There is no shortage of fascinating European city breaks for foodies to visit. If you've ticked some of the big names off your travel list already (Paris, Rome, Amsterdam), there is still plenty more to discover. Whether you go whisky tasting in Dublin, explore sprawling food markets in Lyon or discover the street food of Palermo, there is a city break for everyone. We've chosen 16 of our favourite European city breaks along with the best restaurants, cafes and foodie must-visits in each, plus a special place to stay.


For more city break inspiration, check out our guide to the best UK city breaks or the best foodie city breaks to visit by train.

15 best European city breaks for food lovers


Already ticked Lisbon off your city break list? Visit Porto, Portugal's elegant second city. Base yourself in the Bombarda art district, a network of cobbled streets brimming with independent shops, tavernas and bars. Browse the neighbourhood's galleries before seeking out sunny terraces to soak up the lively atmosphere. For lunch, queue alongside locals at traditional tavern Casa Guedes for crunchy bread rolls stuffed with juicy roast pork leg and a great-value glass of Portuguese wine. For an afternoon treat, classic Portuguese custard tarts are found throughout the city – visit Manteigaria for warm tarts and watch the chefs in action (the kitchen walls are made entirely of glass). For dinner, Cantina 32 is a laid-back restaurant popular among young, trendy locals, with two sittings (one at 8pm, the other at 10pm to reflect the Mediterranean way of life) around large communal tables and smaller spots for two or four people.

Leave time on your trip for a port tasting too. Visit the peaceful, rose-filled courtyard at Taylor’s Port House and order the Introduction to Taylor’s tasting flight – five ports ranging from simple white to brown tawny and a sought-after 20-year-old vintage.

Where to stay: Rosa Et Al Townhouse, a six-room hotel, is a lesson in boutique design and acts as an oasis in the middle of the city. The reception desk doubles as a trendy food shop, a sign of good things to come. Rooms (complete with balconies) are blessed with original wooden floorboards, cornicing and sash windows, plus luxurious claw-footed baths, contemporary furniture and local art. For breakfast and brunch, 50 jars of tea (some made with herbs from the garden) cover a large serving table, you can choose your own Portuguese tinned cod or sardines, and there’s a walled garden out back where you can sit in the sunshine around tiled tables, eating decadent egg dishes with spruced-up sides and drinking freshly squeezed orange juice.

More like this

Doubles from £117 per night, check availability at, or

Dom Luis I bridge, Porto, Portugal.


There's no shortage of independent food producers, cafes and restaurants to visit in Lyon. Start your day by savouring a handmade, oh-so-buttery croissant at Partisan Boulanger. The city’s best food producers, from bakers to wine merchants, can be found at Halles de Lyon, a remarkable indoor food market stretching over three floors, with 48 vendors to discover. Stop off at Terre Adélice as you explore the city and choose from their impressive range of handmade ice creams (pick basil, lavender, smoky bacon or Armagnac). For dinner, indulge in fine vegetarian dining at Culina Hortus, or head to Terrasse de l’Antiquaille, high on Fourvière hill, for impressive views of a twinkling Lyon as you dine.

Where to stay: The quirky Collège Hotel, in the Vieux Lyon district, features an art deco facade and back-to-school interiors – there are giant wooden pots filled with giant wooden colouring pencils at reception. Many of the bedrooms come with private balconies, and the decor in the downstairs restaurant continues the school-inspired theme. Enjoy pre-dinner drinks on the sunny terrace.

Doubles from £90 per night, check availability at, or



The second city of Belgium, Antwerp, has in recent years become a beacon of inventive, seasonal and hyper-local Northern European cuisine. Marché Couverts is a stylish deli and restaurant where the daily changing handwritten menu features dishes like roasted apricots with rosemary, and chicory tarte tatin with comté. Restaurant Nathan is a seafood-led fine-dining restaurant with an emphasis on seasonality and Asian flavour twists. Camion in Antwerp’s trendy green quarter is an all-day plant-based restaurant with dishes like sweet potato coconut stew, and sourdough toast caponata. The Butcher’s Son is a loft-style restaurant within the De Koninck brewery complex that specialises in locally bred nose-to-tail eating. We also love the laid-back calm at Café de Kat, a mustard-tiled Belgian cafe-bar where you can sip Belgian beer and listen to jazz crackling through the speakers. For an authentic sweet treat, head to Domestic Bakkerij and buy a bokkepootjes ('goat’s feet'), a chocolate-dipped meringue and almond biscuit that resembles a little hoof. Don't go home without ticking off classic Belgian frites: choose from five varieties of mayo and toppings galore for freshly fried chips at Frites Atelier.

Where to stay: Hotel Pilar is situated on a lively square in the fashionable neighbourhood of Zuid. A lesson in contemporary design, its bedrooms all boast unique features (the ‘classic’ rooms have concrete ceilings and black freestanding baths). It's a top pick for foodies as the hotel’s decadent food bar spans the whole of the ground floor, dominated by a huge counter where cocktails, coffees and breakfasts are prepared.

Doubles from £105 per night, check availability at, or

the butchers son 3 copy


This coastal city in Sweden is a must-visit for foodies, with plenty of local hotspots to discover as well as being an easy base for day trips to the archipelago and beyond. Coffee spot Da Matteo has plenty of branches throughout the city to keep you fuelled – stop at Da Matteo Torrefazione to enjoy cinnamon and cardamom buns fresh from the on-site bakery and brews straight from the in-house roastery. Visit glamorous restaurant Vrå for Nordic-Japanese fusion, Koka for Michelin-starred dining, or tiny minimalist HOZE for sushi. For more casual dining, Tacos & Tequila has a lively round-the-clock party vibe, while Kafe Magasinet has a sunny conservatory for simple lunches and inventive pizza.

As the home of craft beer in Sweden, Gothenburg also has over 40 breweries to discover. Spend an evening at Spike, the city's first taproom, for innovative Swedish creations from IPAs to sours and stout.

Where to stay: Hotel Flora is an uber-trendy boutique hotel handily located in the centre of Gothenburg. Rooms are kitted out with huge beds, monsoon showers and Swedish tea and coffee stations. The hotel has a buzzy bar and in summer, the shaded terrace on the hotel’s first floor is a pleasant, secluded spot to enjoy some quiet al fresco time (at night it’s lit by flickering lanterns). Come morning, the breakfast counter is laden with cold meat cuts, tubes of Kalles caviar to spread on thin wheels of Leksands crisp bread, and freshly baked croissants from Johnséns in the city’s Haga district.

Doubles from £85, check availability at, or

A coffee and a cinnamon bun on a table outside


As the birthplace of tapas, there's plenty of food to discover in this orange-tree-lined city, along with sherry bars, bustling food markets and al fresco cafe culture. Family-run tapas bar Bodeguita Romero is always busy and a top pick for traditional tapas, while Eslava offers innovative plates, from honey pork ribs to manchego ice cream. But tapas are not the only way to eat out in Seville: classic old-school restaurant La Moneda specialises in seafood, or try Sahumo's menu centred around a wood-fired grill for smoked salmon, grilled whole squid, aged beef and more. For foodie shopping, boutique wine shop Lama La Uva has an excellent selection of regional wines to sample or take away, along with artisanal olive oils, preserves, hams and cheeses. Set aside a few hours to try all the food on offer at Lonja del Barranco Gourmet Food Market, an indoor food market with everything from steak to seafood and tacos to croquettes.

Where to stay: Hotel Palacio Conde Torrejon is a four-star boutique hotel set in a baroque palace just off the Alameda, near the city centre. Lovingly restored, the design looks fresh and modern while retaining original arched columns in the courtyards and timbered ceilings in some of the rooms. The excellent in-house restaurant, Origen, is run by chef Javier Abascal.

Doubles from £75, check availability at,, or

Lama La Uva


Copenhagen is renowned for its Michelin-starred restaurants and clever Nordic cuisine, along with trendy hotspots for chic locals. Atelier September is a pretty cafe and gallery that does hygge at its best – join the stylish Scandi crowd at communal tables in the mornings for warm, cinnamon-infused apple juice and a traditional poppy seed-covered tebirkes pastry. Venture to Refshaleøen Island to visit Reffen, Copenhagen’s most vibrant street food market, a flock of sea containers strung together by colourful lights and Nordic flags – try Thrilla in Manila for spicy Filipino skewers or Crispy Pig for generous roast pork sandwiches. Torvehallerne market will also leave you spoilt for choice with over 6o vendors and buzzy crowds at the weekend – get there early in the morning for warm porridge from Grød, or pick up tacos and paletas (Mexican ice creams) from Hija de Sanchez for lunch.

Spend an evening at cosy, candlelit wine bar Den Vandrette near the colourful buildings of Nyhavn and take your pick from the imaginative list of natural wines and Nordic small plates. For a great-value tasting menu, head to Vaekst, where Nordic vegetables and herbs are at the heart of the menu – think chive oil-drizzled mushroom soup, pickled celeriac with fried pork neck and lemon cream and standout sides such as mash with smoked cheese and fried buckwheat.

Where to stay: Book a room at the stylish Hotel Alexandra to be surrounded by mid-century Danish design, located just 10 minutes' walk from Torvehllarne market. The owner has curated pieces built in Denmark in the 1950s and 60s, so the bedrooms’ wooden floorboards and large windows form the perfect backdrop to rattan headboards, graphic turquoise armchairs and wooden writing desks. The stylish lobby area is an all-day hangout, with an honesty bar, complimentary wine hour and a record player ready to play the hotel’s selection of vinyl. Head to connected bistro Godtfolk and create your own breakfast from the continental buffet laid out in the conservatory with gravadlax, Danish sausages, cheeses, seeded rye bread and more.

Doubles from £97, check availability at, or

Split image, right side grey decorated cafe, left a plate of burrata and a bowl of pumpkin orange soup


In between soaking up the culture of the Acropolis, Parthenon, National Gardens and more that Athens is known for, there's a vibrant food scene to discover. Walk through the cobbled streets of the city centre to choose one of the many street food options – hearty gyros, crisp spanakopita and sweet, syrupy loukoumades. Grab a coffee from Samba Coffee Roasters and climb up Lycabettus Hill for magical orange-hued sunsets over the Acropolis, mountains and Aegean Sea. Duck into one of the city’s many tavernas (we loved no-menu cellar Diporto, deli-restaurant Karamanlidika and old-school fish spot Ouzeri Lesvos) for traditional Greek dishes such as homemade moussaka, fresh Greek salads and rice-stuffed vegetables, known as ‘gemista’.

Where to stay: Book one of the nine suites at intimate boutique hotel Monument in the centre of the city. Enjoy a made-to-order Greek breakfast on your private marble balcony with dazzling views of the Acropolis.

Doubles from £353, check availability at, or

View of an ancient Greek street, Plaka district, Athens, Greece


This multicultural city has plenty to discover, from German classics to global influences from Vietnam, Japan, Turkey and more. The beating heart of Berlin’s food scene is the magnificent Markthalle Neun. Here you’ll find some of the city’s best food vendors and produce – don’t miss the traditional German meats and brilliant burgers at innovative butcher Kumpel & Keule. The iconic department store KaDeWe has a seriously impressive food court for more German delicacies: try traditional mettwurst and kohlwurst cooked at the sausage counter, served with potato salad and mustard. Take the local influence even further at fine-dining restaurant Nobelhart & Schmutzig, focusing on local ingredients so strictly that no lemons, pepper or olive oil reach the menu.

For food inspired by a little further afield, head to Adana Grillhaus for Turkish barbecued meats, Madame Ngo for rich Vietnamese broths and Damaskus Konditorei for Syrian pastries.

Where to stay: The pared-back Michelberger Hotel in the lively Friedrichshain district has a book-lined lobby, 24-hour bar and cafe, while its plant-forward restaurant champions organic ingredients, local producers and natural wines.

Doubles from £95 per night, check availability at or

Bao buns on a green table


This Turkish city’s dazzling food scene spans worth-the-queue kebab shops to high-glam hotel restaurants. To eat like the locals, visit İskender Kuruluş for lunch and have iskender kebap, a rich dish of sliced doner meat with hot tomato sauce, pide, cold yogurt and foaming, melted butter. Pide are another Turkish speciality that can be found across the city – Haçapuri in Kadıköy is a bright and breezy spot with excellent versions. Discover more regional Turkish cuisine at Çiya Sofrasi, a low-key, cafe-like spot with a daily changing menu including meze, soups and mains such as perde pilaf (chicken pilaf wrapped in dough). For dinner, duck into atmospheric neighbourhood restaurant Aheste, where white tablecloths contrast with exposed brick walls. There's an a la carte menu or a meze tasting menu with dishes such as caramelised roast aubergine, leek patties with smoked yogurt and fishcakes topped with sage and crisp vine leaves.

Where to stay: The Bank Hotel has plenty going for it, from its central location near the Galata Bridge and ferry hub to its relaxing interiors, comfortable rooms and the views from the serene Serica restaurant. Bookend your day with great food: the generous breakfast buffet heaves with simit, yogurt, fruit, honey, olives and cheese, or order a cooked dish, such menemen – eggs scrambled with tomato sauce and peppers. In the evenings, the Bank rooftop bar is prized for its view of the Bosphorus and city, which can be enjoyed with a cocktail or raki, making it a hotspot for locals.

Doubles from £220, check availability at, or

A selection of mezze dishes including hummus


Palermo, Sicily’s largest city, is famous for its street food, but don’t miss the grilled fish, suckling pig cooked with pears, and breakfasts of brioche buns filled with gelato too. To get stuck into the famous street food, head to Mercato il Capo to soak up banter from the market vendors as you shop for capers from Pantelleria, bread baked in ovens stoked by olive branches, and snack on sfincione (thick pizza topped with tomato sauce, onions and a dusting of caciocavallo cheese). You can also queue up at Friggitoria Chiluzzo for Palermo’s renowned fried snacks. Its speciality is pane e panelle – square fritters of chickpea flour served in a seeded bun. Don't miss the traditional meat ragù and pea-stuffed arancini too.

Indulge a sweet tooth at Gelateria La Delizia for classic gelato-filled brioche buns and go to Pasticceria Cappello for a wealth of Sicilian desserts, going beyond the classic ricotta-filled cannoli, cassata Siciliana and frutta martorana (marzipan pastries); don’t miss the settestrati, a mini-dessert of chocolate mousse, hazelnut cream and chocolate sponge.

Where to stay: Hotel Porta Felice is in the historical centre of Palermo, an easy walk to the beach and the Botanical Gardens. It's set in an 18th-century palace, the rooms are simply designed and the generous buffet breakfast is served on a sunny rooftop terrace. The hotel also has a small spa complete with a hydromassage pool, sauna and Turkish bath.

Doubles from £132, check availability at, or

View of a square in Palermo Sicily


Futuristic architecture, renowned art galleries, elegant cobbled streets and a thriving food scene make this Basque city a great Spanish weekend destination. La Ribera is one of the largest undercover markets in Europe, dating back to the 14th century and now home to more than 100,000 square metres of food stalls. Pick up local produce if you're self-catering and look out for the stalls selling homemade croquetas (try the prawn and mushroom filling, from Lautxo on the second floor). Next, don't just visit the iconic Guggenheim museum for the art: the museum restaurant Bistró Guggenheim isn’t your typical gallery cafe. A favourite with locals and visitors alike, it focuses on Basque cuisine with a modern edge and has river views to enjoy. For traditional Basque fare, stop at Victor Montes, one of the oldest restaurants in the city, serving regional dishes such as bacalao al pil-pil (fried cod with herbs and garlic) or acorn-fed pork fillet. Gure Toki in the old quarter offers a more contemporary twist on traditional pintxos – think haute cuisine in miniature.

Where to stay: Iturrienea Ostatua is a simple yet charming bed and breakfast located right in the centre of the Old Town. Inside, the largely modern decor is modest (simple white bedlinen, colourful quilted headboards, practical en-suite shower rooms) but homely. The nine bedrooms nod to the building’s history, with stone floors and wooden-beamed ceilings, and some have small private balconies. Breakfast is served in a country-style kitchen and includes local cheeses, charcuterie, sticky pastries and toast.

Doubles from £95, check availability at or

Two plates of food on sticks in a restaurant


You won't be short of things to do on a city break in Dublin. The compact city centre, divided in two by the River Liffey, is easily walkable when exploring, with the broader city made up of villages. A visit to the Jameson Distillery is a must for whiskey lovers, while beer fans should visit the Rascals Brewing taproom. Don't miss Pi for wood-fired pizzas featuring charcuterie and cheeses from local producers, and if you're feeling indecisive, head to Eatyard (open Thursday to Sunday) – the home of Dublin's street food scene, with a rotating roster of vendors including Box Burger, barbecue specialist Pitt Bros and toastie makers Cheesus. If you're visiting for a long weekend, Bastible serves Sunday roasts (as well as fabulous midweek tasting menus) in an innovative way with tasting dishes to share.

Where to stay in Dublin: Stay in the heart of the action at The Dylan Hotel, just 750m from the live music, bars and restaurants of Grafton Street. Dublin's only five-star boutique hotel, The Dylan has a luxurious contemporary feel throughout. Enjoy a full Irish breakfast in hotel restaurant The Eddison, and sip cocktails in the Ruby Room bar.

Doubles from £183 per night, check availability at, or

Boatyard Food box burger, Dublin weekender


Austria’s capital caters to both traditionalists and modernists, with sparkling natural wines and wild boar burgers there for the taking alongside the city’s famously elegant – and gloriously old-fashioned – schnitzel restaurants and cafes serving sachertorte. For traditional Viennese vibes, order elaborate coffees at Kleines Café or linger over apple strudel at Café Central (be prepared to queue). Explore Karmelitermarkt for farmers' market shopping in a colourful cobbled square. For dinner book a table at O Boufés, serving Mediterranean-Austrian fusion dishes such as veal tartare, bratwurst and mustard greens, or smoked salmon in pea vichyssoise. Make the most of their natural wines list too – ask the staff for recommendations.

Where to stay: Enter the statement lobby of the plush Grand Ferdinand Hotel and check into one of its moodily minimal bedrooms. Make the most of all the facilities: the luxurious rooftop terrace with a lap pool, the top-floor Grand Etage restaurant, with its panoramic views over the city (head here for breakfast) and ground-floor restaurant Meissel & Schadn where you can watch white apron-clad chefs prepare traditional Viennese schnitzel beneath an extravagant chandelier.

Doubles from £234, check availability at,, or

Vienna sachertorte


Chocolate box Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture, a river romantically spanned by pretty bridges and pedestrian- and bike-friendly policies make Slovenia’s capital city one of Europe’s most civilised. It’s also one of the continent’s most foodie destinations, with a position between the Alps and the Adriatic that lends the local cuisine both an excellent range of produce and a real variety of culinary influences. Every Friday, from March to October, Ljubljana’s Pogačar Square comes to life as the city’s Open Kitchen Market. It's a great entry point to Slovenian cuisine, with a festival atmosphere beneath the shadows of the green-domed Ljubljana Cathedral, and all manner of vendors, from farms to gourmet restaurants.

As you explore the city, stop for coffee at Črno Zrno, baked goods at Pekarna Osem and popular gelato spot Vigò for ice cream. Quench a thirst at Suklje with its vaulted ceilings, riverside terrace and 300-strong wine list (2oo from Slovenia alone), or contemporary pub Lubjah has 16 beers on tap and more than 130 bottles from around the world, if beer is your preferred drink. For dinner, book in advance at upmarket bistro Monstera, where the five-course tasting menu elegantly showcases Slovenia’s produce.

Where to stay: Vander Urbani Resort is a secluded hotel in the heart of Ljubljana's city centre. Modern bedrooms are designed in neutral tones and the generous breakfast buffet includes freshly made crepes, eggs and charcuterie platters. The highlight of the hotel is the roof terrace complete with a pool and views of the river.

Doubles from £180, check availability at or

People sat on the pavement by street food stalls at Open Kitchen Market Ljubljana


Local markets, mortadella pizza and 'tree bark' chocolate make this northern Italian city a foodie hotspot. A beautifully converted market pavilion is home to Mercato di Mezzo, a hot spot at the heart of Bologna’s historic open-air food market. Here there are a dozen stalls serving local snacks. Head upstairs for the main event, a ricotta and mortadella pizza. For authentic Bolognese cuisine, head to tiny Trattoria Serghe. Inside the cosy wood-panelled interior, choose from specialities like tagliatelle al ragù, stuffed courgettes with meatballs and sautéed chicory.

Sweet-toothed visitors should know that Italy’s first solid chocolate, the crinkly Scorza, which translates as ‘tree bark’, was made in 1832 by Bologna-based Majani. Another longstanding favourite worth stocking up on is the Fiat – a smooth, nutty flavoured chocolate commissioned in 1911 to mark the launch of the Fiat Tipo 4.

Where to stay: family-run Hotel Touring has a great central location near the buzzy Piazza Maggiore and Palazzo Re Enzo. Rooms are generously sized plus some have balconies, and a rooftop terrace has stunning views over the heart of the city.


Doubles from £155, check availability at or


Lucy RoxburghEcommerce and Reviews Editor

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post