The countries we most want to see

Seven years after their original list, Kia and Peter revisit the countries they most want to see

In 2017, during a long trip through Asia, I asked Peter a question: if you could see only five countries before you die, what would they be?

My rule was that he couldn’t choose countries he had already visited, nor stateless territories (e.g. Antarctica). Fast forward seven years and he has seen four out of five countries on his original list, so I asked him to come up with a new one. Given that he has been to 100 countries and all seven continents, it wasn’t easy – but he managed it.

India couple smiling at the camera – happiest countries in the world 2024

Ranked: happiest countries in the world 2024

Finland is the happiest country in the world for the seventh consecutive year. We take a look at the latest World Happiness Report

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.

Sentinelis lined up on the shore of North Sentinel Island, ready to fight off visitors

North Sentinel Island: a timeline of the world’s most isolated tribe

North Sentinel Island is unlike any other place on Earth. Home to a fiercely independent tribe, it is both ferociously dangerous and worryingly fragile

On a map, North Sentinel Island looks like any other idyllic spot in the Indian Ocean. Fringed with beaches and crystal cobalt waters, it lies in the Andaman archipelago of the Bay of Bengal.

Jaipur Cycle Tour: testing my mettle in the frantic Pink City

The Jaipur Cycle Tour is not for the fainthearted – but is it worth the panic? Kia finds out

The legend of Jaipur is that it’s India’s first planned city. Historians will tell you that its founder – scholarly prince Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II – was passionate about astronomy, mathematics and science, that he studied European cities and collected maps from all over the world.

Horsetail Falls illuminated by the setting sun

The most stunning natural phenomena on Earth

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

It’s firefall time. Every year, beginning around late February, the setting sun hits Yosemite’s Horsetail Fall at just the right angle to light the cascade in blazing orange and red hues, giving the appearance of flowing fire or lava. To celebrate the spectacle, we’re exploring the world’s most stunning natural phenomena.

Ella Rock how to hike it yourself lead image and view from top

Ella Rock: how to hike it yourself unguided (updated for 2024)

A guide to hiking Ella Rock by yourself, including detailed directions, a downloadable route map, a video and the latest essential tips

Ella in Sri Lanka is beautiful, they said. ‘The closest thing to an English country village’ and the perfect place to slow down, we’d read.

The Taj Mahal reflected during our Essential India tour

Essential India: the highs and lows of our two-week tour

From the rush and thrill of New Delhi to the pyres of Varanasi, we share the highs and lows of our Essential India tour

“India is not a holiday; it’s an experience,” says our guide in what sounds like a promise but might also be a warning. India, she’s trying to say, is unpredictable – not easily tamed and packaged for the average tourist. 

The UN world food programme helps the world's poorest countries

Poorest countries in the world 2024 – ranked

African nations continue to 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. 

Siberian tiger in Russia – one of the countries where you can see tigers in the wild

Countries where you can see tigers in the wild

From the Russian taiga to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, we profile the places and countries where you can see tigers in the wild

A century ago, as many as 100,000 wild tigers stalked the planet but by the dawn of the 21st century, that figure had plummeted by around 95% largely due to habitat loss and poaching. Current numbers are hard to confirm – tigers are masters of camouflage after all – but estimates by the Global Tiger Forum put the global population at approximately 5,574 in 2023.

japan has the most powerful passport

Ranked: world’s most powerful passports 2024

In 2024, the world’s most powerful passports are France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore and Spain. Holders can enter 194 nations visa-free

It’s official. Globally, we are on the move again. In 2023, international travel got going again with arrivals reaching 87% of pre-pandemic levels. An estimated 975 million tourists travelled internationally during the first nine months of 2023, an increase of 38% on the same period of 2022.

A tiger crosses a riverbed while visiting Jim corbett

Tips for visiting Jim Corbett National Park: 12 dos and don’ts

Our essential tips for visiting Jim Corbett National Park, India’s legendary tiger reserve in the foothills of the Himalayas

The state of Uttarakhand in India, bordering China and Nepal, takes its name from the Sanskrit words uttara meaning ‘north’ and khaṇḍa meaning ‘land’. To Hindus, it’s known as Devbhoomi – the land of the gods – because of its cluster of high-altitude shrines shrouded in mist.

A bright emerald lake in the Fann Mountains of Tajikistan

Atlas & Boots’ top 10 posts of 2023

After a hiatus from the blog, Kia looks back at our top 10 posts of the year

There’s a slight break from tradition this year here at Atlas & Boots. Our top posts of the year are usually a balanced mix of articles by me (Kia) and Peter. This year, however, all but one are by Peter thanks to my hiatus from the blog. 

Whitehaven Beach is one of the best beaches we've ever seen

The best beaches we’ve ever seen

After visiting 100 countries and seven continents, we share the best beaches we’ve seen on our travels

When I first went on holiday, I was 18 years old and on the lookout for the perfect beach. You know the sort: powdery white sand and clear turquoise water set against a blazing blue sky. In those early years of travel, I saw beautiful beaches in Barbados, Tunisia, Thailand, Mexico and Dubai, but none were quite the same as the brochures and the billboards.

A turtle seen while snorkelling Baros Reef Maldives

Snorkelling Baros Reef in the Maldives

Snorkelling Baros Reef in the Maldives offers encounters with turtles, sharks and octopuses just steps away from powdery white sand

The private island of Baros in the North Male atoll of the Maldives is one of our favourite places on Earth. We first visited in 2012 on a press trip with flights, accommodation and all excursions included.

Masaya is one of the most active volcanoes in the world

Most active volcanoes in the world

From stewing lava lakes to fatal eruptions, we chart the most active volcanoes in the world

Nature has many fearsome wonders – earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis – but none so fearsome as the most active volcanoes in the world. These hellish peaks feature in tales of ardour and heroism, loom over humble settlements and whisper threats of violence and destruction. Though potentially lethal, they hold a magnetic beauty that thrillseekers find irresistible.

Ama Dablam is a thing of beauty

30 most beautiful mountains in the world

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.

The Tsaranoro Massif is known as 'Africa’s Yosemite'

20 most stunning big wall climbs from around the world

From El Capitan in Yosemite to remote challenges in Greenland and Antarctica, we profile the world’s most stunning big wall climbs

It was five years ago that I first came across a big wall climber. A tiny speck on the side of a gigantic granite wall, the climber was bivvying in Yosemite National Park, the Holy Land of big wall climbing.

I couldn’t comprehend how someone could sleep tacked onto the side of a wall, suspended thousands of feet above the ground, sometimes in treacherous weather conditions.

A bright emerald lake in the Fann Mountains of Tajikistan

Trekking the Fann Mountains of Tajikistan: all you need to know

Trekking the Fann Mountains of Tajikistan is an adventure through one of Central Asia’s hidden gems. Here’s how to make it happen

Tajikistan is the smallest of the Central Asian republics. Landlocked, misshapen and squished and squeezed by its neighbours, it has remained largely undiscovered by tourists even though it was at the centre of the Silk Road for much of its past.

most peaceful countries in the world 2020

Ranked: safest countries in the world 2024

The safest countries in the world have been updated for 2024. Read our insights from the study and browse the rankings below

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

However, the world is not as safe as a year ago as the average level of global peacefulness has deteriorated for the ninth year in a row. Eighty-four countries recorded an improvement while 79 registered a decline according to the latest Global Peace Index (GPI).