Top 10 Culinary Vacations in Europe
Europe is awash with culinary wonders from the oils, sauces and pastas of the Italians to the breads and soups of the French to the olives and cheeses of the Greeks. Cuisine here is based on thousands of years of local experience and a huge part of any travel experience.
- Trastevere, Rome
Trastevere’s quiet alleyways, traditional restaurants and picturesque quarters are some of the most desirable areas to eat in Rome. Choose from the daily markets, pizzerias, piano bars and pubs nestled between craft and art shops, churches and squares on every corner.
- Latin Quarter, Paris
The Latin Quarter is the traditional haunt of the student and intellectual and has become one of the most popular eating places in Paris. By day you can visit the outdoor food markets with their fresh produce and at night eat in the lively restaurants, cafes, bistros, brasseries and bars that cater to all tastes and budgets.
- Psyrri, Athens
In the last 10-15 years Psyrri has become a fashionable place to eat for Athenians. This was once a neglected part of Athens but its blacksmith and carpenter’s shops have now been converted into restaurants, cafeterias and music clubs.
- San Sebastian, Spain
For a true Hemmingway experience of the Basque region you can’t go past San Sebastian. Tapas are particularly famed here - mini-snacks of infinite varieties from calamari rings, to capsicum to spinach with chickpeas. Wander the streets of the old town for affordable eateries and down it with local beer and wine.
- Kreuzberg, Berlin
This is one of Berlin’s more colorful kieze (neighborhoods). It was once a haven for punks and anarchists, and it’s still very alternative and colorful. Today it’s the center of Berlin’s organic food movement and home to scores of ethnic restaurants, notably Turkish.
- Portimao, Algarve, Portugal
The Portuguese eat more fish than any other country in Europe. In the Algarve "sardinhas asadas" (charcoal-grilled sardines) are a specialty and even in the winter, restaurants stoke their charcoal fires on pavements by the waterfront. Head to the quay of Portimao where you will find half a dozen restaurants lining the harbor wall and the cries of the fishermen inviting you into their restaurants.
- La Rambla, Barcelona
La Rambla is the best known of Barcelona’s wide boulevards and where a true Barcelonan must walk every day according to an old saying. Any stroll here will be a satiated one as La Rambla hosts the finest open-air market of the country, Mercat La Boqueria and the immediate area has small, lively restaurants where you can eat paella, dine on tasty tapas, find cozy cheese shops, all-sausage stores and even an old coffee house.
- Old Town, Antwerp
Antwerp is a city for food lovers and that’s saying something in a nation where eating seems like a national sport. Start at the Grote Markt’s shops and outdoor cafes in the heart of the old town and wander around to find Belgian beer (there are over 400 kinds), frites (French fries), mussels steamed in white wine (the national dish), seafood, meat, dripping waffles or chocolate covered with nuts and sultanas.
- Waterloo, London
A discerning alternative to the West End with many stylish restaurants. Throw in the mix of cinema, galleries, theatres, music festivals and events and it’s a great night out.
- Truffle season, Italy
Truffles, known as tartufi in Italy, are highly prized partly for their pungent, earthly flavor and also for the difficulty in finding them. Tartufi festivals are held in October, the one in Alba is one of the oldest and most prestigious as are those in San Miniato and Acqualagna.