Europe is a fascinating collection of culture and heritage, and food and wine tell the story of both past and present in these sixteen best food and wine destinations.
History across the continent is specific to a country but also intertwined with the surroundings to connect empires, epics, and the delicious flavors that stem from the unique landscapes.
Whether looking for dramatic hanging vineyards or plains draped with vines, this list gives you our recommendations for the best food and wine destinations in Europe.
Tuscany is an exceptional region in Central Italy with nature that takes on a variety of faces. Italians have a reputation for enjoying a carefree attitude, but Tuscany takes its food and wine seriously. The stunning scenery shifts from charming shoreline to rocky coastal cliffs, rugged Apennine Mountains to renowned rolling hills draped in cypress trees or vineyards. The landscape acts as a foundation for the dynamic flavors of Chianti and Montepulciano wines, as well as Michelin restaurants or simple local stalls.
The terraced vineyards of Portugal’s Douro Valley create an enchanting ambiance while also revealing aspects of the cultural landscape shaped by the steep hills and winding river. Breathtaking vistas over the hills and slopes containing traditional rabelo boats only enhance the local flavors captured in customary port or displayed in the celebrated tastes of local dishes like arroz de cabidela or posta a mirandesa.
Bordeaux is a city of strict vintner tradition and culinary reinvention that embodies the spirit of France by displaying a connection to custom and a commitment to revolution. Bordeaux has been celebrated for centuries as one of the world’s wine capitals, with history shaping the city’s preserved streets and surrounding medieval villages. With new chefs celebrating the past by revitalizing familiar local ingredients, Bordeaux has emerged as a destination for culinary inspiration and viticultural adventure.
Part of Eger’s indelible charm is that this wine route is relatively unknown outside of Hungary. Baroque architecture, Ottoman minarets, hilltop castles, and blankets of vineyards turn the area into a jewelry box filled with dazzling beauty. Legends persist and have filtered into more than 200 wine cellars engraved into the valley’s rhyolite tuff caves. Whether interested in sampling award-winning wines from Bordeaux’s Wine Olympics or indulging in a food pairing, Eger is comprehensive and charismatic.
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It is easy to lose yourself in the cobblestone streets of Salamanca while drinking a glass of inky Tempranillo. The greater Castilla y Léon region of Spain embraces the natural drama of jagged mountain peaks while preserving the life of medieval villages, each exuding a fairytale ambiance. The cuisine is an obsession with dishes like roast lamb or suckling pig, while the vineyards guide you away from half-timbered hamlets and isolated castles where contemporary flavors hide within the atmosphere of the Middle Ages.
Santorini does not just have a reputation as one of Greece’s most stunning islands but also possesses one of the oldest vineyards in Europe. The distinctive island is home to the country’s most recognizable wines and wine region, with the volcanic soils, rugged cliffs, sea breeze, and crisp waters adding layered flavors to the vines. The long winemaking tradition results in a feast for the senses in nearly every glass of Assyrtiko accompanied by flavorful local ingredients fortified by the minerals in the volcanic soil.
Wine and food are at the heart of Istria, Croatia’s heart-shaped peninsula. Italian heritage plays into the foundations of local culture, with cuisine and viticulture acting as anchors in Western European flavors while connecting with Balkan tastes. From delectable honey, olive oil, and truffles to mouthwatering wines grown in Mediterranean and Continental climates, Istria reveals itself as dynamic shifting between fruity and sharp or savory and luscious.
As a wonderland of excellent wine and celebrated dishes, chefs and farmers to vintners and sommeliers, Burgundy represents the spirit of French passion for art in the culinary. The unique soils support tantalizing ingredients and signature viticultural flavors, from boeuf bourguignon to Chablis, coq au vin to Beaujolais. Regional cheeses, free-range chickens, dijon mustard, and blackcurrant liqueur only accentuate the decadent cuisine while pairing superbly with the elaborate selection of celebrated local wines.
The beauty of the landscape in the Rhone Valley seems endless. It inspires a similar connection to the indulgent flavors of gastronomy, from the fine French culinary traditions to the division of robust tastes in the wine from the dark and spicy to the soft and ripe. Hilltop villages glinting with golden stones accentuate the customs of the gourmands as you sample celebrated vintages, enjoy lush nature, and discover the point at which heritage and flavor converge in France.
Piedmont is the epitome of rich due to its landscape, history, and flavors. With a history of cuisine that features truffles and cream sauces, it represents a unique culinary progress in Italy while also highlighting elements of tradition. Wines like Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera accentuate the bold tastes of porcini mushrooms and Gorgonzola cheese while featuring details of the Slow Food Movement. Vineyards blanket hills in the shadows of glacial alpine peaks leading to picturesque valleys decorated with charming towns.
England’s South West is full of surprises and little known for its exceptional vineyards and dynamic cuisine beyond the shoreline. With expanding farm-to-table restaurants demonstrating the distinct ingredients thriving in the local environment, the soils affected by the sea also shape the unique quality of the vines. Comparatively small as a wine-growing region, the results are delicious and diverse, especially when paired with the famous scenery and celebrated seafood.
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Galicia upends your expectations when in Spain, revealing a unique region with its own distinctive language and majestic cities with deep connections to the surrounding landscape. Fishing ports, stone villages, and medieval monasteries decorate the labyrinth of lush valleys alongside historic vineyards. Celtic traditions provide distinctive details of carved-stone crosses and fort villages amplified by luxurious seafood, Albariño imbued with saline and red wines driven by earthy flavors.
Alentejo combines quality and quantity in Portugal with more than 250 vintners cultivating wines within less than 85 square miles of land. Ancient customs continue to drive winemaking and celebration around small towns that celebrate their history by storing their vintages in clay wine-pots or continuing production methods established by the ancient Romans. With crisp whites to succulent pork, show-stopping beaches to rural plains, Alentejo is the ultimate feast for all your senses.
The Mosel Valley in Germany is an enchanting landscape constantly changing from Roman ruins to antique castles, steep slopes to unbroken valleys. Wine villages glint with the charm of cobblestones, hinting at aromas of old vintages. Popular grapes like Riesling thrive and capture the scents of spring blossoms. The three winegrowing areas impart specific flavors into the vines based on the hyper-local terroir, and the locality and seasonal character of the valley define the wine, cuisine, and culture.
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In spring, the scent of almond trees fills the air, while in summer, the aroma of lavender carries across the lakeshores as lively beach meets historic towns accentuated by the exceptional wines often overlooked by visitors. The unique climate within Hungary creates six different areas shaping distinctive wines with a history of viticulture dating back to the 1st century BCE. From Roman cellars to typical Hungarian dishes, Lake Balaton feels like a gem kept secret from the outside world.
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San Sebastián is perfection for Spanish wine and Basque enthusiasm. Nestled between the vines of Rioja and Txakoli vineyards, the streets of the seaside city connect exceptional viticulture with a robust culinary tradition. The city has become synonymous with world-renowned food found in Michelin-starred restaurants or the remarkable tradition of typical Basque kitchens. You can indulge in the culinary haven with seafood pintxos to Idiazabal cheese, earthy Tempranillo to crisp and fizzy Txakoli.
With such a distinctive combination of wine and food destinations, Europe is an exceptional continent to sample mouthwatering flavors and experience unique cultures. From the combined epic history to the specific natural beauty, you can find far more excursions to enjoy with our Food and Wine Travel Guide. You can also find more inspiration for your perfect trip with your Europe Travel Guide. Planning a trip? You can speak to a Europe travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.