Adventure travel books 2021: our top 10 picks

We share the best adventure travel books 2021 and explain why each should be on your reading list

From a cross-country road trip in a hostile America to boundless sand dunes in remote China, our crop of adventure travel books 2021 have one thing in common: their journeys are more than just physical. 

Atlas & Boots’ top 10 posts of 2020

Mam Tor in the Peak DistrictDaniel_Kay/Shutterstock

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

Well, what can we say about 2020 that hasn’t been said already? As a writer, I feel that I should be able to say something grand and stirring about the global pandemic, but to be honest, I can’t. I don’t know how to aptly describe the hopelessness and inertia that so many of us have experienced this year.

Unknown treks in Asia: 10 offbeat trails

From remote corners of Bhutan to the lofty heights of Nepal, we profile some of the best unknown treks in Asia

When it comes to exploration, ‘too late for the seas, too soon for the stars’ may best describe our current times. Legendary explorers like Drake and Magellan charted the seas long ago while Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and their like did the same for remote lands. 

17 megadiverse countries of the world

A tiger lazes in Ranthambore in IndiaOndrej Prosicky/Shutterstock

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. 

What is the greenest country in the world?

map of the greenest countries

Denmark is the greenest country in the world according to the 2020 Environmental Performance Index. Below, we take a look at the broader list

The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) evaluates and ranks 180 countries on 32 performance indicators across 11 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

Star struck: exploring the world’s Dark Sky Reserves

Stars shine over the South DownsDreamstime

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.

Ella Rock: how to hike it yourself (unguided)

Ella Rock how to hike it yourself lead image and view from topAtlas & Boots

A guide to hiking Ella Rock by yourself, including detailed directions, a downloadable route map, a video and a list of 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.

I dolefully thought of this when darting across the thundering traffic to dodge yet another taxi driver insisting on taking me somewhere I didn’t want to go. The main street, stacked with milkshake huts and charm-free cafes, is a loud and roiling stretch of conveniences set up for the tourist alone.

Stewards of the wild: 10 famous environmentalists that give us hope 

Jane Goodall is one of the most famous environmentalists of our time.The Nature Conservancy/Fair Use

We profile 10 famous environmentalists, from the girl who lived in a tree for two years to the sea captain faced with Interpol arrest

I recently read a fact that stopped me in my tracks: in optimum conditions, some trees can live forever. They are vulnerable to predators, disease and natural disasters, but unlike humans, these ‘biologically immortal’ trees rarely die simply because they get old.

20 interesting facts about the Arctic

A series of interesting facts about the Arctic, prompted by our recent trip to the Greenland ice sheet

Our first trip to the Arctic Circle delivered more than we had hoped for: stunning Northern Lights, a close encounter with Arctic reindeer and a night-time husky hike replete with husky puppies. Based in the city of Tromso, however, we saw little of the wilderness that defines the polar regions. 

8 best things to do in Ilulissat, Greenland

Atlas & Boots

Our selection of the best things to do in Ilulissat will help you make the most of your time in this breathtaking part of the world

Ilulissat is the Greenland of glossy brochures. Smatterings of multi-coloured houses, iceberg-strewn waters, majestic sled dogs and gigantic glinting glaciers all contribute to the region’s raw photogenic appeal. It is quite simply one of the most spectacular environments on Earth.

Under the midnight sun: iceberg sightseeing in Ilulissat

interesting facts about the arctic: midnight sun

Iceberg sightseeing in Ilulissat is best done at night, not by moonlight but beneath the Arctic’s infamous midnight sun

Ilulissat is the Greenland you’ve always imagined. Positioned at the mouth of the 40km-wide Jakobshavn Glacier (Sermeq Kujalleq) itself buttressed by an immense icefjord, Ilulissat’s sprinkling of multi-coloured houses on the picturesque iceberg-strewn Disko Bay is one of the most wondrous settings on Earth.

National parks in Wales: which one is right for you?

national parks in wales quarryBernd Brueggemann/Shutterstock

When it comes to Britain’s breathing spaces, the national parks in Wales compete with the best of them. Here, we explain why

Surrounded by sea on three sides, Wales is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts. While not as rugged as Scotland or romantically perceived like Ireland, deepest Wales is just as beguiling. 

Lonely corners abound on dramatic mountain passes, deep river valleys and weather-lashed cliffs. Scattered seamlessly across the natural landscape are Iron Age hill forts, Roman ruins and over 600 castles – more per capita, it’s said, than any other country in the world. 

In search of puffins in Mykines, Faroe Islands

puffins arguing on Mykines, Faroe Islands

We journey to Mykines, the westernmost island of the Faroes in pursuit of its famous puffins

“We do not have bad weather,” says the Faroe Islands website.

“Just a lot of weather.”

Adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Iceland and Norway, the 18 islands of the Faroes do indeed have weather. It is palpable here: an ever-looming presence that snatches away your car door, rattles against your window and cries shrilly into quiet lulls.

UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites

Fanjingshan in Chinasanyanwuji/Shutterstock

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.

14 things to do in Eswatini (Swaziland)

We’ve selected our favourite things to do in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), from tracking big game to climbing the world’s second largest monolith

The tiny African nation of Eswatini took us completely by surprise. As Kia said, visiting Eswatini was never high on our bucket list, but it should have been. We spent just three days and two nights in this fascinating destination, which was never going to be enough.

Canyoning in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Canyoning in La Fortuna with its waterfall rappels and cavernous ‘falls’ proved to be Costa Rica’s biggest thrill of all

Beneath the hulking slopes of Arenal Volcano in northwestern Costa Rica is the small town of La Fortuna. With a wealth of natural attractions nearby including lush rainforest, extensive hiking trails, myriad hot springs and two gargantuan volcanoes (Cerro Chato is also within easy reach), it’s not the town itself that draws visitors to this green district of Costa Rica.

12 largest rainforests in the world and where to find them

largest rainforests in the world amazonFilipe Frazao/Shutterstock

The largest rainforests in the world are some of the most vital ecosystems on our planet. We look at where they’re located and why they need protecting

Home to over half the world’s plant and animal species, the largest rainforests in the world absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping maintain the balance of the air we breathe while simultaneously playing a critical role in curbing global warming.