A good novel has the power to transport its reader thousands of miles away. But stepping (or sailing) into those literary worlds is easier than you think. Olivia Michel looks at wanderlust-inducing destinations from the classic novels in your library.
In fiction: Chilean writer Isabel Allende begins Daughter of Fortune (1998) in the gritty yet romantic seaside town of Valparaíso. The protagonist Eliza grows up in a neighbourhood nestled between the city’s hills.
In reality: Lily Albin, owner of 37.5-metre sailing yacht Escapade, read Daughter of Fortune before sailing to Valparaíso in 2016. “The book’s description was quite accurate, so I wasn’t disappointed,” she says, recalling the colourful and cobbled streets. In particular, she was captivated by the vibrant shades of the artistic city and emphasises that “the house façades and murals are just wonderful”. For those whose curiosity has been piqued, Albin warns that “the Pacific Ocean on this coast is all very wild, so it would be for someone who is adventurous enough to go there”.
Writer’s retreat: Valparaíso’s labyrinthine stepped alleyways, effervescent culture and rolling hills have attracted artists for years. Albin recommends leaving the yacht in Puerto Deportivo and staying 10 minutes away, at the cherry-red Palacio Astoreca Hotel. Located on the central square, it features a lively jazz bar and an extensive art collection. Looking for a spot to become inspired? Take one of the city’s funicular railways to a hilltop look-out for a breathtaking vista over the metropolis.
Continue the story: Just to the north of Valparaíso, superyachts can stop by the coastal commune of Viña del Mar. The town may not have as much character as its more urban neighbour, but its glamorous resorts and lush, manicured gardens are well worth the trip.
Best by boat: Valparaíso’s centre is curved around a deep natural harbour, which historically served as the first port of call for sailors who had rounded Cape Horn. Yachts up to 100 metres can anchor there.