Tag Archives: Europe

Get your free copy of Scandinavia travel guidebook

2017-06-22

What is the one thing you know about Scandinavia? Long winters, midnight sun in summer, design, education system, welfare, Abba, HIM, or A-ha? Well, the best way to find out more is to travel in Nordic countries and see how the region is yourself. A good starting point is the book we have put together from travel guidebooks and cultural guides that talk about Sweden, Norway and Finland.

Traveling in Scandinavia is an ebook that you download for free here.
Book cover image: Traveling in Scandinavia
The book is a selection of travel tips and cultural insights into the Nordic countries. A little bit of information on food and history is included as well.

Here is a taste of Scandinavia for you to explore at the comfort of your reading nook – perhaps before heading out to the North yourself. As the selection of writings show, there are plenty of destinations to see and things to do: city life, mountain biking, fishing in pristine rivers, camping, island hopping, road touring, Arctic adventures, or hiking in the wilderness. If something is missing, Finns will invent it (e.g. wife carrying competition), Swedes will sell it to the world (e.g. entire country available on Airbnb), and Norwegians will win the cross-country skiing world championship (again).

Ebook news digest: travel writer or blogger, iPhone photography, European libraries, writing that second book

2017-06-20

News on ebooks, writing and photography

acer tablet with Bluetooth keyboard
3 Big Differences Between Travel Writing and Travel Blogging
Travel Blog Success

There are differences between travel writing and blogging, and in the long term, they are fundamental for a writer to understand. Yet, it is perfectly all right and possible to do both.

7 iPhone photography features you probably don’t know about
Picturecorrect

Useful features once you take the time and learn to use these iPhone camera functions. For instance, burst mode is a vital function for photographing fast moving subjects, and HDR mode can give good results in strong, bright light.

‘The future of their businesses is at stake’: European publishers are exploring alternatives to the duopoly
Digiday

European publishers whose revenue is increasingly depending on online advertising are not happy with Facebook and Google. Not only these companies borrow publishers’ content and make money with it, but they also take a large share of the online advertising revenue. Not anymore. Many big European publishers have switched to alternative ad networks.

5 Things All Writers Should Know When Writing a Second Novel
Writer’s Digest

The article talks about fiction books, but it is valid for nonfiction writers as well. Many non-fiction authors have told me that the hardest part is to commit to a new project and start it, because after the first book everyone knows how much hard work it was.

Scandinavia guidebook – free download: travel tips and cultural insights into the Nordic countries
Klaava Travel Guide

Sweden’s West Coast is one of the hidden gems in Europe as far as travel destinations are considered. The large wilderness region of Lapland that covers the northern parts of Norway, Finland and Sweden is an outdoors lovers paradise. And city life in the north? It is covered as well.

Stunning Photographs of European Libraries
Fubiz

In European cities, libraries are often operating in magnificent old buildings. Some have originally been designed as public spaces, some have been converted into libraries, but in any case, these pictures are amazing.

The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work [Infographic]
Toggl, Mart Virkus

The pioneer of remote work IBM famously called its remote workers back to their cubicles, but the trend of remote work continues to strengthen.

Keine Einigung über E-Book-Steuer
Boersenblatt

EU has already agreed to adjust the VAT of ebooks so that member countries could tax digital books in a fair manner, but the news is that the first meeting that was supposed to start implementing the new regulation halted the whole process. Now, we wait.

Traveling in Europe but no books to read? Why not stay a night at a library in Paris

2017-06-07

The city of artists, authors and a few million other people – Paris – has a special hotel room waiting for travelers who like to sleep with books. Paris Boutik Hotel has rooms that are all different, designed to a theme. One of these rooms is a library. It is located in Marais district of the city.

Paris Boutik hotel room library bookstore
The library room is generous in size: 45 m2. There are books for children as well, but not for pets. Dogs or cats are not allowed in this room.

Books, on the other hand, are available in the bathroom as well, in case a guest forgot to take reading along from the bedroom or lounge.

The Paris Boutik Hotel has more information and online booking.

Via Actualitte (with more photos).

Paris Boutik hotel, books in bathroom
Paris Boutik hotel, library room

Top 5 scenic drives in Lapland for road travelers touring North Europe

2017-06-05

It is a long way to the north of the Arctic Circle, Lapland in Scandinavia, from other parts of Europe. Yet, so many road travelers make the trip that during the busiest summer season in July and August, popular camp sites can be fully booked if you arrive late in the evening. Enjoying the great outdoors is the primary reason for visitors to drive to the far north, and while doing it, why not enjoy the best scenic drives while on the road.

Here are the top 5 scenic drives in the land of fells, fjords, reindeer and Sami people as ranked in the travel guidebook Lapland. Some of the routes cross the borders of Finland, Norway or Sweden.

Lakselv-Nordkapp

Travelers who are heading to Nordkapp can approach the Europe’s northernmost point from Alta or from Lakselv. The road from Lakselv to Nordkapp is the one to take if you want to maximize your time taking in spectacular scenery. Without breaks, this drive takes about 3-3.5 hours.

A video that shows the sceneries along the Lakselv-Nordkapp road:

Lakselv is located at the southern end of Porsangerfjorden. Heading north of Lakselv, towards Nordkapp, the road (E6 and E69) follows the shores of the fjord. You can admire fjord views practically all the way to Nordkapp, apart from two long tunnels that dive into a mountain and under the sea.

There are plenty of places to stop and take a break on the way. It is really better to stop on the roadside and take time to absorb the scenery, take some photos, and perhaps take a dip in the sea than to drive slowly and block the narrow road. Local truck and bus drivers may want to go faster than tourists even though the road is narrow.

Karigasniemi-Utsjoki

The road from Karigasniemi to Utsjoki may not be one of the best known road sections in Lapland, but it definitely is one of the most beautiful. The road follows Tenojoki River which is famous for its wild salmon and trout. There are many places along the road where fishermen can stay at a cottage and hire a local guide with a boat to fish for the famous Tenojoki salmon. One thing is common for all travelers: everyone admires the varying landscape. The lush river valley, high fells and snow-capped peaks come into view as the road undulates along the river shores.

You can choose to drive on the Norwegian or Finnish side of Tenojoki River. I have only made the trip on the Finnish side where the road was in good condition. Roadside carparks were built in scenic places that provided beautiful views to the river and the surrounding fells. In Finland, the road starts from Karigasniemi village, and in Norway from Karasjok. There are no bridges across the river between Karigasniemi and Utsjoki.

Narvik-Kiruna

The road between Narvik and Kiruna shows the many faces of Lapland landscape. In the west near Narvik, fjords and mountains create the unique scenery Norway is renowned for. From Narvik towards the east, the road ascends to a mountain plateau. Approaching Abisko, a whole new world opens up: mountain peaks, lakes, rivers and scarce vegetation establish a unique landscape that doesn’t look like anything you have seen before. As Kiruna comes closer, scarce vegetation gives way to lush forests as the landscape changes from fells to undulating forests and hills.

The landscape between Kiruna and Narvik is shown on this video clip:

There are many roadside carparks on the way, especially near Abisko. During weekends, the carparks may be crowded as locals head to lakes and rivers to fish and hike into the fells. Abisko and Riksgränsen are the only places where services are available along this road section.

Kong Olavs Veg

Kong Olavs Veg (King Olav’s Road) leads travelers from mainland Norway to the Lofoten archipelago and across the islands. The scenery is pretty much continuously spectacular: mountains, fjords, villages and fishing ports. There is not a dull moment on Lofoten no matter which road you choose to drive. Occasional bridges and ferries along the way let you admire the landscape from the sea as well.

Summer sceneries along the roads of Lofoten can be viewed on this video clip:

Winter/spring sceneries along the roads of Lofoten can be viewed on this video clip:

Roads, even the main roads in Lofoten, are narrow and some sections can be a bit bumpy. Take care that right-side wheels travel on the white line on the right edge of the road, because local bus and truck drivers want to drive at their own speed on the roads they know so well. Plan your trip so that you have plenty of time. Driving across the archipelago is slow because of narrow and twisting roads, and villages on the way.

Bjerkvik north of Narvik is the place to start the road trip to Lofoten. An alternative route is to take a ferry from the mainland (for instance, from Bodö or Bognes to Moskenes) and drive across Lofoten from west to east.

Karesuvanto–Skibotn

This scenic road takes you from majestic fell landscape in Finland to beautiful fjord mountain landscape in Norway. The highlights of this trip are Saana fell in Kilpisjärvi and Lyngenfjord.

This video shows the sceneries between Karesuando and Skibotn:

The starting point is the village of Karesuvanto that is located on both sides of the border in Finland and in Sweden. The village can be reached via E45 from Sweden and via E8 from Finland. From Karesuvanto, head west along E8. The road follows the border river Muonionjoki and gradually ascends to the gently sloping fells. Kilpisjärvi is a destination of its own for travelers. A hike to the Saana fell is highly recommended. Towards west, after Kilpisjärvi, you enter Norway and the landscape changes. Fells get steeper as the road winds down towards the sea. The village of Skibotn welcomes road travelers to the shores of the beautiful Lyngenfjord.

Lapland travel guidebook, book cover image

This was extracted from the travel guidebook to Lapland that has more information and tips for all travelers who are planning to visit the last large wilderness of Europe.

Nordic food and travel book Eight Arctic Seasons has won the Gourmand Award for the best Scandinavian title

2017-05-30

8 Arctic Seasons is a book that lives and breathes the sensitive Arctic environment as it describes gourmet meals prepared from local ingredients that often are enjoyed outdoors. The book also takes readers to exquisite adventures to the North. Above all, it is a beautiful book filled with photographs of the Arctic moments, meals and landscapes.
8 Arctic Seasons book in the snow with Liisa KokkarinenLiisa Kokkarinen, Editor & Co-author of the book took it for a spin near North Pole.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards were founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau. Every year, the best food and wine books (printed and digital), and food shows on television are being awarded.

In 2017 award ceremony in China, 8 Arctic Seasons: Discover – Taste – Experience was the Scandinavia Cookbooks category winner in the global Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

Janne Honkanen and Liisa Kokkarinen, who were the key contributors to the book, have day jobs at Luxury Action Ltd. The company is based in Finnish Lapland from where it covers the entire Nordic region, including Greenland and even North Pole. Custom tours are planned with the environment and gastronomy in mind, a source of inspiration for the book as well.

The book is available both as printed edition (at Akateeminen bookstore) and as an ebook (check availability and prices here).

Still wondering what the eight Arctic seasons are? Starting from summer, they are: the ever-rising sun, Midsummer harvest, colors of autumn, the first snow, Christmas time, frosty winter, crusty snow and departure of ice.

An image from 8 Arctic SeasonsAn image from 8 Arctic Seasons.
8 Arctic Seasons book, food photo
Eight Arctic Seasons book in the North with Liisa Kokkarinen

Sweden: the entire country is open for accommodation bookings on Airbnb

2017-05-24

In the northernmost Nordic countries – Finland, Norway and Sweden – both local people and overseas travelers can enjoy an ancient tradition known as the Everyman’s Rights. It means that you are free to roam and even stay a night on anyone’s land assuming that it is not explicitly forbidden (I have never seen such a thing) and you are moving and staying far enough from homes and farms. There is simply so much space that it actually works fine.

Slottsskogen in Gothenburg, Sweden

Slottsskogen in Gothenburg. Sweden.


Now, Sweden’s tourism marketing organization has realized that with the Everyman’s Rights they have a gem in their hands that is truly an exceptional asset in the whole world (apart from neighbor countries that have the same concept). So, Sweden listed the entire country on Airbnb booking service.

Listing a country to an online booking service is ofcourse a tongue-in-cheek kind of thing, but it is executed with style. And everything, for instance, what the following listing in southern Sweden says about a destination is true. Take a look at the screen shot below.

Sweden listing on Airbnb
Bring your own tent and food, and don’t leave any rubbish when you leave. It is as simple as that. Making fire is a bit more complex issue. In national parks, there are fireplaces – for detailed information what to do in other areas, see the books listed at the end of the article.

Here is a video that tries to explain the beauty of the free roaming concept:

Via New Atlas.

For information on traveling in Sweden, the following visual travel guidebooks can help in planning a trip and making it. The books also include detailed descriptions of the Everyman’s Rights concept – what is allowed and what is not.

Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast (Klaava Travel Guide)
Lapland: North of the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia (Klaava Travel Guide)

Top 10 most photographed sights in Europe in 2017 according to Instagram

2017-05-16

Europe is the number one travel destination in the world. Especially, the historical cities of the continent attract tourists (at least, before they find the beaches and mountains). The most photographed sights of Europe are familiar for most travelers even they haven’t visited the sites themselves yet.

Here is ranking for the top 10 most photographed sights in Europe according the the social media photo service Instagram (via DW).

Paris, France, Europe, Eiffel tower

Paris, France. Eiffel tower in morning mist.


1. Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

The Eiffel Tower is the most visited monument in the world that charges a fee from visitors. About 7 million tickets are sold annually, and who knows how many million tourists don’t want to queue up to the lifts but settle for taking selfies on the ground. Don’t start bargaining over the price if someone offers to sell you the Eiffel. It has been sold already – many times.

2. Tower Bridge in London, England.

It is the towers standing in the Thames River that make the Tower Bridge stand out from the other splendid sights of London. One might think that Big Ben would be the iconic place to take a photo in London, but the bridge is more popular.

Barcelona, Spain, Sacrada da Familia, design by Gaudi

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.


3. Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.

Two things, at least, will surprise you if you visit the Gaudi designed church in Barcelona: it is much bigger and impressive than any photo can ever tell, and it is still a construction site. The church is so big and complicated to build that the work started in 1882, and is planned to finish in 2026. In reality, it will never finish because older parts of the building already need renovation work. Nonetheless, it is one of the most remarkable man-made sights in the whole world.

4. Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

Tourists may queue up to the churches of the Vatican for hours, but the Colosseum is the most photographed sight in Rome. There was space for about 50 000 spectators in Colosseum in the glory days of Rome (who weren’t there for Russell Crowe).

5. Red Square in Moscow, Russia.

The Red Square has been a backdrop in so many movies (especially action films where a hot car chase crosses the square) that it may appear familiar even though you haven’t visited it. Other sights on the sides of the square include St. Basil’s Cathedral, the State Historical Museum, and Lenin’s Mausoleum.

6. Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

The remnants of a fortress have been guarding the city of Athens for over 3000 years. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for 30 years.

berlin, branderburger gate

Berlin, Germany: Brandenburger Gate.


7. Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.

If the Berlin Wall still existed, it could be one of the most photographed sights in Europe, but it disappeared in 1989. The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin’s center is a majestic sight with beautiful old administrative buildings around it. (Pieces of the Berlin Wall have been retained here and there if you want to have a look how it used to be).

8. Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic.

The Charles Bridge is located in a central place in the old town of Prague. Probably every visitor will walk across it. The castle on the other side of the river and the center of the old town on the other side should be on every tourist’s itinerary.

9. Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, UK.

Edinburgh is such a lovely city to explore and to photograph that it is surprising that one subject is in everyone’s frame. The Castle on the Castle Hill is difficult to photograph because of its size and location. Tip: in August, the Tattoo event in Edinburgh is remarkable.

10. Atomium statue in Brussels, Belgium.

Usually, it is true that if millions of people think a place or a monument is worth visiting, there is something truly remarkable in there. Well, maybe this is an exception. The Atomium statue in Brussels was constructed for the 1958 World Fair. What’s wrong with taking a selfie in front of Manneken Pis in the city center?

View travel photograph galleries by travel writers here.

Thanks to EU, also Amazon has to compete on fair terms in the European ebook markets

2017-05-06

European Commission has made a decision on complaints about Amazon’s business practices in the EU markets. The decision published on 4th May 2017 confirms that the new terms Amazon had offered to the EU have been accepted. The new terms between Amazon and book publishers who operate in the EU market can not have the most favored nation clause anymore, which means that the publishers don’t have to guarantee Amazon the lowest ebook price.

amazon kindle voyage and paperwhite
European Commission agreed the following commitments offered by Amazon confirmed to EU’s competitive regulation:

[Amazon will] “Not to enforce (i) relevant clauses requiring publishers to offer Amazon similar non-price and price terms and conditions as those offered to Amazon’s competitors or (ii) any such clauses requiring publishers to inform Amazon about such terms and conditions. The commitments cover in particular provisions related to alternative/new business models, release date and catalogue of e-books, features of e-books, promotions, agency price, agency commission and wholesale price.
To allow publishers to terminate e-book contracts that contain a clause linking discount possibilities for e-books to the retail price of a given e-book on a competing platform (so-called Discount Pool Provision). Publishers are allowed to terminate the contracts upon 120 days’ advance written notice.
Not to include, in any new e-book agreement with publishers, any of the clauses mentioned above, including Discount Pool Provisions.”

The case is all about money and control. Amazon has used (and is still using in other markets) its dominant position in the market to enforce the best price and terms for ebooks it sells to consumers. EU has now ended the practice in Europe.

We can confirm that Amazon monitored the lowest price -clause. We have received a note from Amazon that told us to lower the price of an ebook at Amazon, because it was priced lower at another bookstore. There was not much choice, but to lower the product price for Amazon.

We shouldn’t forget that thanks to Amazon, the world has a dynamic ebook market today. Ten years ago, Amazon introduced the first Kindle ereader (a history of Kindle gives you an overview of all models – just look at the first one, oh dear). A pretty good selection of ebooks was available at 9.99 right from the start. It was a beginning for something new that is still developing strongly.

European Commission’s note on the Amazon decision. The investigation process started in June 2015.

Spring is the best time to enjoy snowy activities in the wild north of Scandinavia, Lapland

2017-04-06

The dark winter in the northern hemisphere has been left behind, and the sun shines brightly on snowy slopes of fells in Lapland, in the northernmost region of Europe. Even though the nights are cold, the days tend to be warm (if it is sunny – and it often is) making spring the ideal season to enjoy outdoors activities in the snow.

Aavasaksa, Lapland, Finland.

Aavasaksa, Lapland, Finland.


Skiing is perhaps the most popular way to experience the magic of the north. If you mention skiing to the local Finns, Norwegians, Swedes or Sami in Lapland, they may assume you are referring to cross-country skiing. It is a good idea to specify what kind of skiing you mean: downhill or cross-country. Cross-country skiing tracks can be found practically in every village, town and tourist center. Downhill skiing slopes with lifts are available in large resorts, such as Ylläs, Ruka, Levi (in Finland) and Riksgränsen, Björkliden (in Sweden).

Snowmobile safaris have become very popular recently. You can ride a snowmobile yourself (highly recommended – it is a lot of fun) or take a backseat on someone else’s snowmobile. Resorts rent snowmobiles and organize guided tours to the wilderness. Most places have designated tracks for snowmobiles, which means you have to stay on those tracks. The tracks also help you from getting lost in the vast region where people and towns are few (and mobile phone signal disappears after a minute or two).

Husky dog sledge tour in Lapland

Photo: Visit Rovaniemi/Tourism & Marketing Ltd.


There are, however, plenty of reindeer roaming in the wilderness. The animals must dig deep into the snow to reach plants to eat. The owners of the reindeer usually bring supplemental food to the animals on their snowmobiles.

Snowmobile rides are fun, but the engines make some noise. Dogs can take you to a completely silent ride in the snow. Huskies are more than happy to pull a sledge, and once they settle to their travel speed, it is amazing how silently they go. You can sit back, admire the scenery and appreciate the work dogs are doing.

When the sun sets, a magical show starts in Lapland. Spring is also a wonderful time to see the Northern Lights, because the nights are dark, but it is not cold as in winter.
The Northern Lights in Rovaniemi (Photo Copyright Visit Rovaniemi/Rovaniemi Tourism & Marketing Ltd).Photo: Visit Rovaniemi/Rovaniemi Tourism & Marketing Ltd.
The high season for spring travel in Lapland is March and April. Easter tends to be the busiest time at resorts and airports.

What you should know about traveling in Lapland

In the spring, be careful with the sun that also reflects from the snow: wear sunglasses and if you are exposed to the sun more than an hour or so, apply sunblock to your face.

I have written a guidebook (Lapland – North of the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia) that helps in all aspects of planning and exploring this exotic wilderness region both in summer and in winter.

Here are some bookstores where the Lapland travel guidebook is available:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Apple iBooks
Barnes & Noble Nook Books
Google Play Books

Lapland travel guidebook, book cover image

Priceless experiences for a travel show host in Lapland

2017-03-21

The BBC Travel Show host Ade Adepitan visited Finnish Lapland in winter in order to discover how the indigenous Sami people live and how tourism actually helps them to keep their old culture alive. The host spent his time in Inari region which is the central place for Sami in Finland.
BBC Travel Show, Finland Special in Inari, Lapland
The Travel Show episode 163 (Finland Special) shows how reindeer get their food in winter, how people fish when the large Lake Inari is on ice and how it is possible to move around in wilderness even in winter.

The whole show is good fun, but especially the segment where the host Adepitan rides a snowmobile for the first time is priceless. Just look at his face and reaction when he turns the gas throttle. BBC doesn’t allow watching the Travel Show outside the UK, but here is a link for those whose computer or smart device has a British Internet address.

The Lapland episode of the BBC Travel Show only shows the Inari landscape in winter. Here are a couple of photos from my Lapland travel guidebook that show the sceneries in summer. Thousands of road travelers, fishermen, hikers, cyclists, all types of outdoor lovers like to travel around the region in summer. Skiers are the biggest group of travelers in winter.

Inari Lake, Lapland, Finland

Inarijärvi, FInland.

Lake Inari, Finnish Lapland: fishing at night.

Next time when the Travel Show visits Inari, I would like to recommend them the Siida Sami Museum. It is the best place in Lapland to get comprehensive information on Sami people, their history, culture, way of life, and current means of living.
Inari Siida Museum. Lapland, Finland, Europe

Tips for traveling in Lapland

A journey to Lapland can be an experience of a lifetime, but independent travelers should plan their trip because the distances can be long and services are only available in towns and in some villages. The guidebook (Lapland – North of the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia) helps in all aspects of planning and exploring this exotic wilderness region.

Here are some bookstores where the Lapland travel guidebook is available:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Apple iBooks
Barnes & Noble Nook Books
Google Play Books

Lapland travel guidebook, book cover image

Considering moving to, or working remotely from another country? These are the healthiest countries in the world

2017-03-11

Usually expats live and work in a country where they have been sent to for a few years, whereas digital nomads may move to a new country after a month. Nonetheless, the status of health services and the quality of the environment in the destination country are major factors when considering where to move. InterNations conducted a large survey where they asked people who have lived abroad their opinion about the health situation in countries they have lived in. Here are the results.

The ranking of the top 13 healthiest countries in the world includes 7 European countries and 6 countries from other parts of the world. Austria was ranked the number one country, followed by Taiwan and Finland.

InterNations is the world’s largest network of people who are living and working overseas. InterNations asked the members of the network to rank their health and well-being in the countries where they are living or have lived. This particular question was part of a wider survey on the quality of living abroad.

They asked 14,300 people living overseas to rate 43 aspects of life in their new country. Respondents represent 174 nationalities who are living in 191 countries or territories,

These are the 13 healthiest countries in the world according to the InterNation survey.

1. Austria.
Is it the Alps, Mozart, ski slopes, Vienna or something else that makes Austria do so well in quality of life surveys like this? All of that and good healthcare.
Austria Alps, photo by Francisco Antunes

2. Taiwan.
Taiwan and Japan were the only Asian countries ranked high in well-being in the survey. Stray dogs and beggars roam the streets of the capital Taipei, but in general expats were very happy with health services.
Taipei by Ludovic Lubeigt

3. Finland.
Finland is a country where everything works, and that concerns healthcare as well. While expats thank the reasonable cost of medical care in the country, the nation is in a process of totally renewing its healthcare system (because of high costs).

Fish market at Market Square in Helsinki, Finland.

Fish market at Market Square in Helsinki, Finland.

4. Japan.
Japan is quickly aging, and it is the reason why the country leads the world in the development of personal assistant robots. The other parts of the health system work fine as well.

5. Israel
Perhaps it is surprising to see Israel ranked so high on wellbeing, but if you forget the serious issues with personal safety and security, it has other positive things on its side.

6. Denmark
Denmark and its capital Copenhagen have been voted as the best places to live many times and it shows in this survey as well. Health services in the former Viking country are regarded excellent.

7. Germany.
On autobahns people may sometimes challenge death by driving as fast as their Porsches and BMWs go, but maybe they rely on country’s reliable health services.

8. France.
Tax rates in France are among the highest in Europe (if not in the world), but the locals say that they are so proud of their excellent welfare system that they don’t mind paying their taxes.

9. Costa Rica.
Expats are happy with Costa Rica in general and health services available in the country.

10. Spain
When an expat is sent to Spain to work in an air-conditioned office from 9:30am until 7pm, people who don’t know any better, wish him or her sunny vacation days on the beach. Nothing could be further from the truth. In any case, high quality health services are readily available both in public and private institutions. Spain’s climate probably adds points to the well-being ranking.

11. New Zealand
Not only one of the world’s most exciting vacation destinations, New Zealand has a high living standard and welcoming people.

12. Canada
Canada is the only North American country that made it to the top 13. The country’s large cities have consistently been ranked high in the best cities to live in surveys as well.

13. Sweden.
The mother of welfare states continues to welcome immigrants and refugees while maintaining its health services in top condition.

Via Independent.

The best destinations for landscape photography in Lapland, in the northernmost region of Europe

2017-03-07

Lapland is a vast wilderness region in the northern Europe. It is a land of Sami people and reindeer, fells, fjords, rivers, marshlands, and many types of wildlife. In other words, a fabulous destination for outdoor lovers, road travelers who appreciate majestic landscapes and for nature photographers. I recently wrote a guidebook to Lapland, and since I have extensively toured the region I can tell that it provides almost endless opportunities for delightful nature photography.
Rovaniemi, Arctic Circle. From travel guidebook LaplandThe Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi.

Before I share you my recommendations for the best places to visit and to take those perfect pictures of fells, fjords, villages, reindeer and people of Lapland, let me give you my estimation what is the most photographed place in Lapland. It probably is the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, Finland. Rovaniemi is a major traffic hub in Lapland where tourists arrive across the world. The Arctic Circle is only a few miles from the airport and from the city, and it has developed into a major attraction.

Top 5 places in Lapland for exciting landscape photography

Abisko, Sweden

Abisko, Sweden. Lapland, north Europe
The scenery in Abisko is magnificent both in summer and winter. In summer (July and August) it is warm and you can shoot through the night because there is some sunlight even at midnight. In winter, it is cold and dark, but the Northern Lights, snowy landscape and perhaps spending a day on a ski track makes it all worth it.

Kilpisjärvi, Finland

Kilpisjarvi, Finland. Saana fell in Lapland, Scandinavia.
Saana fell is the landmark and the most photographed item in Kilpisjärvi, but there is much more. Kilpisjärvi is located in the fell region, but you don’t have to go far towards west when the landscape changes quite dramatically. After entering Norway, gently sloping fells turn into mountains, gorges and fjords of Norway. Great variety for photographers in a relatively small area.

Lofoten, Norway

Lofoten, Norway. A fishing village port on shore of a fjord
Lofoten is a large archipelago on the northwest coast of Norway. When you arrive on Lofoten, you can forget about rushing from one place to the next. The landscape is all about mountains and fjords across the islands. Small villages and tiny fishing towns here and there on the shores remind travelers that people live here, too. The sea provides additional photography opportunities: whale, seal, and bird watching tours give a new perspective to the scenery and wildlife.

Tromsö, Norway

Tromsö, Norway, view from mountain above town
Tromsö gives photographers opportunities not only to capture images of spectacular sceneries, but also city life. It is a vibrant city, full of young energy that university students bring to the streets, many restaurants, bars and cafés. Since mountains and fjords surround Tromsö, hiking to the heights or taking a sea tour provide many new angles for photographers as well.

Ylläs, Finland

Reindeer at Aakenus fell in Yllas-Pallas national park Finland, Lapland, north Europe.
Ylläs is a year-round destination for vacation-goers who seek outdoor activities, but especially Finns love to hike in this fell region in autumn. Fabulous fell sceneries around the year, reindeer, wild berries, and the colors of autumn. In addition to the environment, Ylläs and the region around it is a home for a few resorts that make traveling and staying in there easy and convenient.

How, where and when to travel in Lapland?

A trip to Lapland requires some planning because the distances can be long and towns are few. The guidebook (Lapland – North of the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia) I wrote helps in all aspects of planning and actually traveling in this exotic region.

Here are a few bookstores where the Lapland guidebook is available:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Apple iBooks
Barnes & Noble Nook Books
Google Play Books


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