Wreckage from missing Air Algérie plane found in Mali, seven-year-old cycles from Sweden to Berlin and Southern California swelters amid record-breaking temperatures

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: Air Algérie wreckage discovered in Mali by French military, a seven-year-old Swedish boy cycles to Berlin with his family and drought conditions worsen in Southern California.

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

YOUR WORLD TODAY

25 July is…

Constitution Day, Puerto Rico

Guanacaste Day, Costa Rica

Republic Day, Tunisia

EUROPE

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

A lighthouse peers out from Skellig Michael. Image by psyberartist / CC BY 2.0
A lighthouse peers out from Skellig Michael. Image by psyberartist / CC BY 2.0

New Star Wars scenes being shot at Skellig Michael
Filming for the new Star Wars film is taking place at Skellig Michael, off Ireland’s west coast. The remote rock, home to a monastery reached by rock-carved steps, will be closed to the public July 28–30  while the scenes are shot. It’s hoped the resulting exposure will encourage tourists to visit the UNESCO site. Read more: independent.ie

Turkey’s high speed train opens Friday
The delayed high speed train line between Istanbul and Ankara will open on Friday. Capable of reaching speeds of 250 km per hour, the train line will cut the journey time between the two cities to 3.5 hours. There will be 6 journeys per day each way, 12 in total. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but are expected to be around 75 Turkish Lira per journey. Read more: hurriyetdailynews.com

Cracks appear on Grand Bazaar’s roof
Aerial photos of the roof of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar have revealed serious cracks following heavy rain last week. Steel supports were introduced to parts of the 553-year old roof following damage two years ago, but the problem is thought to have worsened over the past week. In March a full restoration of the roof was announced, costing 200,000,000 lira. Read more: hurriyetdailynews.com 

Semi-submarine, Croatia. Image by Connie Ma / CC BY-SA 2.0
Semi-submarine, Croatia. Image by Connie Ma / CC BY-SA 2.0

Croatian semi-submarine company a success
Tourists can now experience Croatia’s underwater world without getting their feet wet, thanks to the success of a local company that manufactures semi-submarines. Twenty-five of the submarine-shaped red boats, which float low in the water with an underwater glass-walled cabin have been sold to operators up and down the coastline. Read more: croatiaweek.com

Feast of St Andrew to be celebrated in Pescara
This Sunday the Feast of St Andrew will be marked by a unique land and sea celebration in the Italian coastal town of Pescara. A statue of St Andrew is carried, followed by a band and a procession, through the town down to the harbour, where it is transferred onto a fishing boat. The procession – accompanied by a flotilla of fishing vessels – continues out to the centre of the harbour, where floral wreaths are thrown into the water in memory of those who have died at sea. Read more: italymagazine.com

New Russian law allows gambling zones in Sochi and Crimea
A new Russian law, published on Wednesday, permits the establishment of gambling zones in Sochi and Crimea. In Sochi, casinos can be set up only in Olympic venues constructed through private funding. In Crimea the authorities are free to choose the locations for casinos. Read more: themoscowtimes.com

Commonwealth Games' tickets sold out. Image by Linda Connon / CC BY 2.0
Commonwealth Games’ tickets sold out. Image by Linda Connon / CC BY 2.0

Seeing the Commonwealth Games without a ticket
Most tickets for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, which feature 71 nations and a wide variety of sports from athletics and swimming to lawn bowls, are sold out. There are various other ways to join the action, including big screens, festivals and workshops. Events that are free to watch include a flotilla of 250 vessels, which will sail down the River Clyde on Saturday, the marathon (July 27) and road cycling (July 31 and Aug 3). Read more: bbc.co.uk

Brussels’ Royal Palace opens to the public
The Palais Royal (Royal Palace) in Brussels opens its doors to the public for a short period every year over summer and this year it is open from July 22 to September 7. The 19th-century palace is the ‘official residence’ of the royal family and will be open from 10:30am to 4:30pm every day, except Monday. Read more: visitbrussels.be

Berlin climbs the tourist charts
Figures released this week show that Berlin is the fastest growing tourist city in Europe. The study compared overnight stays in 115 cities, with Berlin showing an 8% increase in visitor numbers, year on year. The head of Visit Berlin, Burkhard Kieker, attributed the growth to the city’s history, tolerance, and the fact it ‘doesn’t cost the earth’. London remained in the top spot for 2014, with Paris sticking firmly in second. Read more: thelocal.de

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

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

 

Google street view heads to Vientiane, Laos. Image by goflashpacker / CC BY 2.0
Vientiane, next in line for the Google Street View treatment. Image by goflashpacker / CC BY 2.0

Laos to get Google Street View
Laos will be the next country in Southeast Asia to receive the Google Street View treatment, with work to begin soon in Vientiane. The government has reportedly encouraged the public to ‘keep the area nice and clean’ so Laos is showcased positively to the world. Read more: shanghaidaily.com

Bangkok hosts ‘happiness’ festival
Parts of central Bangkok will be closed off this weekend for what the Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor, Thawatchai Arunyik, has dubbed ‘the mother of all bounce-back parties’. Featuring music concerts, cultural displays, exhibits and food stalls, the free Thailand Happiness Street Festival will run from Saturday until Sunday, 3pm-midnight. Read more: tatnews.org 

Air India’s troubled Dreamliners
Air India, the national carrier of India, has had more problems with its new fleet of Boeing Dreamliner aircraft. Two flights had to be cancelled on Thursday due to technical problems with the planes, including doors that would not close properly. There were two cancellations last week after similar problems had occurred. Read more: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Kiwi ski-season social media marketing campaign using drones
In an innovative tourism marketing campaign, travellers in New Zealand this winter are invited to make use of Tourism New Zealand drones to film short clips of themselves on snow-capped mountains and encouraged to share them via social media channels to inspire others to travel to the South Island of New Zealand. Read more: mumbrella.com.au

Tourist arrivals from US and UK to Australia on the rise
While the biggest market for inbound travellers to Australia is Asia, visitors from the US and UK have gained ground in the last 12 months partly due to the economic recovery of these two large markets. It’s been reported that arrivals from the UK grew 12% for the year while US arrivals grew by 9.1%.
Read more: thenewdaily.com.au

THE AMERICAS

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

Mexico gears up for F1. Image by ph-stop / CC BY-SA 2.0
Mexico gears up for F1. Image by ph-stop / CC BY-SA 2.0

Mexico revs up for return of F1
After a 23 year gap, Formula 1 motor racing is to return to Mexico. Officials have announced that the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, in the capital Mexico City, will host Grand Prix races again for five years from next year. Read more: bbc.co.uk

Heatwave across Southern California
Already suffering from the worst drought on record, the last thing Southern California needs is a heatwave, but record-breaking temperatures are what it’s experiencing right now and they’re set to continue into next week. Most of the region hit over 38°C/100°F on Thursday, while Lake Elsinore, a small town southeast of Los Angeles, reached a scorching 44.5°C/112°F. Read more: latimes.com

Cancer institute hands out sunscreen at waterpark
The Comprehensive Cancer Center of Nevada is providing free SPF 30 sunscreen to all Wet ‘n Wild Las Vegas patrons. The waterproof sunscreen is available at a kiosk at the park’s entrance for the remainder of the season. Skin cancer is the US most common form of cancer, affecting over 2 million people every year. Read more: lasvegasweekly.com

Grand Canyon gondola picks up controversy
A proposal to install a gondola in the Grand Canyon is gathering vocal opponents, who say the gondola will damage the area’s ecosystem, obstruct vistas and increase light pollution. The developer of the gondola, which is dubbed the Grand Canyon Escalade, said the ride wouldn’t obstruct views and the machine would use green technology. Other opponents also say the area is sacred to local tribes. Read more: azfamily.com

Beetle fungus killing Everglade trees
An invasive species of beetle from southeast Asia is spreading a fungus around the Everglades, killing trees. The disease, called laurel wilt, was first found in western Miami and has since killed 330,000 acres of swamp bay trees across the Everglades. Experts say the redbay ambrosia beetle probably arrived in a shipment of wood. Read more: nytimes.com

Lima’s Line 1 Metro extension complete
An extra 7 miles has been added to Line 1 of Lima’s  electric train system, with service on the new route begining Friday from Av. Grau downtown. The line will service 10 new stations between San Juan de Lurigancho. The Metro, which has 22 trains, transports around 228,000 passengers daily. Read more: peruviantimes.com

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

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

Air Algerie. Image by Mathieu Marquer / CC BY-SA 2.0
Air Algerie – no survivors. Image by Mathieu Marquer / CC BY-SA 2.0

‘No survivors’ from Air Algérie crash
Wreckage from the missing Air Algérie plane was found last night in Mali, near the city of Gao and close to the Burkina Faso border, and not, as originally announced by Mali’s president, in the far north of the country. French military personnel have retrieved the black box from the airliner and confirmed that there are no survivors. The plane is thought to have crashed due to bad weather. Read more: telegraph.co.uk 

Cape Town’s Table Mountain cableway closing for maintenance
From July 28 to August 10 the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway in Cape Town will be closed for scheduled maintenance. The work is to ensure the facility continues to meet the standards set by the Swiss Governing Body for Cableways. Before and after the closure visitors can take advantage of the specials, one of which is a free return ticket for adults on their birthday (SA citizens). If your birthday falls within the closure you can still redeem the ticket during the first week after it reopens. Read more: tablemountain.net

Windhoek airport downgraded
Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek, Namibia, has been downgraded from Category 9 to Category 5, which has forced Air Namibia to reroute its flights from Frankfurt. Unable to land their larger Airbus A330-200 at the airport, they have rerouted arrivals to Gaborone, Botswana, from where their smaller Airbus A319s can ferry the passengers to Windhoek. Read more: tourismupdate.com

WEIRD, ODD & JUST PLAIN FUN

Miracle tree grows 40 kinds of fruit
An American artist has created a tree that bears 40 different kinds of fruit, including cherries, peaches, plums, apricots and almonds. Artist Sam Van Aken created the tree, which bears rainbow-coloured blossom, by grafting different trees together, a technique used by fruit growers for centuries, though never on quite the same scale. Read more: huffingtonpost.com
Joe Bindloss

Pedal power! Seven-year-old cycles to Berlin
Seven-year-old Swede Edvin Blomdahl certainly has something to write home about: he cycled 370km from Sweden to Berlin, and has blogged about his adventure. He completed the trip with his family in just four days and said of the trip, ‘It was just fun to cycle’. Read more: thelocal.de
Gemma Graham