10 Underappreciated Foodie Cities in Europe

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Coffeshop
©Erin Johnson/Flickr, Creative Commons
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Achel brewery entrance
©John Scholte/Wikimedia Commons
Achel Abbey, Belgium

This Trappist brewery—one of only 11 worldwide—has a tasting room, outdoor biergarten and gourmet shop on-site at the brewery grounds. At just an hour's drive from Antwerp and Brussels and 30 minutes from Eindhoven, in the Netherlands, the brewery is an accessible day trip into the Belgian countryside.

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Roman temple ruins
©Flissphil/Wikimedia Commons
Evora, Portugal

Fragrant orange groves pepper Evora, Portugal, and remind visitors that Evora is one of the biggest cities in Alentejo, one of Portugal's prime food and wine regions. To add to the romance of this tucked away spot, the city rests in the shadow of a former Roman temple with restaurants, cafes and bars that back up its credentials in the culinary world.

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Case of cheese wheels
©Cinthia Bravo/Flickr, Creative Commons
Toulouse, France

The pink stone found throughout Tolouse is the source of its moniker La Ville Rose, “The Pink City.” The historic municipality is a seat of Southern French cuisine, known for dishes such as cassoulet (a hearty, regional stew), condit de canard (duck cooked in its own fat) and saucisse de Toulouse (a regional, artisan sausage made from the same recipe for centuries). 

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Coffeeshop in Sarajevo
©Erin Johnson/Flickr, Creative Commons
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

After nearly being razed during the Bosnian War, saying that Sarajevo has had a tough recent past is an understatement. Coffee lovers are in for a treat, though, in the form of Bosnian coffee. It's found throughout the city in laid-back coffeehouses that are a holdover from Sarajevo's Ottoman roots; enjoy the thick, potent brew that's ground, steeped and poured out of a džezva—a long-handled, copper serving pot.

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Dish from Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy
©Callo Albanese Sueo
Modena, Italy

It could be argued that Modena's most famous restaurant Osteria Francescana's signature dessert "Oops, I Dropped the Lemon Tart" is a perfect metaphor for this region in Italy. Shaken in 2012 by violent earthquakes, the region lost millions of dollars worth of parmigiano reggiano—one of its main exports—but quickly recovered and continued its tradition of culinary excellence. The restaurant is one of the best in the country and Modena suffers no lack of other culinary delights.

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La Pescheria market in Catania
©Robert Nunn/Flickr, Creative Commons
Catania, Italy

The clamorous La Pescheria fish market is the place to see locals in action selling fresh catch and buying the daily pesce for dinner. Catania's known for gifting the flavorful pasta alla Norman to the world's culinary repertoire but there's also an impressive amount of energetic cafes and bars that dot Catania's food and beverage scene. 

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Bridge over a river in Ljubljana, Slovenia
©Med Cruise Guide/Flickr, Creative Commons
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Orange wines—created from white grapes fermented in Roman-era wine-crafting processes—and the best of the country's wine scene is available in Ljubljana alongside top-notch eateries. Another crowd favorite is to try Schnapps when in the capital as it's widely considered the national drink of choice.

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Woman at market
©Gabriella Opaz/Flickr, Creative Commons
Tbilisi, Georgia

The European fusion restaurants in Tbilisi hint at its history under Russian rule in decades past; savor a long afternoon exploring Old Town's wine bars, local bakeries and restaurants. Veteran explorers unperturbed by noise and chaos should put the Dezertirebi Bazroba, or "Deserter's Market," on their itinerary; the loud, chaotic market is a perfect place to see the city in action.

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Bay of Kotor
©Nico Trinkhaus/Flickr, Creative Commons
Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor's location on the coast gives it a prime spot as one of Montenegro's melting pots, a place for diverse restaurants and food stalls. Among the lineup are kebabs, take away pizza, upscale wineries, fine dining and more.

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Bordeaux, France, street
©Manu Dreuil/Flickr, Creative Commons
Bordeaux, France

At just two hours from Paris on a high-speed train, Bordeaux is an exceptional culinary trip; French food website Atabula ranked the city the No. 1 foodie destination in France, beating out Paris and Nice, with restaurants like Belle Campagne and Garopapilles.

By Jamie Jackson on 09/25/2017

Skip the biggest cities in Europe for a taste of local life in these locales with curious culinary scenes that, for their own reasons, fly under the general public's radar even though they deserve a spotlight for flavorful dishes and beverages that make them delectable.