Better work up an appetite because these European hotspots are calling your name.
You could choose your next vacation destination based on the likelihood of good weather, nearby famous monuments or the place your finger lands when you spin a globe, but there's an even better way.
Let the local food guide you.
No other travel approach is as immersive—or tasty—as exploring a country or city through its food tours, cooking classes and market visits. And Europe, with its multitude of options, won't disappoint. No matter your palate, one of these five European foodie destinations is sure to hit the spot.
If you're into truffles and cheese…
Start in Turin, Italy.
The area surrounding Turin in northwest Italy is truly a wine-and-cheese lover's paradise. Visit the Barbaresco region to learn how cheese is made and aged, then sample ‘til your heart's content—with local wine pairings, of course. In nearby Roero, try the grown-up version of a scavenger hunt with truffle hunting in the woods with a guide and trained dogs. End the excursion with a snack of truffles and more cheese!
If you crave ice cream on the regular…
Visit a U.K. dairy farm.
Fifteenth-century Blackmore Farm in Somerset, now run by the Dyer family, has a café and farm shop. Stop in for lunch and pick up fresh ice cream and locally made scotch eggs, pork pies and jams. With its setting in the English countryside, you won’t be able to get enough of the picturesque views and old manor house—plus, there’s no better setting for a food tour in Europe for noshing on traditional dishes and baked goodies. And for something on the opposite end of the spectrum, spend the evening in nearby Liverpool, where you can nurse a drink at the Blue Angel, a nightclub where the Beatles used to play in the '60s.
If shareable tapas are your thing…
Pencil in Madrid and Valencia, Spain.
Whether you book culinary tours throughout the country or go on the hunt for your own foodie gems, Spain offers everything from paella (a rice dish that originated in Valencia) to tapas such as patatas bravas (sweet and spicy fried potatoes) and tortilla Española (a Spanish omelette with eggs, potatoes and onions). For a home-style meal, visit Casa Lucio, a traditional Spanish restaurant that's been open since 1974 and is frequented by celebrities.
If you're a wine lover with a sweet tooth…
Explore Portugal from Porto to Lisbon.
The northern provinces of sunny Portugal, where Porto is located, are home to port wine. While touring around the colourful city (including the historic Ribeira district), plan a visit to a cellar to taste the sweet local flavours and purchase a bottle or two for post-dinner celebrations. Next, travel to Lisbon, located three hours south of Porto, which features some of the most underrated restaurants and bakeries in Europe—especially in Alfama, the oldest neighbourhood. Save room for the Portuguese egg tarts, known as pasteis de nata.
If cooking's your hobby…
Consider Athens, Greece.
The capital city is known for classic Greek fare such as souvlaki (grilled meat on skewers or enclosed in pita), dolmades (rice wrapped in grape leaves) and moussaka (a dish with baked eggplant and minced meat). Spend your vacay exploring the Central Market and gastronomic quarter—sampling along the way, naturally—and taking a Greek cooking class or two to learn all about your favourite recipes. Be sure to savour the local olives, feta and Ouzo, too.
If you're ready to travel like a European foodie, Air Canada Vacations can simplify the journey with their curated culinary experiences that may include round-trip flights, airport transfers, accommodations, breakfasts, rail transportation between cities when applicable, some activities and more.