hidden europe

Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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Barra beach
Letter from Europe

Short hops by plane

  • 9 Jan 2017
Short hops by air over water are of course very common, generally relying on non-jet aircraft and providing lifeline air services to island communities around the coasts of Europe. A review of old airline timetables reveals that there used to be ...
Frankfurter Tor Berlin
Magazine article

Understanding the socialist city
  

Progressive socialist designs for homes and cities are no longer in fashion. Yet Europe's streetscapes still attest to the grand schemes of yesteryear, when architects and planners envisaged a society that stood opposed to capitalism. We go in ...
Magazine article

Brand power
  

The number of Russians making cross-border journeys into northern Scandinavia to go shopping leapt by over a third last year. They head for small towns in northern Finland and some even continue into Sweden to visit the world's northernmost branch ...
Letter from Europe

End of the line for the peace train

  • 9 Dec 2012
Europe's railway geography was reshaped last night. New timetables kicked in, bringing a host of novel travel options. Newly-built rail routes opened in Holland and Austria. A new high-speed service now links Amsterdam and Brussels. And northern ...
Elvas (Portugal)
Magazine article

Mining heritage
  

A new crop of European heritage has just been added to UNESCO's celebrated list of notable heritage. The newcomers to the World Heritage List include remarkable industrial villages in Flanders and Wallonie, a German opera house and a clutch of ...
Letter from Europe

The cruellest month (Sweden)

  • 25 Mar 2011
"April is the cruellest month," wrote TS Eliot. Not so in southern Sweden, where March can be much crueller than April. This is the season when winter's icy hold on forests and lakes is challenged by slowly rising temperatures. Thick lake ice turns ...
Magazine article

By ferry to Russia
  

There is one very good reason for travelling by ferry to the Russian city of St Petersburg. For a short stay, ferry travellers are generally exempt from Russia's otherwise strict visa rules. So no surprise perhaps that St Peter Line, which already ...
Magazine article

Cruise ferry update
  

Catamarans compete for space with whales and dolphins in the crowded sea lanes off the south coast of Spain. Space is tight in some European waters as more travellers embrace ferry travel and an efficient and relaxing way of getting ...
Letter from Europe

Kvarken life

  • 15 Jul 2010
While much of the world worries about the possible impact of rising sea levels on coastal communities, the Kvarken islands have the opposite problem. This archipelago in the Gulf of Bothnia between Sweden and Finland is still on the rebound - as it ...
Magazine article

A Finnish outpost: Valsörarna
  

Valsörarna is a sea of mauve heather, a landscape laced with juniper and full of ripe and juicy blueberries. This tiny Finnish outpost in the Gulf of Bothnia is one of the Kvarken islands. Erik Schaffer and Silvia Stock report on a summer visit to ...
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 ...
football boots
Magazine article

Viva football
  

World Cup year! Again! We shall be eagerly following the 2010 Viva World Cup as teams from Padania, Gozo, Lapland, Monaco and other small territories compete for football ...
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

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 ...
hidden europe note

Reindeer pay heavy price for global warming

  • 12 Nov 2009
One of the key points we learnt from an article on the Sámi of Russia's Kola Peninsula is how warmer autumns are making life much harder for the locals. They rely on frozen ground to allow winter mobility in the tundra. But these days the ground ...
Letter from Europe

Airport links

  • 17 Sep 2009
Is not the journey to the airport often one of the great hassles of modern travel? Not all of us can enjoy the relaxed approach taken in the Isle of Man where narrow gauge steam trains pause on request at Ronaldsway Halt, just a short walk from the ...
Magazine article

Cultivating the soul

We refresh our wearied and wandering minds in two intriguing gardens. We visit a secret garden in Prague, and hidden europe reader Mervyn Benford reports on a humble Swedish postman who followed in Linnaeus' ...
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

Radishes in Hesselø

As long as the radishes grown on Hesselø remain red and white, so shall the island be forever Danish. At least that is the perspective of one of the island's last remaining residents. Hesselø is a little remnant of Denmark that is coveted by Sweden ...
Letter from Europe

Santa Lucia

  • 12 Dec 2008
Santa Lucia is patron saint of Siracusa, the island fortress city on the Sicilian coast, where Lucia was born in the late third century. The story tells of her being martyred in her home city at the tender age of twenty. Of course, Santa Lucia's ...
Letter from Europe

Traces of Europe in the Caribbean

  • 31 Mar 2008
On 31 March each year the most American of Caribbean islands recalls its Danish past. Until 1917, St Thomas was part of the Danish West Indies. There were three main islands in the Danish West Indies: St Thomas, St John and St Croix. The capital of ...
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

Swedish Lapland - racism in Russia - a tale of two ships

  • 16 Jan 2006
Minority language radio broadcasting takes a step forward in Sweden today, when a new dedicated Sámi language radio station hits the airwaves in the Lapland region of northern Sweden. The Sámi minority has always benefitted from some local language ...