Placecrush: Head underground in Sarajevo

Sarajevo tunnel

To an outsider, the troubles in the Balkans are rapidly approaching that 20-year mark that makes serious historical events feel like they’re vanishing in the rear view window of history. Give yourself a reminder of what happened by visiting the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum, constructed in a house over the top of the tunnel. During the siege of Sarajevo in 1993, Bosnians who held … [Read more...]

Placecrush: Dodge the storms in Catatumbo, Venezuela


Atmospheric phenomenons don’t sound dramatic, so we’re tempted to rename Catatumbo’s lightning as a screensaver phenomenon. They happen over Lake Maracaibo, near Venezuela’s border with Colombia, at alarming regularity: almost 200 days of the year, 10 hours a day, and up to 280 times an hour. The pink, white, blue and purple colours are, incredibly, silent - the lightning is … [Read more...]

Placecrush: Explore the wintry forests of Thuringia

Thuringia Forest

While Britain has spectacularly failed to shift up the season gear from autumn to winter, the massive forests of Thuringia in central eastern Germany provide a beautiful way to get into the wintry spirit (or toilet cleaner label spirit, depending on your disposition). The pine and beech trees are vast and dense, and the 1200-year-old Wartburg castle helps to complete the … [Read more...]

Placecrush: Hike through Japan’s Kiso valley


Walking holidays and Japan aren’t the most obvious of bedfellows, until you consider Kiso Valley. A 70km trade route, the Kisoji, ran the valley on the western side of the Japanese Alps - part of a longer 500km route developed in 1600, if you have particularly itchy feet. You won’t be the first to walk the route: shogun rules mean that there are post towns all along the … [Read more...]

Five amazing European places to stay on Canopy and Stars

Milandes treehouse

We’ve already rounded up five of the best UK places to stay at treehouse/yurt/tent AirBnB-alike Canopy and Stars, but they also have loads of sites across Portugal, Spain and France. We’ve picked out five of the most interesting ones we’ve not been to – but hope to get to soon… Enter a castle treehouse near Bergerac Not one but three different treehouses that look ready … [Read more...]

Comet-chasing and Saturn spotting at the UK’s first dark-sky park

A picture of a lunar eclipse captured by Mike Alexander

Comet Ison may have hit the headlines with its close encounter with the sun but it isn't the only heavenly body you can spot this winter. With auroras, meteor showers, planets and galaxies whirring overhead, Tim Clark headed to the Galloway Astronomy Centre to delve into deep space... The knock on the door is so muted it seems almost embarrassed to break the silence. Being … [Read more...]

Is Iona the most video game-like place in Britain?

Iona cross

Packing lots of different ecosystems and landscapes into one small place has a magical effect of making a visit there feel like you’re getting so much more out of it. We were curious to see Jaunted touting Hawaii as a place to see loads of ecosystems in one day, so here’s an idea for you: is Britain’s answer the windswept island of Iona? The Hebrides island may not have the … [Read more...]

Sark: just what is dark skies status like?

Aerial view of Sark

Northumberland is looking to secure status as a dark skies park, but what is the night sky like when it is really dark? I’ve never been to one of the international dark skies parks, but I have been to Sark, which was named the world’s first dark skies island in 2011. Even by day, the Channel Island is known as a world to itself: the island has no public street lighting, … [Read more...]

The world is starting to notice Glasgow. How is it looking?

Hydro stadium in Glasgow

It’s always odd looking at cities you know well through the eyes of others. But it perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise how the world is choosing to view Glasgow: industrial city rediscovers itself. It’s something we’re going to have to get used to over the next eight months, as Glasgow nears the start of the Commonwealth Games in July. This thought occurred to me when reading … [Read more...]

Give Ryanair its dues: their new website actually works

Ryanair plane

We can’t have been the only people to roll their eyes at Michael O’Leary’s announcement that Ryanair was going to sort out its website and customer service. The airline has a history of publicity-grabbing releases that turn out to mean nothing. Standing flights, anyone? (Hell, that one was so good it was announced at least twice.) Well prepare to be surprised, because the … [Read more...]