Don’t look down: the world’s most dangerous hikes

A walkway along Mount Hua Shan – one of the world's most dangerous hikesflocu/Shutterstock

With bandits, molten lava and wild animals posing a threat, blisters are the least of your worries on the world’s most dangerous hikes

From trekking across the treacherous windswept mountains of South Georgia to picking your way along the rickety walkways of Mount Hua Shan in China, these hikes are not for the fainthearted.

In videos: 12 surreal man-made dive sites

The museo subacuático de arte is one of our surreal man made dive sitesAndriy Nekrasov/Shutterstock

From lost ancient cities to the world’s largest underwater theme park, these man-made dive sites are sure to intrigue

At Atlas & Boots, we’ve dived some astonishing sites, from Steve’s Bommie in the Great Barrier Reef to the Sonesta plane wrecks in Aruba. We’re pretty hopeless at fish identification, so when it comes to diving, unless it’s a truly amazing reef system, we’re generally more interested in something unusual or unique (like an airplane or enormous bommie).

The travel that changed me: David Sklar

Renowned physician David Sklar tells us about the travel that changed him and why it’s taken him 40 years to write about what happened

David Sklar has faced life-or-death situations hundreds of times in his life and career. As an emergency physician, he has seen humanity at its weakest – and its most triumphant. His experience has led to over 200 published articles, a professorship and an appointment as editor-in-chief of prestigious journal Academic Medicine – a position he held for seven years. 

Gorilla trekking tips: what to know before you go

A silverback gorilla in RwandaOnyx9/Shutterstock

These essential gorilla trekking tips will help you get the most out of this extraordinary wildlife experience

Found nowhere else in the wild on Earth and once on the verge of extinction, the mountain gorilla – a subspecies of the eastern gorilla – has seen a spectacular revival. A series of conservation measures involving local communities has led to one of Africa’s greatest conservation success stories. Though still classified as endangered, today there are more than 1,000 mountain gorillas roaming the jungles of UgandaRwanda and DR Congo, up from around 480 in 2010.

Ranked: most peaceful countries in the world 2022

map of the most peaceful countries in the world 2021GPI

The most peaceful countries in the world have been updated for 2022. Read our insights from the study and browse the rankings below

Iceland is once again the most peaceful country in the world followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark and Austria.

However, the world is a slightly less peaceful place as the number of countries experiencing violent internal conflict rose, the latest Global Peace Index (GPI) suggests.

Non-technical mountain climbs: 13 trekking peaks

mountaineering calendar whitney usaDreamstime

There are no ‘death zones’ on these non-technical mountain climbs but they offer plenty of challenges for mere mortals like me

As a climber, I have completed several indoor climbing and winter mountaineering courses but my technical climbing skills still leave a lot to be desired. I have mastered basic rope, ice axe and crampon skills but don’t practise them as often as I’d like.

Poorest countries in the world – ranked

map of the poorest countries in the world

African nations dominate the ranking of the poorest countries in the world based on the latest data from the World Bank

We all have preconceptions about places. Take Ethiopia for example. As children of the eighties, Kia and I were only too aware of the struggles Ethiopia has faced historically: political unrest, civil war and, of course, famine.

It was easy then to imagine a vast desolate dust bowl ahead of our visit in 2017. 

Training for Kilimanjaro: 7 tips for a successful summit

Kilimanjaro summit signShutterstock

Completing some basic training for Kilimanjaro will make your climb easier, safer and ultimately more enjoyable

I climbed Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, back in 2010. At 5,895m (19,340ft), it was my first high-altitude trek and even though I had some hillwalking behind me, I had no experience of trekking at altitude, wasn’t fit enough and didn’t have the right gear. In hindsight, I was fortunate to make the summit considering I was so underprepared.

Ranked: happiest countries in the world 2022

map of the happiest countries in the world 2022

Finland tops the rankings of the happiest countries in the world for the fifth year running

Happiness is a nebulous thing; hard to grasp and harder to hold onto. Scientists, economists and philosophers have defined it through the ages as a combination of different things, among them health, wealth, companionship and security.

Ranked: world’s most powerful passports 2022

japan has the most powerful passport

Japan and Singapore have the world’s most powerful passports with the UK and US in joint-sixth. We take a look at the rest of the results

It feels a little masochistic to look at the world’s most powerful passports after yet another year of recurring lockdowns. However, as we’ve said before, we remain hopeful about the future of travel. We believe that exploration is a human instinct and that as soon as it is safe, people will return to the road.

Best travel books 2022: our top 10 picks

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From a grumpy hiker’s outing in the mountains to the isolated shores of North Sentinel Island, we list the best travel books 2022

Travel memoirs are tricky beasts. In theory, 400 pages about someone else’s trip isn’t exactly appealing – like a protracted version of Jenny from Accounting’s week-long trip to Tuscany. 

The seven second summits: a tougher challenge

seven second summits k2 - 1

The seven second summits are considered to be a much harder mountaineering challenge than the more popular seven summits

Previously, I’ve written about my dream of climbing the seven summits and laid out a realistic if not deeply challenging and expensive program of how to achieve that goal.

This week I look at the seven second summits; the second-highest mountains on each continent. The highest summits are a dream of mine, but I draw the line at the second-highest – they’re simply too scary for an amateur enthusiast like me!

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 anything to go by, Muir makes a valid point. Those who spend time in the mountains seem to be driven by a deeper force.

Highlander Adventure treks: 15 unique trails to explore

The ring-shaped rock formation of Hajdučka Vrata (Outlaw’s Gate) on ČvrsnicaMirnes Ibrahimagic/Shutterstock

The collection of Highlander Adventure treks has been expanded for 2021. We take a look at the exciting new trails on offer

In 2020, I joined my first Highlander Adventure trek in Croatia and was thoroughly won over by the semi-solo style of trekking. This year, I was pleased to see the collection expand from five treks to 15 and am planning (hoping?) to join two more – in Spain and North Macedonia.

The travel that changed me: Amit Patel

interview with amit patelRiyas.net/Shutterstock

Author Amit Patel tells us about his favourite trip, what remains on his bucket list and how travel changed for him after his sight loss

Amit Patel was born to be a boy racer. In his teens, he nearly rode himself (and two of his friends) into a pond on a clapped-out motorbike. Around the same time, he joined his local squadron of the Air Training Corps and took to the skies every chance he got. When he finished his GCSEs, he celebrated by jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet.

Concrete jungles: the world’s most urban countries

world's most urban countries lead

We take a look at the world’s most urban countries and why they go hand in hand with the most stressed

City life is stressful. It presses on our weary bones, wafts through windows on pungent fumes and boxes up our personal space.

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.