Travel Tips to European Countries: Austria

Travel Tips to European Countries: Austria

About the Country

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

Site seeing

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

Culture

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

Getting there

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

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

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

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

Duty Free Items

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



Travel Tips to European Countries: Albania

Albania is a mountainous country and the one of the smallest countries of Europe. The residents supposedly descended from ancient Illyrians.

Culture

The culture of Albania is majorly influenced by that of the mainland Greeks especially in the urban locality; nodding one’s head means ‘no’ where as shaking the head means ‘yes’. To greet someone, handshaking is preferred, though Shoku (Comrade) was used before, which has been long forgotten now. People dress informally here. Swim suits are meant for the beaches, otherwise women are expected not to dress in a revealing outfit. When addressing someone prefix Zoti(Mr) or Zonja(Mrs) before the name and always remember to carry some gifts when visiting someone, although flowers aren’t much acceptable. The guests are served with coffee, raki or sweets. Smokers don’t have to worry much, but they should avoid it where they see a sign of Ndalohet Duhani or Ndalohet pirja e duhanit. 

Travelling within the country

Buses with relatively cheap fares operate in the main cities of the country or taxis are another choice which provided service for some main hotels.
Visit Dajti Mountain and experience Dajti Ekspres Cable car for an unforgettable 15 minute ride passing through Dajt Oark to reach Tirana. The route is about 4.2 km long and the ride costs €6.5.Alpha Yachting provides crewed yacht which is a luxury in itself. Tirana Bank is the best place for withdrawing money as it allows access to Visa cards. 

Eating Out

Restaurants are not always sufficiently heated, so always wear warm clothes if out in the night during winters. Foreigners are charged more than the locals. Both the entry fees as well as any merchandise will be on a higher scale, so it’s better not to reveal the fact that you are a foreigner when out on the streets.

Site Seeing

If you enjoy canoeing, this is the right place to be. There are places right outside Tirana which is an amazing site for not just canoeing, but also rock climbing, hiking, and camping. 

Accommodation

If you want a 5-Star ambience, try The Sheraton Tirana Hotel and Towers, which is situated in the middle of a shopping and entertainment center. There are about 151 rooms and 56 suites. So, along with the comfort, one can shop at once convenience here. Another hotel which provides all modern facilities is Hotel Mondial. It is located 1000 m away from the city and is also a good example of traditional architecture.

Getting There

One of the best and the easiest means is to go by air. Albanian Airlines is the national airline which works in collaboration with Tyrolean Airways, and provides service to almost all the big European cities. The airport, Mother Teresa, is 16 miles or 26 km away from the capital. A tourist bus is available every 3 hrs to get to the city center and takes about 30 minutes to get there. Taxis are available round the clock. While waiting for any transport service, tourists can check out the duty free shops, bank, eateries and car hire at the airport. A departure tax of $10 USD is imposed on all foreign nationals. Check out www.flyalbanian .com for flight times and offers.

If trying to get there by sea, try the ferry services which are provided by Adriatic Line and Agoudimos. The main ports are Durres (has ferry connection to Italy, Bari, Brindisi, Trieste, and Ancona), Vlora (has ferry connection to Bari, and Brindisi), Saranda (has connection to Corfu), Shen Gjini (has ferry connection to Bari). Check out www.adriatica.it and www.aqoudimos-lines.com for more information. 

Bus is another option. Buses start from Istanbul, Athens and Sofia. Internal passengers have lots of options with bus services provided. If traveling by road in a private car, there is road network to the Kosovo region, but they are too dangerous to use because of the political tensions within the region. Crossings at Hani I Hotit, Bllata, Oafa e Thaes, Tushemisht, Gorica, Kapshtica, and kakavija can be taken. If tired one can take halts at hotels or other designated areas. There is a network of 18,000 km, out of which only 7450 km are main roads, for local travelers. About 2138km stretch of these roads is in poor condition and has pot holes, and utmost safety precautions should be taken when driving on such roads. Speed limit should be strictly followed on highways as well as within towns. Driving at night should be better avoided because of the absence of street lights on the road except for urban areas. Traffic should drive on the right-hand. There is a shortage of gas stations in the countryside, so filling the gas tank completely when passing through urban area is recommended and since there is lack of national recovery system; travelers should be prepared for an emergency or breakdown before hand. One should carry necessary documents like International Driving Permit and national driving license.

Duty Free Items

Following are the items that can be carried without customs duty being levied on them: 
1. 1liter of spirits or 2liter of wine
2. 250ml of eau de toilette
3. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
4. 50ml of perfume.

Prohibited Items

Things that are prohibited to carry are firearms, narcotics and ammunitions. Special export permission should be taken for precious metals, books, antiques, work of art, or material of national or historic value.

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