TOP culinary destinations

Museums and beaches are part and parcel of a holiday, but nothing beats a delicious meal after a long day outdoors.

Summer is the best time for enjoying luscious local fruit, ordering a glass of wine with lunch and forgetting about counting calories. And it’s the right time to order something you’ve never had before. Perhaps you might discover your new favourite dish?

Choosing a destination based on its cuisine might be your best idea yet! Bon appétit!


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Lisbon, Portugal

Experience new tastes in Lisbon

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Thanks to its 800 km long coastline, it’s no wonder the first tip is to feast on seafood, but the true summer food is sardines.

In Portugal, you will find a wide seafood variation

In June, Lisbon celebrates Festo de Santo Antonio, a celebration devoted to sardines and love. St. Anthony is known as the patron saint of lovers, so you’ll see women in wedding dresses quite often; ceremonies with tens of couples getting married all at once are nothing unusual here! During this celebration, the air smells like basil as it’s considered a symbol of happiness and is often given to a loved one.

In June, Lisbon celebrates Festo de Santo Antonio

Sardines are grilled on every corner, and wine is abundant. Traditionally, these silver fish are eaten on a thick slice of sour bread topped with grilled pepper; if you fall in love with this simple dish, souvenir shops sell not just sardine-shaped magnets, but pillows too.

Grilled sardines at Festo de Santo Antonio

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Despite the heat, caldo verde soup a favourite in Lisbon; it’s made of kale, potatoes and spicy chorizo sausages. As a light takeaway snack, choose presunto. It’s Portuguese prosciuttos; ask the butcher to make paper thin slices from the leg that’s hanging from the ceiling. They sometimes wait three years for the right buyer!

Caldo verde - Portuguese kale soup

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On arrival in Lisbon, it becomes crystal clear that the Portuguese love sugar. Even in the summer after a nice savoury meal you can’t go without dessert.

The most popular treat for sure is Lisbon’s pastel de nata.

Pastel de nata - most popular treat in Portugal

Speaking about wine, the slightly sparkly vinho verde will be your best ally; so look for bottles with a green tinge. Verde means green, and this wine comes from a fertile Portuguese Northern region. It doesn’t have to stay bottled up for years; on the contrary, you drink it young.

Want to try Portuguese wine - try the slightly sparkly vinho verde


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Madrid, Spain

Gourmet travel to Madrid

On hot days don’t even open the menu, just order gazpacho. This cold soup made of juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, sweet peppers and olive oil will cool you off better than a glass of cold water.

Salmojero is gazpacho’s cousin; a thick cream of soup with lots of garlic, served with crunchy bacon bits. Yes, it’s meant to be eaten cold! Don’t even think about dining indoors; long live terraces and picnics in the park!

On hot Spanish days, try Salmorejo soup

In Madrid, one dessert is an absolute must – churros con chocolate.

Must have dessert in Madrid - churros con chocolate

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Boquerones is a legendary dish – salty anchovies marinated in vinegar. Picture this afternoon meal – a cold, dewy glass or beer and a plate of olives, cheese and silvery fish fillets. Mouth-watering, isn’t it? If you’re not a fan of beer, what about tinto de verano? It means summer wine, and it’s made of red wine and lemonade.

Boquerones is a legendary Spain dish – salty anchovies marinated in vinegar

Dinner in Madrid means tapas! Tapas are a lifestyle here.

Some of the most popular tapas include potato croquettes with all kinds of fillings, calamari rings or fried calamari, garlic fried shrimp, sautéed oxtail, tortilla or potato omelette, jamon serrano ham, fried mushrooms, bread with crushed tomatoes and potatoes in hot chilli sauce.

Tapas in Madrid are a lifestyle

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One of the most popular snacks is the bocadillo de calameres – fried calamari ring sandwich – it’s a typical Madrid dish, just like pizza in Italy.

Don’t be surprised that it’s served without any dips, so order a drink to chase it down.

Popular snack in Spain is the bocadillo de calameres – fried calamari ring sandwich

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Make sure to taste the dried pork jamón ibérico, it’s made from one breed of pig only, and tiny streaks of fat or marbling weave through the meat.

Madrid is also a vegetarian and vegan friendly city; for instance, restaurant B13 offers typical Spanish cuisine adapted to those who do not consume animal products.

It might seem one could spend the whole vacation in Madrid just munching on food; and why not?


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Milan, Italy

Go to Milan for fashion and delicious food

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Gorgonzola cheese is one of Milan’s gifts to the world; legend has it that a family hid a piece of cheese from thieves in the basement, and when they came to retrieve it, blue veining had appeared on the cheese. Imagine that – the cheese was even more delicious this way!

Gorgonzola cheese is one of Milan’s gifts to the world

Look for cafes with a garden in the summer; La Brisa is a very romantic place that serves seasonal dishes; to get a taste of a more old-fashioned Milan, opt for the Al Garghet restaurant. The name means frog croaks in an old Milanese dialect; the menu is written in calligraphy, and there are flowers everywhere, even on the tablecloths.

Vitello tonnato – cold veal covered in a caper and tuna sauce

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Vitello tonnato is a real summer food – cold veal covered in a caper and tuna sauce. This combination might sound a little strange, but it’s worth trying.

If you are a seafood lover, then Italy is a must-have for your

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You want to taste the classics for sure, such as pizza or risotto. It’s a great choice; it is not widely known that rice is grown near Milan.

There’s a legend saying that in the 16th century an apprentice who worked on the stained glass at the cathedral decided to colour the white rice with saffron so that it looks like the yellow glass.

Travel to Italy to get a great excuse to have gelato every day - it's the best here

Piadina will complement your picnic perfectly – it’s a type of bread a bit thicker than a tortilla and usually filled with cheese, prosciutto and vegetables.

It’s good that you’re travelling in the summer – that’s a great excuse to have gelato every day. Where do you find the best one? Oh, you’ll have to discover that yourself; challenge accepted?

After work day in Milan aperitivo is like a tradition

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Aperitivo is a tradition unique to Northern Italy and especially Milan. Every respectable local after a long day of work and before dinner at home or a restaurant makes their way to a bar for a drink.

This tradition is so strong that on week nights from 6 PM to 10 PM almost every bar in Milan offers delicious snacks at no extra fee if you’re having an aperitivo.


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Nice, France

Nice is a city full of gastronomic adventures

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From mussels and tuna to olives and eggplant – this is a city full of gastronomic adventures.

Start with a typical street food of Nice – socca is a thin, crunchy chickpea flour pancake baked in a stone oven like pizza, and it’s soft in the middle.

A typical street food of Nice – socca

Salad Niçoise is a classic dish – greens, onions, black olives, hard boiled eggs, tuna and a couple of anchovies. Instead of heavy dressings, delicious olive oil is drizzled over it.

If you’re in a rush to the beach, fill up le pan bagnat with the salad.

Salad Niçoise is a classic dish in France

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In the spring and summer, the locals eat les petits farcis – eggplant, tomato or zucchini filled with meat and rice.

Vegetarians will love the mushroom and quinoa filling, and these oven baked treats taste great cold.

In Nice choose a seafood platter - that has a bit of everything

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When in Nice, eat seafood. Choose a seafood platter that has a bit of everything.

Boiled sea snails that have to be picked out of their shells with a tiny needle, shrimp and crustaceans of various sizes – from huge crayfish to dark, tiny shrimp that don’t need to be shelled before eating, fresh sea urchins and of course oysters.

All of this is served with fresh bread, butter and wine – voila!

In Nice there are several Michelin-starred restaurants

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There are several Michelin-starred restaurants in Nice, like JAN or Les Agitateurs; the chef of La Roustide loves truffles, so you can have sea beam tartar with wasabi and truffle shavings.

Be warned – a glass of rose wine accompanies every meal in the summer; choose a dry local wine, and it does not have to be expensive, a bottle worth a few euros will do nicely.

In the old town, look for the Fenocchio ice cream parlour where such flavours as avocado, olive, cactus and lemon flower are on offer.

In Italy, look for Fenocchio ice cream - a wide variety of flavours

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