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.

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. 

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.

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.

beauty tips for travellers lead image

10 beauty tips for travellers

After 70 countries and seven continents, Kia shares her tried-and-tested beauty tips for travellers

When I quit my desk job nearly a decade ago and set off on a trip around the world, I was rightly excited but also naive. I thought that life on the road would free me of the so-called ‘beauty tax’ – the price that women pay merely for being women.

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.

Atlas & Boots’ top 10 posts of 2022

As a watershed year draws to a close, we reflect on the top 10 posts that our readers most enjoyed

Last year, our annual roundup had a certain tone; one of unmistakable melancholy. Peter and I – and the rest of the world – had suffered two years of lockdowns and restrictions and were running out of stamina. In the piece, I talk about ‘trying to focus on the good things’ and ‘doing what we can’. The optimism is feeble, never quite reaching cheer. 

Highlander UAE: hitting rock bottom in the high heat

Kia feels the burn on the Highlander UAE, a 30km two-day trek in the Hajar Mountains

When I agreed to do the Highlander UAE, I didn’t know that the entire universe would conspire against me. I’d planned to be fighting fit because I knew that the trek would be challenging, but due to a healing wound for which I needed stitches I wasn’t able to exercise for the three weeks leading up to the trip. This impacted my fitness and, in turn, my ability to deal with the 30°C heat. On top of this, in what felt like a cosmic cruelty, I found myself battling a cold. 

visiting-easter-island-Ahu-Tongariki

16 interesting facts about Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

We examine the island’s history and explain some of the most interesting facts about Easter Island

This remote Pacific island is not only beautiful but full of mystery. The open-air museum in the middle of the Pacific Island has some of the world’s most recognisable images.

20 interesting facts about Svalbard

We share the most interesting facts about Svalbard, collected on our expedition to ‘the last stop before the North Pole’

Svalbard is said to be Europe’s last great wilderness. This archipelago of ice, rock and permafrost lies midway between Norway and the North Pole and is accordingly untrammelled. Measuring 24,209 sq mi (62,700 sq km), Svalbard comprises nine main islands, chief among them Spitsbergen, home to the de facto capital, Longyearbyen. Very little grows in Svalbard and it’s shrouded in darkness for much of the year, making it one of the most hostile places on earth.

Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy’s abbey on a rock in a bay

Mont Saint-Michel tips: 10 dos and don’ts

Essential Mont Saint-Michel tips for visiting the most fantastical building in France

When it comes to French architecture, there are myriad contenders for the throne. The most notable is the Eiffel Tower, a world-famous symbol of Gallic ingenuity. Then there’s the Louvre, possibly the world’s most famous museum. After that we have the Notre Dame and, in any chosen order, the Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, Palace de Versailles and the Panthéon.

luxury travel suitcases

6 luxury travel gifts we love

From stunning hand-made luggage to the perfect gift for your yacht-owner friends, we look at some lust-worthy luxury travel gifts

Sometimes, my siblings joke that our late father’s most lasting legacy will be our unrelenting concern about the gas bill.

In a household of eight children, there were restrictions on how long we could keep the boiler on to heat water, how long our baths could be, and how long we could drain rice in the sink without turning off the corresponding hob (about five seconds) and so on.

The travel that changed me: Melanie White

In a new memoir, former yacht chef Melanie White examines the dark side of luxury travel. Here, she explains why it was important to tell her story

At age 22, Melanie White is flying high. With good grades at school, a reliable university degree and steady graduate job, her feet are firmly planted on the ground until she finds herself plunged into the superyacht industry – despite having been on a boat only three times in her life.

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. 

Svalbard midnight sun lead image 2022

Under the midnight sun: a surreal trip to Svalbard

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. 

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

20 best natural wonders in the UK

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.