Travel tips to European Countries: Czech Republic

Travel tips to European Countries: Czech Republic

About the county

Czech Republic is located in Central Europe bordering Poland to the north, Germany to the northwest and west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east. The capital of Czech Republic is Prague which is also the biggest city of Czech Republic and a popular tourist destination. Czech Republic became a member of European Union in May, 2004. Czech Republic was earlier a part of Czechoslovakia which was dissolved in January, 1993 and was split into what is now called Czech and Slovak Republics. Brno, Ostrava, Plzeň, Olomouc, , České Budějovice, Zlín, Hradec Králové, Ústí nad Labem, Pardubice and Karlovy Vary are the other important cities of Czech Republic. Czech Republic is divided into two parts based on geographical and cultural classification. They are Bohemia and Moravia. Bohemian cities and towns are popular for their spas and wine vineyards. It is also home to many castles which are open for visitors. One of the other tourism attractions is the availability of hundreds of miles of marked trails for hiking, cycling and skiing.

Population & Languages

The population of Czech Republic is roughly 10.2 million and the official language being spoken is Czech.

Electricity

The voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The type of plug used is Round pin plug and receptacle with male grounding pin

Geographic Location

It is located in Central Europe bordering Poland to the north, Germany to the northwest and west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east. It is basically a landlocked country strategically located on some of the most important land routes in Europe.

Climate

The climate of Czech Republic can be termed as Temperate with hot summers and cold overcast winters. It also gets snow. Most of the rain comes down in summer. Due to different altitudes the variation of temperatures is diverse. The temperatures are relatively low at high altitudes and more precipitation. The temperatures average only -0.4°C at high altitude areas whereas the temperatures can average as high as 10°C in low altitude areas.

Local Customs

Dressing should be conservative and casual except at formal dinners or good hotels or restaurants. Tipping is usually 5 to 10 percent in restaurant, hotels and taxis.

Attractions

The Castle District (Hradèany) – It has some of the best churches and museums. It also has some beautiful gardens, fortifications and state apartments also.

St Vitus Cathedral – It is located in the Castle District, the prominent feature of this cathedral is the spires which soar high in the sky. It is also country’s largest church with great architecture.

Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) – This is one of the most popular tourist spots of the city and should not be missed.

Old Town Square (Staromĕstské Námestí) – It is the most vibrant square of Prague with many historical structures. It also hosts various markets every year like yearly Christmas market.

The Jewish Museum – It is the largest Jewish Museum in Central Europe with a vast collection of Judaic art works.
Vyšehrad – Is a great hill fort built on a rock above the river.

Travel

By Air – The national airline of Czech Republic is Czech Airlines. There are many other small and popular international airlines operating from Czech Republic. The major airport is Prague Ruzyne International Airport (PRG). The airport is located approximately 10 miles north west of Prague.

By Rail – The country is part of the extensive network of trains connecting the European cities. If you are coming from Western Europe the most convenient connections are via Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, and Zurich to Prague.

Duty Free Items
1. 800 cigarettes or 400 cigarillos or 200 cigars or 1kg tobacco for EU countries.
2. 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco for Non-EU countries.
3. 10 liter of spirits with alcohol content over 22%, or 20 liter of alcoholic beverages with alcohol volume less than 22%, or 90 liter of wine or 60 liter of sparkling wine, or 110 liter of beer for EU countries.
4. 1 liter spirits or 2 liter wine for Non-EU countries.
5. 50g perfume or 250ml eau de toilette
6. Food, fruits, medications and flowers for personal use
7. Gifts up to €175

Prohibited Items

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



Travel Tips to European Countries: Germany

About the country

The Federal republic of Germany is the most influential country of Europe. It has witnessed the most controversial facts of history like Nazism, Holy Roman Empire and the building and demolition of the Berlin wall. With many magnificent castles it has wealth of art and culture. German is the widely spoken language in German, but outsiders can find many English speaking locals especially in the common tourist destinations. 

Weather

The weather here is very unpredictable as there is a possibility of rain almost all months, so carry clothes accordingly. April and May are the months of spring which brings in full bloom of fruits and flowers. Months from May to September have very fine weather with sunny skies and offers the best time for traveling and site-seeing. People who have a passion for sports like swimming, hiking, and cycling can have the best time here during these months. Winter sports can be enjoyed at the resorts in the months from November to early March. The temperatures are below freezing and the days are too short (comprise of only six to eight months) in winter.

Local Customs

Locals greet each other by handshaking and saying Guten Tag. To say goodbye, people use Auf Wiedersehen. Guests are expected to bring uncovered and odd number of flowers, especially roses, when visiting someone’s home. The guests are welcomed with either food or refreshments. At the table, hosts say ‘Guten Appetit’ to which the guests should reply with ‘Ebenfalls’. Smoking should be better avoided in public areas. Locals dress informally but certain occasions like opera, theatre, certain restaurants and social functions call for formal wear. 

Electricity

220 V, 50 Hz

Moving Around

The best way to get around is to buy the Welcome cards or the city passes which allows the customer to access unlimited bus facility in many cities of Germany. It also gives special offer on certain tourist attractions. For flexibility one can rent-a-car or go for chauffer driven cars. Along with the rent, VAT of 16% is payable. Car insurance should be available before hand in case of any accident. The speed limit within the cities is mostly 50kph and 100kph on the highways.
Nine stars

The nine stars of Southwest Germany comprise of Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Heilbronn, Mannheim, Pforzheim Stuttgart, and Ulm. They are considered to be some of the beautiful cities of Europe. Each of the cities play a vital role in the culture of Germany. Baden-Baden has few of the finest resorts and also has Europe’s second largest opera and concert hall. Freiburg is known as the historic city center and is famous for cobblestone mosiacs, open streams and ancient alleys. Heidelberg has world famous castles and Germany’s oldest university. Karlsruhe has the famous museum Center for Art and Media. Look out for various amusements along the Nectar river of Heilbronn. Pforzheim is the capital for watches and jewelry. Stuttgart is famous for theatres and opera.  Ulm is the birth place of Albert Einstein and is also house to the world’s tallest hurch spire.

Travel

The national airline that serves Germany is Lufthansa. Bwelin-Tegel airport is situated at 8 km away from the city and it takes about 20 minutes to reach there. There is a provision of duty free shops, banks, post office, eateries, conference hall, and car hire and tourism information for the passengers.

Another busy airport is the Frankfurt airport which is located at 13km away from the city. Buses take about 20 minutes to get there. Taxis are available at any time. The Intercity railway network at the airport also provides international services to Hungary, Switzerland and Austria. The facilities provided here are duty free shops, left luggage, restaurants, banks, conference halls, post office, car hire and tourism information. No departure tax is levied on the passengers.

Those wishing to travel by sea can avail the ferry connections to Finland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Latvia, and Norway.

Eurostar provides railway service to and from Belgium, France and the UK. Booking can be made by telephone. The Inter-Rail offers unlimited second class train travel within 29 European countries. The Eurailpass offers unlimited first class train travel within 17 European countries. 
EuroCity and InterCity trains have a restaurant on board, providing food and drinks. InterCity Express target the business class and provides services such as fully equipped office, conference compartments, etc. Tourist over 17 years of age can carry alcohol and tobacco with them within permissible limits.

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