As our team of Journey Designers have been hard at work behind the scenes putting together amazing itineraries on board Scenic Eclipse, we have been talking to many industry experts and enthusiasts in search of extra inspiration. We are determined to ensure every Scenic Eclipse itinerary offers experiences which take you beyond the horizon and explore parts of the world that, until now, have been untouchable to the ordinary traveller.
This is why we’ve collected input from experts from all around the world, to discover what makes unforgettable moments and provides inspiring experiences. In doing so, we have been able to curate exceptional itineraries which provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences in the midst of Scenic Eclipse’s 6-star luxury.
We always enjoy the process of discovering the experiences which truly inspire other travel enthusiasts. So, we have decided to share a few. Here are five travel experts sharing their most inspiring travel destinations.
Porto – Liz from Fly Isabella
Porto is a breath-taking city that I have no doubt will surpass all your travel expectations - it certainly did mine. Every façade boasts exquisite traditional azulejos tiles, the banks of the Douro River bustle with activity and the pasteis de nata or Portuguese tarts are wonderfully addictive.
Admire uninterrupted views of this stunning city from atop the hill upon which sits Romanesque Porto Cathedral. Later you can sample a glass of Port, or two, or three. Most of the wineries are located on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the river, to the south.
Insider tip: it is best to avoid the wineries directly on the waterfront and walk a little further back. Highly recommended is the prestigious Graham’s for its excellent tour of the cellars and tasty cheese platter!
Porto with Scenic Eclipse: When arriving in Porto as part of the Jewels of Iberia and Ireland itinerary, be sure to visit Palacio da Bolsa as part of the Scenic Freechoice Program.
Havana – Judith Baker, Editor of Caribbean World Magazine
Oversized cigars, rum, the strains of jazz music oozing from every doorway and those fabulous classic cars – everyone thinks they know Havana and in some ways a visit here is a bit like walking on to a film set. But there is something about Cuba’s lively colonial capital which never fails to deliver a surprise. It could be that quirky old bookshop you find down a cobbled alleyway, that delicious pollo con arroz you bought from a street stall, or almost anything.
I love the outdoor market on Tacon Avenue just outside Plaza de la Cathedral where I have bought countless colourful pieces of jewellery and little wooden boxes.
Take in the remarkable architecture from old Havana visiting the main historic plazas: the Plaza de la Cathedral, Plaza de Armas, Plaza de San Francisco and Plaza Vieja.
Take a trip to the hilltop village of San Francisco de Paula to see author Ernest Hemingway’s Finca Vigía—the eccentric house where he lived for 20 years is now a museum displaying his library, manuscripts, and personal effects.
Insider Tip: Escape from the tourist trap bars in Old Havana and head for the Malecon Sea Wall: The spiritual centre of Havana, this five-mile wave-crashed promenade stretches the breadth of the city from Habana Vieja to Miramar and is popular with romance-seeking habaneros at sunset.
Havana with Scenic Eclipse: During our Cuba in Depth itinerary, enjoy a Scenic Enrich experience, a private display of Cuban percussion, drums and dancing.
Reykjavik - Liberty of Wanderlust Bug
My trip to Reykjavik was the first time I had ever visited a Nordic nation - the moment I stepped off the plane I knew I was going to love every inch of it. The land was green, the air crisp and fresh and the weather was stormy and sunny at the same time. I knew then that my love for the land of fire and ice had begun.
The city itself is quaint; full of boutiques, cafés, lunch spots and street art, so make sure to have at least one day to explore. Whilst in the city, don’t miss the viewpoint from the top of Hallgrimskirkja church. This offers sweeping views of the distant mountains, the pretty bay and the famous colourful rooftops of Reykjavik. The incredible Gullfoss Waterfall is also well worth visiting.
Another must do is, of course, the Blue Lagoon, the famous geothermal spa hidden in a lava field between mountains of volcanic rock. Can it get more Icelandic than that? Head here early morning or late evening to avoid the crowds. I had an incredible time in the city, but my next trip to Iceland is going to have to include Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon with its amazing black sand beach and lagoons dotted with icebergs.
Reykjavik with Scenic Eclipse: Follow Liberty’s advice during our Iceland Discovery itinerary, and head to Blue Lagoon as part of the Scenic Freechoice program.
Barcelona - Ben from Driftwood Journals
I remember my very first day in Barcelona. It was August and the sun seemed to hover directly above me. The heat visibly sizzled off the colourful buildings, while joyful aromas wafted into the street from the pastisserias. I was living in Gràcia at the time, a small neighbourhood known as a sort of village within the city. Like many barrios, it used to be completely separate from Barcelona until it got swallowed up during the city’s expansion.
But today, even though it's only a couple of metro stops away from the city centre, it still feels like an entirely different place and the residents will still tell you that they’re from Gràcia, not Barcelona.
Gràcia is also known for its many lively squares, like Plaça del Sol, Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia and, my favourite, Plaça de la Virreina. If you're fortunate enough to secure one of the coveted terrace tables, there's simply no better place to enjoy a lazy afternoon, nibbling tapas and sipping vermouth.
And the best part of all, from here you can stroll down the gorgeous Passeig de Gràcia to the city centre, admiring the ornate Modernist buildings that line this iconic boulevard. This is where you'll find Antoni Gaudi’s bizarre Casa Milà and dragon-scaled Casa Batlló. All this before you even get to the Old Town and city beaches.
Barcelona with Scenic Eclipse: A number of our itineraries start or conclude in Barcelona, and we offer a chance to extend your stay in the Catalan capital. Whilst you’re there, you can enjoy a selection of amazing Scenic Freechoice activities: guided tours of the Camp Nou, visits to Gaudi’s Casa Batlló and explorations of the Poble Espanyol open air museum.
Rio de Janeiro – Mrs O Around the World
I fell in love with Rio de Janeiro the moment I stepped into the city, it is heartbreakingly beautiful and elegant. The atmosphere, and the unique way the light shines makes you feel like tiptoeing and dancing to the bossa nova beat.
I’d recommend visiting the Ipanema and Leblon neighbourhoods, my personal favourites. Leblon is the city’s most upmarket neighbourhood, and the lack of English spoken in the streets just adds to its authenticity.
It is a city to indulge yourself in, the shopping and the dining are both spectacular. Personally, I’d recommend the salgadinhos (savoury pastries) and churrasco (barbecued meats), after enjoying a delightful day of retail therapy in Leblon’s boutiques.
For more information about Scenic Eclipse and our incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, please visit our dedicated itinerary page, here, or for booking information, call our helpful sales team on 0808 274 1366.