Kuwait is an amazing mix of Western liberalism and strict Islam. The capital Kuwait City is a dynamic metropolis with skyscrapers and luxury hotels. But the country also has ornate and magnificent mosques and palaces, and the Islamic religion plays a central role in all aspects of private and public life. Kuwait borders Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. In 1990, Iraq occupied Kuwait over territorial claims. Kuwait was only able to free itself with the help of the US army and the support of the UN. After the initial euphoria after the end of the war, Kuwait had to face a number of problems. The country’s security was eventually ensured by agreements with the US, Great Britain and the allies in the Persian Gulf. Kuwait then became one of the first countries to take part in the US military offensive Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq and has been providing assistance in the reconstruction of Iraq since the end of hostilities.
Arriving by plane
According to top-medical-schools, Kuwait’s national carrier, Kuwait Airways (KU), offers daily non-stop flights to Kuwait City from Frankfurt/M. and twice a week from Geneva and Vienna. Lufthansa (LH) connects Frankfurt/M. daily. non-stop with Kuwait City and Zurich via Frankfurt/M. (Ticket is also offered by Swiss (LX)). Austrian Airlines (OS) flies in cooperation with Royal Jordanian (RJ) from Vienna via Amman to Kuwait City. Turkish Airlines (TK) and Pegasus (PC) fly from Vienna and Zurich via Istanbul and Emirates (EK) via Dubai to Kuwait City.
Frankfurt/M. – Kuwait City: 5 hrs 35 mins (non-stop); Vienna – Kuwait City: 6 hrs 55 mins (with stopover); Zurich – Kuwait City: 7 hrs 40 mins (with stopover); Geneva – Kuwait City: 5 hrs 45 mins (non-stop).
Arrival by car
From Saudi Arabia you can reach Kuwait by land via the border crossings at Salmi and Nuwaiseeb (Saudi Arabia). Entry via the Abdali border crossing from Iraq is only possible with a Kuwaiti special permit; the border area on the Kuwaiti side is a restricted military area. The border crossing can also be closed at any time. Toll: There are currently no toll roads. Documents: In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license is required.
Arrival by ship
The port of Kuwait City is served by ferries and cruise ships.
Phoenix offers cruises from Genoa, Monte Carlo and Dubai with stopovers in Kuwait.
Ferries run twice a week between Khorramshahr (Iran) and Kuwait (journey time: 4-6 hours).
Traveling by plane
There are no domestic flights in Kuwait.
Traveling by car/bus
The Kuwaiti road network has a length of approx. 5,750 km. From Kuwait City, roads lead to the borders with Saudi Arabia to the west of the city and Iraq to the north; the border region with Iraq is a restricted military area and can only be crossed with a special permit. Other roads run along the coast and inland. Street signs are in Arabic and English.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
Kuwait’s roads and highways are in good condition. About 2,000 km of the road network is paved.
Trunk roads are numbered with one and two digits and have no further designation.
Rental cars are available in Kuwait City at the airport and in the city area. Drivers must be at least 18 years old.
Taxis have yellow number plates and are widely available in Kuwait City; they can also be rented for the whole day. Taximeters are available but aren’t always turned on; in this case, the fare should be agreed in advance. It is safer to order taxis over the phone. Tipping is not expected. Cheaper shared taxis are also used in Kuwait.
There are various bike rental companies in Kuwait City.
The Kuwait Public Transport Company (KPTC) operates cheap and reliable bus services across the country.
Traffic regulations: – alcohol limit: 0.0 ‰; even the possession of alcoholic beverages is a punishable offence. Speed limits: – urban: 60 km/h; – on motorways: 120 km/h.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; for vehicle damage: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, for illnesses: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. The ADAC partner club is the Kuwait Automobile & Touring Club (KATC) in Safat, Tel. +965 24 82 75 21. In the event of breakdowns or accidents with the rental car, the car rental company should be contacted first.
In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license is required. Travelers arriving by car need a Carnet de Passage, which can be obtained from the ADAC, among others. Additional liability insurance must be taken out locally in Kuwait, for example with the Kuwait Insurance Company.
Traveling in the city
Kuwait Public Transport Company (KPTC) and CityBus buses travel through Kuwait City on the same scheduled routes. Another way to explore Kuwait City is to take a variety of taxis. The so-called hotel or call taxis are ordered by telephone and are very reliable. When hailing orange taxis around town, with yellow plates and a TAXI sign on the roof, it’s important to agree on the fare in advance.
Locally on the way by train
There is no rail transport in Kuwait.
Traveling by ship
Dhows and small boats can be hired for trips to the offshore islands.