Dear fellow travellers
We are very grateful to readers of our Letter from Europe who contacted us following our newsletter last week which was the first for a while. Rest assured it is very much our intention to send a Letter from Europe from time to time in the future.
Issue 70 of hidden europe magazine is published this week and can now be ordered in our online shop where you can also purchase back issues of the magazine – almost all issues are still in print and available for ordering.
Many have asked us about our decision to cease publication of the print magazine with this seventieth issue. That certainly deserves a few words. It is a rare moment in publishing history that a well-received and profitable magazine plans its own sunset. And that’s something which over the last year or two we have really done very carefully. Our feeling is that all good projects have a start, a middle and an end. And over two decades, the various phases of the hidden europe project have brought us enormous pleasure – as probably also our readers. The whole process of designing, publishing and promoting a travel magazine has been fun.
More than just fun. It has been a chance to showcase a style of long-form, intelligent travel writing that rarely gets space in mainstream media. It was also a chance to promote liberal European values and an opportunity to say positive things about communities well off the normal tourist trails.
When we first started thinking about hidden europe, the European Union was extending its eastern frontiers and we too were widening our horizons, venturing east to explore areas of Europe which were poorly mapped by travel media.
We discovered and wrote about diaspora communities like the Swedes and Estonians who moved to the northern shores of the Black Sea. We followed the route taken by Swiss winemakers who moved from the Lavaux region by Lake Geneva to the parched lands of Bessarabia. We ventured north to Iceland, to Karelia and to Russia’s Barents Sea coast.
But as we reflect on two decades of researching and writing about unsung communities across Europe, we realize that we had a lot to learn about how to travel. It took courage in the early days of hidden europe to escape the tyranny of too much planning. Over time, we slowed down and came to value journeys in their own right. Our philosophy of travel – if that’s not too grand a word – found expression in our Manifesto for Slow Travel, which was published in 2009.
hidden europe 70 includes a retrospect on the ideas which have underpinned our writing over all these years. But this final issue of the magazine is much more than mere navel gazing. We report from Slovenia, East Anglia, Bologna and Lake Geneva. We explore a village bisected by the French-Swiss border, admire the clock tower on the town hall in Aarhus and remark on how Michelin branding (with the famous man made of tyres) has hardly changed since the late nineteenth century.
hidden europe will remain as a carefully curated collection of print and online material and we shall continue to publish our Letter from Europe. Meanwhile, you may be interested to know that the 17th edition of our book Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide has just been reprinted. Stock from that July 2023 reprint is now filtering through into the book trade. If you like the writing in hidden europe, you’ll surely find the book of interest.
Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
(editors, hidden europe magazine)