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Europe Travel Tours Now Offers Britain & Ireland

Europe Travel Tours, a division of Blue Danube Holidays is pleased to announce we now have tours to Britain and Ireland. On offer are a selection of guided tours. We can also organize independent tours, groups or a simply private driver. Contact us at reservations@europetraveltours.net

England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland – Great Britain

The south is mostly rolling hills after the forests, the highlands of Scotland are mountain ridges and deep valleys that were created by glaciers in the last ice age. Britain has been invaded many times and populated by Celts from Europe who pushed the first Britons (the Picts) into Scotland. They were followed by the Romans, Anglo-Saxons from Germany, the Vikings from Scandinavia and the Normans from France. The British then built the world’s largest empire which closed after WWII and most of its colonies became independent nations. The capital, London was founded by the Romans in the first century and when the Welsh Henry Tudor defeated Richard III in the War of the Roses he was the last king to win the throne in battle. The British have a strong preservation ethic and have some of the most outstanding architecture, museums, castles, history and monuments to experience. Transport and tourist services are very well organized and the country is a joy to visit.

 

The Republic of Ireland – Eire

Known as the Emerald Isle filled with rolling green hills it also has rugged, rocky landscapes and peat bogs formed by glaciers 15,000 years ago. The southwest has cliffs that plunge hundreds of feet into the Atlantic Ocean.  The Celts landed from Europe around 2700 years ago and were followed by the Vikings 1000 years later. In 1170, Norman Vikings who had taken control of England invaded Ireland and made it an English territory. In the 1600s, Britain changed to the Protestant religion, while most Irish remained Catholic. In 1948, Ireland became an independent country, while six mainly Protestant counties in the northeast remained in Britain. Ireland is a nation of storytellers, writers, musicians and dancer. They are most welcoming hosts.

 

Please click on the links and take a look at our tours of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

 

Tours of Britain & Ireland:

 

Best of Britain – 9 nights/ 10 days –  England, Scotland and Wales  – A great introduction tour GB100

 

Highlights of Britain – 14 nights/ 15 days – England, Scotland and Wales – in depth tour GB101

 

The Heart of England and Wales – 7 nights/ 8 days – London, Stonehenge, Bath, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Windsor Castle – Tour GB102

 

Great British Cities  – 7 nights/ 8 days – Edinburgh, Glamis Castle, St Andrews, York, Stratford-upon-Avon, London – Tour GB103

 

Scottish Dream – 7 nights/ 8 days – From Glasgow, Loch Ness, St Andrews, Culloden, Blair Athol Distillery and Edinburgh – Tour GB104

 

Taste of Scotland and Ireland – 9 nights/ 10 days – Trace Scots-Irish roots – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin, Kerry – Tour GB105

 

A Taste of Britain – 7 Nights/ 8 Days – An introduction to England and Scotland – Tour GB106

 

An Irish Odyssey –  11 Nights journey around the Emerald Isle– Tour IE100

 

The Jewels of Ireland –13 Nights/ 14 Days on this Epic Tour of Ireland –  Tour IE101

 

An Irish Adventure – 7 Nights/ 8 Days The  major Irish highlights in just over a week – IE102

 

Tipping in Europe

While many service industry professionals earn lower wages and depend on tips for a living in countries like the United States, their European counterparts often earn comparatively higher salaries and view themselves as professionals. Service charge is often included in the bill, even if it states “Tip is Not Included” so be careful not to overpay. It is always better to hand cash to the wait staff discreetly but directly. In the event you don’t have local currency or forget, do not worry, the staff are paid and do not need the tips to earn their weekly wage, it is just a nice bonus.

Bars and cafes

Very little tipping exists or is expected.

Restaurants

Tipping is also not expected in the majority of sit-down restaurants, you can often just leave the change.

Tipping is more common in elegant restaurants or with larger groups. Most Europeans don’t leave more than 10% percent of the total. In some countries like Germany, leaving coins can be considered a little rude, so get the bill, review it for service charge and then state how much you wish to pay.

Taxis

Normally no tipping other than rounding up if you wish. Some locals will tip their cab drivers more if he or she performed a special service, such as helping carry luggage from the cab itself into a hotel. Even in this case, though, the total tip never usually exceeds one or two euro.

Hotel staff

Tipping hotel staff:

  • Porters: Around 1 euro per bag
  • Housekeeping: Between 2 and 5 euros per day
  • Concierge: 5-10 euros for exceptional service
  • Room service: 1 or 2 euros to the person who delivers the service
  • Doorman: 1-2 euros if they help you with luggage or hail a cab

Spa and resort staff

  • Tipping is not expected, but you can leave around 10 percent of your total bill if you wish.

Tour guides

  • Your guide will appreciate a tip. As a general rule, the smaller your group is, the more you should tip.
  • For example, if you and your partner are taking a private guided tour and your guide provided excellent service, most people would tip them anywhere from 10 to 20 euros per day.
  • On a larger tour 5 euro per day is fine.

Tipping By Country

  • The British are used to 10% in a restaurant but check first for service charge.
  • Czech waiters will be happy with 10 – 15%
  • Greece usually like 10% but no less than €2
  • Scandinavian countries usually include a service charge, but you can add 5% if you wish
  • In Spain a 10% tip in an elegant restaurant is plenty

A Guide to European Hotel Taxes

When planning your vacation to Europe, remember to factor in  the city tourism tax into your budget. These taxes are collected by the hotels and vary by region, hotel size and category.

In order to help you plan we have summarized the taxes by country below. These prices were accurate in March 2019. Check with the hotel directly for current prices.

Austria ranges from €0.15 to 3.02% of the hotel cost per person per night in Vienna and Salzburg.

Belgium taxes vary by city and rise from €2 per person per night in Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent. Brussels varies by borough, hotel size and category. The Novotel is €7.50 per room, per night.

Bulgarian tourist taxes range from 0.2 to 3 Bulgarian (BGN) Lev to around 3 Lev

Croatia can be up to 10 kn (Kuna) per person per night depending on the category of the accommodation and season

The Czech Republic is 0.5 €0.50  per night

France hotel taxes are €0.20 to €4 per person, per night and Paris charges an extra 10% on top of the tax

Germany can vary from €0.50 to €5 per person, per night or 5% of the room bill depending on the location (Munich has none) and type of accommodation.

Hungary charges 4% of the price of your room per night

Italy varies from city to city, and the hotel’s star rating: In Rome you can pay €3 – €7 per person per day for up to 10 days of your stay

The Netherlands charges different in each city, and  the hotel’s star rating. Amsterdam has a 5% tax

Portugal also varies by city. Lisbon is €1 per and Porto’s is €2, whereas the Algarve is €1.50 per person per night.

Romania charges 1% of the total value of the accommodation for each night

Slovenia ranges from €0.60 to €3.13 per person, per night but varies on location and hotel grade.

Spain varies from no tax in Madrid to €2.50 per person per night in 5 star hotels

Switzerland charges 2.5CHF (Swiss Francs) per person per night

On a European River Cruise all local taxes are included in your total: https://www.bluedanubeholidays.com/european-cruises/

 Other articles to check out:

https://www.lovemoney.com/guides/52231/tourist-tax-in-europe-what-you-will-pay-in-spain-italy-and-other-hotspots

https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/what-is-the-tourist-city-tax-and-who-is-charging-it

Traveling to Europe and want to know what Visa’s you’ll need?

There are three types of authorized entry to Europe for International Vacationers:

1. Schengen Visa

2. ETIAS Visa Waiver.

3. Direct Visa application

1. Schengen Visa

In order to reduce the number of visas to travel through Europe, the EU established one border for the whole area. A Schengen visa is a short stay visa that allows the holder to enter and freely move within the Schengen area of 26 counties. These are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.     

Who must apply?  

The following nationals do not require a Schengen Visa. United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Albania, Andorra, Antigua & Bermuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Vatican City State, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Serbia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela. In 2021 people from these countries will need to complete an ETAIS application (see below).

If your country does not appear above, then you will need a Schengen Visa.

How do I get a Schengen Visa?

You must lodge your application for a Schengen Visa at the Consulate of the country that you intend to visit. If you intend to visit more than one Schengen State, choose the country where you will spend the longest time. If you are visiting multiple counties choose the country where you intend to spend the most time. If you will visit several countries for an equal time period, choose the country where you will first arrive. You can check where the consulates are in your country by looking here.

https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/visa-policy/how_to_apply_en

The current cost for a Schengen Visa is €60 per person, €35 for children under the age of 12 years.

The application can be lodged up to 3 months prior to travel. We recommend getting your application in well before final payment of your tour. A decision is usually made within 15 days however, in individual cases it may take up to 30 days and exceptionally 60 days.   

For up to date information about the Schengen Visa please read here.

https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/visa-policy/schengen_visa_en

2. ETIAS Visa Waiver

The  European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) Waiver Form is a digital system (similar to the USA’s ESTA) that allows entry and keep track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to the Schengen Zone. Travelers who fill out the ETIAS Waiver form authorize the EU to carry out pre-travel screening for security and migration risks of visa-exempt visitors. It was designed to save time and improve security.

Toward the end of 2021, non-Schengen visa travelers will have to complete an online application before visiting 22 of the Schengen countries which include:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The online application takes around 10 minutes and includes passport, background and basic personal information such as drug use, terrorism, criminal history etc. The fee is €7  (approximately US$8) and is valid for three years.3

3. Applying Direct Per Country for a Visa

Some European countries are not currently operating under the Schengen agreement. These European countries are mostly in the Balkans and include Albania, Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey,  Ukraine and the United Kingdom. Europe is made of so many vastly different nations. The individual nation requirements change regularly and not in a unilateral way. Therefore, it is best to contact these countries directly to see what type of Visa, if any, is needed to gain entry.

Below is a list of European nations websites to find out directly whether or not you need a Visa and how to apply:

Albania – https://al.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/additional-resources/emergency-preparedness/

Austria – https://www.bmeia.gv.at/en/travel-stay/entry-and-residence-in-austria/entry-and-visa/

Belgium – https://dofi.ibz.be/sites/dvzoe/FR/Pages/home.aspx

Bosnia and Herzegovina – http://msb.gov.ba/inf_za_strance/default.aspx?id=14555&langTag=en

Bulgaria – https://www.mfa.bg/en/services-travel/consular-services/travel-bulgaria/visa-application-forms

Croatia – http://www.mvep.hr/en/consular-information/visas/visa-requirements-overview/

Czech Republic – https://www.mzv.cz/jnp/en/information_for_aliens/visa_form/index.html

Denmark – https://www.visaselfservice.um.dk/Trunk/VisaPortal/templates/page.aspx?id=86&epslanguage=EN

Estonia – https://vm.ee/en/taxonomy/term/41

Finland – https://um.fi/visa-to-visit-finland

France – www.france-visas.gouv.fr

Germany – https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/einreiseundaufenthalt/visabestimmungen-node

Greece – http://www.mfa.gr/en/visas/

Hungary – https://konzuliszolgalat.kormany.hu/visa-application-forms

Ireland – http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Visit+Tourist

Italy – http://vistoperitalia.esteri.it/home/en

Latvia – https://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/usa/consular-information/visa-requirements-for-latvia-entry-into-schengen-zone

Liechtenstein – http://www.llv.li/#/12341/visum     (let Google translate the page)

Lithuania – http://keliauk.urm.lt/index.php/index-home-page/first/visas   (let Google translate the page)

Luxembourg – https://guichet.public.lu/en/citoyens/immigration.html

Montenegro – https://www.visit-montenegro.com/tourism/visas-and-montenegro-embassy/visas-for-foreign-citizens/

Netherlands – https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/travel-and-residence/visas-for-the-netherlands

North Macedonia – http://www.mfa.gov.mk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=223&Itemid=663&lang=en

Norway – https://www.udi.no/en/

Poland – https://www.msz.gov.pl/en/travel_to_poland/visa/visa

Portugal – https://www.vistos.mne.pt/en/short-stay-visas-schengen/general-information/application-forms

Romania – https://www.mae.ro/en/node/2035

Russia – https://visa.kdmid.ru/PetitionChoice.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Serbia – http://www.mfa.gov.rs/en/consular-affairs/entry-serbia/visa-requirements

Slovakia – https://www.mzv.sk/web/en

Slovenia  – http://www.mzz.gov.si/en/entry_and_residence/

Spain – http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/WASHINGTON/en/InformacionParaExtranjeros/Pages/RequisitosDeEntrada.aspx

Sweden – https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Private-individuals/Visiting-Sweden.html

Switzerland – http://www.swiss-visa.ch

Ukraine – https://mfa.gov.ua/en/consular-affairs/con/visa

United Kingdom – https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/apply

This information is correct as of March 10, 2019 and is subject to change. It is always your responsibility to check your passport validity and any Visa requirements you may need for your tour, well before your departure date. Blue Danube Holidays do not apply for Visas or Visa Waivers on your behalf. However, we can assist by providing supporting documentation such as proof of your tour or cruise  booking.

Why Visit Salzburg? Three reasons…

There are 3 key reasons travelers visit the authentic UNESCO World Cultural Heritage town of Salzburg: music, history and beer! Below are three lists to help you get to the heart of  Salzburg.

Music and Performance

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756. The Mozart Birthplace on the Getreidegasse and The Mozart Residence on Makartplatz are both museums dedicated to the memory of perhaps the world’s greatest musical genius. There are numerous concerts, festivals and guided tours dedicated to the history and memory of Mozart. You can even get Mozart chocolates in the original silver & blue wrappers. There are many classical music festivals and concerts

  • Mozart week Jan 23 – Feb 2, 2020
  • Summer music festival Jul-Aug (vibrant atmosphere for visitors)
  • Siemens music festival – which is free
  • Concert “Piccolo-Konzerte” 14.05.2019
  • Mozart piano matinee 14.05.2019
  • Organ at Noon 14.05.2019
  • Residence Concert 14.05.2019
  • Mozart violin sonatas 14.05.2019
  • Salzburg Classical Music Concerts 14.05.2019
  • Chamber concert 14.05.2019
  • Mirabell Palace Concerts 14.05.2019
  • Best of Mozart Fortress Concert 14.05.2019
  • Mozart piano matinee 15.05.2019
  • The 2019 Whitsuntide Salzburg Festival: ” Celestial voices”
  • The Salzburg Easter Festival founded in 1967 by Herbert von Karajan.
  • Sommerszene 17 – 29 June, 2019 contemporary performance art, theater, dance, performance and installation
  • Sound of Music tours – the movie was shot on location around Salzburg
  • Advent in Salzburg Nov 29- Dec 15 small vocal ensembles and Alpine melodies
  • Jazz & The City: Oct 7-20, the churches and wine bars opening their doors with free admission
  • Salzburg Marionette theatre
  • Celebration of Silent Night concert (originated in Salzburg)
  • Christmas markets (which only sell locally made handcrafted goods), from the end of Nov to Dec. 2019
  • St Rupert’s Fair – September 24th each year for 5 days
  • Organ music concerts – see Salzburg website for dates and times

History and Culture

Salzburg is considered the Rome of the North with the largest collection of Baroque artifacts.

  • The Hohensalzburg Fortress is the biggest fully preserved castle in central Europe
  • Hellbrunn Palace has enchanted and amazed its visitors with its trick fountains for over 400 years. A unique experience with all kinds of surprises in store!
  • Domquartier Salzburg, the inner city historical buildings that are now all connected
  • Mirabell Palace was built in 1606 by prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich
  • Salzburg Cathedral is the centerpiece with the baptismal font, the crypt, the art installation “Vanitas”, as well as the chest containing relics of Saints Rupert and Virgil
  • Exclusive behind the scenes group tours are available for historical attractions in Salzburg or you can follow the self-guided walks
  • Red Bull Hangar 7, where you can see the Red Bull owner’s collection of racing cars and planes.
  • Traditional shopping – shop like a local in one of the many family run businesses
  • Untersberg Mountain – Explore the alpine beauty 20 mins from Salzburg. Take the cable car to the top of the mountain for stunning views.
  • There are 9 different communities next to Salzburg that offer natural landscapes, buildings that are steeped in a rich history: Anthering, Bergheim, Elixhausen, Elsbethen, Eugendorf, Grodig, Grossgmain, Hallwang and Wals-Siezenheim. And because of the first class road and transportation network, these towns make it easy to transition from country to city and back.

Beer

There is a tremendous beer culture in Salzburg stretching back 600 years. Quality local beer is carefully produced and delivered to the local establishments. A list of traditional inns can be found on the Salzburg website. Beer has been brewed in Salzburg for more than 600 years. With 11 breweries in and around Salzburg, the selection of beers is so big that Salzburg is often nicknamed “the beer capital of Austria”! Below are a list of ten pubs to sample the local beers:

Hotel Friesacher Anif

  1. Alchimiste Belge
  • Outstanding beer expertise, enjoyable tastings and 150 of the world’s most famous, most decorated beers.
  • 5020, Bergstraße 10, www.alchimiste-belge.at
  1. Braugasthof Sigl – Trumer Welt
  • Regional dishes plus Austrian and international specialty beers
  • 5162 Obertrum am See, Dorfplatz 1 www.braugasthof-sigl.at
  1. Die Weisse / Sudwerk
  • Tradition brewery inn with cult following.
  • 5020, Rupertgasse www.dieweisse.at
  1. Friesachers Einkehr – Here, no one ever turns around at the door
  • Extensive beer menu, specialty beers from different countries
  • 5081 Anif, Hellbrunnerstraße 17 www.friesacher.com
  1. Fuxn – Salzburger Volkswirtschaft –a home away from home
  • Traditional Austrian cooking and interesting beers: from Fuxnbier and Stiegl, to Budweiser and Tegernseer.
  • 5020, Vogelweiderstraße 28 car park: Sterneckstraße 33 www.fuxn.at
  1. Beffa Bar, Belgiek
  • A flagship of international beer culture. Belgian, British, American and other specialties
  • 5020, Bergstraße 13 www.alchimiste-belge.at
  1. Braugasthof Hofbräu Kaltenhausen- Beer from their own brewery
  • Established in 1475,  they also cook with beer.
  • 5400 Hallein, Salzburgerstraße 67 www.kaltenhausen.at
  1. Gablerbräu
  • 500-year brewing tradition
  • 5020, Linzer Gasse 9 www.gablerbrau.at
  1. Raschhofer’s Rossbräu Herrnau
  • Traditional brewery and THE beer garden in the south of town.
  • 5020, Alpenstraße 48, www.raschhofer.at
  1. Sternbräu
  • Brewery inn since 1542, their own naturally cloudy Sternbier,
  • 5020, Griesgasse 23, www.sternbrau.com