food-meal

Six of The Best Foodie Destinations In Europe

It is a fact that while we are likely to struggle to remember the landmarks, monuments, and exhibits that spurred our travels, there are those quasi-religious, life-altering culinary experiences that remain etched in our memories for life. And as most European gourmands will attest, it is generally not those haute cuisines with hefty price tags that stimulate food epiphanies that feel almost like erotic pleasures. Most likely, it is that wild boar that has been faithfully cooked in accordance with a centuries old recipe in some rustic tavern somewhere on a hilltop village between Siena and Florence, or a rosette de lyon sausage in the spectacular food markets of Lyon, or a sample of bulbous snails.

Since the turn of the century, culinary travel has grown tremendously. As food continues to become an art form and with the term ‘foodie’ entering the lexicon as a person who has turned their passion for food into a very civilized hobby, our new relationship with food is invariably dictating why and how we travel. While the mega cities of New York, London, Tokyo, and Paris combine multiculturalism with celebrity chefs to create a dynamic global flair with a fancy soundbite, that elusive ecstasy of taste and flavor lies beyond these gastronomic powerhouses in the local bistros and taverns where menus are defined by what speaks to the region’s cultural heritage and what is fresh. Below, therefore, we take a look at 6 of the best foodie destinations in Europe as follows:

Brussels

While Belgium has long been a foodie destination, there is even more reason to seek out its capital above its other delectable spots like Ghent or Bruges. In Brussels, you are likely to find a dense concentration of Belgium’s most renowned edible traditions such as frites, waffles, mussels, and beers. Plus, you could also wander through the Old Town’s traditional sweet shops, and grab yourself a skewer of strawberries served on a paper plate that has been run under a chocolate fountain. The best thing about Brussels is that it is easily accessible from much of Europe, so most travelers can be able to come up with an excuse for spending a day or two in the Belgian capital snacking on these classic treats.

Copenhagen

This friendly city is characterized by a laid-back feel, so visitors may be forgiven for not realizing that it also famed for some serious culinary credentials. In keeping with Denmark’s no-fuss attitude, a traditional Danish lunch is likely to be an open- faced sandwich (smorrebrod) although recent years have seen Copenhagen play host to delicious events such as the Copenhagen Cooking Festival.

Cornwall

Cornwall is the one UK region which really stands out when it comes to food and drink. This large county in the south west of the UK has more Michelin starred restaurants per head of population than any other part of the UK. Perhaps this is because it is a major holiday destination that there is a special emphasis on quality, upmarket restaurants. Or maybe it is to do with the abundance of fresh local produce available thanks to its location next to the sea and full of rolling green fields for fresh farm produce. Padstow restaurants are favourites for tourists and locals thanks largely to the famous chefs based here. Other hotspots include Newquay, Falmouth and St Ives.

Barcelona

While most of Catalonia prides itself in its rich culinary heritage, bustling Barcelona perhaps takes the cake. The food here is divine- from rustic tapa dishes e.g. pan con tomate (grilled bread with ripe tomato juice) and patatas bravas (spicy potatoes with aioli) to rich chorizo and crisp, inexpensive cava. But even more than its delightful flavors which set it apart as a city with food that is worth fighting over is Barcelona’s mealtime culture. Supper does not commence until at least ten o’clock in the evening with meals stretching for hours. Families and children are always welcome, and it is not unusual to see servers going out of their way to provide a comfortable seat or bassinet for a young one so that everyone can spend time together, and the little ones can even pick up on the restaurant culture- a welcome respite from the messy, harried family dinners often seen in many households elsewhere.

Zurich

The Swiss city may come across as a dull option, better known for its businessmen and deadlines. But Zurich’s corporate dominance has inevitably contributed to one of the most vibrant street food cultures in all of Europe. The best known is, arguably, the Vorderer Stemen Grill- a trusted standby for the best wurst in Zurich. The winter months also see plenty of roasted chestnut vendors pop up all over, giving the city not only a Christmassy feel, but a savory aroma as well.

Rouen

Omitting Paris as one of Europe’s great food cities may seem a tad odd, but the fact is as the world’s unofficial tourism capital, the city is getting harder and harder for visitors to navigate And even though there is still a lot of amazing food to be explored, you are more likely to experience a dud in Paris now than ever before. It is for this reason that foodies are advised to try out Rouen- a smaller city in Normandy and a destination with plenty of delicious food for devoted eaters and uncharted areas for travelers. When it comes to pastry in particular, Rouen has some outstanding chops- try the local tarte normande (an apple pie that is open-faced), croissants, or éclairs for tasty treats that satisfy.

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Turquoise sea view Portugal

Five of the Best Sea Views in Portugal

It’s safe to say that there are two sides of Portugal for any holiday-goer. Firstly, there’s the culture: stunning cities steeped in history, with some of the best restaurants, shopping districts, and landmarks in Europe. Then there’s the beaches: coastal resorts that overlook the sea, with white sands and an abundance of unique geographical features. If you’re looking for the perfect place to rest and relax in the sunshine, here’s our guide to the best sea views in Portugal.

1. Vila Praia da Ancora

Situated on Costa Verde – also known as Portugal’s “green coast”, Vila Praia de Ancora is a fishing village with a beautiful beach that is popular with surfers. Here you will find accommodation that will suit all budgets, as well as top-class restaurants, shopping, and bars. Vila Praia de Ancora isn’t as busy as other towns on this stretch of coast, but you’ll still find plenty of things to see, do, and experience when here. Hire a car and explore the rest of the region, or take a dip in the sea (the waters here are calmer for swimmers). The beach is particularly popular during the summer with many seaview holiday cottages by the sea, which offer stunning vistas that you will remember for a lifetime.

2. Adraga

Adraga is situated on the Costa de Prata, known as Portugal’s “silver coast” because of the plethora of white and sandy beaches. You’ll find plenty of things to do if sunbathing’s not really your thing, including a variety of water-sports. The beach at Adraga is close to Sintra, and is situated between two hills. To access the beach, you’ll need to travel down a steep winding road, but once you’re there, you’ll experience some of the best sea views in all of Portugal. While you are in the area, don’t forget to explore the fishing port of Peniche, which is further north. If it’s swimming you’re after, you might find the waters at Adraga a little rough. Head over east to Baleal instead, where you’ll find a stretch of white sand and a calmer section of the sea.

3. Estoril

The Costa de Lisboa is a popular hotspot for not only tourists, but residents of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, who come here to get away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis in the summer. Estroril is one of the most visited towns, with a number of hotels and casinos, as well as bars and restaurants. Then there’s the beach, which offers views across the sea. The water here is calmer because the beach faces south, making it perfect for swimmers. Just 20 minutes by foot lies Cascais, another town popular with locals from Lisbon. Here you can explore Praia de Cuincho, which was voted one of the best beaches in the whole of Portugal for windsurfing. There will be plenty of opportunities for photos here, so you’ll be able to capture your favourite sea views on film.

4. Porto Santo

If you want to travel a little further afield, Porto Santo is a picturesque island off the coast of Madeira, which is known for the sharp cliffs and stunning sea views. The island is not as busy as its more popular neighbour, although you will still find restaurants, bars, and a few hotels. This is a great destination for a day out, and you will be able to while away an afternoon with a good book on the beach whilst admiring your surroundings. You’ll need to arrange water transport to get here if you’re travelling from Madeira, though you might want to stay for one night on this small island.

5. Praia de Rocha

The Algarve is synonymous with beaches and sea resorts, and Praia de Rocha is no exception. This quiet beach is surrounded by huge cliffs, and has white sand and clear waters. This beach is one of the Algarve’s best-kept secrets and isn’t as well known as some of the others – making it the perfect place to escape to if you want some peace and quiet. You will be able to hire a car and explore the rest of the region, taking in stunning fishing villages and small historic towns along your journey.

Portugal is full of exhilarating sea views which attract tourists from around the world every year. Remember – some of the areas most frequented by tourists can be expensive, so always plan ahead before finding a hotel or booking a restaurant reservation. However, if you’re planning on visiting any of these beaches for the day, you’ll be able to take a packed lunch with you.

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Brandenburg Gate Berlin

Top Places to Visit in Europe

Travelling to Europe is a rich and rewarding experience. There is such a wealth of history and culture throughout Europe that you will never get bored or run out of places to visit. Here are some of the highlights of top European holiday or travel locations to visit.

Berlin
Famous for the Berlin Wall which separated east and West Germany, its demise has liberated a city which has long been known for its cultural and bohemian character. Today Berlin boasts some of Europe’s best art galleries and museums located in the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE protected area known as Museum Island; museum; and the strong architecture of the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. But you can’t go to Berlin without having your photo taken alongside the remnants of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall Memorial visitor centre and chapel comprise a surviving section of the wall and watchtower, which allow visitors to get a real feel for the reality of the border facilities during the cold war.

Paris
With it’s stunning architecture, work class museums and galleries, and unique shops, cafes and restaurants, Paris is high on the list of any European itinerary. Visit the Eiffel Tower for great views over the city of Paris; take a boat trip along the Seine; visit the imposing cathedral of Notre Dame; soak up the artistic history and culture of the Louvre or the Pompidou centre. Visitors can top off the cultural experience with a Parisian lunch in one of the bistros in the the wonderful Monmartre area, before exploring the church and views from the Sacre-Coeur.

Venice
Perhaps the most romantic city in Europe, Venice is a fairytale destination where the city’s main monuments are linked by canals navigated by water taxis and gondolas. There is a lovely atmosphere in Venice as you soak up it’s heritage and character. Highlights in the city include St Mark’s Square and Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Rialto Bridge. All vidsitors should take a gondola ride along the Grand Canal and enjoy one of the quality ice creams from one of Venice’s famous gelatarias.

Barcelona
No list of Europe’s best places to visit would be complete without this Spanish city. It is one of Europe’s must-see destinations thanks in major way to the stunning Gaudi architecture seen throughout the city including Parc Guell and the Segrada Familia. Then there is the wonderful art of Jean Miro and other Spanish modern artists to explore. The old Cathrdal should not be missed, nor should the Ramblas – a pedestrianised shopping precinct which features an army of buskers, street performers and artists of all kinds. Barcelona is blessed with a natural topography, sandwiched between the mountain and the sea so it is possible to get fine bird’s eye views from Montjuic or take a strong or a swim at a sandy beach close to the city

Athens
The city of Athens in Greece has plenty of ancient Greek  architecture to explore including the Parthenon. This ruin is located on the Acropolis on a hill that overlooks Athens. The temple was built to honor the goddess Athena Parthenos, the patron of Athens. At the bottom of the hill is the brand New Acroplis Museum which has five floors filled with over 4,000 artefacts and antiquities. Permanent exhibitions here include the Parthenon Frieze, Athena statue, Color the Peplos Kore, Parthenon Gallery and Athena Nike. Other notable tourist attractions in Athens include Syntagma Square, famous for the changing of the guards by the Evzones in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well as the Temple of Zeus and Ancient Agora. Visitors hungry for a bite to eat after all the sightseeing should stop off at Plaka – a street lines with authentic Greek cafes.

Rome
Rome is a busting city filled with historic monments, churches and fountains. There are museums and palaces which feature Renaissance art and architecture, and the Basilica of St. Peters and the Vatican,  heart of the Catholic world, are located in Rome. It’s a gorgeous place to visit with many highlights including the Spanish Steps, The Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum which is the largest and most famous amphitheater in the Roman world. When in Rome, eat as the Romans do and sample the fantastic Italisn food on offer such as pizza, pasta and ravioli.

This is just a small selection of the best places to visit in Europe. Youcould travel for years and only really Scrape the surface. There’s Amsterdam, Lisbon, Madrid, Vienna, Florence, Salzburg – the list is endless. For further European travel inspiration see Visit Europe.

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