#OnTheRoad On Instagram: Isles Of Scilly


For the next few days on Instagram, Gadling is off to the Isles of Scilly.

The Isles of Scilly sit about 30 miles off the coast of Cornwall, which occupies the far southwest of England. The islands, just five of which are inhabited, are known for their mild Gulf Stream-enabled climate, white sand beaches, palm trees, turquoise waters and historic gardens. Tourism is the local economy’s chief motor; the islands are also known for their flower industry.

The smallest of England’s 326 districts with around 2200 inhabitants, the Isles of Scilly are an understated place popular with families and a smattering of British celebrities. Both seem to like the islands for their carefree, relaxed atmosphere. But while the islands are dotted with a few high-end properties and restaurants, they are largely devoid of the glitz and flash associated with many celebrity haunts.

I’m not headed down Scilly way for celebrities, by the way. I’ll be there for quiet walks, bicycle rides, fresh seafood and, weather willing, some spring warmth.

Do you have any photos you’d like to share with a larger audience? Mention @GadlingTravel in your own photo AND use the hashtag #gadling and your photo will be considered for a future Photo Of The Day.

[Image: Flickr | rodtuk]

Five lesser-known European islands

lesser known european islands

Last June, we published a list of four European islands that float under the radar: Porquerolles, France; Fasta Åland, Finland; San Domino, Italy; and Vlieland, Netherlands.

As far as we’re concerned, it’s not too early to start making summer travel plans to get away from the crowds. Here are five more beautiful yet lesser-known European islands that don’t get a ton of press. They’re scattered across the continent, from England to the Azores and from Greece to the Baltic Sea.

1. St. Agnes, Isles of Scilly, England. St. Agnes, one of the Isles of Scilly, is the southernmost inhabited bit of England. Temperatures are moderate and pleasant year-round. The beaches and shoreline are more reminiscent of the Caribbean than of the popular imagination of England. You can spend your time walking around the island, visiting the lighthouse, and relaxing over a pint at the Turk’s Head, England’s southernmost pub. St. Agnes can be reached by ferry from the main island of St. Mary’s.

2. Corvo, Azores, Portugal. The smallest and northernmost of the remote Azores, Corvo is an isolated place. The island boasts a stunning verdant caldera with two crater lakes. It is also well-known as a birdwatching spot. Food lovers should enjoy Corvo’s local handmade cheese, distinctive corn bread, and larded tarts made with rock grass. Corvo can be reached by air on SATA Air Açores.

3. Kasos, Greece. Situated between Crete and Karpathos, Kasos is a sparsely populated dot on the map at the southern end of the Dodecanese Islands. Greece being Greece, the island has several remarkable beaches on offer, though these are not the whole story. Its five villages are home to scores of delightful churches. The island also maintains a busy festival schedule throughout the year. The festival of St. Marina, held on July 17, is the most important summer season festival event. Ferries connect visitors to Kasos from Crete and Piraeus, and Olympic Air links the island to the outside world by air.

4. Bornholm, Denmark. The Danish Baltic Sea island of Bornholm lies far east of the rest of Denmark. The bucolic island is packed with attractions. Among these is Hammershus, the largest castle ruin in Northern Europe, which dates back to the 12th Century. Bornholm is also a hub for arts and crafts, and hosts an annual Culture Week festival in September. Bornholm can be reached by ferry from Køge (Denmark), Ystad (Sweden), Kolobrzeg (Poland), and Sassnitz (Germany). There are also air links from Copenhagen on Cimber Sterling as well as sesonal connections to Billund (Cimber Sterling) and Oslo (Widerøe).

5. Hiiumaa, Estonia. This quiet western Estonian island is full of picturesque rural corners: old churches, lighthouses, little forested islets, and beaches for swimming and sunning. Hiking is a big draw here, and there are also opportunities for horseback riding and kayaking. Prices are very reasonable here, as Estonia remains an affordable destination. For budget-friendly accommodation on Hiiumaa, consider booking a room at the delightful Allike, where double rooms begin at €50. Hiiumaa can be reached by air from Tallinn with Avies and by ferry from the mainland and the neighboring island of Saaremaa.

[Image of St. Agnes: Flickr | Carlton Browne]

Weekend travel media top five: July 24-25, 2010

This weekend’s best travel stories include a run through Hungary’s Tokaj wine district, a pilgrimage to horsey Chincoteague, Virginia, a family vacation in England’s Isles of Scilly, a guide to Europe’s top cycling cities, and a tribute to the many charms of Saskatchewan.

1. In the New York Times, Evan Rail does an oenophile tour of Hungary’s Tokaj wine trail (see photo), with great dining and lodging notes.

2. In the Los Angeles Times, Jay Jones visits Chincoteague, Virginia to watch the annual Chincoteague pony migration. Misty’s smiling, somewhere.

3. In the Independent, actress Jane Horrocks sings the praises of the improbably subtropical English Isles of Scilly.

4. In the Guardian, there’s a useful team-authored piece on biking in Europe’s best biking cities: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, London, and Paris.

5. In the Globe and Mail, D. Grant Black emphasizes Saskatchewan’s sexy side in an entertaining article about the province’s many lures.

(Image: Flickr/urbanlegend)