Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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Corsica Ferries operate shipping routes from the French mainland to Corsica, occasionally detouring via Sardinia en route (photo © Sergiy Palamarchuk / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Watery diversions

  • 5 Oct 2021
Making time for creative journeys has been at the heart of our work with hidden europe. So in this issue of our Letter from Europe we highlight some longish ferry routes which even allow for some sightseeing. Here are some examples from this ...
Wooden Greek-Catholic (Uniate) church at Bardejovské Kúpele in north-east Slovakia (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Faith and identity in the Slovakian hills

  • 9 Sep 2021
Next week, the Pope is visiting Slovakia and the world’s media will surely show images of His Holiness taking a leading role in what looks like an Orthodox liturgy. It prompts us to look at faith and identity in the Carpathians - the area where the ...
Landscape of the Morvan hills (photo © Boulanger Sandrine / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

On the edge of Burgundy: the Morvan hills

  • 1 Sep 2021
There is one very distinctive area in the north-west reaches of Burgundy. And that's Morvan - an upland block defined by its striking granite landscapes which communicate a sense of wilderness not encountered elsewhere in the region. We touch down ...
Venus resort on Romania’s Black Sea coast (photo © Cristi111 / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Reach for the planets

  • 29 Aug 2021
Five or six decades ago, Romania had a sense of building the future and many citizens were eager to dance the night away in Venus or just lie on the beach at Saturn. We recall the voucher tourism of yesteryear - an era when sun, sea and socialism ...
image © Emprize / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

Being amber

  • 12 Jul 2021
Being amber brings special privileges. The ‘reds’ are escorted by security personnel to a quarantine hotel. We ambers have it easy. We can make our own way to an agreed isolation address. And it's the theme of isolation that is very much present in ...
Former Prussian Military Railway which is now used for draisine outings in the Berlin hinterland (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

War trains

Many railways across Europe were built to satisfy military ambition. In the hinterland of Berlin there is a railway line which was constructed quite explicitly as a military plaything. In the Nazi period, the very existence of this railway ...
Glacial erratics from Scandinavia are common throughout the region: this group is at Glashütte (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

End of the Ice Age

The last pulses of the wave of Quaternary glaciations in Europe left some distinct glacial spillways across the North European Plain. These short-lived channels were important for meltwater from a decaying ice sheet. Three of the spillways can be ...
The Aeolian island of Lipari (photo © DiegoFiore / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Landscapes of immunity

There are some small populated islands off the coast of Sicily which have never recorded a single COVID infection. And, by comparison with many European countries, Iceland has consistently shown low incidence ...
Shannon Airport on Ireland's west coast (photo © ShutterUpIreland / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

End of Shannon stopover

It was never really efficient that wide-bodied jets would take to the sky in Dublin, and then make a brief stop at Shannon Airport near Ireland’s west coast, where Aer Lingus aircraft would share space on the tarmac with planes in Aeroflot or ...
photo © Егор Балясов / dreamstime.com
Magazine article

Pedal power: the caffeine fix

There are thousands of cafés across Europe that have made their mark in the communal psychogeography of the cycling community — places which supply a timely caffeine and calorie boost for the cyclists who have escaped the city for a day or longer. ...
Park and manor at Baruth, eastern Germany (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 64
  

Staying close to base brings its own rewards. This is the first time since the inception of the magazine (16 years ago) that we have ever carried a full feature on that rural area, just south of Berlin, which we count as our home region. All three ...
The birthplace and childhood home of Nikola Tesla in Smiljan, Croatia, now houses a memorial and museum (photo © Dozet / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

In search of Tesla: the road to Smiljan

Nikola Tesla’s father was an Orthodox priest. Nikola was baptised in his father’s church on the day after his birth. And it is at that church, dedicated to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, where crowds now gather to understand more of the life and ...
Magazine article

From the Balkans to Nürnberg

What was Rebecca West doing 75 years ago this summer? West’s accomplishments as a travel writer are complemented by a fine range of other work. In the summer of 1946, West was sitting alongside Martha Gellhorn and Erika Mann at the International ...
Gateway to the east: Haydarpaşa station, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus in Istanbul, was in 1971 still the departure point for direct trains to Baghdad and Beirut (photo © Milosk50 / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Flashback 1971: travels of yesteryear

There was a time when you could travel from Turin or Trieste to Moscow or from Istanbul to Beirut or Baghdad without changing trains. We look back half a century and explore the rail journeys which were on offer in the summer of 1971. It was a time ...
The Ukrainian city of Slavutych (photo © atlant1403 / shutterstock.com)
Letter from Europe

Slavutych and the nuclear industry

  • 22 Jun 2021
The Ukrainian city of Slavutych is a striking surviving example of a planned Soviet city underpinned by utopian principles – and even if the latter were sometimes diluted by pragmatism, there is a palpable sense of a well-designed and carefully ...
The iconic clock at London's Waterloo station makes a cameo appearance in John Schlesinger's 1961 film Terminus (photo © Phartisan / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Terminus - a 1961 documentary

  • 17 May 2021
The film director John Schlesinger was largely unknown when in 1960 he was persuaded by Edgar Anstey to make a documentary for British Transport Films (BTF). Terminus went on general release in 1961 and provoked a very positive response ...
River Slaney upstream from Bunclody at Altamont (photo © Colin Park licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)
Letter from Europe

The Slaney Valley

  • 12 May 2021
There can be few finer spots to be, on these bright spring days, than exploring the land around the River Slaney in south-east Ireland. The lower reaches of the Slaney, from Enniscorthy down to Wexford, is a gorgeous sweep of river. But we reserve ...
The Princess Anastasia approaching the docks in St Petersburg (photo © Eugenesergeev / dreamstime.com)
Letter from Europe

From Bilbao to Murmansk: A Tale of One Princess

  • 30 Apr 2021
Large ferries often go through multiple incarnations and we developed a sort of vicarious attachment to the Princess Anastasia, a vessel which we saw in Bilbao in 2008, and which is now based near Murmansk where she has become part of the ...
View of Fiesole with its small cathedral (photo © Henrik Stovring / dreamstime)
Letter from Europe

A Fiesole residency

  • 25 Apr 2021
With its handsome villas, lavish gardens and sweeping views over the valley of the River Arno, Fiesole developed as a fabled spot. It was a place for political intrigue, a retreat to be creative and a spot to just relax. No surprise, perhaps, that ...
A Czech restaurant car was the perfect spot for breakfast on a winter journey from Berlin to Dresden (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The pleasure of the restaurant car

  • 21 Apr 2021
A chance reference on twitter this week to a Tajik restaurant car that runs all the way to Moscow has prompted us to recall some unlikely meals on trains. Join us as we recall such culinary delights as apéroplättli and svícková while riding the ...
Vineyards at Hunawihr in Alsace, France (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The waiting game

  • 3 Apr 2021
hidden europe 63 is now available, featuring articles about Bulgaria, Alsace, rural Galicia and northern Italy. We also look at the prospects for slow travel in the post-COVID world. Single issues and subscriptions are available in the hidden ...
Water is a key element in Alsace townscapes: these fountains are at Riquewihr (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Vintage pleasures: a taste of Alsace

If Alsace has a regional watchword, it is balance. It is as true of Alsace’s complex history, deftly melding French and German interests, as of the region’s remarkable wines. Join us as we explore the Alsace wine route, taking in some of ...
Vineyards at Hunawihr in Alsace, France (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 63
  

Is there not a measure of absurdity in all our lives today? We have discovered that it’s hardly possible to plan anything. And yet there is a certain liberation in simply not trying to plan, in just receiving with simplicity all that might come our ...
Riquewihr is in a small depression formed by a stream called Le Sembach which flows down from the forested Vosges hills towards the plain of Alsace (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Alsace grape types

Do you know your Sylvaner from your Muscat? Your Pinot Gris from your Pinot Blanc? Here’s a quick and easy guide to the nine main varieties of grapes used in the production of various Alsace wines. We would wager that there may be one or two ...
St Michael’s Mount on the Cornish coast is linked by a tidal causeway to the mainland (photo © Bonandbon DW / dreamstime . com).
Magazine article

Tidal islands

There are islands which never lose their island status. And then there are islands which come and go with every tide. Such fragments of land, which are only proper islands at low tide, are called drying islands or tidal islands. We look at some ...
The ambiguity as to where the border between Europe and Asia lies has led to a proliferation of markers and monuments. This one, on the western outskirts of Ekaterinburg, is one of them (photo © Sergey Zavyalov / dreamstime . com).
Magazine article

Where Europe meets Asia

Pull off the main highway just west of Ekaterinburg and you'll find a fairly new monument that purports to mark the border between Asia and Europe. The design recalls the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a nice reminder that Ekaterinburg iron was used to ...
Castle Hill funicular in Budapest (photo © Michael Paschos / dreamstime . com)
Magazine article

Budapest transport

The steep topography around the Hungarian capital, especially on the west bank of the Danube, meant that great ingenuity was needed in developing public transport. Examples are the famous funicular up to Buda Castle and a cog railway, both dating ...
In 2020 RegioJet launched a Prague to Rijeka overnight service. This year the company expands its offereing with a night train from Prague, Bratislava and Budapest to Split. The picture shows a RegioJet train at Rijeka railway station (photo © DiningCar_licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0).
Magazine article

New night trains in 2021

The privacy of a cosy compartment is part of the appeal of the overnight train. The pandemic has changed attitudes and travellers are now mightily aware of the importance of space and privacy. So it is no wonder that demand for night sleeper ...
A selection of wines from France's Alsace region (photo © hidden europe).
hidden europe note

Alsace wines: a personal selection

  • 5 Mar 2021
To accompany our Alsace feature in hidden europe 63 (published on 15 March 2021), here’s a selection of Alsace wines which we rate as being very drinkable and reasonable value for money. We have listed them here by grape type - for most wines from ...
Vardø harbour in the Barents Sea, Norway (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Lenten cod

  • 28 Feb 2021
Across southern Europe, and most particularly in Portugal, it is the season for bacalhau - the salted, dried cod which is a staple in the Portuguese diet. This much sought after version of cod is a strong Lenten tradition in many Catholic ...
Russia's booming commercial port at Ust-Luga at the head of Luga Bay (photo © Konstik / dreamstime . com).
Letter from Europe

The story of Luga Bay

  • 12 Feb 2021
Luga Bay of 50 years ago looked much the same as it would have done in centuries long gone. Fishing, forestry and the extraction of peat were local staples, and the only vessels using the bay would have been those belonging to local fishermen, some ...
Watery polder landscape around the village of Jisp, a community which once played a major role in the Dutch whaling industry (photo © Rudmer Zwerver / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

A village on the polder

  • 7 Feb 2021
There’s a village on the polder which we really like. It’s called Jisp. It is one of those long straggly places where you see cloudscapes just like those in the paintings of Jacob van Ruisdael - the Dutch artist who was born in Haarlem, which is ...
The Tuscan city of Livorno thrived as an early example of a free port (photo © Duccio / dreamstime . com).
Letter from Europe

Free ports

  • 29 Jan 2021
The current plans to create free ports around the shores of the United Kingdom made us delve into the history of the porto franco. This year marks the 600th anniversary of the sale of Livorno - the Tuscan port which Genoa sold to Florence. It paved ...
image © Hatric / dreamstime . com
hidden europe note

Switching to an .eu domain name

  • 28 Jan 2021
We have switched the hidden europe domain name from hiddeneurope.co.uk to hiddeneurope.eu to clarify that we are based in the European Union. This change has been on the agenda for some time and it seemed a good moment now to implement ...
A key element in the mountaineer's armamentarium: the ice axe (photo © Claudio Baldini / dreamstime . com)
Letter from Europe

Just an ice axe

  • 22 Jan 2021
Nicky Gardner, one of the editors of hidden europe magazine, reflects on all the good and bad things that can be done with an ice axe. Opening tins of pineapple is just the ...
Celebrating the Feast of the Theophany in Russia (photo © Tsargvidon / dreamstime . com)
Letter from Europe

Breaking the Ice

  • 17 Jan 2021
This weekend sees the annual ritual of the opening of the ice in anticipation of the Orthodox Feast of the Theophany on Tuesday. Often this is done by creating a hole in the shape of a cross, allowing the faithful to totally immerse themselves in ...
photo © Rinus Baak / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

Bats and happiness

  • 31 Dec 2020
It hasn’t been an easy year. Not for us - and probably not for you. But spare a thought for bats who have endured some pretty hefty reputational damage in 2020. Bats are the only flying mammals - and among the few creatures that seem to have a ...
The Piave Valley in the Dolomites, eastern Alps (photo © Rechitan Sorin / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Alpine horizons

  • 26 Dec 2020
The English, like travellers from other countries, were enthralled by the scenery of the western Alps. But it wasn't until well after the Golden Age of Alpinism that mountaineers and travellers began to explore areas further east in the great ...
Train on the classic Gotthard route in 2016, prior to the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel later that same year (photo Leonid Andronov / dreamstime.com)
Letter from Europe

The Gotthard revival

  • 29 Nov 2020
The new Treno Gottardo rail service starts in mid-December 2020. It offers the chance to travel from Basel to Switzerland's southernmost canton of Ticino via the classic Gotthard railway. Climb aboard a panorama carriage, sit back and enjoy the ...
Search for the spirit of the late Jan Morris in the waters around Miramar Castle near Trieste (photo © Freesurf69 / dreamstime.com).
hidden europe note

Travels with Jan Morris

  • 22 Nov 2020
Jan Morris, who has died at the age of 94, was one of the most gifted travel writers of our era. But, despite the sadness of her passing, her words remain as an inspiration to those who write about place and ...
The rocks at Teplice in the Czech Republic feature on the front cover of issue 62 of hidden europe magazine (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Sauntering through November

  • 15 Nov 2020
Two events: the centenary of the first-ever General Assembly of the League of Nations (held in Geneva on 15 November 1920) and the publication this week of Issue 62 of hidden europe magazine. Yes, there is a link! We look at this new issue of the ...
The strong Baedeker branding introduced in the late 1850s relied on distinctive red covers and gilded text. This cover shows a nice example of a Baedeker dagger on the initial letter ‘S’ in the title (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Exploring Baedeker's Switzerland

The Baedeker series of guidebooks showed a remarkable consistency in presentation over many decades from the mid-19th century. But many guides were updated every couple of years, so how far did the content change? We compare two editions of ...
Ferry operator DFDS has creatively picked up the Stena Line route from Frederikshavn to Oslo by making an extra stop on their route from Oslo to Copenhagen (photo © Ryhor Bruyeu / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Scandinavian ferry news

The downturn in travel is being felt in Europe’s ferry industry as service frequencies are trimmed on some routes and other links are axed entirely. We take a look at how services to Norway and Sweden have fared during the ...
Magazine article

Beyond the Small Homeland

Mishar Tatars and Lipka Tatars have been quick to assimilate into the communities to which they migrated. We discover how they moved through the Baltic region, settling in Lithuania and Finland, with some moving on to Sweden and the United States ...
Magazine article

The home of Esperanto

Who was Dr Esperanto (Dr Hope)? He was an ophthalmologist by profession, but he is most remembered for his love of languages. The good doctor’s real name was Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof and he is best remembered as the creator of Esperanto. He came from ...
Friedrich Oswald’s 1840 essay on landscape captures the mood of the Lüneburg Heath pictured here (photo © Thomaspicture / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Who was Friedrich Oswald?

Friedrich Engels is not someone we would normally associate with travel writing. But, as a young man, he wrote a number of articles in the travel genre; they were all published under the nom de plume Friedrich ...
Teplice rocks in the Czech Republic (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 62
  

We do rather like an amble, even sometimes a ramble, but when we are in rural regions we do also quite like to vegetate, and the current pandemic has certainly allowed us many opportunities to do just that. And thus maybe unsurprisingly, there is a ...
The Ethnographic Museum in Kalevala, Russian Karelia, showcases the local Karelian culture and the region's links with the Kalevala epic (photo © Alexander Mychko / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The Road to Uhtua

  • 31 Oct 2020
We are in search of the one-time capital city of a forgotten republic. From the turn-off on the Murmansk highway, it is 150 km of easy driving, skirting dozens of lakes, to reach the small community which in 1919 proclaimed its status as the ...
The centre of Vatican City: St Peter's Square (photo © Ivan Kurmyshov / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The papal states

  • 28 Oct 2020
The emergence in the eighth century of the papal states in parts of Italy and beyond heralded a geopolitical oddity which survived for over 1000 years, and of which there is the faintest echo in the current status of Vatican City - the world's ...
Penedo, a former Finnish vegetarian commune in Brasil, now attracts tourists with a dose of commerce (photo Brasilnut / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

A Fragment of Finland in Brazil

  • 12 Oct 2020
When it was founded in 1929, the Finnish commune of Penedo in Brazil was full of idealism and hope. But with tough financial times in the late 1930s and thereafter, this one-time utopian experiment had to make compromises. Today, Penedo is a ...
Berlin's Tegel Airport from the air in summer 2020. The classic open hexagon terminal is at the top left of the airport complex. Note the taxiway which runs over the top of the main approach road (photo © Mariohagen / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Berlin Tegel Airport

  • 27 Sep 2020
Few airports have quite that cool retro feel of the original hexagonal terminal at Berlin’s Tegel airport. The airport opened in 1960 and was an iconic piece of design in "the new Berlin" - that part of the city, occupied by the Western Allies, ...
Sagliains station in Switzerland (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Changing trains

  • 18 Sep 2020
Railway stations where passengers were able to change trains, but which could not be used to start or end a journey, were common in the past. They were often called exchange platforms or exchange stations. Few exist today, but we track down working ...
image © Khunaspix / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

For a privileged few: travel corridors and air bridges

  • 8 Sep 2020
We thought that the concept of the air corridor had been relegated to history until it popped up again this past spring, with the plucky English reviving the idea and giving it a new twist. We look at some of the privileged places that enjoy a ...
The Provençal town of Vence, where DH Lawrence died in March 1930 (photo © Myrabella licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0).
Letter from Europe

Memorialising DH Lawrence

  • 29 Aug 2020
Vence is a delightful small town in the hills behind the French Riviera, and it was here in Vence that DH Lawrence eventually succumbed in early March 1930 to tuberculosis.But where is he buried? Join us on a journey that takes us from Provence to ...
Sorrowful associations at Beachy Head (photo © Alberto Dubini / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Beachy Head

  • 10 Aug 2020
Poets and painters have travelled to Beachy Head, among them William Turner and Edward Lear. So there is barely a soul in England who doesn’t have a mental image of the cliffs which drop sheer down to the beach. It is also the site of many ...
Remains of a former monastic church on Inishmurray, Ireland (photo © Andreas F Borchert licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 DE).
Letter from Europe

Inishmurray

  • 2 Aug 2020
Inishmurray lies squat and low half a dozen kilometers off Streedagh Point in County Sligo. No one sleeps on Inishmurray these days. The island’s entire population, then numbering just a few dozen, left in 1948. Since then the buildings have ...
The Norwegian stave church at Karpacz, Poland (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

From Norway to Silesia

  • 29 Jul 2020
There are only about two dozen surviving Norwegian stave churches. Most of them, unsurprisingly, are in Norway. But curiously there's a fine example of a Norwegian stave church on the northern slopes of the Giant Mountains in south-west Poland. The ...
Brownfield reevelopent at Belval, Luxembourg (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Issue 61 of hidden europe magazine

  • 9 Jul 2020
The experience of staying close to home during the Coronavirus pandemic prompted us to choose two key themes for this latest issue of hidden europe magazine: journeys and isolation. We kick off with a leisurely account of a wonderful Swiss rail ...
There are distinctive flat-bottomed boats used for leisure is the
watery Spreewald region of eastern Germany (photo © Alexf76 / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Beyond the Marais: Punting Traditions

From the withy boats of the Somerset Levels to the gunboats used on the Essex coast, wetlands have often fostered ingenuity among boatbuilders. Navigating shallow waters takes skill and a special kind of vessel. We survey a range of boats from the ...
Magazine article

Cape Verde Links

Travelling around Luxembourg, one is ever aware of the influence of the Cape Verde islands. Conversely, in Cape Verde one notices the influence of Luxembourg. We explore the reciprocal relationship between the Grand Duchy and the island archipelago ...
Magazine article

Untold Riches

Jakob Fugger the Rich was indeed very rich. But his approach to business presciently anticipated many practices which are now commonplace. We look at the life of a man who challenged business cartels and had a canny appreciation of the importance ...
Brownfield reevelopent at Belval, Luxembourg (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 61
  

Coronavirus seemed merely a distant threat as the last issue of hidden europe went to press on 28 February. We then spent the early part of March in Luxembourg and Switzerland, making tracks for Berlin just as much of Europe shut down due to ...
The seaward end of Rhenigidale village includes a handful of isolated cottages with superb coastal views (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Social Isolation Hebridean Style

Kenneth Mackay, the one-time postman in the village of Rhenigidale is long retired. But he is happy to chat to visitors about the life of social isolation and material deprivation which was once the norm in remote villages in the Outer Hebrides. We ...
Not a real Malevich — but an illustration in the suprematist
style that was popularised by artists at the People’s Art School in Vitebsk in 1920 (image © Dorvard / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

One Glorious Summer

In summer 1920, the Unovis collective of artists set off from Vitebsk for Moscow. Kasimir Malevich and his comrades were convinced they could realize the full revolutionary potential of art in the Soviet Union. But the rise of Unovis signalled ...
A classic staging of the sublime: JMW Turner's painting ‘The Devil’s Bridge, St Gotthard’ (1803–4), part of the collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (photo © Andrewrabbott licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0).
Magazine article

In the Eye of the Beholder

Attitudes towards mountain landscapes have changed dramatically over the years. Alpine scenes once reviled for their bleak desolation were rehabilitated in the Romantic era. Travellers now appreciate such scenes for their grandeur and great beauty. ...
Passengers disembarking from night trains at Lviv station in Ukraine (photo © Jerome Cid / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Night Vision: Sleeping through Europe
  

Changing attitudes towards travel, prompted in part by a fuller appreciation of how air travel is causing climate change, are helping fuel a renaissance in rail travel across Europe. That’s as true of overnight services as it is of day trains. But ...
photo © Yirmi Oppenhime / dreamstime.com
Magazine article

The 21.48 from Aachen

The prospect of an overnight train journey should be something to savour. But Paul Scraton’s thought upon boarding his train in Aachen is to ask “Where, oh where are the beds?” Paul endures a memorable, though not very comfortable, overnight ride ...
On the left, the distinctive lozenge-shaped Cipolla Rossa onions from Tropea in Calabria. On the right, the rose-tinted onions from Roscoff in Brittany (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The humble onion

  • 5 Jul 2020
Breton onion sellers set out from Roscoff to sell their harvest across Europe. But the preferred market was Britain where customers were prepared to pay well over the odds for the beautiful rose-tinged onions from Finistère. The Onion Johnnies, ...
photo © Ivanmattioli /dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

Monkeys, Men and John Murray

  • 28 Jun 2020
160 years ago this week, on Saturday 30 June 1860, the intelligentsia gathered in Oxford to hear churchmen and scientists discuss the pros and cons of Darwin’s ideas on the origin of species. Charles Darwin celebrated book had been published in ...
The railway station in Portbou, Spain (photo © Marcopachiega / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

A Four-Hour Train Journey for one Euro

  • 23 Jun 2020
Over the years we’ve tracked down many great-value international rail fares. We once wrote about the City Star tariff which offered extraordinarily cheap fares from Slovakia to Russia. But there is one cross-border fare in western Europe that even ...
Image © Ruletkka / dreamstime.com
hidden europe note

Liturgical adventures during Coronavirus times

  • 6 Jun 2020
Across much of Europe, church services and other faith gatherings were very limited or non-existent at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. In many countries, churches remained open for private prayer, but there were some countries where ...
Statue of Chagall in Vitebsk, Belarus (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Chagall Centenary

  • 4 Jun 2020
Vitebsk is a provincial city. St Petersburg is about 500 km away to the north. Moscow, just slighter closer, is due east of Vitebsk. It lies today in the territory of the Republic of Belarus. In the run up to and after the Russian Revolution, ...
The spot where Austria, Slovakia and Hungary meet near Deutsch Jahrndorf (photo © Ed Francissen / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Just South of Bratislava

  • 31 May 2020
The tripoint where Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria converged was for years a no-go area. These days, you can enjoy a cross-border picnic at the very spot where the frontiers of Austria, Slovakia and Hungary meet. It’s across the fields to the ...
Spot near Filippoi where Paul baptised Lydia (photo © Kisamarkiza / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Travels with Saint Paul

  • 25 May 2020
Even if you don’t have a thread of religious fibre in your body, try reading the Acts of the Apostles, and see what you make of it as a travel narrative. You may want to have a good atlas of the ancient world to hand as you follow Paul on his ...
The Castello del Catajo near Battaglia Terme in the Veneto region of Italy (photo © Fabio Lotti / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

By the Euganean Hills

  • 19 May 2020
The area where the volcanic Euganean Hills meet the plain has more than its fair share of pleasing Renaissance villas, almost all of them oozing that Palladian style which is a real feature of the Veneto. But to the left of the railway, just north ...
Huesos de Santo (photo © Juan Moyano / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

A Taste of Heaven

  • 12 May 2020
Christianity is not especially sweet-toothed, though the Old Testament psalms do drip generously with honey. Shift to the New Testament and there are loaves, fishes, but not much by way of dessert. Yet by the 16th century, convents in Sicily and ...
The arrivals and departures boards at French stations are augmented by very clear announcements - and by far the most celebrated voice is that of Simone Hérault (photo © Hansenn / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Voice of a Nation

  • 28 Apr 2020
Across hundreds of French railway stations, millions of travellers every day would in normal times encounter Simone Hérault, for hers is the disembodied voice which proclaims the imminent departure of the TGV to Aix-les-Bains or the regional train ...
One of Loganair's two ATR-42 aircraft on the tarmac at Sumburgh Airport in Shetland (photo © Loganair).
Letter from Europe

Turboprops at Britain's busiest airport

  • 22 Apr 2020
Turboprops are back at London's Heathrow airport. An ATR-42 belonging to Scottish airline Loganair is flying a once-daily scheduled service to the Isle of Man on behalf of British Airways. We take a look at previous occasions when airport staff at ...
A glimps of Jung's tower on the shores of the upper part of Lake Zurich near Bollingen (photo © Davide Mauro licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0).
Letter from Europe

In Jung's Footsteps

  • 14 Apr 2020
The lakeshore trail from Schmerikon along the upper part of Lake Zürich leads to a house once owned by the analytical psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, who was a master of self-isolation. Join us as we ponder on Jung's famous Tower and his thoughts on ...
Connemara landscape (photo © Nofarrell / dreamstime.com).
hidden europe note

A Tribute to Tim Robinson

  • 5 Apr 2020
A tribute to writer and cartographer Tim Robinson who passed away on 3 April. Amongst his best known publications is his Connemara Trilogy - a profoundly ambitious, yet touchingly intimate, study of a region that stands as a place apart in Ireland. ...
photo © Mille19 / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

New and Different Eyes

  • 5 Apr 2020
We have all changed in these past weeks. We have new and different eyes. Our view of the world, our perception of our immediate surroundings, and the value we place on space and horizons have all been reengineered within the compass of a ...
The political power of the frying pan has never been greater (photo © Marcelo Vildosola Garrigo).
hidden europe note

The Power of Pots and Pans

  • 26 Mar 2020
Last night the government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti was forced to resign, making it the first government in Europe to be toppled by Coronavirus - aided by saucepans. The protest of the angry citizens of Kosovo was expressed by the noisy ...
The city of Dubrovnik in Croatia was the capital of the former Ragusan Republic (photo © Branex / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Recalling the Ragusan Republic

  • 24 Mar 2020
A powerful earthquake in 1667 destroyed most of Dubrovnik's buildings. The city was at that time the capital of the Ragusan Republic. The city was rebuilt and these days is a strong tourist magnet on the Croatian ...
photo © Macrolink / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

Anxious Days

  • 20 Mar 2020
You are most likely, as we are, staying close to home. We have time to ponder. And that itself can be a very positive thing. Rest assured that we'll continue to reflect European lives and landscapes with our regular Letter from Europe, ever aware ...
Magazine article

Changing Places
  

Had you noticed that humble Staines, a riverside town south-west of London, has changed its name? It is now called Staines-upon-Thames. Moving upmarket one might say. But the Canadian village of Swastika is resolutely resisting suggestions that a ...
We feature Blaudruck (indigo dyeing) textile artist Josef Kóo and some of his colleagues from Austria in this issue of hidden europe magazine (photo © Rudolf Abraham).
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 60
  

We are writing this editorial in Luxembourg, a diminutive Grand Duchy where there is seemingly limitless choice. Three other countries are within a half-hour drive of the capital and thanks to the splendid Schengen Agreement there is absolute ...
Traditional boatbuilder Andrea Delceppo in his Kalkara Creek workshop, Malta (photo © Duncan JD Smith).
Magazine article

Malta: The Alleys of Birgu
  

When the Knights Hospitaller relocated from Rhodes to Malta, the community of Birgu became their de facto capital. Birgu is on a promontory on the south side of the Grand Harbour, a counterpoint to Valletta away to the north. Duncan JD Smith ...
Magazine article

The Bus to Imber
  

Bus route 23A in Wiltshire (England) is a rarity. Buses on this route, serving the village of Imber on Salisbury Plain, run on just one day each year. This year your chance to ride the Imberbus is on Saturday 15 ...
Magazine article

Border-hopping Rail Tariffs
  

We delve into the high theology of rail fares, noting the phenomenon of the extra-territorial tariff point. So Aachen in Germany features in the Belgian domestic tariff, and Schaffhausen in Switzerland is a German tariff point (as well as being a ...
Magazine article

Island Summit
  

In October 2003, there was an unlikely standoff between Russia and Ukraine in the Kerch Strait. The status of Tuzla Island had been the subject of discussions between the presidents of the two countries just five weeks ...
The deep valleys which bisect Luxembourg City were focal points for early industrialisation, making the most of fast-flowing rivers and local iron ore deposits (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Luxembourg - From Iron Foundries to Diplomacy

  • 6 Mar 2020
Deep in a valley just a short hike north from Luxembourg's ville haute, in villages which once echoed to the clamour of forges and foundries, the might of industry has been replaced by the soft power of ...
A train of Luxembourg's national railway operator CFL at Luxembourg City's main railway station (photo © Himeiji / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

All Change in Luxembourg

  • 21 Feb 2020
There is much ado in Luxembourg - a country which is getting some good press these days as it gears up to introduce free public transport. We shall be in Luxembourg next week to witness the introduction of free public transport on 1 March. And we ...
Many visitors to St Petersburg can already take advantage of an e-visa scheme. From Jan 2021, the e-visa scheme will cover the entire Russian Federation (photo © Dmitry Erokhin/ dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Visa changes: Russia and Belarus

  • 8 Feb 2020
As the United Kingdom tightens its entrance requirements, the progressive relaxation of visa regimes elsewhere in Europe is of course very welcome. In this Letter from Europe, we look at changes in visa regulations relating to Russia and ...
Reduced by stormy weather: empty shelves at the Castlebay co-op on the island of Barra (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Storm Brendan

  • 16 Jan 2020
Brendan’s arrival had been much touted. He didn’t come as a surprise. Days prior to his arrival there was talk of Brendan. There was a run on lettuces and toilet rolls here on the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. People like to stock up on ...
A Loganair plane at the airport on the Scottish island of Tiree (photo © Nigel Hoy / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Scottish Island Flights

  • 29 Dec 2019
It will already be dark today long before Loganair's flight LM247 takes off from Stornoway around 17.30. Sunday's flight marks the last direct service from any of the Scottish islands to London. Those direct flights to London represented a much ...
Beekeeper Erik Luznar with a display hive in the Draga Valley in Slovenia (photo © Rudolf Abraham).
Magazine article

Radovljica: An Ode to Bees

If beekeeping has a spiritual home, it's the little town of Radovljica in the Sava Valley of north-west Slovenia. Rudolf Abraham, a regular contributor to hidden europe magazine, explores beekeeping in the region where the great ...
The town hall and church in the Vosges town of Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines. The town was once home to many Amish who in time emigrated to America (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

The Spirit of the Vosges

Join us as we discover the Vosges hills in the Alsace and Lorraine regions of eastern France. It's a region which has always been a wellspring of fine ideas, cutting a dash in the world of culture and industry. We visit a valley once settled by the ...
The Meninpoort (Menin Gate) in Ypres was unveiled in 1927 as a memorial to those who fell in the Great War (photo © Sergey Dzyuba / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Changing Fortunes: Guidebooks and War

It's hard to imagine these days that any guidebook might ever sell 100,000 copies each month. But 100 years ago, in the second half of 1919, Michelin was managing just that. We explore how guidebooks fared in the years after the end of the First ...
A rare departure from Berlin Hauptbahnhof — a direct train to Stockholm (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Making Tracks for Sweden

As winter slipped slowly into spring in 1917, Lenin passed through Berlin on his journey back to Russia from Switzerland. His onward route from Berlin took him by train to Sassnitz, then on by ferry to Trelleborg in Sweden. These days it's still ...
Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria is of course a complete fake. There is nothing mediaeval about it at all (photo © minnystock / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

The Death of Romance

Germany has themed tourist routes aplenty, but one of the earliest was the so-called Romantic Road, which leads from Würzburg in northern Bavaria south towards the Alps. It was hugely popular with American visitors, becoming a sort of showcase for ...
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence (photo © Gordon Bell).
Magazine article

Culture Shock: Stendhal in Florence

Take care how many art galleries of great Baroque churches you visit in a day. Overdoing it can have dire consequences. Too many cherubs or crucifixions might induce transient paranoid psychosis or even irrevocable breakdown. Or so they say. We ...
The train to nowhere: a fragment of a railway through the Vosges, built in the 1930s but never completed (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Unfinished business

In a field near the village of Urbès in eastern France, a stretch of graceful railway viaduct stands alone in a valley. It has never been connected to any railway line. It's a poignant reminder of what might have ...
Image © Ievgenii Tryfonov / dreamstime.com
Magazine article

Mapping America

How did America get its name? Amerigo Vespucci, of course. But the Florentine merchant never himself suggested that the continent be named after him. It's all down to a cartographer in the ...
Image © Shaiith / dreamstime.com
Magazine article

Sixty Years of Eurail

2019 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the launch of the Eurail pass. Rail Europe Inc sold the first passes in North America in 1959. We look at how Eurail helped shape perceptions of Europe for overseas visitors and see how the Eurail scheme ...
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 59
  

The shaping of history and the stories which are told about a region’s past are endlessly fascinating and that’s a running theme in this issue of hidden europe. We look at examples from Alsace and Spain and also look at how guidebooks helped, in ...
Geneva Cornavin railway station has a direct link to Paris operated by Lyria - that operator's routes from Paris to some other Swiss cities have been axed (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Lyria Ruffles Swiss Feathers

  • 4 Oct 2019
The Franco-Swiss rail operator Lyria runs fast trains between Paris and a number of Swiss cities. It also offers the last remaining year-round direct train from Switzerland to the south of France - which is about to be axed. We take a look at ...
The caldera of Sete Cidades on the Azorean island of São Miguel (photo © Lukasz Janyst).
Letter from Europe

A Tale of Two Lakes

  • 26 Sep 2019
Last year, the Azorean authorities reminded residents of the hazards of living in an archipelago where three great tectonic plates meet. This is where Eurasia meets Africa and the Americas. We recall a royal visit to the volcanic caldera of Sete ...
Side by side: an ICE train and a truck on the Scandlines ferry from Puttgarden (in Germany) to Rødby (Denmark) (photo © Oliver Foerstner / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Crossing the Water

  • 15 Sep 2019
There are three places in Europe where passenger trains are still regularly conveyed on ferries. One of them is the Scandlines ferry that carries the regular daytime Eurocity trains from Hamburg to Copenhagen. But the days of that rail-ferry link ...
Oină tournament in Frasin, Romania, with Politehnica Cluj-Napoca playing in red (photo © Emma Levine).
Magazine article

Romania: The Return of Oină

Romania's national sport is called oină - and it's enjoying a happy revival as teams across the country are rediscovering a sport which is peculiar to Romania and Moldova. Emma Levine heads off in search of a sport that some suggest could well have ...
The village of Château Chalon in the French Jura is the place from where some of the very best examples of vin jaune hail (photo © Zimneva Natalia / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

The Taste of Yellow: Wines of the Jura

Could you imagine paying more than €100,000 for a bottle of wine? Not any bottle of wine, but a bottle of vin jaune (yellow wine) from the French Jura. And a wine that was made before the French Revolution. We discover a French rarity that takes ...
The ceremonial banners of Galway’s leading mercantile families (the ‘tribes’) are displayed in Eyre Square (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

The Tribes of Galway

We take the pulse of early evening ceol and craic on the streets of the Irish city of Galway - where a dozen families dominated the mercantile and social life of the city for centuries. These families are often known as the tribes of ...
Magazine article

Sketches in Teviotdale

Southern Scotland has had more than its fair share of poets, along them Rabbie Burns, Robert Davidson and James Hogg. But one Borders poet, Thomas Pringle, is far better known in South Africa than he is in his native Scotland. Born just south of ...
Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze (photo © Bernd Feurich / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Shared High Points

Germany makes much of its highest mountain, the mighty Zugspitze. The frontier between Austria and Germany bisects the mountain. But in Austria, the Zugspitze hardly counts as a significant peak. We look at the phenomenon of shared ...
The resort town of Sochi on Russia's Black Sea coast (photo © Arts1961 / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

To the Urals and the Russian Riviera

Direct trains from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius to such far flung destinations as Sochi and Adler (both on the Russia's Back Sea Riviera) and to Anapa and Chelyabinsk recall the days of Soviet travel. We scan the departure boards for a few ...
Interrail passes can offer great flexibility when travelling - and can be a cheap alternative to point-to-point tickets in countries that do not charge a supplement, like Switzerland (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

New Interrail Passes

Train fares are getting cheaper. As retailer Loco2 launches split tickets in the British market, travellers on longer journeys across the continent are discovering that judicious use of an Interrail pass can undercut the cost of a regular return ...
The German island of Helgoland enjoys an unusual status outside the European Union's customs area, and that means that ferries bound for Helgoland may offer duty-free sales (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Butter Trips

There once was a time when passengers would smuggle butter on trains running from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland. And more recently in Germany, budget-conscious shoppers would go one a boat trip to buy cheap butter. We take a look at ...
Stonemason Mitja Kobal and his son Dane building a drystone wall in the village of Kosovelje, Slovenia (photo © Rudolf Abraham).
Magazine article

The Art of Drystone Walling

With the art of drystone walling recognised by UNESCO as part of Europe's cultural heritage, communities across the continent are now seeing these traditional walled boundaries in a new light. Rudolf Abraham has gone in search of drystone wall ...
The German resort town of Binz on the Baltic island of Rügen (photo © Szabolcs Kiss / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 58
  

If good writing makes the reader think, even if she or he might wholly disagree with the authorial view, then a fine purpose is well served. So see what you make of our words in this new issue of hidden europe where the dominant theme is place and ...
The main square in Sopron's Old Town (photo © Vrabelpeter1 / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The Hungarian Town of Sopron

  • 27 May 2019
Sopron is one of those places with a sense of being in the heart of Europe. One hundred years ago, this small town in western Hungary was much in the news. Few places were so shaken by the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It's a thought ...
Shunmyo Masuno's Japanese garden, based on Zen principles, in the Berlin suburb of Marzahn (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The Japanese Garden

  • 21 May 2019
Berlin's suburb of Marzahn is uncompromising. Its powerful and authoritarian architecture is definitely interesting, but does not find favour with all. Not everyone likes the relentless spread of apartment blocks which sprung up in the ten years ...
A fine black-and-white shot of the town of Clifden with the Twelve Bens in the background. Few writers capture the spirit of these Connemara landscapes as well as Tim Robinson (photo © Michael Walsh / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Unfolding Connemara

  • 16 May 2019
Clifden is an interesting example of a purposefully planned community in the outback. The town was founded just over 200 years ago in what was then one of the remotest corners of Ireland. Recently, we travelled to Clifden by ...
A road in the Lusatian town of Forst. The derelict mill building serves as a reminder that this area once had a thriving textile industry (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The German Manchester

  • 13 May 2019
This week we travelled slowly through Lusatia, exploring communities once sustained by extensive vineyards and a thriving textile industry. The modestly sized town of Forst on the west bank of the River Neisse once styled itself as the German ...
Promenade architecture and the Kurhaus in Binz on the shore of the Baltic island of Rügen (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Hidden europe 57

  • 14 Mar 2019
We have this year visited the Baltic twice already. It's a region of Europe that's at its best in winter, we find, and sedate Binz was the perfect place to pen the editorial for issue 57 of hidden europe which is published tomorrow. Let's ...
photo © Rhallam / dreamstime.com
Magazine article

Rewilding the Wolf Border

Time was when cartographers embellished their maps with warnings to unwary readers. "Here be dragons," was one such advisory notice. For today's travellers, many of whom rarely venture beyond the reach of broadband, there's little chance of ...
The adze has long been the tool of choice of a boatbuilder. Here Peter gives the last touches to the scarph between the sternpost and the heel of the replica of the ‘San Juan’ (© ALBAOLA / Photo: Mendi Urruzuno).
Magazine article

The Legacy of the San Juan

On the rocky shores of Labrador (in eastern Canada) is a remote settlement which features strongly in the Basque imagination. Karlos Zurutuza explains how the whalers of Euskal Herria (the Basque Country) once dominated the whale oil trade around ...
The lock at Kurzyniec marks the border between Belarus (left) and Poland (right). Only waterborne traffic may cross the border here (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Summit-level-Canals

Canals which breach great drainage divides are always interesting. There's one, opened in 1992, which links the River Danube with the River Main, the latter a tributary of the Rhine. So today it's possible to travel on a ship through the very heart ...
A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Chilean carrier LATAM (photo © Andrew Periam / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Fifth-freedom Flights

You could opt for Ryanair when flying from Edinburgh to Dublin, but - if you must fly for such a short hop - why not choose a more interesting option and book with the Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines? We explore the range of fifth-freedom flights ...
Magazine article

Plain Sailing

With new routes from Toulon to Menorca and Sicily, there's much ado in the Mediterranean ferry scene this summer. Further north, there are new year-round services between Germany and a Danish island in the Baltic and good news for foot passengers ...
Magazine article

In Search of the Old Believers Today

The Old Believers fled from the tsarist heartland into the remotest corners of the Russian Empire. Some went to Manchuria, moving on to South America and then to Oregon and Alaska. Others found refuge back in Moscow, practising their faith in the ...
Lock on the Grand Union Canal - this major English canal was used by John Hollingshead on his way from London to Birmingham by boat (photo © Cpphotoimages / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

On the Canal

  • 25 Feb 2019
John Hollingshead's account of his 1858 journey on a cargo boat from London to Birmingham is a fine narrative celebrating slow travel; its beauty resides in the manner it captures that sense of wonder at navigating so slowly through ...
The gardens of the Villa Rufolo in Ravello overlook Italy's Amalfi coast (photo © Leonid Sorokin / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The City of Music

  • 20 Feb 2019
Even at this time of the year there is a lush richness in the citrus groves and chestnut woods which tumble down to the sea. We make our way through cypresses and limes towards the Villa Rufolo, the gardens of which inspired Richard ...
Paddington station is the departure point for over 200 trains a day which speed west on Brunel's classic railway to Ealing and beyond. Just one train each day follows a different route out of Paddington - the New North Line (photo © Jonkio4 / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Farewell to a London Ghost Train

  • 7 Dec 2018
This is the story of Paddington’s ghost train which runs for the last time today. The 11.35 to High Wycombe uses the New North Line out of Paddington towards the Chiltern ...
The view towards the Vindhyagiri Hill temple complex - visitors and devotees ascend the hill via a flight of steps (photo © ePhotocorp / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Letter from India

  • 2 Dec 2018
We were and still are Indian novices. The subcontinent pivots around a different Heaven from Europe. So we were a little nervous when we recently visited the country. Wouldn't you be? And we were rarely in the right place at the right time. Enjoy ...
The hill community of Zakopane, in the shadow of the Tatra Mountains, hardly seems the sort of spot for revolution. But 100 years ago it was a self-styled independent republic (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

When Empires Crumbled

  • 13 Nov 2018
The dignified commemorations marking one hundred years since the end of the First World War masked the details of what actually happened in November 1918. The aftermath of the Great War was a messy business, with conflict continuing in some areas ...
On the last Sunday before Lent, the busós cross the Danube in traditional wooden boats before gathering for a procession through the town (photo © Rudolf Abraham).
Magazine article

Dancing by the Danube

In the town of Mohács, on the bank of the River Danube in Hungary, the single most important cultural event of the year is the Busójárás, which is part of a wider European Shrovetide tradition. Rudolf Abraham stopped off in Mohács to report on this ...
A combination of well-kept parks and elegant buildings make Mariánské Lázně instantly appealing (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Bohemian Waters

Here's a hidden europe briefing for first-time visitors to the Czech spa towns. Often referred to as the spa triangle, north-west Bohemia actually has more than just three spa ...
The main stret in Karolovy Vary, formerly known as Karlsbad (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Russians in Bohemia

Where would the spa towns of Bohemia be without the patronage from the great and good? The Romanov family's enthusiasm for taking the water has encouraged generations of Russians to visit the ...
Berlin's Charlottenburg station will add a new departure in December 2018: the Metropol night train to Vienna and beyond (photo © Gestur Gislason / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Central Europe by Night

New rail timetables kick in across Europe on 9 December 2018. There are new direct daytime links from Bratislava to Innsbruck and Zürich, and from the Austria city of Linz to both Halle and Berlin. But the showpiece innovation is a new direct night ...
The wooden Roman Catholic church at Marcinkonys, a village in the Dzūkija National Park east of Druskininkai (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Dzukija National Park

Great sand seas seem at home in the Sahara or Namib deserts - or even perhaps on Mars. But in southern Lithuania is a striking sandy landscape shaped largely by the winds. Dzukija National Park is a region of fossil ...
The main spa colonnade at Mariánské Lázne with the neoclassical portico leading to the Kreuzquelle at its end (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 56
  

It is de rigueur these days to keep oneself busy when travelling. Where once travellers would just enjoy being in a place, it’s now almost essential to have an experience. It is with this fad for hyperactivity in mind that we dedicate this issue of ...
Library of the University of Leuven (photo © Ivan Vander Biesen / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

For the Love of Libraries: Leuven

Libraries are much more than bricks and mortar, as Caroline Mills discovers during a visit to Leuven in Belgium. The vandalism of war has twice struck Leuven, with its university library set ablaze by marauding German troops in 1914 and again in ...
A CFS train to La Chaux-de-Fonds waiting in the bay platform at Glovelier station on a misty summer morning (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

The Swiss Jura by Train

For first impressions of the Swiss Jura, hop on the red train which plies the narrow-gauge rail route from Glovelier to La Chaux-de-Fonds. Green landscapes aplenty, but tucked away in these hills are communities which were influential in the ...
View from one of the dunes towards the forested area of the Curonian Spit with the Baltic in the distance (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The Curonian Spit

  • 27 Sep 2018
For much of its length, the Curonian Spit is about two to three kilometres wide; at points it narrows to just a few hundred metres. The sea is never far away. There is a real sense of being on the very edge of Europe. Yet, for all its remoteness, ...
Falconer Vladimir Garaj in historical costume with a white gyrfalcon at Schloss Rosenburg, Lower Austria (photo © Rudolf Abraham).
Magazine article

The Art of Falconry

Falconry has invariably been associated with a measure of privilege and wealth. So it's no surprise that the French Revolution led to a downturn in falconry. Wider access to modern weapons (guns in particular) also helped sideline the art of ...
The ‘ange de la tendresse’ holds back Jesus’ hair on the great calvary at Tronoën (photo © Patricia Stoughton).
Magazine article

The Tender Touch of an Angel

Tucked away in the country lanes of Brittany (in the north-west corner of France) are a number of shrines and sculptures which feature an angel tenderly holding back Christ's hair on the crucifix. Patricia Stoughton goes in search of a peculiarly ...
Baggage tag showing the IATA code DME for Moscow Domodedovo airport (photo © Gh19 / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Bag Tag

Frequent flyers know that it's perfectly reasonable to fly from JFK to WAW via AMS. Just as they appreciate that it makes no sense at all to fly ARN to HEL via CDG. Those innocuous codes on airline baggage tags are the key to the geography of air ...
A train of the Ostdeutsche Eisenbahn GmbH (ODEG) leaving Görlitz station for Zittau, a line which crosses the Polish-German border four times along the way (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Corridor Trains
  

Corridor trains (Korridorzüge in German) have a privileged status in international law which makes provision for the trains of one country to transit another country's territory without onerous bureaucracy and border checks. With the ...
Belle époche paddle steamers ply Lake Geneva, connecting the villages along the lakeshore. Here, the historic steamer ‘La Suisse’ arrives at the station in Cully. The vessel has been in regular service for over 100 years (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Lake Geneva By Boat

From the Bodensee in the north to Lago Maggiore in the south, Swiss lakes are blessed with a wide range of scheduled boat services. We take a look at services which ply the waters of Lake Geneva, serving over two dozen ports across the ...
Ukrainian IC train at Przemysl station bound for Lviv and Kiev (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Lviv Rail Links

News that a new night train, aimed largely at travellers from Ukraine, will link Przemyśl with Berlin from later this year is a sure sign that Ukrainians are making the most of visa-free access to the Schengen group of nations. The new demand for ...
Atlantic Airways Airbus A319 landing at Copenhagen Airport (photo © Jens Fiskbaek / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Flights to the Faroes

Are the Faroe Islands perhaps thinking of emulating Iceland's success in attracting North Atlantic stopover traffic? Might travellers a few years hence stop off in the Faroe Islands en route from North America to the European mainland? We take a ...
Bridge over the Inguri River leading from Georgia proper to Abkhazia (photo © Karlos Zurutuza).
Magazine article

The Mingrelian Question

The green and white stripes of the Abkhaz flag give a striking splash of colour. But the schoolteacher speaks of the Mingrelian language and culture. Karlos Zurutuza goes in search of a minority group in the Republic of Abkhazia, a small territory ...
The Lavaux vineyards and Lake Geneva (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 55
  

We take time out in hidden europe 55 to sample Switzerland’s excellent white wines made from the Chasselas grape, visit the Ukrainian city of Lviv and the Abkhaz-Georgian borderlands and explore the art of falconry in Lower Austria. We ...
Magazine article

Reading Matters

Russian Railways (RZD) have launched their Library for Young Travellers programme with a selection of books for kids on trains to holiday destinations across Russia. Hop aboard for fairy tales, classic novels and a wide choice of poetry by Russian ...
Magazine article

In from the Cold

The thrills and spills of top-class soccer are just part of the appeal of the FIFA World Cup. Sport aside, it's been a chance for visitors to feel the warmth of Russian hospitality. An amiable wolf called Zabivaka has been doing his bit to make ...
The former house of the Iranian consul (called Firouza) in Borjomi, Georgia (photo © Mikhail Markovskiy / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

A Georgian Vichy

  • 5 Jul 2018
The Iranian consul's residence and the Romanov's Likani Palace are just two of many extraordinary buildings which attest to the one-time importance of Borjomi, a Georgian spa town best known for its mineral water. It's a town with a complex history ...
The Lavaux vineyards on the shore of Lake Geneva, viewed from the lakeside promenade at Cully (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Cully by Lake Geneva

  • 1 Jul 2018
Travelling east on the steamer from Ouchy , we are struck by how vines dominate the shoreline of Lake Geneva. At Cully we hop ashore to explore this small town in Switzerland's Lavaux region. It is the area from which Switzerland's acclaimed ...
A 1950s-era West German railcar at Lichterfelde West station. This heritage railcar makes special journeys in the Berlin region, often traversing railway lines which are rarely used by passenger trains (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Tracking through Berlin

  • 10 Jun 2018
This year marks the 180th anniversary of the opening of the first railway in Prussia. This was the line from Berlin to Potsdam. So we joined fellow Berliners on a 1950s-vintage railcar that went from Lichterfelde West to Gesundbrunnen ...
The birthplace of Karl Marx in Trier, Germany, which houses a museum on the life of the German philosopher (photo © Matyas Rehak / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Paris in the springtime

  • 5 May 2018
Today marks the 200th anniversary of Marx's birth. He was born in the town of Trier in the Moselle Valley, a place which these days seems so sedate as to be entirely devoid of revolutionary potential. But Marx had sensitive political antennae and, ...
An exotic spot in western Scotland: the gardens at Crarae (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

By the shores of Loch Fyne

  • 30 Apr 2018
In Victorian Scotland, the public took great interest in technology, and so the detonations at the quarry of Crarae on the west shore of Loch Fyne became something of an attraction. The regular steamer from the Clyde to Inveraray would pause at ...
A dreich day in Castlebay on Barra in January 2018,with Kisimul Castle in the bay, the MV 'Isle of Lewis' at the quay and the mobile cinema waiting for the crowds (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Reel Fun: Scotland's Mobile Cinema

In the early days of the Soviet Union, the Bolsheviks used mobile cinemas as a vehicle for political propaganda. These days, Scotland also has a mobile cinema, but here the purpose is pure entertainment. Everyone smiles when The Screen Machine ...
Magazine article

The Spinetta Report

In the future it may not be so easy to take the slow train from Sospel to Tende. Or from Clermont-Ferrand to Nîmes. Jean-Cyril Spinetta's February 2018 report to President Macron is not good news for regional rail routes in France. It may be ...
Magazine article

Off-track

Route 45 in our Europe by Rail book links Sofia with Zagreb via Belgrade and Brod. That's just the route once followed by the Orient Express. It features in both the 1974 and 2017 versions of the film Murder on the Orient Express. But neither film ...
Magazine article

On a Starry Night

To walk in solitude in the company of stars is indeed something special. It's a chance to attend to the beauty of the heavens. In the Austrian village of Großmugl, the 1500-metre long Sternenweg is a gift to ...
Salt pans in Janubio, Lanzarote (photo © Meinzahn / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 54
  

In hidden europe 54 we feature a long-distance hiking trail in the Balkans, visit chess-mad Yerevan and spend a night in a castle in Austria's Burgenland region. We explore the art of salt harvesting in Lanzarote and combine our passion for wine ...
Sicily seen from the window of the slow train, with Mount Etna in the background (photo © Serjio74 / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

A tangle of detail on the rails

  • 8 Mar 2018
The art of travel writing is not about giving an overview of a country in a recitation of bland generalities. It's about capturing the essence of a place through attention to detail. Tim Parks' book Italian Ways does this ...
image © Gorodok495 / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

Mind the ice

  • 5 Mar 2018
There was talk, as we all waited to leave the overnight ferry from Hoek van Holland in Harwich, as to whether there would be any trains. "It was like the blitz here last week," said one woman, who had evidently escaped the wild English weather by ...
photo © Joshua Wanyama / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

Winter games on a soft border

  • 2 Mar 2018
Winter skating on the River Doubs, which marks the frontier between France and Switzerland, is a common seasonal pastime in the Jura region. As Switzerland and France are both party to the Schengen Agreement, this is a classic "soft" border, one ...
Sinn Féin victory parade, probably after the East Clare by elections of July 1917. Countess Markievicz is shown prominently, wearing a white coat (photo: from the Keogh Photographic Collection, National Library of Ireland on The Commons).
Letter from Europe

Votes for women

  • 4 Feb 2018
Today is the 150th anniversary of the birth of the first woman ever elected to the British House of Commons. Constance Georgine Gore-Booth was born into an Anglo-Irish family in 1868. Her stand on rights for women is just one dimension of the wider ...
Statue of Vladimir the Great on Borovitskaya Square in Moscow near the Kremlin (photo © Vladimir Zhuravlev / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The politics of memorials

  • 21 Jan 2018
In Russia, as more widely, the question of who is honoured in statues and memorials is deeply political. So too is the question of when the first memorial is erected and how long it remains. Felix Dzerzhinsky, the first head of the feared Soviet ...
Old cemetery on Barra's west coast (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Barra connections

  • 16 Jan 2018
Islands breed patience – among both the living and the dead. Especially in mid-winter in Barra, when the storms can be relentless. For us, however, there is a rare pleasure in being at the mercy of the elements. One feels connected with nature in a ...
The Swiss village of Samnaun is a duty-free haven (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Keeping loyal to Samnaun

  • 12 Jan 2018
We had assumed that the practice of diligently recording and publishing the name of visitors had long since died out until last summer we visited Samnaun. This really is one of Europe's most oddball communities. It is tucked away in the hills on ...
The rain goose or red-throated diver is often spotted in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland (photo © Mikelane45 / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

A time for birds

  • 26 Dec 2017
We have had still days over Christmas - even halcyon days for those who know their Greek mythology. It suited the rain geese. The birds are more commonly known as the red-throated diver. Elegant in water, but ungainly on land, the rain goose is ...
The new, 15th edition of Europe by Rail was published in late November 2017.
Letter from Europe

High days, holy days and Christmas gifts

  • 13 Dec 2017
In a rare commercial plug for our products, we have some handsome Christmas gift ideas. For just 48 hours from the time stamp of this newsletter, we are selling signed copies of our Europe by Rail book, the fifteenth edition of which was published ...
Sustenance at half time, as the Bangla Bantams tuck into samosas on the terraces at Bradford City’s Valley Parade Stadium (photo © Emma Levine).
Magazine article

Samosas on the Terraces

Britain's Asian communities are woefully underrepresented in professional football, whether as players or on the terraces. Emma Levine returns to her home city of Bradford to report on an initiative to promote diversity on the terraces at Valley ...
Strolling along the riverside promenade of Novi Becej, a small town on the shores of the River Tisa in Serbia’s Vojvodina region (photo © Laurence Mitchell).
Magazine article

A River Town out of Season

Bicycles outnumber cars in Novi Becej, a small town on the east bank of the River Tisa in the flatlands of the Vojvodina region of northern Serbia. Laurence Mitchell catches the changing moods of Novi Becej as autumn slips into ...
A ship grave close to the west coast of the Swedish island of Gotland (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Boat-shaped Graves

Lozenge-shaped graves, fashioned in the form of a ship, are a distinctive element of Bronze Age visual culture on the Baltic island of Gotland. Do these unusual graves, known as 'ship settings' have a deeper cosmological ...
Former fishing station at Grynge on the east coast of the island of Gotland. It is typical of the fishing stations that the roofs abutted onto one another (as seen here at Grynge). That gave more protection against the elements (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Fishing stations

A number of fishing stations around the coasts of the Baltic islands of Fårö and Gotland recall the heyday of the herring trade, when farmers would become fishermen for a few ...
Eroded limestone sea stacks (called raukar) on Gotland, Sweden (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 53
  

Globalisation is easy to understand. The sharing economy is less so. What at one moment seems to be altruism shades quickly into greed. Connecting “I want” with “I have” seems like a smart idea, but it raises tensions. Uber tussles with the taxi ...
Magazine article

Bradt Guide to Serbia

Laurence Mitchell has written a number of Bradt Guides, including titles on Norfolk (where he lives), central Asia and the Balkan region. We have been thumbing through Laurence's latest Bradt book, the 5th edition of his 'Bradt Guide to Serbia', ...
Ghosts on the Shore by Paul Scraton (Influx Press, 2017)
hidden europe note

Ghosts on the Shore

  • 6 Nov 2017
Nicky Gardner, co-editor of hidden europe magazine, reviews 'Ghosts on the Shore' by Paul Scraton. The book was published in June 2017 by Influx Press. It gives rare insights into Baltic landscapes and ...
Gorgona island, part of the Tuscan archipelago, is a prison island with a twist (photo © Cellai Stefano / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Gorgona prison island

  • 4 Nov 2017
One of Tuscany's leading winemakers, Lamberto Frescobaldi, works with the prison authorities and the inmates on Gorgona island to produce an outstanding white wine. Gorgona lies in the open seas been the coast of Tuscany and ...
Lufthansa looks set to become more dominant in German skies following the demise of its rival Air Berlin. Air Berlin operates its last flights on Friday 27 October 2017 (photo © Radarman70 / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The slow demise of Air Berlin

  • 27 Oct 2017
This evening, as the prosecco glasses clink and the water salutes cascade, anyone might be forgiven for thinking that Air Berlin had just notched up some great commercial success. What is in fact being marked is the demise of an airline with flight ...
The Russian cruiser Aurora is anchored in St Petersburg and currently serves as a museum ship (photo © Marcorubino / dreamstime.com)
Letter from Europe

One shot from the Aurora

  • 16 Oct 2017
100 years ago, on the evening of 25 October 1917 (in the Russian calendar), a single blank shell was fired from the Russian cruiser Aurora. It gave the signal for the Bolsheviks to storm the Winter Palace. Was that single blank shot from the Aurora ...
The Semmering Railway (Austria) is listed on UNESCO's World Heritage list. It traverses the Austrian Alps to link Vienna with Graz and Klagenfurt (photo © Fritz Hiersche / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Railways and World Heritage

  • 29 Sep 2017
Railways have long been a component of successful World Heritage applications. In 1986, Britain made its very first successful application to UNESCO and Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire was inscribed on UNESCO's List. Yet it was not before 1998 that ...
From left to right: Peter Knutas, Sofia Hoas and Christina Knutas in the house of the Föreningen Svenskbyborna in Roma, Gotland (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Swedes in Ukraine

  • 12 Sep 2017
The Gotland village of Roma has become the cradle of memory for Sweden's historic link with the Black Sea region. The village of Gammalsvenskby in Ukraine was established by migrants from Sweden. The links betweeen Gammalsvenskby and Gotland are ...
photo © Teeraporn Tirakul / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

The darker side of verse

  • 25 Aug 2017
It is eighty years ago this autumn that the Jewish-German poet and polemicist Ernst Lissauer died in Vienna. His sad life was a roller coaster of rant and prejudice. He was best known for his hate verse deployed against England in the First World ...
St Giles Church at Imber on Salisbury Plain (photo © Tim.firkins licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)
Letter from Europe

Forbidden places

  • 21 Aug 2017
Next weekend, there's the chance to visit an extraordinary place in England - a village where the entire population was forcibly removed in 1943 in order to provide space on Salisbury Plain for American military manoeuvres. It's one of those places ...
James' View, a great base for exploring the island of Barra (photo © hidden europe).
hidden europe note

James' View: a stunning holiday home in Barra

  • 10 Aug 2017
James' View is stunning. You'd barely credit that the building was once no more than a simple Hebridean dwelling. It has been transformed by owners Marion and Will into a very welcoming holiday home on Barra. It makes a perfect base for exploring ...
The town of Miltenberg on the River Main (photo © Darknightsky / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Everything but the Lorelei

  • 31 Jul 2017
The various hill areas of central Germany, stretching from Bohemia to the River Rhine and beyond, have helped define the landscapes of the region. And last week I took time out to explore some parts of this hill country, wandering from the ...
Swiss style in Zermatt (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The tourist gaze: Zermatt

  • 23 Jul 2017
There is more to Zermatt than the Matterhorn. hidden europe editor Nicky Gardner recalls an early morning walk in the Swiss ...
The market square in Torgau, Saxony, with the Rathaus (town hall) on the far side (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Lutherstadt Torgau

The renaming of towns to honour an individual is commonplace. Nizhny Novgorod became Gorky, in honour of the Russian writer Maxim Gorki who was born there. The town later switched back to its original name. In eastern Germany, towns have been ...
Magazine article

Rail Travel News

Two new high speed rail routes in France, extra trains through the Alps and new services to Ukraine are the headline stories in the summer 2017 rail timetables. We review what's new and what's ...
Smock mill in West Blatchington, Sussex (photo © Martin Meehan / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Smock Mills

The smock mill is a distinctive element of the Dutch cultural landscape. The functionality and simplicity of these simple mills has made them popular exports, and migrants from the Netherlands built smock mills in New England, South Africa and ...
Bruges Embankment in Yoshkar Ola, capital of the Mari El Republic (photo © Artyom Mirniy / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Faking Bruges

The legacy of Leonid Markelov, who in April this year stood down from the position of President of the Mari El Republic, lies in the oddball architecture of the republic's capital city of Yoshkar ...
Hostel of the Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust (GHHT) at Rhenigidale, North Harris, Scotland (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Hebridean Hostels

The Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust gives a chance for travellers to stay a while in some of the remotest communities in the Outer Hebrides. Through the work of the Trust, many casual visitors come to love these island communities. The Trust ...
The cover of hidden europe 52 shows the town of Torgau. The scene is dominated by Hartenfels Castle, the one-time residence of the Electors of Saxony (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 52
  

Welcome to hidden europe 52. Much travel writing fuels a shallow approach to travel. Fear of missing out (FEMO) makes travellers roam the globe in haste. There is, we think, a better way of engaging with places and cultures. We prefer to take ...
The Champs de Mars in Paris, site of the 1867 World Fair (photo © Freesurf69 / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Paris sideshows in June 1867

  • 27 Jun 2017
There was much ado in Paris 150 years ago this month. The 'Exposition universelle de 1867' had opened at the Champs de Mars in April and had secured very positive press reviews both in France and more widely across Europe. It also drew a big crowd ...
The royal palace in Bucharest (photo © Marian Mocanu / dreamstime.com)
Letter from Europe

Through Romanian eyes

  • 19 Jun 2017
The Romanian aristocrat, traveller and writer Dinicu Golescu deserves to be better known outside his home region, for he rates as one of the finest travel writers of the early 19th century. His 1826 book 'Account of My Travels' is an important ...
A new take on the classical villa: Robert Mallet-Stevens' Villa Cavrois at Croix (in French Flanders)
has clear echoes of Frank Lloyd Wright. The villa is one of many buildings in the Wright idiom featured in Gwyn Lloyd Jones' new book 'Travels with Frank Lloyd Wright' (photo © Rifberlin / dreamstime.com)
Letter from Europe

Frank Lloyd Wright in Europe

  • 8 Jun 2017
Today is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Frank Lloyd Wright. He is often regarded as a quintessentially American architect, a man who perhaps was never really comfortable in Europe. But the great advocate of Prairie Style has a legacy in ...
The station at Schaanwald is on the Feldkirch to Buchs railway line that cuts through Liechtenstein (© hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

A month without trains

  • 1 Jun 2017
A new month, and the sun shines. It's summer! And guess what? One European country has just closed down its entire rail network. For the whole month of June, not a single train will operate in ...
The memorial to the children of Lidice in the Czech village (photo by Moravice)
Letter from Europe

Lidice shall live!

  • 23 May 2017
This Saturday marks the 75th anniversary of the Czech Resistance's successful attempt on the life of senior Nazi administrator Reinhard Heydrich. It was an event which had terrible repercussions; the Germans retaliated with ruthless force. Those ...
The departure bays at Berlin's central bus station (photo © Fridolin freudenfett licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0).
Letter from Europe

The bus biz in Berlin

  • 18 May 2017
Berlin's central bus station opened in 1966. Tucked away on the edge of Berlin's trade-fair grounds it is one of the German capital's unsung spaces. Yet the no-frills terminus is still going strong and has seen an increase in services in recent ...
The velvety landscapes of the Cotswolds in summer have long been a magnet for poets and writers (photo © Davidmartyn / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Willow-herb, meadowsweet and steam

  • 12 May 2017
Edward Thomas' achievements as a poet and essayist were only fully recognised posthumously. For many, it is his poem about Adlestrop which sticks in the mind. But there's more to Thomas than that poem - indeed he was a very accomplished nature ...
Lenin statue in Moscow (photo © Mjunsworth / dreamstime.com)
Letter from Europe

April 1917: Lenin returns to Russia

  • 25 Apr 2017
News of the revolution in Russia reached Switzerland in March 1917, and many politically active Russian émigrés immediately decided to return home. Led by Lenin, the revolutionaries boarded a sealed carriage and travelled by train across ...
Shades of the past in the Hebridean blackhouse at Arnol on the Isle of Lewis (photo © hidden europe)
Letter from Europe

The Hebridean Blackhouse

  • 17 Apr 2017
For many visitors to the Hebrides, the traditional blackhouse is a symbol of these islands. Yet rarely is vernacular architecture so freighted with emotion, nostalgia and even ...
Landing on the beach in Barra. The island's airport is blessed with not one, not two, but three runways (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Notes from a Hebridean island

  • 13 Apr 2017
There is a special dynamic to island life. One meets the same people day after day - but often in different contexts. We bump into people in the most unlikely spots. On the east side of Barra, a number of rocky peninsulas jut out into the Sea of ...
The Afsluitdijk is a symbol of Dutch engineering ingenuity. It connects Friesland with northern Holland (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Exploring the dyke

  • 3 Apr 2017
We crossed the Afsluitdijk last week on a long journey from Berlin to the island of Barra in Scotland's Outer Hebrides. Most other vehicles on the Afsluitdijk road sped along close to the speed limit. Instead of dashing over the dyke, we stopped ...
Classic spa architecture in the Czech town of Frantiskovy Lázne (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Hints of the East in Frantiskovy Lázne

  • 26 Mar 2017
Relaxation is compulsory in Frantiskovy Lázne, a small spa town in the far north-west corner of the Czech Republic. There are two outstanding churches, one a very fine Catholic church executed in graceful Empire style and the other a rather ...
image © Tamarindarts / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

Thoughts for the 8th of March

  • 8 Mar 2017
Today is International Women's Day (IWD). In the ecclesiastical calendar, Rome assigns 8 March to St John of God, who died on this day in 1550. He was, as it happens, a thoroughly decent guy who in the latter years of his life worked in Granada ...
A little short on character development, and the plot is thin, but the Czech Republic's annual railway timetable is always a good read.
Magazine article

Bookmark: Jízdní Rád

Now here's a really remarkable book. The Czech national railway timetable for 2017 may not be great when it comes to plot structure and character development, but it is nonetheless an engaging read. Trust ...
Strasbourg's trams are going international: from April 2017 one of the city's tram lines is being extended across the border into Germany (photo © Sergij Kolesnyk / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Taking the Tram

With the success of the Schengen region, local transport links are being extended over international borders. In the coming months, new international tram routes from France to both Germany and Switzerland are due to ...
Tupolev 104 OK-LDC in the Czech border village of Petrovice (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Tale of a Tupolev

Shoppers in the Czech border village of Petrovice are inclined to board a Tupolev 104 airplane when they want a coffee or a snack. Find out why this 60-year-old jet aircraft is a good spot to ...
Visitors to Warsaw can chase the ghosts of the city's Jewish past by exploring the boundaries of the former ghetto (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Out of the Shadows

Władysław Szpilman’s remarkable book The Pianist (made into a film by Roman Polanski) reveals the devastation of Jewish life in Warsaw in 1945. To accompany our feature on Jewish Warsaw we look at the city's Jewish community in the ...
photo © Yarchyk / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

City without Jews

  • 28 Feb 2017
Speculative fiction can sometimes turn out to be eclipsed by real-life events. In Hugo Bettauer's 1922 novel, Die Stadt ohne Juden, fictitious Austrian Chancellor Karl Schwertfeger signs an executive order decreeing that all Jews must leave Austria ...
Image © Boscorelli / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

Tales from the East

  • 17 Feb 2017
With mention of fairy tales and film, thoughts often turn to Disney. The cinematic adaptation of fairy tales is often judged in the west to be a peculiarly American prerogative. But central and eastern Europe have a very fine tradition of ...
Flybe is one of the operators which applied for support from the UK Government's Regional Air Connectivity Fund (RACF) to set up new air routes (photo © Richair / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Funding regional air services

  • 7 Feb 2017
The idea behind the UK Government's Regional Air Connectivity Fund (RACF) is that financial support for a year or two would be an incentive for airline operators to serve routes where there might otherwise be high commercial risk. We take a look at ...
Duchcov Castle in the Czech Republic, where Giacomo Casanova spent the last 13 years of his life looking after the library of Count von Waldstein (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Cashing in on Casanova

  • 30 Jan 2017
Were it not for a librarian, we would surely never have ventured to Duchcov. We have always held librarians, and indeed libraries, in high regard. We're of one mind with Dervla Murphy who once described Heaven as an infinite library and Eternity as ...
photo © Wideonet / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

From Burton to Berlin

  • 22 Jan 2017
Berlin is not normally a place for liturgical theatre, at least not of the Catholic variety. But St Afra is a place apart. And the musical flourishes in this service are remarkable for their provenance. One of the great English organs of the ...
The Ludwigsplatz with the baroque Ludwigskirche in the heart of Saarbrücken, capital of the German state of Saarland (photo © Sergey Dzyuba / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Saarland, January 1957

  • 15 Jan 2017
We walk down the lane between two villages. Each takes its name from the River Gailbach. The higher community is Obergailbach. It's a wee slip of a place. Just a couple of kilometres down the valley lies Niedergailbach which is rather larger. This ...
The island of Barra in Scotland's Outer Hebrides relies on a lifeline air link with Glasgow. Loganair's Twin Otter aircraft land on the beach at Barra (photo © hidden europe).
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 ...
Monument to Nikolai Gogol in Vevey on the Montreux Riviera in Switzerland. Gogol was just one of many artists who enjoyed a sojourn by Lake Geneva (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Montreux connections

  • 31 Dec 2016
If you've eaten too much over the holidays and fancy some exercise, why not join us on a walk around Lake Geneva. Let's focus on the Montreux Riviera, which sweeps softly around the north-east part of the lake. It is densely settled with ...
The extension of the Midland Railway to St Pancras necessitated the demolishion of Agar Town. At the same time St Pancras churchyard was reduced in size. Many of the tombstones which were removed were gathered together around the oak tree pictured above (photo © David Edgar licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0).
Letter from Europe

150 years after Agar Town

  • 28 Dec 2016
It is 150 years since the Midland Railway, which in 1866 was extending its tracks south into St Pancras, demolished a poor, working-class community which inconveniently straddled the company's proposed route to its grand new London terminus. Agar ...
John Henry Newman was admitted to Trinity College Oxford (pictured here) in December 1816 (photo © Julian Fletcher / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Christmas 1816

  • 24 Dec 2016
One day, a learned and able writer will surely pen a spiritual geography of England, looking at the relationship between faith and landscape in that country. It is a book that just waits to be written. The story of John Henry Newman should figure ...
New rail timetables from December 2016 will improve journey times from Milan to Zürich, Verona and Venice. Pictured here is Milan's Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (photo © Mrusty / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

New European rail timetables for 2017

  • 9 Dec 2016
This weekend sees the launch of new railway timetables across Europe. This ritual takes place on the second weekend of December every year, with rail operators revamping service patterns and tweaking their schedules to reflect changing demand. We ...
Byron's visit to the Château de Chillon in 1816 set the agenda for generations of subsequent travellers. This hugely popular castle on the shores of Lake Geneva is in the premier league of Swiss visitor attractions (photo © Pavalache Stelian / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The Prisoner of Chillon

  • 5 Dec 2016
200 years ago, on 5 December 1816, the Scottish publisher John Murray published The Prisoner of Chillon, a poem in the romantic idiom by Lord Byron. It was inspired by a visit which Byron and Shelley had together made to the Château de Chillon that ...
The Augustinian abbey on Inchcolm - an island in the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh (photo © Creativehearts / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Buying a Scottish island

  • 1 Dec 2016
Would you ever consider buying an entire island? This autumn has seen a couple of Scottish islands on the market. For a mere two million pounds, you might consider Tanera Mòr, the largest of the Summer Isles just off the coast of north-west ...
Roman Catholic Basilica of St Servatius at Vrijthof Square in the Old Town of Maastricht (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The Maastricht factor

  • 23 Nov 2016
Do you not find that some towns have instant appeal? That's how we feel about Maastricht, a medium-size city tucked away in the southernmost part of the Netherlands - a region called Limburg. It's forty years since the last of the Limburg coal ...
image © Igor Sokalski / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

More than just a place on a map

  • 18 Nov 2016
I have stood on the cliffs in Ireland and looked west to Hy Brazil, that fragment of lost Atlantis which has fuelled a thousand Celtic legends. You'll search in vain for Hy Brazil on any modern map, yet this legendary land has powerfully shaped ...
Surveying the scene: the small town of Krupka on the edge of the Ore Mountains in Bohemia. The region features in issue 50 of hidden europe magazine (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Issue 50 of hidden europe magazine

  • 15 Nov 2016
Today is special. On account of an anniversary. Today sees the publication of issue 50 of hidden europe magazine. For a niche travel magazine which appears just thrice annually, hidden europe has punched far above its weight, often covering travel ...
Our image shows just one portion of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin; the wooded area in the background is the Tiergarten (photo © Matyas Rehak / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Stumbling through history

  • 13 Nov 2016
As I walked deeper into the complex, surrounded on all sides by the chunky columns, I heard the animated chatter of two kids from time to time - two young English voices in a forest of memories in the very middle of Berlin. I met some Spanish ...
Magazine article

Catholic Oxford

December 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of John Henry Newman's admittance to Trinity College, Oxford. Almost 30 years later (in 1845), Newman was accepted into the Roman Catholic Church. We take a look at Catholic ...
Magazine article

Visa News

A chance to visit Belarus without a visa, and a tweak to the visa regulations in the Russian port of Murmansk are just two of the latest changes to visa regimes in ...
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 50
  

Welcome to hidden europe 50. We live and work in a city where foreign nationals make an immense contribution to the local economy, to society and to the arts. Berlin is in that respect very typical of many places in Europe. In hidden europe, we ...
The crofting settlement of Northton on South Harris in Scotland's Outer Hebrides (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Only Fit For Wild Ducks

Catch the spirit of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides with Gaelic psalm singing at a country church in Lewis or Marian devotions on the Isle of Eriskay. We explore an island archipelago that has a complex mix of landscapes, of which the most distinctive is ...
Lock-in tower (called a 'kulla') and traditional stone house in the north Albanian village of Theth (photo © Laurence Mitchell).
Magazine article

Albania: A Tale of Two Valleys

It is unlikely that great streams of tourists will be arriving in the mountains of northern Albania anytime soon. But this part of the southern Balkans now benefits from better access roads. Guest contributor Laurence Mitchell reports from two ...
One of Robin Stam's 'euro bridges' in Spijkenisse. This bridge is a copy of the design featured on the ten euro banknote (photo © Roel van Deursen, licensed under CC BY 2.0).
Magazine article

Improbable Places

The last year or two have seen a flood of new books which invite readers to engage on a virtual journey exploring our planet. We take a look at a new volume called 'Atlas of Improbable Places', just published by Aurum ...
The Neolithic standing stones at Callanish on the Isle of Lewis attest to a long history of human settlement in the Outer Hebrides (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Hebridean Narratives

Peter May's novels set in the Outer Hebrides communicate a strong sense of Hebridean landscapes. May is the latest in a long line of writers who have helped inscribe the islands on the public imagination. We take a look at a number of Hebridean ...
CalMac's MV Loch Alainn (seen here at Eriskay) plies the Sound of Barra (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

New CalMac Contract

The network of car ferries operated by Caledonian MacBrayne is part of the fabric of island life in Scotland's Western Isles. No trip to the Hebrides is complete without a journey or two on a CalMac ferry. The company has just secured a new ...
Part of a 'Kursächsische Postmeilensäule' - a milestone erected in the Electorate of Saxony as part of an initiative to formalise postage charges. This milestone is at Bad Gottleuba on the former post route between Dresden (Saxony) and Teplice (Bohemia) (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Exploring the Ore Mountains

The Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) offer excellent possibilities for hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing. But even less energetic visitors can reach remote communities in the region by local bus and train ...
Magazine article

Socialist Architecture in Yugoslavia

In Tito's Yugoslavia, architects offered an ideological space between East and West - aligned neither to Soviet-style communism nor to the capitalist tradition. The result was some assertively different architecture, not all of it memorably ...
End of the road: Siberia, part of the Lausitz village of Welzow (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

News from Haidemühl

The Czech energy group EPH has taken over the lignite mining operations in eastern Germany previously managed by Swedish company Vattenfall. What does this mean for the village of Haidemühl, now abandoned for almost a decade, which sits in a area ...
Image © Alain Lacroix / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

Election thoughts

  • 6 Nov 2016
We watched the run-up, the live TV debates and the tough exchanges veering at times towards acrimony. We've followed the arguments on national security, foreign policy and the question of who has the personal authority and good judgement to lead ...
A sukkah - a temporary shelter built for the Jewish festival of Sukkot (photo © Rafael Ben-ari / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Home truths

  • 26 Oct 2016
Many municipal authorities around Europe are very tolerant of the improvised structures which popped up over the last ten days here and there around towns and cities. Those in the know realised at once that it was time for Sukkot, the Jewish Feast ...
The former monastery at Chorin in Brandenburg is a fine example of Brick Gothic architecture, made all the better by its serene setting (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Walking with friends

  • 28 Sep 2016
Summer is slipping into autumn and the leaves in forests around Berlin are already falling. We walked through mixed woodland pondering the sounds and smells of beech, oak, hazel and pine. Before long, we came to Chorin where the remarkable ...
The westernmost inhabited house in Scotland is located on the island of Vatersay in the Western Isles (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Visiting Vatersay

  • 19 Sep 2016
There was a time when cattle from Vatersay being taken to market had to swim across the bay to Barra; more than once the tide and waves claimed the lives of animals. This is a part of Europe where life has never been easy. Yet the island of ...
The view from the tower of the University Church on The High in the heart of Oxford reveals how the countryside nudges up close to the university city (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Escape to Hinksey

  • 24 Aug 2016
One of the many charms of Oxford is that the countryside is never far away. Indeed, seeing folk from Oxfordshire villages tumbling off the buses as they arrived in St Giles this morning, I had a sense of the country coming into ...
Ceramic fountain and art nouveau town hall in Subotica, Vojvodina region, northern Serbia (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Art Nouveau in Subotica

  • 14 Aug 2016
Within minutes of arriving in Subotica last week, we knew this was somewhere special. The town, which is close to the Hungarian frontier in northern Serbia, has a remarkable feast of art nouveau architecture and design. Indeed, no other European ...
Odessa’s famous Potemkin steps (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The Colour of Odessa

  • 16 Jul 2016
Few European cities are so enshrined in myth, fable, stories and song as Odessa. And that's why we judged Odessa a fabulous choice for our lead feature in the new issue of hidden europe. This is an immensely likeable city, one which we visited for ...
All aboard the Sargan Eight Railway in western Serbia. The train is at Sargan Vitasi station (photo © Laurence Mitchell).
Magazine article

The Hills of Western Serbia

There are many visions of Yugoslavia's past. Laurence Mitchell visits the hills of western Serbia to learn how heritage and history fuel the imagination. It's a journey that starts and ends in Uzice and takes in the famous Sargan Eight narrow-gauge ...
Cleaning pig's intestines at a matanza in Secastilla, Spain (photo © Kate Wilson).
Magazine article

Life and Death in Secastilla

Kate Wilson, a first-time contributor to hidden europe, reports from the village in northern Spain where she lives. This is no ordinary day, for this is el día de la matanza - the day of a ritual pig slaughter. No fun for Tia the pig, but a rich ...
The Spine of Russia is a high quality, hardcover photo book by Paul E Richardson and Mikhail Mordasov, published in July 2016. The book is a vivid portrait of modern Russian life.
Magazine article

The Berry Seller

Two new books arising from the Spine of Russia project afford a look at everyday life in the Russian Federation. In this preview of one of the books, Paul Richardson swaps notes with Igor, who is selling berries on a roadside in ...
Fish is a staple in the local diet, and you'll find a fabulous choice of seafood in the markets of Siracusa, Sicily (phooto © Presse750 / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

South to Sicily

The latest book from hidden europe editors Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries is Europe by Rail. Catch the flavour of this new edition with our train journey from Rome to Sicily, specially adapted from the book for this issue of the ...
Magazine article

Hollandries: Dredging and Draining

Europe's most accomplished dredgers and drainers are the Dutch. Settlers from the Netherlands have industriously drained wetlands and coastal meadows across the continent from Bordeaux to the Baltic. We look at some of the continent's ...
Magazine article

Bouvet Island

Bouvet Island, at the southern end of the mid-Atlantic ridge, is 1,800 kilometres away from the nearest landmass (Antarctica) and is thus one of the remotest places on earth. The normal jumping off point for expeditions to this fragment of ...
Magazine article

Bosna-gauge Railways

Had the Balkan region narrow-gauge rail network survived, it would surely today be a cherished asset in promoting tourism over a wide region - in much the same way as the narrow-gauge Rhaetian Railway network has been important in attracting ...
Magazine article

Recalling Tito

From Skopje to Moscow, from Sarajevo to New Delhi, the names of roads and squares recall Josep Broz Tito, who was President of Yugoslavia from 1953 until his death in 1980. But what happened to all the Tito towns in former Yugoslavia? Titograd ...
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 49
  

Welcome to the 49th issue of hidden europe magazine. In this issue we visit the Ukrainian town of Odessa, explore western Serbia, witness the vanishing art of cowbell crafting in Portugal's Alentejo region and attend the matanza in the Spanish ...
Italian baroque style at the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Between the Steppe and the Sea

For Odessa writer Issac Babel, his home town was 'the most charming city of the Russian empire'. For many visitors today, Odessa is one of the most striking Black Sea ports. Join us as we head up the Potemkin Steps to discover ...
Master cowbell craftsman José Louís Reis Maia at the Chocalhos Pardalinho workshop, in the village of Alcácovas, Alentejo, Portugal (photo © Rudolf Abraham).
Magazine article

And to the Bells, a Voice

The Portuguese tradition of making cowbells is an endangered rural craft. Rudolf Abraham travels to the Alentejo region of Portugal to visit a workshop where cowbells are still crafted in the traditional ...
Memorial to Father Hendrik in the Altes Land village of Steinkirchen, Germany. He was the symbolic leader of the first Dutch settlers who moved to the area in the 12th century (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

A Visit to the Old Country

Beside the River Elbe, just downstream from Hamburg, lies the Altes Land. It is one of Europe's most intensive areas of fruit cultivation. Apples, raspberries, cherries and plums aplenty in a region which owes much to early Dutch ...
Madrid's Metro Linea 1 has a disused station that has been converted into an exhibition (photo © Dariusz Szwangruber / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Platform Zero

At Augsburg station in Bavaria, there is a Platform 801, while a number of stations around Europe have a Platform 0 - among them Aarau in Switzerland and King's Cross station in London. We take a look at the Platform Zero ...
The main street in Clarens, South Africa (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

A Tale of Two Clarens

On the face of it, there is no connection between the Swiss town of Clarens (on the north shore of Lake Geneva) and the South African town of Clarens in the Free State. But the South African town took its name from the eponymous Swiss community. It ...
The Grand Hotel Zvon dominates one side of the town square in the Bohemian town of Ceské Budejovice (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The Beauty of the Square

  • 11 Jul 2016
Kings come and kings go, and even freedom goes in and out of fashion. But the appeal of the town square endures, because ultimately these are spaces that belong to the people. The square in Ceské Budejovice is no exception to that rule. Welcome to ...
photo © Radius06 / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

After the referendum

  • 4 Jul 2016
For millions of Brits of my generation, the EU gave an exit route, a chance to escape. It gave me a chance to feel truly European, to be truly European. It has given me the opportunity to explore other languages, other faiths, other freedoms, that ...
Pushkin statue in Odessa (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

On Pushkin and locusts

  • 30 Jun 2016
They storm in, straight out of the Book of Revelation, and lay waste to the earth. Locusts! They do not make pleasant neighbours. Europe has been largely free of locusts in recent years – but not ...
Private Italian operator NTV Italo offers a new weekend service from Milan to Rimini this summer (photo © Eqroy8 / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Summer excursions by train

  • 8 Jun 2016
New summer train timetables kick in across Europe this month, ushering in many new rail links and interesting changes in rail services across the ...
The Rhine Gorge with Burg Katz and the Loreley (photo © Europhotos / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Travelling with Byron and Turner

  • 16 May 2016
In these days of slick PR, tourist boards and tour operators are keen to enlist the help of 'travel influencers' to promote particular destinations. Baedeker and Murray were of course among the most respected travel influencers of yesteryear, but ...
Gammelstad is one of the best-preserved Scandinavian church towns; it is included on UNESCO's World Heritage list(photo © Mariagroth / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Prayer and trade in Gammelstad

  • 13 May 2016
Gammelstad is the best surviving example in northern Scandinavia of a church town. An 1854 Lapland guide gave a marvellous account of these church towns, explaining how they were improvised trading settlements which developed around parish ...
'Coalmine in the Borinage' (watercolour and pencil, 1879) by Vincent van Gogh. The original is held in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Letter from Europe

Deep in the Borinage

  • 29 Apr 2016
The Borinage lies on the coalfields of southern Belgium, which extend over the frontier into adjacent areas of France. Vincent van Gogh's stay in this impoverished area of southern Belgium is a chapter in the artist's life which has largely slipped ...
Professor Doreen Massey
hidden europe note

In honour of Doreen Massey 1944-2016

  • 13 Mar 2016
We have this weekend heard the sad news of the death of Doreen Massey, the distinguished geographer whose ideas powerfully influenced our work at hidden europe. Her ability to challenge everything is a model for all socially committed ...
A CalMac ferry approaching the jetty in the harbour of Castlebay, Barra (photo © Donaldford / dreamstime.com).
hidden europe note

Armadale to Ardrossan – the slow way

  • 13 Mar 2016
Here is the answer to the Scottish Slow Travel Challenge we posted in the hidden europe Notes section on 19 February. The heart of the challenge was to tell us the latest possible date on which it would be possible to leave Skye in order ...
A classic piece of communist architecture: on its completion in 1952, the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment building on the Moskva River in Moscow was the tallest building in Europe (photo © Leonid Andronov / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Welcome to hidden europe 48

  • 13 Mar 2016
Today's Letter from Europe reviews the contents of hidden europe 48. Publication of this new issue of the travel magazine is 15 March 2016. Copies are already available for ...
Ilya Repin's famous painting entitled 'Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire' in the collection of the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg.
Letter from Europe

Ilya Repin and the Cossacks

  • 5 Mar 2016
A picture, so they say, is worth a thousand words, and perhaps the most famous letter in art is that which the Cossacks allegedly sent to the Turkish Sultan in 1676. If you like the work of Ilya Repin, then you'll probably share our enthusiasm for ...
From great novels to vintage romance, the whole world of the printed word is traded in Redu, a book town in Belgium (photo © Katrin Schönig).
Magazine article

Redu: that novel idea
  

Tucked away in the hill country of southern Belgium is the town of Redu. On the face of it, Redu is much the same as other towns in the Ardennes region. Except that, in Redu, the printed word is especially cherished and valued. Paul Scraton invites ...
The operations room in Valletta used by the Allies for managing operations in the Mediterranean theatre in World War II (photo © Victor Paul Borg).
Magazine article

Valletta's subterranean secrets
  

Dive into the streets of Valletta and you'll discover one side of the Maltese capital. Climb up to the city ramparts for a very different view of Valletta. But Victor Paul Borg believes that the only way to understand the military history of ...
Magazine article

Editorial hidden europe 48
  

Welcome to the 48th issue of hidden europe magazine. In this issue we visit the Belgian book town of Redu, explore the chapels of Finistère and Dungeness Foreland, and move underground to discover Malta's military history. All that and much more ...
Young men in Prishtine, Kosovo (photo © Malik5 / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

What colour is your flag when it burns?
  

Kosovo is arguably Europe's newest country. Most nations now recognising the leadership of the territory as being a legitimate national government, though even some European Union members are still withholding recognition. Kosovo still has internal ...
Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian children pose for a photo at the renovated Centre for Co-operation and Integration ‘Fidan Lahu’, funded by the OSCE, at Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje (OSCE / Hasan Sopa).
Magazine article

Balkan identities
  

So you think you know the key ethnic groups in Kosovo? Serbs and Albanians, to be sure. But life on the ground is more complicated. Who are the Gorani? Then there is a trio of ethnic groups who are locally referred to as the RAE community, viz. ...
Looking west from Frankfurter Tor along Karl-Marx-Allee, Berlin. The two ceremonial towers were designed by Hermann Henselmann, who also did the initial design concept for the Alexanderplatz TV Tower in the distance (photo © Sergey Kohl /dreamstime.com).
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 ...
The Karl Marx-Hof in Vienna is a fine example of politically driven architecture (photo © Marcin Łukaszewicz / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Flagship of red Vienna: Karl Marx-Hof
  

The well-being of residents, communal facilities and the affordability of housing have been the hallmarks of Vienna's social housing programmes for almost a century. Urban explorer Duncan JD Smith leads us to the 'Ringstrasse des Proletariats': ...