Hi from Rick: Europe's Best Seaside Bars
"...with a glass of ouzo and some munchies, as the sun slowly sinks into the sea and boats become silhouettes, you can drink to the beauties of a Greek isle escape."
With an overload of disastrous weather and election intensity dominating our country right now, I'd like to offer you a few moments of escape. Imagine a warm sunset glinting through the drink in your hand. Now let's fantasize about the best seaside bars in Europe.
Dubrovnik, Croatia: Buža offers, without a doubt, the most scenic spot for a drink in Dubrovnik. Perched on a cliff above the sea, clinging like a barnacle to the outside of the city walls, this is a peaceful, shaded getaway from the bustle of the Old Town...the perfect place to watch cruise ships disappear over the horizon. Buža means "hole in the wall" — and that's exactly what you'll have to go through to get to this place.
Rovinj, Croatia: The Valentino Champagne and Cocktail Bar is a memorable, romantic, justifiably pretentious place for an expensive late-night waterfront drink with jazz. Fish, attracted by the bar's underwater lights, swim by from all over the bay...to the enjoyment of humans nursing a cocktail on the rocks (literally — you'll be given a small seat cushion and welcomed to find your own seaside niche).
Vernazza, Italy: The Ristorante Belforte's tiny three table balcony lets you sip your vino della Cinque Terre overlooking the Mediterranean from the edge of a stony castle. Mist from the surf crashing below on the Vernazza breakwater and views of the ancient vineyard terracing all around makes the experience a highlight.
Hydra, Greece: Kodylenia's Taverna is perched on a bluff just over Kaminia's pocket-sized harbor, which shelters the community's fishing boats. Here, with a glass of ouzo and some munchies, as the sun slowly sinks into the sea and boats become silhouettes, you can drink to the beauties of a Greek isle escape. With my favorite dinner views on Hydra, this scenic spot lets you watch the sun dip gently into the Saronic Gulf, with Kaminia's adorable port in the foreground.
Solvorn, Norway: The Walaker Hotel, a former inn and coach station, has been run by the Walaker family since 1690 (that's a lot of pressure on eighth-generation owner Ole Henrik). Set right on the Lustrafjord, the hotel has a garden perfect for relaxing and, if necessary, even convalescing. I love to savor my coffee and dessert with fjordside setting on the balcony — mesmerized by Norwegian mountains. Rather than jagged, they're bald and splotchy, with snow fields on top and characteristic cliffs plunging into inky fjords. One night I took my strawberries à la mode onto one such porch and sat there long after my coffee cooled and the ice cream melted.
Now that you're in the mood, enjoy a few more travel escapes in this month's edition of Travel News. You'll find tips for riding buses and subways in Europe, my favorite walk across Prague, a tour disaster story (with a happy ending), a video preview of my new Florence and Tuscany TV show, and readers' rants about their favorite places...that they think I underrate or ignore.
Here's to rolling up our sleeves to get through life's challenges, and that seaside sunset as a sweet reward.