hidden europe

Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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Milan
Letter from Europe

New European rail timetables for 2017

  • 9 Dec 2016
This weekend sees the launch of new railway timetables across Europe. This ritual takes place on the second weekend of December every year, with rail operators revamping service patterns and tweaking their schedules to reflect changing demand. We ...
Longyearbyen Airport
Letter from Europe

Longyearbyen Airport, 40 years on

  • 2 Sep 2015
Today marks the fortieth anniversary of the official opening of the airport at Longyearbyen on 2 September 1975. It was an event which dramatically changed this polar outpost, making it far more accessible to the scientific community and ...
Letter from Europe

A grand tour of Europe

  • 11 Mar 2015
A new issue of hidden europe is published tomorrow. Not just any issue of hidden europe, but one which marks our tenth birthday. Yes, it was way back in March 2005 that we published the first-ever issue of the magazine. For ten years, we have been ...
Widerøe plane at Trondheim Airport
Magazine article

Real flying: Norway by plane
  

The consensus is that flying has become boring. But fly on small planes offering a web of scheduled services up the Norwegian coast to discover a very different take on civil aviation. Travel by plane can still be immensely enjoyable. We review ...
Letter from Europe

From the Barents Sea to Gagauzia

  • 11 Nov 2014
The ebb and flow of life in Brussels, London and Paris is well covered in mainstream media. We have instead opted for the road less travelled. hidden europe 44, which is published today, carries reports from offbeat and unsung communities right ...
Church at Svanvik
Magazine article

Borderlands: the Pasvik Valley
  

Few borders divide societies which are so markedly different as the frontier between Norway's easternmost county of Finnmark and Russia's Murmansk Oblast. We take a look at life on both sides of the border in a region which was once a key part of ...
Witch trials memorial, Barents Sea
Magazine article

The witches of Varanger
  

The 17th-century witchcraft trials in Finnmark are recalled in a striking new memorial on the shores of the Barents Sea. hidden europe visited the memorial which is pictured on the front cover of this issue of hidden ...
Kong Harald
hidden europe note

Hurtigruten: dinner on board

  • 15 Sep 2014
Dinner menus on Hurtigruten boats reflects the local cuisine of the particular region through which you pass on that day of your journey. It’s a great way of exploring both the cultural as well as the culinary accents of the communities along the ...
Vardø
Letter from Europe

The Nansen trail

  • 12 Sep 2014
A recent visit to the Arctic port of Vardø, on an island off the eastern extremity of the Varanger Peninsula, prompts us to reflect on Fridtjof Nansen’s visit to the same place in 1893. Nansen arrived in Vardø on the Fram. It was the ship's last ...
Loading cargo
hidden europe note

Hurtigruten ASA: business and brand

  • 11 Sep 2014
Our focus in the notes on Hurtigruten on the hidden europe website is very much on the Norwegian coastal voyage. But that is just part of a wider portfolio of activities undertaken nowadays by Hurtigruten ASA, the company founded in 1912 ...
The Norwegian coastal voyage: Hurtigruten
hidden europe note

Hurtigruten: frequently asked questions

  • 10 Sep 2014
Readers of hidden europe often ask us about details of the Norwegian coastal voyage. On this page we have gathered together two dozen such questions with our answers. A lot of general information on Hurtigruten is available in brochures. ...
Kong Harald in Kirkenes
hidden europe note

Hurtigruten: the Norwegian coastal voyage

  • 10 Sep 2014
To our mind, the Norwegian coastal voyage is one of Europe’s finest slow travel adventures.The Hurtigruten vessels which ply the Norwegian coast provide essential links to ports along the way. The pure simplicity of the timetable allows travellers ...
Titovka roadside café
Letter from Europe

Tales from Titovka

  • 5 Sep 2014
Everyone stops at Titovka sooner or later. That's the way things are up here in the far north-west corner of Russia. The Titovka roadside café is on the highway that runs west from Murmansk towards the mining towns of Zapolyarny and ...
Port at Murmansk
Magazine article

New ports for the Far North
  

The harbour front at Kirkenes could be transformed if the Norwegian port became a major transit point for freight to and from Russia. The key to this happening is getting Russian-gauge railway tracks to Kirkenes. But other ports in northern Norway ...
Magazine article

Ticket to ride: 40 years of InterRail
  

InterRail is far more than just a train ticket. Cast back to the nineteen seventies, and the rail pass was feted by a generation of young Europeans as the ultimate 'ticket to ride'. InterRail appealed to the wanderlust of travellers who took weeks ...
Weltzeituhr Berlin Alexanderplatz
Magazine article

Timing matters
  

Russia's decision this year to abandon seasonal changes of clocks has prompted much media comment. Belarus has followed Russia's example. Ukraine, after much prevarication, has opted to stick with alternating winter and summer time. In this short ...
Myggbukta
Magazine article

Viking voyages: Eirik Raudes Land
  

For a brief period in the early 1930s, the Norwegian flag fluttered over two remote settlements in eastern Greenland: Myggbukta and Antarctichavn. This is the story of Eirik Raudes Land (Erik the Red Land), an upstart territory named in honour of ...
Letter from Europe

Ramadan in the Far North

  • 1 Aug 2011
Ramadan, the annual month of prayer and fasting for the world's Muslim population, is just starting, so it is worth sparing a thought for Muslims who live in Europe's northern regions. To refrain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset is a ...
Magazine article

An Arctic outpost: Victoria Island
  

The story of Victoria Island, a tiny fleck of land in the European Arctic midway between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land, is a reminder that there are better ways of conducting international diplomacy than leaving a message in a ...
Magazine article

Girls on the bridge
  

A line of red and green Russian border-posts skirt the Norwegian Parliament building in Oslo. Politicians turn and look, as do casual passers-by. It is a quiet reminder that Norway really does share a common land border with ...
Letter from Europe

Polar nights in Spitsbergen

  • 9 Feb 2011
It was unusually warm in Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen this past Sunday. The temperature peaked at minus 7 degrees Celsius. And the jazz helped give Longyearbyen a more temperate ring last weekend as the remote Arctic community, capital of the ...
Letter from Europe

Border markers

  • 11 Nov 2010
We sensed we were crossing into another world as the Moscow-bound train rumbled over the long bridge that spans the River Bug. The reed beds are full of wildfowl which are not troubled by the frequent trains that rattle overhead. This is the border ...
Magazine article

Shipping news
  

Ferries in European waters are usually ultra-reliable, but from time to time there is the odd mishap. Cruise ships and cargo ships are more prone to misadventure than regular ferries but no ship is immune. We take a look at a few journeys by ship ...
hidden europe note

Ryanair's magic kingdom

  • 4 May 2010
Vatry is a nice enough spot, a village with its own aiport in the middle of nowhere. Yet Ryanair obviously judges that Vatry might be just the place where Paris-bound Scandinavians might like to ...
hidden europe note

Polar dawns (Polyarnye Zori)

  • 30 Apr 2010
Polar dawns come in different shades, often with streaks of rare beauty lacing the skies. Not so in Polyarnye Zori, a town in northern Russia whose very name means 'polar dawns'. Most of the time a giant cloud hangs over Polyarnye Zori, while kids ...
hidden europe note

Music for the nation

  • 7 Mar 2010
Quite how we came to spend yesterday afternoon listening to a score or more national anthems from across Europe is a long tale - and one that need not detain us here. But it made us realise just how uninspiring is the music that accompanies many ...
hidden europe note

Lamb soup galore

  • 6 Mar 2010
Lamb soup is a staple in some parts of Europe, but utterly unknown elsewhere. In Iceland, lamb soup has the status of a national dish. That lamb soup was once judged to be the perfect remedy for dysentery was new to ...
hidden europe note

New flights to northern Europe

  • 17 Feb 2010
A look at two carriers and their new routes to northern European destinations: Atlantic Airways and Norwegian Air Shuttle. Atlantic offers links to the Faroe Islands and Norwegian is launching new routes to ...
hidden europe note

Smyril Line evaluates Risavika

  • 8 Feb 2010
Risavika on the coast of Norway has experienced mixed fortunes in recent years. The port serves nearby Stavanger, the city that is the service hub for the Norwegian offshore oil industry. It now looks as if Smyril Line is tempted to add Risavika as ...
hidden europe note

Wayward moose and reindeer

  • 23 Dec 2009
We chanced on a nice yarn from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) this week when they reported on the manners of the moose who roam the Arctic wilderness around the Pasvik valley, where the territories of Norway, Finland and Russia are ...
hidden europe note

Great travel myths

  • 18 Dec 2009
We were intrigued to read a recent account in an English newspaper of a journey along "he most northerly railway in the world". The Ofoten railway from Kiruna in Sweden to Narvik in Norway is without doubt one of the most remarkable train journeys ...
Letter from Europe

Vadsø (northern Norway)

  • 24 Nov 2009
You really know you have travelled a long way east when you get to Vadsø. The local church, which dominates the small town on the Barents Sea, is a late 1950s essay in poured concrete. But take a peek inside for a surprise. This is a Norwegian ...
Magazine article

Arctic concord
  

Cross-border confidence is the Barents Sea region has this year prompted a raft of new initiatives fascillitating contact between Norway and Russia. hidden europe reports from the town of Kirkenes in northeast ...
Magazine article

Norway by plane
  

A small Norwegian airline called Widerøe operates flights into some of Europe's remotest communities. The company's Explore Norway Ticket allows travellers to hop from one small airport to ...
Letter from Europe

Crossing the border at Boris Gleb

  • 10 Jun 2009
Boris and Gleb are as saintly a duo as Peter and Paul or Cyril and Methodius. Travel round Russia and you will come across no end of churches dedicated to Boris and Gleb. The two were in fact brothers and evidently their tender humility marked the ...
Magazine article

Night train to Narvik
  

It is all a matter of watching the birch trees get smaller and the snow get deeper. Twenty hours on the train from Stockholm to northern Norway affords some moments of quiet ...
Magazine article

Svalbard links

For travellers with their ice axes and crampons at the ready, Svalbard (Spitsbergen) is about to come a whole lot closer, with a Norwegian budget airlines offering flights in 2008 to the Arctic ...
Magazine article

Norway transposed
  

There are about two dozen remaining fine examples of Norwegian stave churches. Most are in Norway. But one of the best is, somewhat improbably, in the mountains on the Polish-Czech ...
Magazine article

Cardinal points

One travel guide claims that Finisterre is the most westerly point on the European mainland. This is in fact wrong, just as other points that lay claim to special status as geographical extremities are often spurious. We map Europe's ...
Magazine article

The heart of nations
  

"We may no longer be officially the centre of England" says a lady in Meriden in the English Midlands. "But we are undoubtedly at the heart of the country." Join us as we ponder on the heart of ...
Magazine article

National tipples
  

When did you last see a bottle of Unicum for sale outside Hungary? We try out a few drinks that are inexorably associated with a particular region: from Kvint to kvass, from Irn-Bru to ...
Magazine article

Rotor heaven: Europe's helicopter links
  

We take a look at commercial helicopter routes around Europe, both past and present. There are areas in Europe where helicopter services are still very much a part of the regular transport network. Examples include the Faroe Islands, the Scilly ...
Magazine article

Alpiniøya (Spitsbergen)
  

The name of a tiny island off the coast of Nordaustlandet in Spitzbergen is a tribute to an extraordinary series of expeditions conducted in 1928 by members of the Alpini, the elite mountain brigade of the Italian army. A report from ...
Magazine article

City credentials
  

Is Tromsø really the Paris of the North? Or does the title more properly belong to St Petersburg? And the Rome of the North: Is that Cologne, Prague or the Glasgow suburb of ...
Magazine article

Pomor visa fiasco
  

Way up north near the Barents Sea, Norway borders onto Russia. The Norwegian port of Kirkenes depends heavily on good links with its Russian hinterland. But all is not well in this Arctic ...
Magazine article

Northern palms
  

Scourie Lodge in northwest Scotland may claim to have the most northerly palm trees in the world, but we think they are wrong. We travel north up the Norwegian coast in search of palm trees that seemingly defy ...
Magazine article

Shipping news

There are new shipping routes aplenty for the 2009 summer season. We take a look at what's new in the world of European ferries, with many developments in the North Sea, Baltic and Mediterranean ...
Silja Line ferry
Magazine article

Sea fever
  

When one time English poet laureate John Masefield extolled the lure of the ocean ("I must down to the seas again..."), he clearly didn't have Cunard's luxury Queen Elizabeth II ship or the same company's new super liner Queen Mary in ...
Letter from Europe

Across Iceland's interior

  • 3 Jun 2008
Iceland's central highlands are no cakewalk. At least that's the way Andrew Evans puts it in the Bradt Guide to the country. "Iceland's interior feels more a cross between the Gobi desert and Antarctica," writes Andrew. It is that time of year when ...
Letter from Europe

The wandering Arctic Circle

  • 29 Apr 2007
Capital cities are hardly regular hidden europe territory but Stockholm would surely be a firm contender if ever we were pressed to pinpoint our favourite European capital. Others that would certainly make it onto the shortlist would be Luxembourg ...
Letter from Europe

Remote mosques: Norway and Wales

  • 13 Feb 2007
Tromsø¸ has many charms, though they may not be quite evident at this time of the year when deep winter darkness still shrouds the town in Arctic Norway. The island town can pop a few surprises, however, for it turns out that Tromsø¸ has a small ...
Letter from Europe

Celebrating Christmas

  • 23 Dec 2006
Christmas generates its own extraordinary traditions across Europe - but they differ greatly from country to country. Even the date on which the celebrations reach their apotheosis varies across the continent. In Germany, Belgium and the ...
Letter from Europe

North Cape (Norway)

  • 6 Nov 2006
The experience of driving through the world's longest road tunnel is one to remember. At over 24 km long (more than 15 miles), the Lærdalstunnelen linking Aurland and Lærdal in western Norway is more than twice as long as the Mont Blanc Tunnel that ...
Letter from Europe

Cabris (France) - Shetland links

  • 23 Jun 2006
The small hilltop town of Cabris in Alpes-Maritimes is not, we would concede, normal hidden europe territory. Cabris is the archetypal French holiday town, beautiful in the winter season, but a little too crowded on these summer days. That is not ...
Letter from Europe

Jan Mayen (Norway) - scrimshaw and more in the Azores

  • 4 May 2006
Jan Mayen has no indigenous population, and the twenty or so souls who are on the island at any one time are generally staff of the Norwegian meteorological service or military personnel. This onetime whaling station became a regular stop off point ...
Letter from Europe

The 'other' Channel Islands (France) - the Barents Sea

  • 11 Nov 2005
As always at this time of year, the calm of winter isolation has settled on the Iles Chausey. Most of the population have shuttered up their houses and left Chausey for the mainland. Only the real chausias remain, less than a dozen in number. The ...
Letter from Europe

Ny-Ålesund (Spitsbergen) - Sealand update

  • 27 Apr 2005
Spring may have eclipsed winter here at hidden europes Berlin home, but elsewhere across our continent conditions are very different. Across a large part of inland southern Spain this afternoon, temperatures topped 30ºC, yet this morning at ...