There’s something special about Europe that makes you never want to leave.
And sure, that special something is due in part to the historic landmarks, the exciting activities, and the breathtaking landscapes that you could never find on the West Coast. But for a lot of travellers, what it really comes down to is the food.
Europe is where many of the dishes we know and love were invented, which makes it almost impossible to find an equivalent back home. This also means that foodies will want to fill up on each culture’s greatest eats along the way — after all, you didn’t travel all the way to Italy to chow down on a so-so slice of pizza.
To guide you on your food-focused European adventure, we’ve curated six destinations with unforgettable fare with the help of our friends at G Adventures — a company that offers unique travel adventure packages that help you see the world like a local. Not only do these cities offer a unique taste of European culture, but also the opportunity to explore their gastronomic creations first-hand.
Sorrento is packed with beautiful scenery and outdoor activities to keep you busy for days and days. But whatever you do, don’t forget about the food! This seaside Italian city is famous for its seafood and shellfish, but its desserts are what truly mark it as a culinary destination.
Sign up for an agriturismo tour, such as those offered by G Adventures, where you learn about how the region’s renowned limoncello liqueur is made while taking in views of the breathtaking blue waters. You also can’t leave without sampling some of region’s best pastries; stop by Gran Caffe Marianiello, where you can bite into freshly-made warm croissants (a local favourite). The in-house pastry chef, Vincenzo Malafronte, makes them super flaky.
Imagine staying in the middle of Tuscany where you can visit local vineyards, take photos of medieval landmarks, and marvel at the beauty of the Italian countryside. In a wonderfully warm place like this, it only makes sense that gelato reigns supreme.
Owned by former gelato world champion Sergio Dondoli, Gelateria Dondoli hosts famous creations like the Vernaccia (an Italian white wine) sorbet and Crema di Santa Fina (Madagascar vanilla, orange, saffron, and pine nuts) gelato. For the complete local food experience, join a carefully curated G Adventures itinerary and enjoy a hands-on half-day cooking class along with a local wine tasting.
Located on the Amalfi Coast, Furore is a great city to act as home base for your coastal foodie adventures. But you may want a little guidance if you hope to see (and taste!) it all. This G Adventures tour lets you navigate the hilltop towns and vineyards of the Amalfi Coast, where you’ll find plenty of small towns and trails all along the beautiful countryside.
What’s even cooler is that you’ll also get to enjoy a mozzarella- and pizza-making demonstration. Looking to eat at a showstopping restaurant? Restaurant Lo Scrivano comes highly recommended. Nestled in Furore’s old fishing village, they serve dishes made with veggies harvested straight from the garden, as well as fresh-caught seafood for an unforgettable meal.
A major draw of visiting this legendary city involves sampling the most popular Neapolitan dishes, but you’ll want to work up an appetite before dinnertime hits. G Adventures recommends spending your days visiting the historic Naples Harbour, the Fountain of Giant, and Dante Square in the heart of the city.
At night, hit up a restaurant to taste this local staple: pasta with clams, known colloquially as Spaghetti alle Vongole. The city’s food trucks also come highly recommended. Visit the Italian food truck, Friggitoria Vomero for the best in fried food. We recommend the deep-fried zucchini flowers, calzoni, and panzarotti (like a smaller calzone).
Calling all seafood lovers: Lovorno rivals many other locations for its sumptuous seafood dishes. The best part? You can get it on the street for great prices, making it easy for you to visit over and over again.
Choose between octopus burgers, tempura prawns, local oysters, and much more. Lovorno is also known as wine and olive-tasting country (yes please!). To unleash your inner chef, take part in a traditional Croatian cooking class, available through tours with G Adventures.
While Rome itself may not be “underrated,” the cities and adventures that surround it definitely are. Use this iconic Italian city as your launching point to explore nearby cities like Umbertide, where you can spend your day working on a real sustainable farm. Experience fresh veggies at their best — you’ll get to try them when the farmhouse serves you a fresh dinner!
If you’re looking for a meal with a historical twist, try Armando al Pantheon. Located just half a block from the Pantheon, this place gets crowded quickly so you’ll want to make a reservation. You’ll get to taste Roman specialties like spaghetti alla gricia, spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino, and much more. There may be a lineup, but fear not: this one’s well worth the wait.
If there’s one thing about food, it’s that you can’t totally appreciate it until you’ve experienced the culture behind it.
Want an even more immersive food experience? Read more about G Adventures’ Local Living tours, which offer weeklong homestays where visitors get a taste of what it’s really like to engulf themselves in the local culture.