Intelligent Travel

About Intelligent Travel

Cultural, Authentic & Sustainable: This is your brain on travel. We showcase the essence of place, what's unique and original, and what locals cherish most about where they live. And we highlight places, practices, and people that are on the front lines of sustainable travel--travel that preserves places' essential uniqueness for future generations.

Our mission is rooted in what the National Geographic Society stands for: inspiring people to care about the planet. Traveler and Intelligent Travel also want you to experience and enjoy the planet. We want to help you journey with greater sensitivity to the impact your trip has on a place and its inhabitants.

Sometimes we celebrate, sometimes we criticize. But we always try to heighten awareness about what's really important about travel: finding great places, experiencing them fully, and leaving them no worse for your visit.

Email: intelligenttravel at ngs dot org

The Icon: Golden Gate Bridge

Engineering wonder or colossal work of art? For many who drive or bike across, or simply admire it from afar, the Golden Gate Bridge is both. Here are some fast facts about this art deco icon.

When Cerro Negro—Nicaragua’s youngest volcano—last erupted in 1999, boulders tumbled down the western slope, creating a rocky, ascendable path. On the opposite side, the wind deposited dark, smooth ash that is perfect for sliding. In 2004, this unique pairing of terrains sparked an outlandish idea: volcano boarding.

This year marks a quarter century since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Berlin continues to boom amid the reminders of its extraordinary past—a complex, sometimes dark, history it is intent on neither forgetting nor denying.

On a raft floating down Fiji’s Upper Navua River gorge, under dangling 100-foot vines, time stops. Like a tropical Grand Canyon, this gorge slices through the volcanic heart of Viti Levu—the largest island of the Fijian archipelago—and redefines island paradise.

Long among the must-visit destinations of Europe, Prague continues to evolve in surprising and alluring ways. Here are a few trends and tips to help you uncover the freshest ways to experience this fairy-tale Czech city.

These ten notoriously frightful cities, near and far, are beset with ghastly, ghostly close encounters.

#NGTRadar: Travel Lately

Travel Lately—a roundup of the best new dispatches from the travel blogosphere—is a regular feature on Intelligent Travel every other Wednesday. You can play, too. Follow us on Twitter @NatGeoTravel and tag your favorite travel stories #NGTRadar to help us find the crème de la crème on the Web. Here are our latest picks.

#StrangePlanet: Travel Trivia

Truth is stranger than fiction. Here are seven travel factoids to help prove it.

I was working on an animated film in Los Angeles in 1982 when I was ordered back to Prague by the communist Czech government. I decided not to return even though I knew this meant I might not see my family again. Then, in 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. Now, whenever I visit, I try to swim against time, not to recall the oppressive fortress that used to be Prague but to reconnect with the favorite places of my childhood.

The dramatic geology and wide-open spaces of the American Southwest lend themselves to UFO activity—imaginary or real—making it one of the top spots for sightings. Roswell, New Mexico, may be the most notable name in extraterrestrial lore, but there are plenty of other hot spots in the region that deserve honorable mentions. Here are five.

Namibia’s desert landscapes present travelers with a symphony of paradox: wide-open spaces and intimate encounters; rugged natural beauty and luxurious accommodations. Here are three base camps that will set the scene for travel transcendence.

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in November.

Colombia’s vibrant capital emerges from a sketchy past to paint a bold new future.

Vengeful gods, terrifying sorcerers, and death-dealing demons populate the legends and beliefs of the Caribbean, which derive from a potent blend of voodoo, Catholicism, and folklore.

#NGTRadar: Travel Lately

Travel Lately—a roundup of the best new dispatches from the travel blogosphere—is a regular feature on Intelligent Travel every other Wednesday. You can play, too. Follow us on Twitter @NatGeoTravel and tag your favorite travel stories #NGTRadar to help us find the crème de la crème on the Web. Here are our latest picks.

Blue skies prevail in Qingdao, a seaside metropolis that keeps topping livability lists in China with its inviting boardwalks, shaded streets and parks, and German colonial architecture.

Insider’s Guide to Bogotá

Change is coming rapidly to Bogotá, with the spread of European-style cuisine and lodgings—a matter of pride among Bogotanos. Yet the capital of Colombia remains resolutely local, especially in the old Candelaria neighborhood. Here are some of the highlights.

Few places meant more to the Welsh poet than Swansea, on Wales’s southwest coast. “This sea-town was my world,” he wrote of the “ugly lovely” place where he grew up and wrote the majority of his life’s work.

In the bedroom community of New Canaan, Connecticut, Philip Johnson’s landmark Glass House disappears and then rises from fog.

#StrangePlanet: Travel Trivia

Truth is stranger than fiction. Here are five travel factoids to help prove it: Bogged down: Every August, competitors in the World Bog Snorkeling Championship flipper their way to glory in a water-filled trench cut into a peat bog outside the tiny Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells.   Still around: Chugging along since 1835, the St. Charles…

Finally, the tide has turned for the Canal Saint-Martin district, and its rough edges have been smoothed out for picnics and promenades. “Like Shoreditch in London, or Williamsburg in New York, it’s where the new things are being created in Paris,” says business owner Mickael Benichou.

#NGTRadar: Travel Lately

The Radar—the latest and best from the travel blogosphere—is a regular feature on Intelligent Travel every other Wednesday. You can play, too. Follow us on Twitter @NatGeoTravel and tag your favorite travel stories #NGTRadar to help us find the crème de la crème on the Web. Here are our newest picks.

Travel photography is, on the surface, a very simple endeavor. Go to a faraway place, stand in front of something you can’t see at home, and take a picture. What’s so hard about that? Well, that may well be the recipe for generations of boring family albums. Find out how to up your photography game when you’re exploring the world by joining @NatGeoTravel’s Dan Westergren for a live photo workshop at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 2.

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in October.

Royal Romps on the Thames

Despite its size, London is a very kid-friendly city. Here are three engaging places where families can learn hands-on history with a royal twist in the English capital.