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.
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.
The ICEHOTEL© has opened its door for another year and we believe that it is more impressive than ever.
Founded in 1989, the ICEHOTEL© has developed into an internationally recognised brand, especially known for its incredible artwork. Each year at the start of winter the hotel is designed and built from scratch from thousands of huge ice blocks harvested from the Torne River which is then carefully sculpted into an amazing architectural building.
Lapland is all too often associated with thousands of families searching for a big guy with a thick, woolly beard, a jovial laugh and a propensity for dishing out gifts in late December.
However, escape the “Santa Centrals” especially in January, February and March (when Mr & Mrs Claus holiday in The Bahamas) and Lapland is a treasure trove of outdoor wonder and activity. For adults, Lapland can be exactly what you need for your winter retreat.
Here are our top 17 things to do in Lapland that don’t include Father Christmas:
Even before setting off for the Azorean island of Sao Miguel I was filled with anticipation about the prospect of swimming with dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean. I knew that it wouldn’t be a sanitised marine park experience and, as with everything involving Mother Nature, the extent of my contact with these supremely intelligent animals would be very much in the lap of the gods. It was even possible that I wouldn’t see any dolphins at all but regardless, there were a few butterflies dancing in my stomach. After all, it’s not every day you get to tick off another animals item is it?
"The next twenty years are the blink of an eye"
Quotation source: My father on my 50th birthday (thanks for that dad!)
I love this photograph. It may not be the greatest composition in photographic history but, for me, it sums up exactly what the Artisan Travel Company is all about.
The picture was taken in Alaska, somewhere north of the Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway (of Ice Road Truckers fame) and it is the moment I fully realised that I had well and truly ticked off my number one bucket list item.
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