Monthly Archives: September 2016

Whats place that you choose

This year, there’s more than the aurora borealis to draw you to ethereally beautiful Arctic Norway. On the shores of Lyngenfjord, two hours from the city of Tromsø, a team of plucky entrepreneurs have opened the northernmost distillery in the world. We went to discover why this is a magical escape for whisky lovers and northern lights hunters alike.

It might as well be midnight as we leave Tromsø. Last night’s snow crunching beneath the tyres, only the pinkish glow of street lights illuminates the ink-blue sky. This close to the winter solstice, the days here have a strange beauty. The first light doesn’t appear until just before 11am; it’s dark by 1.30pm.

We may already be 350km north of the Arctic circle, but today our journey is only just getting started. Striking out from the city, we snake along the shores of placid fjords, passing traditional red clapboard houses, candles flickering in the windows. These are the most northerly reaches of Europe – and fairytale Norway at its finest.

Even at Breivikeidet, where an isolated ferry plies passengers across the glassy expanse of Ullsfjord, the local population stands at just fifty souls. It’s certainly a challenging place to live – with temperatures dropping to -17°C (1ºF) in winter and 24-hour daylight summer – yet speak to most locals, and they wouldn’t move anywhere else.

As we begin the crossing to Svensby, the Arctic day finally gets going, a soft blue light illuminating the sheer, snow-covered slopes that plunge into the channel’s icy depths. This landscape, its intricate geography of fjords and archipelagos carved over millennia, is simply astounding.

All need to know about tourism

Tourism is on the increase the world over, with rising visitor numbers having a significant impact on resources, pollution and local communities.

It’s never been more important to think about the way in which we travel. Here, Helen Abramson looks at the principles of sustainable and responsible tourism, and how we can minimise the negative effects on places we visit.


Why should I think about responsible tourism?

Around 1.2 billion tourists travelled to foreign destinations in the last year. That number is growing by around 4% every year, meaning 50 million extra travellers in the next twelve months. On top of that, somewhere in the region of 4 billion domestic tourists pack their bags each year.

The planet is straining under the weight of these figures. We need to think about how to ensure the mark we leave is a positive one.


Responsible tourism and sustainable tourism – what’s the difference?

The UN has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, marking a collective commitment to changing policies, business practices and consumer behaviour.

It’s a landmark achievement which celebrates the principles of sustainable tourism: causing as little impact as possible on a destination’s social and natural environment, and fulfilling local economic needs while maintaining cultural integrity.

“Economic prosperity, social inclusion, peace and understanding, cultural and environmental preservation” should shape the future of the industry, according to UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

Romantic place for trip guide

Not feeling the love for Valentine’s day this year? Looking for an alternative to soppy mini-break destinations? We’ve picked the least romantic experiences around the world.


1. Exploring the Museum of Broken Relationships, Croatia

There’s plenty to ogle at this unique museum in Zagreb, where any amorous feeling will be shattered by illuminating stories of relationship failures and disasters. The trauma is further embellished by the display of associated artefacts. Once-treasured mementoes are now just creepy relics of pain and broken promises – a gross spectacle to be sure, but perhaps you’ll leave feeling mutually confident that yours is a love which will endure?


2. Getting serious sunburn, Australia

If there’s one way to set you apart from the locals, it’s getting sunburnt. As a nation of surfers and sun worshipers, beach life in Australia is par for the course. But be warned, twenty minutes in the powerful Oz sun is enough to scorch you senseless. Once burnt, you can wave goodbye to most activities, so spare your partner the task of gingerly applying aloe lotion to rupturing blisters before bedtime. It’s a total mood killer.


3. Celebrating Holi Festival, India

This colourful Hindu festival is celebrated every year in March to commemorate the victory of good over evil. You can expect high spirits and vibrant revelry as multi-coloured powdered paint is thrown about in joyful abandon. The sight is thrilling, but handfuls of paint smacked vigorously into the face will work its way into every orifice. Be on your guard as crowds enjoying the festivities might become overzealous, and losing your partner in the rabble is a real possibility.