Alcoholic drinks include beer and vodka and non-alcoholic drinks include herb teas and coffee. Tap water

Medieval Castle, Mir


Belgium Capital: Brussels

Population: 10.8 million

Location: Western Europe

Land Area: 30,500km2 (1,783mi2 )

Language: Flemish, French and German

Famous for: Chocolates and mussels

Money Matters The currency used is the Euro. Exchange offices are open Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 12 noon and 1pm to 5pm. These offices, together with the banks, give a far better exchange rate than hotels, shops and restaurants. Major credit cards are widely accepted. Bank opening hours Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4pm/5pm; some banks are open 9am to 12 noon on Saturdays.

Geography The majority of West European capitals are within 1,000km (610 miles) of Brussels.

Climate and clothing

parsley), and ‘carbonade’ (beef casserole cooked with onions and beer). The best known dessert of Belgian origin must be waffles, but ‘crêpes aux pommes’ (apple pancakes) are definitely worth trying. With almost everything the most common drink is Belgian beer of which there are over 500 varieties. The water in Belgium is safe to drink.

Best Buys Lace, glass and crystal ware, pewter, leather goods, antiques and Belgian chocolates - said to be the best in the world. Shopping Hours Shops are generally open Mondays to Saturdays 9am to 6pm. Some shops close between 12 noon and 2pm.

From the coast inland to Brussels, the Belgian climate is temperate maritime, similar to south-east England. The Ardennes have more continental weather, with warmer summers and colder winters. The average temperature is lowest in January at 3°C (37°F) and highest in July at 18°C (64°F). Rain can be expected at any time of year and so a light raincoat would be very useful.

Postal Information

Manners and Customs


Belgians are generally friendly. Muster your school French or dabble in Dutch and you’ll find locals will appreciate your efforts and respond. On the other hand, it won’t take you long to meet a resident English-speaker in Brussels’ cosmopolitan world.

The country code is +32 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Away from the hotels the TT Téléphone-Télégraphe/Telefoon-Telegraaf) office is the place to make international and reverse charge (collect) telephone calls.

Food and Drink


Mussels and ‘frites’ (French Fries) are the speciality but other delicious dishes include ‘waterzooi’ (chicken or seafood cooked in cream sauce with vegetables), ‘Anguille au vert’ (eel flavoured with sorrel, sage and

Look for the words Postes/Posterijen in shiny white letters on a red background. Opening hours are 8am to 5pm or 9am to 6pm. You may also purchase stamps at many news stands, bookshops, street kiosks and vending machines. Mail boxes are red and are generally wall-mounted.

The access numbers are Belgium 0800-49943, Brussels economy 02-400-6848 and Nationwide economy 078-160-170.

Public Toilets Public conveniences can be found in the larger metro and railway stations, museums and department stores. If there’s an attendant on duty, a few cents’ tip is customary. The rare and less than salubrious street facilities are best avoided. If toilet doors are not marked with the usual silhouettes, you’ll see the inscriptions WC, Toilettes/ Toiletten, Dames (ladies) and Messieurs/Heren (gentlemen).

Manneken Pis, Brussels


Bulgaria Capital: Sofia

Population: 7.5 million

Location: South East Europe

Land Area: 110,910km2 (42,822mi2)

Language: Bulgarian

Famous for: Black Sea beaches and yoghurt

Money Matters

It may be small but Bulgaria has a great variety of topographical features. The land can be divided into plains, plateaus, hills, mountains, basins, gorges, and deep river valleys.

dish), Rhodope cheverme (lamb roasted on a spit over an open fire) and Thracian katmi (a special type of pancake). National specialities include Shopska salad (sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and parsley topped with grated sheep’s cheese) and tarator (a cold soup of chopped cucumber, walnuts and yoghurt). Also tempting is shish kebab, stuffed vine or cabbage leaves and moussaka. Bulgarian wines are the perfect companion for Bulgarian food. Bulgaria is one of the world’s largest wine producers. The Bulgarian white and red wines such as Gumza, Dimiat, Pamid, Muscat, Misket, Mavrud and Melnik are well known to connoisseurs. Tap water is normally chlorinated, and while relatively safe, can cause mild stomach upsets. It is advisable to drink bottled water.

Climate and Clothing

Best Buys

Bulgaria has a temperate climate, with cool and damp winters, very hot and dry summers, and a Mediterranean influence along the Black Sea coast. Climate varies according to elevation and it frequently rains during spring and autumn. Medium weight clothing is required most of the year and warmer outdoor wear is necessary in winter.

The main shopping area of Sofia is the Vitosha Boulevard. Bulgarian handicrafts, wines, spirits and confectionery can all be purchased.

Manners and Customs

Postal Information

Normal courtesies should be observed and handshaking is the normal form of greeting. Dress should be conservative but casual. If invited to the home, a small souvenir from one’s homeland is an acceptable gift. Do not give money. Remember that a nod of the head means no and a shake of the head means yes.

The General Post Office in Four Gurko Street in Sofia is open 24 hours. Post office opening hours are usually Mondays to Fridays 8.30am to 5.30pm.

The currency used is the Lev (Lv). It is divided into 100 stotinki (1 Lev = 100 stotinki). Coins are issued in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 stotinki, 1 lev and banknotes in 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 leva. Bank opening hours Mondays to Fridays 9am to 4pm.


Shopping Hours Shops and stores are generally open Mondays to Saturdays, 10am to 8pm.

Telephone The country code is +359 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Calls from some parts of the country must be placed through the international operator. There are many public telephones in the main towns.

Food and Drink Because of its geographical position and long history Bulgarian cuisine is a mixture between Slavonic, Greek and Turkish cuisines. Speciality foods include Bansko-style kapama (meat and vegetables stewed in an earthenware

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria


Croatia Capital: Zagreb

Population: 4.5 million

Location: South East Europe

Land Area: 56,542km2 (21,830mi2)

Language: Croatian

Famous for: Neckties/cravat and Marco Polo

Money Matters

favourite brandy sljivovica, made from plums or travarica, a herbal brandy. Italian espresso is also popular. Mains water is normally chlorinated, and while relatively safe, may cause mild abdominal upsets. Bottled water is advisable.

The currency used is the Kuna (kn). It is divided in 100 lipa (1 kuna = 100 lipa). Coins are issued in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 lipa and 1, 2, and 5 kuna and notes in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 kuna.

Best Buys

Bank opening hours Mondays to Fridays 7.30am to 7pm.

Croata kravata (Croatian cravats – ties), Maraschino (cherry) liqueur of the Zadar region, Pag island lace is a handcrafted decorative work from the island of Pag, silk embroidery of Konavle and Morcic´ jewellery are the main souvenirs in Rijeka. Tourists can reclaim VAT on expenditure of more than K500. Ensure all receipts are retained after any purchase is made, as the authorities do have the power to fine visitors without relevant documents. This is to prevent VAT evasion by shopkeepers.

Geography The vast majority of Adriatic Sea islands lie off the coast of Croatia; there are approximately 1200 islands.

Climate Croatia has a varied climate, with continental climate conditions (hot summers and cold winters) in the north and a pleasant Mediterranean climate on the Adriatic coast (hot dry summers and mild winters).

Shopping Hours Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 8pm and Saturdays, 8am to 2pm. Some shops in cities may now open on Sundays.

Manners and Customs

Postal Information

People normally shake hands upon meeting and leaving. Smoking is generally acceptable but there are restrictions in public buildings and on public transport.

Post offices (posta or HPT) are open Monday to Fridays, 7 or 8am to 7pm and Saturdays, 8am to 1pm. Stamps (marke) are also available at news stands.

Food and Drink


There is a varied and distinctive range of cuisine on offer in Croatia. The Adriatic coast excels in seafood: Regional dishes include scampi, prstaci (shellfish), and Dalmatian brodet (mixed fish stewed with rice). Inland look for specialities such as manistra od bobica (beans and fresh maize soup) or struki (baked cheese dumpling). Traditional dishes from the area around Zagreb include purica z mlincima (turkey with pasta noodles), and strukli (raviolilike pasta dough balls with a cheese filling). Croatian beer (pivo) is of a high quality and of the light lager variety. The regional wines (vino) are good and cheap. Try Croatia’s

The country code is +385 (dialling in) and international access is 00. Public telephones use magnetic cards (telekarta), when making long distance and international calls, it’s usually easier to go to the post office, where you’re assigned a cabin and given the bill afterwards.

Useful website

Zagreb Cathedral


Czech Republic Capital: Prague

Population: 10.5 million

Location: Central Europe

Land Area: 78,864km2 (30,332mi2)

Language: Czech

Famous for: Beer and author Franz Kafka

Money Matters

a dessert. The best-known Czech beer is Pilsner Urquell (Plzensky Prazdroj in Czech), which claims the title of the original pilsner beer. Every Czech town of any size will have a brewery; they’re almost all good. Moravia is a wine growing region, and while it may not rank among the world’s best, it is very drinkable and very affordable. Tap water is normally chlorinated, and while relatively safe, may cause mild stomach upsets. Bottled water is available and advised.

The currency used is the Czech Koruna (CZK). It is divided into 100 haler (1 Koruna = 100 haler). Coins are issued in 50h, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 korun (20 korun is more commonly found as coins, whereas 50 korun is more common as a banknote) and notes in 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 korun. Bank opening hours Generally Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 6pm. Some banks close early on Fridays.

Best Buys Souvenirs include Bohemian glass, Czech crystal and porcelain, beaded jewellery, Czech marionettes and puppets made by Czech artisans, wooden folk carvings and handmade wooden toys. Other special purchases include pottery (particularly from Kolovec and Straznice) and geyser stone carvings from Karlovy Vary, delicate lace and needle embroidery from many Moravian towns and blood-red garnets and semi-precious stones from Bohemia.

Geography It is a landlocked country, with two low-lying river basins surrounded by forest clad hills. With the fall of communism the local industry has had to adhere to stricter environmental standards. This has improved the state of the rivers and forests.

Climate and Clothing

Shopping Hours Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 6pm, Saturdays 8am to 12 noon. The number of shops also open on Sunday is constantly increasing.

The Czech Republic has a moderate climate with great local diversity throughout the year. Generally winters are cold and summers mild. The hottest months have the highest level of rainfall. A raincoat is recommended.

Postal Information

Manners and Customs

Stamps are available from the post office and news stands. Letters go in the orange post boxes around the city. There is a 24-hour service at the main post office in Prague at 14 Jindrisská Street, Prague 1.

Dress should be casual but conservative, except at formal dinners and at quality hotels or restaurants.

Food and Drink


Czech cuisine is considered heavy and very filling as meals are mainly meat and starch based. Long and cold winters do not allow for a variety of fresh vegetables. The meat dishes (beef goulash) are commonly served with knedlíky (dumplings), brambory (potatoes), or rýe (rice). Dumplings are popular side dishes, and are even stuffed with fruit as

The country code is +420 (dialling in) and international code is 00 (dialling out). There are public telephone booths, including special kiosks for international calls. Most of the public telephone boxes take phone cards, which can be purchased at all Telecom points of sale and at newsagent and tobacconist shops. eKIT The access number for Czech Republic is: 800-142-069.

Charles Bridge, Prague


Denmark Capital: Copenhagen

Population: 5.5 million

Location: Northern Europe

Land Area: 43,094km2 (16,638mi2 )

Language: Danish

Famous for: Hans Christian Andersen, Lego

Money Matters

food includes frikadeller (fried meatballs, often served with potatoes and various sorts of gravy) and marinated fish such as herring and plaice are also popular. Popular drinks include beer and aquavit, a local spirit distilled from potatoes or similar starch plants. Tap water in Denmark is safe to drink.

The currency used is the Danish Krone (DKK). It is divided into 100 øre (1 Krone = 100 øre). Coins are issued in 25, 50 øre, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 kroner and notes in 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 kroner. ATMs are in widespread use. Bank opening hours Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays 9.30am to 4.30pm, except Thursdays 9.30am to 5.30pm.

Best Buys Porcelain, pottery and glassware.


Shopping Hours Mondays to Thursdays, 9.30am or 10am to 5.30pm, Fridays from 9.30am to 7 or 8pm and Saturdays from 9.30am to 4pm.

A quarter of the population lives in greater Copenhagen. Over 20% of electricity is supplied by wind turbines across the country.

Postal Information

Climate and Clothing

Post offices are open from Mondays to Fridays 10am to 5:30pm. When buying postcards from souvenir shops, you can get the appropriate stamps on the spot.

Denmark has a temperate climate. Cool summer days with an average temperature of around 17-23ºC (64- 74ºF) and summer nights are often chilly. A sweater or wrap is essential. A light overcoat or raincoat is also useful.

Telephone The currency code is +45 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). In many places there are full automatic phone boxes taking 2 x 25 ore, 1 krone or 5 krone coins. Use only the smallest coins available as the automatic machines do not return coins if the number dialled is engaged. Several calls can be made if some credit remains in the telephone.

Manners and Customs The Danes are often frank and informal in their attitudes. A smile and a friendly interest should be taken as such and nothing more, and a straightforward remark should not be taken as rudeness. Tipping has almost been abolished and any tipping should only be as recognition of good service. Dress is informal. The smoking ban in Denmark restricts smoking in restaurants to separate smoking rooms.

eKIT The access number for Denmark is 8088-1909.

Food and Drink

Public Toilets

Like its Nordic neighbours Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden, Danish cuisine consists mainly of meat and fish. A speciality for lunch is ‘platte’, which is a selection of cold meats and salads or ‘smorrebrod’, a type of open sandwich with many fillings and pickled herring. A traditional

Indicated by a symbol, alternatively they are marked WD, ‘Toiletter’, ‘Damen/Herrer’ (Ladies/Gentlemen) or just D/H. There is no charge unless marked otherwise.

Useful website

Nyhavn, Copenhagen


Egypt Capital: Cairo

Population: 90 million

Location: Northern Africa

Land Area: 1,001,450km2 (86,662mi2)

Language: Arabic

Famous for: Pyramids, The Nile, Cleopatra

Money Matters

local wine is definitely an acquired taste. Kahwa (thick, strong coffee) and Shay bil na’na’ (mint tea) are very popular drinks. It is recommended that you only drink bottled mineral water.

The currency used is the Egyptian Pound (LE). It is divided into 100 piasters (1 Egyptian Pound = 100 piasters). It is mainly a paper currency but there are also 25, 50 and 100 (1 pound) piaster coins.

Best Buys

Bank opening hours Sundays to Thursdays only from 9.30am to 2pm.

Papyrus paintings, jewellery, copperware, stone carvings, perfume oils in beautiful glass blown bottles.


Shopping Hours 10am to 7pm (winter) and 10am to 8pm (summer).

It is the only land bridge between Africa and the remainder of the Eastern Hemisphere, it controls the Suez Canal, a sea link between the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

Postal Information Green post boxes with a motorcycle picture are for express mail, blue with an aeroplane for airmail and red with a train for ordinary mail.

Climate and Clothing Except for the Mediterranean coast the country experiences a desert climate, which is hot and dry most of the year. Egypt’s climate demands the coolest possible cotton clothing from May to September; a hat and sunglasses are essential.

Telephone The country code is +20 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Public telephones are most commonly found in cigarette shops. If you make a local call from your hotel room, you may be charged several times the normal rate.

Manners and Customs Egypt society is conservative by nature and it is encouraged to respect local customs and sensitivities by dressing modestly. Being a Muslim society, women especially are encouraged to wear long skirts or loose fitting trousers and to cover their shoulders. In Cairo (and when visiting mosques) a head-scarf may also be necessary; men should wear trousers and a shirt.

Food and Drink For a taste of Egyptian fare try a mezzeh – a selection of local salads, cheese, vine leaves and meat or Makhallal (tursho) spicy pickled vegetables. Or kebabs (chunks of lamb marinated in spices and grilled over charcoal) and hummus (chickpea dip). Although Egypt is a Muslim country, alcohol is still available in selected restaurants. However,

Pyramids of Giza

Abu Simbel Temple


England Capital: London

Population: 51 million

Location: Western Europe

Land Area: 130,395km2 (50,150mi2)

Language: English

Famous for: The Royal Family, Harrods, tea, fish and chips

Money Matters

boiled or fried. Main courses are normally garnished with a selection of vegetables – green beans, brussel sprouts, cauliflower or peas and potatoes. Most pubs serve good hearty meals including fish and chips and you may wish to sample traditional English beer (bitter). If you feel like a change, a variety of other types of cuisine from around the globe are readily available, in particular in London. The water throughout the United Kingdom is safe to drink.

The currency used is the Pound Sterling (British Pound). It is divided into pence (1 Pound Sterling = 100 pence). Coins are issued in 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 and notes in £5, £10, £20 and £50. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are everywhere.

Geography England is the most populous country in the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west. The country also includes over 100 smaller islands including the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. It is only 35km (21 miles) from France and is linked by the underwater Channel Tunnel. No location is more than 125km (77 miles) from tidal waters.

Best Buys

Climate and Clothing

Shopping hours Mondays to Saturdays, 9am to 5.30pm. Many shops are open on Sundays. In central London, the shops open later in the morning but generally stay open until around 7pm in the evening. Late night shopping is until 8/9pm in Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and Kensington High Street and all shops are open on Sundays in these areas.

Shopping in London will more than satisfy the appetite of any shopper. London’s department stores are legendary, the most famous being Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and for old world architecture and high end fashion, Liberty. Good buys include antiques, clothing (designer and high street), china and glass (Royal Doulton, Spode, and Minton).

England has a temperate climate, with plenty of rainfall all year round, though the seasons are quite variable in temperature. Temperatures rarely fall below 5°C (23°F) or rise above 30°C (86°F). Be sure to take an umbrella.

Manners and Customs

Postal Information

Tipping is expected by most people providing a service taxi drivers, hotel doormen and airport and railway porters. A tip of 10-15% of the cost of the service is acceptable. In hotels and restaurants, check whether a service charge has been added to the bill. Smoking is now illegal in all public places.

Post Office opening times vary but are generally open from Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm.

Food and Drink The most traditional meal is roast beef (served with Yorkshire puddings), pork or lamb, served with roast potatoes. For hearty flavour, order succulent English pork chops, or ham, baked or roasted. Gammon, a cut of ham is

Buckingham Palace, London

English pub


England continued... Public Transport in London


The London Underground or tube, is the fastest and easiest way to get around town. In central London you are never more than a few minutes’ walk from a station. Each line has a name but you’ll probably find the colours easier to remember. What you pay generally depends on how many zones (1 - 6 zones) you travel through. You must buy a ticket before you travel and put it in the automatic entry/ exit gates. The best way to see the sights is from the upper decks of a famous red double decker bus. They pass almost all the capital’s landmarks and famous shops. You’ll find it much easier and cheaper to buy a Travelcard or a Visitor Oyster Card which are both valid for use on London’s red buses and on the Underground. Travelcards are paper tickets available for 1 or 7 days of travel in London. Oyster is a smartcard which can store credit to pay for journeys. It is valid across all travel zones and automatically calculates the cheapest fare for all the journeys you make in a single day. Further information can be found at:

The country code is +44 (dialling in) and international access 00, then the country code, area code (omitting any initial ‘0’) and finally the telephone number. For phoning home, you may find it more convenient to use a phone card telephone rather than an ordinary payphone. Some payphones also accept credit cards. eKIT The access numbers for England is 0800-032-6297, London economy 020-7943-2772 and Nationwide economy 0845-085-0855.

Useful Addresses and Phone Numbers London Tourist Information Centre, Victoria Station Forecourt London, SW1V 1JU T +44 0 90 68 66 3344 Visit London, 6th Floor, 2 More London Riverside London SE1 2RR T 020 7234 5800

Taxis in London If travelling around London a black cab/minicab is your safest option. You can stop a black cab anywhere provided the yellow ‘for hire’ sign is illuminated. Minicabs are a cheaper option for longer journeys and have to be ordered by telephone. Make sure you ask the price prior to booking. Consult the ‘Yellow Pages’ telephone directory under the heading ‘minicabs’.

Useful websites

Tower of London, London


Estonia Capital: Tallinn

Population: 1.4 million

Location: Eastern Europe

Land Area: 45,226km2 (17,461mi2)

Language: Estonian

Famous for: Folk dancing

Money Matters

herring and beets). Braised goose stuffed with apples and plums is also a Baltic speciality. The Estonian restaurant scene is now amazingly diverse, especially in Tallinn. Produced in Estonia is the sweet liqueur Vana. It is very strong and is best served in coffee, over ice with milk or, if you feel up to it, in a champagne cocktail called Hammer and Sickle. Some cafes and bars serve tasty, warming hõõgvein (mulled wine). Estonian vodka (Viru Valge brand) is very fiery! Saku Originaal is the best brand of national beer.

The currency used is the Kroon (EEK). It is divided into senti (1 Estonian Kroon – 100 senti). Coins are issued in Kr5 and 1, and 50, 20, 10 and 5 senti and notes in Kr500, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Credit cards are widely accepted and there are ATMs in most towns.

Geography Estonia is on the north-eastern edge of the European Union, bordering Russia and Latvia. The mainland terrain is flat, boggy, and partly wooded and offshore lie more than 1,500 islands.

Best Buys Typical Estonian handicrafts include pottery, woollen items and leather goods (purses, wallets and belts). Amber and local folk art are good buys, along with the high-quality hand-knitted sweaters, which you see everywhere. As in other eastern European countries, Soviet and pre-Soviet memorabilia, such as coins and medals, are readily available, as are caviar and vodka.

Climate and Clothing Estonia’s climate is temperate, with four seasons of nearequal length. The warmest month is July and the coldest months are January and February. Estonia’s climate is relatively mild because of its proximity to water. Even in summer, you should take along at least a sweater for the cool evenings.

Shopping Hours Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 6pm, some on Saturdays 10am to 5pm, and department stores from 10am to 8pm.

Manners and Customs

Postal Information

Handshaking is customary. Normal courtesies should be observed. Estonians are proud of their culture and their national heritage, and visitors should take care to respect this sense of national identity.

Post office hours are Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 7pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 5pm.


Food and Drink

The country code is +372 (dialling in) and for international access (dialling out) dial 8, wait for the long tone and then dial 00. An English directory enquiries service is available on 8 1182. Public telephones, which are plentiful, are operated by phone cards available from kiosks.

Fish features on many Estonian menus, with a speciality being smoked fish, especially trout (suitsukala). Other typical foods include blood sausages (verivorst) and sauerkraut, which is served in most traditional Estonian restaurants. Black rye bread accompanies most meals. Hors d’oeuvres are very good and often the best part of the meal. Local specialities include sült (jellied veal), täidetud vasikarind (roast stuffed shoulder of veal) and rosolje (vinaigrette with

Old Tallinn


Finland Capital: Helsinki

Population: 5.2 million

Location: Northern Europe

Land Area: 337,000km2 (30,115mi2)

Language: Finnish and Swedish

Famous for: Saunas, Lapland, Santa Claus and reindeers

Money Matters

Postal Information

The currency of Finland has been the Euro since 2001. ATMs are widely distributed and credit cards are widely accepted.


Mailboxes are painted yellow with the traditional post-horn in black. Stamps can be bought at stationery shops, hotels, railway stations and yellow stamp machines. Post office hours are from Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 5pm.

The population is concentrated on the small south western coastal plain.

Best Buys Leather goods, fabrics, footwear, furniture, clothing (particularly sportswear) are recognised for their consistently high quality. A wide variety of glass and ceramics – best known factories are Arabia (ceramics and china), Nuutajärvi, Littala and Riihimäki (glass).

Climate and Clothing Finland has a temperate climate. Summers days are generally long and sunny, but rarely uncomfortably hot, average temperature is 21ºC (70ºF). Light clothing is recommended, though sweaters prove useful for chilly evenings. Winters are cold and snowy; warm woollen clothing is essential.

Shopping Hours Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 5/6pm, shops open on Saturdays and close at 1 or 2pm.

Manners and Customs


A general guideline is that you tip for good service, but it is not expected as hotel and restaurant bills tend to include service charges.

The international country code is +358 (dialling in) and international access is 00. eKIT The access number for Finland is 0800-112-010.

Food and Drink Fish and shellfish are excellent, together with juusto (cheese) and sweets such as Mustikkapiirakka (blueberry pie) and Raparperikiisseli (rhubarb pudding). Finnish specialities include Hernekeitto (pea soup with pieces of pork), Kalakukko (a thick loaf of rye bread baked with a filling of fish and pork) and Karjalanpiirakka (a thin shell of rye dough filled with rice or potato). Restaurants also serve reindeer and bread is a firm favourite. Finland is traditionally a beer drinking country. Berry liqueurs and ciders are also popular, along with Kahvi (coffee). Tap water is perfectly safe to drink, and restaurants serve inexpensive mineral water (kivennaisvesi).

Old Town pier, Helsinki


France Capital: Paris

Population: 65 million

Location: Western Europe

Land Area: 547,030km2 (211,209mi2)

Language: French

Famous for: Eiffel Tower, croissants and fashion

Money Matters

No visit would be complete without a visit to a pâtisserie, with its delicate pastries you will definitely be tempted. Wine is the most popular alcoholic drink in France and of course for special occasions there is champagne. Typically French apéritifs (pre-dinner drinks) are Pastis, Ricard or Pernod. Coffee will generally be served black, unless a café au lait or café crème (with milk) is requested. Tap water is safe, except when marked ‘eau non potable’ (unsafe for drinking). There are many varieties of bottled water to choose from.

The currency used is the Euro. Some banks are closed on Mondays and open on Saturdays. In the provinces most banks close for lunch. Credit cards are widely accepted.

Geography France, officially called the Republic of France, is located in Western Europe. The country also has several overseas territories and islands around the world but the mainland of France is called Metropolitan France. It stretches north to south from the Mediterranean Sea to the North Sea and the English Channel and from the Rhine River to the Atlantic Ocean.

Best Buys Perfume, clothing, lace, crystal/glass, china, silk scarves and ties, gloves, cheeses, coffee, wines, spirits and liqueurs.

Corsica is one of the 27 regions of France, but it is designated as a territorial collectivity by law. Although the island is separated from the continental mainland by the Ligurian Sea and is closer to Italy than to the French mainland, politically Corsica is part of Metropolitan France. It is located north of the Italian island of Sardinia and mountains comprise two-thirds of the island, forming a single chain. Corsica's culture contains elements of both the French and Italian, and the native Corsican language is recognised as a regional language by the French government.

Shopping Hours Mondays to Saturdays, 9am to 6.30pm. Many shops close for lunch between noon and 2pm. In provincial France shops are often closed on Monday mornings.

Postal Information Post office opening hours are Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 7pm and Saturday 9am to 12 noon. Stamps can also be bought at ‘Tabacs’. In the provinces most post offices close for lunch.

Climate and Clothing


Generally cool winters and mild summers. However, along the coast it is a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. In summer a good rule is lightweight clothing with a sweater and in winter warm woollens plus a raincoat.

The international country code is +33 (dialling in) and for international access (dialling out) dial 00. Most phone booths only accept phone cards. eKIT The access numbers are France 0805-113-721, Paris economy 01-73-04-56-78 and Nationwide economy 0820-60-0052.

Manners and Customs The French are very proud to be French and a few words of French will receive a more friendly reply than a request as to whether English is spoken. Handshaking is performed on meeting and parting or a kiss on both cheeks for those people you are more familiar with.

Public Toilets Those near important Metro stops in Paris are generally modern and quite clean. A saucer with small change on it means a tip is expected. If the toilet has no light switch, the light will go on when you lock the door. The women’s toilets are marked ‘Dames’, the men’s either ‘Messieurs’ or ‘Hommes’.

Eiffel Tower, Paris


France continued... Food and Drink

The Louvre is one of the world’s greatest art museums. This former palace for the French King is now a storehouse for treasures such as the Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa and the French crown jewels – just a few of the 200,000 pieces in six different collections on display.

The French have an ongoing love affair with food and wine. Meals are lovingly prepared and consumed leisurely through a bevy of appetizers and main courses, usually accompanied by a number of wines. Boeuf bourgignon (beef stew with wine, herbs and vegetables), coq au vin (chicken cooked with bacon in a white wine and herb sauce) and bouillabaisse (fish stew) are featured on many menus. Cheese lovers will not be disappointed with hundreds of varieties to choose from.

Musée D’Orsay on the Left Bank houses France’s collection of paintings and sculptures produced between the 1840s and 1914. Housing pieces by Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Renoir, Cezanne and Degas is definitely worth a visit. The Sacré Coeur Basilica situated on the top of Montmartre Hill deserves a visit. Its miraculously white facade derives from the special quality of the Chateau Landon stone that whitens and hardens with age. For many its most attractive feature is the view from the dome – you can easily see over 30 miles on a clear day!

Paris The Seine River divides Paris into two halves, the right and left bank. The Right Bank conjures up an image of bourgeois respectability. Historically the stronghold of merchants and royalty, it remains today the home of commerce and government. Faubourg Saint Honoré offers the luxury of ‘haute couture’ and jewellery shops, also the authority of the President’s palace, while the Champs Élysées claims the shops, film, advertising and airline companies.

Don’t miss the chance of an excursion to Versailles, a beautiful palace located 19km (12 miles) outside Paris. Here Louis XIV created the most sumptuous royal court Europe had ever seen - partly for his own glory and partly to keep his nobles away from the trouble-making city of Paris. A museum since 1832, this impressive chateau with extensive gardens, a magnificent art collection and a wealth of historic connections proves a fascinating place to visit.

The Left Bank, in complete contrast, has always had a bohemian and intellectual image dating back to the founding of the university and the monasteries. Today, the Sorbonne, the Académie Francaise, the publishing houses and a myriad of book shops continue to exude an intellectual magnetism. Left Bank theatres typically prefer avant-garde drama.

Shopping The French shopper is one of the most demanding, so you can expect to find quality and choice. Paris reigns supreme as the fashion capital of the world, famous for its haute couture and ready-to-wear clothing and accessories. For more modestly priced clothing visit department stores Printemps and the Galeries Lafayette near the Opéra, the Bazar Hôtel de Ville (BHV) and the Samaritaine on the Right Bank, and the Bon Marché on the Left Bank. Or wander down the Champs Élysées for stores such as Sephora (perfume and make-up), Petit-Bateau (children’s wear), Louis Vuitton (designer leather goods), Lacoste (clothing) and international clothing stores such as Gap and Zara. Antique lovers should take a trip to the Louvre des Antiquaries on the Left Bank where shops specialise in everything from ancient Egyptian pieces to Art Nouveau.

Places to Go The River Seine is by far the best place to begin an exploration of Paris. The Seine provides a spectacular vantage point for city landmarks: the Palais de Chaillot and Trocadéro Gardens, the Grand and Petit Palais, the Palais Bourbon, Louvre Museum and Notre Dame all take on a dream-like quality when seen from a river boat. The cathedral of Notre Dame has had religious significance for at least 2,000 years. Building of the main part of Notre Dame began in 1163 and took 167 years to complete. The transition it represented from Romanesque to Gothic has been called a perfect expression of medieval architecture. Given the cathedral’s gigantic size, the balance of its proportions and the harmony of its facade – it’s nothing short of a miracle.

Paris by Night The Paris night scene has lost none of the glitter that Toulouse Lautrec made famous. Don’t miss the opportunity to see an exciting ‘Can-Can’ floor show at the ‘Moulin Rouge’ or ‘La Nouvelle Eve’ where the productions are as spectacular as ever. For many, Paris’s most important attraction is not cabaret but the cinema, Paris is a film-crazy city where directors and even screenplay writers often achieve a celebrity status equal to that of the stars. Theatre and art thrive here too. All in all, this city has a supreme talent for living that makes it a favourite of the French and foreigners alike.

The Eiffel Tower was constructed for the World Fair of 1889 commemorating 100 years since the Revolution. It remains an outstanding example of engineering - 15,000 pieces of metal joined together by 2,500,000 rivets, soaring 324m (1063ft) into the air. At the time, it was the tallest structure in the world. The critics hated it. Today however, it has become a symbol of Paris. The Champs Elysées still deserves to be called the world’s most celebrated avenue despite the commercialisation in recent years. It stretches in a perfectly straight line, from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, and is lined with horse chestnut trees. 25

Germany Capital: Berlin

Population: 83 million

Location: Central Europe

Language: German

Land Area: 357,021km (138,846mi ) 2


Famous for: The Berlin Wall, OktoberFest, Rhine wines

Money Matters

The national drink is beer - Germany has over 1,200 breweries. In Frankfurt, try the local cider (Apfelwein). Tap water is safe to drink.

The currency used is the Euro. Foreign currency can be changed at ordinary banks or savings banks (Sparkasse), and also at travel agencies and hotels although at less favourable rates.

Best Buys Clocks, music boxes, beer steins, cameras, porcelain and local costume items such as lederhosen, dirndls and Tyrolean hats.

Bank opening hours Mondays to Fridays, 8.30am to 1pm and 2.30pm to 4pm (on Thursdays until 5.30pm).

Shopping Hours Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 6.30pm and Saturdays, 9am to 2pm.

Geography Germany has several geographical regions including lowlands in the north, uplands in central parts and the Black Forest and Bavarian Alps in the south.

Postal Information Open Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 6pm and Saturdays, 8am to 12 noon. They also handle telegrams and telephone calls. Mail boxes are painted yellow with a black post-horn. Post offices in train stations are often open later.

Climate Most of Germany has a temperate seasonal climate with hot summer and cold winters. Rain is not uncommon in the summer so don’t forget an umbrella.


Manners and Customs

The country code is +49 (dialling in) and international access code is 00. Telephone booths are glass boxes with yellow frames displaying a sign with a black receiver in a yellow square. Calls abroad can be made from booths with a green disk marked ‘Ausland’.

While the people are generally friendly a formal culture is present. Good manners and being polite when addressing people is important. Both married and older women are addressed as ‘Frau’. Customs for formal dress are comparable to Britain.

eKIT The access numbers are Germany 0800-100-6492, Frankfurt economy 069-6677-75528.

Food and Drink You will find pork as a standard item on most menus. It is prepared in many different ways, and just about every part of the animal is eaten. Specialities include Rippchen mit Sauerkraut (pickled ribs of pork) and Bratwurst (grilled sausages) are the most popular snack. For dessert you cannot go past the world famous Black Forest Gateau.

Public Toilets There is usually a charge to use public toilets. Some are staffed; others have a slot machine on the door or at the entrance. Have coins ready (10c, 20c or 50c pieces). Toilet signs may be a man or woman symbol, the initials ‘WC’, or ‘Herren’ (gentlemen) or ‘Damen’ (ladies).

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin


Greece Capital: Athens

Population: 11.4 million

Location: Southern Europe

Land Area: 131,940km2 (50,942mi2)

Language: Greek

Famous for: Greek Gods, Greek Islands, the Acropolis

Money Matters

Melitzanosalata (eggplant purée) and Taramosalata (crushed fish eggs).

The currency used is the Euro.

Main dishes generally include meat, Moussaka (potatoes topped with eggplants, onions, minced beef and béchamel sauce) being the most famous, and kebabs.

Bank opening Hours Banks are open Monday to Thursday 8am to 2.30pm but close on Fridays at 2.00pm.

Seafood dishes especially on the islands are recommended. There is a large range of Greek wines to choose from, the most famous being Retsina, a white wine made with pine needle resin. Today's Greek wines are internationally recognised and are frequently awarded wine industry prizes. Local spirits include ouzo, an anise based clear spirit. Coffee is thick and sugary. It is advisable to drink bottled mineral water.

Geography It is a peninsular country, with an archipelago of about 2,000 islands.

Climate and Clothing Greece has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers with little rainfall. From mid-May to September, it’s very hot in Athens so pack light clothing and good sunglasses. Winters can get chilly and wet so bring a warm jacket or coat.

Best Buys A selection of jewellery (gold, silver and reproductions of ancient jewellery), handmade carpets and rugs, leather (shoes, clothes, handbags), handicrafts such as embroidered items, woodwork and pottery.

Spring and autumn evenings can turn cool so you may need a light sweater or raincoat.

Shopping Hours Approximately 9am to 2.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Then approximately 9am to 2.30pm and then 5.30pm to 8.30pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Manners and Customs Greek people are proud of their culture and with 97% being Christian Orthodox many of the traditional festivals celebrated today are religious. The Greeks are generally gregarious, generous and hospitable.

Postal Information

Tipping is normally at 10% of the bill. Handshaking is common and frequent. A nod of the head is a negative response.

Stamps may be purchased at the post offices. The post boxes are yellow. Stamps may also be bought at news stands and souvenir shops at a 10% surcharge.

Food and Drink


Food is celebrated in Greece. Appetizers (mezedes) come on small plates and can be shared. Try dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) or a selection of dips such as Tzatziki (yoghurt with finely chopped cucumber, garlic and olive oil),

The country code is +30 (dialling in) and the international access code is 00 (dialling out). Yellow phone booths permit direct dialling to countries abroad. eKIT The access numbers for Greece are 00800-126-434 or 00800-1809-201-2429.

Public Toilets Located in parks and squares throughout the centre of Athens. If there is someone in attendance, you should leave a small tip.

Useful website

The Acropolis, Athens


Hungary Capital: Budapest

Population :10.3 million

Location: Central Europe

Land Area: 93,030km2 (35,919mi2)

Language: Hungarian

Famous for: Inventions like the Rubik’s cube, ballpoint pen

Money Matters

Best Buys

The currency used is the Hungarian Forint (HUF). Coins are issued in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 HUF and notes in notes 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 HUF.

Traditional purchases include embroideries, Herend and Zsolnay porcelain, wooden toys and national dolls. Food products such as caviar and foie gras, and Hungarian wines and spirits are also a good buy.

Money can be changed at any Ibusz desk (at airport, hotels, main railway stations and at local offices) and banks. It is strongly recommended that you change your money before leaving Hungary. All exchange receipts must be kept and only 50% of changed money (up to a maximum of £50) can be re-exchanged. ATMs are found in Budapest.

Shopping Hours Mondays to Fridays 10am to 6 or 7pm, Saturdays 10am to 1pm. Shopping centres have longer hours and some shops are open on Sundays.

Postal Information

Bank opening hours Mondays to Thursdays, 8am to 3pm and Fridays, 8am to 1pm.

Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 6pm and Saturdays, 8am to 2pm. Post offices handle mail, telephone, telegraph and telex services. Stamps can also be bought at tobacconists or where postcards are sold. Post boxes are painted red and usually decorated with the postal horn.

Geography A landlocked country. The north-south flowing Duna (Danube) and Tisza Rivers divide the country into three large regions.


Climate and Clothing

The country code is +36 (dialling in) and international access is 00 (dialling out). Pay phones are usually green and yellow or white aluminium glass-front kiosks. Self-explanatory instructions are displayed in all phone boxes. International calls are best made through the hotel switchboard or at a post office. The number for directory enquiries in foreign languages is 172-200.

Hungary has a continental climate with cold winters and warm to hot summers. Temperatures can fluctuate – average July temperatures are around 27ºC (81ºF) but the weather can suddenly change into a very brisk chill, so pack for all eventualities and bring a raincoat. Be prepared for snow and bracing cold in the winter.

eKIT The access number for Hungary are 06800-17053 or 06800-15970.

Manners and Customs The Hungarians are a hospitable people, well-known for their informal social life. English is not widely spoken outside cities, although some knowledge of German is useful.

Public Toilets In Budapest, there are public toilets in metro stations, parks, squares and museums. The toilet sign may say ‘mosdo’ or ‘WC’ (pronounced vay-tsay). If not illustrated by symbols, ‘ferfi’ means gentlemen and ‘noi’ means ladies.

Food and Drink Hungarian dishes are often rich with sour cream, onions, eggs, butter and wine. Dishes are usually flavoured with paprika. Specialities include paprikas ponty (carp in paprika sauce), pisztrang tejszin martasban (trout baked in cream), gulysleves (goulash soup) and of course the famous Hungarian goulash. Sweets are a speciality and who can resist the microscopically thin pastry of retes (strudel) or delicious tortes. Vegetarian options are limited. Hungary has 20 wine producing regions making a wide range of wines. Famous wines include the sweet white Tokaji Aszú and strong red Bull’s Blood (Egri Bikavér). Tap water is drinkable but it is advisable to drink bottled mineral water.


Ireland Capital: Dublin

Population: 4.4 million (Ireland),

Location: Western Europe

Land Area: 70,280km2 (27,135mi2)

Language: English & Irish (Gaelic) Famous for: St. Patrick, Leprechauns, Guinness

Money Matters

pancake) and coddle (boiled pork sausages). The country is best known for its stout and beer, the most famous being Guinness.

The currency used is the Euro. Bank opening hours Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 4pm and will be closed on public holidays.

Other, popular brands include Murphy’s Irish Stout, Beamish, and Kilkenny beer. Whiskey is also renowned with the most famous distilleries being the Old Midleton Distillery in Cork, the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin, and the Bushmills Distillery in Antrim. Water throughout the Republic of Ireland is safe to drink.

Geography Mostly level to a rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; there are sea cliffs on the west coast. Over 40% of the population resides within 100km (60 miles) of Dublin.

Best Buys Tweed clothing, traditional Aran knitwear from the Aran Islands (once handmade by fishermen featuring family patterns), Irish music, linen, pottery, Waterford crystal, Irish whiskey and basketry.

Climate and Clothing Ireland has a mild, temperate climate with cool summers and mild winters. Average summer temperatures range from 15ºC to 21ºC (60ºF to 70ºF), July being the warmest month. Average winter temperatures range from 5ºC to 8ºC (40ºF to 46ºF). The most useful clothes are casuals, lightweight wools, sweaters for cold spells, comfortable walking shoes and a light raincoat.

Shopping Hours Mondays to Saturdays, 9am to 5.30pm. Some towns have late night shopping until 8 or 9pm on Thursdays or Fridays. Many shops are open on Sunday.

Postal Information

Manners and Customs

Most post offices are open Mondays to Fridays 9am to 5 or 6pm (closed for an hour around 1pm for lunch in rural areas). Use Irish postage stamps when posting letters in the Republic or Ireland.

The Irish are a charming, hospitable people and the rural lifestyle has remained largely unchanged for years. The centre of life is still the village community centered around the church and the pub. As of 2004, smoking is prohibited in public areas within the Republic of Ireland – this includes all bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

Telephone The country code is +353 (dialling in) and the international access code is 00 (dialling out). Public phones are found in post offices, hotels, stores and on the street.

Food and Drink In the last decade, Ireland has made a giant gastronomic leap. Common foods include smoked salmon, soda bread, and a variety of seafood, and game when in season. Traditional dishes consist of Irish stew, boxty (potato

eKIT The access number for Ireland are 1800-992-363 or 1800-559-634.

Public Facilities The gender signs on the doors in the republic may be printed in Gaelic, not English. ‘Mna’ is Gaelic for Ladies and ‘Fir’ means gentlemen.

Ha’penny Bridge, Dublin


Israel Capital: Jerusalem

Population: 7.6 million

Location: Middle East

Land Area: 20,770km2 (8,019mi2)

Language: Hebrew and Arabic

Famous for: Religious history

Money Matters

Best Buys

The currency is the New Sheqel (NIS), which replaced the Sheqel in 1985. Coins are issued in 5, 10, 50 agorot, 1, 2, 5, 10 new sheqel and notes in 20, 50, 100, 200 new sheqel. Money can be changed in the small exchange bureau found on most main streets, or at banks and hotels. Major credit cards are widely accepted, along with travellers cheques, although commission can be high. ATMs are found throughout the country.

Local handicrafts made from olive wood, embroidered clothing, diamonds, ceramics, gold and silver jewellery.

Bank opening hours Sundays to Thursdays 8.30am to 12 noon and normally 4pm to 5pm. Closed on Fridays and Saturdays.

Most letter boxes are red English-style pillar boxes. Others are white and blue and bear the postal symbol of a leaping deer. Shops and kiosks selling stamps also have the same sign.

Climate and Clothing


Israel has a Mediterranean climate, with a pleasant spring and autumn. It is hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas. We recommend light weight clothes for warmer months and medium weights for winter.

The country code is +972 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Public phones can be found in post offices and are cheaper than calling from a hotel or a shop; have the operator in the post office make the call for you.

Manners and Customs

eKIT The access numbers for Israel are 1800-920-3300 or 180-931-5243

Shopping Hours Shops are generally open Sundays to Thursdays, 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm. Many stores close at midday on Friday and open again on Sunday morning.

Postal Information

Shalom (peace) is the word that begins and ends every conversation.

Public Toilets

Food and Drink

Toilets may be marked ‘WC’ or with male and female silhouettes.

Food specialities includes Falafel (deep fried chickpea balls, served in pita / flat bread and salad), Shwarma (meat slowly grilled on a rotating skewer, served in pita bread with fresh vegetables) and Hummus (chickpea puree). Soft drinks are on sale everywhere. Coffee is popular. Arab cafes serve very sweet Turkish coffee while other cafes also have cappuccino (café hafukh). Bottled water is advisable, as the tap water, while drinkable, does not taste nice.

Dead Sea

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem


Italy Capital: Rome

Population: 59.5 million

Location: Southern Europe

Land Area: 301,230km2 (116,305mi2)

Language: Italian

Famous for: Ancient Rome, art, pasta

Money Matters

Manners and Customs

The currency used is the Euro.

Italians are passionate, charming and in many ways traditional. Family life and religion play an important role in Italian society. It is considered courteous to shake hands warmly on both arriving and leaving. ‘Ciao’ (pronounced chow) is a word you will hear everywhere and can mean hello or goodbye. Speaking a few words of Italian will be very much appreciated. Italians eat their main meal in the afternoon, around 1pm.

Bank opening hours Monday to Friday 8.30am to 1.30pm and 2.30pm to 3.30pm. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Geography Italy comprises the long, boot-shaped Italian Peninsula, the land between the peninsula and the Alps and some islands including Sicily and Sardinia. It has over 8,000km (4,968 miles) of coastline and over 40% of the country is mountainous.

Food and Drink Traditionally, lunch (pranzo) was the most substantial meal of the day. It consists of antipasto (starter), a primo piatto (pasta, rice or soup), a secondo piatto (meat or fish) with contorno (vegetable or salad), then frutta (fresh fruit). Finish with espresso and maybe a grappa or amaro (strong digestive liqueur). While the pasta is sensational, there is so much more to Italian cuisine. Each of the 20 regions has its own distinctive cuisine such as abbachio (roast lamb) in Rome, or bistecca alla fiorentina (steak Florentine style) or porcini (grilled giant mushrooms) in Florence. You must try gelato (ice cream) with hundreds of different flavours to choose from or granita (crushed ice with flavoured syrup). Wine is usually served with the meal, accompanied by mineral water. Tap water is safe to drink, but not always tasty. We recommend you buy bottled mineral water. ‘Acqua non potabile’ means the water is not safe to drink.

Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean. It extends from the tip of the Apennine peninsula from which it is separated only by the narrow Strait of Messina, towards the North African coast. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, which is at 3,320 m (10,890ft) the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate. Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and before Cyprus) and an autonomous region of Italy. The coasts of Sardinia (1,849km long) are generally high and rocky, with long, relatively straight stretches of coastline, many outstanding headlands, a few wide, deep bays, and many inlets with various smaller islands off the coast. The island has a Mediterranean climate along the coasts, plains and low hills and a continental climate on the interior plateaus, valleys and mountain ranges.

Best Buys Leather goods from Florence, Murano glass and lace from Venice, clothing (for both men and women), handbags, silk scarves and ties, jewellery, high end fashion (Prada, Gucci).

Climate and Clothing

Shopping Hours Generally opening times are 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 7.30pm. Some shops may be closed Monday mornings, Saturday afternoons and Sundays. Many shops however do stay open on Saturday afternoons during the summer.

Italy’s climate has many regional variations. However, it’s generally warm in summer and humid in the central region. We suggest that during May to September, you bring light summer clothes and a light jacket or wrap for evenings.

Postal Information Most main post offices open around 9am to 1.30pm Mondays to Fridays and 8am to 11am Saturdays. You can also buy stamps at tobacconists and some hotel desks.

Telephone The country code is +39 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). When dialling Italy from abroad, the 0 of the area code must not be omitted. International telephones are situated at post offices and railway stations. Phone cards are available in most newsagents but you must remember to break the corner off the card before use. eKIT - The access number for Italy is 800-985-675, Milan economy is 02-3631-1926.

The Colosseum, Rome


Italy continued... Public Facilities There is a lack of toilets in many tourist cities, but where they are available they are often indicated by symbols of a man or woman, or by the sign ‘WC’. They may also be labelled ‘Uomini’ or ‘Signori’ for men and ‘Donne’ or ‘Signore’ for women. A tip of 30 to 50 cents is required if there is an attendant.

Florence, Italy


Jordan Capital: Amman

Population: 6 million

Location: Middle East

Land Area: 89,342km2 (34,595mi2)

Language: Arabic

Famous for: The Red Rose City of Petra, The Dead Sea, Jerash, Wadi Rum

Money Matters

Manners and Customs

The local currency is the Jordanian Dinar, symbol JD, also pronounced as "jaydee". There are 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 JD notes. The dinar is divided into 100 piasters (pronounced "pee-asters") of 1000 fils ("fills"). The fils is the unit most commonly used and you will usually see prices written as 4,750 (which is 4 JD and 750 fils). Currency can be exchanged at major banks, exchange booths and at most hotels. Street money-changers are best avoided. Exchange rates are set daily by the Jordanian Central Bank.

Jordan is a primarily Muslim country, although the freedom of all religions is protected. Muslim women’s clothing often covers their arms, legs and hair. Western women are not subject to these customs, but very revealing clothing is never appropriate and conservative dress is advisable for both men and women in the old part of Amman (downtown) and outside the cities. Shorts are rarely worn and would be out of place in the downtown Amman area.

Food and Drink

Bank opening hours Banks are open 8.30am to 3pm Sunday to Thursday and closed on Fridays and Saturdays.

The cuisine of Jordan relies heavily on fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Meals are usually leisurely occasions, with a lavish assortment of tasty salads and mezzah’s (appetizers). These are usually served family-style, with diners sampling a variety of dishes with freshly baked bread. Hummus, a staple of the Middle Eastern cuisine, is usually prepared daily. Tasty street food includes sandwiches made with falafel or shawarma (slow-roasted meet); mixed grills, gallayat bandura (pan-fried tomatoes, onions and peppers often prepared with cubes of lamb, chicken or egg); kofta (ground beef topped with roasted tomato or tahina sauce); sunniyah (pan-roasted meat or chicken with roasted potatoes, onions and other vegetables; and, maglubah (which literally translates as “upside down”), a dish of rice, chicken and vegetables cooked together and then turned upside down onto a serving tray, along with bowls of yoghurt and fresh salad. The national dish of Jordan is Mansaf, a dish served on a large tray with steam rice and lamb piled on top of wafer thin shiraq bread, and flavoured with jameed, a tangy yoghurt based sauce.

International credit cards are accepted at hotels, restaurants and larger shops. Please note that many smaller shops still prefer cash payment in the Jordanian currency, and it’s essential for shopping in the local souks.

Geography Located on desert plateaus in southwest Asia, Jordan is almost landlocked but for a short coast on the Gulf of Aqaba.

Climate and Clothing Jordan has a hot, dry climate characterised by long, hot, dry summers and short, cool winters. January is the coldest month, with temperatures from 5°C to 10°C, and August is the hottest month at 20°C to 35°C. Daytime temperatures can be very hot in the summer; on some days it can be 40°C or more, especially when the Sirocco, a hot, dry southerly wind blows.


Lightweight cotton clothes are recommended for the summer, with a sweater for cooler evenings, especially in the inland areas. Warm clothing is recommended for the winter and a waterproof jacket.

Although Jordan is a Muslim country, alcohol is still available in selected restaurants & hotels. However, local wine is definitely an acquired taste. Kahwa (thick, strong coffee) and Shay bil na’na’ (mint tea) or Shay bi Maramiyyeh (Sage Tea) are very popular drinks. It is recommended that you only drink bottled mineral water. Also, try the Shanineh which is Cold Laban beverage (Cold Yoghurt Beverage).

Petra Monastery, Jordan


Jordan continued...


Best Buys

The country code is 00962 (dialing in) and international access 00 (dialing out). If you make a local call from your hotel room, you may be charged several times the normal rate. A local mobile SIM card is easy to obtain with a reasonable price.

Hand-woven rugs and cushions, beautifully embroidered items and clothing, traditional pottery, glassware, silver jewellery embedded with semi-precious stones, Bedouin knives, coffee pots, narghiles (hubble bubble), hand-made soap’s, personal care products made from the unique minerals of the Dead Sea, cold –pressed olive oil, dried organically grown herbs and spices and a variety of table wines.

Public Toilets Located at the visitor centre in Petra, Jerash, Madaba, the Citadel, and Shobak. Elsewhere public toilets generally below standard and a tip is usually expected. It’s a good idea to carry tissues with you when travelling, as toilet paper is not always supplied. Facilities are generally fine in hotels and restaurants.

Shopping Hours These vary but are typically from 10.00am to 10.00pm in the Malls and until 8.00-9.00 pm in the open area shopping areas. Friday is exceptional where the Malls open at 2.00pm (after the noon time prayer) and many of the shops at the open shopping areas are closed on Fridays. However, restaurants and cafes are open 7 days a week.

Useful Website

Postal Information Post Boxes are located in most hotels and stamps can be purchased either from the gift shops or the front desk. In Petra and Jerash the post office is inside the visitor centre itself.

Dead Sea, Jordan


Latvia Capital: Riga

Population: 2.3 million

Location: Eastern Europe

Land Area: 64,589km2 (24,937mi2)

Language: Latvian & Russian

Famous for: A  mber

Money Matters

1700. It is drunk either with coffee or mixed with vodka. Kvass and sparkling wine are popular and are refreshing summer drinks. Do not drink the tap water.

The currency used is the Latvian Lat (Ls). It is divided into Santimi (1 Latvian Lat = 100 santimi). Coins are in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 santims and Lats in coins of 2 and 1. Notes are in denominations of Ls500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5.

Shopping Hours Mondays to Fridays, 9 or 10am to 6 or 7pm and Saturdays, 9 or 10am to 4 or 5pm. Some shops may close over lunch, while others are open 24 hours.

Bank opening hours In Riga banks should be open between 10am and 5pm. Outside the capital many banks close at 1pm and all banks are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Best Buys Look for local handicrafts, folk art, brightly coloured woollen goods, mittens, scarves and sweaters and art objects. Other typical gifts from the region are belts, purses, book covers, wicker work, earthenware and even jackets made from patches of leather sewn together. Riga is considered a fashion centre of eastern Europe, so have a look at the boutiques while you are there. Amber is of high quality and a good buy.

Geography Latvia lies on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea between Estonia and Lithuania. Most of the country is composed of fertile, low-lying plains, with some hills in the east.

Climate and Clothing Latvia has a temperate climate. Summer is warm with relatively mild weather in spring and autumn. Winter runs from November to March and it is cold - expect snow. Rainfall is distributed throughout the year with the heaviest rainfall in August. In summer light to medium weight clothing is worn and in winter medium to heavyweights. A raincoat is necessary throughout the year.

Postal Information

Manners and Customs

The country code is +371 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). International calls can be made from telephone booths. Pay phones are operated by phone cards, which are sold at kiosks, in post offices and in some shops.

The main post office is at Brivibas bulvaris 19 (open 24 hours). Post boxes are yellow. General post office opening hours are Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 6pm and Saturdays, 9am to 1pm.


Handshaking is customary. Normal courtesies should be observed. The Latvians are somewhat reserved and formal, but nevertheless very hospitable. They are proud of their culture and visitors should take care to respect this sense of national identity. Generally, taxi fares and restaurant bills include a tip although it is still customary to give extra for good service.

Food and Drink Latvian hors d’oeuvres are delicious and are said to be the best part of the meal. The soups are especially satisfying in winter; try the skabu kapostu zupa (cabbage soup), sweetbread soup with dried fruit or sorrel soup with boiled pork, onions, potatoes and barley. Speciality dishes include kotletes (meat patties), smoked fish and piragi (pastry filled with bacon and onions). For dessert try an Alexander Torte, which is raspberry or cranberry filled pastry strips. Popular local beers include the dark bauskas Tumsais and the pale Gaisais. Or for something stronger try Riga’s Black Balsam a thick black alcoholic liquid, which has been produced since


Liechtenstein Capital: Vaduz

Population: 35,700

Location: Central Europe

Land Area: 160km2 (61mi2)

Language: German

Famous for: Stamps, world’s largest producer of dentures

Money Matters

Shopping Hours Mondays to Saturdays 9am to 12 noon and 1.30pm to 6.30pm.

The currency is the Swiss Franc (Fr). It is divided into Rappen (1 Swiss Franc – 100 Rappen).

Postal Information

Bank opening hours Mondays to Fridays 8am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4.30pm.

The Principality’s mail and telecommunications are generally integrated with those of Switzerland although Liechtenstein does produce its own stamps. Post office hours are Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 12 noon and 1.30pm to 6.30pm and Saturdays, 8am to 11am.

Geography Along with Uzbekistan, it is one of only two doubly landlocked (surrounded only by other landlocked countries) countries in the world. It is noted for its fine vineyards.

Telephone The country code is +423 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Simple operating instructions in four languages, including English are featured on public phones.

Climate and Clothing Liechtenstein has a temperate, alpine climate, with warm, wet summers and mild winters. Light to medium weight clothing is needed in summer and warmer heavyweights in winter. Waterproofs are needed throughout the year.

Manners and Customs Has a hereditary constitutional monarchy, dating back to 1719. Handshaking is performed on meeting and parting.

Food and Drink Strongly influenced by its Swiss neighbour. Look out for Bündnerfleisch (wafer-thin sliced air-dried beef), Leberspiesschen (skewered liver), Käseknöpfle (small dumplings with cheese) and Rösti (hash brown potatoes). Local and Swiss beers are popular and Vaduzer (red wine) is worth trying and often much better value than imported wines. Tap water is safe to drink.

Best Buys Watches, cameras, jewellery and stamps, but always compare prices before buying. Due to low taxes Swiss chocolates are also a good buy.

Vaduz Castle


Lithuania Capital: Vilnius

Population: 3.5 million

Location: Eastern Europe

Land Area: 65,200km2 (25,173 mi2)

Language: Lithuanian

Famous for: Baroque churches

Money Matters

Food and Drink

The currency used is the Litas (LTL). It is divided into centas (1 Litas = 100 centas). Coins are in denominations of LTL5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 centas. Notes are in denominations of LTL500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1.

Fertile central plains are separated by hilly uplands that are ancient glacial deposits.

Local specialities include skilandis (smoked meat), salti barsciai (cold soup), cepelinai (made from grated potatoes with a minced meat filling), vedarai (potato sausage) and bulviniai blynai (potato pancakes). Smoked eel is a famous Baltic delicacy. Rye bread is eaten every day with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Local brands of beer and imported drinks are popular. A famous Lithuanian spirit is Mead (midus) a mild alcoholic beverage made from honey. Water supplies are generally reliable in cities, though it has a high mineral content and can be cloudy. Bottled or filtered water is preferable for these reasons. If travelling in rural areas, drink only bottled water.


Best Buys

Summers are warm and the weather in spring and autumn relatively mild. Winter can be very cold and heavy snowfall is common. Rain is common throughout the year but heaviest in August.

Amber and Amber jewellery (fossilised tree sap), woodcarvings, linen goods and local crafts are good buys.

Manners and Customs


Handshaking is customary. Normal courtesies should be observed. The Lithuanians are proud of their culture and their national heritage and visitors should take care to respect this sense of national identity. Lithuanians are also known for their hospitality and are outgoing by nature. They like to entertain and be entertained; singing plays a large role in family gatherings.

The country code is +370 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). There are two kinds of pay phones: rectangular telephones which take magnetic strip cards and rounded telephones which take chip cards. Phone cards are sold at kiosks and post offices. Plans are underway to introduce one type of phone card, compatible with both phones.

Bank opening hours Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and some banks are open Saturday, 9am to 1pm.


Shopping Hours Grocery shops open Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 8pm.

Vilnius old town

Baroque church


Luxembourg Capital: Luxembourg

Population: 365,000

Location: Western Europe

Land Area: 2585km2 (998mi2)

Language: Luxembourgish, French, German Famous for: Michelin-star restaurants, governed by a grand duchy

Money Matters

produced Mosel wines come recommended as do local beers (Diekirch, Mousel, or Bofferding), which are brewed without the use of chemical additives. Tap water is safe to drink.

The currency used is the Euro. Bank opening hours Mondays to Fridays, 8.30pm to 12 noon to 4.30pm. Although some banks have limited opening hours on Saturdays, most are closed on weekends.

Best Buys Cast-iron miniature firebacks, called tak, which depict castles and coats of arms make interesting souvenirs. There is also delicately decorated porcelain, crystal and earthenware pottery. Villeroy & Boch’s crystal factories in Septfontaines are open to visitors.

Geography Luxembourg is landlocked and bordered by Belgium, France and Germany. A third of the country is made up of the hills and forests of the Ardennes, while the rest is wooded farmland.

Shopping Hours Mondays 2pm to 6pm; Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9am to 6pm.


Climate and Clothing

The country code is +352 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out) followed by the number for the country you require, the area code and then the subscriber’s number.

Luxembourg’s climate is temperate and mild. Summers are generally cool, with a mean temperature of about 63°F (17°C), warmest months from May to September. Winters are cold but seldom severe, average temperature being about 32°F (0ºC), snow is also possible.

eKIT The access number for Luxembourg is 800-22026.

Manners and Customs

Useful website

Luxembourg may be small in size, but it is a country of considerable economic power - it should not be thought of as part of Belgium, France or Germany. It is a very friendly country and while the locals like to use their foreign language skills they are also delighted when visitors use the local dialect for phrases of greeting and thanks. Over a third of the locals are immigrants, mostly Italians and Portuguese. Restaurant bills generally include a tip, however it is still polite to round up.

Food and Drink Many describe the country’s cuisine as a blend of French finesse and German heartiness. Excellent crayfish, pike and trout comes courtesy of the Grand Duchy River and is available in modestly priced restaurants. Local dishes include Judd matt Gaardebounen (smoked collar of pork with broad beans), and Friture de la Moselle (small deep fried river fish). Other specialities include Treiben (black pudding) and sausages served with mash potatoes and horseradish, and delicious Ardennes ham. Frites (the local version of French fried potatoes) can be found everywhere and look out for rou tou tou, an unusual vegetable dish made from potatoes and onions. Local cheese or perhaps a pastry such as the Tarte Aux Quetsches, which is made with small plums, is often offered as dessert. Locally


Monaco Capital: Monaco

Population: 32,020

Location: Western Europe

Land Area: 2km2 (0.77mi2)

Language: French

Famous for: The Grand Casino, Grimaldi Royal Family

Money Matters

Best Buys

The currency used is the Euro.

Luxury goods are widely available in Monaco’s large jewellers, art galleries and boutiques. The main shopping precinct is near the Place du Casino or for more reasonably priced items try Boulevard des Moulins.

Bank opening hours Monday to Friday, 9am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4pm. Some banks are also open on Saturday mornings to change money.

Shopping Hours Monday to Saturday, 9am to 12 noon and 2 to 7pm. Some souvenir shops open on Sunday mornings.

Geography It is the second smallest state in the world (after the Vatican City) and is surrounded by France on three sides with the Mediterranean Sea on the fourth. The current ruling Grimaldi family secured control in the late 13th century, and a principality was established in 1338.

Postal Information The main post office, la Scala Palace Beaumarchais Square (across from Hôtel Hermitage) has a full range of services: telephones, telegrams, fax and calling cards. Opening hours are Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 7pm.

Climate and Clothing


Monaco enjoys an almost perfect climate with mild winters and warm summers. There are more than 300 days of sunshine per year. There is generally little continuous rainfall; cloudbursts lasting only a couple of hours are the rule. Light clothing can be worn from spring to autumn. Monaco has a dress code and appropriate clothing must be worn in public areas and jackets and ties should be worn by men in the casino.

The country code is +377 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). eKIT The access number for Monaco is 0800-913-588.

Useful website

Manners and Customs

Handshaking is performed on meeting and parting. Generally service at hotels and restaurants is included in the bill but you may wish to tip extra for special service.

Food and Drink Classic French cuisine dominates along with certain regional specialities such as pissaladière (onion tart with anchovies and black olives), barbajuans (a savoury pastry) and Langoustines à la Provençale (seafood). A variety of French wine is available as are imported liquors. Tap water is safe to drink.

Grimaldi Palace

Monte Carlo


Morocco Capital: Rabat

Population: 34 million

Location: Northern Africa

Land Area: 446,550km2 (172,413mi2)

Language: Arabic and French

Famous for: C  asablanca, couscous

Money Matters

Food and Drink

The currency used is the Moroccan Dirham (Dh). It is divided into centimes (1 Moroccan Dirham –100 centimes). Coins are in denominations of MAD10, 5 and 1, and 50, 20, 10 and 5 centimes. Notes are in denominations of MAD200, 100, 50, 20 and 10.

Local delicacies include Couscous (steamed savoury semolina grain served with meat and vegetables), Mechoui (lamb roasted on a spit), delicious kebabs, Kefta (minced meat rissoles with spices) and Tagine (meat stew cooked using an earthenware dish). Don’t miss a refreshing drink of mint tea. Water from the tap is not safe to drink in Morocco but bottled water is widely available. Make sure you carry a bottle of water to prevent dehydration on hot summer days.

Bank opening hours Usually Mondays to Thursdays, 9.30am to 12 noon and 2.30pm to 4.30pm; Fridays 8.15pm to 11.15pm and 2.30 to 5.30pm. These hours may vary during Ramadan.

Best Buys


Exquisite Moroccan craftsmanship is evident on hand-woven rugs, ceramics, and jewellery. In the souks you will find an abundance of leather goods (cushion covers, shoes, wallets), tin pressed lanterns, textile products and light weight scarves and wraps.

Morocco has a Northern coast, with mountainous interiors of bordering plateaus, valleys, and rich coastal plains.

Climate and Clothing

Shopping Hours Shops are usually open from 9am to 12 noon and 2.30pm to 6.30pm but close Sundays. Markets and tourist shops stay open longer.

Morocco has a mix of climates, however generally it is Mediterranean, warm on the coast, continental in the interior and arid in the South. It is sunny most of the year, although temperatures may drop quite considerably at night. In high summer we suggest you wear cool clothing, hat and sunglasses, while a sweater or jacket are recommended for those cool night breezes. We also suggest ladies cover their shoulders.

Postal Information Opening times: Monday to Friday 8.30am to 6.30pm (closed 12 noon to 3pm in small towns) and 8.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays. Stamps can be bought at post offices and tobacconists.

Customs Morocco is rich in tradition and remains largely a conservative Muslim society, and people are friendly. Remember though that when visiting the markets (souks) if you ask the price, you are starting negotiations and shopkeepers may get annoyed if you walk away. Also always ask before taking someone’s photo.

Telephone The country code is +212 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Public telephones can be found in cafés and public places. However, unless you are reversing the charges let your hotel or post office make the call and arrange payment.

Bazaar, Fez


Netherlands Capital: Amsterdam

Population: 16.6 million

Location: Western Europe

Land Area: 41,526km2 (6,033mi2)

Language: Dutch

Famous for: Anne Frank, Vincent Van Gogh, tulips, windmills

Money Matters

Best Buys

The currency used is the Euro and ATMs are widely distributed.

Delft Blue pottery, national costume dolls, silverware from Schoonhoven, crystal from Leerdam and diamonds from Amsterdam. Edam and Gouda cheeses and traditional wooden clogs are also popular souvenirs.

Geography One fifth of the country is below sea level as a result of being reclaimed by the sea. It is generally flat and level and is criss-crossed by rivers and canals.

Shopping Hours Mondays 11am to 6pm, Tuesdays to Fridays 9am to 6pm, and Saturdays 9am to 5pm. Shopping malls are open on Sunday.

Climate and Clothing

Post Information

The Netherlands has a maritime climate. Summers are generally warm but not extreme. In summer a light sweater or wrap may be needed in the evenings. Winters are fairly cold and rainfall occurs throughout the year. Pack a raincoat for those spontaneous showers.

Post offices are generally open Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 5pm. When buying postcards from stands and souvenir shops, you can usually get stamps on the spot. Post boxes are either red or red and grey, and are mounted on walls at eye level. In Amsterdam they have two slots, one marked ‘Amsterdam’ and the other ‘overige bestemmingen’ (other destinations).

Manners and Customs The Dutch people are polite and courteous and prefer formal greetings on first meetings. The Dutch are a nation of cyclists and in Amsterdam 540,000 people have bicycles – not surprising when you consider how flat the land is. The use of soft drugs is allowed, and even sold at ‘coffee shops’ – in the form of cookies.

Telephone The country code is +31 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). eKIT The access numbers are Netherlands 0800-023-3971, Amsterdam economy 0207-133-472.

Food and Drink You will find a variety of international food, from ethnic to Italian and of course traditional Dutch food. Potatoes feature prominently in dishes. Local dishes include Poffertjes (small pancakes traditionally served warm with powdered sugar sprinkled on top), Patat (French fries with mayonnaise), Haring (raw herring fish with raw onions) and Vlaai (pastry with a fruit filling). Dutch beers can be very good and are quite strong. Bars are open all day and also serve tea and coffee. Only change and small notes should be left as a tip. The water is safe to drink.

Public Toilets There’s a lack of public toilets in Amsterdam. Most department stores have smart and clean public toilets, usually with an attendant on duty. A tip is expected.

Tulip field, Amsterdam

Delft canal, Delft


Norway Capital: Oslo

Population: 4.9 million

Location: Northern Europe

Land Area: 324,220km2 (125,181m2)

Language: Norwegian

Famous for: V  ikings, cross country skiing

Money Matters

Food and Drink

The currency used is the Norwegian Krone (Nkr). It is divided into øre (1 Norwegian Krone = 100 øre). Coins are in denominations of NOK 20, 10, 5 and 1 and 50 øre. Notes are in denominations of NOK 1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 50.

High quality fish, meat and dairy products are easily available in Norway. Norwegian meals are often large with an emphasis on fish and seafood specialities. A typical speciality is a ‘smørgasbord’ meal, a vast selection of meat, fish, salad, hot dishes, puddings and cheese. Speciality dishes and ingredients include Lutefisk (a hot, highly flavoured cod fish), smoked salmon, cod, herring, sardine products and mackerel. Popular meats include reindeer, lamb and fowl. Liquor laws are very strict and in some parts of the country alcohol is not available at all. Where it is available it is very expensive. The water in Norway is safe to drink.

Bank opening hours Mondays to Thursdays 9am to 4pm, Fridays 9am to 5pm and Saturdays 9am to 12 noon.

Geography About two-thirds is made up of mountains, there are approximately 50,000 islands off its much indented coastline. It has one of the longest coastlines in the world.

Best Buys Pottery, sports equipment, enamelled ware, sportswear, pewter, silver and knitwear. If you like the unusual, a hand painted troll is something to add to your collection. Tax-free is available for tourist from shops displaying a ‘Tax free for tourists’ sticker. Tourists save 11-18% of the price paid by residents. Refunds are paid in cash at airports, ferries, cruise ships and border crossings.

Climate and Clothing Given the extreme northerly position, the mainland climate in Norway is surprisingly mild. This is mainly because of the trade winds and warm currents. Lightweight clothing generally suffices in summer, however evenings can get chilly, so it is always a good idea to take along a sweater or wrap. If you are here in winter, you will definitely need an overcoat, scarf, gloves and warm shoes/boots.

Shopping Hours Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and Saturdays, 9am to 1pm or 3pm. Shops are often open late on Thursdays.

Manners and Customs

Postal Information

Norwegians are not class conscious and are very polite. Handshaking is popular, dress is informal. Tipping is expected however waiters don’t expect more than 5-10% of the bill. Cross country and downhill skiing are popular sports and a Nordic speciality is ski jumping. In the last 50 years Norway has won more Olympic gold medals in Nordic skiing than any other country.

Generally open Mondays to Fridays, 8.30am to 4pm and Saturdays, 8am to 1pm. Stamps can also be bought at tobacco shops, kiosks and hotels. Postboxes are painted red.

Telephone The country code is +47 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). The telephone service is operated by the state Telecommunications Service, Televerket. Telephone booths are painted red or grey. For the English speaking operator dial 093. eKIT The access number for Norway is 800-15794.

Public Toilets Located at stations, department stores and in some of the squares and parks, may be marked Toaletter, WC, Damer (female) / Herrer (male) or D/H.

Useful website Stavanger, Norway


Poland Capital: Warsaw

Population: 38 million

Location: Central Europe

Land Area: 312,658km2 (120,728 mi2)

Language: Polish

Famous for: Chopin, Andrzej Wajda, Pope John Paul ll

Money Matters

popular. Faworki pastries (pastry twisters) and chocolates are definitely worth a try. Beer is becoming increasingly popular and of course there is vodka, which is served chilled before, during and after meals. If you like vodka then try ubr贸wka (bison vodka). It is advisable to drink bottled mineral water which is widely available.

The official currency is Zloty (PLN), divided into 100 groszy. Currency may be exchanged at exchange desks in hotels, banks and kantors (money exchanges). Travellers cheques can generally only be exchanged at banks. Most credit cards are accepted in tourist areas, however note it is mainly a cash society. It is a good idea to travel with US$ in small denominations.

Best Buys Glass and enamel ware, handwoven rugs, silverware and handmade jewellery, dolls in regional costumes, wood carvings (from Polish mountains), sculptures and traditional ceramics from Boleslawiec. Try the bazary (market places) for other interesting items.

Geography It is mostly made up of a flat plain with mountains along the southern border.

Climate and Clothing

Shopping Hours In general shops are open from Monday to Friday, 10am to 7pm, and for limited hours on Saturday and Sunday.

In general Poland has a temperate climate with cold winters and warm summers. In summer light clothing will suffice with a cardigan or jumper for the evening. Winters are usually cold with snow in the mountains. Temperatures are often below freezing and you should pack woollen garments accordingly.

Postal Information Post office hours are from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and some are open until 2pm on Saturday.

Manners and Customs


The Polish are very friendly. Social life is reasonably informal and casual wear is recommended. Be careful when crossing roads as jay walking is an offence and is punishable with a fine. Smoking is quite common. Tipping is only really expected in restaurants and is approximately 10-15% of a restaurant bill.

The country code is +48 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Public telephones take coins and telephone cards but are not plentiful. eKIT The access number for Poland is 00800-111-3535.

Food and Drink

Public Toilets

Typical Polish meals are hearty and generally meat based. Local dishes include Bigos (sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, onions and meat), kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet) and klopsiki (meatloaf with tomato sauce). Poland is also a good country for fish such as carp, which is served in sweet and sour jellied sauce. Bread and sausages are also very

There are many public toilets in Poland; ladies toilets are marked by a circle and gents by a triangle. It is most likely that you will have to pay one zloty to use the facilities.

Useful website

Wawel Castle, Krakow


Portugal Capital: Lisbon

Population: 10.6 million

Location: South West Europe

Land Area: 92,391km2 (35,672mi2)

Language: Portuguese

Famous for: Port wine, salted cod

Money Matters

Mateus Rosé is a famous lightweight Rose. Portugal is also famous for its port wines; the best are produced around Oporto. Although Lisbon’s water tastes heavily of chemicals, it is safe for drinking. However, we recommend that you buy bottled drinking water. Portugal has an excellent range of local mineral waters.

The official currency is the Euro. ATMs are widely distributed and major credit cards are readily accepted. Bank opening hours Generally Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 3pm; some may close for lunch.

Best Buys


Jewellery and handcrafted items from goldsmiths in silver and gold, leather goods, ceramics, wickerwork, tiles, cork goods, embroidery and tapestry.

It is mountainous north of the Tagus River with rolling plains in the south.

Shopping Hours Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 7pm (some may close for lunch), and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

Climate and Clothing Portugal has a Mediterranean climate. It is one of the warmest European countries. Summer months are usually sunny, with the hottest months being July and August, where you can expect temperature highs of 35°C (95°F). Average temperatures in winter are 9°C -15°C (48.2°F-59°F). A sweater will come in handy for cool summer evenings and low heeled shoes are recommended if you plan to do much walking on Lisbon’s cobble stoned streets.

Postal Information Post offices open Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 7pm. You can also buy stamps from tobacconists. Mail boxes are painted bright red.


Manners and Customs

The country code is +351 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). For international operator connected calls from Lisbon (to USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) dial the English-speaking operator on 329011.

The Portuguese shake hands at every opportunity. Don’t be startled if someone taps you firmly on the arm to attract your attention – it’s the Portuguese way. If people, especially villagers, seem to be staring at you, it’s only unaffected curiosity. One problem can be how to catch the eye of a waiter. The Portuguese have no equivalent for ‘Waiter’ but use the term ‘Faz favor’ (please!). Tipping in restaurants is around 10-15% of the bill.

eKIT The access number for Portugal is 800-812-993.

Public Toilets Located in most Metro stations and other heavily-travelled places in Lisbon. If there is an attendant on duty a 20 cent coin would be an appropriate tip. Ladies’ toilets are ‘Senhoras’ and men’s are ‘Homens’.

Food and Drink Due to its long coastline seafood features prominently on restaurant menus. Typical Portuguese dishes include sopa de mariscos (shellfish soup made with vegetables and shellfish), caldo verde (green soup made with green cabbage leaves), caldeirada (fish stew cooked with vegetables) and porco altentejano (fried pork covered with a sauce of mussels stewed with tomato and onions). Another staple is bacalhau (dried codfish), which you will find everywhere. Portuguese grilled chicken is world famous and it is generally marinated in chili, garlic and olive oil. Puddings include arroz doce (Portuguese version of rice pudding) and nuvens (egg custard). Wine is the drink of choice in Portugal. There are good reds and whites and

Useful website


Romania Capital: Bucharest

Population: 22.4 million

Location: South East Europe

Land Area: 237,500km2 (91,699mi2)

Language: Romanian

Famous for: Dracula and Transylvania

Money Matters

chlorinated, and while relatively safe, may cause stomach upsets.

The official currency is New Leu (RON; plural Lei). It is divided into bani (1 New Leu = 100 bani). Coins are in issued in Bani 50, 10, 5 and 1 and notes in Lei 500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1.

Best Buys Specialist purchases include embroideries, pottery, porcelain, silverware, carpets, fabrics, wool jumpers, woodcarvings, metal, leather goods, rugs, glass paintings and silk dresses.

Bank opening hours Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm.


Shopping Hours Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm depending on area and season.

Central Transylvania is separated from the Plain of Moldavia on the east by the Carpathian Mountains and separated from the Walachian Plain on the south by the Transylvanian Alps.

Climate and Clothing

Postal Information

Summer temperatures are moderated on the coast by sea breezes while inland at sea level it is hot. Winters are coldest in the Carpathian Mountains where there is snow from December through to April. Snow falls throughout most of the country. Winters are mildest on the coast. Lightweights are worn in summer on the coast and in low inland areas. Warmer clothes are needed in winter and throughout the year in the highlands. Rainwear is recommended throughout the year.

Post offices are open daily, including Saturday mornings.

Telephone The country code is +40 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Public telephones are widely available and can be used for direct international calls. Hotels often impose a high service charge for long-distance calls, but usually do not charge for local calls.

Manners and Customs Handshaking is the most common form of greeting, but it is customary for men to kiss a woman’s hand when being introduced. Visitors should follow normal European courtesies on social occasions. A 10% service tip is customary in restaurants. Porters, chambermaids and taxi drivers also expect tips.

Food and Drink The Romanians excel in full-bodied soups, some of the best being cream of mushroom, chicken, beef, vegetable and bean soup. Other national specialities include tocana (pork, beef or mutton stew seasoned with onions and served with mamaliga), Moldavian parjoale (flat meat patties, highly spiced and served with garnishes), and patricieni (charcoalgrilled sausages similar to frankfurters). Fish dishes include nisetru la gratar (grilled Black Sea sturgeon), and scrumbii la gratar (grilled herring). Vegetarians may struggle to find suitable options. Desserts include moldavian cozonac (brioche) and pasca (a sweet cheesecake). A traditional drink with entrées is tuicã (plum brandy). Romanian wines have won international prizes and Romanian beers are excellent. Romanian sparkling wines, or methode champagnoise, are very good and superb value. Glühwein (mulled wine) is another popular Romanian drink. Tap water is normally 45

Russia Capital: Moscow

Population: 140 million

Location: Northern Asia

Land Area: 17,075,200km2 (6,592,768mi2)

Language: Russian

Famous for: Ballet, vodka, caviar

Money Matters

Best Buys

The official currency is the Rouble (R). It is divided into Kopeks (1 Rouble = 100 Kopeks). Coins are in issued in RUB 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 10, 5 and 1 kopeks. Notes are issued in RUB 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50 and 10. Money may be exchanged at the currency exchange desk in the hotel. Hours vary from place to place but they are open longer and are considerably easier to deal with than banks. You must always have your passport and currency control certificate with you when exchanging money. Only small amounts of money should be changed as most purchases are made in hard currency. It is a good idea to travel with small denominations of Euro.

Traditional matryoshkas (painted wooden dolls within dolls) and dymkovskaya igrushka (pottery figurines based on folklore characters) make excellent souvenirs. Engraved amber, cameras, vodka, watches and Faberge eggs (although you may have to settle for a reproduction!) are also a good buy.

Bank opening hours Generally from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Postal Information

Shopping Hours Tend to vary but usually are Mondays to Saturdays, 9am to 6pm. Most shops close for lunch for an hour. Tourist centres have foreign currency shops (berioska) where you can buy a wide range of goods for Sterling, dollars or other hard currency at favourable prices.

Post offices are generally open Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 7pm. Most major hotels have their own post office branch, which sell stamps and accept telegrams.

Geography It is the largest country in the world in terms of land area, but much of the country lacks the right soils and climate for agriculture.

Telephone The country code is +7 (dialling in) and international access 810 (dialling out). When dialling the Russian Federation from abroad, the 0 of the area code must not be omitted. For outgoing calls dial 810 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 81061 for Australia). Long distance calls may be made from your hotel and it is best that these are booked in advance. It is not possible to reverse the charges for calls from Russia.

Climate and Clothing Weather conditions are varied due to the size of the country. Summers are generally short and for the most part, comfortably warm. In all other seasons you are advised to pack some extra jumpers or cardigans as it is cold.

Manners and Customs

eKIT The access number for Russia is 8-10- 800-2174-1012.

Russians have a strong cultural history of literature (Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky), ballet and music. It is customary to shake hands when greeting someone. To avoid pick pocketing it is best to keep jewellery, watches and cameras out of sight. A 10% tipping policy should be adhered to.

Public Toilets Doors are usually marked M for men and X for ladies, or may also be advertised by the letters WC. Public toilets may be in short supply, so try places like McDonalds which are free of charge. It is advisable to carry packs of tissues in case no toilet paper is available.

Food and Drink Specialities include traditional borscht soup (beetroot soup served with sour cream), beef stroganov (creamy beef stew), pelmeni (meat dumplings) and kasha for breakfast (porridge). Russians have a very sweet tooth so try their desserts, especially ponchiki (hot sugared doughnuts). Vodka is popular and is often served straight or can be flavoured with herbs and spices such as zubrovka (a variety of grass) and pertsovka (hot pepper). There is also nalivka which is a sweet liqueur made from fruits. We recommend that you only drink bottled mineral water, which is always the carbonated variety.


Scotland Capital: Edinburgh

Population: 5 million

Location: North of the British Isles Land Area: 77,925km2 (30,086mi2) Language: English

Famous for: B  agpipes, kilts, tartan, the Military Tattoo

Money Matters

it’s worth checking whether a service charge has been added to the bill.

The currency in Scotland is the British Pound (Pound Sterling). It is divided into pence (1 Pound Sterling = 100 pence). There are four bank notes £5, £10, £20 and £50, and seven coins, 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p and £1. There are also some bank notes issued by Scottish banks which are legal tender throughout the UK but which some shopkeepers outside Scotland may look at suspiciously.

Food and Drink Haggis is probably the best known Scottish delicacy. It is rich in flavour, however some people are put off as it is made from sheep’s offal. Fresh salmon, trout, herring, game and potato are also commonly featured on menus. Scottish Whisky or Scotch is world famous and is sold around the globe. It has been distilled in Scotland for centuries and was originally referred to as the water of life – uisge beatha.

Bank opening hours Mondays to Fridays, 9.30am to 4.30pm.


Shopping Hours Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5.30pm. Some stores may be open on Sunday mornings.

Scotland’s terrain is varied and breathtaking. With mountain peaks to coastlines with white sandy beaches, it has lush pastures and extensive woodlands.

Best Buys

Climate and Clothing

Scotland makes some of the world’s best clothing and you’ll find a very good selection of tartans, woollens and tweeds. Edinburgh crystal, shortbread, Edinburgh rock (candy), bagpipes, sheepskin clothing, china, silver jewellery, crystal and whisky are also good buys.

Scotland’s climate is generally oceanic, with no extreme variations. It is generally cool and wet, so even in midsummer we advise you take some warm clothes and rainwear. Scotland is generally colder than the rest of the UK, especially in the more northerly regions. The west tends to be wetter and warmer than the cool, dry east. In upland areas, snow is common in winter, along with fog and mist.

Post Office Open Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 5.30pm, and Saturdays, 9am to 12 noon.

Manners and Customs


Scotland is a forthright and friendly place with a long tradition of hospitality which has not faded. Residents of countryside hamlets and the western islands may overwhelm you with their warm and enthusiastic welcome. Tipping is part of the way of life and is expected by most who provide a service (e.g. taxi drivers, hotel doormen, and airport and railway porters.) As a general guide a 10-15% of the cost of the service should be considered. In hotels and restaurants

The country code is +44 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out).

Public Toilets ‘Public Conveniences’, ‘WC’ or ‘male’ and ‘female’ symbols identify toilets throughout Scotland.

Useful website

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh


Slovenia Capital: Ljubljana

Population: 2 million

Location: Central Europe

Land Area: 20,273km2 (7,827mi2)

Language: Slovenian

Famous for: Mountain sports, Lake Bled

Money Matters

called potica and there is the ever popular goulash. White wines such as Laski and Renski Rizling or red karstteran are popular. Slovenian beer is also excellent. Tap water is considered safe and drinkable, however we advise you stick to bottled water.

The currency used is the Euro. Major credit cards are accepted at upmarket establishments, however cash is mainly preferred. Travellers cheques are accepted however they should be in currencies such as Euros, US dollars or Pounds Sterling.

Best Buys

Bank opening hours Mondays to Fridays, 8.30am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 5pm. Some are open Saturdays, 8.30am to 11am.

Local gifts include crystal glass, bobbin lace and speciality wines. Shopping Hours Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 7pm. Some shops are open on Saturday mornings.

Geography It has a short coastal strip on the Adriatic, an alpine mountain region adjacent to Italy and Austria, mixed mountains and valleys with numerous rivers to the east. Forest covers 57% of its land area.

Postal Information Post offices are generally open from Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 6pm, and Saturdays, 8am to 12 noon. Stamps can also be bought at bookstalls.

Climate and Clothing


Slovenia generally has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winters and a Mediterranean climate on the coast. We suggest medium weight clothing and heavy overcoats in winter and light weight clothing and raincoats for the summer.

The country code is +386 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Calls can be made with magnetic phone cards.

Manners and Customs Slovenes are generally very friendly and shaking hands is the normal form of greeting. Usual European social conventions apply and informal dress is widely acceptable. It is customary to give a 10% tip in hotels, restaurants and for taxis.

Food and Drink Slovenian food definitely has a German influence with sauerkraut, sausage and apple strudel generally appearing on menus. Breads are another popular accompaniment; try the strukli (stuffed with meat or vegetables) or a dessert

Ljubljana Castle, Ljubljana

Lake Bled


Spain Capital: Madrid

Population: 46 million

Location: South West Europe

Land Area: 504,782km2 (194,897mi2)

Language: Spanish

Famous for: B  ull fighting, flamenco dancing, tapas

Money Matters

for Gazpacho, a delicious cold vegetable soup and in the eastern regions there is Paella, a rice dish made with meat or seafood – well worth a try! Rioja red wine (pronounced ‘Ree-o-hah’), sherry (liqueur) and Cava (sparkling wine, which is much cheaper than champagne) are also popular. We suggest, like most Spaniards, you drink bottled mineral water which is widely available.

The currency used is the Euro. Money can be exchanged at banks, travel agencies and major hotels. Credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Bank opening hours Monday to Friday, 9am to 2pm, and normally also on Saturdays, 9am to 1pm.

Best Buys


Sherry (liqueur), lace, ceramics, leather goods, jewellery, Lladro figurines (porcelain), Spanish fans (abanico), Flamenco CDs, Damascene jewellery and Majorcan pearls.

Spain is large and generally flat in the centre with the rugged hills of the Pyrenees in the north and the mountain slopes of the Sierra Nevada in the south.

Shopping Hours Mondays to Saturdays 9am to 1pm and 5-8pm.

Climate and Clothing

Postal Information

Spain’s climate does vary but is by and large Mediterranean. Expect hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Take light to medium weight clothing in summer.

The main post offices in major cities are generally open 9am to 8pm. Stamps are not only sold at the post offices but also at establishments called Estancos (tobacconists) which are authorised to sell tobacco and stamps.

Manners and Customs The custom of siesta (early afternoon nap) is gradually disappearing and department stores now stay open through the traditional three-hour siesta. Some shops close from 2 to 5pm and reopen for late-night trading.

Telephone The country code is +34 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out).

Food and Drink

eKIT The access number for Spain is 800-099-665, Madrid economy is 91-414-61-98.

Spaniards eat out a lot and one of the best ways to try a variety of dishes is tapas (snacks). Served in small bowls, the idea is to share a mixed variety of dishes such of olives, squid, cheese, meat and bread. Other speciality dishes include Sopa Castellana (baked garlic soup), Besugo al Horno (seabream poached in a wine sauce), Cochinillo Asado (roasted suckling pig) and Cordero Asado (roast lamb). Many speciality dishes are made with seafood – eels, bream and squid. The area of Andalusia is noted

Public Toilets There are many expressions for toilet in Spanish – Aseos, Servicios, WC and Retretes. The first two terms are the more common. In public conveniences, attendants expect a tip.

Cibeles Fountain, Madrid


Sweden Capital: Stockholm

Population: 9 million

Location: Northern Europe

Land Area: 449,964km2 (173,732 mi2)

Language: Swedish

Famous for: Ikea, ABBA, Volvo and Saab

Money Matters

and milk are very popular, along with lager. Aquavit is the local spirit, usually drunk chilled. Wines and spirits are very expensive. The water is safe to drink.

The currency is the Swedish Krona (SKR). It is divided into Ore (1 Krona – 100 Ore). Travellers cheques are generally only accepted at exchange bureaux. ATMs are in widespread use.

Best Buys

Bank opening hours Mondays to Fridays, 9.30am to 6pm.

Sweden is renowned for its quality modern designs. Glassware and crystal, jewellery, silver and pottery. Women’s and children’s clothes are also good buys. Nordic sweaters are a speciality.

Geography Sweden is mostly flat and has gently rolling lowlands with mountains in the west.

Shopping Hours Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 5pm, and Saturdays, 9am to 1pm.

Climate and Clothing

Postal Information

In general Sweden’s climate is of a temperate nature. Summer weather is warm with low humidity and winters especially in the north are very cold. Summer evenings can be a bit cool, so we suggest packing a sweater.

Post boxes are yellow in Sweden. Stamps and aerograms are also on sale at most bookstalls and at stationers.


Manners and Customs

The country code is +46 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Phones are conveniently located in glass-enclosed sidewalk stalls and in ‘Tele’ offices. Dialling instructions are in Swedish and English.

Swedes are very environmentally aware and recycling is very popular. Midsummer is always celebrated – maypoles, garlands, flower decked houses, dancing and special midsummer dishes typify this popular festival.

eKIT The access numbers are Sweden 0200-888-074, Stockholm economy 08-5069-2159.

Food and Drink Swedish food was made famous by the Smörgåsbord, the Scandinavian cold buffet. A seemingly endless array of delicacies from a number of herring dishes (sweet-pickled herring, pickled herring with onions), Swedish meatballs (köttbullar), smoked salmon, pies, salads, eggs, bread, boiled and fried potatoes and so on. Other dishes to look out for are gravlax (salmon that has been specially prepared), traditional pea soup or ärtsoppa (yellow peas and pork) served with thin pancakes (pannkakor), pickled wild strawberries and cloudberries unique to Scandinavia. Coffee

Public Toilets Located in underground (subway) stations, department stores and some of the bigger streets, squares and parks. They are often labelled with symbols for men and women, or marked WC, Damer (ladies) or Herrer (gentlemen) or simply D/H. Some have slots for coins or an attendant to give towels and soap (for a small charge), but most are free and tips are not usually expected.

Useful website

Royal Palace, Stockholm


Switzerland Capital: Bern

Population: 7.5 million

Location: Central Europe

Land Area: 41,290km2 (15,942mi2)

Language: Swiss German, French and Italian Famous for: Clocks, watches, Swiss army knives, chocolates, banking

Money Matters

Swiss pastries and desserts are excellent. A great variety of Swiss wines are available throughout the country. There are also spirits made from fruit; the most popular are Kirsch, Pflümli and Williamine. The water in Switzerland is safe to drink.

The currency used is the Swiss Franc (CHF). It is divided into rappen (1 Swiss Franc = 100 rappen). Many prices may also be displayed in Euro. Major credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are widespread. Exchange offices are situated at airports and large railway stations.

Best Buys Watches, clocks and cuckoo clocks, chocolate, music boxes and Swiss army knives.

Bank opening hours Generally open Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 12.30 noon and 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

Shopping Hours Usually Tuesdays to Fridays, 9am to 6pm (closed two hours for lunch); shops are closed on Monday mornings and opening hours vary on Saturdays.

Geography It is a landlocked country, has the highest elevations in the Alps and 70% of the country is made up of mountains.

Postal Information

Climate and Clothing

Post offices are easily recognised by their distinctive sign showing a white cross on a red background and the letters PTT. All offices handle telephone calls and stamps are also dispensed from vending machines outside. Swiss post boxes are yellow. Post office hours are Monday to Friday, 7.30am to 12 noon and 2pm to 6.30pm, and Saturdays 7.30am to 11am.

The climate varies with elevation. The temperature is moderate with no real extremes of hot and cold. Summer is warm lasting from about June to September. It is best to be prepared for every eventuality and pack a warm sweater and raincoat.


Manners and Customs

The country code is +41 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Complete and simple operating instructions in four languages, including English, are posted on all public telephones.

Etiquette and social customs are very formal. Swiss Germans tend to be extremely polite and hard working. Tips are generally included in the bills but you can add a small tip if the service was very good. Make sure you greet a shopkeeper when entering a store.

eKIT The access numbers are Switzerland 0800-562-733, Zurich economy 44-580-4354, nationwide economy 0842-000-004.

Food and Drink French, German and Italian influences prevail in the regions where those languages are spoken. Speciality dishes include Fondue and Raclette (cheese dipping dishes), sausages and Rösti (fried potato), Bündnerfleisch (air-dried beef) and Fondue Bourguigon (cubes of steak with various sauces).

Public Toilets There are clean, conveniently located public toilets across Switzerland. Look out for the sign ‘Toiletten’ or ‘WC’. You will also find ‘Damen’ or ‘Frauen’ for ladies’ toilets, and ‘Herren’ and ‘Männer’ for men’s toilets.

Useful website

Matterhorn, Zermatt


Turkey Capital: Ankara

Population: 75 million

Location: South East Europe

Land Area: 780,580km2 (301,383 mi2)

Language: Turkish

Famous for: Hand woven carpets, Turkish baths, ceramics and leather

Money Matters

beef roasted on a vertical spit which is then thinly sliced) and for desert try Nightingale’s nest (walnut stuffed pastry), baklava, various milk puddings and of course Turkish delight. The national drink is Raki (an aniseed liqueur), which can be drunk throughout the meal either neat or with water. Turkish coffee is strong and served black. Stick to bottled water, either carbonated or still.

The currency in use is the Turkish Lira (TRY). It is divided into Kurus (1 Turkish Lira = 100 Kurus). Coins are issued in TL 1 and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 Kurus and notes are issued in TL 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. Major credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are widely distributed. Bank opening hours Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 12 noon & 1.30pm to 5pm.

Best Buys


Turkish Delight, local handicrafts, embroidered silks, woven carpets, jewellery, ceramics and leather.

Turkey has a high central plateau (Anatolia), narrow coastal plain and several mountain ranges. Mount Ararat, the legendary landing place of Noah’s Ark, is in the far eastern part of the country. Turkey is generally hot or warm in summer with mild winters.

Shopping Hours Mondays to Saturdays, 9am to 7pm.

Postal Information Post offices are identified by the letters PTT in black on a yellow background. Large hotels have post offices or will handle your mail for you at the desk. Post boxes are painted yellow.

Manners and Customs Hospitality has a strong emphasis on the Turkish way of life. Following religious laws of the Koran, the Turkish people are gracious and generous hosts and all guests (Misafir) are treated in the best possible manner. Turks also make every effort to communicate no matter what the linguistic barriers might be. Turkish life is centered around the coffee house and the bath house. Even the smallest Turkish village has its coffee house or Kahve as the social centre. Casual light clothes is the answer for the coast but include something stylish for dining and dancing. Modesty will win respect; low-cut tops and miniskirts (for women) are unsuitable everywhere except at the beach.

Telephone The country code is +90 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). Only a few countries can be called reverse-charge (collect). eKIT The access number for Turkey is 00800-151-0788.

Public Toilets Facilities are generally fine in hotels and large restaurants and acceptable at big highway filling stations, otherwise they are often below standard. Carry tissues with you when travelling, as toilet paper is not always supplied. Men’s toilets are indicated by the word Erkekler or Baylar and women’s by Kadinlar or Bayanlar or are recognisable by symbols.

Food and Drink Food generally has a Middle Eastern influence. Speciality dishes include Meze (a selection of starters), kebabs, in particular the Shish kebabs (pieces of meat such as lamb threaded on a skewer and grilled), Doner kebab (lamb and

Blue Mosque, Istanbul


Wales Capital: Cardiff

Population: 2.9 million

Location: West of Great Britain

Land Area: 20,779km2 (8,022mi2)

Language: English and Welsh

Famous for: Passion for Rugby, choirs

Money Matters

Best Buys

The currency in use is the Pound Sterling (£). It is divided into pence (1 Pound Sterling – 100 pence). Coins are issued in 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p and £1 and notes in £5, £10, £20 and £50.

Look out for locally produced crafts including pottery, slatecraft, Celtic designed jewellery, hand-woven woollens and love spoons. Love spoons are traditionally hand carved wooden spoons produced by young men in Wales since the 17th century. They would be presented to women as an offer of their love. If accepted it was a sign that courtship would lead to marriage.

Bank opening hours Normal banking hours are Mondays to Fridays, 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Geography Much of Wales’ diverse landscape is mountainous, particularly in the north and central regions. About 80% of the land is used for agriculture (including cattle grazing).

Shopping Hours Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5.30pm. In smaller towns and villages the shops usually close early one day a week (often Wednesdays).

Climate and Clothing

Postal Information

Though generally mild with warm summers and cool winters, the weather in Wales is variable with rapid climate changes taking place with little or no notice. Light waterproofs or an umbrella are recommended year round and even in summer a warm woollen jumper or jacket may be required for cool evenings.

Post boxes come in different shapes and sizes but are always red.

Telephone The country code is +44 (dialling in) and international access 00 (dialling out). There are numerous public telephone boxes; some take coins and some take phone cards, which can be purchased in newsagents and other retail outlets.

Food and Drink British and continental cuisine is widely available. Try Welsh Rarebit, a tasty snack of cheese on toast (there is no rabbit involved!). Speciality dishes include laver bread (made from seaweed), bara brith (fruit bread), cawl cennin (leek soup), Welsh cakes and Welsh lamb. All the usual beers, wines and spirits are widely available. Tap water is safe to drink and bottled mineral water is also available.

eKIT The access numbers are Wales 0800-032-6297, nationwide economy 0845-085-0855.

Useful website

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antico ristorante Via Cassia, 1 Certosa Firenze e Monastery Cuisine� was born from the strict manacle ting our Restaurant and the Certosian Monastery. Tel: 0039 055 2048876

act, the complex where the Restaurant La Certosa is located, he past, was used by the Certosian Monks as a pharmacy, for sale of medicine, syrup, ointments, beauty products, and it like a “shop� where you could buy cheese, oil, liquor and er products made the MonksCuisine� during their of hermitage. “The by Monastery waslife born from the strict manacle evening begins in the smalland hallthe which has theMonastery. view uniting ourprivate Restaurant Certosian he Certosian Monastery. In fact, the complex where the Restaurant La Certosa is located, waiters willin dress thewas clothing of the the Certosian Monks, “the habit�, the in past, used by Monks as a pharmacy, for a musical group willofbe dressed in the traditional the sale medicine, syrup, ointments,costume beauty products, and it he early 900’s. music andyou famous songs oil, liquor and wasTraditional like a “shop� where couldopera buy cheese, revive the other taste products and let made us reminisce aboutduring once their uponlife of hermitage. by the Monks me... The evening begins in the private small hall which has the view of the Certosian Monastery. The waiters will dress in the clothing of the Monks, “the habit�, and a musical group will be dressed in the traditional costume of the early 900’s. Traditional music and famous opera songs will revive the taste and let us reminisce about once upon a time...

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