Best Culinary Destinations in Europe
Taste truffles in Istria, fish roe and a glass of Uzo in Preveza, “Buranelli” in Venice, wild asparagus in Monte Isola with a wine from Franciacorta or a Pastel de Nata and a glass of Porto in Portugal… The Best Culinary Destinations in Europe are waiting for you.
With their starred restaurants, local taverns, bistros or street food, they are the promise of crazy taste buds, a fireworks display of original and unforgettable flavours.
This year discover Maribor, the Best Culinary Destination in Europe! The city of Maribor is a charming cultural, culinary, and educational centre in the northeastern part of the country. The city’s deep cultural and historical roots date back to the Middle Ages, and therefore the old city centre offers rich heritage and a wealth of genuine experiences. In particular, the locals are proud of their Guinness World Record holder, the oldest grapevine in the world.
Maribor – the European Capital of Culture in 2012 – has a reputation as a happy and hospitable city, hosting numerous international cultural and sporting events throughout the year. Don’t miss the lively atmosphere of summer festivals, and enjoy an active city break just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the city centre on the green Mt. Pohorje. The picturesque natural scenery offers endless opportunities for hiking, biking, skiing, and adrenaline sports.
Maribor and its surrounding wine region are also a treasury of excellent wine and cuisine. Discover the world-class wines of the Slovenian Štajerska region and make a toast with master chefs, whose culinary creations reach even to the Michelin stars.
Maribor holds the title of Green Destination and many of its local providers offer sustainable and authentic experiences.
Book your flights to Graz (Austria - 45 min by car) or Ljubljana (1h20) and stay in Maribor, the best culinary destination in Europe.
How to get there: Book your flights to Graz (45 min) or Ljubljana (1h20).
Where to stay: "Hotel City Maribor". The à la carte Restaurant City Terasa serves traditional regional cuisine indoors or on the rooftop terrace.
Epirus Region - Greece
Discover the rich gastronomic culture of Epirus, one the best culinary destination in Europe.
Preveza, capital of this wonderful region, has often been rewarded for the beauty of its beaches, typical alleys, splendid Marina, seaside restaurants and heritage.
Preveza's cuisine, affected by the peculiarity of its land that combines mountain and sea, offers countless dishes and flavour combinations.
Do not miss tasty and fresh fish caught locally. Try the excellent fish roe of Preveza with its delicate, sweet taste and fine aroma. You’d rather have meat? Local juicy meat is the base of classic dishes in Preveza.
PDO cheeses (Protected Designation of Origin), marinated seafoods not to mention "Oyzo" are also waiting for you at Preveza. Preveza has emerged as a kingdom of Ouzo featuring many distilleries of outstanding quality and among them one of the oldest in Greece.
Narrow alleys and scenic taverns, gastronomic delights with the taste of local sardines and ouzo in the palate, the memories of the Greek flavours are coming back!
How to get there: Book your flights to Preveza.
Where to stay: "Preveza City Comfort Hotel" situated in the centre of Preveza.
Lazio - Italy
The capital of Italy is the cradle of many civilizations but also the cradle of many delicious dishes.
Did you know that the Pasta alla carbonara, the Carciofi alla Romana, the Porchetta, are culinary specialties of Rome? A hint, all dishes with the name "Alla Romana" are local dishes. It's not a legend, the Italians have the best pasta and the best pizzas in the world and the best ice creams!
The great codes of Italian gastronomy have been hijacked by junk food in other countries such as pizzas and ice cream but in Italy pizzas and even ice creams can be light, healthy and tasty.
Want to eat Italian gastronomy? Try the artichokes in antipasti, rigatoni carbonara, Pizza al taglio, Trapizzino, Gnocchi alla Roma.
Did you know that Rome has 372 starred restaurants? Nearly three times as much as in Paris!
Where to stay: "Sofitel Villa Borghese". Set on the edge of Villa Borghese Gardens.
4. Porto & the Douro Valley
How about a city trip to Porto? The inhabitants of Porto are known to have resisted the onslaught of Napoleon's army. That army wanted the inhabitants of Porto to starve but they resisted by feeding on intestines. They know, better than anyone else, how to sublimate these less noble parts but with unique flavours.
That being said Porto and its inhabitants are also very modern and many restaurants with a veggie and vegan or gluten-free offer await you in this sparkling and dynamic city.
The must is a meal and a Port wine dating from the year of your birth at Graham's in the Vinum restaurant (more affordable if you are a millennial than a boomer).
The Douro Valley is also famous for its incredible wines, its landscapes and for some years now sumptuous hotels and palaces for a wellness and gastronomic retreat.
Need more inspiration? Discover the best destinations to visit in Portugal, best experiences to live in Portugal, most beautiful beaches in Portugal, best castles in Portugal or even the best hidden gems in Portugal, one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Where to stay: "The Yeatman". This wine hotel's luxury spa has 2-Michelin awarded restaurants.
Konavle Region - Croatia
The restaurants and konobas in Cavtat base their gastronomic offer on the Dalmatian and Mediterranean cuisine: fish, vegetables and olive oil, and they seek for and follow the modern gastronomic trends.
In numerous taverns and rural houses, the inland of Konavle offers traditionally prepared plain fare and healthy food in a unique atmosphere of the old Konavle houses. Different meat and fish dishes prepared in the stone oven, domestic smoked ham and cheese in oil, green pasta and other domestic dishes represent only an exclusive supplement to the Dalmatian fish cuisine and offer opposed possibilities of choice, but always with the same pleasure.
Cavtat will seduce you with the beauty of its landscapes but also the richness of its cultural and historical heritage… and its gastronomy!
How to get there: Book your flights to Dubrovnik Airport (10 min).
Where to stay: “Hotel Croatia” is probably one of the most beautiful hotels with sea views in Europe.
Ile de France - France
Paris is world famous for fashion, the Eiffel tower classified among Europe’s 7 wonders, its museums classified among the most beautiful museums in Europe, but the Capital of France is also famous among gourmet travellers.
Wake up in one of the best accommodations in Paris and start your day with a delicious croissant. Far from the filling croissants found all over the world, French croissants are made of butter puff pastry that makes them so crispy and tasty.
But mind you the French did not invent “Viennoiseries” (pastries in French) which owe their name to "Vienna", the capital of Austria also ranked among your best culinary destinations in Europe. The Viennese bakers (early wakers) in the 17th century were the first to alert the authorities about a war between the Austrian Empire and the Ottomans (Turks). To celebrate Austria's victory, they created a pastry in the shape of a crescent moon like the one on the Turkish flag.
But Paris has much more to offer than croissants, it is also famous for its macaroons which were Marie-Antoinette's favourite sweet treats. The Capital of lovers offers more than 115 starred restaurants, but also bistronomy, cruises with meals and champagne, a thousand and one way to celebrate love and food in Paris.
How to get there: Book your flights to Paris.
Where to stay: "The Chess Hotel” located in central Paris.".
7. San Sebastian
Basque Country - Spain
Any excuse to visit San Sebastian is good. Besides the unequaled beauty of La Concha Bay, (a shell shaped bay) which the royal family fell in love with at the start of the last century and continues to captivate anyone who comes to see it, the city is the place to come to for innovative cuisine that has made it famous across the world, a wide range of festivals that have made it a genuine cultural phenomenon and an active and healthy lifestyle that is very much in touch with the natural resources on offer. All these reasons have made it a top tourist destination over the last two centuries.
Food is an art form in San Sebastian, and a sign of the city's identity. Its chefs have made it famous the whole world over and its 16 Michelin stars give you an idea of what standards you can expect from Donostia’s culinary artists. But the most precious foodie treasures here is its famous pintxos; culinary bites ranging from the original slice of bread piled with food, to tiny miniature haute cuisine creations.
You can’t forget that a region so well known for its food just has to have the perfect accompaniment to wash down a meal, cider, is one of the locally-produced beverages par excellence.
Book your flights to San Sebastian as well as your accommodation and your tours and activities in San Sebastian such as a "San Sebastian: amazing Guided Market & Food Pintxo Tour".
How to get there: Book your flights to San Sebastian.
Where to stay: "Hotel Arima & Spa". The Concha Promenade is 2km away.
Belgians are known to be bon vivants. Many Belgians by dint of good restaurants and good beers can’t see their feet when leaving the restaurant.
Tasty and rich, Belgian cuisine is influenced by Flemish cuisine (Brussels is the capital of Flanders and Belgium) and French cuisine close to brasserie cuisine. Obviously many chefs from multiple origins have come to complete the offer and Belgian cuisine today is a blend of flavours from around the world.
Imagine that such a small country managed to put on the world map products such as the "Belgian Waffle", fries - never tell a Belgian "French Fries" the paternity of the invention of fries is a subject of friction between the French and the Belgians, "Brussels sprouts", "La Carbonnade à la Flamande", cuberdons, pralines, six Trappist beers (there are only 11 in the world), "cramique", chicory au gratin, chicken waterzooi, rabbit with beer, pancakes with brown sugar...
Loosen your belt, open your mouth wide and taste the best of Belgian cuisine.
Book your flights to Brussels, your accommodation as well as your tours and activities in Brussels such as a "Choco-Story Brussels: Chocolate Museum Entrance with Tasting".
How to get there: Book your flights to Brussels.
Where to stay: "Hotel des Galeries” In the historical heart of Brussels.
"Smørrebrød", Krebinetter, Wienerbrød, Flæskesteg,... are not names of Ikea furniture but Danish dishes that you can enjoy during your next city break in Copenhagen.
Beyond traditional dishes Copenhagen is known for its "New Nordic Cuisine" and its star chefs and restaurants ranked among the best restaurants in the world.
That being said, like at the Ikea restaurant, the Danes really feed on "Danish Meatballs". Pork, potato, butter and cream are basic ingredients of traditional Danish cuisine and the perfect ingredients to face the cold Danish winter.
Want to learn more about Danish cuisine, watch "Babettes Gaestebud", Babette's Feast, a film whose story takes place on the wild coast of Jutland in Denmark and ends with a French dinner... but which teaches us a lot about Danish customs and traditions.
Where to stay: "Nimb Hotel". Located in Copenhagen's famous Tivoli Gardens.
10. Monte Isola
Lombardy - Italy
It is hard to resist Monte Isola, one of the most beautiful destinations in Italy. In Monte Isola you can taste traditional dishes such as salami and the famous “fish in oil” so appreciated by tourists.
Another important tradition is the production of extra virgin olive which is made by local farmers and then sold on the market. You can learn about the origin of this specialty at the olive oil mill located in Carzano. As for typical dishes, fishermen use specialized methods in order to dry sardines, chub and perch in the sun.
How to get there: Book your flights to Milan (1h20) and cross Lake Iseo by boat and reach Peschiera from Sulzano (several crossings per day).
Where to stay: “La Foresta Monte Isola” located on the peaceful shores of Monte Isola.
Istria is indeed a feast for the eyes and the mouth. Its streams flow to the sea through deep valleys and gullies which bring to mind the ancient local myths about giants. Rolling hills overlook the fields and valleys with little towns perched on the peaks, recalling some old paintings. The view is splendid: white-topped mountains, lush wheat fields, plateaus, valleys, vineyards and olive groves on hillsides, and, finally the sea.
Istria is world renowned for its olive oils, wines, truffles, wild aspargus, fish and shellfish, minestrone, cabbage and roasted sausages, local produced honey and cheese.
Motovun, Umag, Novigrad, Groznjan, Oprtalj, Buje, Brtonigla, are the tasty culinary stops on your next road trip in Croatia.
Where to stay: "Mulino Luxury Boutique Hotel". Its "à la carte" restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine.
Veneto - Italy
The city of the Doges, the world capital of lovers, is also a top culinary destination.
Gourmet visitors will discover many of the Venezia's traditional dishes such as the "Cicchetti" (local starters) with a glass of Spritz, the risotto or "Lasagna" cooked with cuttlefish ink, marinade sardines, Granseola Alla Veneziana (spider crab) AND the delicious Italian ice cream.
Feeling hungry while walking around Venice? "Buranelli" a Venetian biscuit is the perfect treat; it owes its name to the neighbouring island of Burano.
Want to taste haute cuisine? Venice has 32 restaurants starred by the famous “Michelin Guide”.
Where to stay: "Carnival Palace - Venice Collection" offering ultra-modern rooms.
"Köfte", "Kuru Fasulye", "Lahmacun", "Menemen", "Simit" are some of the traditional Turkish dishes that you can taste in the capital of Turkey.
Renowned for its restaurants on the edge of the Bosphorus, on the European and Asian shores, Istanbul is also famous for its street food, grilled corn, mastic ice cream (like the mastic that formed the seals of the windows) which seem not to melt in mouth and is incredibly elastic, or the Simit, the Turkish version of the bagel with sesame seeds whose perfume fills the streets of Istanbul.
There are a thousand and one culinary experiences to enjoy in Istanbul so book your flights to Istanbul, your accommodation in Istanbul as well as your tours and activities such as a "Istanbul: Dinner Cruise".
Where to stay: "Sumahan on the Water" for its unique location on the bank opposite the old town.
Naples - Italy
Italian cuisine is world famous and recognized as one of the best in the world. Many typical Sorrento dishes will make your mouth water like the "Gnocchi alla Sorrentina", "Spaghetti alla Nerano", "Scialatielli alle Vongole" but one thing will make everyone agree: a "Limoncello" at the end of the meal.
This local digestive is produced with the lemons that grow on the steep terrains of Sorrento. This Italian liqueur is one of the symbols of the sunny and incredible Amalfi Coast.
With its sweet and sour taste, it will come to end a meal in this destination as beautiful as it is romantic.
With its steep cliffs resembling the cliffs of Madeira in Portugal, the Amalfi Coast stretches for more than 50 kilometres of breathtaking landscapes. The traditional fishing villages of the Amalfi coast are incredibly colourful and utterly charming as they nest like eagles in the cliffs on the rock spurs.
Come and visit it outside the high season; in spring, lemon trees perfume the sea air of the Amalfi Coast and in September-October the incredible vineyards carved out of the cliffs come alive. Rightly considered a jewel of Italy, the Amalfi Coast is a legendary destination, a mythical vacation spot that has turned the heads of illustrious heroes such as Ulysses bewitched by the sirens. Amalfi, Ravello, Positano, colourful villages await you during your stay on the Amalfi Coast.
Book your flights to Naples, your accommodation on the Amalfi Coast and your tours and activities on the Amalfi Coast such as a "From Naples: Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi Full-Day Tour".
How to get there: Book your flights to Naples.
Where to stay: "Petrea Lifestyle Suites". Located 600 m from Positano.
15. The Algarve
Awarded "Best European Region in Tourism and Gastronomy" by the Council of Europe a few years ago, the Algarve is not just a paradise for lovers of sun, beach and idleness.
Recognized for the beauty of its beaches, awarded among the most beautiful beaches in Portugal, but also for its nature ranked among the most beautiful landscapes in Europe or the best hiking trails in Europe, the Algarve is a family destination, gay-friendly, for winter sun but also famous for its gastronomy.
A gastronomic and oenological destination, the Algarve is a generous destination as are its regional dishes such as the "Frango de Guia" (the city of Guia is the capital of chicken in Europe try the piri-piri chicken), the Cataplana de Marisco, Feijoada, Sardinhas Grelhadas (grilled sardines), Salted Cod Fish, Arroz de pato, and local products like "Sal de Tavira" and "Batata doce de Aljezur".
Whether in a starred restaurant, a beach restaurant, a local tavern, the dishes are generous, some foreigners with light stomachs ask for a "meia porçao" meaning "half a portion" which is often enough if you want to keep your slender summer body.
Where to stay: "Portobay Falesia". This hotel features direct access to the beach.
Culinary enjoyment always comes first in Vienna: The artistically designed display windows of the imperial and royal court confectioner Demel are as much a part of the Viennese lifestyle as the coffee houses in which people while away the time. In May, the Genussfestival invites visitors to stroll and taste food and drink in the Stadtpark.
Twenty restaurateurs offer specialties from around the world at the Music Film Festival on City Hall Square in the summer. This is the biggest culinary event in Europe and is discreetly accompanied by operas, ballet and concerts from classical to pop. Gourmets also enjoy themselves during Vienna Restaurant Week or in one of the nine restaurants with a Michelin Guide award.
Where to stay: "Grand Ferdinant" for its breathtaking views and rooftop pool.
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