Eat & Drink

4 European Cities You Should Visit If You Love Food

Don't forget your stretchy pants.

Good food in Europe is not hard to find. There’s the patisseries of Paris packed full of sweets, and Rome right around the corner with more amazing pizza than you can poke a spaghetti stick at.

But aside from the well-known capital cities there’s a few more unexpected culinary destinations that will satiate your hunger. Add these to your bucket list menu.


Palermo, Italy

Palermo is the capital of the Italian island of Sicily. Fun fact: Sicily is where gelato was invented – that in itself should be reason enough to pack your bags. There is no shortage of gelaterias in Palermo and it’s a safe bet to assume they all serve the signature Sicilian flavour of pistachio. If you’re looking for something more savoury, there’s no shortage of that either.

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Gelato and pizza, Palermo. Photo: author’s own.

Delicious street food is available in most streets in the city centre, and the best place to go for an authentic culinary experience is the La Vucciria outdoor market. Here you can find signature local dishes like arancini balls oozing with meat and cheese or pane panelle e crocchè which is deep fried chickpea squares and potato croquettes stuffed into a soft bread roll. Yum.


Lisbon, Portugal

Boasting an enviable climate and cheap rent, Lisbon has been a magnet for many young, creative types who now call the city their home. The end result is a delicious array of diverse food. From soft, pork filled tacos with spicy margaritas at Las Ficheras to tangy bowls full of fresh ceviche from A Cevicheria (the huge octopus sculpture hanging from their roof is worth a visit in itself).

To make your food tour more convenient, head to the Time Out Market where the magazine has curated an indoor food hall with over 30 of Lisbon’s best restaurants and food vendors.

Timeout Market Lisbon

Time Out Market, Lisbon. Photo: author’s own.

But you can’t live Lisbon without trying some traditional Portuguese fare, and there is no better place to do so than at Manteigaria where the only thing on the menu is the crisp, creamy and moorish portuguese tarts.


Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen was put firmly on the world food’s food map thanks to being the home of Noma, which nabbed the prize for best restaurant in the world countless times over the past decade. But the big price tag and high demand means it isn’t a visit to the famed restaurant isn’t achievable for everyone. Luckily Paper Island, a street food market made of shipping containers and food trucks, is only a hop, skip and cycle away, and a fraction of the price.

Mad Cafe copenhagen

Meal at Mad & Kaffe, Copenhagen. Photo: author’s own.

Another must-visit spot is the revamped Meatpacking District neighbourhood. Here you can find the trendiest haunts that serve everything from modern danish cuisine at Fiskebaren to good ol’ fashion dude food at the lively beer hall, Warpigs.

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Photo: Warpigs.


San Sebastian, Spain

Although San Sebastian is a smaller city compared to its bigger brothers Madrid and Barcelona, it’s a beacon for food lovers thanks to the Michelin Star restaurants sitting pretty on the city’s sea-side streets (like the world famous Akelarre and Arzak). But the real gems of this city are the pocket sizes pintxos bars. These humble hole-in-the-walls sport a counter full of tapas that act as a smaller, classier, and tastier version of a buffet. Averaging around one to two euro each, the bite sizes snacks are the perfect way to tide you over before the notorious late night dining in Spain.

san seb

Photo: author’s own.

Typically pintxos are bread topped with anything from gooey sheep’s cheese and nuts to freshly shaved prosciutto and olives. When washed down with the local’s fruity sangria you might find yourself pintxo bar hopping all the way to dinner.

(Lead image: Warpigs, all other images: Hannah Lewis/Tales & Trails)

Ready to start your European foodie adventure? Start planning with Qantas.