If there’s one thing I love more than traveling, it’s food. And this is why I love Europe. Because it’s a great travel destination for people who want to explore a wide variety of food. Europe might be a small continent, but the food diversity will leave you surprised and amazed at the gastronomic delights that await every behind every corner. So, if you’re planning to visit Europe soon and love eating, keep reading. We put together a list of the best food destinations in Europe alongside some local dishes you have to try!
1. Skopje, Macedonia
Unless you’ve done a fair share of traveling around Europe, you probably don’t know a lot about Macedonia’s capital, Skopje. It might come as a surprise but Skopje is one of the best food destinations in Europe. The local food is a delicious mix of Balkan, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisines. The basic staples are bread and cheese but Macedonia also has some of the freshest organic vegetables in Europe and of course, they’re heavily used in most Macedonian dishes.
A few things you just have to try are the local kebabs, sarma (sour cabbage rolls), burek (a meat pie), and of course, Macedonia’s favorite- Tavche Gravche. In addition to restaurants that serve traditional food (mainly around the Old Bazaar area), you can also find a lot of Western cuisine restaurants, and several Asian restaurants and because Skopje has something to offer for everyone’s taste buds, it deserves a mention on this list.
2. Santorini, Greece
You probably already know how amazing Greek food is. Fresh tasty fish, dishes heavy on olive oil, feta cheese that melts in your mouth, mouth-watering giros, filo pastries… The list of must-try Greek dishes is practically endless and there’s no better place to try them than one of the most visited islands in Europe- Santorini (even though you can get high-quality food no matter where you go).
3. Istanbul, Turkey
No list of the best food destinations in Europe can be complete without Istanbul. Located at the border between Europe and Asia, Istanbul offers the best from both worlds. From traditional Turkish restaurants and street food stalls whose aroma will get you drooling to famous continental, Asian, and even African restaurants, Istanbul has it all.
Definitely try the traditional Turkish breakfast, probably the world’s best value for money meal, simit (Turkish bagel), Lahmacun (Turkish pizza), Turkish kebab, baklava, and of course no food experience in Istanbul is complete without some chai.
Don’t know where to start from? No worries, most tourists in Istanbul feel this way because there are simply too many choices. Here’s a list of some of the best food tours in town.
4. Tbilisi, Georgia
Georgia’s capital is probably another city that you didn’t expect to see on this list. However, in Tbilisi, everything revolves around food and Georgian cuisine is nothing short of spectacular. Similarly like Macedonia, the basic staples are bread and cheese. However, the main dishes consist of roasted meats, tasty chorbas, and of course, wine.
According to numerous historical sources, the territory of the modern country of Georgia is the birthplace of wine and the country’s 8,000 years-old winemaking tradition has created some of the world’s finest wines.
5. Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Sarajevo was at the border between the Western world and the Ottoman Empire for more than four centuries and subsequently became the heart of Yugoslavia where people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions lived together in peace. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Sarajevo was the most cosmopolitan city in the former Yugoslavia (even before that was cool).
Hence, it’s no surprise that such a vibrant, diverse city that sat on the crossroad between two worlds to have an inspiring cuisine and to be one of the best food destinations in Europe. We know that the kebab originates from the Middle East but the Bosnians have mastered the craft of kebab making to perfection and Sarajevo is, in my opinion, home to some of the world’s best kebab places.
In addition to this, Sarajevo has a lot of the dishes you’ll find in the other Balkan countries, some amazing local deserts, and a very strong coffee culture, but when I say coffee, I mean real coffee, not all those Starbucks-like coffee shops. If you want to taste the best of Sarajevo with a local by your side, there are a lot of food tours starting at as low as $13! Where else in Europe can you find that?
6. Istria, Croatia
After you visit, it’s nearly impossible not to love Croatia, a country that’s home to more than 1,000 islands, countless beautiful beaches, cities where you can find romance and history breath behind every corner, and a cuisine that has the power to enchant you. If you haven’t heard of Istria, it’s the largest peninsula on the Adriatic. It’s shared between Slovenia, Italy, and Croatia that controls the largest part of the peninsula. In this part of Croatia, you can get the best mix of Balkan, Italian, and Mediterranean food.
They have amazing seafood, pasta that’s almost as good as the one you get in Italy, a fritaja to die for, truffles that are out of this world, and of course, a lot of delicious meat dishes and wine because Istria still is a part of the Balkan Peninsula, after all.
7. Bologna, Italy
A list of the best food destinations in Europe just can’t be complete without the birthplace of the iconic Bolognese sauce that has been making pasta around the world taste better since the 18th century. But spaghetti Bolognese isn’t the only reason why Bologna is on this list. Bologna is also famous for its market scene, including the ancient food market Quadrilatero, the 15th-century market Osteria del Sole, and the iconic Mercato delle Erbe. At these markets, you can find fresh produce, some amazing tagliatelle al Ragù and tortellini in brodo, tasty fish dishes, and of course Bolognese’s partner in crime- the unavoidable parmesan.
With so many options, I know it’s difficult to decide where to start. So, if you want to save some time and money, check out this Bologna traditional food tour.
Enjoying this post? Then you may also like our list of hidden gems in Northern Italy.
8. Rome, Italy
When a city has a nickname Caput Mundi (Capital of the World), it’s natural to expect that such a city would be unrivaled in history, culture, and food. And even though Rome’s food scene is evolving accepting culinary delicacies from around the world, Rome’s classics still hold a special place on the table and are beloved by everyone. So whether you’re looking to try some local delicacies, such as carbonara, cacio e pepe, carciofi alla giudia, and coda alla vaccinara or some modern creations with clever twists, Rome will have something in store for you.
In Rome, you can get something to eat in every part of the city. So, you might have to work harder to plan a solid itinerary that will include all of the most delicious eateries in town. But why bother when there are companies like Eating Europe that can do this for you? They have several amazing food tasting tours in different parts of Rome, such as the Jewish Ghetto tour and Trastevere Street Eats.
9. Naples, Italy
Even though Naples might not have the best reputation when it comes to tourism, especially compared to other Italian cities, the food scene of this city is nothing short of spectacular. I don’t know if it’s the volcanic soil or the always sunny weather but Campanian cuisine is truly special. The fresh vegetables are brighter and juicer than anywhere else and even the most simple dishes prepared here taste better.
Naples might be famous for being the birthplace of pizza but there are a lot of other reasons why Campania’s capital is becoming one of the best food destinations in Europe. If you like pastries, you’ll love sfogliatelle and taralli, struffoli are beloved by anyone with a sweet tooth, cheese lovers would love buffalo mozzarella, and pasta lovers will love the refreshing change of tasting pasta e patate (pasta and potato soup). And let’s not forget about Neapolitan coffee that will satisfy the tastes of even the pickiest coffee snobs.
With so many things to taste, you might need some help in planning an itinerary that will allow you to try all of these delicacies. That’s why I’d advise you to check out the Taste of Old Napoli food tour.
10. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest being one of the most visited cities in Europe has a lot to do with its central location and amazing historic buildings but let’s not forget about food. Just like the country’s language, Hungary’s cuisine is completely different from all of its neighbors. The best part about this city is that you can eat a ridiculous amount of food for a ridiculously cheap amount of money! And a city like that can’t be left out of this list of the best food destinations in Europe.
Budapest’s most famous delicacy is as you probably know, the beef goulash but they have some other amazing dishes like halaszle (a seafood soup that’s absolutely delicious despite Hungary being a landlocked country) and paprika csirke (a creamy chicken dish). What all of these dishes have in common is paprika- the king of Hungary’s cuisine.
In addition to these delicious local treats, Budapest is also home to a thriving restaurant scene (especially its old Jewish Quarter) and there’s a myriad of local deserts that words just don’t do justice to and you’d have to try them yourself to see what I mean.
11. Prague, Czech Republic
When looking at Prague today, it’s hard to believe that it was the capital of a socialist country that had barely any international restaurants only 30 years ago. Today, Prague has one of the richest restaurant scenes in Europe with a variety of options that can satisfy anyone’s taste buds. Hence, this list of the best food destinations in Europe couldn’t be complete without Prague.
However, the city’s real treasure is the local food. Some of the things you have to try while in Prague are kulajda soup, svickova steak, the unavoidable in this part of Europe, wiener sausages, Czech schnitzel, fried cheese, and of course some local draught beer to complete the experience.
If you want to experience the best of Prague’s culinary scene with an expert guide, I recommend this tour by Eating Europe. The tour includes tasting some of the city’s best meat products, dining in some of the finest cafes, trying the best local appetizers, sweets, and snacks, local beer, the best ice cream in town, and even some sightseeing- all for only $89!
12. Kyiv, Ukraine
When it comes to the best food destinations in Europe, Kyiv is probably one of the most underrated cities. As you probably already know, Ukraine is a former Soviet republic that aims to join the EU and NATO today. Ukraine is stuck between the east and the west and this reflects on the capital’s food scene. In Kyiv, you can find anything from Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Tajik, and even Turkmen restaurants to typical continental restaurants.
In addition to this, Ukraine’s capital also has a rich street food scene, some amazing traditional restaurants, and even a couple of restaurants that specialize in Soviet cuisine (and their interior will take you back to the 1950s’ if this is where you want to go).
13. Krakow, Poland
You might think that East-European cuisine may not be as glamorous as French or Italian but don’t underestimate Polish cuisine. There’s no easy way to describe Polish food, but I would say it’s a mix of German (a lot of sausages and bagels), Hungarian (incredibly delicious goulash-style soups), French (a lot of creamy dishes), and Turkish cuisine with a touch of Slavic that makes it special.
Even though Warsaw is the capital, everyone knows that Krakow is arguably the best city to visit in Poland. Food is one of the reasons. If you’re visiting Krakow, some of my suggestions are pierogi (local version of dumplings), bigot (chopped meat stew), breaded cutlet, Polish smoked cheese, and roulade (a dish consisting of filled rolled meat or pastry).
Looking for a great affordable tour to learn a thing or two about local food in Krakow? I strongly recommend checking out this Walking food tour.
14. Lausanne, Switzerland
Even though not a lot of people mention this Swiss city in this context, Lausanne’s wine-producing heritage and gastronomic traditions make this city a great candidate for this list. However, the local traditions, wine, and cheese fondue aren’t the only reasons you should visit. The city has a youthful energy and a range of international restaurants that have something in store for everyone. Lausanne is also home to one of the newest emerging street food festivals in Western Europe.
All this combined with the picturesque beauty of the city at the shore at Lake Geneva must be reason enough for you to book your flight and plan for a vacation!
15. Vienna, Austria
Located in the heart of Europe, Vienna is a city with arguably the most diverse gastronomic landscape in Europe. In Vienna, you can find anything from cheap, delicious Turkish eateries and state canteens (some of them serve delicious meals to) to traditional Austrian taverns and world-class Michelin-starred restaurants. Some of the city’s most famous delicacies include zwiebelrostbraten (roast beef with crispy onion rings), blunzengröstl mit Kren und Krautsalat (fried black pudding with horseradish), and of course the iconic Wiener schnitzel.
If you’re looking for an affordable food walking tour in Vienna, this Naschmarkt tour is as affordable as it gets.
16. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Dutch cuisine is described by many travelers as bland, stodgy, and heavy and Amsterdam wasn’t an exception until recently. However, over the last two decades, the capital’s food scene has begun to thrive. Today, Amsterdam is home to 16 Michelin-starred restaurants, a wide range of international restaurants representing cuisines from around the world, and hundreds of vibrant eateries.
However, with Amsterdam’s ever-growing weed tourism industry, there are a lot of bogus eateries in the city’s central area. Hence, finding the best places in town can be a difficult task. Fortunately, there are some great food tours in Amsterdam like this one or this one that can help you discover the best of the city’s food scene.
17. Paris, France
This list of the best food destinations in Europe just can’t be complete without mentioning Paris. No matter how many times you’ve been to Paris, you can always discover a new dining place. While you can never go wrong with the classics, Paris is a city that follows all modern trends and you can always find new restaurants serving food from any place on earth you can imagine, mouth-watering street food stalls that lure tourists with their aroma, and a ton of Instagrammable cafes. Moreover, Paris has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in Europe (106).
However, discovering the best places in Paris can be a difficult task. That’s why I recommend this Hip Eats & Backstreets Food Tour in Paris. It’s a tour that takes you on a journey that passes by some of Paris’ not-so-known but amazing eateries.
18. London, England
London’s food scene is an interesting blend of traditional culinary and modern innovation. London didn’t always have a reputation for having a rich food scene. However, things have changed. Throughout the years, London established itself as one of the best food destinations in Europe (if not the best) when it comes to exotic food and street food. This can also be seen in the city’s multiculturalism; London is more diverse than it has ever been and that’s well-portrayed in the city’s food scene.
19. Reykjavik, Iceland
Even though it might come as a surprise, Reykjavik has a slew of restaurants that offer everything from refined traditional food, Nordic cuisine, and continental food to South American and Asian restaurants. And being the cosmopolitan city that it is, Reykjavik also offers a lot of options for vegans and vegetarians. So, don’t worry, even if your stomach isn’t a fan of Nordic cuisines (not everyone can take it), there are plenty of other options around.
Do you think you need some help exploring the city’s food scene? Here’s a list of Get Your Guide’s best food tours in the Icelandic capital.
20. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is the center of the New Nordic Cuisine that revolves around seasonal produce and local ingredients that when combined, create simple, yet elegant versions of traditional Nordic dishes. One thing that speaks of the popularity of this new cuisine is the fact that the number of Micheline-starred restaurants in Copenhagen increases every year and has increased to that point that saying that Copenhagen is one of the best food destinations in Europe isn’t an overstatement.
Some of the dishes from this New Nordic Cuisine that you have to try are Smørrebrød (an open-faced sandwich), white asparagus with trout roe and smoked cheese, mussel soup with smoked haddock, etc.
If you’re looking for a budget food tour in Copenhagen, this food tour is a great choice for people who want to learn some basics about the New Nordic Cuisine.
21. Brussels, Belgium
Can we really talk about European delicacies without mentioning the Belgian waffle? This soft, chewy delicacy is traditionally a small street-snack as opposed to its US counterpart. Enjoy it with strawberries, maybe whipped cream but try not to drown it in syrup while in Brussels. In addition to this, you probably heard some great things about Belgian chocolate, and no, people aren’t exaggerating. However, Brussels isn’t all about waffles and chocolate. You can also find a large number of great chefs and a highly-competitive restaurant scene.
Want to try as many waffles and other delicacies as your stomach can take? Check out this great food tour that features 10 tastings for less than 100 euros!
22. Munich, Germany
I know this one can raise some eyebrows but it’s not possible that I’m the only one that actually enjoys Bavarian cuisine! Bavaria is mostly famous for two things- weisswurst (pork sausage) and beer but this amazing region offers a lot more than that. Another thing you should try when in Bavaria is spätzle (a Bavarian mix of pasta and dumplings), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), germknodel (a Bavarian dumpling served with custard and plum sauce), apfelstrudel, and of course, don’t forget about the famous Viktualien Market.
Our recommendation: check out this ultimate Munich food tour and experience the best food Munich has to offer.
23. Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg is a great example of a city that quietly embraces the best of the global food scene while keeping its tradition dear at the same time. Back in the days when we didn’t have airplanes, the biggest changes in culinary traditions used to come through ports and Hamburg, as the biggest port city in Germany has always been one of the first cities to adopt new culinary trends.
Even though ports aren’t nearly as important as they once were, Hamburg is still doing a great job in keeping up with the world’s culinary trends. This can be seen from the increased number of vibrant street food stalls, numerous different eateries, and, of course, the increased number of Michelin-starred restaurants.
24. Bordeaux, France
Did you notice that wherever there’s amazing wine, the food is top-notch too and the people are pickier? Bordeaux isn’t an exception. It’s a city with a rich food scene, some amazing fancy restaurants, and a lot of delicious, tiny eateries. People in Bordeaux can talk about food for hours and this reflects on the city’s rich food scene. A few things you absolutely have to try when visiting Bordeaux are Bazas beef, a wood pigeon in red wine sauce, Arcachon Bay oysters, foie gras, and of course, some fine local wine.
My recommendation for experiencing the flavors of Bordeaux is the Gourmet City Tour. It includes a full-course meal and four tastings for only 80 euros.
25. Madrid, Spain
The first thing most people do when coming to Madrid is going on a tapa eating spree. And yes, tapas are awesome but there are a lot more culinary experiences in Madrid. For example, in case you’re wondering where the oldest restaurant in the world is located, it’s in Madrid. Sobrino de Botin has been continuously running since 1725 and dining in this restaurant alone is a reason enough to visit Madrid.
However, that’s not all Madrid has to offer when it comes to culinary experiences. Madrid also has a lot of authentic eateries, Micheline-starred restaurants, and a myriad of local street food markets waiting to be discovered.
26. San Sebastian, Spain
Before you start wondering what little old San Sebastian is doing on this list, let me tell you that it’s the city with the most Michelin stars per square mile in the world after Kyoto which is why a lot of people refer to it as the ‘food capital of the world’. If Madrid and Seville are famous for tapas, San Sebastian (and the Northern part of Spain) is famous for pitxos, the Basque equivalent of tapas but also arguably the best seafood in Europe, and some of the best fresh food markets in Europe.
27. Seville, Spain
What’s a better place to try tapa than the capital of the region where they originally originate from? Tapas are a big deal in Seville but this region is also famous for producing some of the finest cheese and wine in Spain. Moreover, some other must-try delicacies of Seville include salmorejo (cold tomato soup), tostada de pringa (pulled pork buns), presa iberica (pork shoulder), and the ultimate bar snack- las croquetas.
Looking for a good and affordable food tour in Seville? Check out this special offer on this 4-hour food tour by Get Your Guide.
28. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is one of the best food destinations in Europe when it comes to seafood. Some classic dishes include clams in a delicate garlic sauce, spiky shellfish, tiger prawns, crabs, and lobsters all of which taste even better when washed up with some of Europe’s finest port wines. If you’re thinking where to start eating in Lisbon, I suggest Mercado da Ribeira that’s home to anything you can think of, from traditional street food creations to some of Lisbon’s Michelin-starred restaurants.
And if you’d like to add some learning into your Lisbon food hunt, I seriously recommend the Eats, Street Art & Undiscovered Lisbon food tour.
29. Porto, Portugal
When Porto gets mentioned the first thing people think about is port wine but Porto has some amazing food too. In addition to this, Porto gives a calm, laid-back vibe; something you probably won’t find anywhere else in Europe’s metropolitan cities. And when it comes to the food, sure, a trip to Porto isn’t complete without sardines, pasteis de nata, and chouriços but there are also some other modern creations that you absolutely have to try. One of them is Francesinha, a.k.a. ‘heart attack on a plate sandwich’ (see picture above), tripas à moda do Porto (bean stew), and a myriad of different seafood dishes.
If you’re looking for a great, budget-friendly food tour, check out this Porto Food & Wine tour by Eating Europe.
30. Valletta, Malta
Finally ,we round up this list of the best food destinations in Europe with Valletta. The capital of Malta has an olive oil-reliant cuisine that’s heavily inspired by Italian and Mediterranean cuisines. The basic staples are pasta, cheese, and seafood but there are some other creative dishes you won’t find anywhere else in Europe, such as lampuki pie (fish pie), gbejniet soup (soup with sheep or goat cheese), bigilla (a thick pate of beans and garlic), and the most popular snack on the island- hobz biz-zejt’ (bread dipped in olive oil, mixed ripe tomatoes and filled with a mix of tuna, tomatoes, garlic onion, and capers).
Did you like this list of the best food destinations in Europe? Did you ever visit any of them? If given the chance, which of these places would you visit first? What was your favorite dish on this list? Was there something you didn’t like? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!
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