10 best hikes in Dartmoor National Park

The view from the summit of Sheeps Tor best hikes in Dartmoor National Parkmarcin jucha/Shutterstock

The best hikes in Dartmoor National Park showcase the very finest of England’s wildest landscape

I’ve always been fond of Dartmoor. I first visited as a child on a family holiday and I’ve returned regularly ever since to scope out the best Dartmoor hikes. Famous for its wild ponies, open moorland and craggy granite tors (free-standing rocky outcrops that rise abruptly from the surroundings), it is one of the few genuinely wild places left in England.

18 interesting facts about the Faroe Islands

Tinganes is one of the most interesting facts about the Faroe IslandsAtlas & Boots

We share the most interesting facts about the Faroe Islands gleaned from our brief but bracing trip to these wild Atlantic isles

Positioned in the heart of the Gulf Stream, adrift in the North Atlantic at 62° north, the Faroe Islands lie to the northwest of Scotland – about halfway between Norway and Iceland.

The remote archipelago comprises 18 rocky islands connected by a series of tunnels, bridges and ferries. Just a short hop from the UK via Edinburgh, the islands are a paradise for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

17 interesting facts about Bolivia

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A selection of the most interesting facts about Bolivia we picked up during our visit

Before we went to Bolivia, my entire education on the country came from this scene from the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Although our arrival in the country wasn’t quite as displeasing as Robert Redford’s, Bolivia did prove one of the more challenging countries we’ve visited. Cold showers, uninspiring cuisine and high altitude were just some of things we battled.

Cape Point: where two oceans meet?

Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope are iconic geographic features, but are they really where two of the world’s oceans converge?

It makes for a fantastic publicity slogan, doesn’t it? The point at which two great oceans, the Atlantic and Indian, collide in powerful, eye-catching drama. It’s also highly convenient that this colossal spectacle takes place just an hour’s drive from one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Unfortunately, this bold claim made by countless tour operators in South Africa is not quite accurate.

UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites

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From Inuit hunting grounds to sacred mountain monasteries, UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites have been formally recognised for their outstanding value

The aim of UNESCO’s list is to identify, protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage considered to be of exceptional value to humanity. These sites include a range of locations such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, east Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru.

To be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, nominated sites must be of “outstanding universal value” and meet at least one of 10 selection criteria.

In photos: the best views in the Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove is one of best views in the Yorkshire DalesAtlas & Boots

We’ve put together a selection of the best views in Yorkshire Dales National Park, home to some of England’s prettiest landscapes

Having just moved to the area and started our exploration of the Yorkshire Dales in earnest, we thought it appropriate to share some of the wider scenery the Dales have to offer.

Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) was designated in 1954 and extended by 24% in 2016 to cover 2,178 km2 in total. YDNP is famed for having some of the finest limestone landscapes in the UK with crags, pavements and caves set amid an expansive heather moorland of rolling hills and dramatic waterfalls, all criss-crossed with miles of dry stonewalls and picturesque villages.

17 interesting facts about Catalonia

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We share the most interesting facts about Catalonia gathered on our recent trip to the Catalan Pyrenees

Located in Spain’s far northeastern corner, the Pyrenean mountains serve as Catalonia’s border with southern France and Andorra. Catalonia is both an autonomous community within Spain and a historic principality that once extended into France.

20 interesting facts about Ireland

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We share the most interesting facts about Ireland, gathered on a short hop to the country’s Reeks District

My latest trip to Ireland took me to an area of the country I had never visited: the newly renamed Reeks District. I spent my time hiking, kayaking, surfing and learning that there’s much more to Ireland than wild waters and high hills.

Exploring Cooktown, Captain Cook’s historic landing site

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We visit Cooktown in the far north of Queensland where Captain James Cook beached his crippled ship and helped found a giant country

If you’ve seen a map of Australia, you’ve seen the huge, remote Cape York Peninsula, an area bigger than the UK, but with a population of just 18,000. Home to Australia’s northernmost point, Cape York Peninsula points upwards towards the Torres Strait and New Guinea in the northeastern corner of the continent-sized island of Australia.

Flinders Chase National Park: what not to miss

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Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island is one of South Australia’s finest parks. We take a look at seven sights not to be missed

Sprawled across the western end of Kangaroo Island, Flinders Chase National Park is home to wild coastline, diverse wildlife and some truly extraordinary landmarks. The park has steadily recovered from bushfires that destroyed over 400 sq km of land in 2007, and today offers a uniquely Australian landscape of sugar-gum canopies and mallee scrub. 

World firsts: exploring UNESCO’s original World Heritage sites

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At last count, UNESCO’s World Heritage List included 1,073 locations across 167 countries or states. Here, we explore the 12 original World Heritage sites first listed in 1978

The aim of UNESCO’s list is to identify, protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage considered to be of exceptional value to humanity. These sites include a range of locations such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, east Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru.

In search of the source: visiting the Blue Nile Falls

The Blue Nile Falls in Ethiopia may not be a match for its grander neighbours, but following the footsteps of famous explorers still makes for a fine day out

The Blue Nile Falls – or Tis Abay in Amharic, meaning “great smoke” – is a somewhat poor relation to the famous waterfalls found in listicles. It’s no Angel, Iguazu, Victoria or Niagara, but the 42m-high (138ft) Blue Nile Falls still offers a dramatic display.

Exploring the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

rock-hewn churches of Lalibela Ethiopia 12Atlas & Boots

The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia are the most extraordinary man-made sites in sub-Saharan Africa. Here’s what we learnt from our three days there.

The 11 rock-hewn churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia are a focal point and a place of pilgrimage for Ethiopian Christians. In mid-January, during the Timkat (Epiphany) festival, thousands of white-clad worshippers descend on the churches.

Best viewpoints in New Forest National Park

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We reveal the best viewpoints in New Forest National Park in Hampshire, perhaps the UK’s most underrated park

We recently spent a few days exploring the New Forest and unearthing the best New Forest cycling routes in the process. Despite the poor weather during our trip (welcome to England!), we did manage to find some great views en route; views that are no doubt incredible on a summer’s day of blue skies and sunshine.

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

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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 most famous museum in the world. After that we have the Notre Dame and, in any chosen order, the Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, Palace de Versailles and the Pantheon.

Cycling Bagan: highlights and route map

We spent our final day in Myanmar cycling around Bagan, the world’s largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins 

After cycling over 250km (155mi) across Myanmar including a 83km (52mi) slog up to Mount Popa, the final day of our cycling tour of Myanmar – a mere 25km (15mi) around the temples of Bagan – was going to a be cinch.

Despite the short distances, the Burmese sun was shining strongly and with it came the vaporous Burmese heat. Thankfully, with over 2,000 Buddhist structures spread across 104 sq km (40 sq mi) there was regular relief in the cool and airy stone temples.

A break from Buddhism on Inle Lake, Myanmar

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The variety of things to do on Inle Lake provides a different look at life in Myanmar

Burma without Buddhism would be like Rome without religion: a land shorn of identity, bereaved of its most vivid colours. There’s no question that Buddhism with its extraordinary monuments and monasteries makes the country what it is: spiritual, mystical and all those other adjectives western writers apply to eastern exoticism.

Burma, now known as Myanmar, is the East of the brochures: of mists rising on tranquil lakes and berobed monks in echoing chambers. Myanmar does not disappoint. But, much like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, it can wear out all but the most avid temple goers.

With this in mind, I was pleased to have a day on Inle Lake with plenty of variety. There were stupas and monasteries (naturally), but also extraordinary locals that provided a tiny slice of life on the lake.

Pindaya Caves of Myanmar: Shwe U Min

We visited Pindaya Caves – or the Shwe U Min Natural Cave Pagoda of Pindaya – one of the most bizarre experiences of our trip to Myanmar

After a long, hot morning in the saddle in Myanmar, our group of nine cyclists arrived in the town of Pindaya. We’d covered around 40km (25mi) through Myanmar’s Shan State and were looking forward to some respite from the intense sun.

I knew nothing of the Pindaya Caves or the Shwe U Min Natural Cave Pagoda as it’s officially called. But, the idea of descending below ground and escaping the devilish heat sounded very appealing.