Bucket List Feeling
Image credits: Antti Pietikainen, Futurismo Azores Adventure, Iceland Pro Travel
That Bucket List Feeling
"A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime." Source: Oxford English Dictionary
Dream fulfilment is all the rage right now and as our knowledge of this amazing planet grows, the list of “must see” and “must do” experiences seems to lengthen almost daily. Currently, there appears to be a move away from the gathering of material possessions and a burgeoning trend towards the accumulation of a different kind of wealth, a wealth based on experience and memory. From whale watching to swimming with dolphins, dog sledding to the Northern Lights, our precious travel time is increasingly devoted to ticking off bucket list items and, bucket list destinations.
This is exactly what drives us here at Artisan Travel. We are not in the travel industry to become rich in monetary terms because we believe that there are far greater riches to be found during our journeys to remarkable and unforgettable destinations.
As we travel, we question everything because local knowledge is what we believe leads us to the greatest experiences. All our trips are designed in conjunction with our local partners in the destination to ensure that an Artisan Travel holiday ticks all the important boxes.
There is so much to see and so much to do in this life and not a huge amount of time in which to do it all. Through our extensive and, admittedly, not exactly arduous research, we aim to make it easy for our clients to fulfil their bucket list ambitions.
In essence, we are your shortcut to the best possible holiday.About Bucket List Feeling
Winter Bucket List
“Live the life you have imagined” Henry David Thoreau
Traditionally, winter holidays meant either a ski trip or a flight south in search of the sun. However, in the last decade or so, winter travel has thrown up an absolute wealth of unforgettable experiences.
Imagine dog sledding through a snowy forest or gazing in awe at the dreamy Northern Lights. How about retreating to a cosy log cabin after a day in the crisp winter chill or spending the night in a glass igloo with the Arctic firmament overhead? Alternatively, why not spend the night at the IceHotel?
There are so many winter activities and experiences that we wouldn’t have thought possible or even contemplated just a decade ago. The Scandinavians embrace winter as a time to be outside and active and we are delighted that their enthusiasm seems to be catching on further afield too.
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis top just about every bucket list and once you have witnessed their celestial splendour, it is not hard to understand what all the fuss is about.
To stand on a frozen lake somewhere north of the Arctic Circle and behold the ink-black sky ablaze with shimmering and swirling green light is something everybody should try to do at least once in their lifetime.
Stay in or visit an Ice or Snow Hotel
Every winter, the best ice and snow designers, sculptors and artisans gather in Northern Scandinavia to build spectacular monuments to winter architecture.
The original IceHotel in Sweden, the fabulous Igloo Village in Norway and the winter village at Torassieppi, Finland are just three examples, and all of these outstanding constructions represent a true labour of love because come the spring thaw, they all melt away again.
This means that every year sees a brand new design at each destination ensuring that every Ice and Snow Hotel is unique; so whether you choose to stay the night or simply visit, what you see will only be there for a few short months before disappearing forever.
A Husky Safari
Nothing quite encapsulates our image of the North, or the call of the wild if you like, so much as driving a team of huskies across a winter-white landscape. That sense of trail freedom is something you can only fully appreciate once you are gliding across a pristine wilderness with only the pitter-patter of canine paws and the swish-swish of your sleds’ runners breaking the near perfect silence.Read more
Bucket lists are as much about destinations as they are experiences and for many, simply being north of the Arctic Circle is a dream in itself. Landing at one of either Finland, Sweden or Norway’s most northerly airports is like arriving on a completely different planet; a planet that is blanketed in white and where life moves at a wholly different pace. Life in the Arctic is lived very, very differently than it is in our large cities so be prepared to embrace the Great Outdoors but also to slow down, relax a while and simply marvel at the astonishing winter beauty.
Nordic Summer Bucket List
“Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain.” Vivian Green
“He’s pining for the fjords”
We know it sounds corny but once you’ve visited Northern Scandinavia during the summer it’s not hard to feel considerable empathy for Monty Python’s dead parrot. The Norwegian fjords are but one jewel in the Nordic crown but once visited who wouldn’t miss those vast inland waterways with their steep and dramatic tumbling walls of rock?
The fjords are a geological masterpiece but then much of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland display Mother Nature at her absolute best. Even better, this is the land of the Midnight Sun where 24 hours of summer daylight provide hour upon hour of exploration time.
From Finland’s lakes and forests where brown bear make their homes, to Sweden’s majestic mountains, Norway's most northerly archipelagos are perfect for a relaxing driving holiday and , when it comes to natural wonders, Iceland is just one big fancy Dan show off.
The Midnight Sun
If you are anything like us then you’ll want to make the absolute most of your holiday time. One of the reasons we love travelling to the likes of Norway and Iceland in summer is that the Midnight Sun grants us 24 hours of daylight allowing us to pack in even more exploring.
When travelling to the fjords and island archipelagos of Northern Norway or packing in as much of Iceland’s spectacular geology as possible, a bit of extra daylight comes in very handy indeed. This is especially the case on a self-drive holiday because you really do have all the time in the world to set your own pace.
To anybody living below the Arctic Circle, the Midnight Sun can be rather disorientating. Standing in broad daylight at midnight or looking at the sun in the northern skies is something with which we are totally unfamiliar.
Nevertheless, we would recommend it to anybody. 24 hours of daylight can be both energising and revitalising and it is certainly something you’ll never forget.
The Nordic regions boast some of the world’s most magnificent Arctic wildlife including brown bears in Finland, whales off the coast of Norway, and moose in Swedish Lapland.Read more
Norway and Iceland are the standout countries when it comes to summer landscapes.
Norway’s fjords are at once dramatic and stunningly beautiful with steep rocky cliffs tumbling vertically into the chilly waters below. Just as striking is the Norwegian coastline with its spectacular archipelagos. The islands are simply asking to be explored and a superb network of interconnecting roads and ferries make doing so an absolute pleasure.
Iceland’s remarkable volcanic geology is famous the world over. Where else can you find magnificent waterfalls, geothermal geysers, lava fields, mountains, rift valleys, volcanoes, glaciers and much, much more? Iceland even has two divergent tectonic plates (Eurasian and American) where you can swim between continents!
Forget those huge “dream liners”, it is the smaller cruise vessels which really allow you to explore Iceland and Greenland’s striking coastlines and in the summer months, there can be few places more beautiful than the Arctic. From a 224 berth vessel, you can keep an eye on the ever-changing landscapes and watch out for wildlife on shore, birdlife and of course, sea life such as whales. A series of shore excursions mean that you will also witness the main sites on land too.
Mediterranean and Atlantic Bucket List
“The important thing is not how many years in your life but how much life in your years.” Dr Edward Stieglitz
Life Beyond the Beaches
We tend to associate the Mediterranean and, to a lesser extent, the Atlantic Coast as “sun, sea and sand” destinations where a holiday amounts to not much more than lightly grilling under a burning sun. However, dig just a bit deeper and travel just that little bit further and a whole new world better known to the locals than tourists will soon reveal itself.
Europe’s quieter corners just lend themselves to active exploration.
Croatia is famed for the beauty of its coastline but head inland and you’ll discover breathtaking national parks which are just begging to be explored by bike, on foot or in kayaks.
Whale watching and swimming with dolphins are listed near the top of many a bucket list so why not tick both off in one fell swoop during an active week in the Azores?
Rest and Relaxation
Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast is indescribably beautiful and a small-ship cruise is undoubtedly the best way to kick-back and enjoy it. Dotted with hundreds of small islands some inhabited, some uninhabited, this stretch of coastline boasts amazing towns and villages which become increasingly Venetian in architecture as you head north.
Gentle strolls and leisurely seafood lunches in historic towns such as Korčula and Hvar are what a relaxing holiday is all about. The island of Mljet with its two inland seawater lakes (one with a small island and monastery) and the historic city of Dubrovnik are just two more jewels in what is a very heavily decorated crown.