8 essential culinary experiences in Europe to indulge the senses

By: Alessia Piccolo

If there’s one thing most of our travelers (and staff!) have in common, it’s a love of food – and for some – a passion for wine and spirits, too. With Europe producing some of the finest quality ingredients around the world, we’ve zoomed in on some of the most intriguing day tours recommended by our in-house experts that will be sure to ignite your senses.

Hear the sizzling fire of flaming saganaki in Greece. Taste the smoky, malty, and briny notes of whisky in Scotland. Feel silky smooth melted chocolate pour from your hands as you design your own Belgian creation. Feast your eyes on gastronomic art in Sweden’s vibrant capital. Breath in the aroma of freshly baked breads and pastries in Lyon. And so much more.

The best part? These day tours can be found on the itineraries outlined below, or you can personalize your itinerary from start to finish with your Destination Expert and include one (or a few!) of the tasty tours that speak the most to you, on a journey personalized to your exact tastes and preferences.

Athens, Greece: Flavors of Athens Walking Tour

Alyssa Page, Europe Destination Expert

“To me, there are many facets of a food tour that make it compelling: meeting an esteemed local chef, behind-the-scenes touring of a kitchen or local production facilities, beautiful views at authentic local venues, local home cooking experiences, and of course – lots of food and wine tastings along the way! There are so many ways for a food tour in Greece to be executed, but what they all have in common is that you’re in for a real treat.

One of my favorite places to start for clients who are interested in Grecian cuisine is our Athens, Santorini and Crete itinerary, as it has so many epicurean tours sprinkled throughout. You’ll head to a local market on the Flavors of Athens Walking Tour with a local guide, sampling iconic delicacies and learning about cooking traditions and Mediterranean cuisine. Then, you’ll venture to an island off the coast of Santorini to sample local vintages from the island’s distinctive terroir with sweeping views of the iconic blue-and-white vista. In Chania, you'll enjoy yet another food walking tour through the old Jewish and Turkish quarters, getting a glimpse into local life through the palette. And of course, you’d be amiss to overlook an olive oil tasting while in Greece, so our local guides will lead you into the rolling hills of the countryside to gain an intimate perspective on the island of Crete's rich farming and culinary history.”

Edinburgh, Scotland: Whisky Flight and Meal at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Chantal Gouveia, Europe Product Manager

“During this classic whisky experience, our travelers will sample the legendary flavors of the Scottish ‘water of life’ at Kaleidoscope Bar. A fun and playful whisky experience with 200+ bottles from 137 different whisky distilleries, this is an exceptional encounter for both the whisky novice and extreme whisky collectors. The tasting includes some of the most rare and unique whisky offerings – all Single Cask or Single Malt – with none of the pretentiousness or gatekeeping often associated with whisky. What is perhaps the most intriguing part of the experience is that all distillery labels and markers have been removed from the bottles, which means guests are under no influence of title or region. Instead, every bottle is organized by flavor profile and is given a new (and cheeky!) name. For example: Preparation for Skinny Dipping, Umami Salami, and Arsonist Torches Garden Centre. Then to top it off, the tasting is followed by a traditional Scottish pub fare dinner with an exceptional and authentic flare.”

Bruges, Belgium: Bruges Chocolate Workshop

Julie Couturier, Europe Destination Expert

“Belgium has arguably the best chocolate in the world, and there’s a reason why it’s so famous: the country has been producing chocolate since the 17th century, and has approximately 2000 chocolate shops! The Bruges Chocolate Workshop is a private, immersive experience that allows guests to learn about the art of Belgian chocolates directly from a master chocolatier. And of course, the experience includes a variety of chocolate tastings (a must for true chocolate enthusiasts!). You’ll get a hands-on insight into the process of how local chocolate is made at Choco-Story, a small chocolate museum and the perfect intimate setting for this immersive tour.”

Stockholm, Sweden: Stockholm Walking Food Tour

Chris Kaveh, Europe Destination Expert

“Sweden’s vibrant food scene comes together in the most delicious of ways in its capital city during this foodie walking tour. From kotbullar (Swedish meatballs), to kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) during the ubiquitous Fika (a Swedish custom where people enjoy a break from their daily lives to drink coffee and eat snacks with friends), all the way to gastronomic works of art designed by masters of New Nordic cuisine, Stockholm certainly has it all. In just one afternoon, an expert culinary guide will showcase everything from the simple and hearty to the complex and magical in Sweden’s vast culinary scene. You’ll also sample the stalls at Ostermals Salluhal to get an understanding of why Swedes have been championing local, fresh, organic, and seasonal ingredients, even before farm-to-table was en vogue.”