The 15 Culinary Destinations in Europe That Will Make You Hungry! (Foodie Vacations)
Do you like to eat? I compiled the top culinary destinations in Europe just for you! Travel and eat because life is short! Going on a foodie vacation is for those who go beyond the curiosity of the places they visit and would like to really see, taste, and feel what each place can offer.
At my core, I am a foodie. I believe that food connects people and bridges cultures; food harvests laughter and creates a family. There are few things I believe a good meal cannot fix. When traveling, my passion for food is deepened, with every hole-in-the-wall gem I find, and every new dish I have the privilege of enjoying – my palette grows. For me, Europe is the perfect destination for food-lovers.
In Europe, you can enjoy a wide variety of food in every country you visit. When I travel to a country, I make sure to do my research so that I can enjoy all that the country has to offer. When I’m there, I walk around and look for the busiest lunch establishments. You know what I’m talking about; the restaurants that construction hard-hats and white collared suits flock together. The ones where the wait is longer than you want but the food nourishes your soul, so you remind yourself that it’s worth the wait. Yes, those are my places. Then, I ask those diners for help: where can I find the very best food in this city? Locals always know the gems.
So here are my choices for the top pick countries for the best food. Representing the very best of what Europe has to offer, these foods range from a slow-cooked Sunday meal to the late night munchies.
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Table of Contents
The Top 15 Culinary Destinations in Europe That Will Make You Hungry!
Of course, you cannot have a list of the best food destinations in Europe and not include France. Whether you find yourself in Bordeaux, drinking wine and eating fine cheeses or tasting some of the sweets that make Paris so special, France is one of the best food destinations in Europe. Head up to Strasbourg to taste the Alsace tradition of Tarte Flambee. This pizza-like dish is served to you straight out of a handmade brick oven. The warm cheese, caramelized onions and crisp larded served up on a flat crust will melt your heart. France has so much to offer in terms of cuisine, so get ready to loosen your belt buckle.
Bulgaria is one of the best cheap countries to visit in Europe, making Bulgaria a perfect budget vacation for five-star foodie palette. Bulgaria’s love of grilled meats will send meat-lovers over the edge. In Bulgaria, dive into moussaka, a potato-based dish that is served hot with meat and an egg layer on top. This dish is comfort food on steroids. Looking for something lighter, enjoy the refreshing Shopska Salata that combines tomatoes and sweet peppers to create a perfect summertime salad. Bulgarian food is best described as the child of Russian, Greek and Turkish cuisines. And trust me, it’s good.
Maybe Germany was not on your list of amazing culinary destinations in Europe, but it should be. Traditional German cuisine is savory, delicious and best served with a pint of beer. In Munich, you can visit almost any restaurant to try the Bavarian favorite: pork, jelly, and Knödel. Of course, if you’re looking for a prime example of multicultural food, try the Turkish/German döner. This is a late night and quick lunch favorite among Germans as you can find it on just about every street corner. You’ll find the best döner at a small food stand in Berlin, Mustafa’s Gemuese Kebab. There, the line stretches the block but the company is great and the food is even better making the wait worthwhile.
This list would be incomplete without goulash, the traditional Hungarian stew. Head to Halaszbastya restaurant to enjoy the stew with sweeping views of Budapest. Full of meat, spices, and vegetables, this dish is a favorite among Hungarians. End your meal with a Hungarian crepe, Palacsinta. These light and fluffy crepes can be enjoyed as a dessert or with yogurt and fruit for breakfast.
Eastern European countries are famous for their bread dumplings, and I argue that the Czech Republic has the very best. A must try in the Czech Republic is the traditional dish Svíčková which incorporates sirloin and vegetables with a heaping side of bread dumplings. Walking up to the Prague castle, grab a Trdelnik: the quintessential street sweet served on just about every street corner in Prague. The dough is elaborately wrapped around a stick, then grilled and doused with sugar and walnuts. Plus, all these eats are cheap in Prague, making Prague is the perfect cheap city break for food-lovers.
Head to Santorini, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe to dive into Greek cuisine. This perfect Mediterranean town offers the best of Greek cuisine. Enjoy a real Greek salad beachside and move into your main course of rice and chicken served with delicious cheese pastries. And of course, gyros are a must try. Wrapped in a crisp flatbread, the meat comes straight from a vertical rotisserie: ready to enjoy.
As one of the top culinary destinations in Europe, Spain’s gift to the world is its tapas and paella. A trip to Spain is incomplete without sharing a large pan of Paella with friends for a late dinner. As you admire Gaudi’s gifts to Barcelona, indulge in this large rice dish is filled with fresh seafood and local vegetables. For the perfect tapas or snack on the go, enjoy croquettes which you can find on just about every street corner. This fried potato goodness will leave your heart happy. Sometimes filled with ham and cheese, you can’t go wrong with croquettes.
The port towns of Portugal will melt your heart, and while you may find yourself dancing until the morning – Portuguese food has your back. The best comfort food in the entire world is originally from Porto. The Francessinha sandwich is an institution in Portugal. The sandwich is layered with bacon, pork, sausage, beef and topped with cheese and a fried egg. If you’re looking for a lighter lunch or breakfast, indulge in Pastel de nata; these egg custard tarts have a crackly outer layer and a sweet inside.
Italy is the culinary destination of Europe. And Palermo is widely considered the food capital of Italy. Enjoy some of the best street food in the world in this Sicilian town. You can’t leave without trying without trying Arancini Di Riso, fried risotto balls. Yes, they are as amazing as they sound. In another example of deep-fried goodness, indulge in Pane panelle e crocche – these potato fritters are rolled and fried, then stuffed into a bread roll. Seriously, save the pasta for another day. No matter what you decide to indulge in, these street foods are to die for. On that note, Italy is also the perfect destination to go on cooking vacations as a lot of cities from different parts of this beautiful country offers cooking lessons so not only you get to eat, you also get to bring home recipes you can easily recreate when you’re craving for some Italian food!
A trip to Belgium would be incomplete without trying classic Belgian waffles. These crisp and sweet waffles are the perfect street snack or late night craving. The best chocolate in Europe comes from Belgium and experiencing chocolate in Belgian is a must do. You can go on a chocolate tour in Liege, or just pop into any chocolatier to experience all the wonders that Belgian chocolate has to offer.
Objectively, pierogies are one of the best food creations on Earth. For your yearly carbo-load, visit one of the most beautiful city in Europe, Krakow, in August for the annual pierogi festival. There you can enjoy colorful pierogis or traditional pierogis. Looking for more amazing food? Enjoy rosół, the go-to soup in Poland. Perfect for a cold Winter day, the soup is typically served with homemade noodles, chicken and a plethora of vegetables. Simple but a true comfort food.
As one of the food capitals of Europe, Denmark offers a great variety of food on top of its beautiful architecture buildings and one of the countries in Europe that offers great culinary vacations . Over the last decade, Denmark has transformed from a potato and meat eater’s paradise to a gastronomy heaven. Your taste buds can rest easy knowing that many restaurants in Copenhagen offer locally sourced vegetables and meat. Be sure to taste some of Denmark’s best oysters while in Copenhagen and for a tasty breakfast or lunch, try the traditional Smørrebröd, an open-faced sandwich topped with anything from squash to shrimp. Also, the top fine dining restaurant in the world is located in Denmark – NOMA.
Now I know what you’re thinking – she is going to recommend that we try black pudding. And while I consider myself the most open of the foodies, I don’t enjoy black pudding. Moving on, jacket potatoes might just be the best thing to happen to the English countryside. Cheesy goodness inside a baked potato. Simple, but oh so good. Want to try the best Indian food in the Western hemisphere? You don’t need to go any farther than Southall in London to enjoy it. In fact, do you know that Butter Chicken is invented in Glasgow? Well, now you know. The Brits got a bad rep when it comes to their cuisine but let’s not be too hard on them, nowadays some of the top chef’s in the culinary industry in U.K are creating some of the innovative modern cuisines that will define the British food of the future. And of course, Fish and Chips – all deep-fried drowsed in vinaigrette served with mashed peas and tartar sauce? Better come prepared to eat greasily and leave your conscience back at home!
After finishing your breakfast toast topped with lingonberry jam, be sure to head to the seaside where you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful views of this picturesque country. Be sure to try the traditional Swedish dish, Toast Skägen. A combination of prawns and Roe top a small slice of oven-baked bread. This refreshing dish is absolute to die for and you can’t leave Sweden without a taste of it. Last but not the least, what’s a visit to Sweden without trying out their famous meatballs with mash and lingonberry jam combo? It is carbolicious!
Austria and Germany share similar foods, but each utilizes different techniques and unique flavors into their traditional foods. Sweet potato dumpling (sweet knoedel), found in northern Austria might just be the most delicious sweet. Plums and apricots are rolled inside the dough and boiled to perfection, then glazed with a caramelized breadcrumbs. Similarly, schnitzel is a must try. This Germanic classic is the perfect filling lunch for a busy day of city-wandering.
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