15 Best Food Destinations in Europe for a Culinary Adventure

Are you looking for a culinary adventure in Europe? Whether you’re planning to travel alone in Europe, with your partner, or with a group of friends, keep reading.

Best Food Destinations in Europe

We made a list of the best food destinations in Europe you should consider visiting.

1. Rome, Italy

Is food an important part when you travel? Italy is the country that we rank as the country we are going to, because of the food. Perhaps not surprising given all the good that is served there. When the Italians sit around the table, it is not just the food and wine to be enjoyed without the party, conversation and life.

That culture includes the famous Italian cuisine. When you think about how many food and drinks use Italian names in the English language it really emphasises how omnipresent Italian food has become. However, there is no substitute for eating Neapolitan ice-cream in Naples while visiting Italy.

When it comes to food, it’s not a secret that Rome is one of the most famous places in Europe. Whether a pasta lover or a pizza enthusiast, you will have plenty of dishes to try out here. If you want to make sure you’re tasting a traditional local dish, all you have to do is as for the ones with the name “alla Romana.” You will have more than 300 restaurants to choose from. Keep in mind that dishes like pasta and pizza might taste quite different than you are used to, especially if you’re coming from the USA.

Besides their tasty main courses, Italians are extremely proud of their ice cream. Moreover, they call it gelato, and this type is made differently than the ice cream we all know and love. Gelato is denser, creamier, and made with milk instead of cream. So if you are a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on the gelato when visiting Rome!

2. Frankfurt, Germany

German cuisine is extremely regional. A typical home meal in Swabia will look different to one in North Germany for example. Also often home meals will include stuff like Spaghetti Bolognese or whatever, especially during the week. If this is about traditional German food, the best to check this would be the Sonntagsbraten (Sunday roast) where you typically do traditional German meals (especially if grandma cooks).

But again - this food will be completely different depending on from what region of Germany you come. In Swabia it might be something like that, called the Pot of Stuttgart. This is Pork filet with Swabian Noodles (called Spätzle) and vegetables, cooked together in the oven.

In Bavaria it might be something like that, Braten (might be translated with Steak, though Braten is not really steak, Braten is typically baked in the oven) with Dumplings (in this picture two kinds of dumplings - Semmelknödel (made from bread) and Potato Dumplings, both typical side dishes in Bavaria). Further North in Germany it might be something like Sauerbraten (Sour Steak, losely translated).

In this region a sidedish of potatoes would be far more typical. The meat used is beef here (while in South Germany Pork would be more typical, though regional beef recipes are also known). And here would be a typical speciality from Berlin, Berlin Liver, typical sidedish is mashed potatoes here. Another recipe more from north Germany would be Rouladen, either with Potatoes or with Potato Dumplings.

And if Grandma came from former Sudetenland (or learned cooking from her mother from that area) - that is Bohemia, today Czech Republic - it even might be something like that (Karlsberger Braten with Serviette-Dumplings). Note all these three are typical Sunday specials, you do not cook like this on workdays. On workdays it is often quick stuff which is also often not typical German food.

There’s a lot of other (Quick) regional specialities. For example Swabian Noodles with Cheese, or (again Swabia) Noodles with Sausages and Lentils (with some vinegar on the lentils), or Dumplings with Mushrooms in Creme-Sauce (Bavaria) or special meshed meat (typical North German recipe). That is stuff you might find also under the week. Though really under the week it is often some “quick type of international food”, like Spaghetti or Schnitzel or some sort of meat with rice or whatever.

You might not think of Germany as a country for foodies, but it offers plenty of culinary adventures. Tourists must follow the food preferences of the local population in the restaurants in Germany. If a eating house is avoided by local people, then the restaurant has gained a bad reputation or features rather high price tags. Frankfurt, more specifically, provides some of the best dishes Germany is known for. If you ever visit this city, you should try out some of these dishes:

  • Green sauce
  • Frankfurter sausages
  • Frankfurt loin ribs
  • Different sweets and (especially) cakes
  • Frankfurter schnitzel

Besides traditional dishes, Frankfurt has plenty of international dishes to offer. So, if you don’t feel like experimenting, you should visit one of the top restaurants in the city – you won’t regret it. Another idea you should consider is traveling through Germany by train. You will enjoy the ride and have the opportunity to try out new food in many different cities.

3. Paris, France

Just like Rome, Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world. However, this city is all about trying out local delicacies in romantic, small restaurants. After you get tired of visiting all the monuments and museums and wandering through small Parisian streets, you should look for a few famous restaurants in the city.

Paris is more than just a croissants and cheese selection. If you are looking for the best food destinations in Europe, this one will not disappoint. You can start your day with any pastry you find on the way – it will be delicious! After walking and exploring the city, you should visit one of many renowned and starred restaurants. Also, taking a cruise on the river Seine is a great way to try out different foods and enjoy some champagne with your loved one.

Get out of your comfort zone and eat new foods. A few ideas include quiche lorraine (a typical quiche with cheese and ham). Highly recommended is escargots (snails in the shell cooked in garlic and butter). Another popular dish is steak tartare (raw beef patty mixed with spices). Foie gras (liver of a duck or goose fattened by force-feeding corn). Also don’t miss baguettes, croissants, pain ou chocolate and of course, macarons.

4. Stockholm, Sweden

If traditional European cuisine based on meat dishes is not your thing, you should try out Swedish dishes. As a northern European country, Swedes base their meal on fish and vegetables. Besides being tasty and relatively cheap, fish is served as any of the three main meals during the day. The Nordic Sea has plenty of fish that Swedes always catch fresh, which is why fish like salmon are probably cheaper than in the rest of Europe. So, Stockholm cuisine could be perfect for you if you’re planning to travel on a budget.

When ordering a meal in Stockholm, make sure not to make a beginner’s mistake – and that is eating too many pre-course meals. You will be tempted to try out all of them, but you’ll definitely lose your appetite for the main course. Instead, order one of their lunch specials and try to taste something different every other day.

5. Madrid, Spain

The food in Spain is delicious with variations of Spanish traditions. Don't miss a chance to dine in the oldest restaurant in the world, Sobrino de Botin, which was founded in 1725.

The Sobrino de Botín is one of the oldest restaurants in the world (or so they say) and the food is not bad. There are many markets where you can taste street food of Madrid (or a gourmet version thereof): Mercado de San Miguel, Mercado de la Cebada, Mercado de Antón Martín, Mercado de San Ildefonso and the Mercado de San Fernando are the ones recommended. The Platea Madrid is more gourmet but is interesting as well.

6. San Sebastian, Spain

After Northern Europe’s colder climate, let’s look at some “warmer” food destinations in Europe. It’s a known fact that Spanish dishes are some of the most popular in the world. Moreover, many households are cooking their international dishes at home. And you'll find one of the best culinary adventures in Spain in San Sebastian. This city’s geographic location can take your breath away, and so can the gastronomy experience.

As one of the best food destinations in Europe, San Sebastian is known for simple but also modern cuisine. Some of the world’s famous chefs live and work in this city. If you visit here, make sure to try out pintxos – Spanish traditional culinary bites. If you’re looking for a romantic city by the sea for your new home, San Sebastian could be perfect for you. People living here love their surroundings and are very friendly. If you love trying out new food, walking by the sea, and enjoying warm weather, this is the place to be.

For those considering an international move to this charming city by the sea, it's worth noting that the locals are friendly and the surroundings romantic. However, planning a move to San Sebastian requires some preparation. Experts at Rockstar Pro Movers recommend booking a professional moving company at least a month ahead to make the process smoother. Once settled in your new home, you can indulge in the city's delicious cuisine and take in the warm weather while strolling along the seaside.

7. Sofia, Bulgaria

Balkan foods are colorful and spicier, on top of that the major food will be corn and corn polenta offered everywhere. Baltic foods are not spicy at all (black pepper is as spicy as you go, everything else - special demand), they eat potato foods, fish like herrings or salmon, and instead of grapevines they produce herbal liqueurs or balsams, as well as wines made of apples.

8. Algarve, Portugal

Since you are in front of the ocean, many dishes are based on fish or seafood. One typical way of cooking it is in the "cataplana", a copper pot which is brought directly to your table. Before that, the waiter will serve you some "couvert", the Algarvian starter: olives or carrots cut into pieces and marinated.

If you prefer meat, you will find different dishes based on chicken or pork, such as leitão, a piece of pig roasted on a spit for 12 hours. The algarvian kitchen also offers you soups, cheese and delicious desserts like the Dom rodrigos, strings of egg yolk with cinnamon and almonds made up in a little nest. And to drink? You will find a wide variety of local wines, and the Algarvian beer, the Super bock.

9. London, UK

Many of the pubs serve food, so you don't have to go anywhere for food. If the locale doesn't serve food, there's always a kebab shop, chip shop, pizza place, fried chicken place, or Indian restaurant only a hop, skip and a stumble away. If you want breakfasty food and you're actually sober and walking around during the day, there's a place you can go. The Pub.

Not a nasty smelly one, but a family-friendly full service pub where you can get all the stuff that Brits prefer to eat. You can get a proper cup of tea or coffee as they like it, a full English, or even Sunday lunch. And some of these places (not many, but a few) actually offer pancakes.

Have a cup of English breakfast tea, you’ll never have tasted tea so good. Have a date-night on the bus. Yes, you heard it right. Here you can experience an exotic date night with gourmet food on a bus. You can enjoy six courses and check out the best sights as well.

If beer is your favourite drink, then beer gardens are for you. When the sun comes out, various beer gardens open up in London. You can also go for Pub Crawls and get the best of both beer gardens and rooftop pubs. If you are with your family, make sure to enjoy the various park café and have your own summer London picnic.

Along with the various restaurants, cafes and pubs, London also hosts various Summer Food Festivals. Streetlife is one of the famous street food festivals in London that should be on your list. Other than Streetlife, there is also Foodies Festival held in Syon Park, which is a paradise for food lovers and food Instagrammers in London and Taste of London held in Regent's Park where you can enjoy the true taste of London and meet some celebrity chefs.

10. Dusseldorf, Germany

The Carlsplatz is great for its nice food and flower market. In addition, there are stands with small high tables where you can stop for a beer and enjoy a tasty wurst. In the breweries they elaborate and serve their own black beer known as Altbier, which is usually accompanied by abundant food such as knuckle, sausages, bacon, mashed potatoes and salad.

11. Munich, Germany

Then there’s the food that goes with beers that are already considered liquid bread due to their content and weight and essential to life on this planet. Sure, you can order Coquilles Saint-Jacques or Cioppino in the unholy places they serve such wimpy fare, but only to drop a Semmelknödel into it to give real gut-punching heft.

Pig is king! Everything seems made of pig. Pork and its fat rule! Veal and chicken appear on menus in Bavarian restaurants, but you wouldn’t know it. Everything is heavy, rich, and incredibly filling.

White Wurst or Weiβwurst is just another ridiculously delicious Bavarian dish. It is a German breakfast served with sweet mustard on the side. This is a place where Weisswurst and Bretzen (a six inch long, incredibly thick pork and veal extravaganza paired with the doughy local, delicious pretzels are the go-to for a snack, served with their version of a mild mustard, or Senf, which is hotter than anything most Americans eat, and they eat that for breakfast in many a place.

Let’s start with Schweinhaxen, or Pig’s Knuckles, slow roasted to wonderful goodness. Roasted pork knuckle is just a huge piece of luscious port with a massive bone in the middle, slowly roasted in the oven and served a bed of sauerkraut. You’ll feel like a medieval hunter eating this!

Pork Knuckle or Schweinshaxe with Potato Dumplings is one of the most iconic meals in Bavaria. When Pork Knuckle is on the plate, a Bavarian Beer must not be optional. It’s a gastronomical excess waiting for you to criticize it. Go ahead!

You don’t like the fall apart tender pork or the juices of that piggy or the unbelievable crispness of the rind? And it comes with an 8 pound Semmelknödel (a massive dumpling) and kraut (you know it as sauerkraut here).

Oh, that sounds too filling, you say? Well, there’s always the local Schnitzels. Yup, they batter it and fry it. Okay, that’s the more traditional. But there is the food for more discerning palates in Bavaria. German state, never ate a fish they liked, much like their Celtic ancestors), and had a menu of Boar, Bear, Goose, Duck, and Venison.

In Bavaria, only the girliest of girls and the slightest of men would ever drink anything but Bavarian Beer! Yes, there is German wine. It’s sweet and, well, why bother (it’s consumed in clubs with ice in it by the aforementioned girlies). The lagers are amazing.

Dense and heavy, they are only eclipsed by the Dunkels, which are far darker and maltier and more traditional, while still conforming to Bavarian Purity Laws (including the Reinheitsgebot, meaning only water, hops and barley can be used to make beer, though the addition of yeast came after 1516).

Only the most minor changes came until 1987, when the European Court decided the law was too protectionist and forced more changes, but the Bavarians market their brews as compliant with the old law to advertise its purity.

12. Lombardy, Italy

You can get foods that best explain a local cuisine, for instance the cuisine of the Valtellina area, in the extreme north of Lombardy, is heavily characterized by buckwheat, which is used for bread, pasta-like pizzoccheri, local polenta taragna, and fritters called sciatt. Valtellina is a mountainous area of northern Lombardy.

In the area wheat didn’t grow well, so people had little wheat flour to cook with. What grew well is buckwheat, which is a pseudocereal with nutritional properties similar to chia (rich in fibers, high in B-group vitamins, and in many minerals), but which grows throughout Europe.

People of Valtellina use buckwheat flour for a variety of uses. They use it to make polenta taragna, cheesy fritters called sciatt (literally toads), and pizzoccheri. Valtellina also grew rye, and local bread (brasciadela) is made of a mixture of rye and wheat flour, shaped ina ring. It would be dried so that it lasted for weeks and hung from the roof using a stick through the hole.

Tagliatelle pesto with grana cheese is LIFE! Grana cheese is made with a process that it is consumable even for lactose-intolerant people. So, everybody can dig in! Pizzoccheri are short and thick tagliatelle, traditionally boiled with potatoes and cabbage, and garnished with a selection of local cheeses and lots of butter. It’s actually OK-ish to use them also in other recipes. They somewhat remind Japanese soba, but are even more pronounced in flavor.

Few people make pizzoccheri at home nowadays, we prefer to buy them dried or fresh, packaged in controlled atmosphere and refrigerated, from the grocery. If you just move a few kilometers along the Adda river you hit lake Como, and you get a completely different cuisine which is dominated by sweetwater fish.

Then, as you continue along the Adda you land in Lodi, which has a cuisine that is quite a bit influenced by the one of Emilia Romagna, with lots of egg dough pasta and stuffed pasta.

While all Italian cuisines have some common traits (highlighting fresh ingredients, seasonality, vegetables, a balance of carbs and proteins) there is absolutely no individual food or dish that represent all of Italian cuisines. Some may thing that pasta is, but the truth is that pasta is not even universally eaten in the Italian tradition.

The cassœula or in its different insubric dialects cassœûla, cassoeura or casöra is a typical food from Lombard tradition, prepared in Winter. The most important parts are the verze (savoy cabbage) and pig meat as the costine (ribs) and cotenna (the thick skin of the animal).

The name comes probably from a particular type of spoon used in the preparation of this food (the casseou) or from the name of the pot (casseruola). It is interesting to notice that in German tradition there’s a similar dish called Kasseler. The Cassœula is even better if served with polenta, the famous typical food of the nordic tradition (talking about Italy).

13. Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany is a famous place in Italy for making wine and cheese. Italians thought that tourists might want to try these specialties so they have plenty of organized tours to vineyards where you can try the wine and eat the amazing cheese.

Torta al sangue di maiale is a Tuscan specialty, made with pig blood, milk, eggs, breadcrumb, cheese and bacon. In some regions it's made also with cocoa, pine nut and orange. Cibreo is a chicken soup, but is made with crest, liver and balls.

Lampredotto is a traditional Florentine food made with one of the four stomachs of the beef. It’s cooked slowly with tomatoes, onions and celery and it’s served with bread.

14. Sicily, Italy

The cuisine has Italian, Arab, French, Greek and Spanish influences. The fresh products from the land are oranges and olive oil. Worldwide it is famous for the Cannoli.

They consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta. It is said that the Italian food originated from Sicily. It is traditionally eaten vegetables, seafood and lean meats. Visit Palermo food markets; Vucciria, Capo, Ballaro and Borgo Vecchio, all close to cultural attractions. Meusa is a sandwich made with veal’s lungs and spleen, and seasoned also with cheese.

Did you know that Italy accounts for one third of all wine production around the world? As the largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily has the best conditions to grow fine wines, and is in fact the region with most wineries in Italy. Perfect for those who love food and wine on the go!

Until not very long ago, cotoletta was known only in Lombardy, but in Sicily you could find cotoletta alla Palermitana, a similar dish of breaded veal, but in this case the meat is first drizzled with a little bit of olive oil, then covered with a panè made with breadcrumbs and fresh herbs, and finally grilled, not fried. This can be served with a salad, certainly not covered with a thick tomato sauce.

Another dish that seems to have some relationship with Chicken Parmesan is scaloppine alla pizzaiola. Proper prepared, scaloppine alla pizzaiola are a delicious dish of thin, lean slices of veal in a fresh tomato and capers sauce. Parmigiana is a dish of layered fried eggplant (just fried or first dipped into flour and egg and then fried, not breaded and fried) with tomato sauce and cheese.

It’s a vegetarian dish that does not include any meat (although some people enrich it with a few slices of ham. Balestrate is located in western Sicily in the province of Palermo. The sand here is Wonderful, and the clear sea is ideal for cooling off during the hot summer days. The place is full of umbrellas and parasols in summer, giving a perfectly summery vibe. Also, try seafood offered by the local restaurants along with clubs and discos.

15. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dutch people aren’t very famous for their cuisine, so most dishes you’ll find here are quite simple. You should try Dutch pancakes, sweet or savory. There’s a cool boat-restaurant in Amsterdam called De Pannenkoekenboot. So while you eat, you are cruising around the city.

Stamppot (potatoes mashed with one or several vegetables) is widely served in winter months. Hutspot is basically mashed potatoes, carrots, and onions. Some restaurants add cheese too. This takes us to the next item: Dutch cheese! Worldwide famous!

Head to Alkmaar or Gouda on specific days to experience a real Dutch cheese market. Also in Gouda, is a Stroopwaffel factory. A small, yet very sweet place (pun intended). It’s a family business so group tours aren’t large. It’s definitely worth the time and when you eat one you’ll know it was worth it.

You can find raw herring on stalls on the streets throughout Amsterdam. People usually eat it with onions and it’s tasty (even though it doesn’t really look appealing). A very traditional place to eat is Volendam, a fisherman’s village near Amsterdam. You can reach it by bus.

While discovering Amsterdam, you can also eat some snacks between one attraction and other. Such as bitterballen with mustard (perfect during happy hour, in other words, served with beer), kroket, frikandel, fries with curry sauce (not the conventional curry, but a ketchup with herbs). All of these snacks you’ll find in Febo stores. Febo is a fast food chain with a counter to order fries on one side and another wall covered in automats on the other side where you can buy the snacks.

In the south of the country (Maastricht), easily reached on a day trip, you can find a local pie called Vlaai. There are vlaais of many flavors, but my favorite ones are the crumble & pudding vlaai and the rice vlaai. If you do go to Maastricht, which I highly recommend (the city is gorgeous), look for the Bisschopsmolen, a 14th-century bakery.

Also, the Dutch are famous for making a delicious apple pie. Rightly so because it’s mouthwatering! Head to a cafe near the Anne Frank House called Winkel 43 to have a piece of it. No matter what, do not leave the Netherlands without eating speculaas cookies.

The Proeflokaal Arendsnest only serves Dutch beer. What to try? La Trappe Blond and Gerardus Blond. The Brouwerij 't IJ is a brewery in a windmill. It can’t be more Dutch than this, right? The place is small. Honestly, just skip the Heineken Experience. It’s expensive and Heineken is by far one of the worse Dutch beers.

A hipster and cool place to enjoy good-weather-days is near the NDSM by the water’s edge. You can just take the free ferry to cross the water and you’ll easily find a cafe inside a shipping container. But remember you should take the ferry to NDSM and not to the Eye Film Museum.

16. Brussels, Belgium

Belgium has undoubtedly some of the best food in Europe with world famous chocolate makers and high quality beer. Its a food lovers paradise. If its too pricey however, you hop on over to the many Moroccan or African restaurants and takeaways from the immigrant groups in the country and enjoy their fine food!

You might have heard of Belgian waffles, but that’s just a small part of the culinary adventure it can offer. If you ever visit Brussels, you’ll realize why Belgium is one of the best food destinations in Europe.

The first thing you might notice when trying out Belgian cuisine is its many similarities with French. You might not know this fact, but French fries are actually – Belgian. If you are visiting Brussels or moving to the city, you should not miss out on the following dishes:

  • eel in green sauce,
  • beef stew,
  • Belgian fish soup,
  • grey shrimps, and of course
  • waffles!

Before traveling through Europe, make sure to get all the necessary information and do your research. Some foods and destinations could be better than you imagined!


If you’re visiting Europe for the first time or looking for a specific gastronomic experience, we hope our list inspired you. Keep in mind that some of the best food destinations in Europe couldn’t make it on our list since there are so many places to choose from. Whether you prefer meat, fish, veggies, or you’re a sweet tooth, these cities will have something for your taste. Make sure to check out some of the most famous restaurants and treat yourself to the tastiest dishes!

Kalyan Panja