A hiker in Finland – the world's happiest country

Ranked: happiest countries in the world 2023

For the sixth consecutive year, Finland has been named the happiest country in the world. We take a look at the latest 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.

japan has the most powerful passport

Ranked: world’s most powerful passports 2023

In 2023, Japan has the world’s most powerful passport. Holders are able to visit 193 destinations without a prior visa

It’s official. Globally, we are on the move again. In 2022, international travel showed significant signs of recovery, with arrivals reaching 57% of pre-pandemic levels. An estimated 474 million tourists travelled internationally during the first seven months of 2022, compared to 175 million in the same period of 2021.

Sydney Bridge Climb: is it worth it?

The Sydney Bridge Climb is one of Australia’s most iconic activities – but is it worth the cost and effort? We braved some boiler suits to go and find out

The Sydney Bridge Climb, if nothing else, is a lesson in sheer forcefulness. When its creator, Paul Cave, first put forward proposals for the climb, regulators replied with a list of 60-something reasons why it simply wasn’t possible.

Three Sisters rock formation in the Blue Mountains – one of the best day hikes

7 best day hikes in the Blue Mountains, Sydney

We explore seven of the best day hikes in the Blue Mountains, or the “Blueys” as they’re affectionately known to “Sydneysiders”

We were ready to head to the hills. We’d had a great time exploring Sydney and climbing the Harbour Bridge, but were keen to get back into the outdoors. And so we ventured from our comfy dwellings in Sydney for a day trip to the Blue Mountains.

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.

map of the poorest countries in the world

Poorest countries in the world 2023 – ranked

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. 

Icebergs in Antarctica

Arctic or Antarctic: how to pick your polar adventure

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.

The museo subacuático de arte is one of our surreal man made dive sites

In videos: 12 surreal man-made dive sites

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).

map of the most peaceful countries in the world 2021

Ranked: most peaceful countries in the world 2022

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.

mountaineering calendar whitney usa

Non-technical mountain climbs: 13 trekking peaks

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.

An abandoned whaling boat in Barrow

12 of Earth’s most remote places and communities

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.

seven second summits k2 - 1

The seven second summits: a tougher challenge

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!

Danakil Depression tours military escort

10 most (seemingly) dangerous things we’ve done

Seven years after we quit our jobs to travel the world, we revisit some of the riskiest things we’ve done on the road

Peter and I have a long-running joke that I have fallen off my bike in the most beautiful places in the world – among them Bora Bora in French Polynesia and Isabela in the Galápagos. I only learnt to ride at the age of 28 and my lack of experience has led to numerous falls. 

Uluru in the red centre of Australia is worth the trip

Uluru Rock Tour: that time we camped in the outback

A 1,500km detour and two nights’ camping with spiders, snakes and dingoes – would the Uluru Rock Tour prove worth the pain?

Uluru, that iconic behemoth, that clay-red monolith, that sun-scorched sentry… that epic pain in the backside.

Yes, it’s big and, yes, it’s special, but bloody hell it’s far away. Almost right in the middle of Australia, Uluru is a major endeavour. Nearly every other sight in the country is scattered along the coast, which means planning a trip to Uluru involves a hefty detour from the rest of your route.

world's most urban countries lead

Concrete jungles: the world’s most urban countries

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.

A tiger lazes in Ranthambore in India

17 megadiverse countries of the world

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. 

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

10 hikes through the cleanest air in the world

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.’

International borders Mexico-USA on Pacific Coast

International borders: 10 remarkable frontiers

From mountains to libraries, we take a look at some of the most extraordinary international borders to be found across the globe

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an impressive collection of new websites, blogs and social media accounts dedicated to ‘travel porn’. They’re filled with big, sweeping images of fairytale lands and precarious precipices.

Stars shine over the South Downs

Star struck: exploring the world’s Dark Sky Reserves

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.