Download this cracking free ebook on luxury hostels

Luxury hostel guide

There have been enough trend pieces on high-end hostels that go beyond the itchy sheets and mouldy bathrooms of yore - but where exactly are they? That's the question asked by Kash Bhattacharya, who decided to answer it with a 186-page ebook - that you can download for free. He's documented dozens of hostels around Europe with strong design principles, services like … [Read more...]

The 2014 hot list: which destination has the most buzz?

Persepolis, Iran

Need a little holiday inspiration for the new year? We’ve scoured the weekend supplements to see what the top tips are for 2014. From brave new frontiers to hot beach destinations, there’s a good spread of new horizons to tackle. Not enough recommendations below? Then check out the Manchester Evening News’s list of the best places to take a selfie in 2014, which is either … [Read more...]

Placecrush: Get lost in the Czech Republic’s Bohemian Forest


We’ve had our curiosity piqued about the Czech Republic’s Bohemian Forests - near the German border, and known locally as Šumava - ever since seeing these astounding photos of the mist-covered landscape on Colossal last week. They’re part of the largest wooded area in Europe, with ancient forests and clear lakes as far as they eye can see (head for the hidden Black Lake for … [Read more...]

Placecrush: Get into the orbit of Poland’s Torun, Copernicus’s birthplace


There are vast tracts of central Europe where the only city architecture you see is post-war. Torun is one of the few cities in Poland where you can see medieval architecture so good it is classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Old Town that bears the UNESCO status was a trading town, giving a remarkable town hall to the area. There’s also the ruins of a 13th-century … [Read more...]

Placecrush: Take up residence in a Cornish bolthole

The Tide House

Despite the best efforts of property developers all over the country, weatherboarded New England-style properties just don’t quite look right in the damp old UK. Well, we think we’ve found the exception that proves the rule: The Tide House in St Ives. It was once St Ives’ oldest hotel, dating from 1540, but has now been updated to a cute little romantic getaway spot. We’re … [Read more...]

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: 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...]

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...]