From meeting the curious tarsiers – the world's smallest primate – and the man dedicated to saving them in Bohol, to speaking to incredibly inspiring refugees keeping their culture alive in Berlin, we look back at our favourite travel stories of 2017.

1. Living the past: the ancient professions of Old Delhi

Modernity is seeping into Old Delhi, a walled district that has long harboured the Indian capital’s traditional ways of life. But what does it mean for long-standing Delhi-wallahs and their archaic practices? Jack Palfrey speaks to a street dentist, a calligrapher and a spiritual doctor to find out more.

Jama Masjid Mosque in old Delhi, IndiaCurioso/Shutterstock

2. Saving the elephants: on the poaching frontline in Kenya

The African elephant is under constant threat from poachers, and numbers have fallen by one third in seven years. Joe Minihane journeyed to the Samburu reserve in Kenya to meet its elephants and the people trying to save them.

Elephant family in Samburu National Reserve, KenyaElephant family in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya © Maggy Meyer/Shutterstock

3. Existence at the extremities: a journey through Svalbard

Svalbard is as human as the northern Arctic gets: as far north as you can venture without joining a scientific expedition, and the furthest north mankind has managed to establish permanent communities inhabited year-round. Luke Waterson investigates what it takes to survive at nigh-on 80° North.

Northern lights over Svalbard, Norway/CC0

4. Introducing: The Rough Guide to Everywhere podcast

In this first episode, we speak to two people who have cycled huge lengths of the planet, 50 years apart. Legendary travel writer Dervla Murphy shares stories from her 1963 solo cycle from Ireland to India, disclosing how she accidentally became an arms trader in Afghanistan. And 20-something adventurer Charlie Walker tells of the scrapes and psychological shifts that he experienced during a four-year cycle around the world.

5. The many faces of Bristol: Britain's coolest city

Bristol’s enterprising spirit is one reason we named it the coolest city in Britain earlier this year. And this spirit is all down to the chefs and artists and innovators that live there. Bristolian Ruth-Ellen Davis took to the streets of her hometown to meet three residents with some of the city’s creative fire in their bellies.

THE MANY FACES OF BRISTOL: BRITAIN'S COOLEST CITY: Hotwells Bristol, UK.© ND Johnston/Shutterstock

6. A postcard from the Philippines: saving the tarsiers in Bohol

Tarsiers are the world’s smallest primate – and 20 years ago they were dangerously close to extinction. But numbers are rising in Bohol, in the Philippines. Mike MacEacheran went to meet these curious creatures and the man dedicated to saving them.

A tarsier in Bohol, PhilippinesJuan Carlos Alonso Lopez/Shutterstock

7. Video: 5 reasons to hike the new Jordan Trail

Despite being a safe country with no shortage of breathtaking historical sites, friendly people and some of the world’s most stunning wilderness, Jordan is often overlooked by travellers. However, a new thru-hiking route, the Jordan Trail, is attracting a wave of adventurers from around the globe. Colt St. George reports from Jordan.

8. Podcast: North Korea, behind the headlines

It’s hard to get away from news about North Korea. Updates on the secretive state litter our social media feeds and newspaper splashes. But for a country that we talk about so much, very few of us have actually visited. In this episode, we turn our attention to the world’s most mysterious nation, and hear stories from legendary travel writer Hilary Bradt who visited last year.

9. How Syrians are keeping their culture alive in Berlin

Syria has been shattered by conflict since March 2011; more than 5 million people have been forced to flee the country and rebuild their lives elsewhere. Jessica Bateman travelled to Berlin to hear the stories of three Syrian refugees turned tour guide, chef and storyteller, who are working hard to preserve their culture 2000 miles away from home.

Our 12 favourite travel stories of 2017: puzzle with the national flag of germany and syria.© esfera/Shutterstock

10. Dispatch from Rwanda: where every gorilla has a name

One of the world’s greatest conservation success stories, Rwanda’s mountain gorillas were on the brink of extinction 50 years ago, but thanks to efforts from conservationists including Dian Fossey, they’re now thriving. Emma Gregg reports from this year’s Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual gorilla-naming ceremony, before heading into the wild to see the gorillas for herself.

Baby mountain gorilla in RwandaShawn Dechant/Shutterstock

11. King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail in the USA

Next year marks 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and also the launch of a new Civil Rights Trail through the USA’s south. On a road trip from King’s birthplace in Atlanta to the site of his assassination in Memphis, Ella Buchan discovers how his legacy applies today.

civil rights trailElla Buchan

12. Podcast: off-road in the Scottish Highlands

In the spring of 2017, our podcast host Greg Dickinson travelled to the far northern Scottish Highlands on Rough Guides duties. While there he met Colin Murdoch, the eccentric deerstalker who runs extraordinary tours across the Reraig Forest Estate. This episode takes us off the beaten track and into Colin’s “argo”, an amphibious buggy designed to traverse the muddiest, squelchiest landscapes imaginable. The aim of their adventure is to meet Colin’s second family – a herd of majestic red deer.

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