Harriet O'Brien

Harriet O’Brien is a travel writer and award-winning author. Her first book Forgotten Land, a rediscovery of Burma was published just before she joined The Independent, her second Queen Emma and Vikings, a few years after she left. She was on staff at The Independent during the 1990s and subsequently worked in Canada and then as managing editor at Conde Nast Traveller before going freelance in order to travel more. She mainly covers the UK, Europe and Asia, where she grew up.

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Stage set: the Via
Francesco Mormina
Penna, Scicli

Swept away by a Sicilian symphony

The medieval villages of the south-east could double for opera stage sets, as Harriet O'Brien discovers on a blissful winter break to the island

Traveller's guide: Indian wildlife holidays

With the return of tiger tourism and the release of the film adaptation of 'Life of Pi', now is the time to explore the subcontinent's national parks, says Harriet O'Brien

Tiger tourism in India has become popular again

Tiger tourism is back and burning bright in Rajasthan

After they were closed by the government this summer, India's nature reserves are starting to reopen to tourists, but with greater safeguards for wildlife, as Harriet O'Brien discovers

Casa Gangotena Hotel, Quito

Quito: A capital city that's high and mighty

This Ecuadorian gem is in the process of dramatic change, as Harriet O'Brien reveals

Full spectrum: temples in Jaisalmer

Rajasthan: Land of many colours

There's nowhere quite like Rajasthan and now is the perfect time to visit. So get ready for cities of pink, white and blue, for dazzling Indian festivals, and for deserts, palaces and luxury trains

Peak district: The Auvergne's Chaîne des Puys

Land of sleeping green giants: Volcanic appeal in The Auvergne

The Auvergne's volcanic heart is now easier to visit thanks to a  new railway to the top of its landmark peak, says Harriet O'Brien.

In the pink: Albi, Toulouse-Lautrec's birthplace

France: At home with Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi

A newly revamped museum devoted to Albi's most  famous son offers an intimate look at the artist's work, as well as an insight into his short life, says Harriet O'Brien.

Light up: Mysore Palace illuminated at night

Mysore: a dazzling indian summer in Karnataka

In the south of India, little-visited Karnataka has plenty of surprises, from the bright lights of Mysore Palace to rare wildlife sightings in the jungle

An worker harvests grapes in a vineyard in Nashik about 100 miles north-east of Mumbai

Filling in the blancs: Indian wine is young, but maturing nicely

Is this the new Napa Valley? Harriet O'Brien takes a trip to the vineyards of Nashik, near Mumbai, and discovers some fresh flavours to savour

Frontier spirit: A new flight to Amritsar opens up India's Punjab

The peace was palpable. Around the temple courtyard pilgrims were reading, praying, and sweeping the gleaming marble. Meanwhile the air was filled with music and chanting, relayed via discreetly placed speakers from the golden inner sanctuary that glowed magnificently through the darkness. It was just after 4.30am at Amritsar's Golden Temple. Here, in accordance with Sikh philosophy, all are welcome – including slightly spaced-out women just arrived from England.

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Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

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From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
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