15 Best Culinary Destinations in Europe

By Nikita Das on Jan 08, 2019
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Europe is a fascinating country to visit. Not only it is rich in culture, art, and architecture, drawing thousands of art lovers and historians like a moth to the flame, its extravagant nightlife scene is another thing that makes it into every traveller's wishlist. But, the scene is entirely different for foodies like me. Our tangent for visiting destinations often depends on what we would be served on our platter there and how amazing the experience of gorging on all those delights would be.

Lucky for us, Europe has plenty to offer in that arena too. With a diverse menu spread throughout the continent, you can actually look forward to coming here and indulging in goodness experience of wine, dine and everything fine. Here is the list of 15 best culinary destinations in Europe, sorted on the basis of their specialties and forte. Check them out!

1. Lyon, France - 'Quenelles of Pike'

Lyon, France - food holidays in Europe

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

What would be a better place to start your food detour than the food capital of France? Home to Michelin star restaurant run by none other Paul Bocuse- a renowned food connoisseur, Lyon has surely upped its game in being the gastronomical heaven for travellers.

The standard for food is quite high here, especially when it comes to its specialty 'Quenelles of Pike'. Rich in flavours yet light on taste buds, this slice of goodness will literally have you travel to the moon and back; and I am not exaggerating here! The subtle flavours of pike blend well with its fluffy texture and melt in one's mouth nicely. Once you have tried the dish here, move on to various other restaurants in the region that serve equally enchanting flavours on their plate. A must come if you love food! Before starting your foodie trip check out how to eat like a local in France.

2. Copenhagen, Denmark - Smrrebrd and famous Danish Wine

Copenhagen - sip on the wines

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If you are a foodie planning for a European tour, chances are, you have heard about this place already. With about 15 Michelin star restaurants to its name, Copenhagen is a lovely city as far as food is concerned. Its roundoff restaurants serve a delectably beautiful range of quintessential Danish style cuisine letting you have a taste of country's true flavours.

Ensure to nosh on the famous Smrrebrd while you are here. Considered to be Denmark's specialty, this buttery brown bread is best served with quality danish wine cultivated in the vineyards of the city. In case you don't mind spending a little more, stop by at Noma- the finest restaurant in the world and have a heartfelt indulgence for a while.

3. Zurich, Switzerland - Alsace Wine

Zurich - wine destination in Europe

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Rated to be amongst top destinations for food holidays in Europe, Zurich is best known for its Alsace Wine, brought in from the nearby vineyards in Alsace. A fine indulgence, these wines are served here amidst quaint setting, in numerous restaurants, throughout the city. Not only that, Zurich also has a long history of food, adding more to its credit and providing it with its multidimensional character. Zurich is also amongst the finest wine destinations in Europe.

It was here where sprungli was first established as a pioneering step towards chocolate production and flourished enormously since then. From popular Swiss dishes like Zürcher Geschnetzeltes to contemporary and continental flavours, Zurich serves it all, and with a flair that's unmatched anywhere. No wonder the city sees droves of culinary creatives flocking to it every year!

4. Prague, Czech Republic - Palacinky

Prague - savour the local european dishes

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The appeal of Prague's cuisine comes from its foundation character which incorporates an extraordinary blend of history and innovation. There is just something about Czech food which makes it so irresistible to me. A certain mystery, which can be attributed to the fact that most Czechs still prefer homecooked meals over restaurant foods, leaving plenty of opportunities for natives to create their own Czech special and add to its established flavours.

Among the large assortment of dishes which you will get here, Palacinky Pancakes remains the popular one, a lovely sweet dish filled with ice cream or jam and topped with layers of nuts and icing sugar. A must I say, but don't stop here and visit the numerous historic pubs too that will let you have a tantalising taste of city's homemade beer.

5. Berlin, Germany - Currywurst

Berlin - some of the best places to eat in Europe

Image Source: Jessica Spengler/flickr.com

Go to Germany and you will understand just how serious Germans are for their wursts! These uniquely made sausages are literally their pride and top the list of folk favourites. Though the variety of wursts is quite huge here, the star dish remains only one- the Currywurst. The dish includes pieces of sausages dipped into curry or ketchup with a dash of spices served alongside fries and cola. It tastes heavenly and will entice you for more!

Known for being heavy and grand, the range of German culinary expands as you move around the city. There are cheap eateries lined on the streets, there are petite food joints serving their own version of food and there are high-end restaurants too to serve you a noble-like feeding experience.

6. Naples, Italy - Pizza

Naples - for the best Italian Pizza

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It does not matter how many food items you have rummaged through on your food pilgrimage, nothing can be compared to a slice of pizza baked to perfection in its homeland Naples. It was here where this iconic fast food was invented and later went on to became an inseparable part of our lives. A visit to this land of pizza is must in Italy and while you are at it, give a try to its popular gelato which seems to have garnered quite a reputation as well.

In case you are looking for more, there is a plethora of joy filled goodness ranging from sumptuous seafood, timballo di maccheroni to lip-smacking sweet sfogliatella waiting for you in every nook and corner of the city. You just have to look for it a little!

7. Krakow, Poland - Pierogi (polish dumplings)

Krakow - foodie holidays europe

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Dumplings, probably the most common and most diverse delicacy in the world that exists in nearly every culture, greatly contributing to its popularity. You can actually plan a full-fledged trip solely to taste it variety and Poland, we assure you, is one of the many places that will chart high on that list. The reason is Pierogi, a nationwide loved dumpling dish that will have you lick your fingers, really!

And the best part is, there is no particular recipe for that. Sure there is dough (which is necessary), but apart from that, there are no restrictions when it comes to its filling which can be anything from meat, sauerkraut, mushrooms to fruits like strawberries and blueberries. Come Krakow and have a dig into one of best dumplings ever! If nothing, the Polish cuisine has some other specials tucked under its sleeve inclusive of soups, pork and dessert which you can easily savour in the many restaurants around.

8. Madrid, Spain - Tortilla Espaola

Madrid - foodie holidays to Europe

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What gives Spanish cuisine its defined edge is how brilliantly it has diversified itself despite maintaining the fundamentals in place. Being a caboodle of various regions, each one with their distinguished style and taste, it certainly makes sense that food lovers would be drawn to it. The eclectic food scene is further refined with hospitable Madrid restaurants serving people of all budgets and tastes. No matter where you've come from, Madrid has sure something to offer you!

Of course, a trip to Madrid is incomplete without a taste of its popular Tortilla Espaola or potato pancakes. A simple albeit flavourful dish with potatoes, eggs and onions as its base. Coupled with items like chorizo, ham and spinach, this specialty of Spain will make you swoon over it. The dish is often served alongside croquetas in numerous bars and clubs that are a must visit here.

Check out: European Vegetarian Dishes

9. Dublin, Ireland - Irish Stew

Dublin - gastronomic delights

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Irish cuisine is all about simplicity and grace, which is quite visible in how it presents itself in the culinary world. Be its savoury lambs or flavoursome fish or the core speciality that are stews, every dish is properly gauged and sprinkled with fresh herbs and spices that go amiably with the muggy weather of the place.

An Irish Stew here on a wet day is beyond a flitting experience and as you delve into a pot full of deliciousness, mostly containing mutton, veggies and herbs, you realise that heaven wouldn't have tasted any better.

10. Brussels, Belgium - Waffles and Chocolate

Brussels - the best chocolates in Europe

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Waffles and Belgium have a long history together, and that is probably one of the reasons why this sweet delicacy is still a classic phenomenon in Belgian cuisine. Known for being Belgium special, these waffles come in two types- the sublime Brussels waffle topped with whipped cream and fruits and the Lige waffle which is stickier and sweeter than the previous one. Go for either or both, regardless, you will spend a great time satisfying your cravings. These waffles go pretty well with Belgian chocolates!

In case, sweet is not your thing, you can always go for the famous Flemish stew that is served in many restaurants (or petite food joints) here. Have it with a large jug of beer and you will actually find yourself craving for more!

11. Amsterdam, Netherland - Herring ‘Hollandse Nieuwe’

Amsterdam - visit for traditional European dishes

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Ask any local and they will tell you the best way to experience Netherlands, that is through its food or more specifically herring! The traditional dish has long been symbolic of quintessential Dutch flavours and is based on a silvery fish that is totally native to this land. It is often served raw with chopped onions and gherkins during its season (May-July). There are numerous high-end restaurants and street shops that serve the dish along with others like bitterballen, fries and briny.

12. Dubrovnik, Croatia - Buzata

Dubrovnik - coastal european cuisine

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Being one of the finest coastal destinations in Europe, Croatia has a lot of places to add to its allure. The walled city with its nice grounded cafes and food joints bustle to life with a range of seafood delights that are worth indulging in. Not only that, renowned as Truffle heaven, the Croatian Truffles found here is just something you cannot afford to miss.

Add in one of the most popular dishes here- Buzata and what you get? A satiating gastronomical sojourn that you will never forget! The simple recipe includes freshly caught mussels served with wine broth and breadcrumbs. Simply put, a Croatian version of French Stew for the peeps who like to keep it simple.

13. Budapest, Hungary - Goulash (gulyás)

Budapest - authentic Hungarian flavour

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There is no doubt that Hungarian has a vast culinary repertoire, including some amazingly delightful dishes like Kürtoskalács, Pork Stews to its name. The indulgence is undoubtedly huge, but what's even striking about food here is the long legacy of traditional herbs that are customised to create the perfect balance of aroma and flavours. Of course, a talk about Hungarian cuisine is incomplete without the mention of Budapest which is the hotbed of authentic Hungarian flavours

If you are looking for the must in Budapest, go for Goulash which has been a part of Hungarian culture since ages. Best served in Budapest Bisztrute,; the Goulash soup has all the right ingredients to leave a lasting impression on your mind. The ambience and hospitality only add to its zest.

14. Santorini, Greece - Gyro and Feta Cheese

Santorini - cheese and wine

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Greek cheese is not an unknown name in the culinary world. The choices of cheeses you will get here is enormous and are best served in a beachside restaurant with a nice glass of wine and sunset in view. Santorini, being the party capital of the country that it is, will provide you plenty of things to devour. 

Go to any of those flamboyant eateries and get a plateful of Gyro with gravy laden deliciousness. As for feta, they are easily available in the markets and you can even sample its other counterparts such as graviera, golden-white cheese or fried as saganaki. The bakeries are also a great place to stop by, given the plethora of items they offer.

15. Vienna, Austria - Apple strudel

Vienna - foodies holiday destinations in Europe

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A foodie's paradise, especially for those who harbour a deep love for desserts, Vienna opens up a plethora of opportunities to eat, relax and have a good time. Packed with great architecture that stands alongside its myriad confectioneries and pastry shops, you can be very certain that the level of performance (when it comes to sweets) is very high here.

Have a spoonful of Apple Strudel in Xocolat and you will know what I mean. Each baked slice with its perfect creamy texture and mouthwatering apple filling will leave you dazed and satiated. Ensure to stop by at Vienne while en route and try this Austrian specialty once!

A trip to Europe can't get any tastier and now that you know all the best places around, chalk out you own foodie tour list and embark on a memorable foodie trip!

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