Silver Travel Book Club

May 2024 – Night Train to Lisbon

We’ll explore a different destination for each Book Club, and a lucky Silver Travel Book Club reader can win a free copy of that month’s book.

This month, our Silver Travel Book Club, in partnership with sponsors Railbookers, is taking to the tracks of Europe, to read all about the impulsive adventures of Raimund Gregorius in the international bestseller Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier.

Raimund Gregorius is a mild-mannered, middle-aged professor of ancient languages. One morning, as he is teaching, he is seized by a restlessness that drives him to abandon his classroom then and there – shocking his students, and surprising even himself. His unusual impulsiveness is driven by two chance encounters – with a mysterious Portuguese woman in a red coat; and with a book he finds hidden in a dusty corner of a second-hand bookshop, the journal of an enigmatic Portuguese aristocrat, Amadeu de Prado.

With the book as his talisman, Raimund boards the night train to Lisbon on a journey to find out more about Prado, whose words haunt and compel him. Gradually, a picture of an extraordinary man emerges: a difficult, brilliant, charismatic figure, a doctor and a poet, and a rebel against Salazar’s dictatorship. And as Prado’s story comes to light so, too, Gregorius himself begins his life anew. Hurtling through the dark, Night Train to Lisbon is a rich tale, wonderfully told, propelled by the mystery at its heart.

Discover Portugal by rail with the experts

Explore Lisbon and other Portuguese destinations with Railbookers who can customise any of their independent trips.

Located on the banks of the River Tagus and set on seven spectacular hills, a mention of Lisbon holidays will no doubt evoke images of winding cobbled alleys, sunny yellow trams, beautifully preserved ruins and cliffs embroidered with umber-roofed whitewashed and pastel-hued houses. Climb up to the medieval Castelo de São Jorge through the pretty Alfama district for great city views or travel uphill via one of the city’s famous lifts and funiculars. Spend a warm summer day tucking into Portuguese fare in downtown Baixa, or discovering the imposing Belem tower.

Some top rail itineraries in Portugual

Lisbon & Porto

On this eight-day train holiday, you’ll discover the captivating heart of both Lisbon and Porto, with an exciting day trip to Sintra and Cascais! There’s a reason these destinations are some of Europe’s most popular for travellers. Uncover the captivating history, character and culture of Lisbon. Ride an iconic funicular through the city. Wander past the pastel-coloured villas and palaces in Sintra. Visit the coastal town of Cascais and relax along the shoreline. And get to know the Old-World Ribeira district and Duoro riverfront in Porto.

Porto, Coimbra & Lisbon

Discover the highlights of Portugal’s colour and history in Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon on this fascinating seven-night holiday by air and rail. Start with a flight directly into the ‘invincible’ city of Porto for two nights before travelling south to riverside Coimbra and finally on to the lively capital, Lisbon.

Lisbon & the Algarve

A rail holiday to remember, this seven-night trip combines cool and cultured Lisbon with the rugged and beautiful coastline of the Algarve. Enjoy three nights in the Portuguese capital and a trip to the magical royal sanctuary that is Sintra, then take the train south for four nights in the historic town of Lagos and explore the wild and spectacular south western tip of Portugal.

Whether you’re in Lisbon for a short amount of time or an extended time, Railbookers can arrange popular sightseeing ideas and activities for you to further indulge your dream holiday.

How to win a copy of Night Train to Lisbon

Comment below to tell us where in Portugal you would most like to visit.

A winner will be chosen at random in early June 2024.
The competition closes on 31 May 2024.

Read more about all our Silver Travel Book Club reads.

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62 Responses

  1. I would love to visit Lisbon once again, Last visit was over 50 yeras ago and it was beautiful then.

  2. Like the comment above, it is a very long time since I visited Lisbon – so would love to return and explore it again. Also Caiscais where we spent a week after Lisbon.

  3. The only visit I’ve made to Portugal was with my now gorgeous goddaughter, who at the time was a toddler with the terrible twos. So, as long as I don’t have a two-year-old in tow, I wouldn’t mind where I visited.

  4. Would love to visit Portugal again, just a brief visit previously.
    So many different places to see, Lisbon for the town and many beautiful beaches.

  5. I would love to visit Porto to experience the local wines and take a trip on the Douro River to explore the scenery.

  6. Having only visited Portugal for a beach holiday on the Algarve, I would like to return to the country for a city break to Lisbon.

  7. I have been to the Algarve with my late husband thoroughly enjoyed it but I really would love to visit Lisbon and take in all the sights and tastes that this vibrant city has on offer

  8. I am a Portual novice but from what I have read and heard, would like to start off with Lisbon

  9. Having never been to Portugal there are a couple of places I would like to go to, but Porto I think would be top of my list

  10. I would love to revisit Portugal. It has been a little while, and it would be nice to do so just the two of us this time.
    Porto and Algave would be on the list.

  11. I love Portugal but have not yet visited Porto and would love to go there and combine it with a trip through towns on Duoro.

  12. We are shortly off on a coach trip of Portugal visiting Lisbon, Evora, Covilhia, Porto & Obidos amongst other places

  13. I’ve had two wonderful holidays in Portugal but only had 2 nights in Lisbon so didn’t have time to fully enjoy all the sights as well as the food and wine.

  14. We have been to the Algarve many times so would love to go to Porto and down that coast.

  15. It would be live to visit Lisbon as I’ve never been. It’s on my bucket list to go and explore.

  16. I actually took the night train to Lisbon a couple of years ago, travelling through France by TGV and then changing trains at the Spanish border to take the sleeper onwards. However, I got off at Coimbra and went up to Porto so next time I would really like to visit Lisbon itself.

  17. I’d like to visit Lisbon because it was the last port of call on our last cruise, but we contracted Covid during the trip and were confined to our cabin, so could only view the Port and distant rooftops from our balcony!

  18. The area known as the “Golden Triangle”,I believe it’s an idyllic place,with beautiful beaches,stunning houses and elegant shops and boutiques.(not that I could afford to stay there,but we can dream.)

  19. I would love to visit remoter parts of Portugal-away from the bustle of Oporto and the Algarve.
    I love the food and scenery and the people so would like to go to the Northeast and northwest- to the medieval villages and the Alto Minho

  20. Love driving through the Vale de Canas and inhaling the smell of the Eucalyptus Trees. Also seeing the villages with painted houses of the Moorish influence

  21. I went to Portugal 50 years ago to the Estoril area but would love to explore the Algarve and also do more sightseeing in Lisbon, as was only there for a few hours last time.

  22. I’ve never been to (mainland) Portugal so a trip to Porto followed by a cruise along the Duoro would be my choice.

  23. I’d love to go back to Porto and spend time exploring that city and neighboring Gaia and beautiful Braga further north.

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