Segway ban lifted in Norway, Kenya’s matatus go cashless and Singapore moves to curb money laundering

Get the best travel news here curated by Lonely Planet Destination Editors, who use their expertise to bring you the stories that matter from all over the world. In today’s edition: Norway lifts ban on Segways, the return of Monty Python, an outbreak of measles in the Amish community and tensions rise in East Jerusalem.

Asia & the Pacific
The Americas
Middle East & Africa
Weird, odd & just plain fun


2 July is …

Palio di Provenzano, Siena, Italy

Flag Day, Curaçao

World UFO Day


Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Europe Destination Editors: Jo CookeJames SmartBrana VladisavljevicKate MorganAnna Tyler and Gemma Graham.

Alhambra set to feature in new season of Game of Thrones. Image by Will Clayton / CC BY 2.0
Alhambra to feature in new season of Game of Thrones. Image by Will Clayton / CC BY 2.0

Game of Thrones to be shot in Andalucía
It has been confirmed that season 5 of Game of Thrones will be filmed in part in Andalucía, Spain. The historic areas of Seville, Cordoba and Granada, and the Alhambra in particular, will represent a new kingdom in the series. The announcement was made on Tuesday by the US Ambassador to Spain, it is thought that filming will bring around €80 million to the local economy. Read more:

Barcelona’s Boqueria market looks to limit tourists
Stallholders at Barcelona’s iconic Boqueria market have started a campaign to limit the number of tourists to the market. Stallholders are unhappy that the large number of sight-seeing tourists keep local shoppers away, and the association that runs the market has asked the city council to curb the numbers of large tour groups. Last year 70 million people visited the market, which is considered one of the ‘must-do’ experiences of a trip to the city. Read more: 

Avignon festival to go ahead despite strike threat
France’s world-renowned Avignon festival will open as planned on Friday despite the possibility of a strike by workers and performers that threatens to shut it down. Around 80% of workers voted to lift the strike for the opening though the rest of the festival could still be disrupted by strikes in protest at cuts to workers’ unemployment insurance scheme. Read more:

No cash for a bus ticket? No problem in Vilnius
The Vilnius City Municipality has launched a new app that allows people to pay for their public transport via any smartphone. As well as buying tickets, users will be able to plan their journeys throughout Lithuania’s capital city via the app. Currently payment is only available via the major banks in the country, but an app update is on its way to allow visitors to pay via PayPal. Read more:

Segway ban lifted in Norway
The Norwegian government has amended a law banning Segways in the country. Under the old law, the unique two-wheeled vehicle was classified as a moped, meaning users were required to have a driving licence, vehicle registration and insurance to ride them. The government then deemed them too unsafe to be ridden in public. The lifting of the ban could have positive implications for tourism, such as the introduction of the Segway tours popular in cities around the world. Read more:

Guinness Storehouse tops the list. Image by Tinou Bao / CC BY 2.0
Guinness Storehouse tops the list. Image by Tinou Bao / CC BY 2.0

Guinness Storehouse heads Ireland’s top attractions
Admission figures for Ireland’s top sights in 2013 have been revealed. Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse tops the list with almost 1.2 million visitors. Other top paid attractions included Dublin Zoo, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, the National Aquatic Centre and the Book of Kells. The National Gallery of Ireland was the most popular free sight, with over 600,000 visitors. Read more:

Monty Python return to the stage
The surviving members of Monty Python began their reunion shows on Tuesday night. The seminal British comedy group made their name in the 1960s and 1970s with surreal sketches about dead parrots and lumberjacks and went on to make several movies. They had not performed a full show together for decades, and claim this series of ten sold-out dates at London’s O2 Area will be their last ever performances. Read more:


Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Asia & the Pacific Destination Editors: Megan EavesSarah ReidJoe BindlossLaura Crawford and Tasmin Waby.

Singapore money laundering curb. Image by Aleksandr Zykov / CC BY-SA 2.0.
Singapore is launching a money laundering curb. Image by Aleksandr Zykov / CC BY-SA 2.0

Singapore cans $10,000 notes
Singapore is to stop issuing S$10,000 bills (equivalent to approximately US$8,000) in a bid to curb money laundering. The humble S$1000 note will replace it as the city-state’s most expensive bill in production. Read more:

Swimming in India’s most sacred, polluted river
Public swimming pools are rare in India, and children in the holy city of Varanasi learn to swim in the sacred River Ganges, despite the fact that it is one of the most polluted rivers in the world. As well as waterborne bacteria, swimmers risk bumping into body parts from the cremations that take place daily on the banks of the sacred river. Read more: 

New capital planned for Andhra Pradesh
The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is set to receive a brand new capital city, after the northern part of the state was removed to create the new state of Telangana. Currently, the two states share a capital at Hyderabad, but government officials hope to create a new capital in the ancient Buddhist city of Amaravati. Read more: 


Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Americas Destination Editors: Clifton WilkinsonDora WhitakerAlex Howard and MaSovaida Morgan.

Measles outbreak in Ohio's Amish community. Image by david__jones / CC BY 2.0.
Measles outbreak in Ohio’s Amish community. Image by david__jones / CC BY 2.0

Measles outbreak to disrupt two Amish events
The USA’s worst outbreak of measles in two decades could disrupt two big events happening in Ohio over the next few days. The outbreak, which has seen 360 people contract the disease, was started after some Amish travelers returned from a trip to the Philippines with the disease. It then spread quickly among the poorly vaccinated Amish community. The events – including Horse Progress Days, a showcase of horsedrawn equipment, and a large charity auction – will see tens of thousands of Amish gathered on Friday and Saturday. Officials are trying to warn attendees of the risk. Read more: 

Southwest Airlines launches first international flights
The world’s largest low-cost airline, Southwest Airlines, launched its first international flight on Tuesday with an 8.39 am service from Baltimore to Aruba, in the southern Caribbean. The carrier is planning to roll out services from a further eight US cities to international destinations including many islands in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Read more:

Plane returns to LAX after water leak
A Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne had to turn back just an hour into the journey after a burst pipe caused water to flood through the aircraft. Those on board were assured that there was no risk to their safety, but the crew decided to return to LAX ‘in the interests of passenger comfort’. Read more:

Pacific Northwest experiences record temperatures
Portland residents were sweating through their vintage tees on Tuesday when temperatures reached a whopping 99°F (37°C). The rest of the country was not sympathetic – Arizona temperatures reached 108°F (42°C) on the same day. The hot weather in the Pacific Northwest is expected to ease by Wednesday as a cooler front pushes in from the Pacific Ocean. Read more:

Seattle’s first pot shops ready to open
On Tuesday Seattle’s first marijuana dispensaries are set to open after recent legislation legalised the drug for recreational use. According to the Seattle Times the owner of one dispensary in downtown Seattle expects to sell all 10 pounds of his inventory on the first day. Washington State’s new laws coincide with similar legal changes in Colorado. Read more:

Vegas expected to be busiest airport for 4 July travel
Las Vegas airport tops a list of busiest airports for the July 4 weekend. An airline research firm says that Las Vegas airport will experience the most air traffic in the nation, busier than Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago. The busiest day is expected to be Friday July 4. Read more:

Endangered coral reef, Jamaica. Image by Jon Connell / CC BY 2.0.
Endangered coral reef, Jamaica. Image by Jon Connell / CC BY 2.0.

Caribbean coral reefs could vanish within next 20 years
Most Caribbean coral reefs will disappear within the next two decades unless they are better protected from overfishing and pollution, according to a new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN). The decline of the two main grazer species, the parrotfish and sea urchin, is thought to be a key driver in reef loss. Read more:

Despite long airport lines, Brazilian air travel decreases due to World Cup
Airline companies in Brazil have reported an 11 to 15 percent decrease in air transportation in the twelve World Cup host cities. Officials say the decline is due to the fewer bookings by business passengers, who have opted to telecommute during the games rather than schedule face-to-face meetings. Brazilians who usually travel for vacation during this time of year are also staying close to home to watch the tournament. Read more:



Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Middle East & Africa Destination Editors: Helen Elfer and Matt Phillips.

A view over Jeddah. Image by Nadya Peek / CC BY 2.0.
A view over Jeddah. Image by Nadya Peek / CC BY 2.0

First show by Saudi Art Council open in Jeddah
An art installation of glittering golden leaves, called ‘Tree of Guardians’, has been put on display in a disused shopping centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The display represents a matriarchal family tree, and is part of the Saudi Art Council’s inaugural show, called 21,39 – Jeddah’s geographical coordinates. Read more:

Riots in East Jerusalem and Temple Mount closed
Tensions have risen in Jerusalem after the bodies of three murdered Israeli teenagers were found earlier this week. There have been riots in the east of the city, and a Palestinian teenager has been found dead after what is thought to have been a reprisal attack. More clashes are expected and Temple Mount has been closed in case of violence. Read more:

Kenyas matatus go cash-free
Kenya’s matatus are going cashless. The famously chaotic buses and minivans were due to shift to the new system, in which users load a card and swipe it when they board, on Tuesday. The deadline has been relaxed after it emerged that only around 10% of the country’s 20,000 matatus had adopted the system, which should reduce corruption and increase tax revenue. Takeup will now be staggered. Read more:


Movie star bench goes missing in Amsterdam
A park bench that features in the hit movie adaptation of the novel The Fault in our Stars has gone missing in Amsterdam. The bench appears in a focal scene in the movie where the two lovers sit canalside. Officials admit they don’t know where it has gone but that a new bench will be reinstalled. Read more:

Kate Morgan