The Artisan Blog

Kirsty Wood

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Our ethos has always been ‘bucket list experiences in extraordinary destinations’ and though we emphasise the experience side of our trips, we’re incredibly proud of our hand-picked destinations. That’s why we were thrilled to see that others think the same - in fact, they think some of our destinations are the best in the world! Big 7 Travel recently revealed their reader’s poll of the 50 best islands in the world, and we think you’ll recognise some familiar names on there. 

Kirsty Wood

Azores featured

Situated in the mid-Atlantic, remote, volcanic yet full of life sit the nine islands of the Azores.

The archipelago’s islands are divided into three; the Eastern Group (Santa Maria and São Miguel), the Central Group (Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial) and the Western Group (Corvo and Flores). On first glance, the rocky landmasses all have a similar presence - rugged and green with impressive geological structures, but delve deeper and you’ll find an individual charm on each island.

Kirsty Wood

Whale watching on holiday in Madeira

Written by Kirsty Wood
Thursday, 09 May 2019

Whale watching in Madeira is one of the most popular activities during any visit to the island, and for good reason. With over 20 different cetacean species swimming in the surrounding waters, you’ll have a high chance of seeing a splash of a whale’s tail, a spurt from a blowhole or even a full breach!

Due to the depth of the water around the island, whales can be spotted as close as 5km away from shore where the ocean floor reaches more than 3000 metres deep. However, our whale watching excursions during your holiday in Madeira include a boat trip to give you an even better chance of seeing the wonderful marine life in their natural environment.

View our holidays in Madeira complete with whale watching here.

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Kirsty Wood

Whale watching in the Azores

Written by Kirsty Wood
Thursday, 09 May 2019

Whale watching in the Azores is a must-do activity during any visit to the archipelago. As one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries, it’s almost imperative that you get out onto the surrounding waters and look for the 20 different types of resident and migratory cetaceans found here.

When both the BBC and National Geographic have travelled to the Azores with their cameras ready to record these fantastic animals, you know you’ve come to the right place for whale watching.

View our holidays in the Azores complete with whale watching here.

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Kirsty Wood

Gozo

Malta’s little sister island may only be 9 miles wide and 4 miles long but with its varied landscape, rich history and rugged coastline, there are many experiences to be had in Gozo.

Kirsty Wood

Small ship cruises in Croatia

Written by Kirsty Wood
Monday, 08 April 2019

With over 1000 islands, a small-ship cruise in Croatia certainly feels like the most viable option to helping you see all that this country has to offer. However, it is so much more than an effective form of transport. These smaller vessels are able to reach places a large cruise ship never could, and so they’ll not only get you away from the larger flocks of tourists, but they also give you a much more personal approach to travelling in Croatia.

After all, the coastline here is so spectacular it would be wrong to only see it from land. As you sail across the strikingly blue waters to reach historic cities, picturesque towns and islands that can only be described as paradise, you’ll be thankful of your unique vantage point from your small ship.

All of our small-ship cruises in Croatia have an itinerary that has been carefully crafted with the help of our local partners and travel experts to bring you an authentic holiday filled with bucket list moments.

View our small-ship cruise holidays in Croatia here.

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Kirsty Wood

Top holiday destinations for 2019

Written by Kirsty Wood
Friday, 14 December 2018

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2019 is almost upon us and we think there’s no better way to help beat the post-Christmas blues than to start planning your next holiday abroad. You could even make a New Year’s resolution to start ticking off some travel experiences from your bucket list!

Mark McFaul

7 of our favourite winter escapes

Written by Mark McFaul
Thursday, 06 September 2018

Used Credit Antti Pietikainen 54

As the summer sun begins to fade and the dark nights start to return, some travellers might be tempted to pack their passport away for another year. However, we believe there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the arrival of the winter months.

Now don’t get us wrong we love sunny escapes to places such as Croatia, Madeira and the Azores and there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy some of the last of the summer sun if you want. However, what these destinations can’t offer, as excellent as they may be, is the chance to enjoy some truly great bucket list, Arctic experiences.

Mark McFaul

Split - Croatia's unsung hero

Written by Mark McFaul
Friday, 31 August 2018

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When people talk about Croatia it is highly likely that the next sentence is probably going to contain the word ‘Dubrovnik’. Now don’t get me wrong, that isn’t a bad thing. I love Dubrovnik, it is a simply stunning town and it is definitely somewhere that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Croatia for the first time.

However, one place that doesn’t seem to get the same appreciation is Croatia’s second largest city – Split. Split might be the largest city in the region of Dalmatia but don’t think that it is anyway just an industrial-hub not worthy of your time in comparison to all the pretty little seaside towns and islands scattered along the Adriatic Coast.

Mark McFaul

Ston - Croatia's hidden wonder

Written by Mark McFaul
Monday, 13 August 2018

I. Peljesac Peninsula Ston and Mali Ston 474

If you are heading on holiday to Croatia this year the chances are that you have started to compile a list of places that you would love to visit once you are there. My guess would be that there are certain places that are bound to make the list. For example, you have probably included Dubrovnik, the Plitvice Lakes National Park and maybe even the Elaphiti Islands. However, there is one place that I would guess probably doesn’t feature on your list and that’s the Pelješac peninsula or more specifically the town of Ston.

Mark McFaul

Dubrovnik - A city not to be missed

Written by Mark McFaul
Monday, 13 August 2018

J Dubrovnik and Arboretum

Unless you have been living under a rock, the chances are that you have either heard of or seen a picture of Dubrovnik. If you are currently thinking that you aren’t aware of Croatia’s most famous destination then think again!

Jono Archer

My experience - the Blue Lagoon

Written by Jono Archer
Friday, 09 February 2018

We recently caught up with Laura from our marketing team to find out about her experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Here’s what she had to say:

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Amy Hope

Despite being a fairly seasoned traveller to Finland myself, my parents had never experienced the delights of the Arctic North. However, in January they got to experience a holiday to Torassieppi in Finnish Lapland for themselves. Read on to find out how they got on! 

Day One:

Flying into Finland, we could see the vast spread of snow, frozen lakes and trees reaching out across the horizon and only as the plane touched down did we see just how deep the snow was on each side of the runway. An early flight meant that we landed in Kittilä around lunchtime, but it was on the drive to Torassieppi that we began to grasp the immensity of the wilderness in this fabulous country.

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Amy Hope

Despite having been lucky enough to experience the delights of Finland numerous times for myself, my parents had never had the opportunity to visit this amazing country for themselves. With my dad having a very special birthday coming up, I decided that I would give him and my mum the chance to experience this beautiful Arctic gem for themselves. Here's what happened from their point of view!

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Ali Mclean

Hot Destinations For 2018

Written by Ali Mclean
Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Cold, dreary weather, post-festive season torpor, and back-to-work blues; welcome to the joys of January. How do we recommend you cure your mood?

Start planning your 2018 adventures of course!

Whale watching 1

We have a vast variety of bucket list holidays all around the world, skilfully designed by our Travel Experts with you in mind. We'll take you from the wilds of Finland to the sun-drenched island of Gozo; the fjords of Iceland and Norway to the volcanic paradise of the Azores.

Allan Cooper

A true James Bond experience

Written by Allan Cooper
Friday, 05 January 2018

Now I'm hardly known as a petrol-head amongst my friends and I have never been interested in motorbikes, but who hasn't been attracted to the thrills and glamour associated with the snowmobile?

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Ever since I was I younger I can remember watching Sean and Roger in old Bond movies and daydreaming of cruising over crisp white snow, a trail of powder in my wake as I power over frozen Arctic landscapes escaping some imagined team of henchmen in hot pursuit.

Amy Hope

Personally, I am not a huge believer in spirituality, for example, I have never experienced people or places having auras or special meanings.

Sven Engholm and Husky Credit Engholm Husky 2 2 2

However, when I met Sven Engholm the owner and head Musher at Engholm Husky in Karasjok, I was completely blown away by the sheer presence of this incredible man. 

Andy Marshall

Dog Sledding in Sörbyn

Written by Andy Marshall
Monday, 27 February 2017

After a short stay at Brändön Lodge, we continued our journey north and ventured further into the Lappish wilderness. We were heading for a small village called Sörbyn, in Northern Sweden, where we would undertake perhaps the most anticipated activity. Dog sledding conjures up a variety of magical images but nothing quite compares to the reality.

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We arrived at the location of our activity in the early afternoon but already the sun had begun its descent casting an orange glow on the surrounding snow. Three teams of dogs lay in wait and the moment they saw us approach they began to realise the time had come for another journey. Never before had I witnessed such excitement amongst dogs. They were eager to set off, climbing on top of one another, barking and trying to pull a sleigh which was anchored into the snow.

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