Silversea's Silver Dawn
August 11-22, 2022
Where Are We Going?
Thursday, August 11 - BARCELONA, SPAIN
The infinite variety of street life, the nooks, and crannies of the medieval Barri Gotic, the ceramic tile and stained glass of Art Nouveau facades, the art and music, the throb of street life, the food (ah, the food!)-one way or another, Barcelona will find a way to get your full attention. The capital of Catalonia is a banquet for the senses, with its beguiling mix of ancient and modern architecture, tempting cafes and markets, and sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches. A stroll along La Rambla and through waterfront Barceloneta, as well as a tour of Gaudi's majestic Sagrada Familia and his other unique creations, are part of a visit to Spain's second-largest city. Modern art museums and chic shops call for attention, too. Barcelona's vibe stays lively well into the night when you can linger over regional wine and cuisine at buzzing tapas bars.
Friday, August 12 - PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN
A rugged Mediterranean gem arising out of the rich blue haze, Mallorca is a Spanish island of cuisine, culture, and sun-gorged beaches. Palma de Mallorca is the island's dominating capital, a sand-colored mirage of glorious buildings and living history. Conquered and liberated countless times over the years, since its Bronze Age founding, the city is your gateway to ceaseless Mediterranean beauty, buzzy markets, and intense flavors. Cafes and bars wait close to the sweeping coastline, where you can enjoy strong espressos to kick start the day or splashes of red Majorcan wines to round it off. Bicycles trundle up and down the promenade, which invites you to wander in the morning sunshine beside the waves. Dominated by the indefatigable form of Santa Maria cathedral, which looms over the city and coastline, Palma de Mallorca is drenched in history and culture. The labyrinth of the old town is a cobbled haven, which bustles with dripping ice creams and sun-lashed squares. The creation of the mighty cathedral, Le Seu, began in 1229 and was eventually concluded in 1601. A perfect encapsulation of Palma de Mallorca's blend of the historic and the contemporary, even Gaudi lent his hand to it, and the interior features a spectacular modernist take on the New Testament from artist Miquel Barcelo, which is painted across the chapel's walls. The splendid Royal Palace of La Almudaina fortress stands nearby, a left-behind Moorish footprint of square towers and Arabic archways that now serves as an official summer residence for the King of Spain.
Saturday, August 13 - PALAMOS, SPAIN
A place of monasteries tucked into mountains, surreal art, and gorgeous beaches, Palamos is your gateway to the Costa Brava's scenic beauty and the cultural wonders of Catalonia. Inspect Palamos' rugged coastline, and you can almost see the Catalan flag's blood and gold colours reflected in the craggy red cliffs and golden sands. Soak in the unfiltered glory of Spain's Wild Coast, which is fringed with attractive beaches and rock-dappled outcrops plunging into the blue Mediterranean waves. Known for its rich meaty prawns, Palamos is a flavourful stop of culture, coastline, and historic charm. Just 20 miles inland from Palamos' tempting beaches, you'll find Girona's Medieval city looming. Four rivers converge here in this delightfully walkable city. Soak up the atmosphere of the cobbled old town, which is protected by historic ramparts. A steep ramp of 90 steps leads up to the Baroque facade of the Cathedral of Girona, which towers over the city and impresses with the world's widest Gothic nave - a full 22 metres across. Figueres is also close by, where you can enter the 'theatrical dream' conceived by the master of surrealist Salvador Dali. Born in Figueres, his hometown honours his memory and global influence at the irresistible Dali Theatre-Museum - a gloriously bizarre and immersive experience, and a fitting summation of his creative outlook. Opened in 1974, Dali himself had an input into the design of the giant egg topped building, having worked on its creation during the final decade of his life.
Sunday, August 14 - MARSEILLE, FRANCE
France's sunniest and oldest city may not have the glamour of some of its Cote D'Azur neighbours, but what it lacks in glitz, it certainly makes up for in authenticity and cultural depth. France's second-biggest city, Marseille, served as the European Capital of Culture in 2013 and is a fantastic hub of museums, creativity, and colour. The Le Panier district is a vivid illustration of this - with its faded streets revitalised by overflowing flowerpots and pretty naturally distressed doorways. Look down to the yacht-crammed port - where fishermen still unload fresh catches - from the viewpoint at the spectacular Notre-Dame de la Garde - a true crowning glory. Standing over walled fortifications - and capped by an elegant dome - the soaring golden statue of Madonna and Child rises high into the air and is visible all over the city. The huge Marseille Cathedral is equally impressive, with its stunning zebra-striped exterior. Palais Longchamp, built-in 1862, twinkles with flowing water, and its saturated gardens and splashing fountains were built to celebrate the engineering feat of successfully redirecting water to the city. You can't leave Marseille without tucking into its famous fish stew - bouillabaisse. Flavoured with thyme, garlic and hunks of Mediterranean fish and plump prawns, it's a bold and delicious taste of Provence. Wash your hands clean after, with some of Marseille's traditional soap, created using a fragrant recipe of rich olive oil. Escape the hubbub of the city, to soak in the natural glory of Calanques National Park. Hike, kayak, and sail your way through a treasure trove of limestone cliffs, dropping off to hidden beaches.
Monday, August 15 - SAINT TROPEZ, FRANCE
A glitzy, glamorous coastal resort that needs no introduction, Saint Tropez is the French Riviera hotspot of choice for A-listers and flotillas of gleaming yachts. The sparkle of its beaches, and the clarity of its light, continue to attract artists - but it was the famous presence of Brigitte Bardot that leaned Saint Tropez its enduring glamour and steamy appeal. Nowadays, speedboats skim offshore, while fine vintages from the vineyards nearby are uncorked in top-notch restaurants, in this well-heeled highlight of the Cote d'Azur. Famous bars offer views of the port along Quai Jean Jaures, with its iconic cherry-red directors' chairs. Here you can admire the monstrous wealth of yachts that sparkle on the waters. On the same corner, big-name brand labels glimmer in the shops of rue Francois Sibilli - which cuts inland from the charming waterfront. The earthier appeal of boules clinking and thumping into the ground can be enjoyed at Place des Lices, where sun-wrinkled locals compete. Saint Tropez has a few beaches of its own, but famous stretches like Pampelonne Beach draw the biggest crowds to relax on star-studded golden sands. La Ponche, the authentic fishing quarter, retains its cobbled, historic elegance, and a 17th-century, hexagon-shaped citadel watches over the city and coastline from above. Coastal walks in the sea air snake away from the city's bustle, and a series of headlands shape the stunning riviera landscape surrounding Saint Tropez. The historic monochrome Cap Camarat lighthouse adds a pleasing accent to hikes above the sparkling Mediterranean's waves.
Tuesday, August 16 - MENTON, FRANCE
Happily preserved from much redevelopment, mountains frame belle epoque villas painted in sun-faded pastel shades, an azure sea shimmers. It's picturesque and lush with exotic botanical delights.
Just a quick skip from Monaco and the last stop on the Cote de d'Azur before Italy, Menton isn't the celebrity haunt like some of the flashier resorts of the coast, but it's not exactly undiscovered either. It was already a fashionable winter retreat for the traveling nobility in the 19th century, even gaining a royal seal of approval from Queen Victoria.
Inspired by the subtropical microclimate, well-heeled 19th-century aristocrats planted lavish gardens now open to the public bursting with rare, tropical plants from their travels and the largest collection of citrus trees in Europe, with over a hundred different varieties.
The charms of Menton did not escape prominent artists and writers: Picasso, Duffy, Monet, Zola, and Flaubert, amongst many others, have all found inspiration here. Perhaps none so much as Jean Cocteau - artist and director. The admiration was mutual; there's a fantastic museum dedicated to his work as well as visits possible to buildings he was given free rein to decorate.
There's a lot to look at as you sip your citron presse!
Wednesday, August 17 - LIVORNO (TUSCANY), ITALY
There are few more elegant places to salute the sunset than Terrazza Mascagni, Livorno's refined chessboard piazza. A historic port, and a beachy gateway to Tuscany, Livorno welcomes you ashore to explore this enchanted Italian region's sun-soaked beauty, rich flavours, and world-renowned fine art. Stay in Livorno to explore 'Piccolo Venezia' or 'Little Venice' - a quarter of the town that's laced with canals, little marble bridges, and plenty of tempting eateries. With its bustling market, fortresses, and iconic waterfront, there's plenty to keep you busy here, but most will be tempted to venture inland to explore more of Tuscany's many charms and artistic wonders. Test your nose as you breathe in the subtleties of Tuscany's vineyard-draped scenery, and visit wineries showcasing the best of the renowned flavours of the Bolgheri wine-growing area. Or head out to Prato, where you'll find tightly woven textile history. Pisa's showpiece tower is within reach, as is Florence's city of immense and imaginative renaissance beauty. Admire the delicate carving of Michelangelo's masterpiece, the David statue, and now the provocative stance as he casts a dismissive glance towards Rome. Stand before the city's majestic black and white cathedral - the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore - with its colossal brick dome. The view down over Florence's river and grad dome from Piazzale Michelangelo is one of Italy's finest. However you choose to spend your time in Tuscany, you'll discover an artistic region filled with beauty designed to appeal to every sense.
Thursday, August 18 - PORTOFINO, ITALY
Effervescent and exclusive, Portofino rests on a privileged peninsular. Lavish yacht mingles together, seeking out sought-after berths in the harbour, while gelato drips onto the stone-paved streets in this, the most alluring and glamorous town, of the Italian Riviera. This section of the Ligurian Coast is a protected area and home to some of the country's most picturesque and jaw-dropping scenery, which is best viewed from the deck of a sailing boat. Crisp white villas roll out across the verdant green hillsides surrounded by laden vineyards and olive groves. Down in Portofino itself, the buzz of chatter and the clatter of cutlery provide the soundtrack to busy terrace bars and restaurants, which serve up fine food and delicious sea views. Portofino's achingly beautiful harbour arcs around the lapping waves, with a warmly-hued waterfront of peach and apricot colours - which also adorns postcards and promotional travel guides of Italy. For the authentic Portofino experience, sail out onto the tranquil waters of the Gulf of Tigullio to mingle amongst the privileged at play, or settle back in the shade as you take aperitivo on the picturesque waterfront Piazzetta. Here you can sip the famous Ligurian wines and stave off hunger with focaccia con il Formaggio - or platters of fine cheese and hams. Deeper into Portofino, you'll find artisans crafting their wares and weaving together lace, or you can ascend to viewpoints, like the lemon shaded Church of San Giorgio, to look over the pretty jumble from up above. A wander out along the headland, to the tapering tip of the peninsular, rewards with the views of Portofino's iconic white lighthouse beaming out light and welcoming ships to this slice of Riviera heaven.
Friday, August 19 - OLBIA, SARDINIA
An energetic little town where authentic Sardinian life plays out, Olbia welcomes you to the island's heart-meltingly attractive northeastern coastline. Explore a land where glorious turquoise oceans and white sands meet, and cork and olive trees grow wild. Swish golf clubs on courses hugging the electric-blue waters, ride the terrain on mountain bike trails, or recline on powder-soft sands - the choice is yours in Olvia's exclusive, sun-soaked outdoor playground. Corso Umberto is the paved, flower-decorated spine of Olbia - a buzzing pedestrianized street that runs from the waterfront and hums with restaurants and shops. The town's atmospheric narrow streets eventually lead to the small squares of Piazza Regina Margherita and Piazza Matteotti - perfect for a shaded drink and a sit-down in their clusters of animated cafes. Wander to find Basilica di San Simplicio, a simple granite structure that dates back to the 11th century and is decorated with glowing 12th-century frescoes. The zigzagging rainbow-colored tiles of the Chiesa di San Paolo's dome beam in the sunshine and add a splash of color to the town's humble skyline. The coastline around Olbia is some of Sardinia's finest. Head to Costa Smeralda, where some of the most beautiful beaches in the world sparkle. An area of immense beauty, white sand crescents, like Capriccioli, stand protected by junipers, pine trees, and olive trees growing wild. Wander the secluded sands where turtles lay their eggs or relax in the opulence of luxury resorts. There are beautiful beaches closer to Olbia, too - Porto Istana sandy beach offers crystal clear shallow water that is ideal for swimming and sun-worshipping.
Saturday, August 20 - CIVITAVECCHIA (ROME), ITALY
All roads lead to Rome, and with good reason - this city is one of the world's most thrilling, offering unmatched history along every street. An evocative, inspiring, and utterly artistic capital of unrivalled cultural impact, Rome is a city of back-to-back landmarks, which will take you on an exhilarating journey through the ages. This may be one of the world's oldest cities, but it's well and truly lived in. The ruins are punctuated with murmuring cafes, and the outdoor seating of restaurants sprawls out across piazzas, enticing you to sample tangles of creamy pasta and crispy pizzas. Rome's incredible Roman Forum is littered with the ruins of its ancient administrations, which have stood firm for 2,000 years since the times when the area was the center of the Western world. Few sites are more simultaneously beautiful and haunting than that of the storied Colosseum, which looms deep into Rome's rich blue sky. Take a tour to learn details of the grisly goings-on within. The best way to experience Rome is to wander its streets, gelato in hand. There is a lot to see here - whether it's the domed spectacle of the Pantheon or the elaborate flowing waters and artistry of the Trevi Fountain. Vatican City is an astonishing, colossal display of Catholic grandeur, while the Spanish Steps - crowned by the Trinita Dei Monti church - offer a beautiful spot to gather and soak up the lively atmosphere of this humming city. With so much on the to-do list, you'll relish the breaks you take, enjoying simple pleasures like a strong espresso or fresh pasta with tomato sauce and ripped basil.