Top city breaks for food in Europe
Work up an appetite with this list of foodie breaks in Europe, packed with the best of the latest places to dine and drink
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Whether planning to indulge in extravagant Michelin starred meals, or keep it more wallet-friendly, we've got everything to help you get the most out of your European gourmet city break.
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Best for new Nordic cuisine
Home to world-beating restaurants such as Noma and Geranium, Copenhagen is one of the best European city break destinations for food lovers. It’s not all about Michelin stars and fine dining though – the city is also home to incredible bakeries, wine bars, markets, and more casual restaurants, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Food highlights for Copenhagen
Koan – a new fine dining restaurant from chef Kristian Baumann opened in spring 2023 that expertly blends Korean flavours with Scandinavian ingredients.
Juju – a more casual restaurant from Kristian Baumann offering takes on traditional Korean dishes like bulgogi, kimchi, and mandu (a type of dumpling found in Korea).
Juno – join the queue for Juno, the city’s most hyped bakery, for freshly baked cardamom rolls and pistachio croissants.
Kappo Ando – this 15-seat counter restaurant offers fresh sashimi, smoky grilled yakitori, and an incredible list of craft sakes, many of which are imported directly by the restaurant.
POPL Burger – Noma’s lockdown burger pop-up has now gone permanent, and the burgers are well worthy of the hype.
Baest – chef Christian Puglisi’s pizzeria serves some of the best pizzas in the world at Baest, with produce coming from his own organic farm. The restaurant even makes mozzarella, ricotta, and charcuteries from scratch.
Pompette – natural wine is big in Copenhagen and Pompette is one of the best wine bars to pop in to for a glass – or grab a bottle from their shop with some charcuterie if you’re settling in.
La Banchina – this cute café and wine bar is located right by the water. In summer you can sit out with wine or a light snack on the pier, and even brave a swim with the locals.
Åben Brewery – a brewery and tap room in the meatpacking district offering freshly brewed seasonal beers poured straight from the tanks.
Torvehallerne – for fresh produce, street food, traditional Danish smørrebrød, beers, wine, and much more head to the famous Torvehallerne market.
Fancy an exclusive discount code on your next food adventure? BBC Good Food is offering special discounts to our registered users and magazine subscribers booking their next holiday with travel website Expedia.
Take advantage of these exclusive offers – only available to BBC Good Food registered users and magazine subscribers – by simply clicking the link and using our special discount code at the checkout to enjoy up to 7% off your bookings.
Where to stay
Hotel Kong Arthur ££ – a central location and cool Scandi design at a mid-range price point makes Kong Arthur an excellent choice.
Nobis £££ – the five-star Nobis is Copenhagen’s only member of Design Hotels, bringing smart, modern interiors to a grand historical building.
25Hours ££ – the fun-loving 25Hours brand has arrived in Copenhagen, offering bright colours, lively restaurants, and affordable rooms.
Generator £ – a budget choice that’s both hostel and hotel, with buzzy communal areas, and a prime location.
Best for new wave European
Perhaps because it is more famous for other things, the fact that Amsterdam has one of the best restaurant scenes in Europe sometimes goes under the radar. But foodies taking a weekend break to the city will be richly rewarded with creative, modern restaurants, street food, and affordable tasting menus that rank among Europe’s best.
Food highlights for Amsterdam
Cafe Restaurant Amsterdam – this city institution is located in a beautiful 19th century pumping station and offers simple but delicious Dutch seafood and steaks.
De Kas – situated in a converted greenhouse, De Kas is one of Amsterdam’s standout dining experiences, with a daily changing menu based largely around vegetables from the restaurant’s own farm.
RIJKS – Even if you’re not visiting the Rijksmusuem, make a beeline for its Michelin-starred restaurant which offers sublime tasting menus centred around local Dutch produce.
BAK – the third floor of an old warehouse in the city’s old port is home to BAK, offering exceptional cooking with ethically-sourced ingredients.
Breda – casual fine dining in a smart canalside building, focusing on the produce and flavours of the southern Netherlands.
Watergang – the tiny Watergang only has a handful of tables and offers one of the best value meals in town, at €46 for a five-course menu.
Winkel 43 – this small café is famous for its huge slices of freshly made apple pie. Expect to queue, but it’s worth it.
Loof Bakery – fresh sourdough, pastries and coffee – Loof is Amsterdam’s best bakery.
Café Binnenvisser – next door to Loof and from the same team, this walk-in only wine bar features modern small plates and a loud soundtrack.
De Foodhallen – An indoor street food market featuring a huge line up of traders, several bars, and lots of communal seating.
Where to stay
Kimpton De Wit ££ - An ideal location near Central Station, plush rooms, an excellent restaurant, and a fun cocktail bar from London’s own Mr Lyan make the Kimpton a great all-rounder.
Pillows Maurits at the Park £££ – a new five-star hotel in Oosterpark with beautiful interiors, luxurious rooms and an excellent cocktail bar, Fitz’s.
Conscious Hotels £ – this small chain of eco-conscious hotels has sustainability at its heart, from the water saving showers to the use of recycled materials and 100% wind power.
Best for pintxos
With a galaxy of Michelin stars plus hundreds of laid back pintxos bars and cider houses all packed into a small coastal town in the north of Spain, San Sebastian is, for some, the food capital of Europe.
Food highlights for San Sebastian
Ganbara – a local institution in the heart of Old Town, Ganbara is famous for its pintxos, which include grilled mushrooms with egg yolk, and crab tartlet.
Nestor – you’ll need to be organised (and arrive early) to grab a slice of Nestor’s legendary tortillas: they only make two each day, and competition is fierce.
La Cuchara de San Telmo – another very popular spot, famous for its suckling pig, but seafood like razor clams and octopus are excellent, too.
Casa Urola – Famous for its steak, Casa Urola has a pinxtos bar on the ground floor and a relaxed dining room upstairs serving an expanded menu of Basque dishes.
Bar Txurrut – one of the best places in town to drink vermouth, sat on the bar’s outdoor terrace overlooking the Constitución Plaza
La Bretxa Market – this food market is over 150 years old and is well worth visiting – come early and you might even spot a few famous chefs who come each day to buy their produce.
Antonio Bar – a relaxed pintxos bar that’s always packed full of locals; cured seafood is a speciality, but they also serve a great tortilla.
Arzak – If you eat at one of the legendary fine-dining spots, make it the three Michelin-starred Arzak, the restaurant that put San Sebastian on the gastronomic map when it opened in 1974.
Barkaiztegi Cider House – A 17th century cider house, this is the best place to try traditional Basque cider.
Where to Stay
Villa Soro ££ – A beautiful villa dating from 1898 has recently been converted in to a 25-room boutique hotel by the team behind Mallorca icons Sant Francesc and Can Ferrereta. Original features include a grand central staircase, spacious guest rooms, and a striking wood panelled bar, complimented with chic modern interior design that has given the property a new lease of life. It’s location outside the city, plus its expansive gardens, make it a great place to relax in between regular pintxos crawls.
Akelarre £££ – The three Michelin-starred Akelarre now has a five-star hotel attached, with 22 modern rooms with sea views, a roof terrace, and a luxurious spa.
Room Mate Gorka £ – With a great location on the Plaza de Gipuzkoa, the affordable but stylish Room Mate is a perfect option for a budget weekend city break.
Best for Modern Classics
You could hardly consider the top European city breaks for food lovers without mentioning Paris. Other cities may have eclipsed the French capital on the global stage in recent years, but Paris still has incredible restaurants, from classic bistros to rambunctious wine bars, and drool-worthy boulangeries.
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Food highlights for Paris
Deviant – about as fun as a wine bar can be, Deviant is standing room only and has a big list of natural wines, small plates, and a pumping soundtrack.
Chez Paul – a classic bistro focusing on steak that’s been open since 1900 and is still hard to beat.
Septime – No.22 on the World’s 50 Best list, Septime is a brilliant example of seasonal modern French cooking. Cool but unpretentious, it’s also a relative bargain at €120 for the seven-course dinner menu.
La Buvette – A delightfully ramshackle wine bar with only a few tables, offering excellent natural wines, cheese, charcuterie, and a handful of hot dishes.
Maison Sota – Chef Sota Atsumi made his name at the industry hangout Clown Bar before opening the impeccable Maison Sota, which expertly blends Japanese and French flavours.
Les Arlots – the quintessential Parisian bistro: rickety wooden tables and chairs, a chalkboard menu, and perfectly executed classic French dishes.
Racines – worth visiting for the setting alone, in the Passage des Panoramas, the oldest covered walkway in Paris. The food is excellent too, taking cues from Italy as well as France.
Folderol – where else but Paris could you find an ice cream shop that’s also a wine bar? Folderol excels on both fronts.
The French Bastards – the best boulangerie in Paris, featuring incredible pastries, bread, hot chocolate, and everything in between.
Marche Les Enfants Rouge – the oldest food market in Paris, built way back in 1616. It’s still going strong, offering fresh produce and hot food to take away as well as several small restaurants.
Where to stay
The Hoxton, Paris ££ – In a city full of hotels in stunning old buildings, The Hoxton’s Paris outpost still stands out. Gorgeous rooms, two internal outdoor courtyards, and a bar that’s heaving with locals make this one of the most popular spots in the city.
Maison Delano £££ – Opened in 2023, Maison Delano is a new five-star luxury hotel in an 18th century mansion with 56 suites, plus a restaurant from Michelin-starred Spanish chef Dani Garcia.
Mama Shelter £ – The original Mama Shelter hotel in the east of Paris remains one of the best budget stays in the whole city.
Hotel Rochechouart ££ - A recently refurbished art deco beauty in the heart of Pigalle, Rochechouart features a classy bistro and a rooftop bar.
Best for Tapas
Combining both city and beach in one package, Barcelona makes for one of the best city breaks in Europe. There’s fantastic food too, of course, from old school tapas bars to one of the most famous food markets in the world, making the city a perennially popular draw for food lovers.
Food highlights for Barcelona
Martinez – perched high above the city, Martinez has a wonderful terrace with expansive views, plus large sharing rice dishes, fresh grilled fish, and seasonal vegetables.
La Cova Fumada – opened in 1944, La Cova Fumada is known as the birthplace of the ‘bomba’ a golden deep-fried sphere of potato and pork, served with spicy pepper sauce and aioli.
Rocambolesc – inventive ice creams and lollies from the Roca brothers, the chefs behind the three Michelin-starred El Cellar de Can Roca in nearby Girona.
Morro Fi – sipping red, herbaceous vermouth is a must when in Barcelona and Morro Fi is an excellent little bar to try it in. They make their own and have great tapas, too.
Bar Pietro – the best bar in the hipster Gracia neighbourhood, Pietro has a big range of vermouth, beers, and thick cut homemade chips among the top tier tapas on offer.
Bar del Pla – a little on the touristy side but still the best option in the Gothic Quarter, Bar del Pla has a great menu of classic tapas, including some of the best roast chicken croquettes in town.
Can Cisa/Bar Brutal – two venues in one: Can Cisa is a relaxed bar at the front serving natural wines, while in the back is Bar Brutal, a more formal experience serving modern, eclectic food.
Bar El Pollo – it might look a bit rough and ready but it’s worth squeezing into El Pollo for the incredible oozing egg tortillas that are more liquid than solid, and all the better for it.
La Boqueria – One of the most famous food markets in the world, La Boqueria is an essential stop. Dating back to 1217, the market draws huge crowds, who come for fresh produce and tapas.
Where to Stay
Hotel Arts Barcelona £££ – This beachfront five-star hotel has got it all: sea views, over 500 artworks, a 43rd floor spa, luxurious rooms, and a two Michelin-starred restaurant, Enoteca.
Casa Bonay £ – Once a private home, Casa Bonay is one of Barcelona’s best boutique hotels. Rooms are small but well designed with high ceilings and modern furniture.
Best for affordable dining
Picturesque streets, colourful trams, sunshine, plus food and wine galore put Lisbon up there with the best food cities in Europe, if not the world. The Portuguese capital is also one of the cheapest cities in Europe, so it makes an ideal choice for a city break if you’re keeping to a tighter budget.
Food highlights for Lisbon
Pastéis de Belém – the bakery that invented the pastel de nata way back in 1837 and is today one of Lisbon’s biggest tourist draws – they sell an incredible 20,000 custard tarts on busy days.
Comida Independente – this casual wine shop and bar makes for a perfect place to come before dinner for a glass of wine and some local Portuguese cheeses.
Dahlia – natural wines and casual bites like fried chicken with peanut sauce come together at this lively modern bistro in Cais do Sodre, Lisbon’s nightlife capital.
Cervejaria Ramiro – Ramiro is a Lisbon institution, an old school seafood restaurant that’s an absolute must-visit despite it being firmly on the tourist circuit. Try the garlic clams, the giant carabineiros, and don’t forget the steak sandwich for ‘dessert’ – it’s Ramiro tradition.
O Trevo – the bifana pork sandwich is another famous Portuguese snack and this old school corner café in Bairro Alto is a great place to try it.
Prado – Organic, seasonal produce from Portugal and an all-natural wine list, served in a bright modern dining room have made Prado one of Lisbon’s hottest restaurants.
SEM – this zero-waste restaurant and wine bar offers a superb seven-course menu for €60, making it one of Lisbon’s best value meals.
Quiosque Sao Paulo – walking the steep hills of Lisbon can be tiring but luckily there are kiosks dotted around the city where you can rest with a beer and a snack. One of the nicest is Quiosque Sao Paulo, which is the oldest in Lisbon.
Where to Stay
The Lumiares ££ – a classy apart-hotel, each room at The Lumiares has a full kitchen and living area as well as bedroom and ensuite. There’s even a spa and rooftop restaurant with a small outdoor terrace.
Bairro Alto Hotel £££ – a luxurious five-star option in the heart of Bairro Alto, featuring a roof terrace bar, and an excellent restaurant from London-based Nuno Mendes.
Hotel 1908 £ – a beautiful building from 1908 designed by architect Adães Bermudes, is now home to one of Lisbon’s best boutique design hotels. There’s just 36 colourful rooms, plus a great cocktail bar and restaurant, Infame.
Hotel das Amoreiras ££ – a charming boutique hotel set on the pretty garden square of Jardim das Amoreiras in the north of the city.
Best for pasta
Rome is one of the more traditional food cities in Europe, where many of the restaurants stick to the tried and tested classics, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. But when the food culture is based around fresh pasta, crisp slices of pizza, and some of the best produce to be found in all of Italy, you won’t find many visitors complaining.
Food highlights for Rome
Proloco Trastevere – a relaxed trattoria in hip Trastevere, with a menu based around local produce sourced from small producers in the Lazio region.
Supplizio – A cheap and cheerful spot that specialises in suppli, deep fried rice balls that are similar to arancini. Check out the caicio e pepe version with pecorino romano, mozzarella, and black pepper.
Roscioli – This traditional deli also has a restaurant in the back, where they serve sublime classic Roman pastas like carbonara and penne all'Amatriciana.
Retrobottega – if you’ve had your fill of rustic trattorias, then Retrobottega is the place to come. This modern spot has an inventive menu based around foraged ingredients, featuring dishes like green spaghetti with lemon and coffee and wild chicory with garlic and herbs.
Agostino – This neighbourhood pizza shop in Trieste is worth seeking out for its crisp, square slices of Roman-style pizza. Toppings range from mushroom and pecorino to courgette and anchovy.
Otaleg – gelato is, of course, completely unmissable on any trip to Rome, and Otaleg (that’s gelato backwards), created by ice cream maestro Marco Radicioni is one of the best.
Mercato Testaccio – there’s a lot of great dishes to be found in this old food market, including the famous oxtail sandwiches at Mordi e Vai – a bargain at €3.
Felice a Testaccio – this family-run restaurant has been around since 1936, winning a loyal following for its famous tonnarelli cacio e pepe and meatballs with gravy.
Where to stay
H’All Tailor Suite ££ – the owner of this 14-room boutique hotel, Riccardo Di Giacinto, is also the chef; the on-site Michelin starred restaurant All’Oro offers modern Italian tasting menus.
Mama Shelter Rome £ – The design-led Mama Shelter brands is a strong choice for budget stays in any city, and the Rome outpost is especially good, featuring a spa, gym, and rooftop restaurant alongside comfy rooms.
Hotel de La Ville – a luxurious option with an unbeatable location right at the top of the Spanish Steps; the hotel offers a blend of contemporary and traditional design, several restaurants, and a pretty inner courtyard.
Best for global cuisine
A long-time hub for creative and tech industries, Berlin’s restaurant scene is booming, with Michelin starred spots, and relaxed wine bars popping up in recent years. Berlin is also a cultural melting pot, with well-established communities of Turkish and Vietnamese people adding a wealth of exciting restaurants to the more traditional European offerings.
Food highlights for Berlin
Nobelhart & Schmutzig – a 10-course tasting menu based entirely on produce sourced from within greater Berlin has seen Nobelhart & Schmutzig win a Michelin Star and climb to 17 on The World’s 50 Best.
Liu Nudelhaus – Join the queue for fresh, spicy Sichuan beef noodles at this casual, affordable spot in Mitte.
Markethalle Neun – a buzzing street food market with a diverse line up of traders and produce stalls.
Izmir kofte – Berlin has some of the best Turkish food in the world and it’s hard to go wrong with a köfte sandwich drenched in garlic and chilli sauce at local institution Izmir Kofte.
Kin Dee – Combining Thai flavours with locally sourced ingredients highlights include clams with house-made chilli paste and a sweet green curry with beef and aubergine.
Madeame Ngo – steaming hot bowls of pho made with German beef are the draw at one of Berlin’s best Vietnamese restaurants.
Panama – Set in a converted warehouse full of modern artworks, Panama serves modern German bistro dishes like pork croquettes with beetroot, and butter spätzle with poppy seeds and Belper Knolle cheese.
Grill Royal – The glitzy Grill Royal is where well-heeled locals come to splash out on well executed bistro dishes – think big steaks, fruit de mer, caviar, and champagne aplenty.
Julius – during the day Julius is open for coffee, pastries, and snacks, and in the evening it turns into one of Berlin’s exciting restaurants, with an 8-10 course blind tasting menu.
ORA – run by the founders of the Michelberger hotel, ORA features natural wines and simple dishes made using produce from the Michelberger farm, all in the beautiful setting of an old 19th century apothecary.
Where to stay
Michelberger £ – stripped back but well-designed rooms plus a buzzy reception, bar, and even an outdoor courtyard that hosts events, Michelberger is the most fun budget hotel in the city.
Zoo Hotel ££ – Over in West Berlin, the Zoo Hotel is located right on one of Berlin’s premier shopping streets Ku’damm, mixing bold design with top notch service to make it a great all-rounder.
Grand Hostel Classic £ – offers both private rooms and dorms, daily in house activities, and a central location close to all the sights.