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Europe is the King of food, and these immersive foodie experiences prove it

A group of people eating European food.

Heading to Europe with Contiki? It’s impossible not to fall under this epic continent’s spell. Rich history, vibrant and diverse cultures, glorious architecture – and did we mention the food? From the delicious delicacies of a Parisian patisserie, to the moreish paella of Valencia and the rich tortelli of Rome, there’s so much culinary culture to sink your teeth into it’s impossible to know where to start.

Fortunately for you, Contiki’s famed Trip Managers have a little black book of the best foodie experiences around, and we’ve narrowed down 5 that are utterly unmissable:

The Florence Walking Tour

Florence is a city of spectacular beauty, so sampling some delicious food whilst on the move is the logical thing to do. Start at the famed Piazzale Michelangelo, before taking a tipple at some of the traditional wine shops (chianti anyone?). Feeling refreshed, embark on a twisting, mystical route through original Roman age crypts, where you can sample some classic Crostino Toscano pate. Learn to make some Negroni cocktails at a swanky cocktail bar, before wrapping up the foodie safari at our fave Florentine restaurant: Francescano.

Here you can try the ultimate Florentine street food: slices of lampredotto with green garlic sauce, as well as some rich Pappa al Pomodoro (and a delicious glass of Italian wine to wash it all down). Delizioso!

Sights, sounds and a seriously stuffed stomach – it’s all in a day’s work.

A group of people toasting on a rooftop in Florence with their tour manager.

Paella cooking class in Valencia

There’s nothing richer in savoury scrumptiousness than a proper Spanish Paella, and Valencia is the spiritual home of this national dish. With Contiki, you can get a masterclass in all things Valencia, starting with a delicious Gazpacho starter, before receiving your own hands on lesson in making traditional paella with chicken and beans. Finish off with a delicious drink of Horchaxta – blended yourself – to top off this richly educational culinary odyssey. Muy bien!

A tour manager overseeing a group of people eating food at a table.

Pasta making in Rome

This immersive experience takes place in the ancient Jewish quarter of Rome, a district of intoxicating history and charm. Learn how to make 4 different types of yummy pasta (spaghetti, fettucine, ravioli and taggiatelle), before creating a long pasta train. The finished product is handed to some master chefs who then whip up a delicious meal for you and your squad. While you wait for dinner to be served, take a walking tour to meet some of the local personalities that serve such incredible, fresh produce to the surrounding area. This is authentic as it gets. When in Rome…

A woman, serving as a tour manager, is eating spaghetti with a glass of wine.

Venetian lagoon cruise and seafood dinner

Seafood lovers! If you think Venice couldn’t get any more beautiful, take a guided cruise with Contiki out to the Unesco heritage island of Burano, a Fisherman’s island decorated with gorgeous technicolor fishing houses. There, you can visit a local family restaurant for the best seafood feast you’ve ever experienced. From snapper dip to shrimp risotto and ridiculously fresh calamari, you’ll wish you could grab lunch here every day. Finally, try your own ‘Burinelli,’ an S shaped biscuit which hangs on the side of your glass, soaking up all the goodness of your refreshing rose wine, as you soak up the glory of the Italian sun. This is the life.

A group of people sitting at a table eating European food.

Cassoulet at the Contiki Chateau (with a cooking class)

Kicking back at the legendary Contiki Chateau? You’ll have to try the delicious Cassoulet, a slow cooked dish cooked with beans, sausage, seasonal veg and a herb and tomato sauce. Did we mention there was baked camembert with fresh crusty baguettes to start? And desert? The perennial French favourite of course – chocolate eclairs. I know, we’re drooling too. Plus, every morning Contiki invite curious travellers to the kitchen to learn how to prepare the dish yourself, and hand recipe cards so you can recreate it at home. You can’t say we don’t treat you.


A group of people sitting around a table eating European food.