Culinary vacations are becoming more popular now than ever before. We’ve all started to realize that many of our favorite things to do on vacation and the strongest memories we take back home with us have to do with food. Maybe you took a great food tour, or you learned to make pasta in Italy, or you ate at a particularly amazing restaurant.
It might not be a major cosmopolitan city like Paris or London, but San Sebastian is perhaps the greatest food destination in the world, with more Michelin stars per capita than any other city. It makes the list not only because of the overabundance of haute cuisine, but because it is literally a foodie paradise, with its incredible view over the crescent bay and the beautiful La Concha Beach. Just an hour or so from San Sebastian is the Rioja wine region of Spain, where you’ll also find some incredible food from Michelin star chefs and formidable home-style restaurants.
Some of the best wines come out of Mendoza and it is a perfect spot for foodies who want to enjoy good food, wine, and adventures in one destination. Many of the top wineries in the region serve impressive multi-course wine lunches from their winery restaurants that have often have breathtaking views of the Andes from every seat and include as much wine as you want to drink. Mendoza has numerous “all-you-can-eat restaurants” where you can enjoy as much food as you want. It is paradise for all foodies who love to experiment with new food and try different delicious treats.
One of the top things on most foodie’s bucket lists is to take cooking classes in Italy. We dream of making tender, homemade pasta and rich meaty tomato sauces, drinking wine from Tuscany and eating briny olives and antipasto on the terrace overlooking the vineyards. This experience can be found all over Italy — there’s no shortage of cooking schools and wine tasting tours. A favorite area in Tuscany is Chianti. Not only is it gorgeous and easy to get around, but there are also dozens of amazing Chianti Classico wines to try.
Another big city that is often overlooked as a food destination is London but don’t make this mistake. People often think London doesn’t have good food – or that it consists merely of fish and chips and pub food but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, London is one of the biggest food cities in the world. You can find every type of cuisine imaginable in the city. Plus, where else in the world can you find nearly dozens of afternoon tea choices? You can browse around London’s many markets, including Camden Market and Borough Market or you can stop for a street food break at the cool and fun Box park in Shoreditch. You’ll love Soho for the dizzying array of food choices. You can’t walk a few steps without coming up a different restaurant, wine bar, pub, waffle bar, gelateria – you name it.
Combine the delicious wines of Bordeaux with the gorgeous scenery and you have the vacation every foodie has been dreaming about in France. You should plan for at least a week in Bordeaux to do it justice. You can spend two days in the Left Bank and two days in the Right Bank, and still only scratch the surface of the wine and food possibilities. Also, be sure to spend time in the center of Bordeaux, where there are some incredible food options, from wine bars to street food markets. A bike tour through Bordeaux is perfect for wine enthusiasts, foodies and anyone who wants to enjoy the countryside while biking through some of the world’s most beautiful vineyards.
New York City is also a culinary capital of the world. Here you’ll find incredible food everywhere, from street vendors to Michelin-starred restaurants and even a few completely outrageous foods that you won’t find anywhere else. Culinary trends often seem to start in NYC. One of the things that makes this city so great is the high number of talented chefs that call it home. Most of them have restaurants there that aren’t insanely hard to get into, so you can eat dinner made by a master.
Who isn’t a fan of sushi and in Tokyo, you will find the freshest, most amazing sushi in the world. In Tokyo you can discover back alleys and small crevices around the city that have amazing options. It sounds like dive bar quality, but it’s so not. In fact, it’s an adventurous foodie’s dream. Or the old Tsukiji outer market, which is an absolute must visit in Tokyo. You’ll see foods you’ve never even heard of before and get to sample tons of things along the way. Another great activity in Tokyo for food lovers is participating in a traditional tea ceremony. You can see what it’s all about and learn the proper manners in an informal ceremony in Hamarikyu Gardens
When people plan their trips to Paris, they tend to forget that the city is a foodie paradise, even though it’s in France. There are so many fun food things to do in Paris that will enhance your sightseeing, help you build lasting memories, and create a diverse and interesting itinerary. Croissants and Croque Monsieur belong right there alongside the Eiffel Tower and Sacre-Coeur. No vacation to the French capital is complete without trying the foods that make the country so unique. Whether that’s a stop off at one of Paris’ many street food markets to check out the products, at a local crepe stand, or on a full-day food tour, there are many ways to taste and enjoy Paris.
Thai food is very much a universally loved cuisine. Getting to try authentic Thai dishes the way they were meant to be eaten, at a night market or from a street vendor, is one of the best culinary experiences you can have. In Bangkok, there are opportunities for cooking classes, food tours, street food for every meal, even Michelin star restaurants. The best thing about Bangkok food is that there is a lot of it everywhere. There used to be street food vendors dispersed throughout the city, but now there are conglomerations of food stalls that you can find in the city. No matter where you’re staying, there is likely a street food market nearby.
If you’ve been to Spain, you already know that the entire country is vastly rich in culture, heritage, and especially products and foods that are specific to each micro region. Catalunya is one of those regions, and the number of unique products, recipes, and foods you can find there is astounding. Catalunya has a complex food culture. Not only does it have specific products that you don’t find in other parts of Spain, each of the smaller areas of Catalunya also have their own unique dishes that other areas of Catalunya don’t have. As a foodie in that area, you really will become immersed in a rich food culture. Even if you wanted to avoid it, you couldn’t. Food is so much a part of who they are.