Crocodiles sighted in Crete, world’s smelliest fruit-fest gets underway in Singapore and Qatar plans underwater theme parks

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: Crocodiles cause tourist sensation in Crete, Durian Fest begins in Singapore, beer machines installed at baseball park in Minneapolis and Qatar plans to build underwater ‘lost cities’.

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


10 July is…

Silence day, for followers of the Indian guru Meher Baba

Beatles Day, Liverpool & Hamburg

Independence Day, the Bahamas


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

Sad Janka Krála Park, Bratislava. Image by Marek Bakajsa / CC BY-SA 2.0
Sad Janka Krála Park, Bratislava. Image by Marek Bakajsa / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bratislava introduces alcohol ban in public spaces
Bratislava’s city council has announced that the consumption of alcohol is to be banned from several public spaces, including Sad Janka Krála Park and areas surrounding bus and train stations. The ban comes into effect from mid-July, and follows a similar scheme in Prague, where drinking is forbidden in over 800 locations. Read more:

Norwegian zinc mines to be opened to the public
A complex of 19th century zinc mines in Ryfylke, Norway, is to be redeveloped into a new tourist attraction. The mines were in operation between 1881 and 1899, and are credited with kickstarting the industrialisation of the region. The attraction is due to open in autumn 2015. Read more:

Europe’s tallest skyscraper to become even higher
Moscow’s 93-floor East Tower, set to become Europe’s tallest building at 360m, will get another 13.2m according to a new design approved by the city authorities. It will be open for use by the end of 2015. Moscow already boasts the tallest building in Europe – the 338.8m-high Mercury City Tower. Read more:

Lucca’s church of Santa Caterina restored and reopened
The baroque church of Santa Caterina in the town of Lucca in Tuscany has been reopened to the public after 18 months of restoration work. The restoration project was initiated after the church came third with nearly 20,000 votes from the public in the 2010 ‘I Luoghi del Cuore’ (‘Italian places that I love’) competition to identify well-loved historic, artistic and cultural sites deserving of renovation. Read more:

Ultra Europe dance music festival hits Split on Friday
The three-day Ultra Europe dance music festival, which features a star-studded line-up of the world’s top DJs, is due to kick off in Split’s Poljud Stadium on Friday. The festival is expected to attract some 80,000 visitors to Split, bringing accommodation rate hikes and traffic chaos in its wake, before it transfers to the island of Hvar for a one-day after-party on Monday. Read more:

Crocodiles spotted in Crete. Image by Brandon Trentler / CC BY 2.0
Crocodiles spotted in Crete. Image by Brandon Trentler / CC BY 2.0

Crocodiles in Crete cause internet and tourist sensation
A 6ft-long crocodile was spotted last week in Crete, near an artificial lake south of Rethymno, which is the first such case in European waters for over a decade. The local media soon reported sightings of a second crocodile. This led to a social media sensation and a rush of tourists to the area, also prompting sales of inflatable crocodiles by souvenir shops. The authorities are searching for the owners of the animals and specialists are working on removing the crocs from the island. Read more:

Death metal band to perform in airtight, soundproofed box
Metal band Unfathomable Ruination are playing a series of concerts inside a small airtight cube outside London’s Gherkin. The gigs (6pm Wed-Fri until August 1), part of Portuguese artist João Onofre’s work Box Sized Die, will end when the band run out of oxygen. As the box is black and soundproofed, the only sign the concerts are taking place will be vibrations and the band entering and leaving the box. Read more:

New alphabet-themed exhibition takes in amulets, demons and jade
A new exhibition at Dublin’s Chester Beatty Library will take visitors on alphabetical journey through cultures. Chester Beatty’s A-Z: from Amulet to Zodiac opens on Friday and features works that are rarely displayed from the library’s Western, Islamic and East Asian collections – themes include ‘amulet’, ‘demon’ and ‘jade’. Read more:

Easyjet adds more routes from Switzerland
Budget airline EasyJet are expanding their routes from Switzerland. New services include links from Geneva to Hamburg, Reykjavik and Aberdeen, and from Basel to London Luton and the Canary Islands. Read more:


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

A durian fruit stall, Singapore. Image by Kevin Utting / CC BY 2.0
A durian fruit stall, Singapore. Image by Kevin Utting / CC BY 2.0

Singapore celebrates world’s smelliest fruit
For fours days from today, Resort World Sentosa’s Durian Fest 2014 offers punters the chance to tuck into seven variations of durian at what organisers claim to be the world’s largest festival dedicated to the custard-like tropical fruit. Durians have such a pungent smell that consuming them is widely banned in public places across Singapore. Read more: 

Buddhist temple in Shanghai to be moved
The Jade Buddha Temple, one of Shanghai’s most popular temples, is preparing to have its nearly 100-year-old Grand Hall moved 30m. The move will double the size of the front square, which has been cited for safety concerns during crowded periods. The temple will remain open to visitors during the move, which is slated for completion in 2016. Read more: 

New airports planned for Indian cities
As part of the first budget of prime minister Narendra Modi, new airports are planned for cities across India. As the first phase of the project, 15 new airports will be constructed in smaller cities to provide air connections to parts of the country that are only accessible by road, and this number will expand to 200 by 2024. Read more:

Timor-Leste’s first feature film gets international release
Beatriz’s War, a love story spun around Timor-Leste’s occupation by Indonesia, opens in Melbourne today after a blockbuster season on home soil. Despite Timor-Leste having just one cinema, Dili producer Lurdes Pires estimates that the film has been seen by more than 1 in 12 Timorese. Read more:

Stranded whale returned to sea off Australia
The two-year-old humpback whale that beached itself on Palm Beach south of Brisbane late on Tuesday was finally rescued on Thursday after five previous attempts ended in failure. Humpbacks migrate from Antarctica to warmer waters off Queensland in winter and can be seen travelling along the coast over winter. Read more:

Cold spell in Victoria brings big snow dumps
Ski resort operators are rejoicing in Victoria as a bitter cold spell has seen large snow dumps at all major ski resorts including Falls Creek, Mt Hotham and Mt Buller. Visitors to Melbourne may not be as pleased with city temperatures remaining in the low teens accompanied by squally winds and rain.Read more:


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

Target Field baseball park, Minneapolis. Image by Tim Wilson / CC BY 2.0
Target Field baseball park, Minneapolis. Image by Tim Wilson / CC BY 2.0

Target Field unveils serve-yourself beer machines
Target Field baseball park in Minneapolis has become the first Major League Baseball stadium to offer self-service beer stations, just in time for the All-Star Game next  Tuesday. Thirsty fans need to show identification to purchase a $10, $20 or $50 vending card and then the machines work on a pay-by-ounce system. There are four beers on sale: Bud, Bud Light, a lemon shandy and a Goose Island pale ale. Read more:

American Queen paddlewheeler moved to Ohio River
Passengers booked on the American Queen paddlewheeler for a cruise in July will be getting an unexpected view. The steamboat has had to be moved to the Ohio river for the rest of July due to the high water levels in the Upper Mississippi. The new route will sail between Cincinnati and Paducah, Kentucky with a free transfer to the new launch point. Guests can choose whether to take the cruise or postpone it until the Mississippi levels fall later in the year. Read more: 

United taken to court for delayed luggage
A woman is suing United Airlines because she claims that they deliberately didn’t carry her luggage on a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. Gina Spadoni says that United prioritised freight cargo instead of passengers’ personal baggage because it makes more money from the former and doesn’t have to compensate travellers if their luggage doesn’t arrive at their destination at the same time as they do. United deny the claims. Read more:

Nevada legislature to consider a bill allowing dogs in bars
Among several proposed Nevada laws up for consideration next February is one to give bar owners the option to allow dogs on their premises. The draft of the bill was requested by Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden. Read more:

Hundreds of dead fish wash up on O’ahu shores
O’ahu residents are reporting seeing hundreds of dead fish wash up on shorelines around the island. The reports began on July 1, and state biologists have been sent out to collect samples. The cause of the fish deaths is still a mystery. Read more:


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

The coast of Luanda, Angola. Image by Erik Cleves Kristensen / CC BY 2.0
The coast of Luanda, Angola. Image by Erik Cleves Kristensen / CC BY 2.0

Luanda and N’Djamena top list of world’s most expensive cities
Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living Survey ranked Luanda and N’Djamena, the respective capitals of Angola and Chad, as the most expensive cities in the world for expatriates. The heavy reliance on imported goods and the high cost of securing suitable accommodations are cited as the reasons behind the African cities rankings. Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich round out the top five. Read more:

Qatar plans underwater ‘Lost Cities’
Qatar is planning to develop a series of artificial reefs for underwater theme parks at some of its waterfront resorts. The reefs will be designed by Hollywood set designers to look like ancient ‘Lost Cities’. Coral content in Arabian Gulf reefs is in decline and it is hoped these theme parks will boost diving and snorkelling tourism in the country. Read more:

Free WiFi launched in nine South African airports
Passengers travelling through any of Airports Company South Africa’s nine airports will now have access to free WiFi. Users will be able to connect for 30 minutes (or 50Mb of data) at no cost, after which they can top-up the service on a pay-as-you-go basis. Airports in South Africa included in the new scheme are OR Tambo (Johannesburg), Cape Town, King Shaka (Durban), Upington, Port Elizabeth, East London, Bram Fischer (Bloemfontein), George and Kimberley. Read more:


Co-author of Pamplona survival guide hospitalised
The co-author of a book titled ‘Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona’ has been badly injured in the Pamplona bull run in Spain. The book offers tips on how to survive the bull runs in the San Fermin festival as well as the subsequent partying and was co-written with John Hemingway, grandson of author Ernest Hemingway. Bill Hillmann is said to be recovering following surgery. Read more:
Jo Cooke