Travel to Europe – France and the Benelux

If you are decided to do a trip to Europe, or you are a European inhabitant planning to tour the continent, the first decision you should take is to know exactly which part of it do you want to explore, or which cities you are planning to stay in. To give a bit of guidance in your decision, this article looks at one of the popular regions in Europe: France and the Benelux, being this last one the area that includes Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg.

One thing is for sure if you are visiting this zone of Europe. You must be in love with city tourism. If your passion is for the landscape, sightseeing, high mountains, lakes and running crystal water streams, this is probably not your place. Of course France has many interesting natural places to visit, but what I really mean is that you have better places to do this kind of tourism, such as Austria or Switzerland, which are discussed in another of my articles.

Again, the main attractive you will find in this region is the cities themselves. France has by far some of the most beautiful cities you can encounter, many of them with interesting cathedrals, churches and squares. Starting from Paris, next to the worldwide famous Eiffel Tower that so many tourists come to see from everywhere, you can walk up along Champs Elysees, considered one of the most romantic avenues in the world. Visiting the Louvre Museum will give you an insight into the past, as many treasures from the whole world are kept there inside.

Going to Belgium, you will find out that Brussels is such an impressive city too. It is not only about the monuments, but it gives this kind of cozy feeling when walking through its narrow streets. Simply enjoy every corner, and cross your fingers to claim for good weather, as it happens often that you will miss the blue of the sky. Luxembourg is a very small country placed just next to Belgium, but the capital claims for itself to be an independent region. Far from being of the size of Paris or Brussels, it gives many sightseeing opportunities.

One thing to know about this region, even if the train transport can be very good, is that at same time it will be incredibly boring. The landscape is pretty much always the same. Unless you are one of those rail lovers, I highly encourage you to take one of this quick Ryanair flights to cover the big distances. In any case, the train will be useful for the short rides, or in case you have bought one of this rail passes for the whole region.

The similarity that puts together all this people is their language. In any case, we can find very big differences between its habitants. While the French nation has adopted a kind of more luxurious and fashionable life-style, their partners in Belgium are a lot more into the casual way of life. When it comes to characters, you will find the French more arrogant, while the people in Belgium and Luxembourg are from my point of view the most nice guys you can find in the whole Europe.

Whatever you do, in conclusion, take with you the reminder that you go this region to specially admire architecture and beautifully designed cities with a lot of history to tell you. Forget a bit about the natural spots as you can find them in other places in Europe and… Practice your French!

The ETIAS and Who Will Need It When Traveling to Europe?

DEFINITION OF ETIAS

ETIAS is the short form of European Travel Information and Authorization System, which is a full- fledged electronic system that allows and also keeps track of the visitors of other countries who do not require a visa for entering into the Schengen Zone. The legal procedures needed to pass ETIAS started in 2016 and the system will most likely be in place by the year 2021.

ETIAS will undergo a security check for each applicant to determine whether or not they should be allowed to enter any of the Schengen Zone countries. ETIAS helps ensure that the people allowed are not a threat to the security of the country. ETIAS will be primarily used for tourist and business purposes and will also benefit people visiting the Schengen Zone countries for transit or medical reasons.

PURPOSE OF THE ETIAS

ETIAS authorization was done to prioritize security of the EU countries to help ensure safe travel. ETIAS helps decrease concerns over security by its data gathering and information systems which help detect if a specific person is a threat of any type to the security of the Schengen Zone countries.

ETIAS authorization also helps in assisting travelers and EU countries by reducing the procedures needed and the application time, by improving the management of the EU country borders, assisting in the detection and decrease of terrorism and crime, helping in the impeding of irregular migration and also by reinforcing the policy of the EU regarding the liberalization of a visa. Thus, the ETIAS authorization helps in making traveling to the EU countries a safe and hassle-free experience.

WHO WILL REQUIRE ETIAS?

ETIAS is targeted for citizens of the countries who can enter the EU zone without a visa. There are 62 countries on the list who need to get ETIAS authorization, such as Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Vatican City State, Hong Kong, S.A.R and many more. By the time the system launches, which is expected to be in 2021, more countries may be added to this list.

REQUIREMENTS FOR ETIAS

ETIAS applications can be completed online in around 10 minutes. Depending on your citizenship, there are certain fields that are required to be filled out. The main requirements are: biometric information like first name, last name, date of birth and place of birth along with information regarding the individual’s citizenship, address, email, phone number, education and work experience, the first EU country the person intends to visit, background and questions on eligibility along with inquiring over medical conditions, traveling to war countries or places from where the person was rejected or deported and inquiry for information of any criminal record.

In the case of minors, their legal guardian should apply for ETIAS. In case there are family members of any EU citizen in other countries, one needs to submit proof of relationship, card of residence and any other background information if necessary. Always check if the information submitted is correct and also make sure to check your eligibility and risk factors.