Europe is home to seemingly countless cities that are famed for their history, notable architecture, and of course, gastronomic riches. Cities like Paris, Barcelona, and Rome are well-known as culinary powerhouses, but what about some of the other best food cities in Europe? Here’s a look at a few places to check out on your next trip to Europe.
Those interested in the roots of Italian food, and the history that shaped one of the most popular cuisines in the world, should consider a trip to Bologna. The "fat one" is one of the best cities in Europe for food travelers. Learn about the history of popular foods like Bolognese (or ragu), Mortadella, Lambrusco wine, Balsamic Vinegar, Parma Ham, and more.
Take a fresh egg pasta course, sit in on a gelato making class at the Gelato University, and travel to neighboring cities to learn about Balsamic vinegar and Prosciutto production. Eat at some of the best restaurants in Italy every night, spend a morning walking the fresh markets, and try the countless cafes and gelaterias all around Bologna. And, the best part about the city is its massive structure of porticos – you can burn off all the calories you eat while walking down the beautiful shaded streets of Bologna!
The Catalonia region has some impressive food cities like Barcelona, but don’t discount smaller cities like Girona. Girona is the heart of the Costa Brava region and the gateway to some of the best Spanish and Catalan cuisine around. You’ll also find this is where some of the top restaurants and chefs are located as well. Girona is where you’ll find El Celler de Can Roca, the current #2 (previously #1) restaurant in the world on San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Plan far ahead for this one – the waiting list can exceed a year in some cases, but it’s worth the wait!
For a different look at Spanish cuisine, head to the beautiful Basque region, and eat your way through cities like San Sebastian. San Sebastian is blessed with a high concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants like Arzak and Berasategui, making it a very popular destination for food travelers. Be sure to check out the views from atop the cliffs, overlooking the bay. Spend some time exploring the Basque region cuisine and eating your way through pinchos (pintxo) bars in San Sebastian. Pintxo are small bar bites, basically like the tapas you find elsewhere in Spain.
If you’ve already eaten your way through Paris, head to the city of Lyon. Many consider Lyon to be the gastronomic capital of the country – its great geography brings in high quality food products like cheeses, charcuterie, produce, and freshwater fish. Don’t miss the local taverns, known as bouchons, where you’ll find local workers chowing down on copious amounts of meat and some more interesting options like organ meats, tongues and even cow heads.
Les Halles Market is a must-visit for food travelers as well. There are 60 or so food halls you can meander through. Lyon is also near L’Auberge du Pont de Collognes, a three Michelin-starred restaurant from Chef Paul Bocuse.
Thanks to Michelin-starred restaurants like Noma, Copenhagen has garnered serious attention from food lovers all over the globe. Today, there are over 20 Michelin-starred restaurants in the relatively small region. However, it’s not just about the high-end dining options, Denmark doesn’t disappoint if you’re looking to try some hearty Danish cuisine. Don’t miss some of the local specialties like casual hot dog stands or a Smørrebrød, or open sandwich, for lunch.
Where are your favorite places to eat in Europe?
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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