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On the lookout for a great escape? There’s nothing quite like an island to transport you to an alternate reality—one where days seem to stretch on forever and troubles fall away like an ebbing tide. Here are a few of the @NatGeoTravel team’s favorite islands to get you in that dreaming mood.

If Puerto Rico isn’t on your radar, it’s time to readjust. The Caribbean’s most convenient destination—especially for Americans, who don’t need a passport to get there—is also one of its most interesting, offering travelers untouched rain forest, colonial architecture, and palm-lined beaches. For a weekend or a week-long getaway, “la isla del enchanto,” as it’s affectionately called by locals, is quickly becoming a go-to destination.

Amy Toensing, an American photojournalist committed to telling stories with sensitivity and depth, is known for her intimate essays about the lives of ordinary people. A regular contributor to National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines, Toensing’s assignments have taken her all around the world, from the Jersey Shore to the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea. Here’s a look at the world through this award-winning photographer’s unique lens.

American artist and writer Evin O’Keeffe grew up near Washington, D.C., and got bitten by the travel bug early. But after seeing the world, she decided to plant her roots in Cork City, where she has lived for the past six years—now with her husband and son. Here are a few of Evin’s favorite things about the seaside city she calls home.

We are about five miles off the mainland of northern Ontario, camping on the rocky, forested islets that make up the Slate Islands archipelago on Lake Superior. Currently one of Ontario’s unmanaged provincial parks, there’s very little infrastructure on the islands other than remnants of mining and fishing activities, an old lighthouse, and a herd of endangered woodland caribou.

If you’re looking for an excuse to have a celebration when traveling through certain countries in Europe, make sure to time your visit with your name day.

The anything-goes Dutch capital has a healthy hold on heritage. Take a look at Amsterdam through author Russell Shorto’s eyes.

A flashpoint of both progress and pain during the Civil Rights era, Birmingham has refashioned itself into a place both livable and relevant, part of the national conversation in unexpected ways. Like everywhere in America’s Sun Belt, the Alabama city seems to have a chain restaurant on every corner. But if you know where to look, you can eat wonderfully well and find meals that help tell the tale of the city over the past decades.

Portugal is made for wanderers. From the top of the Moorish remnants of Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon cascades downhill in all directions, new paths beckoning at every turn. Surf camps dot the 215-mile stretch south of the storied capital city. Part of the region known as the Alentejo, this shore is far quieter than the Algarve beaches at the country’s southern edge.

Irena Schlosserová is a Prague local, through and through (she’s only spent nine months outside of her beloved Czech capital). While she admits that there are many tourist traps in Prague, she urges visitors to get off the beaten path and into the real heart of the City of a Hundred Spires. Read on to be off to a good start.

For Nat Geo Travel Books Senior Editor Barbara A. Noe, going on a run is the best way to get oriented in a new city, and a great way to take in the sights. So lace up your sneaks and read on to get Barbara’s tips on where to run in some of the world’s greatest places—and what to see along the way.

#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.