Introduction to Porto

Book flights to Porto and discover Portugal’s northern powerhouse.

Porto is a mish-mash of Medieval and Baroque, of tumbledown 20th Century townhouses and striking modern architecture. It’s a beautiful city to look at, whether you’re wandering through the centuries-old streets of the UNESCO listed Ribeira district or relaxing with a beer by the Duero, admiring the five majestic bridges that span the river.

Clérigos Church

Clérigos Church: Unrivalled views of the city from the bell tower.

Drago Stadium

FC Porto Museum by BMG: Museum dedicated to the city’s football club.

Ponte de Dom Luis I

Ponte de Dom Luis I: Porto’s best-known bridge, once the longest in the world.

Other things to do in Porto

One of the joys of Porto is simply strolling around and discovering the city’s beautiful architecture. The gothic Church of São Francisco with its intricate baroque interiors is a must-visit, as is the city’s cathedral (Sé do Porto): dating back to the early 12th Century, it’s one of Portugal’s most important Romanesque monuments. Remember to hop on the Funicular dos Guindais for a panoramic view of  the Douro and Ponte de Dom Luis I.

Hire a car at Porto Airport and explore the Douro Valley. Wine tourism is very popular in the region, with numerous vineyards offering tastings and tours. Designated drivers can pick up a bottle at the cellar door to enjoy back at the hotel. For scenic drives head to the International Douro Nature Park, the Alvão Nature Park or the Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley.

Still looking for inspiration? Check out our top 10 things to do in Porto.

Eating and drinking in Porto

A tasting tour of Porto’s famous dessert wine warehouses is a must. The majority (including household names Sandeman, Cockburn and Taylor’s) are based across the Duoro in Vila Nova de Gaia. Look out for lesser known labels like Cálem, Kopke and Quinta do Noval. Northern Portuguese cuisine is hearty. Look out for dishes like feijoada de javali (wild boar stew) and leitão (suckling pig served with oranges and thin cut potatoes). One of the world’s most impressive sandwiches, the francesinha, was invented in Porto. The sandwich includes various meats and sausages, is covered in melted cheese, smothered in a beer tomato sauce, and topped with a fried egg. Yes, it does come with chips. To sample one, avoid the riverfront restaurants and head inland to Cafe Santiago.

Porto climate

Porto has a mild climate, with warm summers and wet winters. You can expect an average temperature of 20°C if you visit during July (19°C in August and September) and an average of 10°C in January, the city’s coldest month. December and February are the wettest months, while July and August are the driest.

When to go to Porto

Summer (May to September) is the most popular time to visit Porto. The chance of sunshine is high and there are plenty of festivals including the Mares Vivas music festival and the lively Festa de São João de Porto at Midsummer. The low-season (October to April) is the cheapest time to visit, and you can find great deals on hotels in Porto at this time of year. The weather is still mild, although you’re more likely to experience rain.

Introduction to Rome

The ancient city of Rome, Italy’s capital has played an influential part in Western Europe, from the Roman invasions to the literature, art and architecture. The city captivates its visitor’s imaginations with a wealth of treasures; ancient ruins, and Renaissance architecture found sitting next to modern Rome’s striking pieces including the bold MAXXI Museum and the Ara Pacis Museum. From enjoying an espresso at the Piazza Navona to exploring the ruins, museums and pieces of art, Rome has plenty to see and do.

Colosseum

Colosseum

The Roman Empire’s most iconic ruin from 80AD, it hosted gladiator battles and entertainment.

The Vatican

Vatican City

Home to the Pope and St Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest church filled with art and treasures including the Michaelangelo dome.

The Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

The most famous of Rome’s many fountains, throw a coin into the Baroque fountain to ensure your return to Rome.

Other things to do in Rome

Rome has a huge wealth of archaeological sites to satisfy even the most ardent enthusiast. The Colosseum was Rome’s main stadium, The Pantheon is a temple to celebrate all the gods, The Roman Forum is a collection of buildings which were the business centre of Ancient Rome and Palatine Hill was the home of the Roman Emperors. Roman baths were an important part of the culture in Rome, with almost 900 baths in the city at its peak, the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla and Baths of Diocletia can be visited today.

After visiting the ruins head to the museums and art galleries of Rome. A short walk from the Colosseum and the Roman Forum is The Capitoline Museum, founded in 1471 it is the oldest museum in the world and has collections of Ancient Roman sculptures and paintings. The National Roman Museum, Museum of Rome and the Museum of Roman Civilization are all recommended if you wish to discover more of Rome’s history.

Many of Rome’s attractions focus on the history, however there are still a few modern attractions which offer something a little different. There’s the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, and the MAXXI Museum which is one of Rome’s vibrant modern pieces of architecture designed by Zaha Hadid, it explores contemporary architecture and the arts in the city. There’s also Sala Uno, located in a former basilica at Piazza de Porta San Giovanni, this is a contemporary art gallery showcasing experimental art exhibitions.

For breath-taking views of Rome head up to the top of Gianicolo Hill (The Janiculum), on route you will see the San Pietro in Montorio Church, Acqua Paola fountain, a puppet show and over 80 statues. Continuing with the outdoors the Orto Botanico a 30 acre botanical garden, is a world away from the busy tourist crowds. Here you will find over 3000 species of plants, a Japanese garden, historic greenhouses and fountains.

As home to the Pope, and the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church you can expect to find a number of religious places of interest in Rome. These include the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum and St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, ancient basilicas such as Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls and the Capuchin Crypt.

Theatre and opera have always been an important part of Rome’s culture; outdoor musical performances on squares and at the ruins are a regular occurrence during summer, and 17th century opera houses such as Teatro dell’Opera di Roma host regular indoor shows.

For some of the best shopping opportunities in Rome head to Monti and the Mercato Monti, an urban market with an array of boutique fashion brands from local designers, and quirky, vintage and hip stalls.

Read more: Top things to do in Rome – a local’s guide

Eating and drinking in Rome

One of the best things about visiting Rome is sampling the Roman cuisine where simple yet memorable dishes are created with seasonal produce by passionate chefs. Freshly made pasta (spaghetti is the most popular) is the basis of most meals served in a variety of sauces, the local carbonara is a must. Staple ingredients which you can expect to see in many Roman dishes includes offal, seafood, anchovies, artichokes and zucchini.

There are countless small pizzerias dotted around the city, some of the best are those off the tourist track including Da Remo in Testaccio and La Gatta Mangiona in Monteverde. Pizzas in Rome have a thin crust, often charred at the edges, with a wide selection of toppings from prosciutto to aubergine and mozzarella.

House wines served with dinner in Rome restaurants are typically those grown from the Lazio region. The vineyards here produce white grapes, Frascati Wine, is a dry or sweet wine and the signature wine of the city.

Italians take their coffee seriously; a cappuccino is considered to be breakfast and most will refuse to serve one after 11am, if you ask for a coffee in a bar, or coffee shop you will be served an espresso.

As a city with an incredible foodie culture, there are a number of foodie walking tours around Rome available where you will get to learn more about the cuisine you’re sampling.

Rome climate

Rome has a Mediterranean climate and enjoys hot summers, though winters are cool and wet. Summer temperatures average at 25°c, and winters around 10°c. December is Rome’s wettest month with 10 days of rainfall on average, you can expect very little rain in July and August.

When to go to Rome

Rome’s hot summers attract significant crowds, however with temperatures reaching 30-32°c, July and August can be too hot for some. The best time to visit Rome is April to June and September to October where temperatures average 18°c and with some of the highest numbers of daily hours of sunshine al fresco dining is possible.

If you don’t mind the cooler weather, and potential snow Rome in winter can be a perfect city break with fewer crowds, cheaper hotels and boutiques for Christmas shopping.

UK flight ban on laptops and tablets: How will this affect your travel plans?

As easyJet becomes the first UK airline to announce a hand luggage ban on laptops and tablets, we explain what this flight ban means for your travel plans, especially if you’re flying from the Middle East and North Africa.

On March 22nd 2017, the UK and the US announced a ban on laptops and tablets in all hand luggage on board direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, and the change in hand luggage restrictions has now come into force. So how will this affect your travel plans? Here are the facts…

Which countries and airports are included in the ban?

The US flight ban affects the following airports:

  • Cairo (Egypt)
  • Istanbul (Turkey)
  • Dubai (United Arab Emirates)
  • Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)
  • Kuwait (Kuwait)
  • Doha (Qatar)
  • Casablanca (Morocco)
  • Amman (Jordan)
  • Riad (Saudi Arabia)
  • Yedda (Saudi Arabia)

The UK flight ban affects all flights coming from:

Which airlines are affected?

The ban will affect six UK airlines:

And these eight overseas carriers:

Which electronic items are banned from cabin baggage?

UK flight ban:

Prohibits any electronic device bigger than 16cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm in hand luggage. This means mobiles and smartphones, like the larger iPhone Plus will still be allowed. Most smartphones, including the iPhone 7 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S7, can still be carried in hand luggage.

US flight ban:

Prohibits the following items, as detailed by The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – but they have said that this list is not exhaustive:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • E-readers
  • Cameras
  • Portable DVD players
  • Game consoles larger than a smartphone
  • Travel printers and scanners

 

Pros and Cons of Refundable Airfare Tickets for Corporate Travel

When it comes to airfare and travel, refundable air tickets generally cost somewhere between two and four times the cost of non-refundable fares. This may lead you to wonder who is buying them and why. Despite the high cost, refundable fares remain attractive to certain travellers – generally those booking corporate travel.

Many businesses still prefer for their travellers to buy these unrestricted tickets, especially when purchasing airfare in advance. Simply put – plans change and things need to be flexible and that need is not reflected in less-expensive non-refundable airfare.

Being able to avoid the hassle that comes with changes and cancellations is well worth the added costs for many companies. One of the major perks of refundable airfare is having the ability to avoid some of the crazy fees that airlines charge these days – whether cancellations or changing fees. Many look at the costs of refundable airfare as the lesser of two evils.

However, with business travel spend expected to reach new heights year over year until at least 2020, it’s important to delegate areas in which your travel program can save money. If giving corporate travellers the ability to book refundable tickets is important to your travel program, know that it’s possible to negotiate discounted rates on unrestricted airfare if you or your travel management company have an agreement with that specific airline.

For the reasons listed above, unrestricted airfare will always be sold at a premium. It’s up to you as a travel manager to decide if it’s important for your travellers to have access to book these flights when establishing your corporate travel policy. How are you going to reach the goals set for your managed travel program?

If you’re looking for the right travel management company to help your organization implement a customized business travel solution that suits your company’s specific travel needs, Midlink Travel can help.

Contact us to learn more.

Introduction to Berlin

Introduction to Berlin

Berlin is an astonishing city where events have taken place that have had a colossal effect around the rest of Europe. It has been scarred by war, split in two and reunited, but the Berlin of today is a vibrant 24-hour city crammed full of museums, art galleries, quirky hotels and other cultural delights. It has shaken off its years of oppression with such vigour that it has taken on a trendiness which has been compared with 80s New York, making it the perfect city break destination for those in search of both culture and fun.

The Brandenburg Gate

Berlin’s most famous and symbolic landmark

 

 

 

The Berlin Wall

The remains are best viewed at the Eastside Gallery or the Berlin Wall Memorial

 

 

 

The Reichstag

 

 

The seat of the German parliament, with 360 degree rooftop views

 

Other things to do in Berlin

For a fascinating insight into Berlin’s turbulent 20th century history, head to Checkpoint Charlie, the only crossing point between East and West Berlin while The Wall divided the city. For a wider historical overview, try the Story of Berlin, which charts the fortunes of the city from when it was first founded right up to the fall of the Berlin Wall, and includes a 1970s nuclear bunker from the Cold War Era.

 

Don’t miss the Gendarmenmarkt, famed as one of Europe’s most impressive squares and home to the Konzerthaus, the primary venue of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. During the festive season, this is where you’ll find Berlin’s most charming Christmas markets, and it’s the ideal place to stop for a coffee at any time of year. Hotels in Berlin are hip, trendy and range from the super cheap to the extravagant.

 

For stunning views of Berlin, get the lift to the top of Germany’s tallest building, the TV Tower, where you can even enjoy a meal in a revolving restaurant which offers incomparable views while you dine.

Eating and drinking in Berlin

In Germany the simple yet satisfying sausage has traditionally been the most popular item on the menu for inexpensive eating. In Berlin it has been transformed into the local speciality Currywurst – a thick, smoked sausage smothered in curried tomato sauce. Whether you’re after sausages or a choice of international cuisine, eating out in Berlin is cheap by European standards, and Oranienburger Street is a good place to start. Beer is Berlin’s most traditional drink (the country boasts about 40% of the world’s breweries), so wherever you go you can be sure you are getting a locally made product, often with a distinctive style. The “Berliner Weiße” (beer with juice) is a well-known variant.

Berlin climate

Berlin’s climate is continental; the winters are cold and the summers are hot. If you’re waiting for sunny weather, you should go between April and the end of September. Temperatures can reach 32°C in July.

When to go to Berlin

Berlin has cultural festivals running all year round, the most notable of which is the Berlin International Film Festival, the world’s third largest film festival, which takes place in February each year with around twelve days of old, new, art house and mainstream cinema. Visit in the summer for the best weather, or December for the famous Christmas markets.

 

Turkey latest update 03-01-2016

On 1 January 2017, there was an attack on the Reina nightclub in Ortakoy, Istanbul, causing a large number of casualties. There is an ongoing police operation in Istanbul as a result of the attack, and the attacker may still be at large. You should exercise vigilance and caution at this time, and follow the advice and instructions of the security authorities.


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

the remaining areas of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Kilis and Hatay provinces
the provinces of Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari
On 1 January 2017, there was an attack on the Reina nightclub in Ortakoy, Istanbul, causing a large number of casualties. There is an ongoing police operation in Istanbul as a result of the attack, and the attacker may still be at large. You should exercise vigilance and caution at this time, and follow the advice and instructions of the security authorities.

On 17 December 2016, a car bomb exploded in the city of Kayseri, near Cappadocia. 13 people, mostly soldiers, were killed and over 50 people injured.

On 29 October 2016, the US Department of State ordered the departure of family members of employees posted to the US Consulate General in Istanbul due to security information indicating extremist groups continue aggressive efforts to attack US citizens in Istanbul. British diplomatic missions in Turkey continue to operate as normal. You should remain vigilant and monitor travel advice.

British nationals made over 2.4 million visits to Turkey in 2015. It’s generally safe to travel to Turkey, but you should take additional safety precautions. Be alert to your surroundings and remain vigilant in crowded places popular with foreign nationals, including during festival periods such as Christmas and New Year.

Rallies and demonstrations, official and unofficial, may take place at short notice. You should stay well away from any demonstrations.

The situation has calmed following an attempted coup on 15 to 16 July 2016. But the security environment remains potentially volatile and a state of emergency is in place.

In some busy areas, especially Istanbul, the Turkish authorities are stopping members of the public to conduct ID checks. There’s also a larger than usual number of police checkpoints on main roads across Turkey. You should co-operate with officials conducting checks, and keep your passport and a printed copy of your e-visa or your residence permit with you at all times.

Terrorism
There is a high threat from terrorism. Terrorist groups, including Kurdish groups, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) and far left organisations, continue to plan and carry out attacks. Further attacks are likely and could be indiscriminate.

There is a heightened risk of terrorist attack against the aviation industry in Turkey. You should co-operate fully with security officials at airports.

Most terrorist attacks have taken place in the south and east of the country and in Ankara and Istanbul. Attacks are most likely to target the Turkish state, civilians and demonstrations. Nevertheless, it’s likely that some attacks will also target western interests and tourists from western countries, particularly in the major cities.

The Turkish authorities have successfully disrupted attack planning in the recent past and have said that security has been tightened in response to recent attacks. But further attacks are likely and could be indiscriminate.

You should be vigilant, follow the advice of local security authorities, monitor media reports and keep up to date with this travel advice.

See Terrorism.

British nationals need a visa to travel to Turkey, except for cruise ship passengers with ‘British Citizen’ passports who arrive at sea ports for tourist visits to the port city or nearby cities, provided that the visit doesn’t exceed 72 hours.

If you’re visiting Turkey as a tourist or on business, get an e-Visa online before you travel. Only use the official Republic of Turkey e-Visa website. Avoid unauthorised websites as they may charge an additional fee. Some unauthorised websites have issued fake e-Visas.

If you don’t have an e-Visa you can still get a visa on arrival for £20 in cash, although the visa on arrival service is due to be phased out. Getting an e-Visa from the official website before you travel will avoid possible problems or delays at the Turkish border, or when boarding your flight in the UK. See Entry requirements

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

London – Introduction

London has five airports, Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport, London City Airport, Luton and Stansted Airport. London City Airport is the closest airport to Central London located in the Royal Docks however both Gatwick and Heathrow Airport have direct, express train services which reach Central London in less than 30 minutes.

Tower of London

Tower of London

Visit the Crown Jewels, spot the legendary six Ravens and take a Beefeater tour around this historic castle

London Eye at Night

London Eye

The giant 135m wheel on the South Bank offers panoramic views across London.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

The Queens’ official residence, tour Buckingham Palace and watch the Changing of the Guard.

Other things to do in London

London is known for its vast selection of museums, the majority of which are free to visit. The Science Museum, National History Museum and the British Museum are some of the best in the world. For fashion and the arts you will have the Design Museum, the Fashion and Textile Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum which one of the most influential art and design museums in the world with an exciting selection of temporary fashion and arts exhibitions. London has an abundance of speciality museums; the Pollock Toy Museum, The Vault at Hard Rock Cafe, the Magic Circle Museum and the Bank of England Museum are just a few of the many you have to choose from.

Read more: Top 10 things to do in London

For shopping in London there’s the world famous Harrods department store, and of course Hamley’s for toys. Oxford Street is the main shopping street in London full of popular brands, Bond Street is the spot for exclusive designer brands and London’s markets are a must for something a little different. Some of the must visits include Alfie’s Antique Market is an indoor market in a bold Edwardian building with over 70 vintage and antique vendors, Camden Market – London’s most popular market and Covent Garden Market.

Escape the busy streets of London with the city’s many parks. The 350 acre Hyde Park is home to Serpentine Lake which offers pedal and rowing boat rides, and lots of sculptures and fountains, including the Diana Memorial Fountain. You will find the London Zoo and Queen Mary’s Gardens which has over 400 varieties of roses in Regent’s Park and St James’s Park which has daily pelican feedings is a great place to stop off after watching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

Although many of London’s attractions appeal to all ages there are lots of things especially for children throughout the city, including Kidzania, Shrek’s Adventure, Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, the Sea Life Centre and Ripley’s London.

Read more: 10 things for kids to see and do in London

Eating and drinking in London

London is a cornucopia of cuisines, from street food to Michelin-starred restaurants with celebrity chefs, and champagne bars to historical pubs you will be spoilt for choice.

Read more: 12 of the Best Restaurants in London

For a truly London experience, you can’t miss out on a traditional afternoon tea during your visit, served at hotels and restaurants throughout the city. Fortnum and Mason is the place to go if you want a great selection of teas, head to The Ritz if you want to enjoy a traditional formal tea, and The Shard for views over London and an oriental take on the traditional afternoon tea.

The street food in London is easily some of the best in the city, offering a range of worldwide cuisines to suit everyone’s tastes. Take a look at our guide to the best London street food.

Read more: Best London Street Food

London climate

London has a temperate climate which results in warm summers and mild winter. London has an urban heat island effect, the hottest month is July with average highs of 24°c, and the coldest month is January, with average lows of 5°c.

Rainfall is low when compared to the rest of the UK and other European cities such as Rome and Naples. Between October and January there’s on average 10 days of rain, this falls to 8 days each month during March to September.

When to go to London

London’s mild climate, relatively low rainfall and abundance of both indoor and outdoor attractions means London is the perfect destination no matter what time of year it is.

London has a full events calendar with numerous exhibitions, events, carnivals and festivals happening throughout the year so it’s worth checking to see what’s on in advance of your trip. The famous Notting Hill Carnival takes place each August, and the London Bushstock Festival is in June.

If you’re heading to London in winter for shopping you will see the city come to life with Christmas spirit through ice-rinks, lights, Christmas markets and fairs.

Flying to London

As one of the world’s premier cities, flights to London are readily available from destinations around the world.  Heathrow and Gatwick Airport offer direct bus, train and taxi links to the capital.

Paris – Introduction

Paris is often referred to as ‘the City of Love’, and it’s not hard to see why. Its elegant streets and lofty landmarks exude a dreamlike quality as well as oodles of style and sophistication. The city has been an important hub since Roman times, later becoming the political, cultural and economic centre of France. But it’s the romantic ambience, immortalised in such films as Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie, that makes Paris so popular with visitors today. Whether it’s taking a romantic stroll along the River Seine or soaking up the artistic atmosphere of Montmartre, Paris has everything the heart could desire for the perfect weekend away.

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

Spectacular views of Paris from the top, and well worth queuing for.

The Louvre

The Louvre

A priceless collection of antiquities and art, including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

The mighty Gothic cathedral that inspired Victor Hugo’s Hunchback novel.

Other things to do in Paris

Paris is crammed with world-famous landmarks, so there is no shortage of things to see during your visit. The Champs-Elysees is a good place to start, with the grand Arc de Triomphe at one end and the Place de la Concorde and Jardin de Tuileries at the other, down by the romantic River Seine.

 

The Louvre is by no means the only famous art gallery in Paris, with the Musee d’Orsay housing another noteworthy collection which includes masterpieces such as Monet’s Water Lilies. Paris is also renowned for being one of the world’s great fashion capitals, and is a great place to indulge in a shopping spree, whether in the Haute Couture shops of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore or the bargain-filled Parisian flea markets.

 

No trip to Paris would be complete without spending some time in Montmartre, the city’s artisan district. Walk up to the Sacre Coeur, the impressive church built on the highest point in Paris. There are stunning views over the city, as well as a bustling square filled with artists selling their work. Not far from here you will also find the famed Moulin Rouge, the setting for Baz Luhrmann’s acclaimed film of the same name.

 

Eating and drinking in Paris

France is celebrated for its fine cuisine, and Paris is no exception. However much or however little you want to spend, a delicious meal is easy to come by. Start the day with coffee and a croissant in one of the many cafes and patisseries for which Paris is famous. For lunch on a budget, try a traditional French bistro or even a hearty snack such as a crepe or baguette from a street vendor in the tourist centre. A candlelit dinner in a Parisian restaurant is a romantic way to end a day of touring this dreamy city, with many offering fixed price menus for three or four courses along with delicious French wine.

 

Paris climate

Paris generally has a pleasant climate, though summers are rather hot, and snow is not unheard of in winter. Rainfall is unpredictable, with sudden downpours liable to catch you out throughout the year. Book hotels in Paris at any time of the year and you are sure to find something to love.

 

When to go to Paris

Paris can be visited at any time of year, though temperatures soar in August causing many Parisians to escape the city, meaning that some shops and restaurants may be closed. The spring months from April to June are the best time to visit, when the weather is most comfortable.

 

Flying to Paris

Flights to Paris usually land in one of two main airports, both of which enjoy easy access via a range of public transport to central Paris. Charles de Gaulle, 30km from the city centre, is the primary hub, while Orly is closer at 18km away; some budget airlines fly to Beauvais, which is less convenient at 75km from central Paris.

Turkey – latest travel advice 08/08/16

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • the remaining areas of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Kilis and Hatay provinces
  • Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari

Security force operations against the PKK and related groups are ongoing in Diyarbakir. The FCO advise against all travel to the city of Diyarbakir. Similar operations have taken place in Sirnak and Hakkari. You should take extreme care in these areas. See Safety and security

The situation in Turkey has calmed following an attempted coup overnight on 15-16 July 2016. The security environment, however, remains potentially volatile. Flights to, from and through airports in Turkey have returned to normal. Check with your airline or travel company if you need more information before you travel.

If you’re in Turkey, you should be vigilant, follow the advice of the local authorities, closely monitor travel advice and contact your airline or travel company for more information. In Istanbul and Ankara demonstrations may occur at short notice. You should be vigilant, particularly in areas where crowds may gather, and stay well away from any demonstrations. Take sensible precautions if you’re near any military or security forces.

The FCO is aware of the following rallies:

  • countrywide rallies may take place on Sunday 7 August 2016, including one in and around Yenikapı in Istanbul

President Erdoğan has announced a state of emergency for 3 months from 21 July 2016. The state of emergency is focused on those involved in the attempted coup and isn’t expected to impact tourists.

In some busy areas, especially Istanbul, the Turkish authorities are stopping members of the public to conduct ID checks. There is also a larger than usual number of police checkpoints on main roads across Turkey. You should co-operate with officials conducting checks, and keep your passport and a printed copy of your e-visa or your residence permit with you at all times.

Security operations to detain alleged perpetrators continue across the country. You should take extra care in areas where security operations are taking place.

Coastal resorts haven’t been affected by these security operations, but security force activity may be visible from some resorts.

The FCO is aware of the situation regarding university employees. The presidency of the Higher Education Council has issued a revised note indicating that the restrictions on leave and travel don’t apply to foreign nationals. You should check with your employer directly before taking leave or making any travel plans as the implementation of the restrictions is subject to the discretion of individual institutions.

Turkish and dual nationals are being asked to produce a letter from their employers and a social security document when leaving the country. These requirements may be subject to changes and amendments with little or short notice. Enhanced checks for Turkish nationals may lead to delays or long queues at foreign national desks. You may need to turn up at the airport earlier than normal to get through these possible delays, particularly at Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

Over 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year. It’s generally safe to travel but you should take additional safety precautions; you should be alert to your surroundings and remain vigilant in crowded places popular with tourists.

Terrorism

The threat from terrorism remains high. Terrorist groups, including Kurdish groups, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) and far left organisations, continue to plan and carry out attacks. Further attacks are likely. Terrorist groups, including Daesh and the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), have publicly threatened to attack tourist sites in Turkey. You should take extra care in public places – particularly those visited by foreigners. Be vigilant, follow the advice of local security authorities, monitor media reports and keep up to date with this travel advice.

On 12 January 2016 there was a suicide bomb attack against tourists in Sultanahmet in Istanbul in which 10 people died. On 19 March 2016 a similar attack against tourists on Istiklal St in Istanbul killed 4 people.

On 17 February 2016 a large bomb attack near a military barracks on Eskisehir Road in Ankara killed 28 people. On 13 March 2016, a similar attack killed over 30 people at Kizilay Square in central Ankara.

On 27 April 2016 there was a suspected suicide bomb attack at Bursa Ulu Mosque. The bomber was killed and 7 people slightly injured.

On 1 May 2016 a bomb attack at the Central Police Station in Gaziantep killed two police officers and injured 23 others.

On 7 June 2016 a bomb attack in the Vezneciler area of Istanbul killed 7 police officers and 4 civilians. 36 people were injured.

On 28 June 2016 Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul was attacked. More than 40 people were killed.

Attacks are likely to target the Turkish state, civilians and demonstrations. Nevertheless, it’s increasingly likely that some attacks will also target western interests and tourists from western countries, particularly in the major cities, as was the case in Istanbul on 12 January and 19 March 2016. To date most attacks in Turkey have taken place in the south and east of the country and in Ankara and Istanbul. There is a heightened risk of terrorist attack against the aviation industry in Turkey.

Turkish authorities have successfully disrupted attack planning in the recent past. The Turkish authorities have said that security has been tightened in response to recent attacks. Nevertheless, further attacks are likely, could be indiscriminate and may target or affect places visited by foreigners.

See Terrorism.

Visas

British nationals need a visa to travel to Turkey, except for cruise ship passengers with ‘British Citizen’ passports who arrive at sea ports for tourist visits to the port city or nearby cities, provided that the visit doesn’t exceed 72 hours.

If you’re visiting Turkey as a tourist or on business, get an e-Visa online before you travel. Only use the official Republic of Turkey e-Visa website. Avoid unauthorised websites as they may charge an additional fee. Some unauthorised websites have issued fake e-Visas.

If you don’t have an e-Visa you can still get a visa on arrival for £20 in cash, although the visa on arrival service is due to be phased out. Getting an e-Visa from the official website before you travel will avoid possible problems or delays at the Turkish border, or when boarding your flight in the UK. See Entry requirements

Demonstrations

Since July 2015, demonstrations have occurred in cities across Turkey associated with renewed hostilities between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkish security forces in south-east Turkey. Police have used tear gas and water cannon extensively to disperse protests. You should avoid all demonstrations.

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

First World War commemorations

If you’re travelling to commemorate the First World War centenary, see this information and advice page to help plan your trip and make sure it’s safe and trouble free.

Earthquakes

Many parts of Turkey are subject to earthquakes. An earthquake of magnitude 6.9 occurred on 24 May 2014 in the northern Aegean Sea. See Natural disasters

Rio – Olympics 2016 advice sheet

rio-de-janeiro_2788186If you’re travelling to Brazil for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games please also visit our ‘Stay Ahead of the Games page’.

There have been incidents of violence in the northern Brazilian city of Natal related to a dispute between prisoners and local authorities. Public transport and services within the city are affected. The airport is currently operating as normal. If you’re in Natal, avoid demonstrations, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Cases of locally transmitted Zika virus have been confirmed in the last 3 months. You should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre and discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider, particularly if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Strikes affecting transport and security may take place at short notice across Brazil. These are often short but may cause disruption. Monitor local media for updates and advice.

Levels of crime and violence are high, particularly in major cities. You should be particularly vigilant before and during the festive and Carnival periods. Bank card fraud is common. See Crime

There is an underlying threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

189,269 British nationals visited Brazil in 2015. Most visits are trouble free.

If you’re a single parent or guardian travelling with a child, you may need additional documentation. See Entry requirements

Drug trafficking is widespread in Brazil, and incurs severe penalties. See Local Laws and Customs

The number of dengue fever cases in Brazil as a whole has increased considerably in 2015, especially in the south-east and central-west. Cases of Chikunyunga virus have been confirmed in Brazil and the number of reported cases in the region is increasing. For more details about this outbreak, see the website of the National Health Network and Centre. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

From July 2016, visitors to Brazil from or in transit through Angola and/or the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) must present an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis against yellow fever with a vaccination date at least 10 days prior to travel.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

 

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