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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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.

Jetty set: The stunning Bandos Island Resort

Traveller's Guide: Maldives

A visit to the Indian Ocean's most alluring archipelago will redefine your idea of the perfect beach holiday.

Hérault havens: the big six

Hostellerie St Alban, Nézignan l’Evèque

Set in an atmospheric old village close to the historic town of Pézenas, this gracious 19th-century mansion offers 13 comfortable bedrooms, a fine-dining restaurant and an attractive garden with swimming pool. The Mediterranean coast and the hills and wilds of Haut Languedoc are within easy reach to the north. Doubles from €98 per night, room only, logis-herault.fr

Off Duty: New Haven

The home of one of America’s leading universities is a vibrant city

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO AGRA

Two people a second visit the marble masterpiece but there's far more to the Moghul capital than the Taj Mahal. Harriet O'Brien goes exploring in an Indian city bursting with architectural marvels and majestic vistas

Living the city high life

There's no better place to take in the energy of Tokyo than from one of the sky-rise towers. By Harriet O'Brien
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Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea