Those with wanderlust may be finding the notion of staying at home and not travelling quite difficult right now, especially for those of you who had trips already booked that you’ve been forced to postpone. The best escape may be to immerse yourself in all things travel, to keep your dreams alive and remind yourself that all of those countries you’ve visited or long to see are still there.
Because they will still be there when life returns to normal and these countries will certainly appreciate the tourism boost to their economies, so instead of wondering and wishing, how about planning a trip to those places you’ve been longing to see?
With all the extra time on your hands we’re sure you have a lot of exciting places to go and activities to partake in already in mind but, for the food and drink lovers out there, we’re here to inspire, so we’ve come up with our top food and drink picks across Southern Europe.
Famed for its beaches, golf resorts, terrific food and wine, medieval castles and seaside cities, Portugal has a lot to offer any type of traveller. Start at the southern tip and, whether you decide to hire a car in Faro or use public transport, taking a tour of the food hotspots and wineries will be well worth it. You’ll get a good blend of regional Algarve foods here such as cataplana, a seafood-based stew or piri piri chicken as well as the country’s national dish, Bacalhau, salt-dried cod, from casual cafes to fine dining eateries. Head to the Douro Valley for a tour of Portugal’s finest and sometimes underrated wine region in the north of the country. Famed for its sweet fortified port, you’ll be able to experience the best of the best here.
Head to the north of the country for some of the finest cuisine on the planet. Brimming with Michelin star restaurants, the streets of San Sebastian blend the sublime foodie scene with a stunning coastline to admire too. Nowhere does tapas (pintxos) quite like here and the exquisite dishes on offer at the elite restaurants are something to be treasured, head to Arzak, the three Michelin star restaurant, for a taste of some beautiful Basque cuisine. Expect meats and grilled fish, lamb stews, sheep’s cheese and more before sipping on a classic sparkling white wine of txakoli.
Spain is most famous for its red wine, with the Tempranillo grape being the most planted in the country, so head to the famous Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions to sample some of this popular tipple. Southern Spain also has some sensational wine to enjoy. You can hire a car in Alicante and head out to the luscious vineyards to take a wine tour before heading to the coast for some of the best seafood Spain has to offer.
Like many countries, France has a fantastic mix of regional foods and succulent wines to sip. Whether you’re living it up like the rich and famous in the southern beachside cities or grazing your way around the north, you’ll find some spectacular treats along the way.
Lyon has to be the gastronomic capital of France with traditional delights such as the coq au vin, salade lyonnaise and saucisson brioche pleasing locals and travellers alike for a long time. With 1,500 eateries and the highest concentration of restaurants in the country, Lyon is undoubtedly the place to go. For those more interested in the wine, a visit to the world-famous vineyards of Bordeaux is a must as is a trip to the Champagne region to sample the bubbly delights of the famed fizz.
Making its mark on the world, the simple foods of Italy have travelled far and wide, pleasing all, whether it’s a classic pizza in Naples, the risotto of Lombardy or the ever-popular pasta with its more than 300 variations.
A cookery class and a Italian wine tasting tour or two are certainly recommended in order to learn and sample the best of what this country has to offer. Drinks wise, you have most probably heard of the sparkling Prosecco or the Limoncello, which packs a punch but for the wine-lovers it has to be Chianti or Barolo.
Made up of around 6,000 islands and islets, it’s no surprise that Greece serves up some of the finest seafood on the planet. From octopus to squid to calamari, these delectable offerings are the main reason some travellers go. Combine with classic treats such as feta cheese, olive oil, chunky and refreshing Greek salad, dips including tzatziki and taramasalata and you’re onto a winner. Pair this with the renowned friendly hospitality and all you’ll be doing is trying to find your next fantastic eatery to sample such simply, yet beautiful cuisine.
When it comes to drinking, if you’ve been, you’ll have, no doubt, been treated to a shot of ouzo at the end of a meal but, if aniseed isn’t your thing then, you’ll be pleased to know that Greece is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world with popular options including assyrtiko and xinomavro.