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Do you love sampling traditional dishes and local tipples while you travel? Is the way to your heart via your stomach? Curating a restaurant list longer than your museum itinerary?

From gelato to kofta, potage to schnitzel… if you’re a committed international foodie, then you’re in luck, as Europe has culinary delights galore. Take a gastronomic journey with us as we munch our way through Europe’s tastiest cities — Copenhagen, Budapest, Ljubljana, Naples, and Valencia — and sample their ultimate unmissable meals.

Smørrebrød © iStock

Copenhagen, Three Ways

Denmark’s cosmopolitan capital has three distinct sides to its cuisine. With a lively and innovative fine-dining scene that showcases the very elite of Nordic cuisine, Copenhagen boasts no less than 15 Michelin-starred restaurants, making it a top destination for gourmands with deeper pockets. Next up is the traditional Copenhagen-style restaurants, which serve predominantly fish-based dishes that have been honed to perfection over the generations. Finally, Copenhagen’s street food scene is thriving, with a plethora of options that include rød pølse (red sausage hotdogs), gourmet burgers and Middle Eastern dishes such as durum shawarma and falafel.

A hot dog with rød pølse © iStock

So what are Copenhagen’s must-eat dishes? You should certainly sample smørrebrød, which consists of rugbrød (dark rye bread) sandwiches filled with meat, prawns or fish, including smoked salmon, marinated herring, fried eel or plaice. You can find smørrebrød joints all over the city, but the very best of the bunch are rumoured to be Selma and Hallernes Smørrebrød. At dinnertime, don’t miss the frikadeller. These butter-fried meatballs are served in a thick, creamy sauce with potatoes or on bread; an alternative option is fiskefrikadeller — fish cakes served with cucumber and a mayonnaise sauce called romoulada.

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Pörkölt © iStock

Spice It Up In Budapest

Budapest has plenty to offer visitors, including beautiful architecture, thermal baths… and, of course, delicious Hungarian cuisine! Hungary’s capital is famous for goulash — one of Europe’s most delicious, rich, and distinctive dishes, best served with just a hint of spice. Pörkölt is a traditional goulash that is an instant hit with locals and tourists alike, comprising a thick sauce of onion and red pepper, served with beef, veal, lamb, game or fish. For a lighter take on the dish, try gulyás, a warming goulash soup.

Lángos © iStock

Pescatarians will surely enjoy halászlé, a memorable dish of freshwater fish seasoned with tomatoes and paprika, while vegetarians and vegans will love lecsó, made from white peppers, sweet tomatoes, and onions. If you’re feeling peckish on the move, grab a lángos, which is available all over the city. This deep-fried flatbread, made from yeast dough and potatoes, is topped with grated cheese, ham, sour cream, and garlic oil. For a sweet treat, try kürtőskalács, a cake traditionally roasted over charcoal for a distinctive flavour. Of course, Budapest is also home to many other national cuisines, with excellent burgers, Asian food, and fusion dishes to enjoy throughout the city — why not give it a try on your next foodie trip?

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Pljeskavica © iStock

Local Flavours In Ljubljana

Small-but-perfectly-formed, this tiny capital of a small country punches above its weight in terms of culinary adventure! Ljubljana is one of Europe’s fastest-growing cities and, although exclusive restaurants are springing up like mushrooms, the city’s residents still focus primarily on local street food. Slovenian meals are cheap, filling and full of flavour — the sheet cake bureks served at at Olimpija Burek come stuffed with cottage cheese and meat, while Carniolan, also known as Kranjska klobasa, are a simple but delicious bread, ham and mustard snack.

Burek © iStock

Every Friday From March to October, you can experience the Odprta Kuhna — a weekly food market — at Pogačar Square. This is a gourmet’s paradise where you can wander from stall to stall sampling local delicacies, burgers, vegan dishes and oysters. For a quick meal, opt for Štruklji, a Slovenian dish of rolled dumplings stuffed with cottage cheese, tarragon, walnuts, apples or poppy seeds. When it comes to dessert, potica is a good choice — a yeast roll with a hazelnut or poppy seed filling.

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Margherita © iStock

Hit The Streets In Naples

The capital of Italy’s Campania region needs no introduction to foodies, although, contrary to what you may expect, the food isn’t always delicious here so ask locals for recommendations. Once you’ve found your spot, order up the local speciality — pizza! A typical Neapolitan pizza is made of long-ripened dough and baked in a wood-fired oven, creating a seared edge of air bubbles. Iconic options include Margherita, a classic tomato sauce topped with buffalo mozzarella, and Marinara, which comes without cheese. Naples’ pizzerias offer a huge selection of flavours, so experiment with the right toppings for you.

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Naples is also the home of Pasta e Patate, which is pasta with potatoes and cheese, as well as Ragù Napoletano, a tomato sauce with pork and beef, and Le Polpette — minced meatballs with pine nuts, raisins and green parsley. Neapolitan street food is also fabulous, with deep-fried treats such as Crocchè di Patate (breaded potato croquettes with cheese and eggs), Frittatina di Pasta (spaghetti pancakes with bacon, cheese and sauce), Frittatina di Patate (potato pureè balls with ham and cheese) or classic Arancini (breaded rice balls stuffed with cheese, meat or vegetables). Also, make room for fresh seafood, such as O’cuoppo, Fritta Mista and Frutti di Mare.

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Paella valenciana © iStock

Scrumptious Spain In Valencia

Spain’s capital of food is, without a doubt, Valencia. The home of the paella has a unique Valencian, aptly known as Paella Valenciana, is prepared in a large, specially-designed pan and consists of rice, beans and rabbit or chicken, rather than the more well-known seafood, served with a delicious glass of Spanish wine. If you’re peckish rather than hungry, pinchos or tapas are small dishes deigned to pair with drinks and include tasty options like Esgarrat Salad with dried cod and grilled red pepper, Croquetas de Bacalao, which are salt-cod croquettes, Clóchinas — Valencian mussels and Patatas Bravas – baked potato pieces with hot sauce.

Fartons © iStock

Horchata de Chufa is a typical Valencian drink made from tiger nuts, also known as peanut almonds — perfect for hot days and comforting in the rain. Drink it alongside Fartons cookies that come dusted in frosting or powdered sugar. Sightseeing snacks include classic deep-fried Buñuelos or Churros which pair perfectly with black coffee. And if you’re ever in doubt where to eat, always head to the most crowded restaurants!

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For a culinary adventure to remember, book your flight today and get ready to explore Europe’s tastiest cities!



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