Britain is four countries, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and
Wales, governed by one national Parliament, which is based in
It is a country steeped in history stretching back 100’s of years
and many of the castles, palaces and other historic buildings from a
bygone era, have been well preserved and are open to the public.
Some of these have moved on with the times and now play host to
concerts and other cultural activities.
British people are warm and friendly and very welcoming of visitors
and love to engage in conversation. Stopping someone in the street
to ask directions, asking advice of the famous black taxi driver or
a chat over a pint in a pub - nothing is too much trouble. They are
a proud people and want visitors to leave with a warm feeling in
The diversity of things to do and enjoy in Britain is huge and it is
a country which has something for everyone.
In 2012 Britain and London in particular will play host to the
Bulgaria – by constitution a parliament republic with local self
rule and the political life of the country is based on the principal
of state pluralism.
With 35% of its land mass covered in forest, Bulgaria is home to
some of the world’s oldest trees and the brown bear and jackal are
just two of the mammals you may encounter.
Bulgaria is steeped in tradition and ritual and these include
Mummers, Laduvane, as well as other more localised customs and rose
picking has returned as a tourist attraction.
With a temperate climate in the summer the Black Sea areas are very
popular with tourists and in winter there is a growing demand for
ski-ing, and the centres of Malyovitsa, Semkovo and Govedartsi are
growing in popularity.
Bulgarian cuisine is very diverse although in many instances
regionalised. However you will almost always find yoghurt on the
table and of course Bulgarian wine is growing in popularity
Croatia – On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared became a sovereign state
and is now officially the Republic of Croatia. It is recognised as
an emerging and developing economy by The International Monetary
With history in abundance it only takes a short journey to
experience and learn more about this country’s exciting and glorious
if somewhat turbulent past. From the Roman amphitheatre in Pula to
the Diocletian Palace, which is one of a number of UNESCO World
Heritage sites in Croatia one cannot help but be impressed.
For nature lovers Croatia is one of the ecologically best preserved
parts of Europe where the Mediterranean climate brings out the best
in its natural fauna.
Croatia is also home to a growing number of yachts using its marinas
for berthing in summer and winter, and there are a variety of sports
available for all tourists to enjoy, including golf, sport fishing,
diving and moutaineering. Also in winter there are excellent ski
France – a republic with strong democratic traditions, led by the
President who is Head of State and his appointed Prime Minister.
The country has an abundance of cultural and historical places to
visit and see, including the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris and the
Palace of Versailles. You can also visit or even stay in one of the
many chateaux around the country.
Mention France to anyone and food will not be far from their
thoughts, as the French pride themselves and are renowned for their
haute cuisine, along with many choices of fine wines at all price
levels. Not least of which is genuine Champagne.
France also plays host to Disneyland, Paris which attracts a record
numbers of visitors each year and for those looking to see and be
seen why not go to the Cote D’Azur in the summer where it is
reckoned 50% of the world’s super yachts with their owners visit
Ireland – one country with two national governments - Northern
Ireland governed from London (Britain) and The Irish Republic
governed from Dublin in Ireland. But the people from all over this
island are some of the friendliest you will find anywhere.
The country has a strong sense of tradition going back hundreds of
years and has its own folklore, which is reflected in its music,
dancing and traditional Irish food. It is also famed for its
The scenery around Ireland is spectacular and diverse and the
cities, towns and villages around the country all have their own
charm, and quaintness.
Israel – declared a state in 1948 and governed by a parliamentary
republic. It is the only Jewish majority state in the world.
A contrasting country especially in Jerusalem where three of the
great religions of the world have important sites which are pivotal
to their beliefs, i.e. The Western Wall & Temple Mount (Jews),
Al-Aqsa Morsque (Muslim) and Church of the Holy Sepulchre
In the modern cities like Tel Aviv, there are many bars and
restaurants similar to those found in any major international city
and its nearby neighbour Jaffa is home to some very unusual and
There are no shortages of wonders and experiences in Israel,
including floating in the Dead Sea or the underwater coral in the
Red Sea, which also borders Egypt and Jordan.
Visitors to Israel should be aware that the weekend starts on a
Friday and that on Saturday, the Sabbath, many shops and businesses
are closed. Sunday is a normal working day.
Italy – is a republic with a parliamentary government based on a
proportional voting system. The government is led by the Prime
Minister and his Cabinet, and are appointed by the President, but
must also pass a vote of confidence in the parliament before taking
The country is well known for its land shape representing the boot.
Italy is also home to the Vatican which is a state in its own right
based in Rome.
History is in abundance and visitors marvel at the Roman
amphitheatres, and the country has the largest number of UNESCO
World Heritage Sights.
Shopping is the last word in chic and Milan its fashion centre is
where many of the world’s leading fashion designers launch their new
collections to the world.
With a rich tapestry of food, no visit to Italy would be complete
without eating pizza or pasta.
Portugal – the most westerly country in Europe and a Republic since
its monarchy was overthrown in 1910.
Modern Portugal is a place to relax in on the long sandy beaches
alongside the Atlantic Ocean, or enjoy the pleasure of long walks
amongst the beauty of its nature. In the resorts one can find many
of the modern day attractions one associates with a holiday,
including a number of internationally famous golf courses.
Culture and history plays a strong part in its daily life and tiles
and ceramics form an important part of its art.
Portugal is a wine producing country and is famous for its Port &
Madeira Wine. It also supplies half of the world’s cork production.
Spain - a democratic kingdom and a country which was at the
forefront of overseas tourism in the 1960’s, attracting many people
to its Mediterranean coastline for warm summer holidays.
In more recent years parts of the country have developed into a
major playground attracting people from all over the world including
the rich and famous to its resorts, while the older cities and
towns, as well as the Balearic Islands have also retained their
charm. Spain is a diverse country with its various cultures and
although Spanish is the main language, Catalan is widely spoken in
the north west of the country around Barcelona.
Spanish cuisine is highly regarded internationally as is its wine
and beer, and the Spanish way of life, is centred on enjoying long
leisurely dinners especially in the late evening.
Turkey – a republic established in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
founder of modern day Turkey after the demise of the Ottoman Empire.
Situated on the borders of Europe and Asia, it is the country where
‘east meets west’ and the culture of its people reflect this with
their traditional ways living alongside the modernity of a thriving
With history going back to biblical days it has much to offer those
researching the early years, and it is also a rich haven for the eco
tourist, with its birdlife and spectacular scenic walks.
Recent years have seen Turkey’s tourism expand rapidly with many
visitors to its cities and coastal regions as well as experiencing
the thrill of balloon flights over the famous chimneys of
Pace of life can be a little slower than other Western countries but
its people are very hospitable and drinking tea together and talking
is a national past time.