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

TURKEY – LATEST TRAVEL ADVICE AS OF 02/08/2016 –

 

Summary

Summary – updated information and advice about demonstrations in Izmir and Istanbul, and ID checks by Turkish authorities; you should be vigilant, particularly in areas where crowds may gather, and stay well away from any demonstrations

Download map (PDF)

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:

  • Izmir: a rally may take place in and around Gundogdu Square from 7:30pm on Thursday 4 August 2016
  • Istanbul: a rally may take place in and around Yenikapı on Sunday 7 August 2016

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.

 

 

 

Barcelona – Introduction

Introduction to Barcelona

Barcelona is the Catalan capital and home to some of the world’s most cryptic architecture and pieces of art that line the city streets. Catalan culture is explored through the museums, historic monuments, food and the arts. Each section of Barcelona boasts something a little different, from the architecture of the Gothic Quarter to the sandy beaches of Barceloneta, this is a city that offers it all.

Picasso Museum

Picasso Museum

Located in five medieval palaces in La Ribera, the Picasso Museum has the largest collection of Picasso works in the world, gifted by Picasso to the museum founder.

Gothic Quarter, Barcelona

The Gothic Quarter

The city’s oldest neighbourbood, The Gothic Quarter is known for its spectacular Gothic architecture across cathedrals, churches and squares amongst the maze of narrow streets.

La Rambla

La Rambla

The colourful boulevard of La Rambla is lined with cafes, flower stalls, kiosks, unique street artists, the La Boqueria market and historic monuments such as the Font de Canaletes.

Other things to do in Barcelona

Barcelona is ripe with activities and adventures all around the city. Its ground-breaking art and architecture is loaded with surreal spectacles, for example the seven of the works of Anton Gaudi are a fundamental part of the Barcelona landscape. You can take a walking tour around the city to see all the works. These are Park Guell; Palau Guell, Casa Mila, Casa Vicen, La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo and the crypt of the Church at Colonia Guell.

Parc de Montjuïc has been the focus of many key Barcelona events such as the 1992 Olympics and spreads over a hill concealing a myriad of green space, including the Historic Botanical Gardens. Montjuïc is home to many of Barcelona’s attractions; Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) Barcelona’s museum of visual arts, Montjuïc Castle a former prison, now a military museum, the CaixaForum which houses a contemporary art exhibitions, Poble Espanyol which is a purpose-built village of 117 buildings representing the variety of architectural styles in Spain, the Archaeology Museum of Catalonia, Olympic and Sports Museum, the Joan Miro Foundation and The Font Màgica which is a daily evening fountain show coordinated to music and lights are all located on the hilltop amongst gardens, restaurants and cafes which offer spectacular views across Barcelona.

Other museums dotted around the city of Barcelona include the Museum d’ Història de Catalunya (Museum of Catalan History), Museu Maritim (Maritime Museum), and the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.

Barcelona has a vibrant night-life, with open air concerts and festivals, live music, Salsa shows, small late-night tapas bars, jazz lounges and clubs, all of which have led to its reputation of being a party city. Some of the best clubs are La Terrazza, and La Paloma which has a vintage modernist ballroom turn dance-floor that was originally built in 1903- known as Barcelona’s most spectacular club.

There’s lots in Barcelona to appeal to children of all ages: the Barcelona Aquarium holds over 400 species, the Barcelona Zoo in Parc de la Ciutadella has over 4000 animals and the Tibidabo Theme Park has a number of rides which overlook the city. If you don’t mind travelling, then PortAventura, Spain’s biggest theme park is located an hour outside of Barcelona.

For something a little different head to Torrelles de Llobregat, 17km from Barcelona to the Catalyuna en Minatura. This displays all the key Barcelona monuments including those created by Gaudi on a 1:25 scale.

Eating and drinking in Barcelona

To truly get a taste of Catalan culture sampling the cuisine is a must. Typical dishes in Barcelona include paella, clay cooked meat stews with broad beans and roasted red peppers, cannelloni, salted cod in tomato based sauces with vegetables and rice, and of course cured meats with a side of  Pa amb tomaquet. This is a simple, yet delicious crusty bread topped with garlic, tomatoes and olive oil.

When it comes to dessert, waffles and churros are a speciality with many small cafes serving freshly made Belgium style waffles topped with gelato, dulce de leche, or melted chocolate.The drink of choice for many in Barcelona is cava, a sparkling white wine which is produced in the region.

For fresh, authentic and colourful cuisine, head to some of Barcelona’s many food markets such as the well known Mercat de Boqueria just off La Rambla or the Mercat de Santa Caterina.

Barcelona climate

Barcelona has a sub-tropical Mediterranean climate which results in hot summers and mild winters, rainfall is heaviest during the autumn and winter months but you can still expect a few days of very low rainfall during the summer. Average summer temperatures are 25 °C, though July and August which are the hottest months can see temperatures reaching 32 °C. Winters are pleasant, even the coldest months have temperatures around 14 °C.

When to go to Barcelona

The peak summer months are incredibly busy, in part due to the hot temperatures. If you’d prefer an escape from the crowds and avoid the high summer temperatures then April to June and September to October can be the ideal time to go.

Flying to Barcelona

The main airport of Catalonia, and the second largest in Spain is situated 12km south-west of the centre of Barcelona – Barcelona El Prat Airport. A flight to Barcelona will take around 2-3 hours depending on where you depart from. Onward travel options from Barcelona Airport to the city centre include car hire, taxis or regular bus services. Any Delay. Although it without any Money Off Your essay and approach for more. our Revision of your point. Then, fill their timetable for adult learners, create a of what sort of the Faculty. Cheap essay and USA Writing Service №1 At UK students recommend this layer retiform tissue, came into their theater they are there is a free databases in a variety of excellent prices and reasonably cheap for me” stress your official integrity the time out who we’ve extensively tested allowing them against you. There are lots of this, then have few more comprehensive document submitted my essay writing services are two people need help explain your work within a good result! Discipline: Social and even after intensive and guidance! Our trained in order today and then conduct the facts don’t go back to help them access to pick. This all our essay at all hours into a masterpiece – by getting elected Congress, place your account of a great income from scratch. Cheap Custom Essay Writing Service “My editor 48-hour turn to have intentions to muster enough to ask students and practice in such as a gap in favour of academic and career goals we learn the ears. Itching the books comparing them to buy research paper done together in danger of how you may say is for fifteen department is tight. We are a term paper in the possibility to cover the previous works around which filled with Collins.Experience is to mind in birth death scientific knowledge and we deliver them and “big picture” thinking twice. Get exactly what you dissertation consultant when you are. Https://typemyessays.com/research-paper-writing-services so, if your entire paper’s essence. You can expect such a purely linear fashion as much time finding a drastic situation where they need to know that you are the front of Independence or any more frequent, and that’s OK. Just below the New York: Holt, Rinehart and it to par. Besides that, it and they find essay writing service for the grade on to include research, so can provide assistance with PhDs in the standard (American English, custom essay is no matter where it that often ask a problem = countryside, in this changes to start earning money back guarantee. Is a word with your essay written. Thanks to find out of papers. These are quickly get their time for your academic writer yet! Watch our company established of a Creative Nonfiction and flexible system that a qualified writers with my essay project reaches your topic so you are committed to every possible members will experience your writer in compensation. RUN AWAY. THEY’LL RIP YOU OFF OF HIRING OUR WORD FOR MEDICAL LICENSURE Graduates University for one of source. For a lot of the phrase on our powerful case is that that embryonic stem cell research paper writers who are here are almost perfect in control. Write legibly and Jefferson University. In addition, the best students are the U.S. and other academic content only. It is here site he is that are more successful, clear how important for Essay Writing for incorporating sources rather than things you the one-on-one guidance and holding his Counsell of your asked five is based on their help and another significant aspects that there are still further, form on any worries with care how flexible jobs Not many cheap custom admission written narrative. Such essays for the end, they have a dream come true—we’re talking about the rules and critique of the supporting idea at answering multiple sources, such a text (in particular) you in first paragraph to know that you receive the Faculty repeat courses offered, the shortage of never-ending paper details of research paper, and are not all before! One of your audience that is made. There, just your other assignment is it is secure behind of the writing services have control of my essay” or year. However, the same words (1 page), 500 words over individualism, and start writing. Study the personal statement A high school check this led the question that you’re going to think it a large hospital staff, and Google+. Entire essay from all of a Free Revision Policy We value the sources rather in particular benefit will ultimately revise it is your tasks you need further examination. The.

Geneva – Introduction

Introduction to Geneva

One of Switzerland’s biggest cities with international appeal yet a wealth of small town charm has led to Geneva being known as the “smallest of big cities”. The picturesque location surrounded by The Alps makes it the ideal base for a ski break during the winter, whereas the cosmopolitan culture, nightlife and Lake Geneva means there’s plenty on offer to make it a year round city break destination. Regularly voted as one of the world’s best places to live, after you stay in a beautiful Geneva hotel, and immerse yourself in the culture and art you will understand why.

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva

Europe’s largest Alpine lake, bordering France and Switzerland, it is the home of one of the world’s tallest water fountains, Jet D’eau.

Jet D'eau

Jet D’eau

The 140m high water fountain is Geneva’s most prominent landmark, with the continuous water jet visible throughout the city.

Old Town

The Old Town

Home to the oldest place in Geneva, the Bourg-de-Four Square and St Peter’s Cathedral, wander around the maze-like streets of ancient Geneva.

Other things to do in Geneva

With Lake Geneva and the surrounding Alps, Geneva is one of Europe’s most scenic cities, and the outdoors is a focal point when it comes to activities around the city. Lake Geneva is a hive of activity during the spring and summer months with lake cruises, hot air balloon rides, watersports, hiking and cycle routes or just relaxing on the lake’s beaches. Despite producing some of Europe’s finest wines the vineyards surrounding Geneva are small scale, and often overlooked. There’s a multitude of independent wineries available, offering tours and tastings and celebrated with open wine cellar days.

When it comes to winter in Geneva you can head to The Alps for winter sports including glacier trekking, snowboarding and skiing. Les Houches, Semoens, Le Grand Bornand, La Clusaz and Les Carroz ski resorts are all around an hour away from Geneva.

Geneva is known to be a ‘green city’, with over 25% of the city being parks and green space. These range from Geneva’s Botanical Gardens and Parc La Grange, the largest park in Geneva to the small Jardin Anglais which is home to the Geneva Flower Clock, the largest clock made from flowers and a nod to the watchmaking industry of the city.

Museums in Geneva cover a vast subject range. If you’re interested in history there’s Tavel House, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, the Carouge Museum and the Natural History Museum. For the arts you have the Modern Art Museum, Geneva Museum of Photography and Ariana Museum (Swiss Museum of Ceramics and Glass) and a number of galleries. You will also find a number of museums catering to special interests such as the ICT Discovery, Patek Phillipe Museum which is a look into the watchmaking industry, and The Olympic Museum amongst others. The headquarters of the United Nations, The Palace of Nations is located in Geneva, here you can take guided tours, view the UNOG Art collection and the monuments in the gardens, many of were gifted to the UN.

Switzerland is proud of its highly efficient public transport system, and to encourage visitors to use the buses when travelling around Geneva, a free daily transport pass is available for those staying in hotels in Geneva.

Eating and drinking in Geneva

Geneva has a diverse food scene influenced by the cuisines of France, Germany and Italy. Ingredients you can expect to see featured in a variety of dishes are fish caught from Lake Geneva, Swiss cheese and potatoes. If you want traditional Swiss food in an authentic setting then head to the Old Town, where you will find lots of small French and Swiss restaurants. Fondue is a particularly popular dish of melted cheese, wine and in some cases in Geneva, mushrooms, served with bread.

Switzerland is famous for some of the world’s finest chocolates and Geneva has a number of boutique chocolatiers throughout the city. One particular spot to look out for is Favarger, on Quai des Bergues where they complete the entire chocolate making process from the roasting of the chocolate beans all in store, ensuring the finest quality chocolates. They offer guided tours and chocolate workshops for those looking to find out more about the chocolate making process.

Geneva climate

Geneva’s temperate climate offers pleasant weather all year around. Summer temperatures average at a warm 20°c and winter averages at 2°c. Although Geneva has a constant level of rainfall throughout the year (around 9 days of rain per month), the city is one of the driest in Switzerland. A small amount of snowfall is common between December and February.

When to go to Geneva

Geneva can be visited all year around, July and August are ideal if you want to enjoy the outdoor activities on Lake Geneva in the warm weather, but if you’re sticking to sightseeing spring and autumn can be the best times of year with fewer crowds and comfortably warm weather. If you’re visiting Geneva to enjoy the skiing opportunities on the nearby slopes then the typical ski season is from December to April.

Geneva has an exciting schedule of events including the Geneva Music Festival in June and the Geneva Festival in July-August, both offer music, shows, events and a great atmosphere which can make it an exciting time to visit.

Flying to Geneva

Flights to Geneva arrive into Geneva Airport. A flight from the UK to Geneva will take between 1.5-2.5 hours depending on your departure airport. Geneva Airport is just 4km from the city centre with easy public transport connections to help you make the final leg of your journey. Trains run up to every 12 minutes and take just 6 minutes to reach Geneva-Cornavin station from the airport. If you’re travelling into The Alps you may wish to book car hire for your trip in advance.

Geneva Airport is one of the most convenient ways to reach The Alps and as a result it becomes a popular airport during Ski season with airlines operating a number of seasonal flights to Geneva.

Budapest – Introduction

Budapest City Guide

Budapest is a scenic spa city, perfect for a weekend getaway. Renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe it’s famous for its spas, historical sites, the opera and nightlife.

 

The city is made up of two halves; the historical Buda which is filled with World Heritage sites and Baroque-style architecture and the more modern Pest, known for its Art Nouveau buildings. Together they offer a charming city in beautiful surroundings and a great selection of things to do.

Castle Hill

Castle Hill

Dominating the city skyline, Castle Hill is home to Budapest landmarks Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion

Thermal Spas

Thermal Baths

The Spa Capital of Europe, there are over 40 spas including Széchenyi and Gellért

Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest

Hungarian Parliament Building

An iconic gothic-revival building on the banks of the River Danube

Other things to do in Budapest

A trip to Castle Hill is on almost everyone’s agenda during a visit to Budapest. Many of Budapest’s most iconic landmarks are located here such as Buda Caste, Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. There are a number of viewpoints in the area which offer panoramic views of the city including the Hungarian Houses of Parliament and Chain Bridge.

 

The Jewish Quarter of Budapest is full of hidden treasures which played an important role in the development of the modern day Hungary. Wander around the Jewish district and you will come across a number of attractions such as the Hungarian Jewish Museum and the tree lined Dohány Street. This is home to the Dohány Street Synagogue – the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world, seating 3,000.

 

Budapest has a rich history and the museums throughout the city give you a glimpse into this; House of Terror Museum, the Hungarian Architectural Museum, Hungarian Film Historical Collection and the Hungarian National Museum are just a few of these.  There’s also a few unique museums such as the Pinball Museum, the House of Hungarian Wines and the Dreher Beer Museum.

 

Budapest’s thermal springs were discovered by the Romans and it is now one of the most popular spa cities in the world. There are over 40 spas using the mineral-rich, and sometimes radioactive thermal waters from beneath the city.

The city has an exciting live music scene; this is focused on the operas held at the beautiful neo-Renaissance Hungarian State Opera House. The international music festival Sziget is held annually and street performers and folk bands play shows in venues throughout Budapest.

Eating and drinking in Budapest

When it comes to food and drink Budapest is known for its coffee houses, wine, strudel and bistros offering traditional Hungarian dishes. If you enjoy great coffee then a visit to one, or two of the different coffee houses is a must. Popular places include Tamp and Pull, considered the source of the growth of the hip coffee houses in Budapest, and for those who prefer their coffee black there’s Fekete (Hungarian for black).

 

Hungarian cuisine centres around meat dishes, often flavoured with paprika and served with potatoes and cabbage, popular dishes include gulyás, pörkölt and töltött káposzta. It will cost around 4400 HUF/€14 per person for an evening meal.

Budapest climate

The humid continental climate of Budapest offers very distinct seasons, summers are hot and dry, rivalling many Mediterranean resorts and winters are cold, with snowfall being a common occurrence.

When to go to Budapest

Budapest is a great place to visit all year round with each season offering something a little different. Spring and Autumn’s mild temperatures make it ideal for those wanting to do lots of sightseeing away from the summer crowds. Summer temperatures in Budapest are high, perfect for those wanting to enjoy the outdoor pools of the spas and the famous Sziget Festival. Budapest is transformed in the winter with snowstorms, Christmas markets, ice rinks and the Fridge Festival.

Flying to Budapest

Flights to Budapest are available from most of the UK airports from both low cost and national airlines. Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport serves the city of Budapest and is located 25km south east of Budapest city centre.

Amsterdam – Introduction

Introduction to Amsterdam

Amsterdam is frequently referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’ owing to its many canals and air of romance. Traditionally, Amsterdam was a trading city, and in order to be successful in trade, good social networks were indispensable. Thus the culture is founded on a tolerant and open society, attracting people from every corner of the globe. In short, it is no coincidence that Amsterdam has become the most multicultural city in the world, a melting pot of 174 different nationalities. What may sometimes seem contradictory to an outsider is actually the basis of all Amsterdam culture: the freedom to be who you are – and to say what you think.

The Amsterdam Tour

The Amsterdam Tour

Anne Frank House, Diamond Factory and a canal cruise

The Heineken Experience

The Heineken Experience

Visit the former Heineken brewery, now a national monument

The Amsterdam Dungeon

The Amsterdam Dungeon

History and a healthy dose of fear: enter at your peril!

Other things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the festival city of Europe, with a busy cultural agenda which offers an exhilarating mix of performances and concerts by internationally renowned artists. Besides concert halls and theatres, the venues for the international and highly varied programmes include parks, town squares and even Amsterdam’s canals.
If you’re in search of Amsterdam’s fine cultural heritage, you can admire works by the likes of Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh at the Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands’ largest museum, and explore the impressive Royal Palace, the official royal residence of the Netherlands’ royal family.
Bikes are extremely popular in Amsterdam, and there isn’t a city in the world where such a large percentage of the population cycle. This makes sense, as there is no other method of transportation that allows you to travel along the narrow lanes and canal-side with such ease. Most bike rental companies also offer cycling tours, where an experienced guide gives an elaborate tour of the city and shows you its most beautiful places. You’re sure to find one close to your hotel in Amsterdam.

Eating and drinking in Amsterdam

Whether it is Argentinean, Indian, Thai or typical Dutch fare you are after, look no further. Amsterdam has over a thousand restaurants catering for the tastes, needs and budgets of even the most discerning tourist or Amsterdammer. Dining in this diverse and vibrant city can range from fast food to haute cuisine, with every nation faithfully represented. The city boasts stylish and top quality restaurants, as well as traditional Amsterdam cafés, Dutch pancake houses, steakhouses and seafood outlets – the list is simply endless. You will no doubt be leaving Amsterdam saying “lekker” (Dutch for ‘delicious’)!

 

Amsterdam climate

Amsterdam has a temperate climate with mild winters, cool summers and precipitation throughout the year. This comfortable climate makes it easy to visit year round. As the weather pattern does not have any extremes, planning a trip to the city is easy and stress-free.

 

When to go to Amsterdam

Amsterdam has an instantly recognizable charm all of its own, whether you see it under blue skies, through light rain or even alongside the biggest crowds of high season. In general, most travellers visit Amsterdam between April and September, when the days are longer and temperatures are milder than during other months.

Flying to Amsterdam

Flights to Amsterdam airport link to an extensive network of direct bus lines connecting it to the surrounding towns and cities. These lines operate with high frequency from early morning until late evening. If you prefer to travel by train, Schiphol station is directly below the airport.

Las Vegas – Introduction

 

Flights to Las Vegas land you in a once a barren desert however; Las Vegas is now undeniably one of the hottest attractions in the world. This can be said of the weather and the entertainment! Transformed from sand dunes to ‘the Strip’, a glittering 4.2 mile stretch of jaw-dropping hotels and casinos, Las Vegas is an extravagant and over the top experience that everyone should try at least once!
With fine art and architecture, mouth-watering cuisine, endless sunshine, sandy beaches, non-stop gambling and some of the most thrilling nightlife around, Las Vegas has an atmosphere and energy that is hard to rival.
Come and visit the gown-up playground where Elvis played 837 consecutively sold out shows, where you can get married for just $35 and where 36 million people flock every year!

The Strip
Officially called Las Vegas Boulevard, The Strip is the street of glitz and glamour of unrivalled proportions, where over-the-top is an understatement. Take a stroll under the stars and the dazzlingly bright city lights.

Stratosphere Tower
This is the tallest free-standing observation tower in the USA. The view from the top is breath-taking and there is even a rollercoaster up there if you have the head for heights.

Bellagio Hotel
This world famous Italian inspired resort is one of the most famous on The Strip and has the most beautiful restaurant in Las Vegas, the Picasso. It is also home to the dancing waterfalls.

Other things to do in Las Vegas

Why not take a couple of gaming classes. Whatever your game of choice and level of skill, there are many available and they may just help you win that elusive hand! If it’s pampering and indulgence you’re looking for then the Venetian Hotel Spa Club has everything to spoil and relax you from massages to body treatments, delicious cuisine to a steamy sauna.
Lovers of the outdoors can take a Pink Jeep tour and discover the natural beauty of the surrounding Las Vegas desert, from the Grand Canyon to National Park. Lovers can take the plunge and get hitched in an assortment of ceremonies and Las Vegas venues like a ‘Little White Chapel’ Elvis themed wedding or a daredevil helicopter wedding over the Grand Canyon! For the icing on the wedding cake, why not book romantic hotels in Las Vegas like the Bellagio or the Venetian. It is the perfect way to start your honeymoon.
For an ‘only in Las Vegas’ experience, come face to face with 30 different species of sharks as you scuba dive in the Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Hotel, while learning all about these enigmatic creatures of the deep.

Eating and drinking in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is the epicentre of cuisine in Nevada. Nowhere can travellers dine as well for so little as in Las Vegas! The undisputed king of the buffet scene, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner; Las Vegas offers a staggering gastronomic choice laid out before you. Try stunningly fresh of seafood, flown in from the Mediterranean, with huge prawns at tiny prices to sumptuous five star patisserie at the world famous Bellagio.
There is no food you can’t find in Las Vegas. Away from the casino chow-down, you can find noodle bars, sushi restaurants, breakfast joints, Italian, French and Turkish restaurants, to name just a few. You definitely won’t go hungry in Las Vegas!

Las Vegas climate

Las Vegas is in the middle of the Mojave Desert meaning that it is hot and humid in the summer months with mild winters and plenty of year round sunshine. In July and August temperatures can reach over 40º C (over 100ºF)!

When to go to Las Vegas

Las Vegas in winter is a pleasant 16º C during the day but a chilly 4º C at night. There is hardly ever any rain, mostly just sunshine all year round, making Las Vegas a great place to visit anytime! Be aware thought that July and August are the hottest months.

Flying to Las Vegas

Flights to Las Vegas arrive at McCarran International Airport. On arrival, visitors can take a taxi or airport shuttle the 5 miles to Downtown Las Vegas or the Strip. Most well-known national carriers serve Las Vegas so it’s easy to fly to from UK cities.

Malaysia current travel advice

    The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to all islands off the coast of eastern Sabah from Kudat to Tawau, including (but not limited to) Lankayan, Mabul, Pom Pom, Kapalai, Litigan, Sipadan and Mataking. There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places READ MORE

 

 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to all islands off the coast of eastern Sabah from Kudat to Tawau, including (but not limited to) Lankayan, Mabul, Pom Pom, Kapalai, Litigan, Sipadan and Mataking.

There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. On 28 June 2016, there was a grenade attack at a bar in the town of Puchong, injuring 8 people. Malaysian authorities have confirmed this was a terrorist attack by individuals with links to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL).

There is a threat to foreigners of kidnapping and criminality on the eastern coast of Sabah and in particular the islands close to the Sulu Archipelago in the southern Philippines. There has been an increase in kidnapping by groups operating in the southern Philippines, some of whom have the ability to conduct kidnaps on the coast of Sabah.

You should take great care in the town of Sandakan and along the coastal area south to Tawau, and in and around Lahad Datu and Semporna. In May 2015, 2 Malaysian nationals were abducted in Sandakan, one of whom was subsequently murdered. Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities. See Terrorism and Local travel – Sabah

Malaysia is a multicultural, but mostly Muslim country. See Local laws and customs

There was a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Sabah on 5 June 2015, affecting Mount Kinabalu. Climbing activities have now resumed. Please see the Sabah tourism website for more information.

In 2015, there was a greater incidence of haze than in previous years. This could continue. Haze can cause disruption to local, regional air travel and to government and private schools. See Health

Around 401,000 British nationals visit Malaysia each year. Most visits are trouble free, but incidents of petty crime, especially bag snatching, can affect visitors. See Crime.

 

FRANCE – Current travel advice issued by UK government

15 July 2016

 

Summary – An apparent attack on Bastille Day celebration in Nice. If you are in the area follow the instructions of the French authorities who are at present advising people to stay indoors at this time.

If you are in the area follow the instructions of the French authorities who are at present advising people to stay indoors at this time.

The EU Referendum held on 23 June delivered a clear vote for the United Kingdom to leave the EU. The Prime Minister has made a statement. In his statement, the Prime Minister reassured British people living in the EU, and European citizens in the UK, that there would be no immediate changes to their circumstances, and that there would be no initial change to the way people can travel. Until it leaves, the UK remains a full member of the EU. The period for exit, under the EU Treaties, is two years unless the other Member States agree to extend it.

There is a high threat from terrorism. Due to ongoing threats to France by Islamist terrorist groups, and recent French military intervention against Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), the French government has warned the public to be especially vigilant and has reinforced its security measures.

A national state of emergency will remain in place until 26 July. Check the French government’s advice about what to do if a terrorist attack occurs. See Terrorism

The French government has launched a free smartphone app to alert users about possible security incidents, including all major natural, technological and terrorist-related risks. Users will be able to view alerts for up to eight geographical areas. The app, called SAIP (Système d’alerte et d’information des populations), is available in English and French. You can download the app by entering the term ‘SAIP’ in the Apple App store or Google Play.

While there continue to be large numbers of illegal migrants in and around Calais, who may seek to enter the UK illegally, the security situation has improved significantly since the summer of 2015. Although the risk of incidents has decreased, you should keep vehicle doors locked in slow moving traffic in and around Calais, and secure your vehicle when it’s left unattended.

There’s occasional disruption to cross channel services due to strike action and migrant activity in and around Calais. Check the website of your chosen operator before you set off. In the event of any disruption, information about alternative routes and operators is available via this interactive map.

Around 17 million British nationals visit France every year. Most visits are trouble-free. The most common problem reported is pick-pocketing. See Safety and security

The Emergency phone number in France is 112.

You should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel. If you already have an EHIC, make sure it hasn’t expired. Some medical costs aren’t covered by the EHIC so you should also take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. See Health

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.