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Travel Europe

Country-by-country road rules, health advice and more

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Travel Europe

Planning a trip to Europe? Spanning 10,180,000 km2, with over 50 countries and 742.5 million people, there's plenty to see and do; from sailing around Croatia or the Greek Islands, to exploring France and Spain, or discovering Vatican City and the rich ancient history of Rome. But do you know the European driving laws in Germany or Switzerland? Are you aware of the speed limits in Greece or Austria? Luckily, this map rounds up all the vital information on many countries for you.

Population

66.03 million (2013)

Currency used

Euro

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

2hr 30min by car (via Channel Tunnel or ferry to Calais) Click here to access Route Planner across Europe.

Languages spoken

French

Average tourists per year

83,013,000

Crime

Crime rate: low-medium.
Common crimes: car crime, pickpocketing, tourist scams.
Crime hotspots: underground stations, tourists areas.
For assistance in any emergency situation, dial 112.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK driving licence holder: imported car – 18, motorcycle up to 80cc – 16, motorcycle over 80cc – 18.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 & 98 octane), diesel* (Gazole) and LPG available. No leaded petrol (lead replacement petrol 'Super carburant' available or lead substitute additive). Petrol in a can is permitted but forbidden by ferry operators.

SP95-E10 (Sans Plomb 95 Octane, Ethanol 10% = Lead Free 95 Octane containing 10% of Ethanol) is now being sold throughout France. This fuel is not suitable for use in all cars and you should check compatibility with your vehicle manufacturer before using it. If in doubt use the standard SP95 or SP98 Octane unleaded fuel which continues to be available alongside the new fuel. * B8 biodiesel is now available in France. Similar to SP95-E10, this Diesel is not suitable for use in all cars and you should check compatibility with your vehicle manufacturer.

Credit cards accepted at most filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage in France & Monaco before travel. There are many automatic petrol pumps operated by credit/debit card however, cards issued in the UK are not always accepted by these pumps. If accepted, automatic/unmanned petrol stations operate by authorising a transaction of between 100 and 150 Euros. Any 'overpayment' i.e. the amount between the price of the fuel and the amount authorised is usually refunded straight away. However, in some circumstances the 'overpayment' stays on hold and can sometimes remain unavailable for up to a week.

Speed limits

Speed limits are fixed according to the place, the vehicle and the weather. Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:

In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h). Outside built-up areas: 55mph (90km/h), but 68mph (110km/h) on urban motorways and dual carriageways separated by a central reservation and 80mph (130km/h) on motorways. Lower speed limits of 49mph (80km/h) outside built-up areas, 62mph (100 km/h) on dual carriageways and 68mph (110km/h) on motorways apply in wet weather and to visiting motorists who have held a driving licence for less than three years.

Additionally, speed limits are reduced on stretches of motorways in built up areas. Minimum speed limit on motorways is 49mph (80km/h).

Seat belts

Compulsory for front/rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

Children up to 10 must travel in an approved child seat or restraint, adapted to their age and size.

Children under 10 are not allowed to travel in the front seats of vehicles unless there is no rear seat in the vehicle, or the rear seat is already occupied with children under 10, or there are no seat belts.

The French Highway Code does not specify a minimum height that a child has to be in order to travel without a child seat/restraint. Because of this we advise you apply the minimum height as set by the European Directive, which is 150cm. It is the driver's responsibility to ensure that all passengers under 18 are appropriately restrained.

Lights

Dipped headlights must be used in poor daytime visibility for cars and at all times for motorcycles. Highly recommended by the French government that 4+-wheeled vehicles use dipped headlights day and night.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights: compulsory during the day.
Crash helmets: compulsory for driver and passenger.
All helmets must display reflective stickers on the front, rear and sides, by law.

Drinking and driving

The police are empowered to carry out random breath tests.

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05 % or more (0.02% for bus/coach drivers), severe penalties include fines, imprisonment and/or confiscation of the driving licence and/or vehicle.

Saliva drug tests will be used to detect drivers under the influence of drugs – severe penalties as above.

A driver involved in an accident, or who has committed a traffic offence such as speeding, not wearing a seatbelt or helmet, must take a drugs test.

Fines

On-the-spot fines or 'deposits' are severe – up to €750. An official receipt should be issued. Vehicles parking contrary to regulations may be towed away and impounded.

Compulsory equipment in France & Monaco

Warning triangle – excludes motorcycles

Snow chains – must be fitted to vehicles using snow-covered roads, in compliance with the relevant road sign.

Reflective jackets (EN471) – one reflective jacket which must be kept within the passenger compartment of the vehicle and must be put on before exiting the vehicle in an emergency/breakdown situation.

Reflective panels (motorcycles) – UNECE Regulation 22 permits contracting parties (countries) to require helmets to be fitted with reflective material visible from the front, rear, left and right.

All helmets worn in France must meet the retroflective material requirements of Regulation 22 . It is recommended that visitors carry a set of replacement bulbs.

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Other rules

Snow tyres marked M+S (mud and snow) are recommended on roads covered with ice or snow. These tyres must have minimum tread depth of 3.5mm.

In built-up areas where you see the sign “priorité a droite” give way to traffic coming from the right.

At signed roundabouts bearing the words "Vous n'avez pas la priorité" or "Cédez le passage" traffic on the roundabout has priority; where no such sign exists traffic entering the roundabout has priority.

Overtaking stationary trams is prohibited when passengers are boarding/alighting.

Parking discs for 'blue zone' parking areas can be obtained from police stations, tourist offices and some shops.

When overtaking a bicycle, drivers must leave a distance of at least 1m in built-up areas and 1.50m outside built-up areas, between their vehicle and the bicycle. In built up areas the use of the horn is prohibited except in cases of immediate danger.

Apparatus with a screen which can distract a driver (such as television, video, DVD equipment) should be positioned in places where the driver is unable to see them. It is prohibited to touch or program any device unless parked in a safe place. It is absolutely prohibited to carry, transport or use radar detectors. Failure to comply with this regulation involves a fine of up to €1,500 and the vehicle and/or device may be confiscated.

Road signs indicating the location of fixed speed cameras are being removed and additional fixed speed cameras added. A GPS based navigation system (Sat Nav) which has maps indicating the location of fixed speed cameras must have the 'fixed speed camera PoI (Points of Interest)' function deactivated, ideally they should be removed.

Trailers must be equipped with two red lights, two triangular reflectors and a light illuminating the registration plate at the rear. At the front; with two white reflectors and two white side lights if the trailer is more than 1.6m wide or exceeds the width of the vehicle by more than 0.20m, and on each side, with orange reflectors.

Buy European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 - £1.02
Diesel - March 2015 - £1.02

Please note that the unleaded price for France is for E10, which is petrol containing 10% ethanol.

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit gov.uk

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

For serious and life threatening emergencies, you can visit the accident and emergency unit of the nearest hospital. If you are in need of an ambulance, call 112 or 114 if you are hard of hearing. These numbers are emergency service numbers across the majority of countries in Europe. All calls are free of charge from any fixed line or mobile phone.

Please note: A doctor must confirm that you are in need of the ambulance service otherwise it may carry a cost to use the transportation. An alternative would be to use a light medical vehicle to get to the hospital.

15 – SAMU (Service d'Aide Médicale d'Urgence) the SAMU provides both ambulances and specialist medical teams. Only call SAMU for serious medical emergencies
18 – Fire Brigade (Sapeurs Pompiers) can also be called in cases of medical emergencies, such as traffic and domestic accidents
17 – Police (commissariat de police or gendarmerie)
112 – Sea and Lake Emergencies (calling from land)
1616 VHF Channel 16 for emergency at sea (calling from the sea)
32 37 - helps you find the nearest duty pharmacy

For more information, please visit: http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinFrance.aspx

Medical costs (with EHIC)

The EHIC does not cover any private treatment. Ensure that you contact and are treated by a state healthcare provider. Practitioners can fall into 2 different categories so make sure you don't get caught out. These include:

1) The practitioners who charge the official social security rate
2) The practitioners that charge an additional rate on top of the offcial rate

Please note: If healthcare arrangement have been made by your hotel or travel representative, make sure no additional costs have been charged for private healthcare as these are non-refundable.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you are unfortunately admitted to hospital in France, make sure that you present your EHIC when you are arrive. This will make sure that you only pay the patient contribution. In the event of being admitted to a private hospital or clinic, try to ensure that it is also registered to provide state healthcare.

You should only have to pay 20% co-payment towards your treatment and in some cases, it will be free. There is an additional daily charge of €18 if you are an hospital inpatient. In the event of being admitted to hospital and recieving major medical treatment, a flat rate contribution of €18 will occur in addition to the daily charge for the hospital or the 20% co-payment.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Prescriptions can be obtained from any pharmacy on presenting the feuille de soins and the doctor's prescription. You should pay the chemist directly for the medicine and the fee will be printed on the feuille de soins. The chemist will return the document with the prescription. The stickers on the medicine must be removed and stuck on the feuille de soins (within the space provided) to enable you to claim a refund. You will not be able to do so without it. You can only get reimbursed for prescribed products if they are listed as reimbursable pharmaceutical products. Rate for this vary between 15% to 100% of the price of the product.

You should be able to find at least one pharmacy which should be open on Sundays and out of office hours. Information about this should generally be displayed on the shop windows of the local pharmacy or alternatively from newspaper agents.

For more information about medical fees, hospitals costs and prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinFrance.aspx

Things to see

Paris
St Tropez
Chamonix
Palace of Versailles
Mont Saint-Michel

When to go

Spring is a good time to visit Paris, with blossom on the trees and the weather warming up. August is quiet, as many Parisians flee to other parts of France to escape the muggy heat. Some restaurants close for the whole month and there are fewer cultural activities. Autumn can be pleasant but hotel rooms may be hard to find as the trade-fair season is in full swing. If you don't mind cooler winter weather, December can be magical, with the streets sparkling with Christmas lights.

For other parts of France, what you plan to do when you're there will determine the best time to go. January, February and March are the months to go skiing in the Alps; sun-lovers should head to the Mediterranean in July and August; Strasbourg's huge Christmas market is popular; car fanatics go to Le Mans in June for the 24-hour endurance race.

Weather (based on Paris)

Paris has cool winters and warm summers. The longest days are in June, when you're likely to find comfortable temperatures and the most sunshine. August can be hot, muggy and stormy.

The northwest, affected by the Atlantic, is often rainy, with mild winters and cool summers.

The southwest has hot summers.

In the mountains, altitude is the main factor which affects the weather. The Vosges are hot in summer, the Massif Central is stormy and the southern Massif is dry. In contrast, the Cévennes get a lot of rain and the northern Massif can become very hot.

The south of France has hot, dry summers and warm, wet winters. Summer winds are cooling but the colder and fiercer Mistral, from the north, can swirl around for days, particularly in March and April.

For weather information, look up www.meteofrance.com.

Population

47.27 million (2012)

Currency used

Euro

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

12hr 30min by car via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais; 24 hours by car via direct ferry from UK to Spain. Click here to plan a route across Europe.

Languages spoken

Spanish/Castilian, Catalan

Average tourists per year

57,701,000

Crime

Crime rate: low.
Common crimes: theft through distraction, impersonation from high authority figures, pickpocketing, personal attacks, highway pirates.
Crime hotspots: city centres, resorts, highways, tourist areas.
Use only officially registered or licenced taxis.

Be aware of contrived incidents. Foreign-registered vehicles, especially those towing caravans, and hire cars are often targeted in service areas or tricked in to stopping on the hard shoulder by the occupant of a passing vehicle. They will gesture that something is wrong with the vehicle. Lock all doors and keep bags out of sight. The number of thefts by bogus policemen has increased in Madrid and Catalonia.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 18, motorcycles up to 125cc – 16, motorcycles over 125cc – 18.

All valid UK driving licences should be accepted in Spain.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 & 98 octane) & Diesel (Gasoleo 'A' or Gas-oil) available. LPG is available under the name of “Autogas”, but very few outlets. No leaded petrol.

Petrol in a can permitted. Note: Gasoleo 'B' is heating oil only. Credit cards are accepted at larger filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers: Some residential zones and the vicinity of schools: 13mph (20km/h).

In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas:
2nd category roads, 55mph (90km/h) – Motorhomes (up to 3.5t): 45mph (80km/h).
1st category roads and 62mph (100km/h) – Motorhomes (up to 3.5t): 49mph (90km/h).
Motorways: 74mph (120km/h) - Motorhomes (up to 3.5t): 62mph (100km/h).
Motorways and dual carriage ways in built up areas: 49mph (80km/h).
Minimum speed on motorways and dual carriageways: 37mph (60km/h).

Seat belts

Compulsory for front/rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

Children up to the age of 12, measuring less than 135cm must be seated in a child restraint system adapted to their size and weight, except when travelling in a taxi in an urban area.

Children cannot be seated in the front seat of a vehicle unless the rear seats are already occupied with minors, or the vehicle doesn't have rear seats e.g. a van. Children measuring more than 135cm may use an adult seatbelt.

Lights

Full headlights are prohibited in built-up areas; use sidelights or dipped headlights depending on how well lit the roads are. Dipped headlights are compulsory during the day for motorcycles.
Dipped headlights must be used in tunnels.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights during the day compulsory.

Wearing of crash helmets compulsory, this includes trikes and quads unless they are equipped with seat belts.

A child between 7 and 11 years old may be transported as a passenger on a motorcycle driven by his mother, father or authorised person. S/he must wear a helmet suitable for his/her size.

Moped drivers under the age of 18 cannot transport passengers.
A child under the age of 7 cannot be transported at all.

Drinking and driving

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05% or more, severe penalties include fines and withdrawal of visitor's driving licence. This limit includes cyclists. The limit for drivers with less than 2 years experience is 0.03%. Drivers can also be tested for narcotics.

Fines

Issue on-the-spot. An official receipt should be obtained.
Fines are reduced by 50% if paid within 20 days.
Visiting motorists failing to pay on the spot may have their vehicle confiscated.
Illegally parked vehicles can be towed away.
Wheel clamps are also in use.

Other rules

In some cities in one-way streets, vehicles must be parked on the side of the road where houses bear uneven numbers on uneven days of the month, and on the side of even numbers on even days.

Apparatus with a screen which can distract a driver (such as television, video, DVD equipment) should be positioned in places where the driver is unable to see them. This excludes GPS systems. It is prohibited to touch or program the device unless parked in a safe place.

The use of radar detectors is prohibited, severe penalty for non compliance.

In urban areas it is prohibited to sound the horn at any time, except in an emergency. Lights may be flashed in place of using the horn.

The use of snow chains is recommended in snow weather conditions, police can stop vehicles not fitted with snow chains. Maximum speed when using snow chains is 50 km/h. The winter period is usually from November to March.

The use of spiked tyres is prohibited.

In case of a campervan or a car towing a caravan/trailer exceeding 12m, there must be one or two yellow reflectors at the rear of the towed caravan or trailer. If one – size approx: 130 x 25cm or if two – 50 x 25 cm each.

A load may exceed the length of a private vehicle at the rear by up to 10% of its length. The load must be indicated by a panel with diagonal red and white stripes.

If you wish to carry bicycles on the rear of your vehicle, you will need a 50 x 50 cm reflective panel, which can be bought from most caravan/motorhome accessory shops or from www.fiamma.com – they are available in plastic or aluminium.

It is recommended that a driver who wears glasses should carry a spare pair with them if this is noted on your driving licence.

Children under 16 are obliged to wear cycle helmets. A fine will be issued to the parent or guardian for non compliance.

Only fully hands-free phone systems are permitted. The use of earpieces or headphones while driving is banned. Failure to comply carries a fine of €200.

Be aware of contrived incidents. Foreign-registered vehicles, especially those towing caravans, and hire cars are often targeted in service areas or tricked in to stopping on the hard shoulder by the occupant of a passing vehicle. They will gesture that something is wrong with the vehicle. Lock all doors and keep bags out of sight. The number of thefts by bogus policemen has increased in Madrid and Catalonia.

Although not a rule, make sure you have Buy European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe

Compulsory equipment in Spain

Spare tyre – and the equipment to change the tyre or a tyre repair kit.

Warning triangle – one warning triangle compulsory for foreign registered vehicles but carrying two is recommended as, in an accident/breakdown situation; local officials may impose a fine if only one is produced. Not required for two wheeled vehicles

Reflective jacket – The wearing of reflective jacket/waistcoat compulsory if driver and/or passenger(s) exits vehicle which is immobilised on the carriageway of all motorways and main or busy roads. However, it is not mandatory to carry a reflective jacket in the vehicle and Spanish police cannot fine a foreign motorist who does not carry one. Car hire companies are not under legal obligation to supply them to people hiring vehicles, so often don't.

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 - £0.92
Diesel - March 2015 - £0.86

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you are in need of an ambulance, call 112. This number is the emergency service numbers across the majority of countries in Europe and is available in all Spanish territories. All calls are free of charge from any fixed line or mobile phone.

112 or 061 – Ambulance (ambulancia) 091 – National Police (policía nacional) 092 – Local Police (policía municipal) 062 – Civil Guard (guardia civil) 080 – Fire Brigade (bomberos) 900 202 202 – Sea Rescue (salvamento y seguridad marítima)

Medical costs (with EHIC)

The state provided healthcare is generally free across Spain. However, you may have to travel some distance in some parts of the country to locate a provider of this type of healthcare. In the event that you need to call out a doctor, ensure you have a valid EHIC and make sure you request state-funded healthcare.

Many healthcare centres & hospitals offer private and state healthcare services. It is up to the person being treated to request which type of service that they require. Surgery times for private healthcare and the state system healthcare differ. If you are asked to pay up front for your treatment, you are therefore not being treated under the Spanish health system and consequently, your EHIC will not be accepted.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

For any hospital treatment that you require, you will need to be referred by a doctor. Ensure that you are referred to a public hospital as these offer treatments free of charge. Always ensure you have a valid EHIC and check that you are not being treated as a private patient.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Local pharmacies can be identified across Spain by a green cross logo. Accompanied by a EHIC, people of working age will be charged 50% of the normal amount and pensioners will be charged 10%. All pensioners will have to declare that they are in receipt of a state pension to make sure that they get the lower rate. Prescription charges are non-refundable.

In the event that you require medicine following your discharge from hospital, a doctor will give you a prescription based on your medical report from hospital. Public hospital doctors will prescribe medicines on the appropriate medical report however do not issue official prescriptions.

For more information about medical fees, hospitals costs and prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinSpain.aspx

Things to see

Alhambra, Granada
Mezquita of Cordoba
El Escorial, Madrid
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

When to go

Due to its size and geography, Spain has a very varied climate. Although generally thought of as a hot, dry country (despite the famous rain that falls mainly on the plain), the weather in Spain can change dramatically according to the season and the region you are in at the time.

During the summer months the temperature in the Mediterranean, northern and central regions can be scorching, with up to eight hours of sunshine a day. There is a huge regional variation in rainfall, which is highest in Galicia and the Cantabrian mountains, and in the central areas the winters can be quite cold, with bitter winds coming in off the sierras.

Cool, refreshing sea breezes moderate the summer heat in the north, while in the south there is sometimes a hot, dry wind blowing in from Africa. Most people agree that the Spanish climate is at its best in late spring or early autumn when there is plenty of sunshine but the heat is tempered by a delightful warm breeze.

Spring is the season to visit the Balearic Islands and the central regions of Castile, Andalucía and the Mediterranean coast, whereas early autumn is ideal for almost everywhere in the country, with a high percentage of sunny days and blue skies.

Committed sun-lovers flock to Spain from all over the world during high summer (July and August). Although the bars, shops and beaches of the Mediterranean coast are generally packed to bursting point with holidaymakers, the almost guaranteed all-day sunshine and warm, balmy evenings more than compensate. High summer is also the optimum time to visit the cooler northern Atlantic coast and the mountainous regions.

Spain is an excellent choice if you are looking for winter sunshine in Europe. Head for the southern and eastern coastal resorts, particularly Almería, which holds the winter sunshine record. This is also the best time to visit the much maligned Costa del Sol; it feels like a different place without the crowds. The beautiful mountainous regions are ideal for winter sports.

Weather (based on Madrid)

Spring (March to mid-June) vies with autumn as the most pleasant time of year, with clear skies and sunny days, though there may be showers.

Summer (mid-June to August) is hot and dry. Rain is unusual between June and October. July and August are particularly hot.

Autumn (September to October) has little rain, sunny days and moderate temperatures.

Winter (November to February) has dry, clear days and low temperatures.

Population

59.83 million (2013)

Currency used

Euro

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

12hr 30min by car (via the Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais). Click here to plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Italian

Average tourists per year

46,360,000

Crime

Crime levels: low.
Common crimes: bag snatching, pickpocketing, theft and robbery.
Crime hotspots: city centres, crowded areas, public transport including trains, airports and motorways (particularly from Naples to Salerno).

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 18, motorcycle over 125cc with passenger – 18.
All valid UK driving licences should be accepted in Italy.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane), diesel (Gasolio) & LPG is available. No leaded petrol (lead substitute additive available).

Petrol in a can permitted.

Credit cards are accepted at larger filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:
In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 55mph (90km/h).
Dual carriageways: 68mph (110km/h); wet weather: 55mph (90km/h).
Motorways: 80mph (130km/h); wet weather: 68mph (110km/h).
Newly qualified drivers must not exceed a speed limit of 55mph (90km/h) outside built-up areas. 62mph (100km/h permitted on motorways) for 3 years after passing their test.

Seat belts

Compulsory for front / rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/Children in cars

Children travelling in foreign registered vehicles (UK) must be secured according to UK legislation.

Lights

Use of dipped headlights during the day is compulsory outside built-up areas and during snow and rain/poor visibility.

Rear fog lights may only be used when visibility is less than 50 metres or in case of strong rain or intense snow.

Lights must be switched on in tunnels.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights are compulsory on all roads during the day.
Crash helmets are compulsory for driver and passenger.
The vehicle can be seized for non compliance.
It is prohibited to carry a child under 5 on a moped or motorcycle.
Motorcycles under 150cc are not allowed on motorways.
A rear view mirror is compulsory on mopeds and motorcycles.
Two are compulsory if the motorcycle is capable of exceeding 100km/h.

Drinking and driving

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.051% or more, severe penalties include fines, confiscation of vehicle and imprisonment. Professional drivers and drivers with less than three years driving experience, the alcohol limit is zero, it is prohibited. A person can also be tested for narcotics.

Fines

On-the-spot. Fines are particularly heavy for speeding offences. The police can impose the fine and collect a quarter of the maximum fine, and must give a receipt for the amount of the fine paid.

Fines for serious offences committed at night between 10pm and 7am are increased by a third.

Other rules

Any vehicle with an overhanging load (e.g. carrying bicycle at rear) must display a fully reflective square panel 50cm x 50cm which is red and white diagonally striped. A fine may be imposed if the sign is not displayed. This also applies to vehicles such as cars/caravans carrying bicycles at the rear.

Tolls are levied on the majority of motorways.

In built up areas the use of the horn is prohibited except in cases of immediate danger.

The transportation or use of radar detectors is prohibited. Violation of this regulation will result in a fine between €808 and €3238 and confiscation of the device.

AREA C (a pollution charge, formerly Eco-pass) is levied in the centre of Milan. Charges apply Mon-Fri and generally from 7.30am to 7.30pm. Drivers must purchase an eco-pass before entering the restricted zone. Tariffs vary according to the emissions of the vehicle. Mopeds and motorcycles are exempt.

Traffic is restricted in many historical centres/major towns known as 'Zone a Traffico Limitato' or ZTL's, circulation is only permitted for residents. Entering such areas normally results in a fine by post.

Either winter tyres or snow chains may be used on roads where chains are compulsory.

Although not a rule, be sure to take out European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe in your vehicle.

Compulsory equipment in Italy

Spare tyre – and the equipment to change the tyre or a tyre repair kit.

Warning triangle – one warning triangle compulsory for foreign registered vehicles but carrying two is recommended as, in an accident/breakdown situation; local officials may impose a fine if only one is produced. Not required for two wheeled vehicles.

Reflective jacket – The wearing of reflectorised jacket/waistcoat compulsory if driver and/or passenger(s) exits vehicle which is immobilised on the carriageway of all motorways and main or busy roads. It is not mandatory to carry a reflective jacket in the vehicle and Spanish police cannot fine a foreign motorist who does not carry one.

Snow chains - In the area of Val d'Aosta between 15 October and 15 April, or at other times if conditions dictate. In other areas, this obligation is indicated by the International Road Sign and is applicable from 1 November to 1 April. Provinces can introduce their own legislation making the use of winter tyres or snow chains compulsory. Maximum speed limit if using snow chains is 31mph (50km/h).

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 - £1.21
Diesel - March 2015 - £1.12

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency, please call 112. This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe. Emergency treatment is available free or at low cost to anyone in need in Italy.

112 - General Emergencies (medical, fire and police)
118 – Ambulance Services(Emergenza sanitaria)
113 – Police (Carabineri)
115 – Fire Department (Vigili del fuoco)
170 – International Operator (English speaking) (Informazione internazionali)

Medical costs (with EHIC)

Private treatment across Italy is not covered by your EHIC and costs are non-refundable. In the event that you require medical treatment and have contacted your hotel or travel representative, ensure that they are referring you to state healthcare services.

If you are staying in the country for longer than 3 months, make sure you register with the National health Service (SNN). They provide free or low-cost health care to everyone registered.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

In the event of an emergency whilst you are traveling in Italy, visit your nearest SSN hospital or any Guardia Medica which offers an after hours First Aid service. Take your EHIC card with you.

If you require dental treatment, you will need to be referred to a hospital by a doctor. Again, ensure you have a valid EHIC, get referred to a public hospital and are not being treated as a private patient. Hospital and dental treatment may not necessarily be free and therefore you may be asked to make a patient co-payment. This will be be outlined on the GP's referral document.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Local pharmacies can be identfied across Italy by a green cross logo. For medicines that are considered "Life Savers" there are no fees to pay. All other prescriptions are not generally free and you will need to make a co-payment towards it. Some prescriptions are not covered by the SNN and therefore you will be required to pay the full cost.

You will always find an open pharmacy in your area regardless of time and day as they are regulated by Law. All pharmacies display their opeining hours and out of hours emergency telephone numbers.

For more information about medical fees, hospitals costs and prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinItaly.aspx

Things to see

Canals of Venice
Colosseum, Rome
Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
Venice
Piazza del Campo, Siena, Tuscany
Pompeii

When to go

Contrary to the picture-postcard image of perpetual sunshine and blue skies, Italy has variable weather. Apart from the summer months, when temperatures soar and the sun shines all day, this mountainous country has the full range of conditions. The climate is predominantly Mediterranean, with the far north experiencing Alpine trends and the far south arid and hot. Spring is pleasant everywhere, but there's frequent rain right through into May, and temperatures north of Rome only start to climb in June.

Farther south, April and May see the start of summer. Italy's hot months are from July to late September, when average temperatures are around 30°C (86°F) and the sirocco, a hot wind from Africa, pushes humidity up. In summer, the area around the Alps experiences numerous thunderstorms, which regularly help clear the air, but inland parts of southern Italy suffer extremely hot nights, often making sleeping difficult. As in the spring, the sirocco may well bring very high temperatures to parts of Italy during the autumn, accompanied by high humidity. Temperatures start to drop everywhere towards the end of September, with increasingly frequent bouts of rain and the first frosts in the Alps. Winter in the north is cold, with snow in the mountains, heavy frosts and thick fog on the plains. These conditions are also found to an extent in central Italy, with Tuscany and Umbria both experiencing bitter spells during the winter months.

Winter is the wettest season in the south, and average daytime temperatures range from 7°C to 13°C (45°F to 55°F). November is dank and wet everywhere. Around Christmas you can hope for some crystal-clear, cold, sunny days. Mountain regions are colder, with heavy winter snowfalls.

Weather (based on Rome)

Spring (March to April) can be muggy. It can be rainy in April and May.

Summer (June to August) is hot and dry, with sudden thunderstorms. July and August are uncomfortably hot.

Autumn (September to November) is mixed but can produce crisp days with clear skies.

Winter (December to February) is short and moderately cold.

Population

80.62 million (2013)

Currency used

Euro

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

6hr by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry). Click here to plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

German

Average tourists per year

30,411,000

Crime

Crime rate: low.
Common crimes: theft, shoplifting, bike theft, theft from vehicles, burglary, vehicle theft.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/germany

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 18, motorcycle – 18.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane), diesel and LPG available. No leaded petrol (lead substitute additive available).

Petrol in cans is permitted up to a maximum of 10 litres. It is forbidden to transport petrol in a can aboard ferries. Credit cards accepted at most filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage in Germany before travel.

High Ethanol petrol: E10 (petrol containing 10% Ethanol) is now widely available in Germany but is not suitable for use in all vehicles. Pumps are clearly marked 'E10' but this should only be used if you are sure it is suitable – check with the car manufacturer or refer to this list published by the European Car Manufacturers' Association. Alternatives to E10 – 'Super' (95 octane) and 'Super Plus' (Super unleaded) continue to be widely available.

Speed limits

Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:
In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 62mph (100km/h).
Dual carriageways and motorways: recommended maximum of 80 mph (130km/h). Use of motorwarys only permitted for vehicles with a design speed of more than 37mph (60km/h).
Max speed for vehicle with snow chains: 31mph (50km/h). In bad weather conditions, when visibility is below 50m, the maximum speed limit is 50km/h.

Seat belts

Compulsory for front and rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

A child under 12 years and measuring less than 1.5m travelling in any type of vehicle, must be seated in a child seat or use a child restraint.

It is prohibited to use a child seat in the front seat of a vehicle if the airbag has not been deactivated. All child restraints/seats used, must conform to ECE 44/03 or ECE 44/04.

Lights

It is recommended to use dipped headlights or day time running lights at all times.

The use of dipped headlights is compulsory during daylight hours if fog, snow or rain restricts visibility.

Driving with sidelights (parking lights) alone is not allowed. Vehicles must have their lights on in tunnels.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights at all times is compulsory.

Crash helmet is compulsory for both driver and passenger of a moped and motorcycle.

Drivers of trikes and quads capable of exceeding 20km/h must wear a helmet unless the vehicle is constructed with seat belts and they are worn.

Drinking and driving

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.050% or more, penalties include fines and the licence holder can be banned from driving in Germany.

The blood alcohol level is nil percent for drivers aged under 21 or drivers who have held their licence for less than 2 years, should even a small amount of alcohol be detected in the blood the fine is €250.

Fines

On-the-spot fine or deposit.

If a foreign motorist refuse to pay their vehicle can be confiscated. Motorists can be fined for such things as exceeding speed limits, using abusive language and making derogatory signs.

Wheel clamps are not used in Germany but vehicles causing obstruction can be towed away.

Other rules

It is not compulsory for visiting UK motorists to carry a warning triangle, but they are strongly advised to do so, as all drivers must signal their vehicle in case of breakdown, and it is a compulsory requirement for residents.

It is recommended that visitors equip their vehicle with a first-aid kit and a reflective jacket (their carriage is compulsory for vehicles registered in Germany) and set of replacement bulbs.

Slow-moving vehicles must stop at suitable places and let others pass. It is prohibited to overtake or pass a school bus that is approaching a stopping point, indicated by flashing hazard lights. In all other cases, passing buses has to be done with caution. A fine will be imposed for non-compliance.

Spiked tyres are prohibited.

A GPS based navigation system which has maps indicating the location of speed cameras must have the 'speed camera PoI (Points of Interest)' function deactivated. Should you be unable to deactivate this function the GPS system must not be carried.

The use of radar detectors is prohibited.

All motorists have the obligation to adapt their vehicle to winter weather conditions. This includes but is not limited to winter tyres. Extreme weather may require snow chains, in addition.

Emission Zones – restrictions on the circulation of vehicles are enforced in several German cities, in order to reduce the levels of emission of fine particles in some areas. The areas where restrictions apply will be indicated by signs 'Umweltzone' showing coloured vignettes ('Plakette') – green, yellow and red. To enter these areas, drivers will have to stick a vignette on their vehicle windscreen, this can be obtained from technical inspection centres or approved garages, fine for non-compliance €80.00.

The owner of the vehicle (German or foreign) is required to present the registration certificate of the vehicle and pay a fee of €5 to €10. The colour of the vignette issued will depend on the type of engine and the Euro classification of the vehicle.

The fee is a 'one-off' charge and remains valid in any German city as long as it remains fixed in the vehicle ie. not transferred to another vehicle. More information http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/en/topics/air/particulate-matter-pm10/low-emission-zones-in-germany Owners of foreign-registered vehicles can obtain a sticker prior to travel. The sticker should be ordered well in advance.

If there is not enough time to obtain the Plakette prior to departure, there are numerous testing stations throughout Germany where they are available. DEKRA are one of the testing stations.

Although not a rule, be sure to obtain Buy European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe

Compulsory equipment in Germany

Winter tyres/equipment: all motorists have the obligation to adapt their vehicle to winter weather conditions. This includes but is not limited to winter tyres. Extreme weather may require snow chains in addition.

It is prohibited to use summer tyres in Germany during winter weather conditions – tyres fitted in the UK are generally summer tyres unless you specifically asked for a different type. The winter tyre regulation applies to all motorised vehicles using roads in Germany, including those registered abroad, so vehicles registered in the United Kingdom are affected.

Winter weather conditions include black ice, snow, ice, slush and hoarfrost. Please bear in mind that these conditions may also be present even if the temperature is above 0 C.

German law specifies that the tyres must be winter tyres or all season tyres designed for use in wintry conditions. Suitable tyres will normally be marked with 'M+S' (mud and snow), a snow flake or snowy mountains symbol.

Check with the tyre supplier if you are in any doubt as some 'M+S' tyres sold in the UK are summertyres. These would not meet the German requirements even though the sidewall marking, 'M+S', might suggest that they do.

Those with a car fitted with summer tyres may not take the car on the road in winter weather conditions. Drivers in violation face fines of €60. If they actually obstruct traffic, the fine is €80.

You may also be prevented from continuing your journey until the tyres are changed or the weather conditions change.

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 - £1.01
Diesel - March 2015 - £0.85

Please note that the unleaded price for Germany is for E10, which is petrol containing 10% ethanol.

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/germany/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

NHS England

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Germany, please call 112. This number is free to call from public phones and is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe.

112 - Fire Brigade & Ambulance
110 - Police

Medical costs (with EHIC)

In the event that you require medical treatment and have contacted your hotel or travel representative, ensure that they are referring you to state-funded healthcare provider as private healthcare is chargeable and non-refundable.

To locate a German GP or dental surgery operating under the state system, look out for a sign saying "Kassenarzt" or "Alle Kassen". If you require emergency medication out of hours, visit the emergency pharmacy known as the "Apotheken-Notdienst".

Your EHIC covers you within Gerrmany however, a co-payment must still be paid. Keep all your receipts and paperwork as your insurance company may need them for any refunds or reimbursements.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

In general, you will need to be referred to by a doctor for any hospital treatment apart from emergencies. When doing so, ensure you have a valid EHIC and show it before any treatment takes place. A fixed daily charge of €10 will be charged for a maximum of 28 days in a year. Patients under 18 do not need to pay.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Prescriptions must be obtained from your doctor and then the local pharmacy will be able to give you your medicine and bandages. There is a 10% charge for this subject to a minimum charge of €5 and a maximum charge of €10 which is non-refundable. Any minor drugs such as painkillers and cough mixtures are charged at the full rate. Under 18s do not have to pay a fee for prescriptions.

For more information about Medical fees, Hospitals Costs and Prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinGermany.aspx

Things to see

Neuschwanstein Castle, Schwangau
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Heidelberg old town
Holstentor, Lubeck
Koln Cathedral

When to go

Generally speaking, Germany enjoys a mild climate, with average temperatures reaching around 20˚C (68˚F) in July and August and dropping to around 0˚C (32˚F) in December and January.

Average rainfall is also fairly seasonal, with most regions receiving up to 120mm (4.75in) a month in the height of summer, and less than 20mm (0.75in) in the depths of winter. However, the weather in Germany is also very changeable, not just from year to year, but also from month to month, week to week and even day to day. Likewise, good weather in, say, western Germany is no guarantee of similar weather in the north, south or east of the country. This can make packing something of a lottery, but so long as you're prepared for cold snaps in the winter and the odd day of rain in the summer you can't go far wrong.

In cold winters, snow is not uncommon, particularly in the south and southeast, where higher altitudes and a more continental climate contribute to a greater variation in seasonal temperatures. Western Germany tends to experience milder winters, while northern Germany usually feels a few degrees cooler than you might expect, thanks to bracing winds blowing in off the North Sea. In warm summers, temperatures in June and July have been known to reach a little above 30˚C (90˚F), with the weather often remaining relatively warm and dry until well into September.

The most reliable months for a visit, in terms of weather, are May to the end of September although some areas, such as the Rhine and the Mosel, are probably best avoided in July and August, when the tourist tide is at its height.

For those who are interested in winter sports, the ski slopes and cross-country trails in the Alps and the Black Forest are generally open from December to the end of March, while the slopes of the Harz, Eifel and the Rothaargebirge farther north enjoy a much shorter season.

Weather (based on Berlin)

Spring (March to April) can be muggy. It can be rainy in April and May.

Summer (June to August) is hot and dry, with sudden thunderstorms. July and August are uncomfortably hot.

Autumn (September to November) is mixed but can produce crisp days with clear skies.

Winter (December to February) is short and moderately cold.

Population

10.46 million (2013)

Currency used

Euro

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

18hr 30min by car via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais, France; 30 hours by car via ferry from UK to Spain. Click here to access Route Planner and plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Portuguese

Average tourists per year

7,503,000

Crime

Crime rates: low.
Common crimes: pick pocketing, theft.
Crime hotspots: tourist areas, trains, buses.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 17, motorcycle over 50cc – 17. Visitors under the age of 18 years may encounter problems even though they hold a valid UK licence. All valid UK driving licences should be accepted in Portugal.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane), Diesel & LPG available. No leaded petrol (lead replacement petrol available as 98 octane).

Petrol in a can is permitted. Credit cards are accepted at larger filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:
In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 55mph (90km/h) or 62mph (100km/h).
Motorways: 74mph (120km/h).
Motorists who have held a driving licence for less than a year must not exceed 55mph (90km/h).
The minimum speed on motorways is 31mph (50km/h).
In some town centres the speed is reduced to 12mph (20km/h).

Seat belts

Compulsory for front/rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 12 and less than 1.35m in height cannot travel as front seat passengers.

Children must travel in the rear in a special restraint system adapted to their size, unless the vehicle has only 2 seats, or is not fitted with seat belts.

Children under 3 can be seated in the front passenger seat if using a suitable child restraint however; the airbag must be switched off if using a rear-facing child restraint system.

Lights

Dipped headlights compulsory in poor daytime visibility and in tunnels.

Motorcycles

Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory.
Crash helmets are compulsory.
A child under 7 is not permitted as a passenger.

Drinking and driving

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05% to 0.08%, fine and withdrawal of the driving licence for a minimum of one month to a maximum of one year.

More than 0.08%, fine and withdrawal of driving licence for a minimum of 2 months up to a maximum of two years.

The police are also empowered to carry out testing on drivers for narcotics.

Fines

On-the-spot and must be paid in Euros.

Most traffic police vehicles are equipped with portable ATM machines for immediate payment of the fines. An official receipt showing the maximum amount of the fine should be obtained.

Foreign motorists refusing to pay an on-the-spot fine will be asked for a deposit to cover the maximum fine for the offence committed. If a motorist refuses to do this, the police can take the driving licence and/or registration document, failing that they can confiscate the vehicle. Wheel-clamping and towing are in operation for illegally parked vehicles.

Other rules

It is prohibited to carry a bicycle / bicycles at the rear of a car. Bicycles may be carried on the roof of a car provided that the total height does not exceed 4 metres. Bicycles may be carried at the rear of a mobile home, camper van or caravan provided that they do not project beyond the width of the vehicle.

Carrying a warning triangle recommended as the use of hazard warning lights or a warning triangle is compulsory in an accident/breakdown situation. A warning triangle is compulsory for vehicles registered in Portugal.

It is prohibited to carry and/or use a radar detector. Dashboard cameras are prohibited in Portugal. Spiked tyres and winter tyres are prohibited.

Snow chains may be used where the weather conditions require.

In built-up areas the use of the horn is prohibited during the hours of darkness except in the case of immediate danger.

Buses must not be overtaken when they stop for passengers to board or alight.

Although not a rule, make sure you have European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe in your vehicle.

Compulsory equipment in Portugal

Photographic proof of identity – it is a legal requirement in Portugal that everyone carries this at all times

Reflective jacket – compulsory for residents, recommended for visitors. The wearing of a reflective jacket/waistcoat is recommended if the driver and/or passenger(s) exits a vehicle that's immobilised on the carriageway of all motorways and main or busy roads. We recommend the jacket be carried in the passenger compartment of the vehicle (not the boot).

Temporary Electronic Toll Device (DEM) or Pre-Paid Tolls – A DEM or the pre-payment of tolls is required, before using many motorways in Portugal.

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 - £1.03
Diesel - March 2015 - £0.90

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you are in need of emergency services, call 112. This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe. All calls are free of charge from any fixed line or mobile phone, even without a SIM card. The person taking your call should be able to speak to you in English.

112 - EU-wide Emergecy Number
808 24 24 24. - Medical Advice

Medical costs (with EHIC)

To enable you to access state funded healthcare, make sure you have a valid EHIC. State funded healthcare across Portugal is generally free however, there is a patient contribution which varies depending on how you access the healthcare service. For example, a consultation at the hospital is a lot more expensive than a GP consultation. X-rays, scans and other tests require co-payment.

You may have to travel some discance to find a state healthcare provider in some parts of the country and islands. The doctors do not make house calls routinely. If you need a doctor in an emergency, call 112 or go to your nearest state health centre or visit the Accident & Emergency department in a state hospital.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you require hospital treatment, you will need to be referred to by a doctor. In the event of this happening, make sure you are refrred to a state hospital otherwise you will have to pay for treatment. Always ensure you have a valid EHIC and you have the right to insist your EHIC is accepted in public healthcare facilities.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Local pharmacies can be identified across Portugal by a green cross logo. Pharmacies are normally open Monday to Friday from the hours of 9am to 1pm and 3pm to 7pm weekdays. On the weekend, they are open from 9am to 1pm. If you require a list of 24 hour pharmacies, these can be obtained from any regular pharmacy.

Prescription charges are not standard and are subsidised from 15% - 90% dependant on their use and need. As always, ensure you have a valid EHIC and show it to obtain these subsidies.

For more information about medical fees, hospitals costs and prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinPortugal.aspx

Things to see

Pena National Palace, Sintra
Belem Tower, Lisbon
Praia da Marinha beach
Cais da Ribeira
Obidos Castle, Obidos

When to go

Most seasoned visitors to Portugal agree that spring and autumn are the best times to go; the weather is at its best and you'll escape the huge influx of high-summer tourists.

In late spring the whole country looks superb, with sheets of brilliant wild flowers. Autumn is warm but not too hot. It is a particularly good time to visit the Douro and the wine-producing areas, as the grape harvest is in full swing and the red and gold shades of the season are at their best. July and August are prime vacation time, with millions of foreign visitors flocking into the country and many Portuguese themselves on holiday.

The Algarve, in particular, is at its busiest: prices are at their peak, and bars, shops and beaches are packed to bursting point. This time of year is ideal for exploring northern Portugal, however, as the days are hot and sunny and there's less chance of rain than during the rest of the year.

Lisbon and the southern third of the country have mild winters, so this is an excellent time to explore the capital, the Alentejo and the Algarve. A few tourist facilities may be closed, but there's the huge advantage of dramatically reduced prices and few other visitors. The Algarve, in particular, feels like a different place without the crowds, and the hillsides pink and yellow with almond blossom and acacia.

Weather (based on Lisbon)

Spring (March–May): Often mild and sunny. Rainfall is often high in March but usually decreases quickly in April and May.

Summer (June–September): Hot and dry, but the heat is tempered by cooling sea breezes. Rain is rare in July and August, but there may be thunderstorms.

Autumn (October–November): Temperatures remain good, with many balmy days, and often clear skies, but rain picks up in October and November.

Winter (December–February): Lisbon bears the brunt of wet Atlantic depressions and rainfall is highest in December and January, with February a little drier.

Population

74.93 million (2013)

Currency used

Euro

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

30hr by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry) ; 4hr flight. Click here to access Route Planner and plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Turkish

Average tourists per year

35,698,000

Crime

Crime rate: low.
Common crimes: non-violent criminal acts, crimes of opportunity.
Crime hotspots: Taksim Square, Istiklal Caddesi, Sultanahmet, and the Grand Bazaar. Avoid Syrian/Turkish border.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 18, motorcycle – 18. UK driving licence valid for 90 days. Licences that do not incorporate a photo must be accompanied by an International Driving Permit.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Foreign insurance e.g. UK insurance is recognised in the European part of Turkey – check to ensure your policy covers the whole of Turkey.

Visiting motorists driving vehicles registered in the UK may use a valid Green Card when driving in Turkey.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 and 97 octane), leaded (95 octane) and diesel available. LPG available in large centres.

Petrol in a can permitted and must be carried in a fireproof container up to 25 litres. Credit cards are accepted at larger filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:
Built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h), motorcycles: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 55mph (90km/h), motorcycles: 43mph (70km/h).
Motorways: 74mph (120km/h), motorcycles: 49mph (80km/h).
Minimum speed on motorways: 24mph (40km/h).
Speed limits are 10km/h less if the car has a trailer.

Seat belts

Compulsory for front and rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, where fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 1.5m and lighter than 36kg must use suitable child seats/restraints.

Children under 3 cannot be carried in a car without a child restraint system.
If they are travelling on the front seat of a vehicle in a rear facing seat, the airbag must be deactivated.

Children under 10 cannot travel in the front seat.

Lights

Dipped headlights should be used in poor daytime visibility, and after sunset in built up areas.

Motorcycles

Crash helmets are compulsory.

Drinking and driving

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05 % or more, penalties are severe.

For drivers of cars with caravans or trailers the alcohol level in the bloodstream is 0%.

Fines

On-the-spot. Vehicles may be towed away if causing an obstruction.

Other rules

The use of the horn is generally prohibited in towns between 10pm and sunrise.

The use of spiked tyres and studded tyres is prohibited.

Snow chains can be used if necessary. It is recommended that winter tyres are used in snowy areas and snow chains are carried. In the event of an accident it is compulsory for the police to be called and a report obtained.

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase Buy European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe

Compulsory equipment in Turkey

Warning triangle – two required

Spare tyre

First aid kit – not required for two-wheeled vehicles

Fire extinguisher – not required for two-wheeled vehicles

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Things to see

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Goreme Fairy Chimneys
Library of Celsus, Ephesus
Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Oludeniz (coastal resort)

When to go

Istanbul is busiest from May to September, when the weather is consistently warm and sunny.

In July and August the city can become uncomfortably hot and crowded and many locals escape to the islands or coast. The most pleasant times to visit are in late spring and early autumn.

Weather (based on Istanbul)

Winter (Dec – Feb) is cold, wet and windy with grey skies. There is frequent rain and occasional sleet and snow.

Spring (Mar – May) is a delightful time, with mild weather, longer days and the start of the tourist season.

Summer (Jun – Aug) is hot and humid, though evenings by the Bosphorus can be pleasantly cool. There are also occasional thunderstorms.

Autumn (Sep – Nov) brings rain, though the sea is still warm enough for swimming in September.

Population

8.47 million (2013)

Currency used

Euro

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

12hr 30 min by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais). Click here to access Route Planner and plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

German

Average tourists per year

24,151,000

Crime

Crime rate: low.
Common crimes: cyber crime (phishing schemes, hacking, credit card fraud), burglary, pickpocketing, purse snatches, residential burglary.
Crime hotsposts: highly populated areas, tourist attractions, bus and train stations, subways.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/austria

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 17, motorcycle up to 50cc with a maximum design speed of 45km/h (27mp/h) – 16, motorcycle over 50cc – 20.

UK driving licences that do not incorporate a photo are only valid when accompanied by photographic proof of identity, e.g. passport.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory, including trailers.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane), diesel and limited LPG available. No leaded petrol (lead substitute additive available).

Petrol in a can permitted, maximum 10 litres. Credit cards accepted by larger filling stations. Check with card issuer before travel.

Speed limits

Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:
Built-up areas: up to 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 62mph (100km/h).
Motorways: 80mph (130km/h).
A number of towns have a general speed limit of 18mph (30km/h). Vehicles not capable of sustaining a minimum speed of 37mph (60km/h) are not permitted on motorways.
Mopeds must not exceed 28mph (45km/h).
Maximum recommended speed limit for vehicles with snow chains is 31mph (50km/h).
Vehicles equipped with spiked tyres must not exceed 62mph (100km/h) on motorways and 50mph (80km/h) on other roads.

A number of towns have a general speed limit of 18mph (30km/h). Vehicles not capable of sustaining a minimum speed of 37mph (60km/h) are not permitted on motorways. Mopeds must not exceed 45km/h.

Maximum recommended speed limit for vehicles with snow chains is 31mph (50km/h).

Vehicles equipped with spiked tyres must not exceed 100km/h on motorways and 80km/h on other roads.

Seat belts

Compulsory for front and rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.
Fine for non compliance €35.

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 14 and less than 1.50 metres in height cannot travel as a front or rear seat passenger unless using a suitable restraint system for their height/weight.

Vehicles without such protection eg. two-seater sports cars or vans/lorries may not be used at all to transport children under 14 years.

Children under 14 years but over 1.50 metres in height must use the adult seat belt.

Children over 14, and over 1.35 metres in height are allowed to use a 'Dreipunktgurt' (three point seat belt) without a special child seat, if the belt does not cover the throat/neck of the child.

Lights

Passing lights (dipped headlights) must be used when visibility is poor due to bad weather conditions.

Motorcycles

Crash helmets are compulsory for driver and passenger.
It is prohibited to drive with side lights (position lights) only.
Dipped headlights during the day is compulsory.

Drinking and driving

The maximum permitted level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.049%. If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is between 0.05% and 0.079% a fine will be imposed, 0.085% or more a severe fine and/or driving ban for Austria will be imposed. A lower limit of 0.01 is applicable to new drivers who have held their licence under 2 years.

Fines

On-the-spot. The officer collecting the fine should issue an official receipt. For higher fines the driver will be asked to pay a deposit and the remainder of the fine within 2 weeks. Parked vehicles that obstruct traffic may be towed away.

Other rules

The use of the horn is generally prohibited in Vienna and in the vicinity of hospitals.

Dashboard cameras are prohibited.

When a school bus has stopped to let children on and off, indicated by a yellow flashing light, drivers travelling in the same direction are not permitted to overtake.

If you are stuck in a traffic jam, you have to move over as far as you can to the right (if you are on a single-carriageway road) and to the right and left (on a dual-carriageway that doesn't have a hard shoulder) to allow free passage for emergency vehicles.

All vehicles using Austrian motorways and expressways must display a motorway toll sticker (vignette). The stickers, which are valid for one calendar year, two months or 10 days, may be purchased at some petrol stations located close to the border in neighbouring countries and in Austria: at the frontier, at petrol stations, post offices, tobacconists or in ÖAMTC offices. The 'Korridor Vignette' is no longer available. Fines for driving without a vignette can be severe, minimum €120.

Tolls are also payable when passing through certain motorway tunnels.

It is prohibited to use radar detectors.

If a voucher is required for parking they can be obtained from most tobacconists, banks OAMTC offices, ticket machines in the metro and some petrol stations. Drivers must stop their vehicle and wait for an audible warning if approaching a level crossing with a white sign featuring a train engine and the words “auf pfeifsignal achten”.

It is compulsory to form an emergency corridor whenever traffic congestion occurs on motorways or dual carriageways and highways regardless of whether emergency vehicles are already in the vicinity or not.

Vienna has a large pedestrian zone, parking is very limited with a maximum stay of three hours in 'blue zones'. These zones are indicated by a blue circle bordered in red with a red diagonal line through and the word Kurzparkzone.

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe in your vehicle.

Compulsory equipment in Austria

Warning triangle – must state that it conforms to ECE regulation 27 (for vehicles with two or more wheels).

First-aid kit – must be in a strong, dirt-proof box.

Reflective jacket – every car driver has to carry a reflective jacket/waistcoat (compliant with European regulation EN471) which has to be used in the case of a breakdown or accident and even when setting up a warning triangle on the road. This regulation does not apply to mopeds/motorcycles, however it is recommended.

Winter equipment – all drivers have a legal obligation to adapt their vehicle to winter weather conditions (see information below). Between 1 November and the 15 April vehicles must be fitted with winter tyres (which must be marked M+S on the side walls and have a minimum tread depth of 4mm) or all-season tyres which must be marked M+S (mud and snow) and if roads have a covering of snow, slush or ice outside these dates.

Theoretically snow chains on summer tyres can be used as an alternative to winter tyres where the road is heavily covered with snow and no damage to the road surface is caused by the snow chains. In practice, because road conditions and the weather cannot be predicted, use of winter tyres is effectively compulsory.

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 - £0.87
Diesel - March 2015 - £0.82

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/austria

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

NHS England

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you are in need of emergency services, call 112. This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe.
112 - Euro Emergency
144 - Rescue (Rettung)
133 - Police (polizei)
122 - Fire Department (feuerwhr)

Medical costs (with EHIC)

In the event that you require medical treatment, ensure you have a valid EHIC and use only Austria's regional health insurance offices as these services are free. To locate a state operated doctor, look out for a sign that reads "Alle Kassen" and for a contracted doctor "Kassenarzt".

Always be careful if you have contacted your hotel or travel representative for healthcare arrangements, ensuring that they are referring you to state-funded healthcare provider as private healthcare is chargeable and non-refundable.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you require hospital treatment in Austria, you will need to be referred to by a doctor for non-emergency hospital treatment. In the event of this happening, make sure you are referred to a state hospital otherwise you will have to pay for treatment. Always ensure you have a valid EHIC to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident.

The standard treatment cost is free of charge if the hopsital has a contract with 'Landesgesundheitsfonds' however a daily charge of €11.60 - €19.40 is applicable for the first 28 days in hospital.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Prescribed medicine can be obtained from any pharmacy in Austria. These are charged at a standard rate of €5.40. Pharmacies should be open at night and on bank holidays.

For more information about Medical fees, Hospitals Costs and Prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinAustria.aspx

Things to see

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna
Hallstatt
Grossglockner Alpine Road
St Anton am Arlberg
Innsbruck Altstadt

When to go

Most of the important festivals and events are held in spring and summer. The main opera and concert seasons kick off in autumn. Some prime attractions (such as the Lipizzaners and the Vienna Boys' Choir) take a summer break and may be on tour some months.

Weather (based on Vienna)

Spring (March to May) is rainy and sometimes fairly cool until mid-April.

Summer (June to August), every year seems to get hotter!

Autumn (September to October) is the most pleasant time to visit when it is not too hot and mostly dry.

Winter (November to February) can be bitterly cold, often with heavy snow from late December.

If you suffer from migraines or circulation problems you may be affected by the Föhn wind blowing off the Alps.

Population

45.49 million (2013)

Currency used

Ukrainian Hryvnia

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

20hr by car (via Channel Tunnel or ferry to Calais). Click here to access a route planner to plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Ukrainian

Average tourists per year

23,013,000

Crime

Political situation: Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible safety or security risks. You should avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, as even peaceful protests may turn violent.

Crime rate: high.
Common crimes: street crime, property crime, confidence scams, government corruption.
Crime hotspots: Kiev, and throughout the country.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ukraine

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 17, motorcycle over 50cc – 17.

Motor insurance requirement

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is compulsory for the holder of any type of UK driving licence.

Minimum age at which a visitor may drive a temporarily imported car and/or motorcycle is 18.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane), diesel (Solyarka) & LPG available.

Petrol in a can permitted. It's recommended to carry petrol in spare cans when undertaking long journeys. It is prohibited to import fuel in spare cans. Credit cards are accepted at larger filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel. Fuel usually paid for in local currency.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:
In built-up areas: 37mph (60km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 55mph (90km/h.
Major roads: 68mph (110km/h).
Motorways 80mph (130km/h).
Some residential zones: 13mph (20km/h). Motorists who have held a driving licence for less than 2 years must not exceed 43mph (70km/h).

Some residential zones: 13mph (20km/h). Motorists who have held a driving licence for less than 2 years must not exceed 43mph (70km/h).

Seat belts

Compulsory for front seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 12 and less than 145cm cannot travel as front seat passengers.

Lights

Dipped headlights are compulsory between the 1 October and 30 April
Outside these dates dipped headlights should be used in poor daytime visibility.

Motorcycles

Crash helmets compulsory for both driver and passenger.
Children under 12 and less than 145cm in height are not permitted as a passenger.

Drinking and driving

The limit is 0.00%, although a 0.02% tolerance has been established in order to allow for some medications and mouthwashes that may contain alcohol.

Fines for driving under the influence of alcohol can be very high.
The driving licence can be confiscated for a repeat offence.

Fines

The police are not allowed to collect money for fines on the spot from a visitor.

If a visitor has not paid a penalty imposed before his departure or within 15 days, the offender's vehicle can be detained.

Other rules

In addition to the original vehicle registration document it is recommended that an International Certificate for Motor Vehicles (ICMV) also be carried if visiting any Russian speaking areas.

State Traffic Inspectorate officials will stop vehicles to check documents, especially if they are displaying foreign plates.

We recommend that visitors carry an assortment of spares for their vehicles such as a fan belt, replacement bulbs and spark plugs.

It is necessary to pre-plan itineraries and book accommodation before departure.

During cold winters it is highly recommended to use spiked tyres or snow chains.

When a foreign vehicle is involved in an accident it is compulsory to call the police.

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase Buy European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe

Compulsory equipment in Ukraine

First aid kit

Fire extinguisher

Warning triangle

Winter tyres: compulsory on all 4 wheels during snowy weather conditions (November-April) minimum tread 6mm.

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ukraine

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Healthcare

The UK has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Ukraine. If you're visiting Ukraine and need urgent or immediate medical treatment, it will be provided at a reduced cost or, in some cases, free. The agreements do not cover the cost of returning you to the UK (repatriation) or routine monitoring of pre-existing conditions. The range of medical services in these countries may be more restricted than under the NHS. Therefore, ensure you have a valid private travel insurance policy when travelling to any country.

Things to see

Kiev Pechersk Lavra
Saint Sophia's Cathedral, Kiev
Mother Motherland monument, Kiev
St Andrew's Church, Kiev
Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Kiev

When to go

The best time to travel to Ukraine is generally within the spring months of late April to June. After a bitterly cold winter, the weather has time to warm up and the spring climate is perfect for cycling, hiking and exploring the great outdoors without getting too cold.

If you're thinking of visiting Ukraine, think about travelling during the Easter holidays (make sure to check the calender as it may differ from the Western Christian Easter holiday). If you do go during this time, make sure to book ahead as the Ukraine tourism has a lot to offer during this time.

The culture surrounding Easter is unique with cultural art such as elaborately painted Easter Eggs and more. This holiday is a great way to see the unique side of Ukranian culture.

Weather (based on Kiev)

The months May, June, July and August have a nice average temperature.
Cold season / winter is in the months January, February and December.
On average, the warmest month is July.
On average, the coolest month is January.
July is the wettest month.
October is the driest month.

Ref: http://www.weather-and-climate.com/average-monthly-Rainfall-Temperature-Sunshine,Kiev,Ukraine

Population

11.03 million (2013)

Currency used

Euro

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

27hr by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais). Click here to access Route Planner and plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Greek

Average tourists per year

15,518,000

Crime

Crime rates: medium-high. Common crimes: pickpocketing, purse snatching, theft. Crime hotsposts: main tourists areas, city metro system.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 17, motorcycle over 50cc – 17.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 and 100 octane) & diesel (Petreleo) available. No leaded petrol. Lead replacement petrol available as 'Super 2002' 98 octane. LPG may not be used in private cars, only in taxis.

It is forbidden to carry petrol in a can in a vehicle. Credit cards are accepted at some filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:

In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h) for cars – motorcycle: 24mph (40km/h)
Outside built-up areas: 55mph (90km/h) or 68mph (110km/h), motorcycles: 43mph (70km/h)
Motorways: 80mph (130km/h) for cars, motorcycles: 55mph (90km/h).

Seat belts

Compulsory for front and rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 3 years must be placed in a suitable child restraint.

Approved child restraints are those conforming with standard ECE R44/03 (or later). Children between 3 and 11 years, measuring less than 1.35m must be seated in an appropriate child restraint for their size.

From the age of 12, children measuring over 1.35m can wear an adult seat belt. Placing a rear-facing child restraint in the front passenger seat is allowed only on condition that the passenger airbag is deactivated.

Lights

Dipped headlights should be used in poor daytime visibility. The use of full beam headlights in towns is strictly prohibited.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights during the day compulsory. Crash helmets are compulsory.

Drinking and driving

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05% or more it is a criminal offence.

A lower limit of 0.02% of alcohol allowed in drivers' blood applies to drivers who have held a licence for less than two years, and to motorcyclists.

It is an offence to drive a vehicle under the influence of any toxic substance.

Other rules

The police are empowered to confiscate the number plates of illegally parked vehicles throughout Greece. Generally this only applies to Greek-registered vehicles, but the drivers of foreign registered vehicles should beware of parking illegally.

Snow chains may be used when roads are covered with snow or ice, usually between November and March. The maximum speed limit for cars with chains is 31mph (50km/h).

The horn must not be used in towns, unless it is the only means of avoiding an accident. Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase Buy European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe

Fines

Police can impose fines but not collect them on the spot.

The fine must be paid at a Public Treasury office within 10 days.

You can be fined for the unnecessary use of a car horn.

Vehicles may be towed away if parked illegally, or if violating traffic regulations.

Compulsory equipment in Greece

Fire extinguisher

First-aid kit

Warning triangle: not required for two-wheeled vehicles

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 - £1.16
Diesel - March 2015 - £0.95

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Greece, please call 112. This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe.

Emergency public ambulance services to state hospitals are free.

112 - Medical Emergency
166 – Ambulance Services
100 – Police
199 – Fire Department
171 – Tourist police
108 – Coast Guard
1016 – SOS Doctors

Medical costs (with EHIC)

In the event that you require medical treatment, ensure you have a valid EHIC to receive the same medical treatment that Greek nationals recieve. Make sure you consult an EOPYY contracted doctor to receive treatment for free or at a reduced cost.

As an EHIC holder, consult a doctor of the newly established PEDY units (National Primary Healthcare Network). These also offer a limited amount of dental services, which can also be found within certain public hospitals.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you require hospital treatment, you will need to be referred to by a doctor. This is free of charge if you are referred by a EOPYY contracted doctor or hospital. You will be charged with a co-payment depending on the terms of the contract for a private clinic. Always ensure you have a valid EHIC and show it on admission to utilise the services free of charge.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Pharmacies dispense medicine in receipt of a prescription from an EOPYY contracted doctor or a doctor of a PEDY Unit. The charge for this is about 25% and may vary dependant on the illness and medication prescribed. This is non-refundable and prescriptions must be collected within 5 working days of it being issued otherwise it will be invalid.

For more information about medical fees, hospitals costs and prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinGreece.aspx

Things to see

Acropolis of Athens
Parthenon, Athens
National Archaeological Museum
Acropolis Museum, Athens
Meteora, Kalampaka

When to go

The best time to travel to Greece is in spring and early summer (mid-April to mid-June) or in Autumn (Sept to mid-October).

On other times, especially during Summer high season, you may find the prices to be inflated, a vast amount of tourists and high temperatures (heat waves of +40°C/100°F are common).

Weather (based on Athens)

The best time to visit Athens and the Greek Islands begins in May, when the mean temperature is 21 degrees celcius (69 Fahrenheit) and rainfall is less than 1.5 cm, and continues on through June (mean temperature 25 degrees and rainfall less than 0.5 cm).

July has monthly average temperatures of 28 degrees (82 Fahrenheit) and rainfall less than 0.5 cm and September, with an average temperature of 24 degrees (76 Fahrenheit) and less than 1 cm of rain. The first two weeks of June have perfect, sunny and warm weather, with little clouds or rain.

Most rain falls between November and February, when Athens can be colder and windier than you might expect.

Population

4.6 million (2013)

Currency used

Euro

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

7hr 30min (via Holyhead to Dublin ferry). Click here to plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Irish, English

Average tourists per year

7,550,000

Crime

Crime rates: low, except Dublin which can be high.
Common crimes: theft, robbery, drug and fraud offences.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/belgium

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 17, motorcycle exceeding 150cc – 17.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 octane) and diesel available. No leaded petrol. Lead replacement petrol and LPG are extremely limited.

Petrol in a can is permitted but forbidden on board ferries. Credit cards are accepted at most filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:

In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 37-62mph (60-100km/h) according to signpost.
Motorways: 74mph (120km/h).

Seat belts

Compulsory for front/rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 3 may not travel in a car (other than a taxi) unless they are placed in an appropriate child restraint, they can travel on the front seat of the car if they are in a rear facing restraint system and the airbag is disabled.

Children over 3 who are less than 1.5m and weigh less than 36kg must use an appropriate child restraint when travelling in cars fitted with seat belts.

If the car is not equipped with seat belts they must travel on the rear seats. Child restraints must conform with the ECE R44.03 standard.

Lights

Dipped headlights should be used in poor daytime visibility.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights during the day compulsory.
Crash helmets is compulsory for both driver and passenger.

Drinking and driving

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is more than 0.05%, severe penalties include fine and/or imprisonment plus disqualification.

The lower limit of 0.02% applies to novice drivers.

Random breath testing is now in force throughout Ireland.

If a driver fails a roadside physical and behavioral test, the Gardai may ask him/her to accompany them to the station for a drug test, either blood or urine test.

Other rules

Rule of the road is drive on the left; overtake on the right.

Horns must not be used between 11.30pm and 7am.

Distances are given in kilometers.

Some level crossings have manual gates which motorists must open and close.

The use of radar detectors is prohibited; they can be confiscated by the Garda.

Barrier-free tolling now operates on the M50 Dublin, your number plate will be recorded when you pass through the toll and the fee must be paid by 8pm the following day at the latest, this can be paid at any of the 'payzone' outlets. Motorcycles are exempt. The driver is responsible for payment of the toll.

Ireland doesn't have any fixed speed cameras but mobile camera vans are used.

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase Buy European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe

Fines

A member of the Garda may hand a person a fixed penalty notice, this will detail that an offender has to pay the fine within 28 days. This may be handed to the offender directly or attached to the windscreen.

If a fine is not paid within 28 days, the fine increases by 50%. A person can opt to go to court.

Illegally parked cars can be clamped and sometimes towed.

Compulsory equipment in Ireland

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 £1.00
Diesel - March 2015 £0.95

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ireland/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre (http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Ireland, please call 112. This is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe. Calls in Ireland to this number are free of charge from any fixed line or mobile phone.

999 or 112 - Emergency Services (Fire, Ambulance, Police & Coastguard)

Medical costs (with EHIC)

In the event that you require medical treatment, contact any GP who is contracted to the Primary Care Reimbursement Services (PCRS) scheme. There are more than 2,000 doctors contracted to the scheme in Ireland. Under EU regulations, treatment is provided free of charge by PCRS doctors to those who are eligable.

The Local Health Office will be able to provide you details of PCRS doctors in your area. If you are unsure whether your doctor is in the PCRS scheme, tell them you are seeking treatment under EU regulations.

GP's operational hours can vary from practise to practise. Call your local GP surgery to find out their opening hours. Additionally, a telephone number for out of hours services is generally available if needed.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you require hospital treatment, go directly to the Accident and Emergency unit of any public hospital. No charge should be taken from those eligable under EU regulations.

In the event of outpatient treatment or if you are a scheduled inpatient, make sure you are referred to by a GP or specialist consultant contracted by the PCRS scheme. Also ensure you ask to be referred as a public patient. Under EU regulation, this service is provided free of charge. However, treatment or accomodation as a private or semi-private patient is not covered under the regulation.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Prescriptions must be obtained by a GP contracted to the PCRS scheme who will use a special prescription form. A prescription charge must be paid for each item of medicine which is €2.50 per item up to a maximum of €25.00 per month per family.

For more information about Medical fees, Hospitals Costs and Prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinIreland.aspx

Things to see

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin
Trinity College Library, Dublin
The Burren, County Clare
Bunratty Castle, Shannon

When to go

Although Ireland is temperate, there are several factors which can help you to decide when to go. In winter some visitor attractions close until spring, and be prepared for total darkness by 4pm in December.

In July and August it doesn't get completely dark until about 11pm.

For the best chance of sunny weather, come in May or June, and for the highest temperatures, July and August, though these two months are the height of the tourist season so you should reserve accommodation in advance, and be aware that the volume of traffic on the roads will be greater too.

Dublin and Belfast are great cities to visit in any season, with attractions open all year round.

Weather (based on Dublin)

Ireland does not have extremes of temperature owing to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream. Temperatures of below 32°F (0°C) or above 86°F (30°C) are rare. The average daily temperature is about 50°F (9°C) across the country. The coldest months are January and February with a mean temperature between 39° and 44°F (4° and 7°C), and the warmest months are July and August, although even then average inland temperatures are only between 64° and 66°F (18° and 20°C). The sunniest months are May and June, while December has the fewest hours of sunshine.

Despite being mild, Ireland is a very wet country. Irish skies are completely covered by cloud approximately half of the time. You can, and should, expect rain at all times of the year, although the summer is generally not as wet as winter. The parts of the country that receive most rainfall are the west and the hills. In terms of wind, the north and west coasts are two of the windiest areas in Europe.Spring

(March to May) is mild with mostly clear skies and a mix of sunshine and showers. April and May are the driest months.

Summer (June to August) is bright and warm but notoriously unpredictable. July is particularly showery. Heat-waves are rare.

Autumn (September to November) often has very heavy rain and is mostly overcast, although still quite mild. Even October can be summery.

Winter (December to February) is not usually severe and tends to be wet rather than snowy. Temperatures rarely fall below freezing.

Population

323,002 (2013)

Currency used

Icelandic Krona

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

3hr flight; 3hrs 45mins to Hirtshals, Denmark, then Smyril Lines ferry to Iceland from 37hrs. Click here to plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Icelandic

Average tourists per year

673,000

Crime

Crime rates: low.
Common crimes: petty theft and minor assaults.
Crime hotsposts: Reykjavik.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/iceland

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 17, motorcycle over 50cc – 17.

All valid UK driving licences should be accepted in Iceland.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol "blylaust bensin" (95 octane) and diesel 'disilolia' available. No leaded petrol (lead substitute petrol available as 98 octane). LPG is not available.

It is forbidden to import fuel in spare can. Some credit cards are accepted at most filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:

In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 49mph (80km/h) on gravel roads and 55mph (90km/h) on asphalt roads.

Seat belts

Compulsory for front/rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 3 must be placed in an approved restraint system adapted to their size.
Children over 3 and under 1.5m must be seated in a child restraint suitable for their height and weight.
Children must not be placed on the front seat of a vehicle with an active airbag.

Lights

Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory, fine imposed for non-compliance.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights during the day compulsory.
Crash helmets are compulsory for both driver and passenger.

Drinking and driving

The maximum permitted level of alcohol in the driver's blood is 0.05%.

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is more than 0.049% severe penalties include the withdrawal of your driving licence, prison sentence and up to 160,000 Krona fine.

Fines

On-the-spot fines may be imposed and collected by the traffic police.

In some circumstances payment may be made at a police station or the police officer will provide details of the official bank account into which the fine must be paid.

Illegally parked cars may be towed away and a parking fine imposed.

Other rules

It is recommended that visitors equip their vehicle with first-aid kit, fire extinguisher and set of replacement bulbs.

The use of spiked tyres is permitted between 15 November and 15 April. Snow chains may be used when necessary.

Weather conditions can change rapidly; using a local phone you can dial 1777 to obtain information about road and weather conditions between 7.30am and 10pm.

It is prohibited to drive outside marked roads or tracks (in order to protect flora and fauna).

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe in your vehicle

Compulsory equipment in Iceland

Warning triangle – must be used in conjunction with hazard warning lights.

Winter tyres – compulsory on roads affected by winter weather conditions (approximately 1 November to 15 April). They may still be required outside of these dates dependent upon weather conditions.

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/iceland/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Iceland, please call 112. This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe.

Please note: The ambulance service is not free therefore only use the service if the patient is not in a fit state to go by car, taxi or bus. There is a fixed charge for EHIC holders however if you cannot show a valid EHIC, you will have to pay the full cost.

112 - Serious & Life Threatening Emergency
1770 - Medical Assistance
444 1000 - Police
575 0505 – Dental Emergencies

Medical costs (with EHIC)

Private treatment across Iceland is not covered by your EHIC. If you take out private treatment, it is non-refundable. In the event that you require medical treatment and have contacted your hotel or travel representative, ensure that they are referring you to the Icelandic public healthcare system. Private healthcare is chargeable even though they may re-assure you that you can claim back whatever is paid out. In this instance, they may be referring to private insurance rather than treatment under the EHIC.

Under the EHIC, you are still required to make a patient contribution and the fee attached for each consultation and other services is fixed. Without the EHIC, you will be charged the full amount of the treatment, according to the tarrifs. Always present your EHIC along with personal identification papers, such as a passport, to prove your citizenship.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

To be admitted to hospital, you need a referral from a GP. Immediate admissions are only possible in emergencies. Generally, there is no charge for inpatient treatment. However, you will be charged IKR 5,400 for outpatient treatment.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Prescribed medicine can be obtained from any pharmacy in Iceland. With your prescription, you should bring proof of your entitlement to state healthcare. The charges for prescriptions can vary from 0% - 100% dependant on the standard prescription categories. In the event of not being able to provide proof of entitlement, such as EHIC, you will be charged the full price which is non-refundable.

For more information about medical fees, hospitals costs and prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinIceland.aspx

Things to see

Gullfoss Waterfall
Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavick
Aurora Borealis (Northern lights)
Blue Lagoon, Grindavik
Vatnaokull National Park

When to go

The best time to visit Iceland is mid-June through to August. However, many Icelanders think that the tourists that come in Summer do not know what they are missing as Iceland offers an abundence of things to do in Spring, Fall and even Winter. Furthermore, prices for airfare, car rental and accomodation fall dramatically during this time. Icelanders are avid Christmas celebrators and the Aurora Borealis is remarkably vivid in winter.

Weather

Although near the Arctic Circle, thanks to the Gulf Stream, Iceland is cool in summer and winters are milder than you might expect. The weather can be unusually volatile with the Gulf stream bringing in mild atlantic air to the colder Arctic air. Together there are frequent overcast skies and fog with driving wind and rain. Don't be suprised if you encounter 4 different seasons in one day!

Population

9.90 million (2013)

Currency used

Hungarian Forint

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash.

Duration of travel from London

17hr by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais) Click here to access a route planner to map out your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Hungarian

Average tourists per year

10,353,000

Crime

Crime rate: medium
Common crimes: bag snatching and pick-pocketing are common.
Common hotspots: Budapest, be particularly careful on busy public transport, in train stations, at markets and at other places frequented by tourists. Theft of and from vehicles is common. Don't carry large amounts of cash.

Be wary of contrived incidents, particularly on the Vienna–Budapest motorway, designed to stop motorists and expose them to robbery.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/hungary

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 17. Driving ages/regulations of motorcycles are same as those for the UK.

All valid driving licences should be accepted in Hungary.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 octane), diesel (Dizel or Gazolaj) and LPG available. No leaded petrol. Petrol in a can is permitted up to 10 litres. Credit cards are accepted at some filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel. Cash in local currency is the most usual form of payment.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:

In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 55mph (90km/h).
Semi-motorways: 68mph (110km/h).
Motorways: 80mph (130km/h).
Lower speed limits may apply on the approach to level crossings.
Vehicles with snow chains must not exceed 31 mph (50km/h).
In city centres, areas with a 18mp/h (30km/h) speed limit are increasing common

Seat belts

Compulsory for front and rear seat occupants to wear seatbelts, where fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

A child under 3 may only travel in a vehicle if using a suitable child restraint system appropriate for their weight, they are permitted to travel in the front of the vehicle using this restraint if it is rear facing and there is no airbag or it has been deactivated.

A child over 3, measuring 1.35m or more can travel on the rear seat of a car using a seat belt, a child measuring less than 1.35m must use a suitable child restraint.

Lights

Use of dipped headlights compulsory at all times outside built-up areas. At night the use of full beam, in built up areas, is prohibited.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights compulsory at all times.
Crash helmets are compulsory for both driver and passenger.

Drinking and driving

0% of alcohol allowed in driver's blood: amounts of less than 0.08% incur a fine, more than 0.08% legal proceedings.

It is equally illegal to allow a person to drive who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If the police suspects that a driver, a cyclist or pedestrian is under the influence of drugs, it has the right to take that person to a medical centre for blood and urine tests.

Fines

On-the-spot, the police must hand over the payment order to transfer the amount of the fine within 30 days. Alternatively, the fine can be paid on the spot, a receipt should be given.

The fine is only payable in HUF, credit cards are accepted for the payment of fines in some circumstances. Vehicle can be retained by the police until the fine is paid. Wheel clamps are in use.

Other rules

Be wary of contrived incidents, particularly on the Vienna–Budapest motorway, designed to stop motorists and expose them to robbery.

A new directive by the Hungarian authorities means that traffic will be restricted from entering Budapest when the dust in the air exceeds a fixed level on 2 consecutive days. In such cases vehicles with licence plates ending in an even number should be used only on even dates of the month and vehicles with odd numbers may only be used on odd dates. The restriction is applicable from 6am to 10pm, a fine imposed for non compliance.

Spiked tyres are prohibited.

The use of radar detectors is prohibited.

The use of the horn is prohibited in built-up areas, except in the case of danger.

Emergency corridors – Hungarian motorways and dual carriageways: all drivers are required to create a precautionary emergency corridor on roads whenever congestion occurs. Road users in the left-hand lane must move as far over to the left as possible and users on the right-hand side must move as far over to the right as possible. On motorways with more than two lanes, vehicles using the lane on the far left must move over to the left and the rest of the vehicles must move over to the right. The emergency corridor allows emergency services to reach the scene of an accident faster using the hard shoulder.

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe in your vehicle

Compulsory equipment in Hungary

First-aid kit

Warning triangle Reflective Jacket – all pedestrians walking on a road, or road shoulder outside a built-up area must wear a reflective jacket at night and in case of bad visibility. Any person exiting a vehicle outside a built up area in a breakdown situation becomes a pedestrian and therefore must wear a reflective jacket.

Snow chains – the use of or their presence in a car can be made compulsory on some roads when weather conditions require

From February 2015, the motorways and motorway sections below are toll free. For the rest of the motorway network, motorists must purchase an e-vignette: M31, M86 and M8 motorways
M9 motorway between main road 6 and main road 51
M9 motorway on the Kaposvar loop (main road 61)
M4 motorway between Vecses and the road leading to Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc Airport
M0 motorway between main road 1 and M5 motorway. Between motorways M4 and M3 and between main roads 11 and 12 (Megyeri bridge)
Leaflets are distributed at the border to foreign motorists, explaining about the vignette. The electronic vignette can be purchased in person, online or via a smart phone app. Drivers wishing to purchase an e-vignette in person at the Hungarian border are advised to carry cash in Hungarian Forints. Credit cards accepted: Visa, Eurocard/Mastercard, DKV and UTA for online purchases. When a motorist has purchased an e-vignette, a confirmation message will be sent or a coupon issued. This document/confirmation must be kept for one year after the expiry of validity. The motorway authorities check all vehicles electronically, and verify the registration number, the category of toll paid and the validity of the e-vignette. Further information in English www.toll-charge.hu
Available durations: 1 week (valid for 10 consecutive days), one month or 13 months. The Hungarian Motoring Association, recommend foreign motorists wishing to purchase a vignette at the border have cash in Hungarian Forints. Vignettes should only be purchased from outlets where the prices are clearly displayed at the set rate.

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 £0.89
Diesel - March 2015 £0.90

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/hungary/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Hungary, please call 112. This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe.

Emergency services are free of charge.

104 - Ambulance
107 - Police
105 - Fire
(20) 900 0107 – Police – SMS service for the deaf (Budapest)
(40) 374 636 – 24/7 health advice

Medical costs (with EHIC)

In the event that you require medical treatment, ensure you have a valid EHIC and obtain treatment by a healthcare provider that has a contract with the Hungarian National Health Insurance Fund (OEP).

Always be careful if you have contacted your hotel or travel representative for healthcare arrangements, ensuring that they are referring you to state-funded healthcare provider as private healthcare is chargeable and non-refundable.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you require hospital treatment, you will need to be referred by a doctor. In the event of this happening, make sure you are referred to a public hospital otherwise you will have to pay for treatment.

Always ensure you have a valid EHIC and always double check to make sure you are not being treated as a private patient. Operations, diagnostic tests, medicines and your stay in hospital are all provided free of charge.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

A prescription should be issued by a doctor who practies within the OEP. Take your prescription and EHIC to the pharmacy where you'll have to co-pay for the medication. This co-payment is non-refundable. The cost of the co-payment can vary depending on the type of medicine which is prescribed.

For more information about medical fees, hospitals costs and prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinHungary.aspx

Things to see

Lake Balaton
Buda Castle, Budapest
Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest
Szechenyl Thermal Bath, Budapest
Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest

When to go

Budapest can get very hot in high season (May to September). Autumn is pleasantly mild and the hues of the Buda Hills are lovely, while the Spring Festival is the country's leading cultural event. In December, Christmas markets provide seasonal cheer.

Weather (based on Budapest)

Spring begins in late March and lasts until around mid-May. It is characterised by mild temperatures and regular showers.

Summer months are steamy, and it is not uncommon for temperatures in July and August to hit 35°C or higher. Many locals head for Lake Balaton to cool down.

Autumn starts fairly warm before becoming cooler and wetter, with occasional fog. It is an ideal time for cycling or walking in the hills to the west.

Winter temperatures dip sharply from mid-November. December and January are the coldest months. There is snow every year, but it does not last for long.

Population

38.53 million (2013)

Currency used

Euro

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash.

Duration of travel from London

5hr 30min by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais) Click here to access Route Planner and plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Dutch

Average tourists per year

11,680,000

Crime

Crime rate: low.
Common crimes: non-violent, pickpocketing, vehicle theft, phone theft.
Common hotspots: Schiphol airport, trams, trains, Amsterdam (central station, Amsterdam Zuid Station, red light district, Rotterdam, The Hague).

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/netherlands

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 18, motorcycle – 18

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane), diesel and LPG (Autogas) available. No leaded petrol (lead substitute petrol available as 'super' 98 octane).

Petrol in a can permitted but it is forbidden aboard ferries. Credit cards are accepted at most filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:

In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 49mph (80km/h) or 62mph (100km/h)
Motorways: 80mph (130km/h)
Only vehicles capable of 37mph (60km/h) are permitted on motorways.

Seat belts

Compulsory for front and rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

If the vehicle's front seats are not fitted with seat belts, only passengers measuring 1.35m or more may travel in the front seat.

If the vehicle's rear seats are not fitted with seat belts, only passengers 3 years and above may travel in the rear.

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 18 and less than 1.35m in height must use a suitable restraint system adapted to their size if travelling in the front seat.

Suitable child restraint systems must meet the safety approval of ECE 44/03 or 44/04. Children under 18 and less than 1.35m in height must use a suitable restraint system adapted to their size if travelling in the rear where seatbelts are fitted.

Children under 3 may not travel in a car unless in an appropriate child restraint. Any passenger airbag must be deactivated if a child under 3 travels in the front passenger seat using a rear facing child seat.

Lights

Dipped headlights during the day is recommended.
At night it is prohibited to drive with only sidelights.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights during the day is recommended.

Crash helmets are compulsory for all motorcycles which are capable of exceeding 25km/h this is also applicable to drivers and passengers of open micro cars without seatbelts.

Drinking and driving

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is over 0.05%, severe penalties include fine, withdrawal of driving licence and imprisonment. The lower limit of 0.02% applies to new drivers for the first five years and moped riders up to the age of 24. In some cases a blood test will be necessary after a breath test.

Fines

On-the-spot. In the case of illegal parking, the police can impose and collect on-the-spot fines or tow the vehicle away.

Vehicles can be confiscated in cases of heavy excess of speed and drink driving.

Other rules

Trams have right of way, unless otherwise indicated by traffic lights. Beware of large numbers of cyclists and skaters.

Warning triangle or hazard warning lights must be used in case of accident or breakdown (recommended that warning triangle always be carried).

Buses have right of way when leaving bus stops in built-up areas.

Spiked tyres are prohibited.

The use of a radar detector is prohibited, if a person is caught using such a device by the police the radar detector will be confiscated and you will be fined €430.

Horns should not be used at night, and only used in moderation during the day. High penalties are incurred for non compliance.

Parking discs can be obtained from local stores.

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase Buy European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe

Compulsory equipment in the Netherlands

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 £1.23
Diesel - March 2015 £1.00

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/netherlands/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

NHS England

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Netherlands, please call 112. This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe.

Please note: It is not free to use the ambulance service therefore only use the service if the patient is not in a fit state to go by car, taxi or bus.

112 - Ambulance, Police & Fire
0900 8844 - National Police in Non-Emergencies
0900 01111 - Sea Rescue / Coastguard
020 592 335 - Tourist Medical Service (ATAS)
020 694 8709 – Duty Pharmacy
020 592 3434 – Central Doctor's Service for urgent medical advice

Medical costs (with EHIC)

In the event that you require medical treatment, ensure you have a valid EHIC and that you are being treated by a state funded health care provider. Some healthcare providers offer both private and public services so be sure to state the type of healthcare you require.

Always be careful if you have contacted your hotel or travel representative for healthcare arrangements, ensuring that they are referring you to state-funded healthcare provider as private healthcare is chargeable and non-refundable.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you require hospital treatment in Netherlands, you will need to be referred to by a doctor for non-emergency hospital treatment. In the event of this happening, make sure you are referred to a state hospital otherwise you will have to pay for treatment. Always ensure you have a valid EHIC or GP referral with proof of health insurance to recieve treatment at the same cost as a resident.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Pharmacies dispense medicine in receipt of a prescription from a doctor. There will not be a charge for the presecription if your pharmacy has a contract with your insurer.

For more information about Medical fees, Hospitals Costs and Prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareintheNetherlands.aspx

Things to see

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam
Anne Frank's House, Amsterdam
Keukenhof, Lisse
Madurodam, Den Haag
Natura Artis Magistra (Amsterdam zoo)

When to go

Most tourists visit Amsterdam between April and September; late March to late May is the time to see tulips in bloom. June brings the Netherlands Festival of art, dance, opera and plays. Although winter can be cold and damp, December is crowded with Christmas shoppers and those staying for the festive season.

Weather (based on Amsterdam)

Spring (March to May) is at its most delightful in May—with the least rainfall and thecrowds not so intense as the summer months.

Summer (June to August) is the sunniest time of year but good weather is not guaranteed.

Autumn (September to November) gets wetter, although September is a popular time to visit. The weather is often chilly and drizzly as winter approaches.

Winter (December to February) can be cold, and temperatures can drop so low that the canals freeze. Strong winds can increase the chill factor, and fog can blot out the sunlight for days.

Population

38.53 million (2013)

Currency used

Polish Złoty

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

14hr by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais). Click here to access Route Planner and plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Polish

Average tourists per year

14,840,000

Crime

Crime rate: low-medium.
Common crimes: pickpocketing, theft, credit card fraud, burglary.
Crime hotspots: urban areas, tourist areas, public transport and stations, large crowded areas.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/poland

Map info last updated on 9th March 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 18, motorcycles over 125cc – 18. All valid UK driving licences should be accepted in Poland.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane), diesel and LPG available. No leaded petrol (95 octane petrol with lead replacement additive available).

Up to 10 litres of petrol in a can is permitted but forbidden aboard ferries. Credit cards are accepted at most filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:

In built-up areas: 37mph (60km/h) from 11pm to 5am, and 31mph (50km/h) from 5am to 11pm.
Outside built-up areas: 55mph (90km/h)
Express roads (2 x 1 lanes) 62mph (100km/h) or (2 x 2 lanes) 74mph (120km/h)
Motorways: 86mph (140km/h)
The minimum speed on motorways is 24mph (40km/h).
Some residential zones are 13mph (20km/h).

Seat belts

Compulsory for front/rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 12 years and 1.5m in height cannot travel as front or a rear seat passenger unless using a suitable restraint system adapted to their size. If a car is equipped with front seat airbags it is prohibited to place a child in a rear-facing seat.

Lights

Dipped headlights or daytime running lights are compulsory for all vehicles at all times. Fine imposed for non-compliance.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights are compulsory for all vehicles at all times.
Crash helmets are compulsory for driver and passenger.

Drinking and driving

The maximum level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.02%. Between 0.021% and 0.05% per cent a heavy fine imposed and suspension of licence.

Over 0.05% the fine is determined by a tribunal along with the prison sentence and suspension of licence.

Fines

On-the-spot. An official receipt should be obtained. The police are authorised to request foreign motorists to pay their fines in cash.

If the fine is not paid on the spot the case can be brought to court and must be paid within three days. In this case the court will confiscate the offenders' passport until the fine is paid. If the fine is not paid within the 3 days a 30-day prison sentence can be imposed. Wheel clamps are in use.

Illegally parked cars causing an obstruction may be towed away and impounded.

Other rules

Recommended to equip vehicle with a first aid kit and a set of replacement bulbs.

Also recommended that vehicles are fitted with M+S (mud and snow) tyres.

Any person who walks on the side of a road outside a built-up area at night or when visibility is reduced, must wear a reflective jacket.

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase Buy European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe.

Compulsory equipment in Poland

Warning triangle – compulsory for all vehicles with more than two wheels.

Electronic toll box – for vehicles or vehicle combinations over 3.5 tonnes (includes cars + caravans). Since July 2013 an electronic toll system has been in force in Poland for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes – this includes cars towing caravans. Vehicles have to be equipped with an electronic device, called a viaBOX, see link http://www.viatoll.pl/en/heavy-vehicles/viatoll-system. Tolls vary according to the type of road, the distance travelled and the emissions category of the vehicle.

Fire extinguisher

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 £0.82
Diesel - March 2015 £0.84

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/poland

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Poland, please call 112. This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe.

Emergency services are free of charge.

Direct Numbers
999 - Ambulance
997 - Police
998 - Fire
601 100 300 - Mountain Rescue
601 100 100 - Water Rescue

Medical costs (with EHIC)

Private Treatment across Poland is not covered by your EHIC. Ensure you are being treated by a healthcare provider that has a contract with the Polish National Health Fund (NFZ).

In the event that you require medical treatment and have contacted your hotel or travel representative, ensure that they are not referring you to a private healthcare organisation as any costs occured are fully chargeable and non-refundable.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you require hospital treatment, you will need to be referred by a doctor. In the event of this happening, make sure you are referred to a public hospital otherwise you will have to pay for treatment. Always ensure you have a valid EHIC and always double check to make sure you are not being treated as a private patient. Operations, diagnostic tests and medicines are all provided free of charge during your stay in hospital.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Prescribed medicine can be obtained from any pharmacy in Poland. The prescription should be issued by by a doctor who practises within the NFZ. You should bring your EHIC to the pharmacy.

The charges for prescriptions are:
A lump sum payment of 3,20 zł for basic medicines 30% or 50% of the price of the medicine for supplementary medicines

Full price in case of medicines which are not included in the reimbursed drugs list

For more information about Medical fees, Hospitals Costs and Prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinPoland.aspx

Things to see

Main Market Square, Krakow
Warsaw Old Market Place
Gdansk Old Town
Bialowieza Forest
Wieliczka Salt Mine

When to go

Krakow has a temperate climate with frequent changes in the weather. Carry an umbrella and something warm. May and June tend to be best—the weather is good and the city buzzes with festivals. Summer is busy; winter days are cold but the Christmas market is in town.

Weather

Spring (Mar–Apr) Very variable, with showers and sunny spells.

Summer (May–August) Hot, but western winds can bring storms and rain.

Autumn (Sep–Oct) Variable but can be dry, sunny and crisp with golden days.

Winter (Nov–Feb) Eastern winds mean less rain, but the cold can be penetrating and it can snow, particularly in January.

Population

5.08 million (2013)

Currency used

Norwegian Krone

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

19hr by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais, and Hirtshals-Larvik ferry). Click here to map out your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Norwegian, Nynorsk, Bokmal

Average tourists per year

4,963,000

Crime

Crime rates: low.
Common crimes: theft, pickpocketing.
Crime hotspots: Oslo, hotel lobbies, train and transit stations.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/norway

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 18, motorcycle up to 11kw – 16, motorcycles 11-25kw – 18, motorcycles over 25kw – 20

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol, "Blyfri" (95 and 98 octane) and diesel available. There is limited LPG availability.

Petrol in a can permitted but it is forbidden aboard ferries. Credit cards are accepted at filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:

In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h)
Outside built-up areas: 49mph (80km/h)
Motorways: 55mph or 62mph (90km/h, 100km/h). On some motorways a speed limit of 68mph (110km/h) applies
The speed limit in residential areas can be lowered to 18mph (30km/h)

Seat belts

Compulsory for front/rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

A child under 135cm must be placed in a child restraint system adapted to their size.

If they are seated in a rear facing seat, the airbag must be deactivated.

A child between 135cm and 150cm should use a booster seat with an adult seatbelt.

Lights

Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights during the day compulsory.
Crash helmets is compulsory for both driver and passenger.

Drinking and driving

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream exceeds 0.02% severe penalties include heavy fines and/or prison and the surrender of the driving licence. Random breath tests are carried out. Police can ask a driver to undergo a blood test to test for drugs

Fines

On-the-spot for infringement of traffic regulations. Vehicles illegally parked may be towed away.

Other rules

Trams always have right of way.

The use of radar detectors is forbidden.

It is recommended that visitors equip their vehicle with a first-aid kit, fire extinguisher and set of replacement bulbs.

In addition to some road, bridge and tunnel tolls, city tolls are payable by motorists entering Bergen, Oslo, Stavanger and Trondheim. The toll charge needs to be paid prior to entering 'the zone'. The tolls can be paid at the nearest Esso station.

Spiked tyres may be used between the 1 November and the first Sunday after Easter. Cars with spiked tyres will be charged a fee by the municipalities of Oslo and Bergen. The stickers are available to purchase daily, monthly or yearly. If these tyres are used they must be fitted to all 4 wheels.

In the three Northern counties Nordland, Troms and Finnmark spiked tyres are permitted from 15 October to 1 May.

A vehicle towing a caravan must be equipped with special rear-view mirrors.

When hiring a car in Norway, it is the hirer's responsibility to ensure that the vehicle comes complete with the compulsory equipment. In Oslo, electric vehicles are allowed to use bus lanes

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe in your vehicle

Compulsory equipment in Norway

Warning triangle – compulsory for all vehicles with more than 2 wheels

Reflective jackets – compulsory for residents, strongly recommended for visitors. It is strongly recommended that a reflective jacket be carried and worn if the driver and/or passenger(s) need to exit a vehicle which is immobilised on the carriageway of all motorways and main or busy roads. We recommend the jacket be carried in the passenger compartment of the vehicle (not the boot). The carriage/use of a reflective jacket is compulsory for vehicles registered in Norway.

Winter equipment – Norwegian law does not stipulate that snow chains are compulsory. However, in the event that there is snow or ice covering the roads, winter tyres or any tyres and snow chains must be used. You can receive a fine if you are travelling on icy/snowy roads using summer tyres. UK registered vehicles are predominantly fitted with summer tyres. Controls are often carried out at the border (or within border areas) to check that snow chains are carried on board. Where chains are missing the driver must purchase a set or return to the border. When used, winter tyres must be fitted on all wheels; the minimum tread depth is 3mm.

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 £1.22
Diesel - March 2015 £1.14

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/norway

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Norway please call 112. This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe.

113 - Ambulance
112 - Police
110 - Fire
120 - Emergency at sea
1412 - Textphone

Medical costs (with EHIC)

In the event that you require medical treatment, ensure you have a valid EHIC and that you are not being treated by a private health care provider as your EHIC does not cover private treatment. Public health care is not free in Norway and patients have to make a contribution, including tourists. Always make sure your EHIC is valid otherwise you will be asked to pay the full cost for your treatment. Other identification such as a passport should be shown alongside your EHIC.

Always be careful if you have contacted your hotel or travel representative for healthcare arrangements, ensuring that they are not referring you to a private health care provider.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you require hospital treatment, you will need to be referred by a doctor. However, in an emergency, you can obtain treatment from a public hospital. Inpatient treatment including medicine is free of charge however, if you are seeing a specialist consultant and are an outpatient, charges are applicable.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Payment is required for most prescribed medicine. If you are prescribed medicine by a doctor on a blue prescription (medication for chronic conditions), you will be charged less.

For more information about medical fees, hospitals costs and prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinNorway.aspx

Things to see

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo
Oslofjord
Akershus Fortress, Oslo
Holmenkollen Ski Museum, Oslo
Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Oslo

When to go

The main tourist time to visit Norway runs from mid-June to mid-August. Good hotel deals may be found during this time. Tourist attractions and offices are open longer and public transport is run more frequently.

However, if you visit Norway during May to September it is at its best and brightest. In late May, the fruit trees are blossoming, the flowers are blooming and daylight hours are becoming longer. The tourists sites, hostels and camp sites are open but less crowded. Please note that if you have come to hike many routes and huts are not open until late June or early July. Some smaller mountain roads are not open until June.

Weather

Norway enjoys a temperate climate even though it covers the same latitude as Alaska. The average temperature for July is around 13°C in the North and around 16°C in the South, however temperatures can double that. In January, the temperature is -3°C and 1°C respectively.

Population

19.96 million (2013)

Currency used

Romanian Leu

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

20hr by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais). Click here to map out your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Romanian

Average tourists per year

7,937,000

Crime

Crime rates: medium
Common crimes: petty theft, pickpocketing, organised attacks by groups, often including children, scams.
Crime hotsposts: Bucharest, large towns, bag snatchers operate in crowded areas, particularly near exchange shops and hotels, on public transport (especially to the airport), in the main railway stations and inside airport terminals.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/romania

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 18, motorcycle – 18, (for up to 90 days).

All valid UK driving licences should be accepted in Romania.

Motor insurance requirement

Third party insurance compulsory. Green card recommended.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 & 98 octane), diesel and LPG available.

Petrol in a can permitted, up to 10 litres (must be empty when leaving Romania). Tax is payable on petrol and diesel in the vehicle tank when leaving Romania. Credit cards are accepted at many filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel. It is recommended that payment is made in local currency.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:

In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 55mph (90km/h).
Dual Carriageways: 62mph (100km/h) .
Motorways: 80mph (130km/h) .
Be vigilant as lower limits apply on some new sections.
No minimum speed on motorways.
A 10km/h reduction of the standard speed limit applies if towing.
The speed limit for mopeds is 45km/h inside and outside built up areas.

A driver who has held a licence for less than a year is restricted to a speed limit of 20km/h below the indicated speed.

Seat belts

Compulsory for front/rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 12 cannot travel as a front seat passenger.

Children up to 3 must use an appropriate restraint for their size.

Children under 12 years and shorter than 150cm, must use either an appropriate restraint or booster seat.

Lights

Forbidden to drive at night if vehicle lighting is faulty.

Additional headlamps prohibited.

Dipped headlights must be used outside built up areas during the day.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights during the day compulsory.
Crash helmets are compulsory for driver and passenger of machines 50cc and over.

Drinking and driving

Strictly forbidden. Nil percentage of alcohol allowed in drivers' blood.

Driving licence can be suspended for a maximum of 90 days or prison sentence for offenders.

The police carry out random tests.

Fines

Police can impose fines on the spot that must be paid at local post offices.

A vehicle which is illegally parked may be clamped and removed.

If a fine is paid within 48 hours, the fine amount is halved.

Other rules

It is against the law to drive a dirty car.

If a temporarily imported vehicle is damaged before arrival in Romania, the importer must ask a Romanian Customs or Police Officer to write a report on the damage so that he can export the vehicle without problems. If any damage occurs inside the country a report must be obtained at the scene of the accident. Damaged vehicles may only be taken out of the country on production of this evidence.

"Claxonarea interzisa" – use of horn prohibited. The use of the horn is prohibited between 10pm and 6am in built-up areas.

Spiked tyres are prohibited.

The use of snow chains is recommended for winter journeys to the mountains and may be compulsory in case of heavy snow.

Electronic tax (formerly 'Rovinieta') is payable at border crossing points, post office branches in Romania, some petrol stations and ACR (automobile club) offices. The driver must give details of the vehicle, his identity and place of residence. Proof of vehicle insurance and the vehicles registration certificate must also be provided. You must advise of the number of days in Romania and pay the tax accordingly. The tax is available to pay in durations of 1, 7, 30, 90 days and 1 year. This information is then entered into a database of the Road Information Centre. Cameras are situated along roads. This enables the traffic police to check your vehicle number plate against the database. The cost depends on the weight of the vehicle and period of use in Romania.

Fine for non-compliance or expired road tax is approximately €60 and €1,025.

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe in your vehicle.

Compulsory equipment in Romania

First aid kit

Fire extinguisher

Red warning triangle – not required for 2-wheeled vehicles

Reflective jacket – all persons exiting a vehicle to walk on the road when in a breakdown or emergency situation must wear a reflective jacket.

Winter tyres from the 1 November to 31 March if there is snow or ice covering. Alternatively tyres marked M+S (mud and snow) are permitted.

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 £0.91
Diesel - March 2015 £0.92

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/romania/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Poland, please call 112 (or 114 if you are hard of hearing). This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe. This call is free of charge from any landline or mobile phone.

Medical costs (with EHIC)

In the event that you require medical treatment, ensure you have a valid EHIC and that you are not being treated by a private health care provider as your EHIC does not cover private treatment.

Always be careful if you have contacted your hotel or travel representative for healthcare arrangements, ensuring that they are not referring you to a private health care provider as any cost incurred are non-refundable. Keep all reciepts and paperwork as they may be needed by your insurance company for any refund or reimbursement.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you require hospital treatment, you will need to be referred by a doctor. Rural areas and smallers towns often have limited or no medical supplies and the quality of service may not be the same level you are used to in the UK. Hospitals in larger cities are equipped with basic medical and emergency necessities.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Charges are applicable for presciptions between the medicine's reference price, which is covered by the public insurance scheme, and its actual sale price. This is a non-refundable cost in Romania.

For more information about Medical fees, Hospitals Costs and Prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinRomania.aspx

Things to see

Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest
Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum, Bucharest
Romanian Athenaeum, Bucharest
Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest
National Museum of Art of Romania, Bucharest

Population

9.59 million (2013)

Currency used

Swedish krona

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

15hr by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais, and Puttgarden-Rødby ferry). Click here to plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Swedish

Average tourists per year

4,944,000

Crime

Crime rates: low.
Common crimes: muggings, vehicle theft, credit card fraud.
Crime hotsposts: major urban areas.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sweden

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 18. UK driving licences that do not incorporate a photo, will not be recognised unless accompanied by photographic proof of identity e.g. passport.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory

Fuel

Unleaded "Blyfri" petrol (95 & 98 octane), diesel and LPG available. E85 (85% bioethanol + 15% petrol), which can be used by flexi-fuel cars only, is available at most petrol stations. E10 Bioethanol 10% + petrol 90% will soon be available, this fuel is not suitable for all cars and you should check compatibility before using. Credit cards are accepted at larger filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Speed limits are not based on the type of road, but on the quality and safety of the actual road itself. Speed limits may subsequently vary along the same road. It is therefore recommended to pay particular attention to road signs

The lowest speed limits, which may be varied by signs for private vehicles without trailers:
In built-up areas: 18mph (30km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 43mph (70km/h).
Motorways: 55mph (90km/h).
Vehicles with trailers must never exceed 49mph (80km/h).

If in doubt, or if there is no speed limits indicated, drivers are advised to keep to 43mph (70km/h) until you pass a speed limit sign.

Seat belts

Compulsory for front/rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 15 or under 135cm must use an appropriate child restraint. There is only one exception in that they are permitted to travel unrestrained in the rear of a taxi if the right child restraint is not available. A child aged 15 and over, or above 135cm may use an adult seat belt.

A child less than 135cm is permitted to travel in the front seat of any vehicle only if the passenger seat airbag is deactivated.

A rear-facing baby seat may only be used if the air-bag has been deactivated. Children weighing up to 13kg must use a baby restraint facing backwards and can be placed on the front or back seats. It is only permitted to have the child seat forward facing once the child weighs more than 18kg.

Lights

Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory.

Fines will be imposed for inadequate lighting. Four-wheeled vehicles parked or stopped on a poorly lit road during the hours of darkness, including dawn and dusk, and in bad weather, must have their parking lights switched on (front and rear).

However, if the vehicle has stopped in a dangerous position due to an accident or breakdown and there is heavy traffic on the road, hazard lights must be used.

Motorcycles

Dipped headlights during the day compulsory.
Crash helmets is compulsory.

Drinking and driving

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.02% or more severe penalties include fines, withdrawal of licence and/or prison.

Random breath tests are carried out and drivers must always submit to a test if requested by the police.

Fines

Police can impose but not collect fines on the spot for minor traffic offences.

Fines must be paid at a bank within 2-3 weeks. However as a non-resident you may be asked to pay cash on the spot, if so a receipt will be issued.

Illegally parked vehicles may be towed away and the release charge is up to 1,400 SEK.

Other rules

In some towns and suburban areas, parking restrictions are regulated by the date 'Datumparkering'. On odd days parking is not permitted on the side of the road with odd numbers. On even days, parking is not permitted on the side of the road with even numbers.

Warning triangle, first aid kit, tow rope, jump leads, reflective jacket and a fire extinguisher recommended.

Beware game, moose, deer etc. as this constitutes a very real danger on many roads (a yellow warning triangle with a red border depicts the animal most common on a particular stretch of road).

Spiked tyres (which must be fitted on all wheels) may be used 1 October to 15 April, however, local authorities have the power to ban spiked/studded tyres on their roads, particularly in some towns. Snow chains may also be used if the weather or road conditions require.

Congestion charges in Stockholm and Göteborg apply to foreign-registered vehicles from 1 January 2015. The Swedish Transport Agency has procured a third party to administer and send charges to the registered keeper of foreign-registered vehicles.

The use of radar detectors is strictly forbidden.

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase Buy European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe

Compulsory equipment in Sweden

Winter tyres – From 1 December to 31 March, it is compulsory to use winter tyres (marked M+S for mud and snow) with a minimum tread depth of 3mm in winter road conditions. Winter road conditions include snow, ice or a wet road surface combined with temperatures around or below 0 degrees. The police are authorised to make the final decision on whether winter conditions affect a specific road. If there are no winter road conditions, summer tyres are allowed, even between 1 December and 31 March.

Antifreeze – in vehicle windscreen fluid

Shovel – to clear snow

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 £1.07
Diesel - March 2015 £1.05

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sweden/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Sweden, please call 112. This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe.

Please note: It is not free to use the ambulance services or helicopter transporation. You will be charges at the same rate as a Swedish resident which is non-refundable. A visit to the accident & emergency department can cost between SEK 220 – SEK 400.

112 - Ambulance
1177 - Non-emergency healthcare advice

Medical costs (with EHIC)

In the event that you require medical treatment, you will have to pay a patient contribution towards the cost of your care. The fees can vary for the service depending on the country and municipality you are residing in.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you require hospital treatment, you will need to be referred by a doctor. Always make sure you are referred to a public hospital as only these can provide treatment with subsidised costs. However, if you are referred to see a specialist, you will be charged between SEK 150 and SEK 350. Inpatient treatment is generally free but you will be charged a standard daily rate of a maximum of SEK 100. This fee is non-refundable. For outpatient treatment, a fee is charged which is also non-refundable.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Charges are applicable for presciptions and costs may vary. Many prescriptions are available over the counter and can be purchased at authorised chemists (Apoteket). However, if you require medicine such as painkillers and less risky medicine, these can be purchased from local grocery stores.

For more information about medical fees, hospitals costs and prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinSweden.aspx

Things to see

Vasa Museum, Stockholm
Skansen Open-Air Museum, Stockholm
Gamla Stan (Stockholm old town)
Djurgarden, Stockholm
Drottningholm Palace, near Stockholm

When to go

The best time to visit Sweden is May to September. The weather in summer is similar to the weather in the south of England however there is far less rain and more sunshine. Generally, the first snow fall is around September but doesn't set till around November. This should last until the following March or even April.

Weather

Sweden has a mostly cool temperate climate, but the southern quarter of the country is warmer. Norway's mountains act as a rain break, so yearly rainfall is moderate.

Swedish summers are generally fairly sunny with only occasional rainfall, but August can be wet. The average maximum temperature for July is 20°C in the south and around 17°C in the north. Long hot periods in summer aren't unusual, with temperatures soaring to over 30°C.

The harsh Lappland winter starts in October and ends in April, and temperatures can plummet as low as -50°C. Snow can accumulate to depths of several metres in the north, making for superb skiing, but snow depths in the south average only 20cm to 40cm. It usually rains in winter in the far south (Skåne).

The west coast is warmer than the east, thanks to the warming waters of the Gulf Stream.

Population

11.2 million (2013)

Currency used

Euro

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

4hr by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais). Click here to plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Dutch, French, German, Flemish

Average tourists per year

7,591,000

Crime

Crime rate: low.
Common crimes: mugging, purse snatching, and pickpocketing (in major cities).

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/belgium

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: 18

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.
Please note: The police can impound an un-insured vehicle.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane), diesel & LPG. No leaded petrol (anti-wear additive available).

Petrol in a can is permitted, but forbidden aboard ferries.

Credit cards are accepted at larger filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:

Residential areas: 12mph (20km/h).
Built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 55mph (90km/h).
Motorways and dual carriageways (separated by a central reservation): 74mph (120km/h).
Minimum motorway speed: 43mph (70km/h).
A limit of 18mph (30km/h) may be indicated at the entrance to a built-up area and also applies in cycle streets (Fietsstraat).
Vehicles with spiked tyres must not exceed 60km/h on normal roads and 90km/h on motorways/dual carriageways.

Seat belts

Compulsory for front/rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 18 and less than 1.35m must use a suitable child restraint system whether seated in the front or rear seat of a vehicle.

A child under three can not be transported in a vehicle without a child seat/restraint, except in a taxi.

It is prohibited to use a rear facing child seat on a front seat with a front airbag unless it is deactivated.

Lights

Dipped headlights should be used in poor daytime visibility.

Motorcycles

Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory.

The wearing of crash helmets is compulsory for driver and passenger.

Children under 3 are not allowed on motorcycles.

Children between 3 and 8 may be carried as passengers in a special seat, only on motorcycles up to 125cc.

Drinking and driving

Maximum permitted level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.049 per cent. If the level is between 0.05 and 0.08 per cent you will be banned from driving for three hours and issued an on the spot fine of €170; between 0.08 and 0.1% €400; between 0.1 and 0.12 €550; between 0.12 and 0.15 up to €1200. Above 0.15% there will always be prosecution with a fine up to €12,000 and a licence suspension up to 5 years. However, if you have held your licence for less than two years an on the spot fine will not be imposed, you will automatically be prosecuted. Police use saliva tests to test for the presence of drugs.

Fines

On-the-spot. The officer collecting the fine must issue an official receipt showing the amount of the fine. Motorists can refuse to pay an on-the-spot fine. A foreign motorist refusing to do so may be invited to make a consignation (deposit). If he does not pay a deposit his vehicle will be impounded by the police and permanently confiscated if the deposit is not paid within 96 hours. The amount of the deposit is the same as the on the spot fine. Fines can be paid in cash, euros or debit/ credit card.

Other rules

Any stationary vehicle must have its engine switched off, unless absolutely necessary.

First-aid kit and fire extinguisher recommended, as their carriage is compulsory for Belgian-registered vehicles.

In some cities in one way streets, vehicles must park on the carriageway from the 1st to the 15th of the month on the side of the road where buildings have odd numbers, and from the 16th until the end of the month on the side where buildings have even numbers.

The majority of roundabouts have signs showing that traffic on the roundabout has priority. If there is no sign present, (very few roundabouts) traffic joining from the right has priority.

A new road sign has been introduced banning the use of cruise control on congested motorways and can also appear during motorway road works.

A white disc bordered in red, bearing the word 'Peage' in black indicates that drivers must stop. The Dutch word 'Tol' sometimes replaces 'Peage'.

A car navigation system with maps indicating the location of fixed speed cameras is permitted but equipment which actively searches for speed cameras or interferes with police equipment is prohibited.

The police can impound a vehicle with an unsafe load.

Spiked tyres are permitted from 1 November until 31 March on vehicles weighing up to a maximum of 3.5 tonnes. Snow chains are only permitted on snow or ice covered roads. Winter tyres are permitted from 1 October until 30 April, a lower speed limit needs to be adhered to and the maximum design speed for the tyres displayed on a sticker on the dashboard.

Vehicles with spiked tyres must display at the rear a white disc with a red reflectorised border showing the figure '60'. Some level crossings in Belgium are equipped with cameras. Crossing a level crossing when not permitted to do so i.e. when the lights are red, carries a fine of up to €3,000.

When overtaking a cyclist or moped rider, there should be a distance of at least 1m between the vehicle and the cyclist/moped.

'Zip Merging'– on congested roads, drivers driving on a lane that is coming to an end or where traffic is obstructed, must continue until they get to the point where the lane starts to close up and then merge into the adjacent lane. Drivers in the lane that remains open must give way, in turns and allow drivers from the lane that narrows to merge in turn.

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe in your vehicle

Compulsory equipment in Belgium

Reflective jacket – drivers stranded on a road where parking is not allowed must wear a reflective safety jacket as soon as they leave their vehicle. Fine for non-compliance €55-€1500

Warning triangle – compulsory for vehicles with more than 2 wheels

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 £1.09
Diesel - March 2015 £0.92

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/belgium

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Belgium, please call 112. This is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe. Calls from Belguim to this number are free of charge from any fixed line or mobile phone.

Please note: You will need to pay for ambulance services as they are not free.

100 or 112 (or 114 hearing assisted) - Emergency Services

Medical costs (with EHIC)

In the event that you require medical treatment and have contacted your hotel or travel representative, ensure that they are referring you to a state-funded healthcare provider as private healthcare is chargeable, non-refundable and your EHIC will not cover any private healthcare.

The majority of doctors and dentists within Belguim offer private healthcare however there are few that offer both state and private healthcare. Even if you receive state healthcare medical treatment from a doctor or dentist in Belguim, you will have to pay a fee directly to them. It is then possible to claim back up to 75% of the costs whilst you are in Belguim. To enable you to do this, make sure you have the receipt on the official form from your doctor or dentist.

If you show your EHIC, some dentists accept part-payment. However, check before registering with any dentist as treatment charges may differ considerably.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

Hospital care in Belgium is not free and costs around 15 euros on a fixed daily basis. This is in addition to any costs for medicines.

In the unfortunate event of being admitted into hospital, ensure you present your EHIC on admission. Take your passport along sideyour EHIC. This will save you from paying any refundable costs up front and only pay the patient contribution.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Prescriptions are charged at full price however you can claim up to 75% of the cost during your stay in Belguim. To do so, ensure that your prescription is stamped and the pharmacist issues you with a reciept.

Many pharmacies operate on regular working hours however a number also operate 24 hours a day.

For more information about medical fees, hospitals osts and prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinBelgium.aspx

Things to see

Manneken Pis, Brussels
Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, Brussels
Musical Instrument Museum, Brussels
Atomium, Brussels
Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels
City of Bruges

When to go

Belgium has warm summers and mild winters. The country's northern location gives it gloriously long summer nights, perfect for enjoying outdoor cafés. The peak tourist season is July and August, when the crowds add to the buzz in Brussels but can overwhelm Bruges.

Weather

Spring (April to May) may take a while to arrive, but by May the weather is warmer and sunnier.

Summer (June to August) can be glorious – or cloudy and rainy.

Autumn (September to November) sees mild temperatures, and there can be good, clear days, especially in September and October.

Winter (December to March) has little snow and the temperatures rarely get below freezing, but it rains frequently, sometimes accompanied by strong winds and hail.

Population

4.25 million (2013)

Currency used

Croatian Kuna

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

17hr 30min by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais). Click here to plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

Croatian

Average tourists per year

10,369,000

Crime

Crime level: low.
Common crimes: residential and apartment theft.
Crime hotspots: Zagreb metropolitan area.

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/croatia

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 18, motorcycles exceeding 125cc – 18.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory. It is recommended that all visitors obtain a green card prior to travel to facilitate insurance formalities in case of an accident.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 & 98 octane), diesel (Dizel) and LPG available at most filling stations.

It is forbidden to carry petrol in a can. Credit cards are accepted at larger filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage before travel.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:

In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 55mph (90km/h), under 24 years old: 49mph (80km/h).
Expressways: 68mph (110km/h), under 24 years old: 62mph (100km/h).
Motorways: 80mph (130km/h), under 24 years old: 74mph (120km/h).
If towing a trailer/caravan the speed limit is reduced to 55mph (90km/h).
Minimum speed on motorways: 37mph (60km/h).

Seat belts

Compulsory for front/rear-seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

Children under 12 cannot travel as a front seat passenger, with the exception of a child under 2 years seated in a suitable child seat.

The seat must be fitted facing in the opposite direction of travel with the passenger airbags turned off.

Children from 2 to 5 must be seated in a suitable child seat; other children must be seated using a suitable child restraint, using a booster seat where necessary.

Lights

Dipped headlights are compulsory in the daytime from the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March (out of the daylight saving time period), fine for none compliance.

Motorcycles

Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory.
The wearing of crash helmets is compulsory for both the driver and passenger.

Drinking and driving

Strictly forbidden for all drivers less than 24 years of age i.e. nil percentage of alcohol allowed in driver's blood.

Legal limit for drivers 24 years and over; alcohol in drivers blood is 0.05%, exceptions to this rule apply to professional drivers. Tests for narcotics may be performed, if tests prove positive severe consequences include confiscation of vehicle and severe fine.

Fines

The police officer will impose a fine on the spot; the fine must be paid within 8 days at a post office or bank.

The police may hold your passport until evidence of payment is produced.

The driving licence of a foreign motorist can be suspended for up to 8 days for driving with excess alcohol, driving without prescribed medical aids e.g. glasses, driving in a state of exhaustion or whilst ill.

The licence must be collected within 3 days of the end of suspension.

Other rules

The use of spiked tyres is prohibited.

The authorities at the frontier must certify any visible damage to a vehicle entering Croatia and a certificate obtained; this must be produced when leaving the country.

Radar detectors are forbidden.

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase Buy European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe

Compulsory equipment in Croatia

Spare bulbs – this does not apply if the vehicle is fitted with xenon, neon, LED or similar lights.

First-aid kit (excludes motorcycles)

Warning triangle – (excludes motorcycles) two triangles required if towing a trailer

Snow chains – compulsory during winter months, regardless of the type of tyre. It's generally necessary to have winter equipment ready between November and the end of April. This may consist of winter tyres marked M+S (mud and snow) on the side walls or snow chains for the driving wheels. Vehicles not adapted to winter conditions may be prohibited from driving and can also encounter a fine. Snow tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 4 millimeters. At least one set is required for the driving axle.

Shovel – during winter months

Reflective jacket – all drivers of motor vehicles (except motorcycles with sidecars and mopeds under 50cc) must have a reflective safety jacket (EN-471) in the vehicle and wear it whenever they have to get out of the vehicle at the roadside, in an emergency. Be aware however that car hire companies may not supply them to persons hiring vehicles.

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/croatia/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

NHS England

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Croatia, please call 112. This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe.

112 - Ambulance
92 - Police
93 - Fire
9155 - Sea Rescue

Medical costs (with EHIC)

In the event that you require medical treatment, ensure you have a valid EHIC and are treated by a healthcare provider that has a contract with the Croatian health Insurance Fund (CHIF).

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you require hospital treatment, you will need to be referred by a doctor. Always ensure that you are treated by a hospital contracted to the CHIF. When you arrive at the hopsital present either a valid EHIC and your UK passport or prove that you have registered with the CHIF to ensure that you are charged at the same rate as a resident.

The cost to stay in hospital per day is a HRK100 co-payment. You will not need to pay more than HRK2,000 for one course of treatment.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Charges are mandatory for prescriptions in Croatia. With your EHIC, you may be asked to make a co-payment when visiting a doctor, dentist or receiving a prescription. The charges are generally HRK10. Always ensure you have a valid EHIC and passport with you.

For more information about medical fees, hospitals costs and prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcare-in-croatia.aspx

Things to see

Plitvice Lakes National Park
Hvar, (island off Croatia)
Diocletian's Palace, Split
Korcula (island off Croatia)
Lake Jarun

When to go

Croatia's climate follows two patterns: Mediterranean on the coast, with warm summers and mild winters, and continental inland – slightly hotter during the summer, and extremely cold in winter, with average daily temperatures barely scraping freezing from December to February. July and August constitute the peak season on the Adriatic, and this is definitely the time to visit if busy beaches and lively cafe society are what you're looking for.

Weather

Weather in Croatia can be generally divided into two climates. Northern Croatia has a Continental climate, with average temperatures ranging from near freezing in January to about 77°F (25°C) in August. The coastal areas have more of a Mediterranean climate, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-40s Fahrenheit in January to 100°F (38°C) or more in August. Spring and autumn are pleasant and mild along the coast; winter inland can be cold and snowy.

Population

8.08 million (2013)

Currency used

Euro, Swiss Franc

You can also use a Travel Currency Card as an alternative to cash

Duration of travel from London

11hr by car (via Channel tunnel or ferry to Calais). Click here to access Route Planner to plan your journey across Europe.

Languages spoken

French, German, Italian, Romansh

Average tourists per year

8,566,000

Crime

Crime rates: Low rate of serious crime.
Common crimes: pickpockets, confidence tricksters and thieves in city centres, airports and railway stations.
Crime hotspots: Geneva airport and on trains to/from Geneva, city centres, airports, railway stations, on trains and in other public places

Ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/switzerland

Map info last updated on 19 May 2015

Driving licence

Minimum age for UK full driving licence holder: temporarily imported car – 18, motorcycles up to 50cc – 16, motorcycles 50cc or over – 18.

Motor insurance requirement

Third-party compulsory.

Fuel

Unleaded petrol (95 & 98 octane), diesel (Gasoil) & limited LPG available. No leaded petrol (lead substitute additive available). Petrol in a can permitted. Credit cards acceptance variable especially at night as automatic pumps may not recognise UK pin numbers; check with your card issuer for usage before travel. Some automatic pumps accept cash.

Speed limits

Standard speed limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:

In built-up areas: 31mph (50km/h).
Outside built-up areas: 49mph (80km/h).
Semi Motorways: 62mph (100km/h) and motoways: 74mph (120km/h).
Maximum speed with trailer on semi-motorways and motorways: 49mph (80km/h). Minimum speed on motorways: 49mph (80km/h).
Towing of cars on a motorway is only permitted up to the next exit, at a maximum speed of 24mph (40km/h).

Seat belts

Compulsory for front and rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Passengers/children in cars

National requirement: children up to 12 years or up to 150cm (whichever they reach first) must be placed in a child restraint approved to UN ECE regulation 44.03 or 44.04

Lights

Use of dipped headlights or daytime running lights during the day is compulsory for all vehicles at all times, a fine will be imposed for non-compliance.

Motorcycles

Crash helmets are compulsory. Dipped headlights during the day compulsory at all times.

Drinking and driving

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05% or more, severe penalties include fine or prison.

Visiting motorists may be forbidden from driving in Switzerland for a minimum of one month.

Fines

On-the-spot fines imposed in certain cases.

Speeding fines are severe. If you wish to contest the fine you must ask that the fine be recorded as a deposit. If the fine is not paid on the spot or within 30 days, the case is referred to court.

Other rules

Hitchhiking prohibited on motorways and semi-motorways.

The Swiss authorities levy an annual motorway tax on all motorways and semi-motorways. A 'sticker' must be purchased costing CHF40/33 EUR for vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes (maximum total weight).

This is known locally as a 'vignette' and must be displayed in the prescribed manner by each vehicle (including motorcycles, trailers and caravans). The fine for non-display of the vignette is the cost of vignette(s) plus CHF200. Motorists may purchase the stickers in the UK (telephone the Swiss Centre on free-phone 00800 100 20030 for information) or in Switzerland from customs offices at the frontier or service stations and garages throughout the country.

Vehicles over 3.5 tonnes (maximum total weight) are taxed on all roads; i.e. caravans pay a fixed tax for periods of one day, 10 days, one month or one year.

A GPS based navigation system which has maps indicating the location of fixed speed cameras must have the 'fixed speed camera POI (Points of Interest)' function deactivated.

Radar detectors are prohibited even if not switched on.

All vehicles with spiked tyres are prohibited on motorways and semi motorways except for certain parts of the A13 and A2.

Snow tyres are not compulsory, however vehicles which are not equipped to travel through snow and which impede traffic are liable to a fine.

Drivers who are involved in an accident who decide not to call the police must complete a European Accident Statement Form.

During daylight hours, outside built up areas drivers must sound their horns before sharp bends where visibility is limited, after dark this warning must be given by flashing headlights. In Switzerland, pedestrians generally have right of way and expect vehicles to stop. Some pedestrians may just step into the road when on crosswalks and will expect your vehicle to stop. Blue zone parking discs are available from many petrol stations, garages, kiosks, restaurants and police stations.

Although not a rule, it is advised to purchase Buy European Breakdown Cover before travelling across Europe

Compulsory equipment in Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Snow chains – compulsory in areas indicated by the appropriate sign and must be fitted on at least two drive wheels

Warning triangle – each motor vehicle must be equipped with a warning triangle which must be kept within easy reach (not in the boot). This must be used in any breakdown/emergency situation. Excludes motorcycles.

Buy your compulsory equipment for Europe

Average petrol prices

Unleaded - March 2015 £1.05
Diesel - March 2015 £1.10

More information on driving abroad

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

You can avoid huge medical bills by getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and by taking out travel insurance. The travel insurance policy will cover many medical costs that the EHIC will not. This includes paying for your journey home if you are too ill to travel and your return is delayed, or it may pay towards additional personal treatment that you require. Many insurance policies insist that you have an EHIC and some will waive an excess fee if you have one.

Health concerns

There is an increased risk of tick bites from April to October. The Ministry for Health warns of a significant number of Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) cases annually. There has been an increase in cases of measles in central Switzerland and Ticino.

For information on health concerns, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/switzerland/health

Vaccinations and health care

You should contact your GP at least 8 weeks before your trip to ensure you have the relevant vaccinations and discuss other preventive measures against illness. If you would like more information about the vaccinations that you require before travelling, please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre ( http://www.nathnac.org/travel/) where you will be able to find useful information about health care abroad.

NHS England

Ambulance & emergency services number

If you have an emergency during your stay in Switzerland, please call 112. This number is the emergency service number across the majority of countries in Europe.

144 - Ambulance
117 - Police
118 - Fire
1414 - Swiss rescue
187 - Avalanch report

Medical costs (with EHIC)

In the event that you require medical treatment, ensure you have a valid EHIC and that you are being treated by a state funded health care provider. Some health care providers offer both private and public services so be sure to state the type of health care you require. Private health care costs are not covered by your EHIC.

Always be careful if you have contacted your hotel or travel representative for healthcare arrangements, ensuring that they are referring you to state-funded healthcare provider as private healthcare is chargeable and non-refundable.

Hospital treatment (with EHIC)

If you require hospital treatment in Switzerland, you will need to be referred to by a doctor for non-emergency hospital treatment. Always ensure you have a valid EHIC or proof of Swiss health insurance at admission.

Inpatient treatment within a public hospital is covered according to the current tariffs, but not in a private or semi-private ward or a private hospital.

Prescriptions (with EHIC)

Prescriptions must be obtained from your GP which you can take to any local pharmacy to obtain the medicine and bandages you require. Pharamacies have an out-of-hours service at weekends and at night.

For more information about medical fees, hospitals costs and prescriptions, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/Pages/healthcareinSwitzerland.aspx

Things to see

Lake Geneva
Jungfrau
Swiss Alps
Matterhorn
Chateau de Chillon

When to go

At any time, as you travel around the country you'll hit many different climatic conditions. The continental climate in the Alps tends to show the greatest extremes between summer and winter. Mid-August to late October generally has fairly settled weather, and is a good period for hiking trips.

Weather

You'll need to be prepared for a range of temperatures, as the mountains create a variety of local and regional microclimates. That said, most of the country has a central European climate, with daytime temperatures around 18° to 28°C in summer and -2° to 7°C in winter. The coldest area is the Jura, in particular the Brevine Valley. By contrast, Ticino in the south has a hot Mediterranean climate.

Summer tends to bring a lot of sun, but also the most rain, and there were terrible floods in 1999 and 2005. Look out for the Föhn, a hot, dry wind that sweeps down into the valleys and can be oppressively uncomfortable (though some find its warming effect refreshing). It can strike at any time of the year, but especially in spring and autumn.

You use this content entirely at your own risk. We reserve the right to modify or remove this content at any time, without prior notice. We are not responsible for the content of external websites. We do not produce or maintain these websites, and therefore will accept no responsibility or liability in respect of the material on any such websites. By allowing links with third party websites Automobile Association Developments Limited does not intend to solicit business or offer any security to any person in any country, directly or indirectly.

Travel Currency Card

Travel insurance

European breakdown cover