The Artisan Blog
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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?
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.
Personally, I am not a huge believer in spirituality, for example, I have never experienced people or places having auras or special meanings.
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.
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.
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.
For the first half of the tour, two of us would control our own sleigh and the other two would sit on the guide's sled, then we would swap over. As the guide went through a list of instructions on how to control the dogs I began to feel quite nervous, and as a gentleman was about to offer my companions the opportunity to have their own sleds. Unfortunately, my colleague seemed equally nervous and had sat down on the guide's sled before he had finished speaking and thus I had no choice but to throw myself straight into it.
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