Kayaking in Svalbard: ice and isolation in the high Arctic

A group photo taken while Kayaking in SvalbardWerner Kruse

Kayaking in Svalbard among the icebergs of Hamiltonbukta showed us the true magic and magnitude of nature in the Arctic

Sometimes, I hear myself talking about my job and think, “God, I sound ridiculous.” It’s usually when I’m rattling on about where I’ve been and have to check myself, remembering that most people aren’t fortunate enough to visit places like the Galápagos or Easter Island – let alone both in a single trip.

Polar Plunge Q&A: everything you need to know

The Polar Plunge is a fearsome rite of passage for visitors to Antarctica and the Arctic. Here, we share what you need to know so you can leap with ease

I still remember the moment I learnt about the Polar Plunge. I was at home in London on a typically gloomy day in the mid 2010s. I was wasting time online when I came across an article about Antarctica. Sadly, I can’t remember the writer’s name, but the photo of her was joyous: midway through the Polar Plunge, her body drawn into a starfish shape, a jubilant smile on her face. It was so pure and fun, and completely unselfconscious in a way that women are taught not to be. 

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).

In photos: 20 reasons to visit Svalbard

It's sunny in Svalbard so add sunscreen to your Svalbard packing list

From vast landscapes and giant glaciers to sly foxes and posing seals, we share some of the myriad reasons to visit Svalbard in the Arctic

Known as the last stop before the North Pole, Svalbard proved to be the Arctic we had always imagined: midnight sun, gleaming glaciers and snowcapped peaks, a frigid ocean riddled with ice and extraordinary wildlife including walruses, sea birds and polar bears.

Under the midnight sun: a surreal trip to Svalbard

Ice 'cubes' at Magdalenefjord – one of the reasons to visit SvalbardAtlas & Boots

In the land of the midnight sun, Kia finds a place of raw nature, rare wildlife and one of her most memorable moments of travel

It is said that you can’t die in Svalbard, the remote archipelago that lies midway between Norway and the North Pole. The permafrost here not only preserves corpses, it sometimes pushes them to the surface. The truth is that authorities would prefer you didn’t die on Svalbard. Coffin burials are not allowed due to the permafrost, so critically-ill patients are usually flown to mainland Norway. 

Where to stay in Cornwall – ranked by activity

Kynance Cove on the Lizard PeninsulaIan Woolcock/Shutterstock

An expert guide on where to stay in Cornwall whether you want to surf, sail, hike or cycle, or simply laze on a beach

The novelist and poet D. H. Lawrence once wrote that Cornwall is “like being at a window and looking out of England.” In this westerly point of mainland England, you will find a wild north coast of rugged cliffs and golden beaches, a calm south coast of sheltered waters and fishing villages, and dramatic moors in between. But Cornwall is not just a geographic microcosm; it also speaks to England’s heritage. 

Wild continent: the best national parks in Europe

best national parks in europe: sarekPetr Kahanek/Shutterstock

The best national parks in Europe are home to vast tracts of wilderness, often overlooked by those who flock to its cities

When we think of wild continents, Europe is probably last in line. Asia’s fearsome mountains, South America’s lush rainforest and Africa’s vast savannah are surely more impressive. Europe in comparison is famous for its cities: London, Paris, Rome and their ilk. 

20 best natural wonders in the UK

The Dark Hedges double up as the Kingsroad in Game of ThronesDreamstime

From plunging gorges to fairytale woods, we share a handpicked list of the best natural wonders in the UK

We’d been back in Britain for a mere two weeks when Peter told me he was heading to Dartmoor to walk the Two Moors Way. Our recent trip through Europe had mainly stopped in cities and clearly hadn’t satisfied his need to be outdoors. Peter grew up by the coast, and swimming and hiking were formative parts of his childhood. 

Going coastal: 15 best sea views in England

Durdle Door is one of the most iconic sights of the Jurassic CoastAllouphoto/Shutterstock

From brooding cliffs to storybook villages, we bring you a curated list of the best sea views in England

For a long time, Peter and I were ambivalent about the British staycation. For us, getting on a flight marked the start of a proper getaway. But then, a series of local trips began to change our minds. There was Clovelly, a picturesque fishing village on the north coast of Devon; Langley Castle in Northumberland; walking with my sister in the Chiltern Hills; and, for Peter, hiking the coast to coast and the South West Coast Path. These trips turned out to be some of our most memorable.

Kraków Old Town: a DIY walking tour

Krakow in Poland during sunsetSTEFANO ZACCARIA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Kraków Old Town is best explored on a DIY walking tour. Here we share our tried-and-tested route for exploring Poland’s glorious former capital

Kraków was Poland’s only major city to escape World War II virtually undamaged. Since then, the assembly of monuments and architecture that makes up its Old Town was quite rightly celebrated by UNESCO as one of the 12 original World Heritage sites first listed in 1978.

Visiting Auschwitz from Kraków: a sobering journey

Kia reflects on a visit to Auschwitz from Kraków and defends what some dismiss as problematic tourism

The famous gates of Auschwitz are startling, not because they’re sinister or imposing but the very opposite. Usually depicted in black and white, these gates have featured in myriad Holocaust films and documentaries. Today, however, they’re not in menacing monochrome or veiled in evocative fog. Rather, they’re bathed in sunlight with a blazing blue sky behind.

11 things to do in Gauja National Park, Latvia

Gauja national park lead image

From hiking along precipitous escarpments to exploring ancient caves, we share the best things to do in Gauja National Park, Latvia

Over half of Latvia is covered in forest with northern Latvia and particularly the Gauja Valley home to some of the country’s most stunning arboreal scenes. I spent a few days exploring Gauja National Park, the country’s oldest protected area, and found an adventure playground ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.

Bogshoeing in Latvia: silly but outrageously good fun

Peter bogshoeing in Ķemeri National Park, Latvia

Bogshoeing in Latvia? Nope, we hadn’t heard of it either. But the wetlands of Ķemeri National Park are more than a bog-standard destination

It’s a cliché I know, but travel never ceases to surprise me. I’ve hiked all over the world – from high-altitude treks in Nepal and Pakistan to remote expeditions in Greenland and Norway – so when I was invited to the tiny Baltic nation of Latvia with its highest point just 312m (1,024ft) above sea level, I wasn’t expecting to find much in the way of expansive wilderness. But, despite its size, Latvia devotes a substantial amount of space to nature and outdoor pursuits.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Arctic or Antarctic: how to pick your polar adventure

Icebergs in Antarctica

Can’t decide between the Arctic or Antarctic for your polar adventure? Our guide will help you choose between 66° north or south

The North and South Poles were only “conquered” in relatively recent history. The South Pole was first attained in 1911 by the Norwegian Roald Amundsen after his epic race with the ill-fated Robert Falcon Scott.

12 of Earth’s most remote places and communities

An abandoned whaling boat in BarrowDreamstime

From eastern Greenland to northern Alaska, we explore some of the most remote places on Earth

Whether it’s astronomical distances, inhospitable climates or extreme terrains that define these remote and hostile lands, there’s one thing they all have in common: they are on my bucket list. That and the fact that people live there.

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.