Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Top 10 European Old Towns for Drinking

10. Nuremberg

Nuremburg is home to many great beers an breweries(the surrounding area has the largest concentration of breweries world wide) and even in the Nuremberg itself. Despite major destruction during the second world war, Nuremberg has retained it's fortified city walls and much of the old-town's medieval architecture. Brewpubs and Discos can be found within the old city centre.

9. Vienna
Despite Vienna's stuck-up attitude this is a city that knows how to party once the 'Bier' starts flowing. The café scene often continues into the early hours many bars and clubs are found throughout the old-town (particularly the Goldon Triangle area). Additionally there are many traditional neighbourhood bars some which also have Viennese food (mmm schnitzel...).

8. Pamplona

Once a fortified city, Pamplona was for centuries the capital of the ancient kingdom of Navarre. Pamplona is famously known worldwide for the San Fermín festival, from July 7 to 14, in which the running of the bulls is one of the main attractions. Like many other European cities, it is very easy to distinguish the "old city" (Casco Viejo) from the new neighbourhoods. The oldest part of the old city, Navarrería, which lies within in the former boundaries of Roman walls is home to a thriving nightlife that caters for almost any taste in music and food. Three streets in particular, Calle San Nicolás, Calle Estafeta, and Calle de Jarauta, are lined with tascas, bars, bodegas, and pubs.

7. Cologne

Devastated by Allied bombing during World War Two, much of Cologne's Altstadt was reconstructed to preserve the old-town feel. Cologne has it's own regional style of beer, Kölsch, as well as an abundance of brewhouses that produce it. There are so many bars and pubs to choose from that you could spend most of the night going from one bar to the next. Traditional breweries are numerous in the Altstadt around the Dom, where the famous "Früh Kölsch" brewery resides.

6. Dubrovnik

A major feature of the fortified medieval city of Dubrovnik is its massive walls that run 2 km around the city. The system of walls turrets and towers once intended to protect the vulnerable city now encapsulate the cities touristy cafe culture. Small pubs and cafes found within the maze of narrow streets and steps blast increasingly louder music throughout the night as the town gradually shifts from family friendly fun to drunken debauchery.

5. Bruges
One of the best preserved pre-motorised cities in Europe, Bruges, is breathtaking.
Bruges has most of its medieval architecture intact and its historic centre of Bruges has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. And Bruges doesn't just have a pretty face, Belgium's rabid beer culture ensures that there is plenty to drink before you bombard the streets pretending to be a medieval knight. Pubs disco's and cafes are all abundant within the border of the moat which encircles the town and this being Belgium, some of the bars stock 100's of different beers.

4. Prague

With of Europe's most beautiful and romantic skylines Prague is also home to some of Europe's best nightlife. Pubs line the streets throughout Prague and are an important part of local culture. Czech beer is the perfect light beverage with which to start the night off before heading to one of the many discos pounding electronic beats.

3. Amsterdam
Amsterdam for drinking? Thats right, Amsterdam isn't just about hookers and weed it also has it's share of watering holes. The oldest area of the town is known as de Wallen (the quays)lies to the east of Damrak and contains the city's famous red light district. Leidseplein is the center of Amsterdam's nightlife, with some of the city's most popular restaurants, bars, and nightspots all within dancing distance of the square. Another city square, Rembrandtplein Plays host to pulsating clubs that stay open late into the night.

2. Krakow

The unofficial 'Cultural Capital of Poland'is a stunningly beautiful city that knows now to party. Kraków's historic centre, covering the Old Town is on the UNESCO list but that hasn't had any negative effect its vibrant nightlfe.  It has been said that there are more than 300 drinking establishments in the Old Town alone and their proximity to each other makes Krakow's numerous watering holes ideal for bar hopping. Whether you prefer to drink in cafes, bars, of nightclubs, this epic old-town has it all.

1. San Sebastian

Known officially as Donostia-San Sebastián, this Basque capital boasts one of the best in-city beaches in Europe. You can literally sunbathe and swim right next to major historical buildings  and even better, you can drink within them.
Parte Vieja (Old Part) is the traditional core area of the city and within the boundaries of the former city walls is a plethora of bars and cafes serving up local wine and beer.  A walk through the old  town on any night is sure to attract the attention of bar promoters directing traffic into their place of business. There are  many bars in the small old town making pub-crawling an ideal option.
The Kalimotxo (pronounced "calimotcho") is the local specialty. Made with 50% wine (cheap red wine) and 50% Cola, it is somewhat of a local take on Sangria.
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