Skyline panorama of Barcelona at sunrise. Spain; Shutterstock ID 1795930126; project: Marketing; job: Content Marketing; client: PO Cruises; other:

Editorial Team


1. Norway's so now

For big spaces and wild wonders, Iona explores Norway’s beautiful west coast this summer and next.




The town of Ålesund stands out for its delightfully uniform architecture – it was reconstructed in 1904 after a devastating fire in the most fashionable style of the day, Art Nouveau.




Further south is Haugesund, seat of Viking kings and birthplace of modern-day Norway. Visit the Haraldshaugen monument commemorating these two facts just north of the city centre. More accessible is the statue of Marilyn Monroe draped over a pedestal in the Harbour area – where Haugesund hosts the Norwegian International Film Festival every year.




Visit the Jugendstilsenteret, which showcases the form’s curvaceous, decorative charms in interiors.


Runde Island


Well worth a visit is the spectacular aquarium at Tueneset, 3km along the coast, which has plenty of outdoor activities including feeding time at the giant seawater tank, and otter, penguin and seal-watching. Or take a boat trip to Runde Island, which is visited by up to half a million seabirds a year, not least adorable puffins.

water channels of Alesund in Norway; Shutterstock ID 1793127079; project: Marketing; job: Content Marketing; client: PO Cruises; other:

2. Catalan cool

The Catalonian capital of Barcelona provides a vivid mix of ancient and modern.


Contemporary Architecture


The spirit of modernist architect Gaudí swirls about Barcelona, most visibly in the Sagrada Família, the Gothic-inspired church that resembles an ornate termite mound, and at the vast Park Güell, which is dotted with his sinuous, textured structures.


Cultural treasures


The Joan Mirô museum, the National Museum of Catalan Art and the iconic Camp Nou stadium, home to Barcelona FC, are just a handful of the city’s many cultural treasures, but it also boasts top-class nightlife and a string of beautiful beaches: try Sant Sebastià, backed by cool shops and terraced bars.


Amazing food


Barcelona's food is amazing, too. Seafood and pintxos (Basque-style tapas) are good bets or go for a Catalan classic such as pa amb tomàquet, the ripest tomatoes on rustic bread with oil, in the bustling Boqueria market.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 16, 2017: Cathedral of Sagrada Familia. The famous project of Antonio Gaudi. Sculptures, close-up; Shutterstock ID 662170975; project: marketing; job: marketing; client: pocruise; other:

3. Stylish Santorini

A particular highlight on many Mediterranean fly-cruises is the volcanic island of Santorini, the most southern of the Cyclades islands and reputedly the site of the 'Lost City of Atlantis'.


Clinging to volcanic rock


Following a catastrophic volcano about 3,600 years ago, the western edge of Santorini forms part of the rim of a caldera, a water-filled, cauldron-shaped depression with a crater at its centre.




Carved into the caves at the caldera’s edge are picture-perfect Greek towns and villages, including Oia at the northwestern tip, famed for its glorious sunsets, and the lively capital, Fira. Hike between the two spots drinking in the stunning scenery or relax on one of the island’s black and red-sand beaches.

Pretty buildings by the sea in Santorini
Pretty buildings by the sea in Santorini
Pretty buildings by the sea in Santorini
Pretty buildings by the sea in Santorini

4. Atlantic beauties

The Atlantic islands of Madeira and Lanzarote have different personalities, and both are full of unexpected delights.


4.1. Lanzarote


Lanzarote in the Canary Islands is so much more than a sun worshipper’s paradise. Beyond the sunloungers you’ll find fascinating geology, dazzling marine life, action and adventure (the cycling and surfing are incredible), and the pioneering work of local artist, architect and environmentalist, César Manrique, who has left his mark on the island through dramatic sculptures and structures that work in harmony with the surrounding landscape.


Jameos del Agua Tourist Centre


Pioneering local artist, architect and environmentalist, César Manrique, has left his mark on the island through dramatic sculptures and structures that work in harmony with the surrounding landscape. The jaw-dropping Jameos del Agua tourist centre, which reshapes a series of volcanic tunnels and caves, must be seen to be believed.


Timanfaya National Park


Equally impressive on a grander scale is the spooky basalt landscape of Timanfaya National Park. A trip to stylish Teguise, considered the oldest settlement in the Canaries and home to a charming Sunday market and craft shops is highly recommended if you're lucky enough to visit Lanzarote on a Sunday. Another quirky Manrique creation, the lava-carved Lagomar, is nearby.


4.2. Madeira


Subtropical and volcanic, Madeira is lush, dramatic and packed full of things to do and see. Swim in a sculpted rock pool at Porto Moniz, marvel at the amazing rock formations of Pico de Ana Ferreira or feel the sand between your toes on the black-sand beaches at Seixal.


Cabo Girão cliff


Not far from the lovely capital Funchal is the Cabo Girão cliff, which has a viewpoint with glass floors – dizzying but spectacular at 580 metres. If you are fit and feeling adventurous you can walk a levada or two (the network of irrigation channels that carries water from the rainier northwest to the drier parts of the island is a hiker’s delight).


Monte Palace Tropical Garden


More sedate but just as pretty is the array of glorious gardens, including the Monte Palace Tropical Garden and the Palheiro Gardens, both in Funchal. Don’t forget to sample Madeira’s most famous export, the eponymous sweet wine.