If travelling through the Croatian Islands, and you happen to be in Korcula (which, why would you not?), then make sure to stop by the Massimo Cocktail Bar! Lodged in the turrets of the 15th-century Zakerjan Tower, you can only access this bar by stairs, and then by ladder. Don’t worry about the waiters, the drinks are brought up by pulley! Not my favourite cocktail list, but definitely a memorable sunset view (and exit out of the place!).
Santorini, possibly Greece’s most picturesque island, is nothing short of paradise, and the scenic village of Oia, is famous for its breath-taking sunsets. Because of this, getting a good spot to watch the sun slowly sink beyond the horizon can be difficult and Oia can turn into a bit of a zoo each evening. Rather than fighting the throngs of tourists, why not head to Lioyerma Lounge Cafe Pool Bar, enjoy a drink and a dip in the pool before enjoying the magical spectacle that happens every evening.
Paul-Etienne Saint Germain, Epernay, Champagne, France
One lovely sunny afternoon while wandering the length of perhaps my favourite street in the world, Avenue de Champagne, past the large Champagne houses of Moët & Chandon, Pol Roger and Perrier-Jouët and toward the vineyards that lie at the end of the avenue, we stumbled across a cute Champagne house called Paul-Etienne Saint Germain. Encouraged by the small sign outside simply saying “Tastings” we knocked on the large front door and were greeted by a friendly man, Jean-Michel, who took us inside to an intimate little tasting room where he and his wife, Agnes, told us the story of their dream to one day make their own Champagne. Having grown up in Epernay and spending 20 years working in the Champagne industry for others, they have worked hard to build their business from the ground up. With dreams fulfilled, their Champagne is now served in Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. Both them and their story were so adorable that it was a pleasure to walk out of there with one of their delicious magnums under my arm!
Not the place to go if you’re on a budget, but for a special occasion (such as perhaps your husband’s birthday!), the rooftop Galaxy Bar is certainly the place to be. With good service, a great cocktail list and unrivaled views over Athens, I am more than happy to pay a few extra Euros for my dirty martini if I can feel on top of the world while doing so. Get there early to ensure a table out on the balcony and enjoy listening to the chilled beats as the sun slowly sinks behind the Acropolis.
Tickets is a tapas bar headed by Ferran Adria who ran elBulli and is arguably the greatest chef in the world. Set up like a theatre with a ringmaster type character as the door person, the place has a buzzing atmosphere. Between three of us we ordered probably two thirds of the tapas on the menu which was a huge amount of food, but every dish was worth it! Some of the highlights included fried egg with truffled duck fat and potato foam, Ferran Adria’s famous Olives (looks and tastes like an olive, but isn’t – it just explodes in your mouth!), rabbit taco in salmorejo sauce, catalan cream rolls, warm lava cake with raspberry sorbet, and the Animated Forest. All washed down with some cava, a bottle of red and some Tokay to finish, this top notch meal came to the grand total of about 85 Euros each. So if you know you’re going to be anywhere vaguely within the vicinity of Barcelona, be sure to swing by Tickets. Plan ahead though – you need to book online exactly 60 days before (the online booking form opens midnight Spanish time, and it books out within an hour). Hands down the best value meal of my life!
Avocado cannelloni with crab and romesco sauce
Warm lava cake of “turron de Jijona” with raspberry and thyme sorbet
Miniairbags stuffed with manchego cheese
The Animated Forest
Razor clams in escabeche, saffron pearls and soy sauce chards
We stayed for 3 nights at Villa Monica last September, and have since been discussing how and when we can get back there. Staring down from the hills of Sorrento onto the Amalfi Coast and ominous Mount Vesuvius directly opposite, this small B&B not only has beyond description vistas for a small price tag, but the owner Pasquale is what makes this place really memorable. He will drive you in and out of town when you need (while telling a good old joke or two), he will recommend great restaurants nearby, and he will even make you a great cappucino in the morning. But don’t just believe me, believe everyone else. And be sure to book ahead.
Literally the view from bed. Why get up?
View from our balcony
Mt Vesuvius looming behind the stunning Amalfi Coast