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Europe, History and culture

The institution


The Viennese coffee houses served as home to Austria’s chief literati for decades. Today they are still recognised as one of the country’s finest cultural treasures. 


There is one rule to remember when entering the spacious rooms of a classic Vienna coffee house: never order ‘coffee’. The days when Nobel Prize winners filled the Thonet wooden chairs and debated contemporary issues in smoke-filled chambers may be over, but, casting a look at the bow-tie-and-jacket-wearing waiters, the rich selection of continental newspapers and journals, and the thick menus containing only variations of coffee and cakes, the sense of sophistication is still very much present. Continue Reading…


A place to chill


Since the first ice hotel opened in 1992, Northern Europe’s frostier resorts have increased in popularity. Now, a part of the industry is targeting a ‘carbon-positive’ future.

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Europe, Nature

Swimming with predators


Killer whales have come to Norway’s north-western coast to feed for the last 20 winters. For the brave, it is a chance to watch a natural predator at (very) close range. 


The scenario may make you uneasy. In an ice-cold fjord in northern Norway, surrounded by snow-covered mountains and trees, you float just below the surface, armed only with a wet suit and snorkelling gear. The only escape route is the rubber boat you just jumped off. Below, a six-metre, five-tonne killer whale – known for feasting on seals, sea lions and even whales – glides so closely you can almost touch it. Continue Reading…

Europe, History and culture

Buried in time


On 24 August in 79 A.D. the eruption of Mount Vesuvius condemned the Roman city of Pompeii to 1,700 years under ash and debris. Today it is a unique gateway to life in ancient times.  


Nobody could have predicted what happened. On a summer morning, a pillar of ash rocketed into the sky, branching out over Pompeii, plunging it into darkness. Volcanic rocks soon hit the rooftops like meteors. Houses started to shake. The ground trembled. People ran for their lives. Continue Reading…


Becoming Eco-Gozo


The Maltese island of Gozo has embarked upon an all-encompassing project to become an eco-island by 2020. For conscious travellers, destinations don’t come much better.

It makes an unlikely habitat for new environmental measures. Casting a look at the azure, crystal-clear water, the rugged coastline, the small, secluded beaches and the rustic, wavy countryside of slow-paced, charming towns, the need of a long-term eco-project seems anything but apparent. However, such a scheme is exactly what Gozo, a sunblessed, 30,000-strong, nine-by-five-mile island of the Maltese archipelago, is applying. Continue Reading…