A flight destined to be the world’s longest has departed London for Sydney as part of research into how 19 hours in the air affects the human body.
I had a slightly anxious start to a short break in Corfu a few weeks ago. After flying down the coast of Croatia, which glittered under a clear sky, the captain announced that, unfortunately, there was “a bit of weather around”. We would be landing in the rain. Perhaps I was pushing my luck this late in the season?
Venice has been hit by some of the worst flooding for 50 years, inundating the vestibule of St Mark’s basilica for only the fifth time in its 1,200-year history.
Supporters of Bolivian ex-President Evo Morales protest in La Paz on 12 November 2019. Photograph: Ronaldo Schemidt/Getty ImagesThe UK Foreign Office has issued a warning to avoid travel to Bolivia, after weeks of violent protests in the country.The FCO updated its advice on 11 November to warn against all but essential travel to the entire country, saying the “political and security situation is very uncertain across Bolivia following the resignation of the president [Evo Morales] on 10 November … since the disputed elections in October”.The advice to UK citizens who are currently in Bolivia is to contact their airline or travel company before leaving for the airport, to confirm that flights are set to take off, following disruption in recent weeks to both flights and access to airports, including El Alto in La Paz. Travellers are also urged to “avoid large crowds and public demonstrations, don’t attempt to cross blockades, and pay close attention to developments via local media and this travel advice”.Some protests have resulted in violence in La Paz and other major towns, and the FCO warns that “further protests are likely to occur at short notice and may turn violent without warning”.Inter-city buses have been attacked prompting the FCO to suggest travellers avoid inter-city roads where possible. Travellers should also be aware that road journeys and land border crossings are likely to take longer than planned, and land borders are subject to closure at short notice.Travellers who have trips planned, and those already in the country, should check the cancellation cover in their insurance policies.“Any of our customers currently in Bolivia will continue to be covered. However, we strongly recommend that they move away from the area affected immediately,” said Mia Coles, technical underwriter at Alpha Travel Insurance. “Those who have a future booking to Bolivia will be able to claim for cancellation of their trip, as long as all the necessary documents can be provided to support their claim. Most insurance policies will cover this as standard but it’s always worth checking your policy wording.”However, anyone who purchases insurance for a trip to Bolivia after the change in advice will be unlikely to obtain a refund.“Holidaymakers who purchase travel insurance to Bolivia after the new advice was issued, will unfortunately not be covered, as this will now be classed as a known event,” said Coles.Some insurers are asking travellers to contact their tour operator before submitting a claim. A spokesperson from Allianz said that, as the event is “grounds for people not to travel”, travellers may be able to make a claim depending on their cancellation cover and that “if you have any pre-booked travel, accommodation or unused excursions that cannot be refunded by the tour operator” travellers can “fall back on their policy”.Of the 1,134,000 foreign arrivals in Bolivia in 2017, 40,106 were British, according to the FCO. Travel companies operating in the region are advising travellers both in the country and with trips planned to get in touch as soon as possible to discuss alternative options.“Following the protests and demonstrations in Bolivia, G Adventures can confirm that all its travellers are safe and accounted for. While some itineraries have been changed to avoid areas of protests, we are working with travellers and support staff on the ground to arrange alternative services and onward travel as necessary,” said G Adventures communications manager Leah Whitfield.Audley Travel also advises travellers to contact its helpline and that rerouting is likely: “We are now rerouting clients away from Bolivia as a result of the change in FCO advice. The majority of our clients have booked trips that combine time in Bolivia with Chile and/or Peru, so alternative itineraries involve spending more time in these countries,” said Anna Scrivens, product manager for Latin America at Audley Travel.
Few airlines are having a better year than Wizz. It is Europe’s fastest growing major airline in terms of passenger numbers, its profits are soaring, and it recently celebrated its 15th birthday, marking the milestone with a new service from Luton to St Petersburg.
It’s the little things. How to soothe a teething baby in a hostel dormitory, for instance. Or, where to find a clean water supply mid-jungle trek. These are all lessons that Susannah Cery learnt during the seven months she spent backpacking around South-east Asia with her nine-month-old son Alfred slung across her belly.
South Africa has scrapped its stringent rules for foreigners entering the country with children, which long caused confusion and scuppered the holiday plans for some British travellers.
Who looks forward to a coach transfer, the traditional last leg of a journey to the mountains after a plane or train journey? No one. Narrow roads, hairpin bends, endless drop-offs: for most skiers and snowboarders, the transfer is the least enjoyable part of their trip.
For those who dislike flying, there are plenty of British departure ports from which to embark on a Norwegian fjords cruise. Otherwise, you can fly to Copenhagen or Rotterdam and spend a couple of days ashore before your sailing, or head straight to Bergen in Norway to step on board. Here are 10 top ports with suggestions of fjords cruises you could take from them.
David Bennett wins this week’s Just Back travel writing competition and £250 for his account of a traumatic taxi ride through Armenian countryside.
Fears about overtourism have prompted the new holiday rental website to ban properties owned by businesses and donate 50% of commission to community projects. Ethical holiday rental website Fairbnb.coop has launched its reservations system offering travellers a chance to book in at city apartments that support community projects. The site aims to be a marketplace for “authentic, fair and conscious tourism” and promises to donate 50% of its commission to social projects selected by local residents. “In Amsterdam the money will go to a community gardening project in the north and an urban agriculture project for migrant women in the south-east – both poorer parts of the city,” said Fairbnb.coop’s Spanish founder, Sito Veracruz. The site, which is in its beta phase, currently has a small number of properties (rooms and whole apartments) in five pilot cities: Valencia, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Bologna and Venice, though the plan is to add more properties and cities across Europe over the coming months. The Fairbnb.coop idea originated three years ago when Veracruz, who is based in Amsterdam, saw how the rapidly increasing number of holiday rentals negatively affected his neighbourhood. In June this year Amsterdam was one of 10 European cities that wrote to the EU asking for help to counter soaring housing prices and the touristification of areas caused by the boom in short-term holiday lets. He started thinking about setting up an alternative rental service and was soon contacted by residents from Barcelona, Bologna and Venice who were developing similar projects. “We were all from cities that struggle with too much tourism and that was no coincidence,” he said. “We all felt an alternative holiday rental platform was needed.” Unlike Airbnb, where hosts can list multiple properties ( in London a quarter of hosts list more than five properties), Fairbnb.coop has a one-home-per-host rule. It also has a ban on properties owned by businesses. Another accusation levelled at Airbnb is that many properties are managed by agencies with multiple staff, contradicting its friendly, locals-led philosophy. In Amsterdam, 40% of Airbnb listings hosted guests for more than the permitted number of nights. Veracruz added: “We share all our data with local authorities and abide by all their rules. In cities that have no – or few – rules, we will, together with residents, press for regulation.” Owners will also be required to provide documents to show they comply with Fairbnb.coop’s rules, proving, for example, that they have no other rental properties. Last week Airbnb announced stricter checks on properties, promising to verify every home on its platform to avoid scams whereby guests are told the property they booked is no longer available or the property doesn’t match the description on the listing. The checks will be in place by December 2020. Airbnb’s chief executive Brian Chesky also said the company would ban party houses following a mass shooting at one its rental homes in California last month. Veracruz refused to comment on the challenge Fairbnb.coop is facing from Airbnb over its name. “It is being handled by lawyers but we are keen to stress our name is Fairbnb.coop. The name reflects the difference between us and other rental platforms. We are a registered co-operative and are not profit-driven” Looking for a holiday with a difference? Browse Guardian Holidays to see a range of fantastic trips
Greece is bracing itself for a repeat of the migrant crisis that struck the region in 2015, with the United Nations reporting that monthly sea arrivals rose to more than 10,000 in September, the highest figure since 2016.
Know the perfect place for a winter break in Europe or the UK? Send in a tip and you could be heading there again thanks to hotels.com. Cosy bars and cafes, frosty landscapes, festivals of light, food or music … A cold-weather break means different – and often more memorable – pleasures from those enjoyed in kinder temperatures. This week we’d love to hear about where in the UK or Europe you like to head in winter, whether it’s a great hotel, a buzzing town or city, or an activity hub for sportier types. Tell us about where you stayed and what you did, including prices and websites if applicable. We’re not talking skiing trips here – but other winter sports like skating or snowshoeing would be great. Send tips by filling in the form below, with as much detail as you can in around 100 words. We’re sorry, but for legal reasons you must be a UK resident to enter this competition. Photographs are welcome if they are high-quality and you are happy to share but it is the text that our judges will consider. If you do send photographs please ensure you are the copyright holder. The best tips will appear on the Guardian Travel website and may also appear in print in Guardian Travel. The winner, chosen by Tom Hall of Lonely Planet, will receive a £200 hotel voucher from UK.hotels.com. Competition closes Tuesday 19 November 2019, 10am GMT If you’re having trouble using the form, click here. Read terms of service here. Read the terms and conditions
MSC Cruises has announced its commitment to become the first global cruise line to go “carbon neutral”, and will begin offsetting all emissions by January 1 2020.
The Faroe Islands will close to the public for three days next year, in a bid to preserve its fragile ecosystem and protect itself from the effects of overtourism.
Ray of light …Weston-super-Mare pier at sunset. Photograph: Getty ImagesThe train glides west. Uncompromising-looking grey clouds are shedding icy raindrops on to Bath’s spires and crescents and Bristol’s colourful terraces. But I’m hoping at least three things will warm this wintry West Country jaunt: cheese, cider and the scenery of Sanditon. Several scenes in ITV’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished “beaches-and-ballgowns” novel were filmed in Somerset and, arriving on the sandy seafront in Weston-super-Mare, I recognise the green slopes of Brean Down, a regular backdrop.Brean beach, one of Sanditon’s star locations, is a few miles south, and a cycle route from Weston opened in 2017. Given the weather, I opt to hop on the X5 bus (£7 Avonrider ticket), heading north to Clevedon, an elegant coastal town whose sea wall and marine lake also featured in the series. As I stroll by the sea, past the 150-year-old pier, rays of late-afternoon sunlight spill out of a rift in the clouds above Steep Holm, one of the distinctive islands in the Bristol Channel.Steep Holm Island in the Bristol Channel. Photograph: David Porter Fine Images/AlamyOn the way back to Weston, I stop off at Clevedon’s time capsule-like Curzon. Opened in 1912, it is one of the world’s oldest continually running cinemas: its layers of history include a shrapnel-scarred exterior, red and gold in-panelling and a vintage cafe. The early-19th-century Royal Hotel in Weston, where I’m staying, also takes guests back in time, with wrought-iron balustrades, striped wallpaper and sunset-facing lounges. It was the first hotel built by Sanditon-style speculators when the town became a seaside resort. As I walk to the Old Thatched Cottage for supper with a friend who lives locally, the wet beach glows in the setting sun like molten lava.Next morning, I catch the 126 bus from Marine Parade through the misty Mendip hills to Cheddar Gorge (rover ticket £7). The autumnal gorge is quieter than in tourist-choked summer. I walk beside the swollen River Yeo and, alone, through ancient, dripping caves (online adult ticket £16.95, 5-15s £12.70). In one cavern, huge cloth-bound rounds of cheese are maturing. Afterwards, I visit the Cheddar Gorge Cheese company, which made them (admission £2), and watch the afternoon’s whey-draining, curd-chopping and turning – “cheddaring” – before taking some strong cheese straws up the 274 steps of Jacob’s Ladder for a picnic at Pulpit rock.Selection of Cheddar cheeses on sale in a store at Cheddar Gorge. Photograph: Chris Cooper-Smith/AlamyTime for cider. The bus back to Weston stops by the village of Sandford’s gourmet Railway Inn, meeting point for tours of Thatchers (£12pp). Fruit-bowed trees are casting long shadows in the orchard by the time we arrive; there are crisp, bittersweet apples, pungent oak barrels and the rumble of lorries unloading the harvest. The tour ends back in the pub for a tasting that takes us from single-variety ciders through toffee-appley Rascal to the heady flavours of 458, blending numerous varieties. The others all have to drive home; luckily, I only need to stagger over the road to the bus stop.Next day, I catch the train to Taunton, half an hour away. The Museum of Somerset (free) in the town’s castle fuses 12th-century architecture and contemporary design with exceptional results. The museum’s treasures (including fossil plesiosaur, Roman narrative mosaic and intricate bronze shields) are worth a trip and the displays (cooking pots on the ceiling, glass panels in the floor) force visitors to look at them afresh. The latest exhibition is a retrospective of paintings by Tristram Hillier, who lived in Somerset. Great cafe, too, with homemade soup (£4.95) and cakes; I have avocado toast with goats’ cheese (£7.50).Taunton Castle, which houses the Museum of Somerset. Photograph: AlamyFrom the nearby bus station I catch the number 28 bus through the russet-draped Quantocks to medieval Dunster and explore the castle and gardens (adult from £9.50, child from £4.70). Paths wind down through palms and lavender to a riverside jungle of redwoods and tree ferns with a working watermill at one end. In the evening I stroll round Dunster’s evocative sights: the butter cross, dovecot, tithe barn, and Rapunzel-esque fort on wooded Conygar hill. Then, I retire to my antique four-poster in the Luttrell Arms Hotel, overlooking the 17th-century octagonal, timber-farmed Yarn Market, and am serenaded by church bells.Dunster Castle. Photograph: Billy Stock/Getty ImagesWith its log fires and antler-festooned bar, the Luttrell Arms is one of 14 pubs on an ale-and-cider trail recently devised by Buses of Somerset with the local branch of Camra. The inns are reachable by steam train or on the 28 bus (day rover £12). England’s longest heritage railway, the 20-mile West Somerset Railway, seems a suitably old-fashioned way to pub crawl back towards Taunton. So, I follow a riverside path to the station next morning, after an unusually good breakfast, featuring fresh figs, flat mushrooms and Bumblee’s strawberry jam.By the time I have to head home, I’ve checked out five more pubs, including the creeper-covered White Horse near Cleeve Abbey in Washford and the snug, unmissable Pebbles Tavern in Watchet (Camra’s regional cider pub of 2019). In Washford, where blue signs show walkers a safe route to the abbey (avoiding the pavementless road), I also pop into Torre Cider Farm before looping back to the station via two miles of hilly footpaths with views of the coast. Watchet is packed with shops and museums; I stroll out to the lighthouse and, rounding the centuries-old harbour that inspired Coleridge, find a statue of the Ancient Mariner and his albatross. In Pebbles, I sample woody sulphite-free Wild Rabbit from Secret Orchard in nearby Nettlecombe and bring in – as advised – food from the neighbouring chippy or Sam’s deli (my bespoke sarnie, £4, involving ripe Somerset brie, goes well with the cider).White Horse, Washford. Photograph: Phoebe TaplinLast stop on my pub crawl is Quantock Brewery’s capacious taproom at Bishops Lydeard, a short bus ride from Taunton station. Great Western Railway introduces new timetables in December, the biggest network change since the 1970s, with more and faster trains across the south-west. Good news for those of us hoping to make the journey on a regular basis. Sobering up with coffee as the train races Londonwards, I start planning a return trip.• Rail travel was provided by Great Western Railway (London Paddington to Weston-super-Mare from 2¼ hours, from £17 single if booked in advance; Taunton to Paddington from 1¾ hours, from £19) and by West Somerset Railway (£22 for a day rover; £20.25 in advance). Accommodation provided by Royal Hotel (doubles from £100 B&B) and Luttrell Arms Hotel (doubles from £76.50 room-only). More information at Visit Somerset and Visit ExmoorLooking for a holiday with a difference? Browse Guardian Holidays to see a range of fantastic trips
The tweet from a waiting passenger, Juliette Gash, was polite. She was at Clontarf Road, a quiet station on the DART railway that runs around Dublin Bay, and awaiting the 9.20 train to Dun Laoghaire.“No delay reported on app but sign says delayed? Thanks.”
Some cities dye their rivers green (looking at you, Chicago), others light up the sky with emerald fireworks, but across the globe, St Patrick’s Day is universally celebrated with a drink or two.
Jamaica is arguably best known for its white sandy beaches and reggae music, but the island is also deservedly famous for its cuisine. Be sure to try local specialties such as ackee and saltfish, Ital cuisine (a natural diet free from meat, additives and chemicals), curried goat and patties – be it at corner shops, beach shacks or the fine dining restaurants that dot the island. And if, heaven forbid, you don’t develop a taste for spiced Jamaican fare, there’s an array of international dining options in the main tourist towns as well as the all-inclusive resorts.
Snowsport England has teamed up with one of the UK's top wintersports athletes, Dave Ryding, to launch a series of fitness videos to encourage skiers to get fit for the slopes before the snow begins to fall.