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Coronavirus, Holidays in the UK and Europe: a Message from our CEO

Maintaining a rational perspective with international travel

There’s no doubt that Coronavirus has caused disruption and inconvenience to individuals and to the authorities in affected areas, but I would like to reassure travellers with a calm and rational assessment of the facts.

Uncertainty about the virus in its early weeks has bred fear, which is being heightened by the barrage of news headlines and amplified by social media. The situation now is that it is rare to read balanced information. 

World Expeditions Travel Group has been operating adventures across the globe for 45 years and, during that time, we have experienced and overcome many adversities. We have well-developed and tested risk strategies for these very occurrences. 

Coronavirus outbreak is the latest challenge and we do not see any reason for travellers to panic. We advocate continuing with travel plans as we are doing with our own staff travel programme. 

As with travel at any time, there are risks of infection from a virus. At no time are we able to guarantee you will not become ill during your travels with World Expeditions Travel Group or, indeed, in your daily life at home. Weighing up the risks of travel is a personal decision and we encourage you to investigate the facts to come to an informed decision about the risks. 

According to the Director General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:
 
"Everyone should know the symptoms – for most people, it starts with a fever and a dry cough, not a runny nose.  Most people will have mild disease and get better without needing any special care."

We develop robust risk strategies based on multiple sources, primarily: 

We encourage you to visit both websites. With respect to corona virus, mainland China, Iran and 11 towns in Northern Italy and two pockets of South Korea remain the only four countries for which the FCO has increased the advisory to Advise against all but essential travel or Advise against all travel. 
 
Johns Hopkins University in the US has a map with helpful facts about global cases of the virus.   

We make regular updates to the travel advisory section of our own website and I encourage you to check it on our partner company World Expeditions.

I would also remind you that a typical World Expeditions Travel Group holiday is one in which you’ll be immersed in the natural landscape and generally off the beaten track, where the chance of catching any virus is far lower than in most urban environments.

I do advise departing travellers, including staff who are travelling both now and in the future, to take extra precautions in washing your hands regularly and following NHS guidelines related to COVID-19.

In conclusion, I would like to assure you that your safety – and that of all our travellers - has always been at the core of everything we do. I acknowledge that any new health outbreak that is widely covered by the media will cause concern and I encourage you to maintain a rational perspective and continue with what you do daily and what you love to do on your holidays.

Yours sincerely,

Sue Badyari
CEO
 
 

Cycling around Finland's Turku Archipelago

Cycling around the Turku Archipelago - Header

 

Cycling Around Finland's Turku Archipelago

Cycling holidays in Finland's Turku Archipelago are becoming more and more popular. We chat with our Finnish specialist Heidi about what she loves about the region and what travellers can expect on a cycling holiday there.

 

Turku in the South-western corner of Finland is the oldest city and the first capital of the whole country. The Turku Archipelago is certainly one of the most prolific in the world: a total of some 20,000 islands and skerries, most in their pristine natural state, are scattered from Turku all the way out to the Åland Islands. Much of the Turku Archipelago is encompassed in the Archipelago National Park, ensuring that the region retains it’s natural beauty. Inhabited islands in the Turku Archipelago can be reached by inter-island ferries making many islands accessible by bicycle and meaning there is little traffic to contend with.

 

I personally am really fond of history, and that’s why the region really speaks to me. The Ice Age has left it’s marks to the archipelago: the land is rising 50cm in a century, which is changing the landscape and coast-line continuously. There are also lots of archaeological discoveries such as ship wrecks to prove that Vikings and Hanseatic merchants had made their way through the archipelago in centuries past.

 

Aurajoki in the Turku Archipelago

 

Best Time of Year for Cycling around the Turku Archipelago

The summer season is the best time to visit the archipelago, since the weather is warm and nature is blossoming. Long daylight hours also help you explore the outdoors. It is definitely worth booking early if you would like travel here as unfortunately this season is quite short (between June-August) and accommodation often books out.

 

TOP EXPERIENCES IN THE TURKU ARCHIPELAGO

Are there any villages, specific spots or experience that you really enjoy in the region. We are particularly interested in anything that you think travellers would not normally experience if they didn’t have inside knowledge.

 

The whole route is filled with amazing sights, but perhaps the most impressive of them is the intriguing island of Seili. Seili was the island where the mentally ill and those with leprosy were sent in the 17th century. Grimly, anyone who was banished there was required to take their own coffin boards since most of them never returned!

 

The old town of Naantali is also one of my favourites. Its buildings are from the 18th century and the atmosphere is astonishing. For those interested in architecture the place is a heaven. You can find many kinds of unique and typical features of Finnish architecture and design in Naantali. The Old Town on the harbor is well worth a visit and there is a viewing tower there where you can look out over many beautiful villas.

 

The islands of Iniö too are naturally beautiful and are home to a lot more to a lot of sights, including Sofia Wilhelmiina’s church, old, idyllic village sceneries and Åselholm’s saw and windmills.

 

Ferry in the Turku Archipelago

 

Favourite Food & Drink in The Turku Archipelago

You have to taste the archipelago bread (a unique type of black rye bread), it is not only good but also healthy. The Turku Archipelago is also famous for its seafood, which you can find fresh in most of the harbour towns. Restaurants Stallbacken and L´escale, both in Nagu are two of my favourite restaurants in the archipelago and are both well worth a visit if you can.


Houses in the Turku Archipelago

Further Advice for Cycling in the Turku Archipelago

The Turku Archipelago is ideally suited to cycling  and while you should be in at least average shape, the terrain is gentle (though more hills than you would expect) and you can travel at your own pace. Remember it can get quite warm in summer and so keeping hydrated is essential.

 

Along the route, for much of the time, there are separate cycling paths, specifically for bikes. These are marked with a white bicycle symbol on a blue sign, and sometimes painted on the road in white. These cycle-only roads keep you and your bike separate from the cars, and can be located on the right or left side of the road (sometimes crossing over from one side to the other). On occasions, the cycle path veers away from the car road for a short period before returning again. Sometimes the cycle road is split with a pedestrian pavement. They are clearly indicated - take care to ride along the correct one.

 

MORE INFORMATION

For more information on cycling around the Turku Archipelago visit our Cycling Holidays in Finland page. You can also check out the video from Visit Finland below, which looks at the destination from a slightly different perspective.