Cherry blossom season in Japan

Cherry blossom season in Japan

Spring is in the air, and while it’s a beautiful season everywhere, mid-March through April marks peak cherry blossom season in Japan.

If you can time your trip during cherry blossom season in Japan, you’re in for a treat courtesy Mother Nature herself. For those interested, there’s more information via See Japan and  Japan National Tourism.

This week, The Wall Street Journal published a charming pictorial of Japan’s cherry blossoms in years go by – click on the image to view.

cherry blosson

Would you love to visit Japan? Take a two minute wander through extraordinary Tokyo here, or read our destination guide.

Feature image by

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day

Did you know St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated in America in 1737. The event was initially organised by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston, and included a feast and religious service. This first celebration of the holiday in the colonies was a chance for the many Irish to honour and celebrate the heritage which they had been separated from.

In New York, the first modest celebration took place at the home of an Irish protestant. From little things, big things grow though, and the St. Patrick’s Day parades actually started in New York, developed by a group of Irish soldiers in the British military in 1762 who marched down Broadway. This began the tradition of a military theme in the parade.

The holiday eventually evolved from a small, homely religious dinner into the raucous international celebration we know today.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Globe Trekker – Ireland – Trailer from Globe Trekker on Vimeo.

Banished to Australia

Banished to Australia

There’s a brand new series being released by the BBC early this month, Banished, inspired by events in the eighteenth century when Britain established a penal colony in Australia.

At its heart, Banished is a story of survival.

Though it is set in the stark historical reality of the penal colony of Australia in 1788 after the arrival of the First Fleet, Banished is not the story of Australia and how it came to be. The series depicts tales of love, faith, justice and morality played out on an epic scale in a confined community where the stakes are literally life and death.While no doubt reality held all these elements, there’s so much depth to the history of this time, and what it means to contemporary Australia.

One of our most popular series at Pilot Productions is A Short History of the World: Convict AustraliaIf Australia is of interest, you too might be fascinated by its evolution; the people, cultures, and when those who were ‘banished’ met with the original keepers of the land.

Watch on demand now.

Happiest place in America?

Happiest place in America?

This week, The Huffington Post announced that Alaska is pretty much the happiest place in America! This beautiful destination offers the highest level of well-being of all the US states. The data measured five categories across all 50 states – purpose, social support, financial status, community and physical health, and Alaska scored tops in all of the above.

Alaska beat out rivals for the top 5 - Hawaii, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. But we already knew this place was special – have you seen the episode when Ian visited?


Feature image by Doug Brown.

Globe Trekker Top 10 of 2015

Globe Trekker Top 10 of 2015

It’s a brand new year and you know what that means… plenty of amazing destinations to dream about and explore! At Globe Trekker HQ we’ve put our heads together to compile a list of ten places we believe are worth adding to your bucket lists in 2015.


The Globe Trekker top 10 of 2015 locations to get excited about! 



For its colour, music and vibe; now is the time to visit this interesting spot, the largest of all islands in the Caribbean.


It’s a value-for-money destination brimming with culture and extraordinary experience options.


Greece is back, and this wonderful island is full of sights, tastes and sounds that simply make all travellers swoon with delight.


An undiscovered paradise; so sublime, you have to see it to believe it.


An under-rated corner of Europe; interesting, historical and enchanting.

Globe Trekker top 10 2015



A magical destination that never fails to win over the hearts of those who travel there.


Fascinating for all travellers, Tunisia comes complete with ancient history, interesting people, bright bazaars and a truly multicultural blend of intrigue.


An amazing place to visit, and a land where, for the moment, it doesn’t seem quite as dangerous compared with other more turbulent parts of north and east Africa.


We love this city’s cool and historical vibe; one of our favourite American destinations boasting plenty to see, do and learn.

Historic Walks appHeading to Washington? Pop our Historic Walks app on your Apple device and enjoy a self-guided tour down “memory lane”. Click here to get it now.



Colourful and crazy (in all the right ways); Delhi is a must-do this year.

Can’t view slideshow? Click here. Globe Trekker Top 10 of 2015 // images via Flickr creative commons // music Globe Trekker ‘Streets of Baghdad’


Where would you love to travel to this year? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter #GlobeTrekker


Feature image: by Moyan Brenn, Iceland

Pico do Fogo volcano in Cape Verde

Pico do Fogo volcano in Cape Verde

On the international radar this week is Pico do Fogo volcano in Cape Verde, off the coast of West Africa. Pico do Fogo is the highest peak of Cape Verde, rising to nearly 3000 metres above sea level.

The main cone of this active volcano on the island of Fogo last erupted in 1675, although an eruption causing several deaths occurred in 1847, and a subsidiary vent last erupted in November 1995 – until this week, early December 2014, nineteen years later.

During the week locals have been fleeing the area, carrying what they can and monitoring the situation closely; the Sentinel-1A satellite has been feeding back images to authorities also.


Zoe Africa

Globe Trekker‘s Zoe Palmer visited the region and actually climbed this volcano. Read about it here, or watch the episode… 




Feature image by Caroline Granycome, Flickr creative commons.

Globe Trekker New On DVD

Globe Trekker New On DVD

Need gift-giving inspiration? We’ve got you covered!



Globe Trekker Switzerland 

Switzerland Globe Trekker on DVD

Join Brianna Barnes in Switzerland! Explore the pristine beauty, rich history, and fascinating people of this small yet vastly intriguing destination.

Brianna’s exciting Swiss journey begins in French-speaking Geneva. Travelling by train to the lakeside town of Vevey, she visits Charlie Chaplin’s house and enjoys locally made Swiss wine. From the alpine village of Riederalp, she then hikes the grueling Gemmi Pass before heading to Interlaken where she enrolls in a local dramatic performance and revels in the inspiring landscape.

She then travels to the medieval capital Bern, and to Lake Lucerne, where she is guided around a top secret military fortress. Heading back to the Alps, Brianna visits Devil’s Bridge, the major obstacle to crossing the Alps at the Gotthard Pass, and takes the Glacier Express from Andermatt to Chur.

From Chur she travels to the Swiss capital Zurich, and ends her journey in pastoral Appenzell, where yodeling farmers lead their cattle down from alpine pastures, signifying the end of summer. –Buy it here


Globe Trekker Central Japan

centraljapan-3Join Megan McCormick on a journey of discovery across Japan’s spectacular heartland!

Starting in Japan’s beautiful former capital Kyoto, Megan immerses herself in the culture of this island nation. She explores Buddhist temples, World Heritage Sites, and bargains at the city’s best flea market. She then learns the art of Zen meditation and visits the Gion district, home to many of Kyoto’s few hundred remaining Geisha.

She then travels by train to bustling Osaka, and Iga-Ueno, a former ninja stronghold, where she partakes in a “ninja for a day” contest and learns the secrets of these famously skilled assailants. Continuing by train through the Japanese Alps, and by ferry to the remote Sado Island, Megan embraces unique traditions, stunning landscapes, and tasty street food. Finally, in Himeji, she witnesses a dramatic fighting festival, involving a ‘battle’ between heavy portable shrines carried by local villagers in loincloths. –Buy it here


Globe Trekker: World War 1 The Western Front

worldwar1-3Join Zay Harding in this Globe Trekker special as he travels across Northern France and Belgium, visiting key World War 1 locations on the Western Front.

Zay’s journey begins in the town of Meaux, 25 miles from Paris. He then travels to the illuminatingConfrecourt quarries, where French troops took shelter as battles raged on above them.

Zay visits some of the most significant battle sites of the Great War, including Verdun andFromelles.

Outside of Paris, he witnesses an exhilarating air show featuring World War 1 planes. Finally, at Mons in Belgium, Zay visits the poignant St. Symphorien cemetery, where some of the last of the 10 million soldiers to die in the war are buried. –Buy it here



Not what you’re after? Browse the store here for the complete Globe Trekker collection on DVD.



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Globe Trekker in Poland

Globe Trekker in Poland

It’s 20 years in the making, but Globe Trekker has finally visited Poland to make the first full one hour show about  a country that is maybe not (yet!) on top of the world’s travel destinations.


The travel route took presenter, Megan McCormick, and crew from the south-western border with the Czech Republic to the border with Belarus, where Megan enjoyed the last stretches of the journey in a kayak paddling along the Augustow Canal with formidable guide, Agnieszka Zyzalo.

Dwarf hunting in Wroclaw, amber fishing at the Baltic sea shore, Malbork Castle, the educational park in Kashuby, Wolf’s Lair and Czermna Skull Chapel were as much part of the program, as were a healthy number of Polish food and vodka tastings!

A whirlwind stop at the Blow Up Hall 5050 and a fantastic day with the Polish Hussaria made it a trip to remember… most of it is down to the kind and super efficient support of the Polish Film Commission in Warsaw and in Wroclaw, as well as dedicated individuals such as Malbork curator Marek Stokowski, amber artist Zbigniew Strzelcyk, Andrzej Dawidowski and the ever so brilliant Jaroslaw Struczynski from Gniew Castle… thank you all!

Behind the scenes of Globe Trekker in Poland…

Globe Trekker Poland 1 Globe Trekker Poland 2 Globe Trekker Poland 4 Globe Trekker Poland 5 Globe Trekker Poland 6 Globe Trekker Poland 7 Globe Trekker Poland 8 Globe Trekker Poland 9 Globe Trekker Poland 10

Exploring Russia’s Ice Trains with Zay Harding

Exploring Russia's Ice Trains with Zay Harding

It’s the second leg of our Tough Trains series – we’ve tackled Bolivia with Zay Harding, travelling from Brazil’s Pantanal to the Pacific coast of Chile bringing you snapshots from some of the most beautiful terrain in South America taking in the local Llamas, the majesty of the Andes and more.

Our next stop is Russia’s Ice Trains!

Russia’s trains travel along 85,500km of track, crossing 11 time zones.  In the cold and often brutal Russian winters, these trains persist against the freezing weather, travelling into Siberia and beyond.  We travel from the capital city of Moscow and head north to Stalin’s cruellest and most ambitious project – the Rail-Road of Death – before ending on the world’s most northern railway.  With average temperatures around -20/-30 degrees and ice at every turn, there’s nothing easy about Russian trains.

Check out Zay’s Globe Trekker photo diary taken on the road while filming Russia’s Ice Trains:

@globetrekker A quick stopover in #Moscow and I'm off to #Siberia. Should be there in 3 hours.

@globetrekker A quick stopover in #Moscow and I’m off to #Siberia. Should be there in 3 hours.


Looking over Russia's famous Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest train line in the world! #globetrekker #TSR #tyumen #siberia #russia #prettyamazing

Looking over Russia’s famous Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest train line in the world! #globetrekker #TSR #tyumen #siberia #russia #prettyamazing


Simple shot from out my window. I feel like I'm in an #AnselAdams picture. #GloriousDay #tyumen #siberia #russia #globetrekker

Simple shot from out my window. I feel like I’m in an #AnselAdams picture. #GloriousDay #tyumen #siberia #russia #globetrekker


Walkway up to the beautiful #TobolskKremlin and #StSophiaAssumptionCathedral #tobolsk #siberia #globetrekker #russia #friggincold

Walkway up to the beautiful #TobolskKremlin and #StSophiaAssumptionCathedral #tobolsk #siberia #globetrekker #russia #friggincold



@globetrekker #Tobolsk is the historical capital of #Siberia, built at the confluence of 2 rivers that stay frozen NINE months of the year! I saw MAC-TRUCKS driving across the ice today! #crazycold

@globetrekker #Tobolsk is the historical capital of #Siberia, built at the confluence of 2 rivers that stay frozen NINE months of the year! I saw MAC-TRUCKS driving across the ice today! #crazycold



Saw these cute homemade Siberian Cat dolls sitting in a cafe window. Almost thought they were real! #catsofinstagram #siberia #russia #craftycats

Saw these cute homemade Siberian Cat dolls sitting in a cafe window. Almost thought they were real! #catsofinstagram #siberia #russia #craftycats


It just started snowing! I swear I feel like I'm in a winter wonderland dream here!

It just started snowing! I swear I feel like I’m in a winter wonderland dream here!


@globetrekker With special permission, after a 26 hour train ride north into the Arctic, I have arrived at one of Russia's biggest gas fields. It is WAY colder than it looks here! #toughtrains #russia #crazycold

@globetrekker With special permission, after a 26 hour train ride north into the Arctic, I have arrived at one of Russia’s biggest gas fields. It is WAY colder than it looks here! #toughtrains #russia #crazycold


Back in the 1960's this was the very site that the first exploratory drilling hole struck an OCEAN of GAS!!! Still today, 90% of Russia's gas supply comes from this finding. #globetrekker #toughtrains #gasfields #russia

Back in the 1960′s this was the very site that the first exploratory drilling hole struck an OCEAN of GAS!!! Still today, 90% of Russia’s gas supply comes from this finding. #globetrekker #toughtrains #gasfields #russia


Snow plow trains run 24/7 so passenger trains such as this one can run regardless the extreme weather. BTW, it's -20 C (-4 F). No problem! #globetrekker #toughtrains #russia #crazycold

Snow plow trains run 24/7 so passenger trains such as this one can run regardless the extreme weather. BTW, it’s -20 C (-4 F). No problem! #globetrekker #toughtrains #russia #crazycold


Globe Trekker is in Japan!

Globe Trekker is in Japan!

We have just finished filming another brand new Globe Trekker episode and this time we are in Central Japan with Megan McCormick.

We have explored Kyoto, Osaka, Iga-Ueno, followed Samurai Warriors in battle, trained with Ninjas at a famous fighting school, learned how to play traditional Japanese drums, transformed into a Geisha and have been transported into the future with sci-fi cars and robots!

Here are some snaps from our trip!

In Nagoya, home of Toyota, which has teams of engineers dreaming up new inventions.  Company planners believe that one-person vehicles are the wave of the future.  This is the i-Unit, one of Toyota’s latest inventions.



In Osaka, one of Japan’s many very crowded cities, in a Cat Café.  There are quite a lot of these in the city (and elsewhere in Japan) designed to satisfy the ‘pet needs’ of the many Japanese people who live in apartment blocks where it is forbidden for residents to keep pets (so that they don’t annoy or disturb the neighbours – Japan being a society where people are always worrying about what other people think, putting society before self).



In Kyoto, at the Toei Movie Studio Theme Park, is the cheapest place in Kyoto where you can get dressed up as a Geisha




Megan enters a Ninja contest near Iga-Ueno (in Koga) in which people can indulge the popular Japanese fantasy of being a Ninja for the day.  Around 100 contestants took part.  Some take it seriously, but most are in it just for a bit of Sunday afternoon fun!



Sado island is the home of the world-famous traditional Japanese drumming group Kodo.  The former schoolhouse in Iwakubi houses 20 or so apprentices who spend two years living and practising in the hope of being accepted into the group at the end of two years training.