With all the intensity in our domestic and political worlds lately, it's a fine time for an escape — sunset glinting through the drink in your hand. Let's fantasize about the 10 best seaside bars in Europe.
In Dubrovnik, Croatia: Cold Drinks "Buza" 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 into the horizon. "Buza" means "hole in the wall" — and that's exactly what you'll have to go through to get to this place.
In Istanbul, Turkey: The double-decker Galata Bridge spans the Golden Horn, a historic inlet that separates the old and new towns of Istanbul. And all along both the horn and the bridge, you'll find dozens of inviting, no-name bars. Find a place to nurse some Turkish specialties: Drink an unfiltered, highly caffeinated "Turkish coffee" (which leaves a thick coating of "mud" in the bottom) or a cup of tea, and suck on a water pipe filled with flavorful dried fruit.
In Salema, Portugal: One bit of old Algarve magic still glitters quietly in the sun — Salema. This simple fishing village has three beachside streets, many restaurants, a few hotels, a couple of bars, a classic beach with a paved promenade, and endless sun. The Atlantico — right on the beach — is known for its fun drinks, friendly service, and a wonderful beachside terrace.
In Nerja, Spain: Ayo's is famous for its character of an owner and its beachside all-you-can-eat paella feast at lunchtime at Burriana Beach. For 30 years, Ayo — a lovable ponytailed bohemian who promises to be here until he dies — has been feeding locals. The paella fires get stoked up at about noon. Grab one of a hundred tables under the canopy next to the rustic, open-fire cooking zone, and enjoy the beach setting with a jug of sangria.
In Villefranche-sur-Mer, France: In the glitzy world of the French Riviera, Villefranche-sur-Mer offers travelers an easygoing slice of small-town Mediterranean life. Luxury sailing yachts glisten in the bay — an inspiration to those lazing along the harborfront to start saving their money when their trips are over. Le Cosmo Bistrot takes center-stage on Place Amelie Pollonnais with a great setting — snag a table with views of the harbor.
In Vernazza, Italy: Ristorante Belforte's tiny, four-table balcony lets you sip your "vino della Cinque Terre" overlooking the Mediterranean from the edge of a stony castle. You can feel the mist from the surf crashing below on the Vernazza breakwater. And the views of the ancient vineyard terracing all around you makes the experience a highlight.
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