From Belgian chocolate and Danish pastry tours, to pinching tortellini, perfecting paella and hunting for truffles in Croatia – here are 20 of the very best food experiences in Europe.
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20 must-try foodie experiences in Europe
From the best food tours in Europe to incredible cooking classes, workshops and masterclasses, here are 20 foodie experiences for your Europe bucket list – as recommended by me and other travel writers.
Pasta making class in Bologna, Italy
The city of Bologna is one of the best food cities in Italy – in fact, its nickname is La Grassa, or ‘the fat one’. Located in Emilia Romagna, it’s the centre of some of the most famous Italian ingredients, including balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, and parmigiano reggiano.
There are many distinct Bolognese dishes but the most iconic is tortellini in brodo, delicate parcels of pasta filled with minced pork in broth. If you’re going to eat this anywhere it must be in Italy!
One of the best things to do in Bologna is seek out this wonderful dish and just eat it. But you can take it one step further. Taste Bologna, one of the best food tour companies in the city, runs workshops where you can learn from a pasta expert. They have small classes where you get hands-on experience making fresh pasta from scratch, rolling out the dough and learning how to make these intricate tortellini. Afterwards you enjoy the fruits of your labour paired with great Italian wine.
The best part is that it’s a skill you’ll take home with you. Others may reminisce about a stellar meal at a restaurant, but with a food tour, it’s possible recreate that memory again and again.
Recommended by Ayngelina, Bacon is Magic
Pastel de Nata workshop in Lisbon, Portugal
Trying a Portuguese custard tart, or a pastéis de nata as they’re known locally, is one of the top things to do in Lisbon if not the whole of Portugal. Why not learn to make one at a cookery class in one of Lisbon’s favourite bakeries, Pastelaria Batalha.
Classes are run by João, who has been baking pastries since he was 14 years old. The two-hour workshops run twice a day at 2pm and 4pm and include a hands-on pastry-making class, three tarts for you to try there/take home, a drink of your choice, and a tasting of some of the bakery’s other specialties.
While in Lisbon, also head to Pastéis de Belém in the Belem neighbourhood to try the original. The eponymous tart was first created there in 1837 based on an ancient recipe from the Mosteiro dos Jeónimos. The exact formula remains a secret to this day.
The queues tend to be long, but the reward is worth it. Other places serving notable custard tarts in Lisbon include Manteigaria, Pastelaria Versailles, Pastelaria Cristal and Pato Real.
Recommended by Victoria, Bridges and Balloons
Related: A local’s guide to Lisbon.
Morning food tour in Budapest, Hungary
Not a morning person? Taste Hungary has the answer. Their morning food tour in Budapest sees you kick start the day the royal way with a shot – yes a shot – of Unicum.
Unicum was once consumed by the country’s ruler to help settle his stomach. Today, this medicinal herbal liqueur is a ‘marmite’ alcoholic drink consumed by tourists on food tours and party-goers in ruin bars.
Since this is a day tour, you won’t visit Pest’s infamous ruin bars, but do take note of their locations and return for a shot of palinka at a later date.
Now that your stomach is lined, it is time to try some of Hungary’s filling foods such as langos (pasty, sour cream and cheese), soups and stew. The multi-stop tour takes you to the best food markets, butchers, cafes and restaurants – many of which have been around so long, they’ve faced wars, genocide, royalty and huge political change.
Learn the stories behind the strudel by adding this food experience to your Budapest itinerary.
The tour ends where it began, drinking alcohol, but this time in a more sophisticated setting at an underground wine cellar. Here, you get to sample the delightful bull’s blood from the Eger region. The perfect nightcap to a food coma-inducing food tour.
Recommended by Gemma, Two Scots Abroad
Related: 2-day itinerary for Budapest.
Truffle hunting tour in Croatian Istria
When planning your trip to Croatia, a stop in the picture-perfect region of Istria is an absolute must for anyone who fancies themselves a food lover. While the area is famous for its world-class Italian Croatian cuisine, the true star of the region is the illusive white truffle.
The white truffle is a rare mushroom that naturally grows in the rich Motovun forest around Istria. If you visit in the white truffle season from September to early winter, you will be treated with fresh white truffles in every restaurant at a fraction of the price you would pay in Italy or France.
Even better than dining on white truffles is the opportunity to go on a truffle hunting tour. Karlic Tartuffi, a third-generation truffle farm offers terrific tours. The itinerary consists of a short introduction to truffles and their history in the region. After that, the real fun begins when you suit up (you’ll want to wear shoes that you’re OK with getting muddy – or you can borrow shoes from them) to trek though the Motovun Forest with your guide and the truffle hunting dogs.
While trying to find truffles yourself would be quite the feat, truffle hunting is impossible without the keen sense of smell that dogs or pigs naturally possess. It’s a fun day of tromping through the forest with adorably cute dogs. Afterwards, you’ll be taken back to the farm to dine on the most amazing truffle omelette of your life.
Recommended by Christina, Live a Wilder Life
Related: 8 beautiful Istrian towns to visit in Croatia.
Beer and chocolate tour in Brussels, Belgium
People rave over Belgian food such as fries, waffles, chocolates, and strong beer. When in Brussels, try the Brussels Journey Beer and Chocolate Tour, which will take you to some of the best chocolate shops and bars in the capital.
Belgians invented a chocolate called a praline just before WWI. In other countries, pralines imply a nut-filled chocolate, but in Belgium a praline is just a chocolate-covered candy with a soft centre. To this day, many of the most popular chocolate companies are Belgian, including Godiva and Neuhaus. But on this tour, you’ll visit smaller chocolate makers such as Pierre Marcolini and Frederic Blondeel.
On the beer and chocolate tour, you’ll sample pralines with every kind of filling, from chili-chocolate to Earl Grey. The tour begins with four different chocolate tastings before moving onto the beer tasting. That’s because you’ll appreciate the fine Belgian chocolate more before you start drinking.
Belgians tend to prefer extremely strong ales over lagers. Many of the most famous Belgian beers are actually produced by monks. You’ll be able to sample some of these ales on the tour, but don’t drink too quickly – Belgian brews have an extremely strong alcohol content, close to 10 percent.
Another type of famous Belgian beer is sour beer. These are made using a special wild yeast. They are often fruity with flavours like cherry or raspberry. You definitely can’t leave Brussels without trying a sour beer, so it’s a good thing the beer and chocolate tour gives you a chance to sample one of the best!
Recommended by Stella Jane, Around the World in 24 Hours
Food tour in Florence, Italy
One of the most delightful culinary experiences you can have abroad is a food tour of Florence, Italy. Florence is known for its top-notch foodie scene, and a food tour will let you sample the best of what this region has to offer. After all, you haven’t experienced Italy until you’ve had a proper meal of antipasto, primo, secondo, and dolce.
I can’t recommend a food tour with Walks of Italy highly enough. Their local guides take you around the foodie Oltrarno neighborhood, which is the more authentic side of the Arno River dividing Florence. The Dine Around Florence tour offers plenty of food and wine to fill you up, while also showing you a lesser-visited part of the city.
On this tour, you will meet your group at Piazza Santo Spirito before proceeding to your first stop: the Medieval basement of a local wine shop for aperitivo. This light snack served with wine will prime your taste buds for your next course: a beautiful antipasto spread at La Prosciutteria.
After that, you’ll head to a nearby restaurant for both primo and secondo before the grand finale. This would of course be a scoop of gelato from an artisan gelateria, before your guide sets you free for an evening wandering Florence on your own.
Recommended by Theresa, Fueled By Wanderlust
Tapas tour in Andalucia, Spain
The Andalucia region of Spain is well known for its tapas, and each city has different specialties. Malaga is no exception. This pretty coastal city is popular for its beaches and history, but it’s well worth also taking a food tour towards the beginning of your trip to get an idea of what the food scene is like.
The Spain Food Sherpas evening tapas tour takes you to several different places where you’ll try local specialties including sweet wine made with local raisins. You’ll also get to taste locally made vermouth and other wines.
This tour gives you the chance to taste a variety of tapas, from Spanish ham to local delicacies including fresh seafood. You’ll learn the history of the food and how certain dishes and ingredients rose to prominence in this region while exploring the city and enjoying the lively nighttime vibe.
The tour guide will take you to places you probably wouldn’t find on your own, and you’ll get advice on where and what to eat during your trip to Malaga. This is a great way to avoid the not-so-great tourist food and eat genuinely good food instead.
Recommended by Ali, Travel Made Simple
Related: The ultimate Spain road trip itinerary.
Champagne tour from Paris, France
One of the best food tours in Europe and the world doesn’t actually involve food at all… But rather, Champagne.
Many travellers arrive in France from various parts of the world to indulge in one of its most famous and renowned drinks. France’s Champagne region is a great day trip from the capital city and there are several Paris Champagne tours that can give you a background lesson on the drink in addition to the opportunity to try different varieties.
Many people visiting the Champagne region don’t realise how impacted the prestigious drink was by WW2. A Champagne tour will not only give details about this, but it will also give guests the chance to understand how important Champagne cellars were to those taking refuge from the bombings in and around Reims, the unofficial Champagne capital of France. While Champagne’s history is enthralling, nothing is more memorable than actually getting to try the beverage.
There are Champagne tours to suit all budgets. You can visit Lanson, a Champagne that has its grapes grown inside of the city of Reims, and take an affordable tour of the cellars. If you desire something slightly more upscale, opt for a private tour of Moët & Chandon. If you’re looking for a food or drinks tour in Europe that will leave a lasting impression, definitely head to France and sign up for a Champagne tour.
Recommended by Megan, Megan Starr
Food tour in Barcelona, Spain
Tasting Spain means expanding beyond tapas, the famous little appetizers and bar snacks recognised around the globe. Skip the touristy, franchised tours on your visit to Barcelona in favour of a more intimate tasting experience off-the-beaten-path. These guides are local Catalans and former journalists committed to a tour that delivers on your personal culinary interests.
With Aborigens, there’s no pre-set itinerary. They like to meet guests first and then see what the night brings. A typical food tour might start at a vermouth bar in the Eixample neighbourhood where you’ll savour salty chips and mussels as a first appetiser, the perfect compliment to sweet vermouth.
Perhaps you’ll visit a 1930s bodega that still sells inexpensive co-op wine by the jug (and glass bottles of milk!) before moving on to a historic beer hall. Nosh on everything from codfish fritters and sardine pizza before a final stop at Bodega Sepulveda, revered for its long tradition of Catalan cuisine. After a full dinner here, including memorable wines and champagne, you might finish the evening with Borracho, a rum sponge cake with cinnamon and lemon.
Aborigens also offers custom private foodie itineraries in the Spanish countryside. You’ll pick up your rental car with all reservations for both accommodation and destination restaurants booked by the experts! What could be better?
Recommended by Chris, Explore Now or Never
Food tour in Vilnius, Lithuania
Lithuania isn’t somewhere that’s particularly well known for its cuisine. At first glance, you might be more tempted to head into one of Vilnius’s trendy vegan restaurants than to seek out the local fare.
Thankfully, Vilnius Urban Adventures (with the help of some of the friendliest guides in the city) are available to show you the hidden spots that locals frequent and take you on a journey through Vilnius’s culinary history. This includes some fascinating insights into life under Soviet rule and an introduction to Lithuania’s almost obsessive mushroom hunting tradition.
Some of the highlights of a food tour in Vilnius include trying delicious fermented black bread, the indulgent and difficult-to-make cepelinai (which are named after the zeppelins they resemble), and saltibarsciai, a beetroot and kefir soup that will have you coming back for more.
Along the way, you’ll be treated to some of Lithuania’s finest local drinks, including the ‘three nines’ liqueur that is thought to cure all manner of ailments, wine made of rhubarb which is unique to the country, and kvass: the addictive low-alcohol beer made from black bread.
If you’re wondering what to eat in Vilnius and want a solid groundwork to understanding Lithuanian cuisine, then the Urban Adventures three-hour Flavours of Vilnius tour is ideal.
Recommended by Jess, Books and Bao
Market tour in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
It may surprise you to learn that Bosnia and Herzegovina has a terrific food and drink scene. The ritual of making and drinking coffee is intertwined with the region’s history and an important part of daily life for many residents.
Before you hit the streets to go hopping from tea house to coffee shop, make sure you’ve perfected the art of sipping kahva the Sarajevo way. Local company Balkantina offers food walking tours of Sarajevo Old Town that include a crash course in Bosnian coffee culture.
Over the course of a few hours, you’ll visit two of the city’s most vibrant indoor and outdoor markets to sample a smorgasbord of local delicacies, including smoked meats, specialty farm cheeses, and seasonal fruit and veg. You’ll then sit down at two restaurants to eat workers’ fare and try the best burek in town.
The tour ends with a lesson in drinking Bosnian coffee – there’s quite an art to it – at an outdoor cafe set inside a historic caravanserai.
Paella cooking class in Barcelona, Spain
One of the best food experiences you can have in Europe is a paella cooking class in Barcelona. Marta Amb Tu Cuinem, also known as Marta’s Private Paella Cooking Class, is run by friendly ex-school teacher Marta who welcomes students into her home to teach them how to make a delicious seafood paella.
Although paella is traditionally from Valencia, every Spanish chef has their own opinion about what is the best recipe. Marta is no exception, and she is quick to emphasise that this is her own favourite version.
The class starts with an introduction into paella and the style of cooking in a wide, shallow paella pan. Next, you’ll get a run-down of all the ingredients before it’s time to get involved with the chopping and cooking. Once the dish is ready, everyone sits down to eat together.
This paella cooking class is special because it takes place in Marta’s home instead of inside a classroom or restaurant kitchen. The personal touch of being in someone’s house really adds to the experience. Marta’s friendly and informative style will make you feel like you’re part of the family.
Recommended by Claire, Tales of a Backpacker
Bakery and pastry tour in Copenhagen, Denmark
Foodies visiting Copenhagen always have Danish bakeries on their itinerary. There are food tours, private and self-guided, that can give you a real taste of the city. For private food tours, Danish pastries will be a staple no matter which operator you choose.
To understand Danish baked goods, they’ll reintroduce you to bread. It may be simple in some food cultures, but Danish bakeries take bread to a new level, often including herbs, seeds and other flavour and texture elements. Fresh-baked bread is served in all Copenhagen restaurants.
Dense rye bread is the staple of Danish open-faced sandwiches (smørrebrød) and Danish breakfast is often a sourdough roll with butter, jam and cheese. Most food and bakery tours take you to Torvehallerne, a famous Copenhagen food hall, and visit Laura’s bakery for some of the best breads in town.
Beyond bread, pastries are also associated with Danish baking. What most people don’t realise is the history behind the Danish pastry and how its origin lies beyond Denmark. In 1850, there was a baker’s strike in Copenhagen, so bakers were brought in from other regions of Northern Europe, including Austria. These Viennese bakers introduced new baking techniques and some fresh pastry recipes that the Danes loved.
They stuck, and what most of the world knows as a danish grew and grew in popularity. While they’ve been perfected by Danish bakers, the pastries brought to Copenhagen from Vienna are still called wienerbrød in Danish which translates to ‘Vienna bread’.
Recommended by Derek and Mike, Everything Copenhagen
Self-guided food tour of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Not many people think of Ljubljana as a foodie destination. However, this underrated capital is full of surprises – including the chance to sample local specialties that may otherwise go unnoticed.
There are a few food tours on offer that you can add to your Ljubljana itinerary, but one of the most innovative ways of exploring the city’s foodie scene is through an app called bitemojo. Forget about following a group – instead, do a self-guided food tour at your own pace. If you don’t have time to visit all the stops, you can go back later!
This self-guided food tour of Ljubljana is a great way to discover cool little spots. It follows a route that takes you through some of the city’s most famous landmarks. Don’t worry about missing out on the historical information a tour leader would normally give you.
Starting at the Dragon Bridge, the app will point out the highlights of the city and gives you a historical background, recalls legends (like the one about the bridge) and various anecdotes. Of course, the narration includes all the information you need about the food and drink you’ll be tasting, including struklji, a traditional Slovenian dumpling, and delicious Bela Krajina wine.
Recommended by Teresa, Brogan Abroad
Related: How to travel from Ljubljana to Lake Bled.
Canederli making class in Trentino, Italy
Italy is a popular destination for people who enjoy trying food, and cooking classes are a common activity. Many focus their efforts on learning how to make pasta, ravioli, pizza or tiramisu – but food in Italy is actually very regional and literally each village has its own traditional cuisine and special recipes. One of the funnest cooking classes you can take is a canederli making in Trentino’s Val di Sole, one of the most beautiful valleys of the Dolomites.
Canederli are a specialty in this part of Italy. They are a kind of dumpling made with leftover bread, fresh milk, local cheese and sausage, herbs and egg that is cooked in a light broth. They’re very filling because the idea is to give you a lot of energy to fight the cold winter temperatures.
A great place to learn how to make canederli is at Agritur Solasna, a fantastic rural hotel located inside a 13th century stone-house in San Giacomo di Caldes. Here, guests can appreciate the local way of life and learn recipes from the hosts. More than anything else, you can appreciate the gorgeous environment and the quiet pace of life.
Recommended by Claudia, My Adventures Across the World
Chocolate and pastry tour of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, France
Saint-Germain-des-Près, on the left bank of the River Seine, is a picturesque area of Paris well known for its cobbled streets, art galleries and quintessential bars and cafe-terraces. Saint-Germain is also the home of beautiful patisseries and boulangeries, featuring chocolates and perfect cakes of all colours. All important names of the high patisserie in France make sure they have at least one of their establishments in Saint-Germain.
Everybody knows about Paris food tours and wine tasting tours. Learning how to prepare macarons or croissants is also a typical activity in Paris. A new trend is chocolate and pastry walking tours, and Saint-Germain-des-Près is the perfect location for these yummy explorations.
If the weather in Paris is sunny, go outdoors and join a chocolate and pastry walking tour of the area. Apart from learning about one of the most iconic neighbourhoods in Paris, you will also be able to try delicacies by Pierre Hermé, Poilâne, Jean-Charles Rochoux and Alain Ducasse. Go for their most spectacular creations (spoiler: they taste better than they look!) but also try some of the typical Parisian cakes, such as the Paris – Brest, the Saint Honoré, or the financiers.
Recommended by Elisa, World in Paris
Food tour in Athens, Greece
Walking food tours are, hands down, one of the best ways to get to know a city. This is true regardless of where you are in the world, but when you combine a world-class cuisine with a slightly harder-to-get-to-know city, the combination is absolutely dynamite. That’s the exact combination that makes taking a Greek food tour in Athens such a delight.
Athens is a magnificent city to travel in, but outside of a few world-famous highlights like the Acropolis, many travelers arrive without a clear plan of how to spend their days. That’s where a walking food tour comes in.
Take a tour (this one is an amazing option) early in your visit to Athens in order to orient yourself in the city, learn a bit about the history and culture, and, of course, to try lots and lots of phenomenal food – from spanakopita to loukoumades to gyros in their absolute best form.
Come hungry, and try to schedule a morning tour if you can – that way, you can go right from stuffing your face on one of the best food experiences in Europe to ascending to the Acropolis and burning it all off (in other words, making room for the Greek food feast you’ll no doubt want to be hungry enough for in time for dinner).
Recommended by Kate, Our Escape Clause
Related: 10 must-see attractions in Athens.
Food tour in Prague, Czechia
While people are fascinated with the Czech Republic for its beer and stag parties, it’s also worth visiting the country, especially Prague, for the traditional Czech food on offer.
The area near Křižíkova Station in Prague has been undergoing massive changes as it was one of the worst-hit areas during the 2002 floods. After redevelopment, it’s now a vibrant mix of old and new. Restaurants here serve traditional Czech meals, but some also offer dishes with a modern twist.
Proti Produ is a great cafe to start the a traditional food tour. A cafe popular with remote professionals, its worth trying Marinovaný bůček – sliced pork belly marinated with honey and thyme, and Vajíčková pomazánka – egg spread with gherkins, cucumber, mayo and mustard.
The next restaurant on the tour should be Lokal – a favourite among locals and visitors alike. It’s popular for its Talian sausages (sausages that are cooked but not smoked) and Svíčková – a famous dish served at weddings that consists of a spiced sirloin steak prepared with root veggies and boiled with double cream. Here you can try layered beer, too!
End your tour on a sweet note: Other restaurants including Eska and Café Alchymista offer a great selection of desserts.
Recommended by Lavina, Continent Hop
Caviar catching experience in Bordeaux, France
Caviar is one of the world’s most luxurious and expensive foods. But enjoying caviar isn’t always a stuffy experience reserved only for the most posh restaurants. At Caviar de Neuvic, located about an hour from Bordeaux in the South West of France, guests relish the fine Aquitaine caviar produced on a sturgeon farm.
A visit to Caviar de Neuvic is as educational and fun as it is delicious. Guests not only learn that the Bordeaux area is France’s largest producer of caviar and that it is a Bordeaux specialty, but also that France is the world’s third-largest producer of caviar.
All caviar in France is farmed, and Caviar de Neuvic practice sustainable methods. Before getting to taste the caviar, guests who are daring enough can don a pair of waders, get in a pool with some of the male sturgeon and attempt to catch one just as the workers do.
Feeling like she’d regret it if she didn’t give it a go, Jennifer from Bordeaux Travel Guide put her sturgeon-catching skills to the test. The fish are quite big and fast. Proud she’d caught one, she posed for a photo and the moment the camera clicked, her sturgeon gave her a big whack right in the face with his tail, nearly knocking her down. The waders were no match for keeping her dry.
You’ll definitely feel like you earned your caviar tasting after the sturgeon catching attempt! It’s definitely a unique experience and one you shouldn’t miss out on during a trip to Bordeaux.
Recommended by Jennifer, Bordeaux Travel Guide
Montmarte food tour in Paris, France
For a great European foodie experience, look no further than a walking food tour of Montmartre in Paris. Whether it’s your first visit to Paris or your 21st, it’s a wonderful experience.
You’ll be met by a local Parisian, eager to show you all of the best places to shop and eat in Montmartre. Make sure you arrive hungry as you’ll definitely want to sample most of everything you see. Your guide will explain how local Parisians shop daily for their fresh food while exploring the produce market, visiting the local fishmonger and the butcher, too.
You’ll stop by some of the best boulangeries in Paris, including Le Grenier à Pain, winner of the best baguette in the city several times over. Don’t miss one of the specialties of the house – the fougasse with figs and goat cheese.
During your walking tour, you’ll also enjoy a meal at a picturesque sidewalk cafe and take in the beautiful neighbourhood. Your local guide will explain the history of this unique part of Paris and why it’s still home to many artists and writers.
Recommended by Lesley, Freedom56Travel