17 megadiverse countries of the world

A tiger lazes in Ranthambore in IndiaOndrej Prosicky/Shutterstock

We profile the world’s megadiverse countries, from obvious contenders like Ecuador and Brazil to one or two surprise entries

It should be comforting to know that a mere 17 countries hold more than 70% of the world’s species. It should be easy to rally this small group of ‘megadiverse countries’ to protect the planet’s extraordinary biodiversity. Alas, some of these countries are also the world’s biggest consumers and polluters. 

10 hikes through the cleanest air in the world

Iceland is one of our Hikes in the cleanest air in the worldDreamstime

From Canada’s wild backcountry to the jungles of Brunei, we share some fantastic hikes through the cleanest air in the world

A few months after we moved to the country, some friends from London came up to visit. Stepping from the car, one commented that ‘it feels like mountain air up here’. I laughed and said, ‘it’s not that cold.’ He shook his head and said, ‘I don’t mean the temperature. I mean the quality.’

13 stunning natural phenomena

Gregory B Cuvelier/Shutterstock

From the famous northern lights to the lesser known sea of stars, we share the world’s most stunning natural phenomena

As Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken made history this week as the first astronauts to launch to orbit on a private spaceship, the world took pause to watch. Given the turmoil of our times, one observer quipped, ‘Congratulations to the Astronauts that left Earth today. Good choice.’

Star struck: exploring the world’s Dark Sky Reserves

Stars shine over the South DownsDreamstime

International Dark Sky Reserves are protected areas that offer exceptionally starry nights. We review the 16 places that hold this hallowed status

They sound like something out of Star Trek, these ‘Dark Sky Reserves’ – like they may have been conjured one evening in a lively LA writers room. Unlike the ‘Delta Quadrant’ or ‘Delphic Expanse’, however, International Dark Sky Reserves actually exist.

5 best day trips from Split, Croatia 

Hvar is known as a celebrity hideoutDreamer4787/Shutterstock

Croatia’s second city is a great base for exploring Dalmatia and beyond. Here’s what not to miss when planning day trips from Split

If Dubrovnik is a picture-perfect slice of old world charm, then Split is its slightly wearier cousin in the north. Built around the ancient Diocletian’s Palace, Split is a bustling maze of houses, churches and chapels but with all the conveniences of a modern tourist town. 

17 interesting facts about The Bahamas 

Interesting facts about the bahamasAtlas & Boots

From record-breaking free diving to mysterious swimming pigs, we share the most interesting facts about The Bahamas gathered on our short but sweet visit

We didn’t spend nearly enough time in The Bahamas, but with 700 islands to explore, it’s probably fair to say that no one does. 

We spent our short time on Eleuthera island swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing – with a Bahama Mama or two thrown in for good measure. 

5 best dive sites in Aruba according to divemasters 

Grunt fish duel for mates at one of the best dive sites in ArubaJames Dvorak/Shutterstock

From a ship scuttled in World War II to a fiercely guarded secret spot, we share the best dive sites in Aruba as chosen by local divemasters

When it comes to choosing dive sites, we are yet to find a perfect solution. Official rating apps are often skewed towards popular spots, meaning that a mediocre dive site with lots of visitors will trump a less-visited but better site based on the weighting system.

Most stressed countries in the world

most stressed countries in the world cracked dry earth

We look at the most stressed countries in the world according to Gallup’s latest survey. The results may well surprise you

How did you feel yesterday? Did you feel physical pain? Experience enjoyment? Worry? Anger? What about stress?

These are the questions put to 151,000 adults in 142 countries across the world as part of the Gallup Global Emotions Report, which measures life’s intangibles – feelings and emotions – that traditional economic indicators such as GDP were never intended to capture.

30 most beautiful mountains in the world

Ama Dablam is a thing of beautyDaniel Prudek/Shutterstock

The most beautiful mountains in the world have captivated climbers for centuries. Here, we examine their lethal appeal

“You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you,” said John Muir, the renowned naturalist, author and environmental philosopher.

If our resident seven-summit hopeful is an apt barometer, Muir makes a valid point. Those who spend time in the mountains seem to be driven by a deeper force. These brave men and women will face vertiginous vertical falls, sub-zero temperatures and 8,000m death zones in pursuit of their summit dreams. It’s in ode to them that we present this list.

National parks in Wales: which one is right for you?

national parks in wales quarryBernd Brueggemann/Shutterstock

When it comes to Britain’s breathing spaces, the national parks in Wales compete with the best of them. Here, we explain why

Surrounded by sea on three sides, Wales is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts. While not as rugged as Scotland or romantically perceived like Ireland, deepest Wales is just as beguiling. 

Lonely corners abound on dramatic mountain passes, deep river valleys and weather-lashed cliffs. Scattered seamlessly across the natural landscape are Iron Age hill forts, Roman ruins and over 600 castles – more per capita, it’s said, than any other country in the world. 

Driving in the Faroe Islands: 10 tips to get you going

Driving in the Faroe Islands is a pleasureYannik Photography/Shutterstock

A one-glance guide to driving in the Faroe Islands, from navigating single-lane tunnels to dodging flocks of sheep

With spectral sub-sea tunnels, dramatic drops and 70,000 sheep to dodge, it’s no wonder that driving in the Faroe Islands puts some people off. 

There are few places, however, more suited to a road trip. These wild, sea-salted isles offer stunning vistas around every bend and driving is a pleasure. 

22 interesting facts about South Africa

We share the most interesting facts about South Africa gathered on our two-week trip to this fascinating country

South Africa, if nothing else, is a land of contradiction. This ‘rainbow nation’ ostensibly celebrates multiculturalism, but has a long and dark history of racial segregation. It forms part of the largest conservation area in the world yet remains a hotbed of poaching. It has a high rate of homicide, but is the only country in the world to voluntarily dismantle its nuclear weapons.

Hiking Table Mountain: 10 tips to get you to the top

Hiking Table Mountain isn’t a walk in the park like one might hope. We share our tips for getting to the top

Hiking Table Mountain is a rite of passage for visitors to Cape Town. The iconic behemoth defines the ‘Mother City’ in the same way Rio has a harbour, New York has a statue and San Francisco has a bridge.

This mountain is said to be one of the oldest in the world. Its formation began circa 280 million years ago and some of its rocks date back 600 million years (long before the Himalayas).

Quiet Cornwall: 10 reasons to visit St Ives in winter

Nearby Bodmin MoorHelen Hotson/Shutterstock

Blissfully quiet beaches, cut-price costs, cosy pubs and hearty grub – a St Ives winter break is the perfect antidote to a busy summer

It’s not hard to see why Cornwall is one of Britain’s most popular holiday destinations. It has 300 miles of jaw-dropping coastline, over 2,400 miles of inland walking paths, 12 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, four Michelin-starred restaurants and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

10 most visited countries in the world

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, TurkeySamet Guler/Shutterstock

We profile some usual suspects plus one or two surprises in the top 10 most visited countries in the world

Have you dreamed of a romantic kiss atop the Eiffel Tower? Perhaps you’ve thrown a wish into the Trevi Fountain or stopped and stared at the Sistine Chapel. If so, you’re certainly not alone.

According to the latest UNWTO Tourism Highlights report, France and Italy are two of the most visited countries in the world.