5 Reasons You Simply Have to See Stuttgart

Everybody knows that the capital of the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, Stuttgart, is a grand city rich in history, palatial architecture, and vivacious viticulture, right?

OK, I’ll admit it, it actually took me until just recently to discover all of this.

Ever since visiting Stuttgart though, I’ve been singing the city’s praises to anyone and everyone who will listen and since the people in my neighborhood and at the supermarket are getting a little tired of hearing about it, I figured I would share it with you.

Without further adieu, here are five of the many reasons you should catch a flight to Stuttgart Airport … soon.

‘Goldilocks’ Size

Upon arriving in Stuttgart, I was immediately struck by how size-wise, the town felt ‘just right’. Stuttgart is big enough to have an expansive Metro, bustling shopping streets, and scores of bars and restaurants, but at no point was it overwhelming or stressful – and we arrived at rush hour during a major festival. This came up over and over when talking to locals too, who would tell us how Stuttgart is the kind of city where you can live right in the city center yet still have space to breath.

As a visitor to Stuttgart, this makes getting to know the city a true pleasure.

Vine Views

There is just something romantic about rows and rows of grape vines clinging to the side of a sunny slope. Now usually, you have to wander far from an urban setting to see these sort of scenes, but in Stuttgart, one glance up past the signs of shops and restaurants will make the vines appear. Stuttgart is the only German city to harbor its own vineyards, and many of them reside within the actual city center. The region has had a rich history of wine-making and this proudly continues today, and those in the know go for a glass of Trollinger, the signature wine here, a smooth, sippable, fruity red, superb when served ever-so-slightly chilled.

Automotive Excellence

Two of the world’s most exciting automotive brands call Stuttgart home, and in the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche museums respectively, you can learn about the brands’ history and get an inside peek at the magic behind the scenes. It is no coincidence that these powerhouses sprung to life in Stuttgart, as its location on the Neckar River was important to their development of worldwide symbols of speed and luxury.

Stuttgart travel

Fantastic Folk Festivals

Home to not one, but two iconic folk and beer festivals, Stuttgart takes a back seat to no German city in the fest department (yes, I am looking at you, Munich).  Founded in 1818, the Cannstatter Volksfest takes place each autumn and is home to dozens of cavernous beer tents filled with revelers eating, drinking, and singing. Outside the tents, rows upon rows of colorful carnival rides and street food stalls await. The atmosphere at the Cannstatter Volksffest is the epitome of festive and after you leave, I promise you will want to come back and do it all again. Luckily, in the Spring each year, you can do just that with the Stuttgart Spring Festival which is the largest spring festival in all of Europe.

stuttgart travel

Plentiful Palaces

If you have a soft spot for castles and palaces — and who traveling in Europe doesn’t? — Stuttgart has you more than covered. Dozens of gracious palaces and stout castles are located in the city proper or the nearby countryside, making perfect picnic backdrops or fun day trips. The Neues Schloss, right in the middle of town, truly sets the tone for the entire city as its Versailles-inspired design and graceful fountain help form the Schlossplatz, Stuttgart’s largest square. The Ludwigsburg Palace, on the other hand, is a jaunt from the city center and reigns over sprawling grounds, featuring graceful gardens and one of the longest palatial facades in Germany.


6 Tips for Roadtripping Route 66

Everybody knows that there’s no better way to see America than by road trip and if there’s one road that everybody wants to take a trip on in America, it’s Route 66.

Yes, this iconic road that stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles serves up a slice of nostalgic and quirky attractions, and just in time for your bucket list trip to the States, here are six tips to help make your trip extra special.

Rent a Rad Ride

If you are flying in from outside North America, then you will need to rent a car from an American car rental company. Now while it may be tempting to just go for the cheapest option, keep in mind that you will be spending day and night in the vehicle, so we recommend renting a comfortable car, and preferably one that personifies the attitude of Route 66. Almost all car rental agencies keep iconic American muscle cars in their fleet, so be sure to ask ahead or at the rental counter.

Another great option is to rent a motorcycle so you can get the wind in your hair and the sunshine on your face all the way along Route 66. You may still need to provide your own helmet, boots, and jacket though, and for that websites like bikebandit.com are great resources. 

Take It Easy

Route 66 is over 2,200 miles long and stretches over eight American states, and while you can technically drive the length in four days, there’s no fun in that.  As they say, “half the fun is getting there”, and that’s especially true for Route 66.  Build in at least two to three weeks for your trip, as this will give you plenty of time to take side trips to exciting places that lie just off Route 66. At places like the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, or Lake Powell you can hike, cruise in a houseboat or do active things like ride all-terrain vehicles. Before you to the latter though, though, be sure to grab the best atv tires online. 

Be Flexible

While it may be tempting to plan each and every day of your Route 66 road trip in advance, make sure to keep things open to a degree so you can be spontaneous if you need to be. We recommend booking the first couple stops of your trip in advance and then just winging it from there, because you never know when you are going to fall in love with some charming Main Street and decide to stay for a couple days.

Don’t Forget the Food

While many Route 66 roadtrippers are focused like a laser on seeing quirky roadside attractions, the mouthwatering culinary delights to be had on the Mother Road are just as interesting. Whether it’s a frozen custard concrete at Ted Drewe’s in St. Louis or a fiery breakfast burrito at the The Pantry Sante Fe, Route 66 is full of regional specialties you just can’t get at home.

Skip the Motel 6

Sometimes, at the end of a long day of travelling, it can be tempting to just pull off the highway and crash at the first hotel you see. Unfortunately, this can often lead you into staying at a nondescript chain hotel, which, while clean and comfortable, usually lack sorely in character. Instead, choose a Route 66 hotel with a little history (many of the original Route 66 hotels are still in business) and staying there will not only be a thrill but will also help out a local independent business.

Grab a Guide

Modern day GPS and on-the-fly Googling are great, but since many parts of Route 66 have been demolished or are in a state of disrepair, you need a guidebook to help you navigate each turn from Chicago to LA. The standard bearer in this department is EZ 66, which was published in 2005 by Route 66 aficionado Jerry Mcclanahan, and no glovebox would be fully stocked without it.


How to Spend One Day in York England

With a fascinating history that stretches over two millennia, York is one of England’s most captivating cities – not mention the father (or mother) of New York. York is also one of the country’s most beguiling, as its position at the confluence of two rivers, its skyline dominated by a soaring cathedral, and its series of medieval streets, walls and gates are bound to take your breath away.

You could easily spend days re-tracing the steps of Viking conquerors, Roman soldiers, and English kings in ‘Old’ York, but if you are pressed for time, here’s my guide on how to spend one day in York, England.

one day in york england

Marvel At The Minster: 9:00 AM

You will probably spot the iconic towering spires of this cathedral as soon as you arrive in town, but you have to get up close to York Minster to fully appreciate its grandeur. Outside, the beauty of this Gothic cathedral (one of the largest in Northern Europe) is on full display, and once you’ve taken in the exterior, it’s time to head inside. Intricate stained glass, artwork, and soaring arches dominate the interior, with a guided tour (included in the price of admission) being the best way to learn about the history of this house of worship.

Walk The Walls: 11:00 AM

York is home to England’s most extensive set of intact medieval walls, and these ramparts make for a pleasant strolling place. The walls have existed in their current form for around a thousand years, but historians are certain that some of the stones date back to Roman times. Be sure to read the posted placards that detail the history of the walls during your walk.

one day in york england

Brunch At Bettys: 12:00 PM

Bettys Cafe & Tea Rooms are an institution in the county of Yorkshire, and their main location in York is as gorgeous as the food is delicious. Home to an interior inspired by the Queen Mary and serving a fusion menu of Swiss and Yorkshire delicacies (like the drool-worthy rosti pictured above), delicious tea, and baked goods, Bettys is sure to hit the spot after a morning of walking. Oh, and expect a line, because they come from far and wide for Bettys.

Swing Through The Snickelways: 2:00 PM

York is home to dozens of tiny hidden paths nicknamed ‘snickelways’, and they are a quirky way to cut through the city. Snickelways are often small, sometimes hidden, usually have an unusual name (Mad Alice Lane comes to mind), and are always a kick to discover.

one day in york england

Halt For Some History: 3:00

While the enthralling Jorvik Viking Center is currently undergoing refurbishment, you can still learn volumes about York’s past at the York Castle Museum, where past centuries are re-created in fun interactive displays. Alternatively, you can tour the meeting place of medieval guilds at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, home to a spectacular timber-framed Great Hall.

See The Shambles: 4:30

The big brother of the snickelway, The Shambles is York’s most famous medieval street. Looking precisely what you’d expect a street from this era to look like (complete with bent buildings), The Shambles used to be home to a bevy of butchers. Nowadays, it’s mostly boutiques and souvenir shops, but you can still spot the wooden shelves on the facades where the butchers used to plop their product.

one day in york england

Have A Pint At The Pub That Floods: 5:00

As anyone who reads this site knows, I am a big fan of hanging out in British pubs (like this riverside pub in Devon), and this one, right beside the river Ouse, is a real gem. It is called the King’s Arms, and, well, it has become famous for getting flooded, so much so that there’s a giant post inside the bar marking the water levels from past floods. If it’s dry when you visit, you’ll find a cozy brick interior with exposed beams and plenty of decent beer.

Go Ghost: 8:00

In a place with a history as rich as York, there’s bound to be some ghosts going bump in the night. Indeed, the city is rife with them, and at The Original Ghost Walk of York, they’ve been riveting visitors with tales of history and mystery since 1973.


An earlier version of this post appeared on TravelPulse.

All’s Great that Ends at Ullswater Lake

Ullswater Lake

While there are literally thousands of lakes layered across the landscape of Britain, tell someone you’re ‘heading to the lakes’ here, and they will immediately know precisely which set your setting off for.   

That’s because there is a group of ponds so ravishing, so romantic, and so revered throughout the land that they’ve become known simply as ‘The Lakes’, and these heavenly bodies of water and their surrounding mountains became the basis of the much beloved Lake District National Park.

Not nearly as well-known outside of Britain as it should be, kind of like Salcombe, Devon, The Lakes is the most cherished (and visited) outdoor playground in England, and Ullswater Lake might just be home to the finest combination of natural beauty, authentic charm, and cozy accommodation among them. Here’s a quick guide to Ullswater Lake to get you started.

Ullswater Lake

Blow Off Some Steam

The waters of Ullswater Lake are plied by a fleet of boats called Ullswater ‘Steamers’, which are modern-day descendants of 19th Century steamboats that used to ferry locals, tourists, and goods to-and-fro on this seven-mile-long lake. Today, it’s all about pleasure cruising, and watching the water chop from the deck of an Ullswater Steamer (or in the swanky wooden-paneled parlor below deck) is the quintessential Ullswater experience. In the morning, you’ll ride beside a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed bevy of walkers, cyclists, and their canine friends, with late afternoon cruises sedate and full of folks reviewing the pictures they took while exhausted dogs snooze at their feet.

Tip: The best value is definitely the ‘Round the Lake Pass’ as it allows unlimited rides on the ships, allowing the holder to hop on and hop off at their pleasure.

Ullswater Lake

View from the Ullswater Way

Walk This Way

Walking is without a doubt the most popular activity around The Lakes, and strolling on the Ullswater Way is a fine way to spend a day. It’s a twenty-mile-long path around the lake that weaves its way through storybook lakeside villages, under waterfalls, and gently up to ancient stone circles and vantage points that show off sweeping views of the water and countryside below.

Tip(s): Approaching Howtown from Glenridding on the Ullswater Way, make a detour up Hallin Fell, a heather-strewn hill home to friendly sheep and a spectacular view. Once you’ve returned to the trail from sipping in the vistas, follow the path to the Howtown Hotel and its most peculiar public bar, where you’ll sip delicious beer from local Tirril Brewery in an atmosphere reminiscent of a vintage film.

Ullswater Lake

Where to Stay

Just a few miles from Ullswater Lake in the village of Clifton, the George and Dragon is a cozy-yet-chic country inn and pub/restaurant, and a magnificent base for exploring the lake. Most of the produce and meat served is sourced from the owners’ own estate, with dinner (think tender ox cheek with creamy risotto and decadent cheese souffle) bring a gourmet gastro-pub affair and the bountiful English breakfast in the morning sure to keep you fueled for scaling hills well into the afternoon.

The rooms at the George and Dragon are light and bright with splashes of floral touches, which balance out the rustic wood beams in the hall of this old coaching inn brilliantly. The pub and its crackling fireplace are also worth noting for pouring fine beer and being home to an engaging and bend-over-backwards staff.

Trip Resources

Go Lakes: www.golakes.co.uk

Ullswater Steamers: www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk

The Ullswater Way: www.ullswater.com/the-ullswater-way

The George and Dragon: www.georgeanddragonclifton.co.uk

An earlier version of this post appeared on TravelPulse

4 Quick Tips For Avoiding Crowds in Venice



avoiding crowds in venice

If there is one thing that seemingly everybody on the planet agrees on about Venice, it’s that it is an utterly unique place. Yes, this sinking lagoon city festooned with romance is like nowhere else on the planet.

And almost all of us dream about seeing it once. 

If there was another thing that everyone agrees on, it would be that sometimes in Venice, it can feel like everyone on the planet is right there with you. Yes, it gets that packed here, and avoiding crowds in Venice is bound to be high on your to-do list almost immediately after your arrive.

Here are a couple of tips I’ve come up with over the years on avoiding crowds in Venice that you can use whether you are there for a few nights or just popping in for a few hours on a cruise.

Cancel the Campanile Climb

After St. Mark’s Basilica, The Doge’s Palace, and the Rialto Bridge, climbing the famous belltower Campanile di San Marco is one of the most popular things to do in Venice. Sadly, the lines here can be suffocating, so instead, hop a short boat ride over to San Giorgio Maggiore Island and scale its nearly identical belltower. The lines will be shorter, the price is cheaper, and the views will include the teal blue of the lagoon and the city of Venice, unlike the view from the Campanile di San Marco, which is mostly just of roofs.

Buy Your Tickets Ahead

Surprisingly, nearly each and every one of the major attractions in town offers the opportunity to buy tickets online in advance, and this really comes in handy when trying to avoid crowds. With your ticket already in hand or on your smartphone, you will be able to skip right by the lines outside and get on with your sightseeing.


avoiding crowds in venice


One of the best things to do on any trip is to just simply walk the streets, getting to know a place better with each and every step. And guess what? You don’t need daylight, open businesses, or for loads of other people to be hanging around for this to be a memorable experience.

That’s why I love to go ‘nightseeing’ anywhere I go, and when in Venice, I completely recommend taking a walk in Venice late in the evening – around midnight or so (and yes, you can stay up that late, because you’re on vacation). The city is absolutely magical at this hour, with not much more than hauntingly empty plazas, twinkling latticed lightposts, chiming church bells, lapping water and bobbing gondolas resting after a long day of work to keep you company.   

avoiding crowds in venice

Camp Out at Campo Santa Margherita

Venice has plenty of plazas teeming with travellers, but this one hidden away by the university remains relatively serene and tourist free day and night. Campo Santa Margherita is a great place to relax during the day and catch your breath on a bench, and a fine place to join the locals for an al fresco drink at night.

Oh, and it also just happens to be home to arguably the best pizza joint in town: Pizza al Volo (address: Campo Santa Margherita 2944). They serve up big, budget-friendly slices with both traditional toppings (think ham and mushroom, zucchini, or plain cheese) and adventurous ones like sliced hot dogs and french fries (trust me, it’s better than it sounds).  



Photo Credits: 1,2

An earlier version of this post appeared on TravelPulse

The Best Cantinas in Mexico City

I have no problem at all admitting that I hang out in bars when I travel, and believe it or not, it’s actually not entirely about the drinks. No, nearly every country in the world has managed to develop its own unique style of traditional drinking den, which often up offering some of the best insights into the country itself.

Britain has the pub, America has the dive bar, Japan has the izakaya, and Mexico has the cantina, quite possibly my favorite one of them all. Yes, the humble cantina, like the aforementioned styles of bar, is a laid back place to mingle, tip ‘em back, and savor the true taste of Mexico.

While you’ll find cantinas all over the country, the capital is home to the highest concentration, and here are a few of the best cantinas in Mexico City, all located within the gorgeous historic center.

Cantina La Mascota

La Mascota has been serving up cheap drinks and tasty food for decades, and is a great first cantina to get your feet wet in. It may not look like much on the outside, but you’ll soon find a room oozing the charms of yesteryear on the inside lined with intricate tiles and splashes of maroon and yellow on the walls. Waiters sporting sharp vests and bowties gregariously work the room, delivering drinks and food with a smile, and the delicious food is on the casa along as you’re drinking. Keep an eye out for traditional singers, who have been known to pop in and serenade the crowd.

Address: Mesones 20

Tel: +52 5709-7852  

La Faena

If you like a side of bullfighting memorabilia with your beer (and who among us hasn’t craved that combo before), then La Faena is definitely your spot. A sprawling space full of vibrant tiles and plastic white tables, the walls here are lined with a plethora of bullfighting paraphernalia, and the bar serves up the classic cantina combo of cold beer, tequila, and absolutely no frills.

Address: Venustiano Carranza 49

Telephone: +52 5510-4417   

La Dominica

Rough, ready, and a really good time, La Dominica has been pouring drinks for over 60 years, picking up a very loyal local following along the way. Retro-cool baby blue walls (it’s not ironic, trust me) grab your attention when you stroll in, and are complemented perfectly by dark wooden tables and an antique cash register. This is another cantina where the food is complimentary as long as you’re drinking, and all of it is doled out a dapper veteran staff of bartenders, some of whom have been staples here for decades.

Address: Belisario Dominguez 61

Telephone: 5512 7977

La Opera

The most famous of all cantinas in Mexico City, no crawl would be complete without a drink here. Opulent isn’t a word that’s typically used to describe cantinas, but I’ll be darned if it doesn’t fit La Opera like a glove. Crown molding, engraved wood, plush red booths, and elegant light make it feel more like a Viennese cafe than a hole-in-the-wall, even though they are famous for a hole in their wall. Yes, legend has it that a bullet lodged in their ceiling was fired by famous Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, and even though some would argue this place is too ‘posh’ to be a proper cantina, with that kind of street cred, I’m counting it.

Address: Calle 5 de Mayo No. 10

Telephone: +52 5512-8959   


An earlier version of this post appeared on TravelPulse


You Could Always Go to Langkawi


While places like Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, and Krabi are usually the first spots penciled in on a trip to the shores of Southeast Asia’s Andaman Sea, I’d like to humbly suggest another for your consideration: Langkawi.

The aforementioned Thai jewels are definitely some of the region’s most ravishing, but I’m telling you, the Malaysian island of Langkawi can more than hang with them. Yes, Langkawi flies slightly under the radar, but you could always still go there, because it’s got some fantastic beaches and landscapes, and just an all-around great vibe.

And here’s some stuff to know to get started on your daydreaming.

How to Get There

Getting to Langkawi is a breeze, as the island is home to both a very modern airport and a bustling ferry terminal. Flights arrive primarily from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore on budget airlines like Air Asia and Tiger, so you’ll have to connect there. Ferries float to Langkawi from regional towns like Penang, and it was this fairly pleasant nearly-three-hour journey that was the method I used to arrive on Langkawi.


What to Get up To

Langkawi’s big draw is the unspoiled nature of its nature, as an overwhelming majority of its native forest remains intact. In fact, all of Langkawi (including its 99 minor outlying islands) was made a UNESCO Geo Park in 2007. These wondrous natural attributes can be appreciated in both active and passive ways.

On the active side of things, jungle trekking amongst wildlife (including monkeys, bird-watching, sailing, and kayaking through lush mangroves) are all popular options, with a stroll up to the legendary Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls (also known as Seven Wells, pictured above) probably the most popular activity on the island. This gem cascades down monstrous boulders, collecting in seven pools ideal for wading and splashing, with a view out to sea to boot. You’ll earn the cooldown too, because the trek up hundreds of sometimes slippery steps isn’t for the faint of heart.


Relaxing on the beach is the best way to passively take in Langkawi’s stunning natural scenes, and the main beach you’ll want to hang at is Pantai Cenang. It’s made of sugary white sand and is lined with plenty of food and drink options, including Babylon Mat Lounge, one of the coolest beach bars I’ve ever been to. Slightly more hidden beaches abound though, like Sandy Skulls, which despite the shady name, is home to the clearest water on the island.

Somewhere in-between is the Langkawi Cable Car and Skywalk which lifts you high into the island’s interior, offering sweeping views of Langkawi’s teal seas and green trees from above.


How to Get Around

Public transportation is severely lacking on Langkawi, so renting a car or a motor scooter is the smart move for day trips and activities. This gives you the freedom to seek out hidden spots for food, or just spontaneously stop on the side of the road at a place serving street food out of a van like we did. We were the only tourists there, and we had our best meal on the island on their plastic red chairs.

Where to Stay

Langkawi is home to a massive range of accommodation options, from The Four Seasons – stunningly set amongst rugged limestone cliffs – to the budget-friendly beachside place we stayed for a couple of nights called The Cabin.  The island is popular among honeymooners, with all-inclusive resorts specializing in romantic packages.


An earlier version of this post appeared on TravelPulse

Great British Pub Walks: The Watermans Arms, Bow Bridge

watermans arms bow bridge

Walking is hands-down one of the most popular pastimes in my newly adopted home of Britain, and since I was recently in South Devon (easily one of its most ravishing regions), I figured it was time to get out there and give it a whirl. 

While great British walks take many forms, from treks along peaks and rocky coasts to gentle ambles through magnificent middles of nowhere, there was only one type of walk that I wanted to tackle first: the pub walk.

Yes, the venerable pub walk is the art of strolling for a few hours in the countryside and then settling in for a pint and a hearty meal, and I assure you, you’re definitely going to want to take one when you come here next.

Luckily for all of us, there is an extensive network of trails here, making it easy to plan a stroll that passes right by a cozy, inviting, and ‘pinch-me-I’m-in-Britain’ pub. We chose to walk from the lovely riverside town of Totnes to the Watermans Arms at Bow Bridge, and it went a little something like this:

After observing how the Totnes locals live (rather eclectically as it turns out), we bid farewell and gently climbed into the hills, being immediately covered by a canopy of greenery – a much welcome shelter on a sunny day.

watermans arms bow bridge

It only took a few minutes for the other reason we chose this walk to come into focus on the left: the River Dart. The path we were trodding on, The Dart Valley Trail, mostly follows right along this river, offering vistas down to the water and the idyllic hills opposite. Docked sailboats dominated the scene at first, but soon gave way to serene scenes of slow-moving water and marsh.

We snapped a few photos, continued on our path, and before we knew it, were surrounded by a field full of furry beasts. They’re called sheep, and while this may seem unusual, public foothpaths in Britain make their way across all sorts of privately-owned farms; but as long as you close the gate behind you, you are welcome and, most importantly, legally allowed.

After that, it was a bit of an ascent to Ashprington, a quaint-as-can-be village filled with cottages, a 14th Century church, and no visible signs to Bow Bridge, where the Watermans Arms is located.

watermans arms bow bridge

Undeterred, we pressed on, and after a few minutes and one “if we don’t see it around this corner, we’re turning back”, we heard water burbling from behind a thicket of trees, and turned the corner to find the Watermans Arms in all its glory. We crossed the medieval stone bridge and claimed a table right by the creek, where we relaxed, dined, and Instagrammed in travel heaven.

watermans arms bow bridge

Residing in a rustic 17th Century cottage-style inn adorned with flowers besides a babbling brook, even if they had served average food here it would have been a trip-making experience. Far from it though, as we were impressed with the Watermans Arms fare from start to finish, and for a first pub walk, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

We couldn’t linger too long though, as a decadent Devonshire Cream Tea back in quirky and cool Totnes was waiting for us.

Yep, I think I am going to like this walking thing.

watermans arms bow bridge

Good To Know If You Go:

Length: Approximately 6.5 miles or two hours (ish) round-trip. Map and more info here.

Steepness – 3/10 (one 10 minute uphill stretch).

What to Order: We loved our lobster & crab burgers, and they pair perfectly with a glass of white wine from the Watermans Arms’ impressive list or a fresh-poured pint of real ale.


An earlier version of this post appeared on TravelPulse


Travelly Picture: Beer Above Bacharach, Germany

Bacharach is a pretty town on the Rhine River in Germany. Above the town there is this cool hostel called Burg Stahleck, where you can have a beer on their terrace like I did.


bacharach germany

Set Sail For Salcombe, South Devon

Salcombe south devon

Conventional wisdom says the best way to make an arrival into a harbor town is to come gliding towards its shores on the bow of a boat. You know; the wind in your hair, the sun bouncing off your shades, the sweater tied around your neck (just in case), and the beauty of the town coming further into focus as you bob ever closer.

Well, I sailed in to Salcombe, South Devon in a rental car, and I ended up falling in love just the same.


The Coastline

It was in that car on the hills above Salcombe where I saw the South Devon Coast for the first time – for a fleeting moment through a frame of leaves – and this specific slice of shore was all it took to become infatuated with both the region in general and Salcombe in particular.

I was behind the wheel, so I couldn’t pay too much attention, but what I managed to see in that split second was enough to send my imagination running wild: untamed waves crashing on stones, sea foam being flung, and a backdrop of tropical trees and caramel beaches I never knew existed in England.

salcombe south devon

The Vacation Vibe

After regaining my breath from the view above town, we parked our car and strolled into town, where things got even better. Our route took us by plenty of pastel cottages – most adorned with cursive wrought-iron signs announcing names like ‘Home Sea Home’ – docked sailboats, squawking seagulls, and stacks of crab baskets. Kids were fishing for crustaceans from the dock as parents watched on, creating a downright heartwarming (did I just stype heartwarming?) holiday scene. Above it all sat the softest rolling hills you could imagine, in swaths of green and straw.

salcombe south devon

Basically, the town felt like every summer vacation anyone’s ever taken has been bottled up and brought to this little corner of South Devon. As we strolled past the boutiques selling boat shoes and other assorted garments that complement sea legs, we only had one question on our mind: what’s for dinner?

winking prawn salcombe

The Winking Prawn

We have a bad habit of showing up somewhere on our first night of a trip without the slightest clue of where to eat, and it tends to work out great every time … fifty percent of the time. The Winking Prawn (of course they have a restaurant called the Winking Prawn in Salcombe) ended up being a godsend.

We stumbled into The Winking Prawn after a fifteen minute stroll from the harbor that took us past stately homes and lush gardens, and this pink-hued beach shack dished up some of the most mouth-watering sea bream and cider (Hunt’s Sparkling Heritage, if you’re wondering) I’ve ever had. They’ve also got one of those ‘kitchsy-but-cute’ wooden boards where you stick your head through a hole to make it look like you are actually a sea creature, and we all know you can’t ever pass one of those up.

salcombe south devon

The Ferry-ing

Being located on an estuary certainly has its advantages (like the spectacular natural scenes I described above, alongside fantastically fresh seafood), but there are some practicalities that need tending to in a place like Salcombe: namely, getting to the other side. Luckily, there are a handful of romantic ‘foot-passenger only’ ferries plying these waters, and they add another layer of allure to this seaside town. Ferries set off for neighboring East Portlemouth all year round, and seasonably to upriver Kingsbridge and local beaches. Even if you don’t take a trip for yourself, toasting the ferries at The Ferry Inn like we did – with a view to the water where the ferries float – is a great way to while a way an hour or two.


An earlier version of this post appeared on TravelPulse