Planeteer: Plans to scrap European roaming charges, Japan’s phallus fest, Madrid’s new bike hire scheme

The Boat Race approaching Hammersmith Bridge, London. Image by Chris Brown / CC BY 2.0

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: Madrid gets a bike hire scheme, European roaming charges to be scrapped and the Festival of the Steel Phallus gets underway in Japan.

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


4 April is…
The countdown to Qingming (Tomb Sweeping Day) in China and Taiwan on 5 April
The anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King (1968)
Independence Day, Senegal


Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Europe Destination Editors: Jo Cooke, James Smart, Brana Vladisavljevic, Kate Morgan, Anna Tyler and Gemma Graham.

European Parliament votes to abolish roaming charges abroad
The European Parliament has voted to get rid of roaming fees for citizens using mobile phones abroad. From December 2015 making calls and downloading internet data in another EU country will cost European travellers the same as in their home country. This change is still to be approved by the national governments of EU countries. Read more:

The Boat Race approaching Hammersmith Bridge, London. Image by Chris Brown / CC BY 2.0

University Boat Race kicks off Sunday

First started in 1829, the men’s Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge is one of the oldest sporting events in the world. This Sunday (6 April) the River Thames in London will host the 160th edition of the race. The main event starts in Putney at 5.55pm, with the two crews battling head to head until Chiswick Bridge in Mortlake. Oxford, which trails Cambridge 77-81 in the historical win column, are the bookies’ favourites. Read more:

First public bike-hire scheme comes to Madrid
Madrid will soon get its first public bicycle-share scheme, called BiciMad. From 1 May 1500 electric bikes will be offered across 120 bike stands under the scheme, which is similar to the one that already exists in Barcelona and San Sebastián. The cost of bike hire hasn’t been announced yet. BiciMad is part of a wider project that will create around 60km of bike lanes throughout the city. Read more:

Russia’s gulag camps may become tourist sites
The regional tourism department of the Sakha Republic in the Russian Far East has plans to offer gulag camp visits as a tourist attraction. These forced labour camps operated in the Soviet Union until early 1960s and it’s estimated that at least one million prisoners died there. Read more:

Orbit & parklands open in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
The ArcelorMittal Orbit and the parklands section of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London will open to visitors at 10am on 5 April. Besides taking in the view from the top of the 114.5m Orbit, visitors can now explore four new interactive trails, enjoy 25 public works …read more


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