With glorious year-round weather, century-old cities, miles of stunning coastline and yes, fantastic wine, if Portugal is not on your destination bucket list, then it should be. Swashbuckling and romantic, Portugal is a bit like stepping into a fairy tale: medieval castles, rocky hills and green meadows are all the norm - although we cannot guarantee any damsels in distress or knights in shining armour! Adding a further touch of mystique is the Douro River Valley, so lovely that many locals consider it enchanted as well as enchanting. Wander the lovely vineyards, sample the country’s eponymous wine and admire the stupendous scenery that warrants its UNESCO World Heritage status. Bookended by Roman, Visigoth and Moorish history, and underscored by fado rhythms and superb gastronomy (pasteis de nata anyone?) allow yourself the luxury of exploring this award-winning country and its islands with Silversea.
Hands up who has (or rather hasn’t) heard of Harry Potter? Rumour has it that the moving staircase in J.K. Rowling’s stories was inspired by a Lisbon bookshop; Rowling lived in Lisbon prior to finding fame as the author of the famous Harry Potter books and was a regular visitor to the Livraria Lello. The bookshop is often mentioned as one of the world’s most stunning, and certainly, the twisting grand staircase looks like it could have been the inspiration behind the famous one in Hogwarts. The neo-gothic building (Livraria Lello that is, not Hogwarts) was built in 1906 and also has a spectacular stained glass skylight, carved wooden handrails and incredibly detailed plasterwork ceiling (that some say is reminiscent of Flourish and Botts, the fictitious magical bookshop in Diagon Alley). Not just for Potter fans though, there is literally no better place to shop for first and rare editions. Sadly, Livraria Lello has become a victim of its own success and with so many Potter fans traipsing through its floors, the bookshop has had to charge a three euro entrance fee (refundable against any purchase). Alohamora!