Travel Briefs

Starting in Prague, guided hikes in Czechia can be booked with Czech Trek (phone +420 720 31 39 30,

The full-day “Great Escape” and “Wilder Side” hikes (€59, near $66, per person) involve some hill climbing. The half-day “Country Stroll” (€39) is on flat ground. Maximum group size is six. Custom hikes can be arranged.

It is recommended that hikers take the 45-minute train ride (fare not included) from Hlavní...


On Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, visitors can take a round-trip journey from Lucerne (Luzern) to Flüelen aboard one of four steam-powered paddleboats, each with a restaurant.

Available only at the docks, a round-trip ticket of the full route costs CHF77 (near $80), second class, or CHF115, first class, and allows for hop-on, hop-off privileges (on both paddleboats and modern ferries) at any of the route’s 12 stops.

On the timetables posted at press time, valid until May 20,...


The Odontotos rack railway, connecting the seaside town of Diakopto to the mountain village of Kalavryta in Greece’s northern Peloponnese, is a rare example of a rack-and-pinion railway, whose engines complete steep climbs by using a gear and a track with teeth. It also operates with one of the smallest gauges in the world, only 75cm (about 2½ feet).

On the 22-kilometer route, with a maximum gradient of 17.5%, the train climbs 750 meters in a little more than an hour,...


The three monumental doors of the Florence Baptistery were reunited in December 2019 after being apart for almost 30 years for restoration. The three gilded-bronze doors were crafted by different artisans between 1330 and 1452. Each is more than 16 feet tall and almost 10 feet wide and weighs over eight tons. The oldest, the South Door, damaged by flooding in 1966, was the last to be restored.

They can be viewed at the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, or Opera Museum (Via della...


Beginning in early 2020, visitors to the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat, Cambodia, will no longer be able to ride elephants on the grounds of the site. Two of the park’s 14 elephants have been released in a nearby forest, with the rest to follow shortly. Elephant riding in Angkor Wat was introduced in 2001. In 2016, one of the park’s elephants died due to a combination of heatstroke and exhaustion, leading to a petition to ban the practice entirely.

A new budget Icelandic airline, PLAY (, is being launched in 2020 by executives of the former airline WOW Air, which ceased operation in March 2019. At press time, the company had leased two passenger planes that would serve an initial six European destinations (which had yet to be announced). The company expected to expand to four US airports by spring 2020. Meanwhile, a US company unconnected to the original airline restarted WOW Air in November, basing it in Washington, DC....


Transport for London (TfL), the board in charge of regulating taxis and ride-sharing services in the English capital, decided on Nov. 25 to not renew ride-share company Uber’s license to operate, citing “repeated safety failures.” These failures included the company’s allowing drivers to continue to drive for the company even after their licenses had been suspended or revoked. Uber is appealing the decision and will continue to operate during the appeal, but, should it lose, Uber drivers...


Scheduled to open in Vienna, Austria, on March 12, 2020, the Albertina Modern will be home to more than 60,000 pieces of post-1945 modern art by more than 5,000 artists. Housed in the newly restored Künstlerhaus, on Karlsplatz, the museum is just off the Ringstraße, a few blocks from the main Albertina Museum. For info, contact the Albertina Museum (phone +43 1 534 83 0,